On Young Industries (Part 1): Blogging

6U8A3756We are a very weird generation. Technology has evolved so much in our lifetime that sometimes I forget that the world wasn't always this way. When I step back and think about how different my teen years and twenties were from my parents' and grandparents'… I mean, it's mind blowing

When I'm old, I hope to tell my grandchildren the story of our first home computer and the first time I heard about the Internet. I look forward to seeing the shock on their faces when I explain that I was in my twenties before I owned my first cell phone (a phone that only did one thing—make phone calls). I want to tell them about my first iPhone and my first photo editing app (Hipstamatic!). And I guess the story I'm most excited to tell someday is the one where I heard what a blog was for the very first time, and how I knew right away that I wanted one, not knowing where that path would some day lead. 

When I watch my four-year-old niece play with my iPhone I can't help but imagine how different her childhood will be from mine. She'll never know life without 24/7 access to Internet, social media, and digital entertainment.  

So I want to talk about young industries, industries that I got to watch come to life in the past five to ten years and that I believe will continue to evolve and grow in ways I cannot even imagine throughout our lifetime. The two industries that I've been personally involved with and profoundly affected by are blogging and apps.

This post is about blogging. Last year A Beautiful Mess celebrated its sixth birthday, and I wrote a lengthy post about how I started, how we've grown, and what we've learned along the way. One thing I haven't talked about much here are my thoughts on blogging as an industry, so that's what I'm here to tackle today! 6U8A3713The pros and cons of a young industry (in this case, blogging) 

Blogging is an industry. I know it probably bothers some people that I'm even calling it an industry at all, but it is. Blogging is a rapidly evolving form of media. It's a full-time job for thousands of people. It's a legitimate way for companies (from giant corporations to tiny startups) to advertise their goods and services. Blogging is not only a way to kick-start a career, it is a career. And a good one! 

And you know what? I believe it hasn't even hit its prime. 

As an industry, blogging is still just a baby. There are pros and cons to this. 

Cons– It's competitive. It's unpredictable. There is no formal route of education that can help you secure a job in this field. There is always a risk factor. There are no guarantees. There is a LOT of bad information and advice out there for young bloggers. The nature of the biz at this point in time is a lot of trial and error. To sum it up, it's really hard. It can be horribly discouraging to get started. I mean, everyone could start a blog, but everyone won't be able to make it a career. Sadly, there just aren't enough readers. And even once you're established you can never get too comfortable, because being successful in this industry is dependent on having a passion for constant and continual evolution. I think that's kind of the deal in a lot of industries, especially emerging ones. I will say if you're not a person who enjoys change, young industries are probably not the best place to build your career. 

Pros- (spoiler—the pros are REALLY good) Being a part of baby industry means you get to lay the groundwork and make your own rules. There are no career guidelines that we have to follow, so it's up to all of us to guide our careers in the direction we'd like them to go. There is tremendous opportunity in blogging. Everyone knows you can make income from advertising, but there is so much more. The branding opportunities, design opportunities, book deals, TV shows, product lines, etc. are endless. If you can dream it, it's probably possible. The thing we love most about writing A Beautiful Mess is that it's a job that has so much room to grow. As we get older, get interested in new things, and have a spark for new opportunities we're able to take our blog in any direction that we want. I think the ultimate pro about being a blogger in this decade is that there really is no ceiling or limit on what you can do or where your blog can take you! 6U8A3734Where do I think the blogging industry is headed? 

I mean, nobody really knows, and I don't claim to, but here are my thoughts. 

I think that in our lifetime blogging will become a legitimate career. I already think it is, but it's definitely not there yet "on paper." Ask any blogger what kind of looks they get when they go in to get a home loan and they have to explain their business model. When I explain what we do to some people (especially the older generations) it almost always goes something like this: "We run a women's lifestyle blog," (blank stare) "and last year we had a number one selling iPhone app." (still a blank stare) "Oh, and we've written a couple books for Random House." (ding!ding!ding!) Their faces are filled with relief. "Oh, good! So, you're really an author then??" To be honest, if I weren't so close to the industries, I could see myself needing a little extra explanation too. Like I was saying before, part of young industries is that there isn't a lot of clear information out there on how it all works.

So it would be pretty silly to be offended by these kinds of scenarios. It happens all the time. I really believe that in our lifetime being "just" a blogger will become a legit job in most people's eyes. It's happening.

