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March 8, 2022
Wow, Lush to Blush is 10 years old! The official date was last week on March 4 and I had the best private celebration with gifts from my bestie and dinner with my partner. I feel like I’ve been blogging forever, but at the same time, in an industry that is constantly evolving, I feel like I’m learning something new every day. It’s a little difficult to put this post together because I have learned so much over the years, and much of it now is like second nature. But I’m excited to share what I’ve come up with. Here are the realities of blogging as a job: the top 10 things I have learned from 10 years of blogging and content creation!
1. Authenticity is Key
This is something I have always said and will continue to stand by. There is no point in blogging or posting on social media if you’re not being authentic. One) there’s no fun in faking it and Two) readers and followers will be able to tell and will be turned off. Instead of doing what works for other people, find what feels right and natural for you. This is something that has become even more relevant in today’s social media world of trends. Jumping on a trend isn’t going to get you engaged followers who are actually interested in your content.
2. It’s ok to Pivot
In fact, it’s natural. This goes hand in hand with being authentic. We all grow and we all change, so chances are, your audience is evolving as well. Yes, it’s possible you will lose some readers and followers as time goes on, but you will also gain new audience members who are genuinely interested in your content and in turn, will connect with you on a deeper level resulting in a more highly engaged audience that converts. Before I bought my home in 2020, I very rarely posted about home decor, but since it was natural for me to share the progress on decorating my new home, I did so. And my audience loved it! More about my personal pivot here.
3. Owned Channels should always come first
As we have begun to see, social media isn’t always going to be around. The Instagram craze is over and it has quickly been replaced by TikTok, which is apparently aiming to take out YouTube next. We have no control over this shift and years of effort put into Instagram is slowly becoming meaningless. When you focus on your blog, you own that content and have complete control over every aspect. There is no algorithm you have to try to beat – simply create quality content and Google takes care of the rest.
4. It Takes a Village
Long gone are the days of the one-woman show! Of course, it can still be done, but more and more people are becoming specialized in web-based platforms and content that hiring many tasks out can be the most beneficial choice. Content creators are expected to create professional-level work that in the past required an entire team to create. An extra pair of hands or two can make a world of difference, especially when it comes to pitching and content creation. It’s ok to realize you can’t do it all!
5. Success Comes in Waves
I might break a record with an all-time high earning month and then the next month I might not make anything. It happens all too often and is extremely common in the freelance and entrepreneurial worlds. Because of this, it is very easy to get down, worried, and stressed about money and the future of a business. This is one of the many reasons so many people quit. But what I’ve found is that things always work out and as long as you’re consistent in creating quality content, the work and flow of income always comes!
6. Multiple Streams of Income
Since success comes in waves, it’s important to develop multiple streams of income. Most full-time bloggers don’t only blog. They create content for a brand’s use, sell products, or offer services. Multiple streams of income are important in any financial plan but are arguably essential when it comes to blogging. Other examples of this include diversifying blog income between paid partnerships, affiliate income, and ad revenue. Personally, I offer web design for fellow bloggers and other creative entrepreneurs including eCommerce sites, as well as consulting for brands and bloggers through my business, Adorn Media Group, which I co-own with another blogger.
7. Taxes are Important
Oh man, taxes! Obviously, I’m not a tax professional and you should consult your own CPA for any specifics, but there is truly an art and a science to taxes when you’re a blogger. It’s important to keep track of all your income and expenses meticulously, and save at least 30% of your income for paying your taxes come tax season (or you can also do it quarterly). Since the line between personal and business can be blurred in this industry, it can be difficult to navigate. More on taxes as a blogger here.
8. Know Your Worth & Always Negotiate
No one will believe in and fight for your brand as much as you do, so you have to portray that to potential partners. This is a business when you begin working with brands, so it should be treated as such. As women, we are often taught that what we have to offer does not have as much value as what others offer, but that simply is not true. As I mentioned, it takes a team to create content – photographers, models, creative directors, writers, marketers, and so much more. When you’re offering beautiful content–and access to your engaged audience and community–you should be paid accordingly. No brand will ever come to you with their max budget in the first offer. Always negotiate! More on that here.
9. Collaboration Over Competition
If there is one single thing that has kept me motivated and enabled me to be financially successful in this industry, it’s the women I have met along the way. Becoming friends or making connections with other people in the industry gives you opportunities to learn from them, talk about business strategies, encourage each other, and so much more. In fact, I met many of my closest friends through blogging. Comparing offers from brands, trading contacts, and teaming up to create content has propelled me to levels I most likely would not have reached on my own. Fellow bloggers should not be your competition – after all, your content is always going to be unique to you if you’re truly being authentic. Instead, they should be your collaborators and your support system, like I have with the Babes That Wander travel group (pictured below). More on this topic here.
10. Boundaries are Essential
When you’re a content creator, chances are you are your brand. So that separation of personal life and work is a very grey area. This is something many more people can relate to now that there has been such a huge shift in working from home. However, when it comes to blogging as a job, it’s even more blurred. You might be out enjoying a beautiful day, but if you forget to capture it for posting later, you might feel like you let yourself down. Or on the flip side, if you are recording a dinner out or happy hour at a brewery, you can feel like you’re not in the moment and annoying the people around you. Finding that balance is tricky, but vital. More about how I achieve (or try to!) work/life balance here.
Read more blogging tops in my Blog Talk series!
If you’re a fellow blogger, what’s one thing you’ve learned that you don’t see listed here?
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Photo by Ryan Carpenter.