It’s crazy to think that it’ll soon be the first birthday of iambecca.com. It’s a project that I wanted to get off the ground long before it launched; as I’ve said before, the biggest hurdle for me was finding the confidence to put myself out there. Once the blog had launched it was a case of figuring out how to juggle it with a demanding full-time job; definitely something I’d underestimated.
I’m incredibly fortunate that I love my job. I know many people can’t say that but I really do love going to work every day. So, having iambecca.com as my side hustle if you like is a great added bonus! Don’t get me wrong, somedays I come back from work utterly exhausted and the day hasn’t gone to plan but, there are always going to be highs and lows. Whilst the blog isn’t my full-time gig I take it incredibly seriously, it’s a corner of the internet that I’m really proud of and something I can see myself pursuing longer term.
Blogging is still a relatively new industry and a lot of people don’t really understand what I do or why I do it. I’ll be at a social gathering of sorts and I’ll often get the question, “So, I hear you’re a blogger…” It’s often followed with comments from people who think it’s a vanity project or phrases such as “Oh, I should be a blogger so I can get free stuff!” That’s not what it’s about. I can tell you categorically that blogging is not glamorous, yes there are some amazing perks but behind the scenes, we bloggers work out butts off!
Drawing on my experiences over the last year I’ve come away with a lot of learnings. I’ve put this post together as an updated version of a post I wrote last year – Blogging: What I’ve Learnt This Year. So, if you’re reading this and you’re a part-time blogger my wins and fails may help you in some way or if you’re just perusing this post and want a little insight into what we bloggers do, read on…
Using my spare time wisely
Striking the balance between my job, the blog and having a life was a little tricky to start with. I’d put myself under a lot of pressure to get X amount of blog posts out a week and post on my social channels every day. It lacked a helluva lot of structure meaning that I was tired, neglected my friends and inevitably became unproductive.
Knowing what I know now means that my time needs to be incredibly structured. I’ve taken the pressure off myself; planned a comprehensive content calendar (Google Sheets is my BFF) making sure that I have time to create content in my spare time but also make sure that I don’t become a hermit! Planning is now my ‘thing’ and having this laid out has helped me no end.
I commute on the tube every day which isn’t the most enjoyable experience especially when you’re at optimum armpit height! If you’re a London commuter you’ll know what this means. I use the 50 minutes to and from work to post on my Instagram, engage with my audience and find new accounts to follow. I use this time to respond to emails, be it negotiating with brands for an upcoming campaign, planning new projects or liaising with other bloggers about meetups. I also use it for brainstorming new ideas and drafting new blog posts on my phone. You can get so much done in 50 minutes!
Finding the time to create content
Writing for the blog
There are never enough hours in the day to achieve everything I want, so I plan my evenings and weekends around creating content for the blog carefully. When it comes to writing new blog posts I usually write in the evenings after work. I post to iambecca.com once or twice a week so this allows enough time to put them together.
Filming for YouTube
I post to my YouTube channel every other Sunday. Filming takes a long time, from planning what I’m going to say, to filming and lighting and then editing and uploading it. It’s a lengthy process. I’m still getting to grips with filming myself, it’s a nerve-wracking experience but I had to make myself do it. Have a read of my blog post about creating my first video here. Long before I created my channel I would practice and build up my confidence by talking to the camera on Instagram stories. So, if you’re thinking of creating a channel but aren’t quite there yet, using Instagram stories is definitely a good place to start.
Creating images for the blog & social media
Weekdays are pretty much a write off as I’ll be in the office so I shoot my looks in bulk every couple of weeks at the weekend. In the Summer it’s great to take advantage of the lighter evenings and catch up with Zoe after work. By shooting in bulk it means I have enough content for my social channels and relevant blog posts for the next couple of weeks.
Working with brands
Over the last couple of months, I’ve slowly started to monetize the blog through sponsored content and affiliate networks. It’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to work with brands whether it’s supporting clothing launches or trying out new beauty products. I will only ever work with brands that I love and will only promote products that I would purchase myself. When I started the blog I in no way anticipated that brands would pay me to write blog posts, create videos or post imagery on my channels.
On the whole, I’ve had a positive experience working with brands. Sometimes, however, brands will email or DM me expecting me to create content for free or want me to collaborate but say I have to pay for the product?! It’s irritating. It’s a prevalent issue in the blogging industry which bloggers are now pushing back on. Luoana from The Uptown Style Blog wrote a kickass post about it here. It’s so important for brands to understand how much time and effort goes into creating content to promote their product, experience etc. It’s about a worthwhile value exchange, both parties need to benefit. Knowing my worth is key.
Finding my girl gang
I’ve met some incredible people along the way and have opened myself up to a completely new circle of friends. Meeting people on social media and then face-to-face was certainly daunting, to begin with, but it now feels normal. It’s lovely to go for brunch at the weekend with a fellow blogger, get to know them and shoot a couple of outfits afterwards. It’s so supportive and collaborative!
Whether it’s reaching 1k views on a YouTube video or getting onto RewardStyle. It’s important to set goals in order to see how far you’ve come. I recently hit 1k likes on an Instagram post and yes I did do a happy dance on my own in my bedroom – ha! By setting goals they motivate you and will make you take the next step onto greater things whatever they may be.
Wow! that was a lengthy post, but an important one for me to write. I do have a full-time job which pays the bills so at the moment I do see blogging as more of a hobby. Whilst I’ve been able to monetise iambecca.com over the last year I’m not relying on its income to get by. It is inspiring, however, to meet people along the way who’ve made it work so well, girls who are just smashing it and have switched to blogging as their full-time job. Blogging part-time has certainly been a challenge. If you’re a part-time blogger too maybe some of the above may help you.
At the end of the day, you reap what you sow, so I’m only ever going to get out of the blog, what I put into it. It’s seriously hard work, it’s tiring, but a creative outlet that I really thrive off. Will I take it full-time down the road? Who knows. Watch this space…