I also think that in the future there will be more established opportunities for bloggers. New jobs are happening all the time. Our company currently supports six full-time salaries and several more part-time and freelance positions. We're job creators! It's a great feeling to be able to finally offer health insurance and retirement options to our team. This didn't just happen overnight, though. It took years of moving forward, hard work, and planning to get to the place where we could even support one full-time employee. 

Currently the blog world is in a weird place—it's feast or famine. There are bloggers out there with tiny followings who have figured out a way to make a GOOD income, while there are others with larger followings who aren't earning nearly what they are worth because they simply don't know where to begin. There is no union, no standard pricing model, and no real accountability for money that is exchanged. For this reason some bloggers are getting taken advantage of, being paid far less than they are worth— often far below minimum wages, not even covering expenses with the promise of "exposure." At the same time, there are companies that are being taken advantage of too. There are agencies charging hundreds of thousands of dollars to create some of the most inefficient, watered-down blogger campaigns you'll ever see.

So how can bloggers (and companies alike) protect themselves and be sure they are getting a fair deal? You have to take responsibility. Try to research what other blogs are doing and learn about how things work in other forms of media. Since there are no industry standards you have to create your own. At A Beautiful Mess we have our own set of standards when it comes to advertising and sponsored content. I could talk about this all day (and I do in our upcoming e-course), but the biggest takeaway I want to communicate today is that if you want to make a living as a blogger, nobody is going to do that for you. You'll have to learn (a LOT) about marketing and advertising, on top of the content you want to actually write on your blog. If you rely solely on an agency to help you navigate these waters, you may not get a good enough return to quit your day job. Monetizing is literally DIY at this stage. It's awesome, but it's not easy.  

The last little "prediction" that I have for blogging is that quality is the key factor for success. Of course quality is a subjective term, as everyone has different standards, styles, and tastes. But you can see a certain intentionality to all posts you see on the more successful or rising blogs, whether they're DIY, fashion, or full-on lifestyle. Each year, as more and more blogs get started, the market becomes more saturated and more competitive. This is NOT a bad thing. It's actually a really good thing. Years ago when I started blogging most people didn't put much effort into original photography, creating exclusive projects and recipes, or developing series of original content. It's cool to me that somehow, over time, these things became normal. What we do every day for A Beautiful Mess (and what thousands of other bloggers are doing for their blogs) can be a TON of work. So, yes, it's competitive. What stood out three years ago would not stand out today. Quality really matters. I follow new blogs often, and the only factor that they all share is original photography and a clear point of view. Whether it's a foodie blog or a travel blog or a family blog, I want to follow the people who are putting effort into creating something of quality.6U8A3744What bloggers can do to steer our industry in a healthy direction.

1. Embrace change! 

If you go to a blogging conference this year and learn "everything you need to know" it might all be different by this time next year. If you take 10 classes by 10 different blogging experts you might receive a lot of conflicting information. Embrace these changes. Keep your mind wide open. There is no one right way to run a blog and there never will be. Change is your friend; don't forget that. 

2. Keep your vision alive.

It's easy to fall into the trap of writing content that you think will get pinned more or get more pageviews. It's even easier to fall into a routine of working harder on sponsored posts and getting lazy on personal stuff. Whatever your vision is, it's your job to keep it alive. Here on ABM, for example, we share a LOT of projects—90% of them are not sponsored. This is our priority for two reasons. First, it ensures we're very selective; we only work with sponsors we really love that fit into content we really want to write. Second (and more importantly) it keeps it fun! Most of the projects we share are just things we wanted to make. For our category of blog it's REALLY important to keep it fun because how sad would that be if it wasn't? The second reason is it keeps our options open. Flexibility is key. Some of our most favorite projects have been totally spur-of-the-moment. We love planning, but being able to replace things that aren't working or feeling inspired is just as important.

Blogging is a dream job, but doing anything every single day is hard work no matter what your topic is. Life is kind of funny that way. Keeping your vision healthy and inspired is your job. It takes effort and planning, but if you do it the resulting inspiration will keep you moving forward and be contagious to your readers!    

