Since I started blogging I’ve encountered many, many readers online and at industry events. Often I’m asked very similar questions. After seeing a few other bloggers write up an FAQ page I figured it might make sense to answer them all in one central place so that those who stumble across this little space in the world wide web can find out just that little bit more about me…
When did you start blogging?
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I have always LOVED magazines. I would spend all my pocket money on the latest copies of Blush, Teen, Sugar and Seventeen magazines as a teen (Who remembers those?? I’m giving my age away here!) Something about scrolling through the pages transported me to another world and inspired me. I did my job shadow at a well known publishing house in Cape Town and then and there decided that would be my journey. Except it didn’t quite work out that way. I couldn’t afford to studying journalism at Rhodes (my dream!) so found myself working as a PA for a couple of years before moving into a publishing company who produced in-house magazines. Traffic, productions, client liaison, marketing. I worked my way around the roles involved in getting a publication to print and all the while I still loved mags, except I also discovered blogs. I LOVE reading blogs. I started one or two but they fizzled and died (although they probably are still out there on the net!!) Eventually I had 2 kids and didn’t have much time for me…. except the sanity saver that was reading blogs. And one day I decided “I’m going to start a blog” I can still remember saying that to my shocked husband and friends who were around for a braai. (How bizarre that one small decision can impact your life so entirely….) Anyway I started prepping the idea for my blog in December 2011 and first hit publish in early January 2011 (although it took me a few months to get the confidence to tell my friends and family about it.) I started it mostly to escape the monotony of being a mom. I wanted to remind myself that I had other interests and realised that other moms out there also needed reminding! My hobby blossomed and grew and transformed into a website that today impacts thousands of women every month. I really has been an amazing journey. A very steep learning curve initially but one that continues to teach me new things. I love building my blog, writing content, sharing inspiring things or beautiful places with my readers. This little space gives me so much joy. Who would have thought? I hope my blog is a place where readers feel welcome. Like visiting an old friend. Helpful, inspiring, encouraging, fun and positive.
Do you blog full time?
No, I’m a mom of 2 kids which is a pretty full time job in itself. I also work part-time from home (lucky me!) as a writer. Mostly social media content (the posts you see for brands you like on Facebook and Twitter) for a beauty brand and a travel brand as well as other freelance website content or copyediting that comes my way. I would LOVE to blog full time and channel all my energy into just one thing, but until South African brands are more educated on having to pay me to access my audience I’ll be blogging part time and trying to juggle it all!
Do you make money from your blog?
Yes, but not enough! I make some money every month from a few different sources including sponsored posts, banner advertising, paid campaigns. I’m still looking for new ways to monetise to try and turn this into a full time endeavour, as international bloggers have done, but I’ve also accepted that it won’t be soon and if the focus shifts to trying to make money from this space (as it has in the past) then I find I don’t enjoy it as much and I’m sure that reflects on the site too. I’m trying to keep this an authentic online space and definitely don’t want to “sell out” but the truth is that there are monthly costs involved in running a blog (not to mention my time which also = money!) so when I get the chance to make some money from it and it feels genuine and authentic (eg. I’m not endorsing a brand I wouldn’t usually) then I will grab the opportunity. I’m always upfront about whether I’ve been paid for a post by tagging it as Sponsored and using my Disclosure levels at the end of the post. I definitely don’t want to trick my readers but sometimes I slip up with all the hundreds of things going on…. it’s never intentional if I leave it off. I’m just one person doing the job of what would usually be a full time editorial staff on a magazine so grace is requested!
What has been your blogging highlight?
The whole journey has been brilliant. I have loved learning more about myself and the technical side of blogging has taught me that I’m not to old to learn something new. I’ve met so many amazing people along the way too and made new friends I otherwise would never have known. I also am so very grateful for the wonderful travel opportunities my blog has brought me – Zanzibar, Kruger Park, Wild Coast, Victoria Falls, Botswana and 2 weeks in Indonesia! It’s not been too bad!!
What is the hardest thing about blogging?
