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Happy Tuesday from NOLA! Today I’m so stoked to be teaming up with my friends at Mint Sim to share a little bit of a story with ya – my story. Specifically, my blogging story. What I was doing before CUR, how CUR came to be, how it came to become my fulltime gig, + 5 key tips that I wish I would’ve known (+ implemented) from the getgo. All in the hopes that it might help any of you who a.) wanna start a blog, b.) wanna do MORE with your blog, and/or c.) are just curiuos how this whole blogging thing works. 😉 SO. The crash course version:
I started CUR back in 2013 when I was at UPenn. School was friggin’ hard, and I was super stressed and majorly in need of something f-u-n. There was a fashion magazine on campus that I wrote for, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the editing process and really just craved my own creative space. I learned about blogging and BAM – the seeds for Coming Up Roses were planted. It was a once-a-week deal back then and kinda all over the place – ha! But it was fun and it was all mine, so it was something I could easily pour my heart into fully. And the lovelovelove just blossomed from there. The ideas kept coming, as did comments + sweet notes from the sweetest readers (you guys!), and eventually, brands took interest, too. It went from once weekly to MWF, which it stayed for a few years, before upping to 4x/week a few months back.
Was my goal to become a fulltime blogger? Absolutely not. In school, I was studying marketing and management at Wharton – I first thought I was going to pursue corporate marketing, and then shifted gears to head towards brand strategy at an agency. I didn’t even know blogging COULD become a legit source of income, let alone that it could become a fulltime JOB. I mean, it certainly could take up the hours of a fulltime job, but the money? No way, Jose. I never INTENDED on it – I definitely didnt start CUR to make money, nor to make it a career. From what I’ve seen from my fellow fulltime friends, we have that in common. I’d say MOST fulltime bloggers would agree, you cannot get into this game with the goal of it being a fulltime gig from the getgo. You HAVE to have a deeper why – something far beyond money that drives you – or the day-to-day grind will become unbearable pretty quickly.
I’ve shared a day in my life as a blogger before – spoiler alert: it’s a whole lotta behind-the-scenes that are waaaaaay less glam than most folks’ Instagram feeds would have ya believe. 😉 And it’s weird + ever-changing since this is a “job” that wasn’t even a THING, really, a decade ago! But these 5 tips are what I’d say are 5 of the things I most wish I had heard right at the start of it all.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again ’til I’m blue in the face. Consistency is KEY. In all things, across the board. You’ve gotta be consistent in your posting, in your branding, in your timing – in your everything. (Here are tips for getting consistent as a blogger!)
This was something I think I did relatively decently when I first started CUR. 😉 I was always good about consistently posting every Wednesday – HUMP DAAAAAY! Because my schedule was cray cray in school, I knew I could only commit to once a week back then – so I made sure to at least do it the same day every week to get readers used to Hump Day = new post on CUR.
I also try to be suuuuuper consistent with my writing style. If you’ve been a reader awhile, I’m sure you’ve picked up on this by now. 😉 But our lil’ CUR language has always been consistent. For example…you will NEVER find me saying “I love XYZ” anywhere on this whole dang site. Anywhere. Seriously! It’s “lovelovelove” or bust, baby.
Consistency helps YOU get in your own routine, and it helps your AUDIENCE get comfy in that routine, too. Folks like familiarity. Consistency breeds familiarity. Familiarity breeds liking. Liking breeds sticking around for the long haul.
RELATED READ: How to start a blog
Slash detail-oriented! Everything should have a purpose. I learned this the hard way…looking back through the deep, deep archives of old CUR style posts showcases that. HA. Finished products should feel like that – finished. And everything should tell a purposeful story. Your writing, your photography – it all needs to tell a STORY. Your story, a brand’s story…SOMEONE’S story. Nothing should feel like you just, oh I dunno, threw a bunch of random sh*t onto a white rug because that’s “what bloggers do.” 😉
Have a PURPOSE in everything you do.
Have a purpose in what you’re writing. Share value.
Have a purpose in what you’re shooting. Share beauty.
Think things through. Be strategic. Be diligent. Be intentional.
RELATED READ: Lessons learned as a full-time blogger
Be SMART about spending.
This was one that took me a hot sec to get savvy about. I think there’s two extremes here: Being so thrifty that you can’t bring yourself to spend money on ANYTHING, and then being so driven that you’ll invest in anything + everything if it’s at ALL suggestive of helping your business grow. In the beginning, I think my mindset helped me quite a bit – I wasn’t afraid to invest, ever. If I did my research + knew with reasonable certainty (since, of course, NOTHING is a ever true guarantee) that something would be a smart spend, I did it.
But of course…expenses add up. And the exotic money tree is an endangered species. Things like courses get pricey, especially if they’re bad ones (cos believe me – I’ve unfortunately spend waaaaay too much moolah on waste-of-time “courses.”) Things like going over your data plan can totally wreck your phone bill, thereby wreckling your monthly reconciling for your personal finances, thereby lowering your treat yo’self fund and causing a meltdown in the middle of Nordstrom. (Just me? Nah? Ha!)
One of the 7 mistakes I made when I first started my business was not reconciling regularly/not paying as much attention as I should’ve been to regular expenses. And I realized pretty quickly that I was spending money for my phone bill monthly, but it wasn’t for enough data. And then I’d end up OVERspending to pay for extra data, or suffering in my biz by having tortoise speed service for the rest of the month (which ain’t nobody got time for when my entire job is, oh I dunno, on my phone).