3. Write the blog you want to read. 

So obvious, right? If it's no longer fun, change it up. If you don't love it, what do you expect your readers to feel? There are a million different ways to blog, so choose the one you would want to read. :) 

I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this topic! I am only writing from my own perspective and I understand (and love) that there are other, very different perspectives out there. I'm especially interested in the perspective of those who blog strictly as a hobby and have no desire to make it a business. As much as I love my career choice, I envy you sometimes. 🙂

If you have a question, I'll be checking the comments to chat with you guys. Thanks for reading. xo! Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Petal from the Fresh Collection.

  • So so glad for this post!! I recently made a complete switch to a new blog platform (WordPress to Typepad) with a new name, new everything. I think the freshness and the fact that it’s not free helps keep some accountability, for me at least. I enjoy the process but don’t have an end game for my blog at this point, and that’s exciting and unsettling. The hard part, that you hit on so eloquently, is that it’s difficult to pinpoint what WORKS. What works is evolving and constantly being upped.. so it’s a challenge for sure but overall I think the ‘quality blogs’ are doing the extra things like paying attention to the photos they post and editing their writing before they post,etc in their own ways. I see blogging becoming more of a prime time industry as well within the next 5 years, maybe. Here’s hoping anyway! I would really enjoy reading more posts like this and the insights from the ABM team because, of course, it’s a learning type of venture – but you guys are doing alright & we keep coming back. 🙂

  • I love that blogging is becoming a real-life job, but it’s frustrating that it hasn’t gotten there yet. People, even my own age, don’t take me seriously when i talk about it. When I take a picture of my dinner or have a full photo shoot with a pretty latte someone says “are you gonna write about it on your blog?” I’m always looking for ways to make mine better so that maybe someday I can quit my boring desk job at a law firm and do what I love all day long. I hope that my kids will be able to firmly say that when they grow up they want to be something creative that will make them happy every day of their lives. It’s an awesome world that we live in now! I’m looking forward to the rest of these posts!

    Emma

  • Oh, wow; what a great post! Thank you, Elsie, this was really really inspiring 🙂 I work as an engineer during the day, so my blog is a place where I can get an outlet for my more creative side. So I see it as a great hobby; I’m learning new things all the time, and that’s really fun. I’m so looking forward to your e-course! I never got the chance to sign up the last time, so I almost can’t wait 😉 Thanks again!

    xo
    Camilla
    http://kapteinmoe.blogspot.no

  • hi elsie! i have been a (devoted) reader of a beautiful mess for years and years. i’m a huge (…understatement) fan. i have a just-for-fun personal blog (more for myself than for anyone else!) but i also feel like i have something to share. my biggest problem is that i’m such a major perfectionist about what i share (be it my writing, photography, personal thoughs and philosophies). i get really nervous about sharing anything “not good enough”… even though i only have about 3 readers (lol). have you ever felt similarly insecure? any advice for learning to stop over-thinking your blog and just go for it? xo

  • I’ve been reading ABM for a couple years now and am inspired everyday by you! I love blogging but am terrible at making regular posts, this is a refreshing article. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you for this post Elsie! Reading your blog (obsessively) tempts me everyday to try and turn my own mediocre blogging adventures into a real job. I love hearing your musings on blogging and tips for improving my own. You ladies rock!

  • This is so inspiring, Elsie! Thank you for sharing your perspective…I would love to start a blog, and now I have a better idea of how to integrate myself into the industry!

  • Thanks for this piece Elsie, it’s spot on. I have read lots of blogging advice that conflicts and it’s hard to filter out the true and the ‘not so relevant to me’ type advice. I love that it’s a changing industry too, so exciting and it’s so much fun to be a part of a global community of crafters. I would have laughed at someone 2 years ago who said they were a full time blogger but then I read a beautiful mess and started to love it all and my mind changed almost over night. Thanks again, Zoe.

  • Thank you for this post. It came on a day when I really needed it. I literally started using affiliate links on my blog at 12:05 this morning. It was a hard decision for me. I have had my blog for one year. And it has been amazing to meet new people. And so rewarding as a creative outlet. I never set out to make money blogging. And I have only added links so I can offset the costs of giveaways and monthly blogging fees. Your advice is so good.

    “Write a blog you would want to read.”

    That is what I try to do everyday.

    That motto it is such a good thing to read on your blog again. I took your e-blog course last year and found it helpful. I hope to do the next one you offer.

    Thank you for this post. Especially today.

