Happy hump! Today we’re mixin’ it up with something fun…a Q&A! A few months ago I hosted a lil’ Q&A sesssion via Snapchat, and I answered things in detail here. It was so superbly fun, so I took to Instagram to see if the Instafam had any Q’s…and holy cow, the Instafam has a lot of Q’s. Ha! So, I’m sharing as many as possible below + a look I shot in Chicago when my mama and I had our little weekend excursion. (Pssst: Didja catch my weekend city guide for what to do in Chicago??). Featuring the cult classic J. Crew herringbone vest (on SALE!!) and my fave burgundy booties as styled here. I didn’t think y’all would be interested in a Q&A or a get-to-know-me sorta thing, but I got SO MANY Q’s and had so many of y’all comment on my fall reader survey wanting to know more about me personally, so…voila!
FYI, anyone who follows me on Snapchat (erica_lig) or Instagram knows that my hair is a different color than the below now! ICYMI…it was wine inspired. 😉 Let’s dig in!
“What’s a typical day for you like?”
Not to be totally cliche, but everyday is different! I was actually talking to J (the hubs) about this last night…since I’m a fulltime blogger, I basically wear every single hat in a biz, but all by myself. Writing, photography, editing, graphic design, legalities, finances, marketing and social media, partnership opportunities…I do it all myself. I’ve got my fabulous intern, Sarah, and my mama who doubles as my photographer most of the time, but otherwise, I’m flyin’ solo rockin’ every hat. Good thing I like how I look in hats. 😉 Ha! But really tho, everyday depends on what’s on the agenda for the week. If it’s a posting day for the blog, I start the morning by hitting publish (or, lesssssbehonest, finishing the post first) and sharing it out. I break each day into four time buckets, and I allot tasks for each bucket! Sometimes that might mean speed-handling emails, catching up on blog comments, hosting meetings or calls, or running errands to get post supplies for an upcoming photoshoot. Other times it’s handling bank things, batching flatlay shoots, or planning out future content. It’s flexible!
“How do I make money blogging?”
The biggest + best way, though, is by pitching yourself. There are some free resources online about this, but honestly, they’re subpar and don’t truly help. If you’re really interested in seriously making money blogging, I’d 100% recommend getting on the waitlist of BossPitch (scroll to the bottom to get on it!) to see when the course re-launches. It’s the real gamechanger!
“What do you recommend for dealing with the stress of finding a job?”
Pray. Seriously. My faith is a huge part of my life. Even though CUR isn’t a faith-based blog, per say, I still lovelovelove talking about it. I’d say pray to start out. Then, I’d recommend writing down exactly what you want in life, as woo woo as that might sound. What do you want your 9-to-5 day to look like? Think in terms of actual tasks. Do you want to be making phone calls a lot? Writing? With people, or flying solo? Running around an office, or running around towns? Figure out what an ultimate daily structure would look like for you, and then find a job description that matches that, ignoring titles. Don’t get caught up in the ego game of job hunting! Keep it focused on your fulfillment, and you’ll be more likely to find something that makes you happier in the long run.
“How do you keep things organized, between emails, your blog schedule, social media, etc.?”
I have multiple folders and tabs for organizing things online…I use Google Drive, One Drive, email folders, Boomerang, and browser folders to keep the internet in check. As for my blog schedule, I keep a hard copy editorial calendar, and I use mini Post-It notes to color code categorically. For the rest of my life, I swear by the Purposeful Planner by Corie Clark. This has been my life planner for the past two years, and it’s just SO good. And I’m a total planner snob, so you KNOW it’s a goodie if I can swear by it! I lovelovelove the Daily versions; it’s got each month layout, along with details for planning things like meals and cleaning, and then each day has it’s own page with and hourly schedular breakdown, must-do’s, checkboxes for water intake, a prayer recommendation, retail therapy, menu, brain dump, and 15 minute task. CLUTCH.
“What are your best tips for growing your Instagram audience?”
I wrote a blog post on Instagram here and there’s a *free* growth guide at the end! And if you’re truly serious about it, check out Helene’s course, Instagram for Success. Helene is one of my good friends from the internet, and I’m SO proud of her – she works so dang hard to create awesome content for y’all. Plus this thing is so affordable for everything you’re getting…it’s nutty. Doors close for good on the 19th, so it’s the perfect way to treat yo’self to a better Instagram in time for Christmas!
