Happy Wednesday, Penny Darlings!
And happy blogiversary to me!
Today marks my two year anniversary blog post!
And what a two years it’s been.
I moved in with my boyfriend, I quit my job, I got engaged, an 8lb schnoodle became my best friend, I flew to Michigan, and I’ve had some amazing experiences. I’ve cried a lot. I started taking Zoloft, I got in a pretty severe car accident, and I performed on stage with Preston for the first time…and then the second…and then the third…and we’re still going. I started working out, I gained an awesome roommate, I raised over $80K for March of Dimes, and I finally watched Parks & Rec. I got a scar on my leg, sprained my ankle, and went cliff diving.
It’s been a heck of a two years.
I started this blog because I was bored. I worked in a job where no one talked to each other. They all sent weird IMs to each other instead of talking to people within earshot. I had no cell phone service, my desk was in the lobby, they paid me like crap, and it was ALL women who were ALL on a different diet. We had a potluck once, and it was seriously six kinds of salad. I brought dessert and they were all confused.
I had lost my job at the theatre a few months prior and was struggling and fighting depression and I was lonely and losing hope. I ended up in a temp job fundraising and it was BORING…(see above mentioned).
I started my blog as a creative outlet in a way I didn’t know I needed so desperately.
One of the most requested things is to talk about how I get to blog full time and how it all works – so today I’m going to share ten tips on things I’ve learned about starting and maintaining my blog for two years!
But wait, what else? Hmm, blah, blah, blah, – check me out on Instagram here! I also started a Twitter account! Find that here! Follow Preston’s brand new fashion Instagram here! I also have a selling Instagram page where I sell some of my old clothes/styles so that I don’t drown in my own wardrobe. I just listed a few new things – so check that out!
1. ) Just Start
This is the hardest thing for people to do. People ask me all the time on how to start their blog or if I have any tips for starting blogging as a business. And here’s the biggest trick that most people will never do. Just start. I’m hosted through WordPress. I sat down one lazy Sunday and got a URL. It was that easy. I just had to do it.
2.) Keep Going
Pick a day of the week and post every week on that day. I know that may seem odd, but I heard Jenna Marbles say it once in some vlog or interview or something. She does the ‘sexual Wednesday’ gimmick. But picking a consistent day to post will give you self-made deadlines, a day readers can expect to hear from you, and will create consistent content. Posting once and then waiting three weeks and posting again and then posting two days later is hard for readers to know when to check in!
3.) Figure Out Your Audience
You are a completely unique person. Here’s a list of things I am interested in and read blogs about: Fashion, Make-Up, Subscription Boxes, true crime and murder, mass shootings, young adult books, DIY and recipes, Lake George, human behavior and deviant social behavior, microexpressions and body language, and musical theatre.
In the midst of all that nonsense, who would know what/when to read? I decided to focus on lifestyle and fashion and that gives me a direction about what my readers would love. People sometimes switch topics so drastically that it really is only a blog for you…and that’s really just a journal.
4.) Research the Tools
There are literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of bloggers who blog….for other bloggers. They can suggest platforms like Pepperjam, Pop Pays, Clever, etc. that can help you figure out how to connect with brands. Invest in an online seminar for bloggers. Look at what other bloggers are blogging about. Follow hashtags and see your audience. Read mission statements of companies you already love and see what they have in common. Research the camera that other bloggers you know love (I use a Canon T5i) and see if it is within your budget. DM or e-mail bloggers – we usually answer!
5.) Think Outside the Box
I got to do a collab with a packaging tape brand and got to use it to make my famous rainbow paint chip wall! I just got to fly to Michigan to do a blog collab for a bridal boutique. I’ve seen some AMAZING collabs that are really interesting topics for posts and unique ways to work with brands! If every single person wrote the same thing about the same products – everyone would read it ONE time. It’s your ability to put a new spin on it that will bring readers to your page!
6.) Pick a Good Name
If anyone remembers the original name of my blog: Curves, Curls, & Coffee – I changed it after a few months. It was really hard to remember. People love things that they can remember and that they can Google. People would say, “Coffee, curls? Or curves and curls? What is it?”
Actually one of my dear friend’s grandmother said, “For what it’s worth, I liked your old blog name…Coffee and Curls or whatever it was.”
In that moment, I knew I had made the right choice. I ended up picking a name that I used to publish poetry under when I was in high school! (spoiler alert – that’s the name!)
Check all the social media channels and make sure you can get the same name on all the channels. I find it tricky to find companies that have different Twitter/Instagram/Facebook names. Before you commit – check! Fun fact: there was a girl on insta who had the username: PennyDarling and was very rude when I messaged her about it! So I became, @ThePennyDarling
Pick something that’s significant to you, original, easy to Google and spell, and something that really identifies you!
