By Lisa Linh is a little over two years old now and while it's been a slow yet steady growth, I am rather proud of how far I have come. Although, in no way am I where I want to be and I know I have a very long journey ahead. Regardless, I am always flattered when people ask me for advice on how to start a blog.
It is one of the most common questions many bloggers receive; the second most asked is what camera we use (for me - Sony A6000 for videos and D800 for photos). While we all have taken different roads to get here, we all have asked ourselves at least 2 or 3 of these questions below, if not all 5. After all, this industry is competitive, oversaturated, and there's no such thing as overnight success. So are you really up for it?
1. Why do you want to blog?
If your answer is because you want free stuff, you want to be Instafamous or because you think it's the cool thing to do, please don't start. There are too many people out there that start a blog thinking they'll automatically get free clothes or access to events right off the bat. There are also a lot of people who start it thinking they'll monetize off their blog/Instagram easily. Newsflash, it is not that easy and there's a reason why many bloggers have either a part-time or full-time job while they blog.
2. What do you want to blog about? How often will you blog?
Finding your niche, what you love, and what you want to write about is another question to ask yourself. While you can write about whatever you want, it is always good to find out what your brand will be about. What's your elevator pitch? What's your focus and why should people read your blog? Also, how often will you be publishing?
3. Will you have time?
I started blogging years ago, had a couple of blogs and none of them succeed because I would push it aside when things got busy. I was also going to school, working 2 jobs, and had a very active social life so I wasn't fully dedicated. I also didn't promote them very well. Blogging is full-time job and many bloggers have 2 full-time jobs. If you love it, you won't mind staying up until 1AM to finish that blog post for the next day. Dedicated bloggers will burn through that midnight oil to reach deadlines, after a long day at work or after the kids are asleep. Hustling to shoot, create content that will stand out, and networking is a 24/7 thing. We're constantly working, thinking about our next moves, and yes, sometimes we will sit there at dinner for 10 minutes, editing a photo for Instagram.
4. Are you willing to hustle? Do you have patience?
Patience is key with blogging because you aren't going to see a ROI right away. It can take months and sometimes a year to see growth. You'll be event hopping, networking, doing email outreach, socializing and developing lasting relationships - on top of what you already do. Your significant other won't see you as much and if they do, you'll be busy typing away on your laptop. Unless you have a blogger boyfriend, your SO will need to prepare themselves and blogging can damage relationships too. Think about it and ask yourself, are you ready to throw yourself out there and self-promote shamelessly? Are you going to have the time and energy to keep it up or will you burn out within 3 months? Are you willing to stand out in public and do whatever it takes to get that really cool shot for your Instagram?
5. Are you ready to be criticized and hated on?
Being a blogger means you are opening yourself up to a world that can be welcoming and hateful at the same time. Judgements will be passed, comments will be made, and if you don't have thick skin, tears will develop. No one ever said the fashion industry was nice and many have called it hell. While I have come across the most genuine bloggers who I adore being around, I have also had my fair share of self-entitled divas who I could care less for. Attitude takes you a long way in this industry and people talk. Remember, your network is really your net worth.
Jealousy, assumptions, miscommunication, and irritation will occur and friendships don't last. You cannot please everyone so don't even try. You'll be blocking people on social media and attempting to keep calm when you get rejected for deals. You will have to deal with friends who don't understand what you do and/or family members who will give you the hardest time at family dinners because they think blogging isn't a real job. Be prepared.
While there are a ton of things that can happen in the blogging world, there's one thing that should remain true: if you love it, it won't seem like a job. I wake up every morning, thankful and appreciative. It is the best feeling in the world to do what you love and be able to share it with the world. It isn't an easy life and money flow is not consistent (and can take awhile to even come in), but I don't regret this route and I cannot wait for what's in store.