Alright, today marks the start of a super fun Summer blog series over here with post one, on getting started blogging. My friend Navy who I am sure many of you follow, and myself wanted to do something a bit different on this little space during the summer. We thought it would be fun to have 10 bloggers (ourselves included) write on the same topic each week. SO each Wednesday this summer, her and I will team up with 8 other ladies (different ladies every week), and share our own thoughts, words/take on a given topic. I am really excited myself to see the different opinions and experiences each week, and hope it’s a way for you to get to know me a bit better with each post!
At the end of this post I will link to all 9 other blog posts, so check them out and show them all some love, and be sure to sign up for my weekly emails so you don’t miss out on any of these posts!
Getting Started Blogging
When I asked on Instagram stories for some topics to write on for these posts, this was one that I knew we needed to do. I knew that the answers would be SO different, and truly show the different journeys that have brought us to current day. So today all 10 ladies will be talking about their start to blogging/influencing, when they felt successful, and anything else they want to share!
How did I get started?
For me, I actually started my first blog when Jack (my 6 year old) was a baby. It didn’t last long because I just didn’t know how to make it what I wanted. It was super basic, but I am a perfectionist, and it was all or nothing – so I went with nothing. Fast forward about 3 years and we had moved into our current home. I have always been what you might call a “Pinterest mom”. I LOVE to DIY, decorate, and overly research the best baby gear. Like truly those three things give me way too much joy. I was doing so many projects around our house that I wanted a way to share them with friends and family a bit easier so started a blog.
The start was just that – a blog. I wrote a few posts, shared a few projects, and then really didn’t even share it that much because I was so self- conscious. At that time it was ONLY a blog. I had Facebook and Instagram but was still using them the way I always had.
Enter In Instagram
My blog started in the fall of 2016. (actually thats a lie..I started setting it up in MARCH, and by fall it was live. I am NOT tech at all and the set up process took so much googling and work for me. So when I tell you if I can set up a blog anyone can, I mean it. If there is a will there is a way people!) I did VERY FEW blog posts in 2016 because soon after I found out I was pregnant with Walker and was so tired.
Around that same time (fall of 2016) I started thinking just a little bit about what I was posting. I still only used my cell phone and I wouldn’t say I put a lot of thought into getting a perfect picture (because I didn’t know how), but I put more thought into what I was posting. I was using no hashtags or anything at that time.
At the very end of 2016 we announced our pregnancy with Walker. It was around that time that I set my Instagram to public, but again was still using it very much the same way as before. Over the next couple of months I started using a few hashtags and growing a TINY bit. Then in march of 2017 I connected with a few other bloggers and influencers and really started getting plugged in.
2017 for me was heavily then focused on Instagram. I wanted to have 10k followers for swipe up by the end of the year. That was my big goal. When I first started all the giveaways and such that are around now weren’t a thing. The ones that did exist you had to be invited into and they didn’t let tiny newbies in, and honestly I am grateful for it. I worked really hard to get a great base of followers who have stuck around!!
Influencer or Blogger?
For me, this space is my baby. I work VERY hard to share my blog posts with you all, with my followers, with Pinterest, and just in general. My blog is my biggest and most successful platform so I personally consider myself a blogger more than an influencer. (and for some reason I don’t like the term influencer haha).
That said, as I said before I have been more focused in different areas at different times. 2017 was very Instagram focused, while 2018 I had big blog goals. I would say 2019 has been smaller goals on both platforms, but blogging remains my number one space for goals and focus. With blogging I can see more of a direct input of work to success where Instagram is a hard platform to grow on (organically) anymore.
When did I start feeling successful?
I will never forget my first collaboration for a product that was of decent value. It was for a DockATot and I was sure I had made it. I was pregnant with Walker, and I felt like all my business dreams had come true haha. Fast forward a few months and I will never forget my first paid collaboration for Breyers ice-cream. It was a 3 or 4 post campaign and again I felt like I had made it. This was all around the second half of 2017.
Now I kind of laugh because I would never take either of those contracts, BUT at the time they were amazing and SO much hard work had gone into hitting that particular goal. I felt like if that was as big as I got I was fine. But that feeling quickly wore off and I wanted Bigger and better.
BUT the answer is now. I feel like I am successful. I think I will look back on June of 2019 and think I had a sucessful business running where I was working hard and it was paying off both in a sense of pride and monetarily. That said I hope this is no where near my long term success. Monthly and yearly I have goals just like most people who own a business. Some months I hit that goal, and the months I fall short I feel pretty similar to anyone else who didn’t hit a sales quota. I am constantly pushing myself to work hard, balance things better, and become more successful in all aspects of this job.
To me the success of this job is not only monitored by numbers and money! That is something I want to make loud and clear. When I say I am constantly working hard to be more successful, that means I am working harder at being more authentic and only taking the RIGHT collaborations. I always want to be sure that I am representing myself and brands well. Sometimes when you’re first starting out you learn that the hard way. You don’t put enough effort into a collaboration for a brand, and I am sure I have failed them at times. Also sometimes you take a collaboration that doesn’t fit you at all, in which case I feel like that fails my followers. So I am constantly working to do that better.