“How do you do it all???”
LOL. Ironically, pretty sure Helene through this Q in the mix. 😉 The answer…I DON’T. “Balance” is a unicorn. I’ll be the first to admit that I totally suck at it sometimes. If you follow me on Snapchat, you might’ve caught that recently my doctor told me that random health problems I’ve been having are stress related. I frequently work really long hours, and I rarely feel totally comfortable “turning off.” One of my biggest goals for 2017 is turning that around and truly focusing on me and my own wellbeing amidst the craziness. So yeah…I don’t do it all. When I do do it all, everything suffers because of it.
“If you were going to open a food truck, what kind of food truck would it be and what would you sell?”
Nachos and wine. Point blank period.
“Any tips on organization??”
I definitely wouldn’t consider myself to be the most organized person, but I’ve had to learn a thing or two through the years since I was always doing EVERYTHING. I was always the person who loaded her schedule with everything under the sun and then had to backwards figure out how to actually do it and still sleep. Ha. Definitely invest in a good planner and use it correctly (cos there is a right and a wrong way…comment below if you’d like a post on this in the future!), color code like your life depends on it, get MENTALLY organized, and stick to as regimented a schedule as possible.
I wrote this blog post on essential organization tools for college + entrepreneurship (but really, anyone who wants to be hella organized),this blog post on various productivity hacks to get more efficient and productive with your time, and for my college chicas in the house, this post on best time management tips. All to help up your organization, efficiency, productivity, and overall life!
“If you had a say, what would be your last meal?”
Hands down, a half-Hawaiian, half-real bacon pizza from J’s hometown. And I’d eat the whole damn pie myself. SO GOOD. Along with a glass of Riesling from Bordy Vineyards in Maryland. Best Riesling I’ve ever had ever.
“What is your ultimate favorite midnight snack?”
Nachos and Ben & Jerry’s.
“Do you take all of your photos ahead of time?”
You bet! Anything for the blog is shot ahead of time – I typically shoot 3-6 things at a time, depending on how scheduling works out.
“Plllllllease can we see a pic of you in your wedding dress?!”
How about all of our wedding photos??? 😉
“What is your number one advice to someone who has a crazy schedule, but loves blogging and Instagramming?”
Girlfriend, I feel ya. I started CUR while in school at the Wharton School at UPenn…a weeeee bit of an intense and rigorous place. My biggest advice: be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably do, and how much you want it.
If you want to make it happen, you need to be consistent. This means you’ll need to sacrifice some other things in order to make the consistency happen. If you want it badly enough and lovelovelove what you do, this might not be hard to do, because it might be your biggest passion already! If it already feels like a chore, though, it might not work. Since it sounds like you want it + lovelovelove it, though, figure out how to just work around your already existent schedule. Plan photoshoots for the early morning before classes or work starts, when you can snag perfect lighting – just plan to wear a photoshot outfit for the day then, if possible. Pack + plan ahead.
Planning is the #1 thing. I’ve already mentioned my favorite planner, but I’d also recommend thinking ahead in terms of Instagram by using an app like Planoly (my fave!) or Umum. Plan your feed out ahead of time whenever possible. Always always always be thinking and acting ahead of the game, so in case of unexpected happenings, your booty is covered.
“How do you gather confidence when you’re feeling unworthy?”
Holy moly, what a good Q. We talked a little bit about this in the last #CURation email (ICYMI, sign up to get the next one right here – we chat every Sunday night!). There’s no easy answer here. Lately, I’ve been feeling particularly unworthy. But at the end of the day, I get my faith in myself from my faith in Jesus. I know God made me for a reason, and no matter how hard or frustrating or unnerving or scary it feels sometimes, I know I just have to place trust in Him and keep doin’ my thaaaang in His name. God never actually promised that life would be easy, even when we follow His word. He just promised to be there with us through it all. So I try to get my confidence back up knowing that – that just because something is hard in the moment or just because I’m feeling unworthy or anxious or all around crappy, I still have a life, a purpose, a passion, and a platform.