7.) Find Your Voice
Are you the kind of blogger that swears a lot? I swear a TON in real life, but you’ll hardly ever see a swear word on my page! Are you the kind of blogger that loves super trendy lingo like ‘lit’ and ‘bae’ and ‘popping’?
Make sure that whatever path you choose, stay true to yourself. That’s what the people came here to read! Even when it feels like no one is listening: I swear, someone is! I feel like sometimes I read things or see videos where I see a ‘persona’ or something and I never like it as much as I like people who true to their inner weirdness.
8.) Know Your Worth
Just recently, I quoted a specific blog/pitch that someone approached me for, at $220….they came back with an offer of $25. That’s right. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS.
Now think about this – most blog posts take two to four hours to write, two to three hours to do the pictures, another two hours of editing photos, another hour of prepping for the photoshoot, money I spend to complete looks/posts, paying for photography sometimes, etc.
For more than eight hours of work to complete their post – they wanted to pay me $25. That’s about $3 an hour and doesn’t include all the supplies. If you accept lowball offers it says that you don’t value your work. If you don’t value your work – why should a brand?
9.) Have Fun
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Entrepreneurs are the only people on earth who would rather work 80 hours a week for themselves than 40 hours for someone else.”?
It’s true. It’s 3am. I was up at 7am yesterday for a shoot. I have been awake for twenty hours and still have work to do! It’s hard work. But me & Harvey are having a great time!
But you have to remember to have fun. If it’s not fun – you’re doing it wrong. I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well that’s absolute baloney. It’s a LOT of work – but loving what you do, remembering to laugh, making new friends, appreciating the moments while you’re in them, and remembering to unplug make a huge difference.
10.) Never Forget to Say Thank You
Thank your photographer. Thank your mom who stands on the back porch and takes all of your photos. Thanks people who send you free product. Thank your friend for editing. Thank your roommate who lets you borrow a purse. Thank your readers for reading. Thank your fiance who spends his days off literally laying on ice for your blog. Thank people who give you inspiration, people who you inspire, and people who give you a chance.
Blogging cannot run as one person. You need other people to make it run. You need readers. You need an audience. You need a support system. You’re building an empire. Thank everyone. Even if you feel like they know that you are appreciative of them – say it anyway!
In fact, here’s a list of people I’d love to thank:
Preston (fiance/best friend/photographer/mental health support team member)
Lauren Adkins (photographer)
Harvey (schnoodle pup/best friend/24-7 companion)
Afa Igor (publicist consultant)
Kathy Hoy (mom/photographer/model/all around good sport)
Jack Hoy (dad/doesn’t really get blogs/proud all the same)
Liz Checchia, Niki Boyer-Swatski, Vicki Ebner, & Mindy Gray for their absolute constant support, reading, and letting me know how much they like it.
Abby Hauk (best friend/MoH/former iPhone photographer)
All of the business who didn’t kick me out while I was taking photos somewhere weird.
EPAC for letting me borrow hats & purses and accessories!
Erica Ligenza for inspiring me by making it and being from my hometown which inspired me to think I could make it.
Jeremy Patterson (roommate/owner of Harvey/dear friend/constant and unwavering belief and support for all #GIRLBOSS endeavors)
Zander Gawn & Ian Sanchez for asking lots of questions and genuinely caring about the answers.
Cody Page for helping me with my logo!
Dan Hauk for helping me set up my WordPress and answering a MILLION questions
Tasha at Society+ for helping me with my special giveaway!
This list could take up another whole page – but it’s 3am and this post is almost 2,000 words long – so I’ll cut it here!
People love to feel appreciated and it will make you feel great too!
This amazing gold sequin skirt is from Society+ (you can shop it here!)
I’m also giving one away on my Instagram page! Check out that giveaway here!
This sweetheart neck is from Eshakti! Check that out here!
In honor of my two year Blogiversary – Society+ is helping me celebrate by letting me giveaway one of their GORGEOUS mermaiden sequin skirts. This skirt is SO comfortable and cute. It’s the PERFECT statement piece! Obsessed!
First: Go like my most recent picture on Instagram
Second: Make sure you’re following me!
Third: Hop over to Society+ on Insta and make sure you give them a follow
Fourth: Tag three besties on my photo!
I’m not an expert. I know what works for me. I know there’s ways to make it easier and I’m still figuring them out.
I can’t thank you enough for being on this journey with me. You have made all the difference.
It’s been two wonderful years and there’s no end in sight. Thank you.
*This post contains affiliate links and the items in this post were gifted to me, however, all thoughts & opinions are my own!*
SO HERE’S THE “END OF BLOG” SPIEL!
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Comment for topics you would like to see me cover! Like to help my self esteem! What do you think so far? More fashion? More lifestyle? Do you like the mix?
Thank you for all that you do. You are truly extraordinary.
Love all you wonderful ladies (and gents!) out there!