I am also constantly working to have better work life balance. My kids will grow up faster than I want. I don’t want to miss it. I am constantly working harder at making sure that my success is in the form of being a better mom while doing this. That with every month I am balancing working and staying home better.
I love that my goals can change, and that I set them myself. That I am in charge of what I deem successful. I also stand behind the fact that if you don’t set goals, and work hard you won’t ever feel successful. Chances are if you do set goals, and work hard to meet them (no matter how small) you will feel successful.
Advice if you’re looking to start?
Be yourself. Create a brand and a page that is unapologetically you. Stick to what you’re good at, and understand that this is a JOB if you want to make money. It can be a hobby. It can be platforms to share your thoughts, or connect with other women, and just be a creative outlet. It can also be platforms to reach bigger goals and build a business, but that is up to you. I recently was talking with a friend and telling her that I get told 2 things frequently:
1. “you’re so lucky” – which is true. I am SO lucky that my dream job is panning out. But that luck has been backed by SO MUCH HARD WORK. I work so many hours. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t work from the time my kids went to bed until 10 or 11 pm. Very few people are successful in a business sense on pure luck. So if you think you’re following women who just got lucky and slap stuff on their feed or their stories and make money while they sip their lattes it’s definitely not the case.
2. “how awesome to make money in your spare time.” – again partially true. I only do this because it allows me to stay home with my kids and work. BUT my kids, my husband, and I all sacrifice time in different ways for it to be this successful. Instead of my kids going to daycare in the day while I work we have a sitter 2 half days a week, and when my husband gets home he takes over. Almost every single night. Weekends I spend a good portion of my time working while my husband has the kids. For us it works, but it’s still a sacrifice. We have had to learn to balance better with time. We have had to give up a lot of relaxing time, and we are much more tired than before this job. When I am successful it is very much so because of the other people who live in this house supporting me and loving me and sacrificing.
For me this is my passion. It’s a job, but it’s also more than that. I am really proud of the hard work I have put in. For me this was a dream that I took a leap of faith with. I have never been a person great at trying things because the thought of failing trumped the thought of soaring. So for me the success in this has been so rewarding. I love the lessons I teach my kids. They love being involved. They get paid and save up their money from photo shoots and think its the best thing ever. (and yes sometimes they don’t want to do them, but most of the time I don’t force it….which is why Avé is queen of my page haha!)
I hope that tells you a bit more about blogging for me. More about my journey, where my heart lies in it, and where I hope to see it going. I also hope that this post truly shows you how much all of you guys supporting me, and following me and all my flaws means to me.
I love helping other women succeed in these platforms, and for the most part I am an open book on getting started blogging. If you have questions I’ll do my best to answer via DM on Instagram or in the comments below!
Check out the rest of the bloggers in Today’s series on getting started blogging!
Navy | Chelsee | Liz | Alex | Jen | Alia | Chrissy | Noelle | Samantha
ChrissyJune 26, 2019 at 8:26 am
Thanks for sharing all this! You are definitely an inspiration and I have no doubt you will kill it as a blogging mom of 4 🙂
ArinJune 26, 2019 at 8:50 am
Or I will drown….we shall see hahahahaha
AlexJune 26, 2019 at 9:16 am
Love you and so happy we can share this crazy world! You continue to inspire me as a working mama of FOUR!!
ArinJune 26, 2019 at 9:22 am
You’re the best!! Love you!
Heather FergursonJune 27, 2019 at 10:30 am
Just wondering how hard it was to get your hubs on board during the “planning/prepping” phase? Did he understand when you were on the computer all the time instead of hanging with him and the kiddo’s? Did he see the potential before the money started rolling in or was that a challenge getting him on the same page? If so how did you convince him? Thanks in advance. I feel this is my biggest hurdle so I’ll eat up whatev you got for me!
ArinJune 27, 2019 at 1:25 pm
Heather, I love this question. I would say at the start it was a bit more of a struggle. Not horribly, but definitely not as easy as it is now. There was a good year of me doing this and spending lots of time and money with zero return (because lets face it – the free stuff doesn’t thrill him as much as it does me!).
I will say that because of this day and age I think in some ways the fact that social media is now my job, not just a time waster has been nice for our marriage. And he has a slightly unconventional job, hours wise, so I am used to him trading in a slightly earlier end time for work some days to work on Sundays or in the evening on computer work, so it wasn’t something totally new to us working during the evening hours.
It isn’t always seamless, and my husband is SUPER go with the flow, so I would say if this is something you’re considering communicate with your husband first, and make sure its something you will both be okay with. Because goodness knows its not worth it if not! Always feel free to email me or DM me via intstagram if you have more questions.