    Jenni

  • Thank you so much for this post. My friends and I just started a blog and we are so hungry for as much information as we can get. We knew that we needed to go into it with the perspective that it was just for us- a creative outlet that we all needed. But once we got going we became so excited about the idea of actually succeeding as bloggers. The possibility of making any amount of money off of the blog someday, however unlikely, gets me giddy. Anyway, thank you for sharing your experienced perspective- everything you said felt right. Like it was me giving myself advice! You made me remember to be realistic while at the same time getting me even more excited at the endless possibilities out there. <3

  • As a professional reader of a lot of blogs, I gotta say ABM is my favorite! It’s such a funny coincidence that I started reading a few years ago and now my friend/boyfriend’s sister, Laura Gummergal, is a writer for the blog! Small world! Every time I see the Blumers we chit chat about the great things we saw on the blog that week. Keep up the good work, ladies! Y’all inspire me to be more and more creative everyday!
    Xoxo

  • I started a hobby blog three years ago when I was looking for a job, naively thinking I could use it as a way to make some money. I’ve never made any money off my blog, but I’ve loved writing it – it’s a wonderful creative outlet, and I discovered the whole blogging world through it. It’s pushed me to improve my photography and writing skills in ways that never would have happened otherwise. And I’ve found role models like you and Emma – I’ve loved reading your blog and have found so much inspiration here from goal setting tips to DIYs to painting ideas to recipes.

    I have mixed feelings about my favorite bloggers “making it big” and becoming more professional. I appreciate improved content, and I’m happy bloggers can make a living doing what they love. But I dislike blogs that lose their personal touch and have too many sponsored posts. Peeks into the business aspects of blogs is interesting but seeing an entire blog turn completely businessy – each post pushing a new product or collaboration – is a turn off. I guess it’s all about balance.

  • Thanks for publishing this! You guys are “blogging giants” in my mind, so it’s cool to get your thoughts on blogging. Blogging is definitely a growing biz, and I’m excited to see where it takes people!

  • This is all really interesting. I have had a blog since 2010 but have recently rebranded and am taking things more seriously now. I appreciate your perspective on how the industry seems to be moving forward.

  • Great post and this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot as I’ve been putting a lot of effort in to growing my personal blog, new podcast(!) (www.girlnextdoorpodcast.com) and developing an e-course. It is so interesting that this industry is so open now with no set rules. I’ve been wanting to connect with more people who are doing what I’m doing, blogging, podcasting, e-coursing and I’d love to go to a conference or be part of an organization with similar people but it doesn’t exist yet! I’ve been wondering if some type of “certified blogger” course will come along one day similar to the way you can become a certified Project Manager.

    Besides the e-courses ABM produces, I’m curious to know what your go-to professional blogging/creative resources are? Are there conferences you have attended or have considered or more formal networking opportunities?

    I have so many questions all the time and wish I could ask other bloggers/podcasters/e-courses. It would be so cool if there was a forum for this! Some of the conferences I see are more for people who blog/podcast as a side thing to their business, like real estate, and not blog/podcast to create and connect with people. That’s something I’ve noticed and where I hope there will be growth!

    I have found it interesting that I’ve seen some job postings (at Buffer and Feedly) for full time blogging positions that pay well ($60K+), encouraging!

  • So, Elsie, I am curious–maybe you’ve already posted this somewhere??–but when did your blog turn from a fun, on-the-side thing to a “real” job? How did you decide/know it was time? How long did it take to make that transition?

  • Blogging is the perfect hobby for me at the moment whilst I get through University and one day I would love to turn it in to a career. I’m just hoping that people see that blogging is just as valid a career choice as anything else.
    Blogging makes me happy!

    Sydney

    Sydneymakesthings.blogspot.co.uk

  • This is a great post. very motivating for me! I have recently started a blog (within the last year) which makes it that much more helpful. I’m inspired by your blog, and have been for the last couple of years.
    Nicole @ http://www.uniquelywomen.net

  • Oh Elsie… What a wonderful post. I have always wanted to be a full time blogger and I know how much work goes into blogging. I was almost there and then I lost interest in my own blog. I still haven’t found my way back because I am not sure where to start anymore. your guidance is priceless and I look forward to finding my new blogging voice.

  • Very interesting article! I actually agree that one needs to write a blog he/she would be interested in reading, I try to keep that in mind when writing on mine (started an actual blog 3 months ago). I see so many blogs that are just a pile of commercial links without any creative content and I want to stay as far as possible from this business model.