A few months ago I learned about Mint Sim – and TBH, I didn’t even believe it at first. This new phone service seems too darn good to be true. But it’s the real deal, and I’m so stoked about it. For $15 total per month (when you buy 3 months), you can get exact the amount of phone service + data you want/need. …That’s nuts. My phone bill was over $80 per month. And this is $15?!? INSANITY. But seriously. They describe it as “if Costco and a cellphone tower had a weird baby.”
How it works:
You can choose between 2, 5, or 10GB LTE data (not unlimited – cos from their research, the “average person” only uses about 5GB/month but might be still paying for unlimited…more on the various plan options here). You can bring your own phone, keep your phone number – and probably save an ABSURD amount of $$$ in the end. Sign up online (they’re *only* available for sign-ups online – they save costs that way by not having brick-and-mortar retailers!), get sent your Mint Sim sim card, pop it in your phone, aaaaaand VOILA! Follow the super easy instructional videos online if ya need any help along the way, and you’re good to get crackin’. In concept, Mint Sim is just totally disrupting the mobile industry, cos they’re bringing the benefits of prepaid phone bills (or a lack thereof) alongside the benefits of having things like the internet and data. Get everything you want/need without paying an arm and a leg for it, since you’re paying only for what you need AND paying in bulk (by choosing up front whether you want to pay for 3 months, 6 months, or a full year of service). It’s genius, really. TBH when I first heard about Mint Sim, my first reaction was…what’s the catch? There is legit NOT one. Their FAQ section explains everything further + better…brace yo’self to be mindblown.
Before Mint Sim, I was just paying my phone bill without a second thought, legit hurting if/when I was traveling and went over my data plan, and/or paying an EXTRA $25 or so a month to add on more. NO MORE, FOLKS.
P.S. Get FREE SHIPPING when you drop code INFLUENCER at checkout!
There are over 400 million+ blogs on the web today, with 2 million blog posts being published every single day (source).
In this Insta-worthy world we live in, it becomes way too easy to resort to doing what everyone else is doing, or creating what everyone else is creating to get to “trending.”
While it might get more likes in the moment, it won’t necessarily get more diehard fans who lovelovelove you for you. I have to remind myself of this all the time. Cos it can become discouraging to scroll Instagram daily and see the same dang stuff. The same places. The same shots. The same everything. Because it’s “the blogger shot” or “the blogger place.” And sometimes, that’s fun + fine. But other times, it’s *essential* to give yourself a good ol’ reality check to remember your WHY. Whenever I’m feeling bummed about so-and-so having the most professional, beautiful, editorially-curated Insta-feed, I have to remind myself that that’s not my why. It’s just not. While I lovelovelove gorgeous editorial, it’s not always the most realistic or relatable content for everygirls like you and me. And my why is YOU. You guys are why I created CUR in the first place – in the hopes of creating a rosy community of likeminded women who are kind, smart, + ambitious AF. Women who wanna feel majorly motivated to start the week strong, who need ideas for what to wear with their favorite dress, who feel inspired to try a new trend or skincare routine. Women who might want/need a place to hang out on a Friday night, to feel like they can get a laugh, get genuinely inspired, and/or get a message BACK if they wanna reach me directly. If I started acting all high-and-mighty, like I was too good for y’all…first off, that would be so incredibly rude, but it would also be laughable cos it’s just not me. And you guys know that. So ain’t nobody got time to be too cool for school around these rosy parts – authenticity at CUR means approachability and keepin’ it real while still inspiring you to live your best life as your best self 100% of the time.
TBH, “be authentic” feels like cop-out advice since everyone and their mom preaches it nowadays. But what does it really MEAN to be authentic?
I think being authentic just means being true to your own best self at all times. Of course, your best self can/will change as you grow + evolve, so that’s A-OK! But your own drum will always be beating, and being authentic means marching to that beat instead of trying to get with the rhythm of the drum next door. I’m sure you’ve felt the awkwardness that inevitably ensues if/when you’re dancing to one song and another starts playing, and both are playing at the same time and you can’t really discern one from the next and it’s just one big hot friggin’ mess…just me? Ha! 😉 But if yannno the feeling, you know how awk it can feel – and that’s exactly what happens when you lose your own authenticity trying to be someone else. It might not feel like a total hot mess to you in the moment, but chances are, everyone watching is just kinda like…huh? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not natural. It’s not comfortable.
Being honest with yourself + your readers will always be KEY. And being authentic in your own lane will take you much farther (+ faster) than playing in someone else’s.
RELATED READ: 17 Things Bloggers are Sick of Hearing
I swear this is something that 95.7% of folks absolutely do not understand until (slash if) they’re ever in the position themselves. But as a blogger – especially if/when you’re doing it more seriously/intensely with aspirations of taking it fulltime one day – you wear so many hats. You’re the writer, editor, + content creator, sure. You’re also the social media manager. Sometimes you’re the photographer. You’re the accountant, email manager, + stylist. You’re the copywriter, the marketing team, + the finance division all in one.
If ya haven’t figured it out by that alone…you’ve gotta be HELLA organized to get all of the above done (+ done right).
Figure out a system that works for you, and USE it. Regularly.
Have you ever heard of Mint Sim? What do ya think about it?
Would lovelovelove to hear your thoughts – it’s seriously SUCH a cool new thing, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing it a lot more around the web soon! 😉 Also, would lovelovelove to know how many of y’all are also bloggers??? And how did YOU get started?
Drop yo’ thoughts in a comment below. 🙂
And as always, THANKYOU for reading, friends!
If you’ve got any Q’s at all about blogging etc, let me know!
*Thanks to Mint Sim for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!