“How do you manage time for your blog?”
Batch, please! I batch content as much as possible when it comes to photography, responding to comments, emails, etc. That’s pretty much the *only* way I can manage it all as a party of one! It’s hard for my to batch blog content, because I need to get in the full groove and really feel proud of a post before publishing, so so long as I have all of the individual pieces ready ahead of time, I typically put a post together all at one time right before publishing it. Especially since so many tasks are recurring and there’s always more to do, it can definitely be difficult managing it all in a timely manner…I have room to grow here still, but getting into a swing of having specific times or specific days even to do specific tasks really helps!
“What’s your advice for creating consistent content for Instagram?”
In terms of creating a consistent theme, check out this post. Plan everything out ahead of time! I know this can be tricky for some people, so if you’d want a full blog post on how I do this, let me know in a comment below. 😉 I plan everything out ahead of time through the apps I mentioned above. I don’t plan my captions out ahead of time, though, because authenticity is #1 to me. So I have a picture, and then I caption it based on what’s relevant in that moment, whether it’s calling out something happening that day, something on the blog, another social media platform…whatever the case might be. I just make it work!
Always seek inspiration. Get good at observing your surroundings and knowing right off the bat whether or not something is usable for your feed, whether now or in the future. Have a backstock of evergreen content to use as fillers if/when needed. Confidently create and stick to your theme and aesthetic and really own it! If you’re choosing something you genuinely love and feel inspired by yourself, it’ll be a lot easier to create consistently and confidently.
“How do you deal with writers /content block?”
To be completely honest…I don’t really get it. That might sound nuts, but hear me out! I’m big on planning, so I’ve got a huge spreadsheet online of possible content ideas, organized categorically, with any relevant notes/inspiration inside, too. So basically…I’m never short on content ideas. Anytime I think of something, I add it to the sheet. If I think of more in depth notes to add, like specific pieces of content, I go ahead and start a draft in WordPress, and I add it to a Post-It for the editorial calendar. I typically plan things at least a month ahead of time; with my brand contracts, that’s usually how things go now anyways! I already have contracts for January and February work in place, so I use Post-It’s to visually see everything out and move around if necessary. But it’s a good brainstorm tool to hold space and know what’s on the radar. Chances are I’ll have inspiration to whip something out at some point before something is due to go up!
“How do you stay committed to your blogging goals?”
AWESOME Q. I write everything down. All of my goals are on the corkboard smackdab in front of my face, so I literally see them every. single. day. I make my goals unavoidable, and I make them as specific as possible. Then, I leave room beneath each to add HOW I’m going to achieve them. A goal like “grow on Instagram” is completely useless, TBH. Why? Because it’s unspecific. You could grow by two new followers or 200…either way, you’ve achieved the goal of “grow on Instagram,” so it’s totally unhelpful. Instead, I might write “Hit 21,000 Instagram followers by 12/31/16,” to make it specific and timely. Then, I’d break it down even further by writing down a few methods and strategies I’ll use to hit that. It’s easy to commit to something when you know exactly how you’re going to go about achieving it!
“What is a typical day blogging?”
I mentioned my typical day earlier, but every day really varies! I start with coffee, obvi. Depending on the day of the week, things change. If it’s MWF, I’m beginning the day with publishing the day’s post and sharing it across social media. I’m catching up on friend’s blogs, responding to comments, spending a bulk of the day in my inbox, photoshooting, planning out future shoots, running errands for shoot props or materials, having meetings or calls with brands for prospective partnerships, or just building relationships. The list goes on!
Do have any Q’s you’d like answered in a future Q&A?
Dude, these are SO FUN! I’m so happy to answer whatever y’all want answered…so ask away. I’ve been doing these per social media platform (first Snapchat, then this one via Instagram, etc), so next up will likely be Twitter! If you’re not already following along, feel free to head on over and drop any Q’s there that ya might have.
P.S. A huge THANK YOU is in order…we hit 20K on Instagram! I can’t thank y’all enough. You are the most authentic, genuine, funny, inspiring buncha peeps, and I’m so honored and humbled that I get to live what I love because of you. THANK YOU. Thank you for everything.
Now go have a very happy hump. 🙂