    Nevertheless, and even if I actually started a blog just to share the stuff I love with more and more people (almost 300 followers already, yeah :-)), I do understand now how much time it takes to post an article with an actual content and why bloggers just need to get a little money out of it. I guess the difficulty lies in finding the right compromise between actual content and advertising…

    Marie
    http://lazer-crafts.com

  • thanks for sharing your perspective on the industry in general, I find it fascinating to follow the rise of blogging. I’m living in Bosnia where there is a tiny emerging blogging community, although it is much much less mainstream than it is in the US now. I am so interested to see the connection between blogging and other forms of online expression and changes in society around the world… Look at the impact of Aiweiwei’s blog on Chinese politics, for example! To me blogs like ABM are a way to be inspired because I live in a tiny village and often feel isolated. my blog is a hobby, focused on taking photos of every life and sharing the work of Bosnian artists– I adore art/film/photography, but my job focuses on a completely different skillset, so my blog is a way to keep my creative side alive. I love my day job as well, so I don’t necessarily feel motivated to market my blog or drum up ads, but I get so much satisfaction in seeing how my photography and writing is improving gradually through sustained effort in my little blog… it’s a great way to create a small community as well.

  • First off, A Beautiful Mess has made a huge impact on my life. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and have to work a full time 9-5 in order to pay off those lovely student loans. Very often I find myself unable to do much of anything creative as I don’t have much free time. Your blog has been my creative escape on my daily lunch break. Following your blog keeps those creative thoughts and projects flowing in my brain and I am so thankful for that (so a BIG thank you to all of you!)

    With that being said – do you have any tips for someone who would love to create a blog and keep up with daily postings, but as a full time job and not a whole lot of free time? I could use some guidance!

    Thanks again for all of your creativity, positivity and awesomeness!!

  • This is fantastic. I literally just started my blog last week and am trying to figure out my direction. Thank you for always giving very honest advice.

  • The one thing that frustrates me the most about this industry is when blog readers are completely unaccepting of any form of monetization (though I’m luckily finding that this doesn’t happen all that often). It’s like these particular readers expect to have excellent, high quality content, which takes a lot of hard work to produce, delivered free and regularly to them, but don’t want the content producer to be paid for all their hard work. I find it really upsetting when I hear people complain about a blogger “selling out” just because they’ve monetized in some way. Sure, there are sell outs out there, but not for the most part. For the most part, the monetization bloggers use is non-obtrusive to the reader and even usually compliments the content, so I can’t see why these individuals complain. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  • I really, really enjoyed this. I also really love this blog and think you and Emma (and the whole ABM team) seem like such good people. Though I am merely a reader of blogs, this post was so fascinating. It was also so interesting to learn that 90% of your projects are not sponsored. Very cool. Thanks! 🙂

  • Awe- thank so much Emma! Don’t worry about others taking it seriously, it will come in time.

    If you’re always looking for ways to make your blog better you are already 100% on the right track.

    Thanks so much for reading! Elsie

  • Thank you for the great post Elsie. Long story short : I’m from Cape Town, South Africa, where internet penetration is still very low. After many years in the corporate world, I gave it up last year to focus on my studies (complete turnaround)! So besides my hubby and 3 beautiful babies, I am focussing on studies and my new blog. I’ve craved a creative outlet for a very very long time! I’m forever grateful I found your blog, it inspires me daily! I now know it is very hard work, and I take my hat off to the team at ABM.
    Thank you again, and I can only hope to make a success of my blog dream at some point.

  • Thanks for the great post! I’ve been blogging for 7 years, and what had started as a way of ranting random things to friends has turned into a major part of my life. I’ve toyed with the idea of sponsors and ways of making money with it lately, but as you said, monetizing a blog is DIY right now…and I have no idea where to begin. Being more intentional in posting is definitely something I’ve been working on, but at the same time staying true to what I want to write about. I think that’s partly why the idea of sponsors freak me out, because it’s on me to have content that works for them too.

  • Hey Camilla!
    Wow- that’s so cool. I’m completely inspired by people who blog as a hobby. If I didn’t do it for a living, it would probably be my favorite night & weekend hobby too.

    Glad you’re thinking about the course. Emma and I are having a great time writing it.

