How do I get out of my comfort zone enough to begin?
These are all questions I get asked almost daily, and they are questions that I asked myself two years ago before I began my own blog!
I want to share a little of why I started, why you should, too, and also maybe why you shouldn’t (or why maybe it’s not for you). I’ll answer all the questions listed above, and then some!
I started my blog because it was everything that I loved doing in one package— networking, photography, fashion, creative design, meeting new people, traveling, and writing.
It only made sense for me to start a blog, and it helped that I had a lot of encouragement from my family and friends to begin. I spent months studying what bloggers did and how they did it. Looking back there are so many things I did right and so many things I did wrong. There is a lot to know before you start blogging, especially if you want to make it a career.
How do I start a blog?
Great question, and usually a question that requires a lot of thinking. I hear girls say to me all the time “I want to be a blogger, how do I become one?” Their destination is a blogger/social media influencer but they don’t know what they want to actually do as a blogger… So you have to ask yourself the questions:
Why do you want to start a blog? Do you want to make money? Do you want it to be a career or do you just see successful bloggers making large salaries for what seems like easy work? Do you have an opinion you want to share? What is your reason and what is your long term goal? Some people want to work for themselves or be a stay at home mom and make money, others just think it looks fun. Figure out what your goal is, first.
Once you have your long term goal, then you know what to create to achieve it.
Then, the logistics are (fairly) simple.
Create a brand for yourself. Once you create the why behind your blog (why should people read your blog? )you then create your own brand.
For example, my why for blogging was a creative outlet for myself, but I also wanted to create something that girls would feel uplifted and motivated by. At the time all the bloggers I followed made me just want to spend money and get lip injections, and I would feel worse about myself reading their blogs. It’s not their fault per se, but I wanted to create something that would inspire women to embrace their lives, find the happiness and positivity in their life, and inspire them to live their best lives. I have multiple posts about creating a happy life, not comparing yourself, or letting the world define you, which have all been my most “successful” posts not because I made the most money (I didn’t) but I got so many emails from women who said I had impacted them in a good way. That was everything I wanted when I first began. That was my ultimate goal, but I also wanted the creativity, which is why I introduced fashion, hair, and beauty topics.
I named by blog Lady by Mykel Elizabeth and that was my brand. I want to introduce a more lady-like affect to blogging (Julia Engel from Gal Meets Glam was my inspiration for this).
It’s also important (from a social media perspective) to have a color scheme in your brand. It’s not a necessity but something I’ve found helpful. For example I like to stay with warmer tones and soft colors (blush, pinks, creams with occasional color accent for my Instagram). However, I don’t do a lot of color editing so it’s subtle.
Once you have a goal, and brand, and a name: you need a website to post your content on.
You can hire somebody to create a website for you, or you can create one yourself. You can use different brands for domains, most cost money. I love square-space, but there are a lot of ones you can choose.
Then you start posting and advertise your posts on your social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are all great marketing tools)
How do I make my blog successful?
This depends on your goal and idea of “success”.
Is it money? Growth? Personal development?
My idea of success was helping girls feel better about their image and finding the positivity in life… so I based my success off emails I would get from girls and people who would tell me that my posts inspired them or helped them and that was my whole goal, and kept me inspired.
How do I make money from blogging?
If money is your goal, then there’s a few things you need to know…
Making money from your blog is not easy (being honest here!) but possible. Making money comes from sponsors… it comes from companies asking you to advertise for their brand, and they pay you for pictures of you wearing their product, or commission sales off who purchases it.
First, I would (and did) start with product exchange.
This means you get to keep the product sent to you in exchange for your posts about it, start there until you can build to getting paid.
Companies generally work with bloggers with a significant amount of followers, so it takes time, as you build your followers and blog views.
How do I create content?
I get asked this question a lot. Content on Instagram and Facebook and then blog content can seem like a lot, because it is! The kind of content you want depends on your style of blog. I work with a lot of photographers to get the content I want, and I also have friends take photos as well! If you don’t want to be in the picture, it’s easier because you don’t have to hire a photographer or ask a friend. One thing I have learned is that one of the most important things in the blogging/social media world is to have high quality photos, and it will be worth your investment.
How do I get pictures?
No Instagram husband? No problem! There’s lots of ways to get photos. A lot of people get discouraged when they see that bloggers have at-the-ready spouses who can take pictures of them all day every day, which is great and convenient but there are other ways to get photos!
Here are a few of my ways:
Hire a photographer (some companies will pay your photography costs).
