Today marks six whole years of blogging for me. Starting a blog was a resolution I made in January 2012 and probably to the date the only resolution I have actually kept. In the beginning I was very influenced by fashion bloggers I had seen and I decided to show people that you didn’t need to spend lots of money to look nice. I used to share the total of my outfit at the end of each post. Most of my outfits were from charity shops or Primark and I cobbled them together.
I blagged my way to London Fashion Week by applying for a press pass which they granted me and I had invites for shows! All within the space of 8 months of starting up my blog. My blog wasn’t hugely successful at all. Averaging around 80 page views a day and I used to get really excited when I went over 100.Knowing nothing about analytics or stats and I didn’t really know what was considered good. I then shifted the focus of my blog slightly towards the end of 2012 making it more of a “Lifestyle” blog. I used to share what I had done that week, my outfits and gradually I shared recipes.
From 2013 up until 2015 I plodded along with my blog keeping it updated and not really taking it seriously. I focused more on recipes and lifestyle than I did outfits. Working with some brands gave me a little bit of confidence that I was doing something right but my stats just sat at the same. Never really growing. I thought that becoming a food blogger was the route I wanted to go down. So I focused a lot of my content on that. That was until Edith as born and I was opened up to the world of “Mummy Blogging”.
Was it just a hobby?
It was a hobby more than anything else and I gained a few things for reviews and worked with brands long the way but nothing that paid me. I then realised that people were turning their blogs into their careers. They were leaving fully paid jobs to work for themselves. It was so inspiring and as I had just gone on maternity leave with Edith I had this burning away in the back of my mind. Maybe I could take things a bit more seriously.
I started working for myself in May 2016 but mainly as a freelance photographer. I worked on weddings, events and family photoshoots. It was going well and I thought that it was what I wanted to do. Maybe the blog was more of just a hobby. I still kept going with it as it was a love of mine. I had worked on it for so long it was just a part of my life.
Am I am Mummy Blogger?
It wasn’t until August 2016 that I stepped things up a bit. I realised a little bit of my self worth and that I should be paid for what I was doing. After scrambling together a media kit and rate card I followed what top Mummy Bloggers were doing. I was writing articles that I thought people wanted to read rather than what I was passionate about. I consumed myself in the workload that people said you had to to succeed. Trying to publish 5 posts a week. The posts weren’t meaningful, the text was minimal but I had read that, that was what you had to do to succeed so I stuck at it. My blog just didn’t have the passion I wanted. I couldn’t balance my workload at all with my photography business too. I remember people saying to me that I must be some kind of superwoman balancing all these things but what I was actually doing was 3 jobs half heatedly.
So in May 2017 after releasing my Phone Photography E-Course I realised that people wanted to know all about photography. It was time I put my half a photography degree to use and teach people. Photography was the reason I had started this blog after all. I didn’t feel fulfilled with my uni course and I needed a creative outlet.
I had a good amount of people sign up and enjoy my courses and I didn’t realise that people didn’t know what I knew. It was amazing to see people bloom creatively. And it really inspired me to share more photography tips and advice on my blog. In turn this helped to improve my photography. In July 2017 I found out that I was 5 weeks pregnant and I tried to carry on with my content as much as possible. It was hard to produce, especially with how awful I was feeling. I had just recruited my husbands friend to give my blog a makeover and I enrolled on Me & Orla’s Instagram course to help me turn my blog and Instagram into my career.
A new design, a new idea.
I finished photographing weddings in August 2017 and a few weeks later I launched my new blog design and shift from Blogger to WordPress went with it. My re-design must have highlighted who I really am. As the opportunity of paid work came in from there on wards. I announced my pregnancy and it’s a post I will treasure forever, Georgia ( a local photographer and friend) took such gorgeous photos for our announcement post.
It was also around this time after many years of taking awful photographs I started to find my Instagram style. I moved away from photographing objects, selfies and photographs of food. And started to get creative again. I wanted to put my half a degree to good use as I used to take lots of creative photographs before and I had kind of lost that.
Finding my style.
In the summer my feed always tends to go a bit of kilter but as soon as September kicks in my style comes back. I could take nice flatlays, as well as capture moments and with my pregnancy and Edith the photo opportunities were (and still are) endless.
In October 2017 I launched my first hashtag on Instagram. The #autumnhashtagchallenge. It went so much bigger than I was expecting and in the space of a week I gained over 300 followers. I was engaging with everyone taking part and producing photographs that I was proud of.
Creating a community.
I then went on to co-hosting #theweeklyhashtagchallenge and the #xmashashtagchallenge with Laura. It was great for expanding my Instagram community and it really kickstarted things for me. Signing up to Tribe, an app that once you have over 3,000 Instagram followers you can use to find ad campaigns and I did and still do a few of these. I love photography and being paid to produce content is amazing.
I kept going with producing high quality images, and I don’t feel ashamed for saying that, and with that more opportunities came up.What I’m saying with all of this is that you need to be producing your best work. Stop writing for others and start writing about things you are passionate about. Don’t let others tell you you need to this and that to succeed. You can build your own pathway and it’s a rocky one and can be scary not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from but it’s ever so exciting and rewarding working for yourself.
The future sees me hanging up my freelance photography boots and focusing solely on my blog and the other revenues that go alongside it. I most recently launched my Everyday Creativity Photography E-Course and once my maternity leave is over E-Courses, photography products and learning is definitely the direction I want to take things in, alongside producing content for my blog of course. I’ve already got some exciting things lined up too.
I was almost 19 when I started this blog and oh my has it grown with me. It’s seen my through the last year of being a teenager, getting engaged, moving out, miscarriages, our beautiful Edith, our wedding, a career change, a career re-focus and another baby.
I have put so much work into this blog over that last 6 years and I hope that shows. I’m extremely proud to call this my job and I’ve worked hard to get here.
So I guess it’s time for me to say here’s to the next 6 (or however many) years. Thank you for putting up with me and sticking by me. There are still some amazing people who have been here since day one. I’m not talking about my husband and Mum. Thanks to them too, for being my assistants/photographer and a whole host of other roles.
Tomorrow I’m launching an amazing giveaway so pop back for that. It’s my way of saying thank you!