    🙂 Elsie

  • Ps. I’ve purchased your ‘Dream Job’ and ‘Blog Loving’ e-courses along with your ABM Photo Idea Book. You have helped me along my path for sure! Thank you! Lx

  • Wow- what a genuine post. I have literally just entered the blogosphere after months and months of reading from the sidelines. It’s so interesting to me to hear thoughts from the first blog I ever really discovered. I think a lot about what it means
    to start blogging at this point in the industries development. All the big blogs I subscribe to started way back when the industry was just born and have watched things grow into what they are. Sometimes I fear it may be impossible to remain pure with how much I already know. Of course I don’t make any money blogging yet but the information that sponsorships and ads are out there is already in my head try as I might to forget it. I want my blog to be an original outlet and stand out from the crowd but it truly is a challenge trying not to jump ahead to all the possibilities I see other bloggers getting. I’d love to know how you all manage to keep a fresh and especially unique perspective amidst all the “blog inspiration” out there. Regardless, it’s all very exciting! Thanks so much for this post!

    -Tara
    themountaincreative.com

  • (Raising hand) I’m currently a hobby-blogger with a full-time day job (and mommy-job, but that’s another story). I’m not in a place to quit the day job to blog full time, and not organized enough to do that, but blogging is part of my pipe dream to stop being an office manager and start being a full-time creative. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! There are days I feel like I missed the blog-train and there’s no way at this point I could make a career of it, but you’ve given me hope it’s not too late.

  • Hey Kristina!

    Yes I honestly completely understand how you are feeling. A couple days ago Emma and I filmed out first food video (like cooking show style) for the blog and it was WAY more intimidating than I thought. Part of me felt like I’d rather not share it and just try to do a better one and share that. But we are going to share it because it’s important to always keep moving forward. I realize that a year from now we’ll be (hopefully) way better, and I’m ok with that now!

    I think it’s healthy to put stuff out there that you know isn’t 100% perfect. It’s just one more step toward being really good at what you do. 🙂

    Sending lots of hugs your way!!

    Elsie

  • All these thoughts about blogging as a career are just like my own, and more! I love the last few points you made. They are very encouraging and helpful. Each time I think about ABM and all the amazing content and projects that you all take on just blows my mind and never fails to inspire me!

    Thanks so much for writing this up! I really appreciate it.

    -Charlotte
    boyerfamilysingers.blogspot.com

  • This was so helpful and interesting to read. I agree with the quality of blog posts escalating all the time. I find I am holding my blog content and photos to much higher standards now than when I first began – sort of matching the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” I am always hoping to grow readership and interest in my blog (for my pride alone!) and therefore spend extra time taking great photos and editing them to be sharp. Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts!

  • Thank You, Elsie!
    I have been struggling with my blog lately, having huge bursts of inspiration for a week or two, but then plummeting into writer’s block and defeat the next week. Everything you talked about was such a good reminder and a great jump start to my day. Thank you for reminding me why I do this and that a blog can and should be whatever the writer wants it to be.
    You guys are the best!
    XOXO

  • This post is exactly what I’ve needed to read this week. It woke me up & has got me realizing what I need to do so I can keep blogging, which is what I would much rather be doing as a career than the zombie job I’m currently working.

    Thank you, Elsie! I truly admire & respect you ladies. And hearing your blogging journey & advice has really helped me in many ways. Hopefully some day I can share my story of the day I go from zombie job to full-time blogger with you.

  • I’m always interested in reading about how people were able to turn their blogs into a successful business. This was a great read!

    For me, I have been blogging since 2001 (and writing in general since I was in elementary school!). I even went to college for English Writing/Creative Non-Fiction. However, my blog has always just been a hobby for me, a release, and a way to keep track of pretty much every single thing my family does because I am a memory-hoarder! I don’t ever plan on monetizing my blog, since it’s about my family and my life, and I guess that would make me feel kind of sleazy & exploitative, if that makes sense. I don’t really have a brand or product to offer, just my bare-boned writing.

    So, I’ll have to keep my day job and live vicariously through you guys who have turned blogging into a career. 😉

  • I have mixed feelings about blogging as a career path. On the one hand, I think it’s great that people are putting so much thought and time into creating great content and creating positive communities. But I fear that a lot of content is getting watered down by sponsored posts. You guys do a great job of keeping everything organic and natural, but many bloggers I’ve followed for years are losing their edge due to sponsored content. Bloggers need to be careful to not let companies call the shots.

