Blogging Without Going Broke x Memphis MandySue
Hello, beautiful blogger babes! I’m Amanda, finance professional by day and freelance writer and fashion and lifestyle blogger by night and weekends. A little over a year ago, I found myself at a crossroads – here I was trying to build up my fashion and lifestyle blog but at the same time my husband and I were ready to sell our condo and buy a bigger house and make that our financial priority – how could I do both?
I think in the blogger sphere it’s really easy to get lost with your spending and get caught up with “needing” the latest and greatest. When I first got serious about blogging I thought, “Wow, how awesome would it be to get paid or get free products for the stuff I talk about anyway.” Yeah . . . let’s all take a moment to laugh at how ridiculous that sounds. I’m 100% serious with this – I honestly thought all those pics I saw other bloggers post were just quick snaps from their iPhones while they were doing something fun.
iPhone 5 photo from my first time doing a photo shoot i.e. taking several outfits to a nearby park and having my husband take my picture. We’ve gotten a little better over the past 16 months but some of my photos still come from the good ole iPhone.
I quickly learned how wrong I was and how blogging like any business takes a lot of time and expenses – web hosting fees, photography, advertising, training and of course products. While we all love to be #sponsored or that pay per click/commission revenue in blogging, you typically have to spend before you earn. So here I was, trying to be so careful with my spending but also needing to generate content and have products to talk about. I think there’s many ways blogging can suck you into a financial hole – it can make you feel like you ”have” to buy a Gucci belt because that’s what everyone else is wearing or you “have” to post a new outfit every day. There will be people who tell you can only be successful as a blogger if you have professional photos or if you spend thousands on seminars and trainings. I remember watching a “free” webinar for instagram training and realizing it was a sales pitch for an expensive course and feeling so distraught. If you’re not careful, your blogging business can leave you with a pile of debt.
On our cruise earlier this year. I asked my hubby to take a picture of my outfit each day but that’s it for blog photos! I got this skirt for $13.98 on the Target clearance rack last summer and I’ve worn it so many times with so many different tops.
At the end of the day you have to remember to be yourself first and that your blogging journey should support, not take away from, and not cause you to spend all this time and money being something you’re not. Success looks different for every blogger – for some it’s making it their full time job, for others it’s increasing their household income or getting sponsored for awesome trips. You can’t measure your success by anyone else’s. I for example have zero interest in a sponsored trip – when I’m on vacation I want to be on vacation not staging photo-shoots or following someone else’s agenda, but for other bloggers this provides an amazing experience they would otherwise never get to have. Neither approach is wrong ; they’re just right for different people.
Kim of kpfusion.com took this picture with my Nikon D3400 during her Blogger Photography class
Please stop buying things because it’s what other bloggers have – you’re not adding anything new or unique to a saturated market and you’re wasting your money doing so. Buy things because you legitimately want them and they fit with your unique style. Over the past year I’ve evolved my blog focus and realized my initial problem was my solution all along – I’m not just a fashion blogger, I’m a fashion blogger who focuses on making savvy wardrobe purchases on a limited budget. There’s nothing wrong with professional photos, investing in training classes (cough cough, like attending Blogger Xchange events) and spending on advertising, but don’t buy these things with money you don’t have thinking “one day” you’ll pay it back – always earn then spend. I’ve taken several affordable blogger courses, purchased a Nikon camera and I’m starting to spend a little on advertising all with money I earned either from freelance writing or selling clothes on poshmark. There’s a lot of other ways to earn your seed money for your blog, you just have to get creative. It’s so tempting just to buy something now because you think of course you’re going to get the return on that investment, but I promise you working towards that investment will make you all the better for it. Plus, you won’t have a credit card bill looming over your head each month.
The phrase collaboration over competition isn’t just something cute to say – it’s also solid financial advice. I personally am not at the point with my blog where I can afford to hire a photographer for every look but I’m always happy to trade photo shooting with a fellow blogger. Likewise, when you do work with a brand don’t be afraid to recommend other bloggers – I’m always shocked at how many bloggers don’t want to promote or lift up a fellow blogger – it costs you absolutely nothing to say “I really enjoyed working with you, if you are looking for other bloggers I know my blogger pal X would enjoy working with you as well.” Companies are ALWAYS looking for other bloggers, don’t you want someone returning the favor and referring you? Woman Crush Wednesday or Follow Friday is another free way you can promote another blogger and have them promote you in return.
I hope this post gave you a fresh perspective on your blogging journey and you feel challenged to be more fiscally conscious with your blogging investment. I also hope to see you at more Blogger Xchange events. If you’d like to keep up with my journey of being fashionable and financially responsible, please check out my links below.