Ask other growing photographers to collaborate with you, that way you both get content.
Ask your friends (I try not to ask the same friend over and over!)
Ask a stranger. This might seem weird at first but if you want a quick shot of a scenic background, it’s not unusual for people to ask a passerby to take a quick snap of them… it’s a risk because you don’t know their skills, but still worth a try! Some strangers have taken great pictures for me!
How do I work with brands?
I touched on this before, but find brands that you like (start with smaller brands) and reach out to them. It’s highly unlikely they will pay you initially unless they reach out to you first. But you still get products and practice working with brands.
Eventually, once you build yourself up more, companies will start reaching out to YOU which is when blogging gets fun (and harder to manage!).
Don’t be afraid to say no to companies if they don’t align with your goal as a blogger. Amber Fillerup of Barefoot Blonde gave me that advice when I was first starting my blog, she told me to stay authentic and genuine and not to promote brands I don’t sincerely like or use. That was really good advice because later on in my blogging career I had lots of brands reach out and offer money to advertise for them and I didn’t love their brand or their mission as a company, so I had to say no and it helped that at the beginning I already decided I wasn’t going to do things for money if it didn’t match my purpose as a blogger. I wanted my blog to have a lot of meaning and I wanted my readers and followers to feel like they could trust me and my opinions of products and lifestyle, and when you let money dictate what you use or “like” you lose a lot of authenticity.
How do I get out of my comfort zone enough to begin?
I get this question a lot! It’s hard to answer because my personality is very extroverted and social and I consider myself an open book on most things!
However, putting yourself out there, open to others (sometimes ridiculous) opinions, ideas, and criticism can be one of the hardest parts of blogging. There is a lot of vulnerability that has to take place, which can be hard. People will have so many opinions about you and your blog and who you are, which is why some bloggers really don’t share a lot about their personal lives, because it can be hard. This is something that hasn’t really bothered me as a blogger, but I will be honest it can be hard to open up yourself in all your flaws to readers and strangers who form opinions on you (good or bad) based off a photo, or a post.
You have to find your passion for it and keep with it. For me, I really wanted to influence girls to have a positive self image and confidence and so when I would have people that were unkind to me, it was easy to face because I was facing the kind of negativity I had set out to overcome in the first place. I had a lot of confidence in responding to negativity. Truthfully, I haven’t experienced very much in my two years of blogging, which I am grateful for. And because you do doesn’t mean anything other than those people are just not your supporters! And that’s okay because there are so many amazing people who will encourage you!
Blogging has been such a wonderful hobby/career of mine and I have learned so much! I’ve reflected a lot on my list of dos and donts and wanted to share them with you!
-Worry about numbers.
Nothing will discourage a blogger faster than unfollows on social media or low views on their blog… Don’t let it discourage you! Find ways to engage and connect with bloggers and other people and make it genuine. Also, don’t let your worth or success be based on numbers. Be proud of your content, creativity, and hard work.
-Pay for followers… I can’t stress this enough. It lowers your engagement and in the end is counter-productive and a waste of money. Be genuine. Connect with real people and never have a mentality that thousands of people should follow YOU without you connecting or engaging back… People should feel connected to you. I never wanted to have this fan club mentality… I always wanted my followers to be real people I could connect with and help and encourage and that has meant so much more to me than this idea of masses of people following blindly. I value it more. It means more.
-Post just to post.
Really put your best work out there and stay away from low quality photos, unless there is something you really want to share that that specific photo captures. No content is better than low quality content.
-Engage and support other bloggers or influencers that you admire, but also your followers… Comment on THEIR photos, like their content and support each other. Be a real genuine person to the people that read your blog and comment on their content.
-Have fun! Blogging is so fun! You get to work with so many companies and people and explore your creativity. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing. It’s important to find what you love about it and focus on that, because there have been times that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog anymore because of the demands that I created for myself, and I had to step away and remember what it was that I loved about it and why I started initially. It’s my biggest creative outlet, and for me it’s been a great source of inspiration for the past two years and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned in the process.
How to start a blog:
Find your reason and your specific brand
Name your blog based off that brand and mission statement
Post Quality Content
Build relationships with those who follow you and other bloggers to build a following
Reach out to companies to collaborate until eventually you get monetary compensation for your work (which is usually the goal for bloggers)
Have fun and enjoy it!
I hope that you found this helpful! Good luck on your blog, and I love answering emails about blogging or just to say hi, so send a message my way 🙂