The day has finally come to share this!!! I get emails or social media messages WEEKLY asking for my tips on how to start a blog. I’ve realized most of the girls that email me are in high school, college, or JUST graduated. I started my blog when I was 18 and it’s been a crazy ride full of learning experiences. So, if you google ‘How to Start A blog’ a thousand bloggers come up with written posts on this topic. So, if you’re older or just wanting typical tips then that’s the best thing to do. That’s what I did starting out and it got me pretty far. BUT, if you’re younger, maybe don’t know much about the business world, then this post is for you. I’ve learned the hard way about how to run a blog. I’m 20 years old and I run my own business. It’s really time consuming, and hard sometimes but so so rewarding in multiple ways. I wanted to share my personal tips for starting a blog when you’re 18-22 when you don’t have the husband or work experience.
My biggest issue with starting a blog so young which I will share with y’all… is not being taken as seriously.Companies, other bloggers, etc. don’t always take you as seriously as you would like. There are also so many meetings and events to go to where you meet for drinks, or at an event and everyone is drinking champagne or mixed drinks and chatting about your site. I’m not of age. Now, I don’t really let that stop me and I’ll go for happy hour with bloggers all the time because I just have the mind set that I’m old enough but it does weigh on you and stops you from a lot of opportunities. Also, I’m away at college. In Lubbock, TX. When I’m home in Dallas it’s like endless opportunities for me. When I’m in Lubbock, I’m extremely restricted. It hurts AMS. I’ve been invited to three events and two blogger brunches in Dallas for the month of February. Have I had to unfortunately decline all of them? yep. It
sucks is no fun. Sometimes I really wish I would’ve started my blog post college. But then I think about how this blog has helped me grow up and find myself at a young age and how many opportunities is has blessed me with and I am so thankful.
Starting A Blog: Tips And Tricks
Starting the Blog:
1. “Should I start on blogger or WordPress?”
Blogger. I tell EVERYONE who asks me and is younger to start on blogger. If you are passionate about blogging and still doing it 4-6 months later, then switch to WordPress. But unless you have a really great full time job or a husband with a second income, and have the money to blow, start on blogger. I did, best decision. 7 months later I realized this blog was making money and turning from a hobby to a business, and I saved up and pulled the plug to switch to WordPress.
2. “How Do I launch it and get my name out there?”
Social media!!!! I had a youtube channel in high school and it never got anywhere because I didn’t want anyone to know about it. If you’re opening up your life to start a blog, you have to be confident enough to blast it to all family and friends. When I launched my blog I made a huge deal about it. I sent out emails, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, everything. And I had a really great start.
Once You Have the Blog:
1. “How do you have time to post so consistently in college?”
Lol. I don’t. It’s called: no sleep. Have you seen this post?? It’s called: Just barely doing good in school. I’m not really the kind of person that likes school. I’d rather be working but in order to work in PR I need a degree. I do try in school but it’s not the top of my priority list. (Sorry mom and dad, really hope y’all aren’t reading this.) I slide by in school, I don’t sleep, and I spend my whole weekends shooting, writing, and emailing. Pretty fun right? I love it though. You have to love it in order to be consistent with it. I’m perfectly fine missing a bar night one weekend in order to stay home and write posts. This blog is fun to me. It brings me so much joy and this is what pays off. My advice to those that are in college, refer to my organization tips post. You have to block hours into your schedule each week. For me, I leave the weekdays for school and extra curricular activities. I’ll go out on a Friday or Saturday but be home by 12pm. I leave Sunday’s for shooting. I’ll shoot 3-5 posts and then spend Monday or the next Friday writing posts. I always wake up 2 hours before class to answer emails and share posts to social media. It works for me. You just have to find something that works for you.
2. “Who shoots your photos?”
My handsome boyfriend. Which I’m extremely grateful for. I paid for a photographer twice a month for the first year and that just had to stop. It racks up and like I said, typically, you’re balling on a budget in college so paying for a photographer isn’t really practical. One of my friends from high school started shooting for me and it was fun but he had his own weekly schedule and it got complicated to plan a time that worked for the both of us. Then, I met Josh and this blog got a lot better because I finally had my “Instagram boyfriend.” Haha I always joke with him about that but for real, I found a guy that is just as passionate about this blog as it is for me, and he shoots blog posts and takes Instagram photos every week for me. If you don’t have a guy in your life to take photos for you, I really recommend reaching out to the photography department of your school and look for people majoring in Photography or who are passionate about it and set up times each week to shoot. This will start their portfolio, and you get content so it’s a win-win.
Turning the hobby into a business:
1. “So, how do I get sent free stuff and paid to post”
This is a topic I’ve seen a lot of bloggers posting about recently. Majority of people don’t understand blogging. It’s fun but it’s not glamorous all of the time. It looks like that on Instagram because that’s how we plan to make it look. But behind the scenes stuff is tough. Constant emails, contracts, invoices, creating an editorial, etc. I spend about 20-25 hours a week on behind the scenes stuff with my blog, but most girls do this full time with 40+ hours a week going into their site. I can’t do that with school, but I put every second I can into AMS. That being said, it took me 6 months to take this blog seriously and another 4 months to get my first email from a company wanting to send me jewelry for free. From there, it’s up to you to work diligently and consistently to build your brand and make it worthy enough to work with companies. I have friends that really think I’m just lucky for getting all the stuff I do. I have friends that say “Dang. I’m gonna start a blog so I can get free stuff and paid for practically nothing.” While I laugh it off, it’s a huge insult. I put so much time and emotion into my blog and I would still do it even if I was making $0 from it. If you want your blog to turn into a business, you have to put in 400% in order to get 70% back. It’s time, it’s hard work, and it does pay off if you let it. Work on building your brand and social media presence before you care about getting free stuff or paid. If that’s all you’re in it for, blogging is not for you.
This last one isn’t a question I’ve received but something I wanted to share.
The business side.
I was lost. I didn’t know what a media kit was, what an invoice was…. I was a teenage girl when I started this blog with no experience of running a business EVER. I spent hours googling and talking to my dad about every ‘business’y’ thing. I don’t want to go into too much depth about this, y’all can email me if you want more specifics….but, when your blog is ready, build a media kit. There are templates on Etsy, tons of articles on Pinterest about it, and not hard at all! When you book your first sponsored post, you need to have your own invoice created to send to them. I still feel like sometimes I’m not doing it right and I feel like a little girl. Many bloggers have their own contracts written and I’m working on that this year but there is still so much to learn. I think I’m far from a ‘successful’ blogger but I’m really proud of how far I’ve come being so young and so lost, doing it all myself. Starting a blog so young is awesome but challenging.
I really hope these answered questions and tips have helped… Remember, Google and Pinterest are your friend 🙂 xx