I realized that I have been blogging for 5 years. WOW! I did take a full year off when I was figuring this thing out, but I did start in 2016.

My blogging journey:

I started blogging after it had been on my mind for about a year. I had seen people doing it and was very intrigued, and at that time, I was always styling my family and friends. I thought it would be good to share my style perspective and hopefully give others fashion inspiration. Once I got up enough courage, I asked Rick if he would start taking pictures of me. We would go down in our apartment courtyard and try to get the right “blogger” photo. Back then, I was only doing dressy looks, which while I love wearing dresses it is not my daily. Also, my kids rarely were in any of my blogging images. As time went on, I felt uninspired; I didn’t feel I was connecting with my community and thought I was spinning my wheels. When I started to have a difficult pregnancy with Cyrus, I decided to step back and take a break from blogging.

After having Cyrus, I started to explore blogging again. When I did, I committed to myself, and I would only share what fully represented me. I also wanted to share a little bit of everything. Not only style. I started that journey in 2018, and it has been the most rewarding experience ever since. So many connections have been made from me sharing my life openly. I have amazing women in my community. I genuinely feel I was given this platform to have online friendships to encourage each other through life.

I understand that many of you are interesting in becoming a blogger or influencer. I don’t prefer to come myself as an influencer. More like a digital life sharer, haha. Whatever you call your aspirations, I want to say this before diving into my most frequently asked questions. Start for the right reasons. That is critical to be successful. I know many people who will say I want to get extra money; how do I blogging. Y’all, I made pennies for years with blogging. Just like any business, it takes time to grow. And part of the reason I struggle with finding my way with blogging is that initially, I was doing what I saw other people doing on IG. I didn’t tap into who I was and what I wanted to share. I am not saying anything is wrong with wanting to make money from blogging. Just start for more reason than the money.

How to start blogging?

So you have decided to start blogging. That is great! Now what? Narrow down your niche. (More on that later). Choose a platform you wish to focus post your content. If you wish to have a website (which I recommend) build that. Create a blogging email, to keep the lines from getting crossed. Grab your camera, and take pictures that represent who you are and what you are passionate about. Don’t over think it. Just put yourself out there.

What niches can you blog about?

Parenting, Food, Personal Finance, Home decor, Organization, DIY, Beauty, Travel, Fashion, Health & Fitness, Blogging, Self-Care, and even relationships.

What advice do you have for someone starting out?

Walk in your own journey, and don’t allow comparison to make you feel defeated. It can get easy to scroll through IG and see all these people with viral videos, and tons of likes on their images. It can make you feel like giving up before you even start. Remember, there is someone on this space that needs to hear your perspective. No one will share it the way you do, and that is your magic. Get tunnel vision, and post content that 100% represents you.

How did you afford blogging when you first started out?

Do not feel like you have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe to start blogging. When I started, I was just styling outfits in my closet if you are starting out sharing home interiors. Style with the existing furniture you have. People love DIYs, are repurposing items in your closet. Try not to feel pressures of people who have been doing this for a while may intimidate you not to put yourself out there.

Is having a blog necessary?

This is something I learned along the way. I’ve always had a blog, but I didn’t always pour into it the way I should. It lay dormant for a while. When life was too busy or when I wasn’t inspired. Earlier in 2021, I decided to invest in a new site. I am sure you are wondering why I did when we are in a time of TikTok stars going viral with no websites. For me, I don’t want to be a viral star. I want to be a business. A business that will be here for years and evolve. I don’t own Instagram, and I don’t own TikTok. However, my website is mine. It is my brand’s identity. I want my website to be a destination where my community can go to get tips and inspiration. Additionally, if I am working with a brand, I want them to come to my website and identify who I am. If social media were to fall off the face of this Earth, I would still have my blog website.

How do you feel comfortable to talk on stories?

I didn’t at first. When Instagram launched Stories, I was freaking out. How would I ever feel comfortable coming on stories each day. What would I talk about? I didn’t feel comfortable at all, and actually, I didn’t come onto stories much. I had to stop overthinking it. Just come on and be myself without worrying about trying to be perfect.

My advice, don’t overthink it. Get an idea of things you would like to share each day. I will say that my community 1000% wants to see our life and my perspective. So I look at a deeper dive at what your niche already is. For instance, we like to travel, so we share our trip journey when we are on vacation.

What are good platforms to host your blog?  

I used Blogger from 2016 to end of 2018. Then I switched to WordPress.  There are others out there like Squarespace. Blogger was great starting out because it was very user friendly.  

If you aren’t quite ready to make that investment don’t feel bad.  There are other options. When I started blogging I used a blogging template from Etsy.  Basically it gives your site a design that appears custom, at a fraction of the cost. Go to Etsy and type “blogger template” or “wordpress template”. Most Etsy vendors will even install it for you.  It is so worth paying them the extra $20 to $30! 

Etsy is the bomb.com for all your small business and budget needs when you are on a budget. I have gotten the following:

  • Blog Template 
  • Social Media Icons
  • Media Kit
  • Instagram Story Highlights 
  • Logo 

Don’t feel discouraged if the budget is not there yet to get custom items; Etsy is very helpful. Remember starting a blog can be super affordable, so even if you desire at one point to have a custom-made site. Take the first step to start on a budget-friendly site, and if you wish to make an upgrade do it as budget and time allow.

Where do you get your Instagram Story Highlights from?

