How to turn your hobby of blogging into a business.
I started my first ever blog when I was twelve years old. It was on a website called Freewebs, which was taken over and renamed Webs. Originally I wanted to start a blog to share my thoughts and ideas of what I was going through, I was suffering from undiagnosed Ulcerative Colitis and spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom in pain. So I started a blog, and I had no idea back then that this would take over my life.
Surprisingly, I hated the subject English in school, I never enjoyed it because we would have to write about a topic of the teachers choice and didn't get a choice of our own to write. As a teenage girl, I had so many of my own ideas and thoughts I wanted to "get out there" with them, but had no idea how to do so. I'd recently been dropped from a magazine article where I wrote about my favourite things each month which were published but I wanted to carry on so on a cold, painful day I started a blog and I have never looked back. Since starting my blog I have been privileged enough to work with more than one hundred brands, PR companies, and business, and along the way made loads of friends.
Here are my top five tips on how to turn your hobby into a business:
1. Pick a niche and start.
Pick what website you want to start your blog with, and start. Pick a simple layout, simple header - if you can't think of a cool name for your blog, use your own name *wink, wink* Write about anything and everything at first until you feel settled and once you have decided what you're comfortable with picking your niche. Whether that be beauty, fashion, lifestyle, creativity, advice, fitness, food, or whatever it is you feel comfortable writing about. And you don't have to pick one niche, you can pick two or three or four or five. It really is up to you, but whatever you pick make sure you enjoy writing about it.
2. Invest time and money in your blog.
Blogging won't happen overnight. It takes so much time and money. The best advice I can give you is to invest wisely. Don't think that because you have put up two or three blog posts you'll instantly be a famous blogger and you'll be invited to all the top parties and you'll have your own makeup or clothes line and life is going to be great because everyone will love you and you'll make loads of money right away. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not going to happen just like that. You have to invest your time in blogging, stick at it and love what you're writing about and sharing with the world. Also, save money as much as possible; for your own blog layout or header, save money for blog events and conferences, save money for that new lipstick or new shoes you just have to have.
Social media is your friend so use it as much as possible. Share your links, talk to other bloggers and brands, use hashtags, retweet other bloggers and blogs you enjoy. Make a list of your favourite brands and contact them. There is nothing wrong with contacting brands. When at events or conferences, make time for everyone and talk as much as you can to people. You can also ask to be added to their PR list, which will keep you updated on what they have coming out and when.
Blogging cards are business cards which have your blog website on them, your name, your social media links, your email address and possibly your mobile number if you feel comfortable sharing that.
I would strongly advise only put your mobile number on your blogging cards if you're over sixteen years old! Give your blogging cards out as much as possible to everyone! Bloggers, brands, PR lists, shops, anyone at all. I get my blogging cards from VistaPrint.com, I've been getting them from there for years and have never had a problem with them. I love that you can design your own from scratch or use one of their templates. I have a code for you all from VistaPrint for 50% off your next business card order. Use promotion code "BC50" for 50% off your business card order*.
There are a few ways where I personally make money from blogging but I'm just going to give you a brief. If anyone would like a more in detail blog post about this then please let me know and I will get that up. Please know though that I didn't make money from my blog for years and the one thing I learned was that sometimes working for free with brands opens a lot of doors. Talking with brands and companies is the best way to get to know them and them to get to know you, and this will create a relationship for possible sponsored blog posts. Once you have worked with a brand doing a sponsored blog post and its all gone well, they can recommend you to another brand, and so on. Sponsored blog posts are something you may have seen on my blog or on other people's blogs, and you'll know its sponsored as at the bottom of each post everyone will have a disclaimer saying so. I personally use the * to indicate the part of the blog post I am being sponsored for. Personally when I have been * sponsored for a post I've had the brand reach out to me, tell me what they want, tell me their deadline, say how much they would be willing to pay for this and ask if I would like to agree so I will either accept or deny. If I do accept, I will do the post and then schedule it but also send a copy over to the brand via an email to encase there is anything they would like changing etc, and once the blog post is live I will then usually get paid for the post. You can offer to advertise with brands and other bloggers too, a lot of bloggers do this and it's such an easy way to make money and also help others too.