Trying not to compare yourself to other bloggers. It’s really tough not to get caught in the comparison trap but it does your own blogging journey NO GOOD if you’re always looking at what other bloggers are doing on their sites or via social media. You will always feel like you have to do more and be more. Try to avoid visiting the particular blogs that leave you feeling rubbish. Stick to your own guns and do what feels right for you. Unfortunately this is an ongoing struggle but one I hope to be winning slowly. There will always be someone else out there getting bigger and better opportunities or producing more beautiful content and design, but there is no one else who is just like you. Be You!
What is the secret to your blogging success?
I think that consistency has been the key for me. I decided early on in my blogging journey to post daily. It’s quite a commitment and not one everyone can keep up but it really helps to grow your following much faster if you blog daily as readers will come to know your routine and come back to find more.
How do you manage to keeping posting quality content daily?
The truth is I don’t really know! I just put my head down and keep blogging. In the beginning I would stay up until the wee hours of the night but back then there was so much to learn and it was all very new. After a while I realised that I still need to live a normal life so I have significantly cut back on my blogging at night and do this only when I have a hectic (paid) deadline. I also have perfected the art of block blogging so, for instance, I’ll put aside a few hours on a Sunday afternoon to churn out 3 posts for the upcoming week or I’ll spend Saturday morning editing all my photos for the upcoming posts. Obviously this means I have an amazingly supportive husband who doesn’t mind taking the kids for a few hours every now and again. Yes, it does take away some family time, but it’s not every weekend and I have resigned myself to the fact that my kids benefit massively from my blog (holidays, days out etc) so they have to sacrifice occasionally in order to enjoy the rewards. They are totally on board with that and have made me promise to never quit blogging as they quite like the perks!! I’m hoping to train up my 6-year-old daughter as my assistant one day! She’s quite the fashionista so she’ll take over the fashion section (which I’m quite woeful at) and my son is quite the foodie so I’ll hand over the food section to him! Recently I’ve also signed up 6 Beauty Babes who are passionate about beauty and helping me to review beauty, skin and hair products I just don’t get to. I’m hoping that this will help ease my load and the guilt I feel about my crazy product cupboard.
Who takes the photographs for your blog?
Generally it’s little old me. I love photography but don’t claim to be a professional at all. I’m still learning as I go. I’ve only just invested in a tripod! I have a trusty Canon 650D SLR camera with 3 different lenses (a nifty fifty, a kit lens and a zoom lens) I interchange as needed. Let’s just say thank goodness for insurance as I’ve managed to stuff quite a few of these up already. Blogging can be rough on cameras (falling in the sea disembarking a rubber duck was just one such incident)!
Do you buy the beauty products featured on your blog?
Yes and No. I’m regularly sent new beauty products to review which means I don’t have to buy my own products very often. Whether I buy them or not it’s important to mention that I only ever feature products on my blog that I love and believe my readers will enjoy using.
What’s your favourite fragrance?
My signature scent is Kenzo’s Flower which I bought on the way to my honeymoon in Mauritius and I just LOVE because of it’s very happy associations. I’m also a big fan of Michael Kors for evenings!
What’s the one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
Sunscreen. And lipstick. I love how a good lipstick can light up your whole face even if you haven’t applied anything else. It’s also really great at boosting your mood if you’re having an off day!
What’s your favourite accessory?
I love Kirsten Goss’ amazing jewellery. I would be a very happy girl if every present I ever received from now until forever was one of her items!!
What dress and shoe size are you?
This is a question I get asked by brands so I figured I’d include it here. I’m a mom of 2 and have never quite shaken all the baby weight even 6 years down the line!! I fluctuate between a size 34 and 36. Mostly 34 on the top and 36 on the bottom. I’m hoping this will change now that I’m trying to be more disciplined about my running regime but there are no guarantees. I love food too much! My shoe size is a standard size 6.
Anything I’ve missed?? What would you like to ask me? If it’s a popular question I’ll add my answer to this list so let me know in the comments below…