I had them made by a graphic designer. However, there are tons of options here from Etsy.

Where do you make your collages?

They are made in Canva. Back in the day I would make them in photoshop and it would take forever. Canva has simplified it. You can watch a lot of Youtube Tutorials on how to be successful with that.

Are blogging courses required to be successful at blogging?

No. The majority of people that are successful on social media likely have not taken a blogging course. I would first assess what do you deem important in your blogging career? Is it to go viral? Is it to build a business? Is it to work with brands? Is it to get a lot of followers? Get to the root. Next, there are many free resources you can browse before paying. Youtube and Pinterest are both great resources. If you still feel you are lost and would like some additional help, check out blogger courses. Please note: Unfortunately, people claiming to be gurus and will take your money but not give you the tools to be successful. Read reviews and do your research before paying for a course.

I did take a course call Pitch it Perfect with Julie Solomon. The goal of the course is to give you tips that will help you then be successful with pitching and negotiating brand deals. It was an investment, but I have since gotten my money back from it and then some. You can read more about the course hereAfter I took the course, along with some other changes, I started working with brands consistently. So I would wait to take this course until you have a good flow with your blogging. 

How do you work with brands?

First, I didn’t start working with brands right away. I had to work on my craft, and improve on my the content I put out there, along with becoming consistent. A brand wants to know that you are a legitimate business.

  1. Brand reaches out to me directly and expresses interest on a campaign. 
  2. PR company reaches out to me on behalf of a brand, and my entire campaign I work directly with the PR company.
  3. I pitch to a brand, and they like my idea enough to move forward with a partnership.
  4. I apply for a campaign I think I am a good fit for on an influencer platform.  Which basically is like a job board for bloggers, and shows campaigns you can apply for based on your reach size. 

How do you find brand contacts? 

 Y’all I become like a private eye investigator.  I simply just go to the brand I want to work with and go to their press page and see if there is a press email. Some brands will have it under their contact tab, it varies. Typically from my search engine I would type in for example Pottery Barn press contact.  Sometimes you get lucky and it will be easy to get access too. If you are on Linkedin I’ve heard people have been successful that route.

How do you grow a following?

Content is vital these days. People want to connect with you and know who you are. I am speaking from even the influencers I enjoy the most. It is the ones that I can relate to the most, I will relate to who they appear to be online. Creating content that fully represents you.

We are in a time of TikTok and Reels. It is much different than what it used to be before I started blogging. People that are popular right now are the people with viral videos. It can get discouraging because I enjoy taking photos and sharing my perspective that way, but video content is popular right now. I found a way to be myself in Reels and adjust to the times. Yet, I will still also incorporate content I have always done. Viral reels and Tiktoks are undoubtedly the fastest way to grow right now. I see some people that are growing like weeds.

I also, will grow when my hashtags work in my Instagram posts. It is important to use relevant hashtags to your posts. I’ve found when I use relevant hashtags, those seem to work the best.

Let’s talk giveaways. I used to do them much more frequently but have cut down on them. The ones I choose to do, I want them to be with friends of mine that I genuinely enjoy and think my community will too. Rather than doing giveaways with random people. Giveaways for me are not the way to grow an engaged following, though. You want people to be in your community because they genuinely value who you are. That is a big reason I drastically decreased the number of giveaways I was in. I want them to be meaningful and few and far between. My point is if you do it, do it with a group of people you connect with that you believe your community would as well.

Another way to grow is by doing a try-on share. This is a fun way to have your community see different size perspectives, but share each others pages.

Do you get discouraged when your post don’t perform well?

Great question! I used to, but not anymore. I often don’t look at my metrics or even my follower count. I maybe look at it once a week. This was for my peace of mind. IG has a feature where you can look and see how many new people followed/unfollowed you. I have never utilized that feature because I think it would bother me.

Remember, you are not defined by the number of likes or comments you get. You are amazing, just the same, no matter if you get ten likes or 100. With that, if I see a post that doesn’t perform well, and I love it. I keep it moving. Not everything will do great, and that is okay. If I had a scenario where none of my posts performed well, I would assess the content that I am putting out. Does it need to improve? Poll your community on if they want to see something different.

Do you have a content calendar?

Yes I do! This helps me stay organized with my brand partnerships. A lot what I do on social media is by the fly, because I don’t like what I share to be scripted. However, I do work with brands that require me to post on set days. With that, I keep a content calendar. There are several you can choose from to help you get organized.

Trello, CoSchedule, Asana, Google calendar, or Hubspot.

All of the above are ways you can lock in your content posting on a schedule. I would also recommend this if you are having difficulty posting on consistently.

What is your most important tip about having brand partnerships?

This may be an unpopular opinion, but it is okay to say no. I’ve learned this so much within the past year and it has been so liberating. Honestly, I felt before brands were the primary focus and my community second. I was putting out there more brand partnerships than organic content. It was stressful and it left me not being able to connect with my audience. It is flipped now. I take on far less partnerships, because I don’t ever want it to lead to wear my community doesn’t trust me, or think I don’t stand behind the products I am sharing.

It may not make sense now, but it will take you further and allow your community to trust you which is impactful.

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I want to say that I am not an expert. I still am navigating how to do this. I know I have experienced road bumps along the way, and wanted to share a few tips to help any of you that are on your journey. If you have additional questions, please ask them below. I will answer in comments.