It’s been a MINUTE since my last blog post so if you’re new here, WELCOME. If you aren’t new here, you’re probably wondering where I’ve been for the past two months…and to be quite honest, I just needed a mini break. Since I started my blog last May, I have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities, whether that be collaborations with brands, freelance work as a graphic designer, selling my own presets, + other random gigs here n’ there. Starting this blog has opened up so many doors and given me opportunities I never dreamed of happening, better yet, happening in the short time span of less than a year. I don’t say this nearly enough but I am so incredibly grateful for you guys for even reading this blog post right now, liking my posts, or just doing whatever you can do to support me. I realize this sounds so sappy already but I am honestly so passionate about this topic because the decision to start my blog truly changed my life.
So you might be thinking to yourself, “well, why did you start this blog in the first place?” and there’s really no short answer to that question. Honestly, if you told me a year ago today that I’d be doing what I am doing now for a job, I would 100% laugh in your face. To be real with you guys, this time last year was not a good time for me; I was incredibly depressed, lost + had no clue what my future would hold. That’s honestly a blog post in itself but to sum it up, with the help of my boyfriend and my family I was able to get through it + I started seeing a therapist. Fast forward a few months later, it was summer + I was in such a better place and I was really motivated to just do something for myself that would allow me to be creative / keep me busy. I have always been a creative person whether that be with photography, design + writing so I thought why not just combine the three and start a blog. I am also an English major and I knew I wanted to go in a different direction than teaching or the usual route, so I thought this would be a good place to start + build my resume. I actually even had a blog back when I was in high school (before blogging was even a thing, really) but I was way too afraid to go public with it so it really wasn’t an out of the box thing for me to do. I guess the only difference this time was that I had way more confidence in myself. I always have girls DM me asking “how did you deal with other people’s opinions when you first started your blog?” and honestly, I had been struggling with finding my own happiness for so long and right from the start, blogging made me so genuinely happy, and just motivated to live my life and I really don’t think anyone’s opinion could get in the way of that. Not only was I finally feeling like myself again but I was discovering myself at the same time and it was just such an empowering feeling and really kept me going. I think the best advice I have for someone who is interested in starting a blog is just to do it. Like right now…right this second. Obviously you gotta want to start a blog for the right reasons, it can’t just be for the “free stuff” or pretty Instagram photos. Trust me when I say this is a full-time job and you gotta be 100% in it for the right reasons to be successful. So if that resonates with you and you’re passionate about it then you should just do it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and if you’re only fear is that people might tease you, then just think about how they’re going to feel in two years when you’re working for your dream brand and they’re still wasting their time worrying about what other people are doing. Can’t relate…JK GUYS, that was sassy, but really at the end of the day people will judge you no matter what you’re doing, so just do what makes YOU happy. Also, you’ll probably be surprised at how much support you’ll receive because I know, I did.
OK, so if you’re still reading this, I probably convinced you to start a blog and now you’re sitting here wondering, “How the heck do I start a blog?”
Lucky for you, this is pretty simple nowadays because there’s a million different platforms and resources like YouTube, that will teach you how to do literally anything. That’s pretty much how I figured everything out myself. I use WordPress because long-term it just made sense for me with all the upgrades they offer but I know a lot of blogger gals that use Squarespace + Wix. I would just test them all out and see what you’re most comfortable with. I had prior experience with WordPress from my first blog so this was my first choice.
As for designing my blog, I was able to work with Bluchic + use their Isabelle theme, which made my life WAY easier. If you’re not super tech savvy, I def recommend using a pre-made theme. Bluchic has tons of different styles so I will be sure to link their stuff here. However, when I first started I just used a basic theme that was available on WordPress. I think the most important tip for you guys is just to start with whatever resources you have. You will learn as you go, and have more opportunities to upgrade your site, later on.
Now that you have a basic idea of how to start a blog, I am gonna answer a few specific questions from you guys about blogging:
Did you reach out to brands first or did they reach out to you?
So when I first started, I tried to get as much content as I could before I just started reaching out to brands. I made sure to have a few blog posts up + content on my Instagram to show that I was actually blogging and could offer them something in exchange for product. Once you feel confident enough, I highly recommend reaching out to brands. You might feel silly sliding into the DM’s of some of your favorite brands but you gotta put yourself out there somehow. I would use the DM’s as a starting place to get a point of contact / e-mail because that is just way more professional and will give you more room to pitch your ideas to the brand. It’s important to have a pitch ready because you have to understand that brands are constantly getting e-mails and it’s more likely that you’ll land a collab if you already have an idea in mind. ALSO, keep it noted that you will probably get ghosted / rejected by a lot of brands and that’s totally normal. It happens to everyone and honestly, still happens to me sometimes, so don’t feel bad lol. Keep posting your own content— not everything has to be sponsored. It’s almost like you’re building your resume at first. Brands will reach out to you once you have good content + good engagement.
How do you know if a brand is legitimate about working with you + not just trying to scam you?
So this is definitely something to be aware of when you first start blogging because you will most likely want to work with any + every brand that reaches out to you, and there are tons of scams out there. I think the number one thing is to make sure the brand is legitimate (google them, look for a website, read reviews, you can even look on their Instagram page and find girls they’ve worked with in the past and DM them lol — this has happened to me so it’s not that weird). One of the #1 signs of a scam is if they’re trying to get you to pay money. You shouldn’t have to pay anything. I remember when I first started, I got tons of messages like this and I actually fell for it once so trust me when I say this. If a brand is only offering you what appears to be a large discount on a product + you have to buy it, it’s most likely a scam and the quality of the product isn’t worth the money anyways. I have actually had a few girls DM me in the past, so if you’re looking for a second opinion feel free to ask because it can be hard to tell!
How did you grow so fast?
This is probably my most asked question from you guys and I never know how to give a short answer on Instagram. To be honest, the reason I have been able to grow so fast is because I’ve put a lot of my own time + work into it. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it and pretend like I just started posting pretty photos + gained a following. Since I started my blog, I have treated it like more than a job and put in hours every single day into it. Whether that be posting on Instagram, creating content, engaging with you guys, connecting with other bloggers or brands. I have always had an obsessive personality to the point where I’m either utterly obsessed with something or I just don’t care and this is just something I am obsessed with. There is so much passion behind it and just being able to express myself in a creative way keeps me sane, tbh. Obviously, there’s gonna be times when growth is slow + you will feel discouraged but it’s just important to remember why you started. It’s so easy to fall a victim to comparison when your job revolves around social media, but I think what helps me the most is just focusing on my own journey. Getting to where you want to be is great, but I think what’s even greater is HOW you got there. Nowadays, you can rush the process and buy your following but at the end of the day I think it’s way more rewarding to take the extra time and be able to look back and know that you achieved this all by yourself. That’s my honest opinion about it— there is no secret to this, it’s honestly just what you put into it.