    I came to fashion blogs in the beginning because they represented a wider array of tastes and body types, but over the years it seems that everyone’s individuality has been watered down by the dime-a-dozen items offered as sponsor gifts. I used to want to pursue blogging as a part time career path, but now I feel like it’s only going to get worse. – Leah, leahwise.com

  • Hey Zoe,

    Yes! It’s changing SO fast that even the advice I gave a few years ago is different now. I think when you see it all through that filter it makes a lot more sense. No rules are forever in a baby industry! 🙂

    xx- Elsie

  • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about blogging! I started my blog almost a year ago and it’s been the best decision in my life. It’s been hard though! I’ve found hard to tell my family and my friends (specially my parents) that I would like to grow my blog and make it a full time job someday! They don’t know what to think when I say this! Truth is that what I love about blogging is the freedom you have, you decide what to talk about and you are the one that have to figure out how your blog needs to evolve.

    Thanks again for such an inspiring post!

  • Awe! Hi Sarah! It’s so nice to e-meet you. Laura has told us so many nice things about you. 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading our blog.

    I always LOVE to hear what Ron Blumer’s favorite posts are. What could be better?

    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Mary,

    Yes, I completely agree with you! It’s a very fine line- one that are are constantly trying to define. It’s absolutely a learning process.

    Thanks for reading! Elsie

  • Personally, I have a blog that I (unfortunately) don’t update as much as I would love to. Part of it is because I’m a full-time college student with a very busy schedule but the other part is that, to me, my blog is a place to share my thoughts–with myself and/or other people. Right now, I don’t feel the need to have a million followers and although I’d want it to get to that point in the future, my priority is to have an outlet where I can post what I’m interested in when I’m interested in it, or what tickles my fancy. As I continue through college, my interests are constantly changing and even though I don’t have time to tackle some (or even most) of them, I know that I have a place to write my thought on something or share a type of post which can later give me access to expand.

    Also, I’m interested in too many subjects–from photography to international affairs–and I don’t want to do a full-time blog unless I define what I really want it to be about. I’m in college so I’m thinking of it as an experimental way. I’ve always loved writing and because of that, whenever I feel like writing something, I like having a place to do it.

    I love your blog and I agree with your thoughts but I also think it’s OK to have a blog that’s just a hobby and understand the parallel implications/consequences/expectations of that. If you blog once a month, you’re not going to be successful right off the bat, I get it. But if you start creating a habit just because you love it and not entirely to make it a career immediately, it can also help for later expansion.

    Just my thoguhts

  • Thank you so much for this post, Elsie. I’ve been reading you since 2010, and ABM is my favorite blog ever, big big time! I’ve tried at least two times to begin my own blog, but I always feel very scared about it, especially because in my country (Mexico) it’s a concept so young, like in diapers… And i feel like there will be no readers and of course sponsors, so I give up to invest so much of my time, with a full time job (which I don’t like so much) and a master degree (which I love it!)
    But this post is inspiring me to dream big and finally give it a chance…
    Hope you have some more advices… for cases like me.
    (Sorry in advance for my english!!)

    Best regards from Guadalajara, Mexico.
    🙂

  • Hey Kelsey,
    We haven’t attended too many blog conferences, so I can’t speak to that.

    I will say that hearing some of (what we consider to be) “bad” blogging advice being dished out is what initially inspired us to create our blog e-course.

    We’re trying very hard with the upcoming course to go beyond just surface level and blanket statements. It really is different for everyone!

    Thanks so much for reading, Elsie

  • I love reading this because I’m a fairly new blogger and so often I feel as if I’ve missed the boat! I got interested years ago but never wrote regularly, I’m only now finding my voice, passion , etc. The blog world is so saturated but so is every industry! I agree that this blogging is going to be around for a while, thanks for sharing!

  • This is such a great topic. It is so weird to think that we lived before internet, texting, skyping, social media, etc.

    I’ve been blogging as a hobby for about 2.5 years. It is fun to see how my blog and I grow and change as well as the blogs I follow. I also like seeing how blog ‘cliques’ kind of promote the same thing or do similar projects around the same time because they are being inspired by simlar ideas. While it would be great to monetize my blog at some point, it is fun just to share my projects and just see what happens

  • I agree with you! If monetization allows a blogger to quit their day job and concentrate on delivering better content full time, where’s the harm? This may be happening due to jealousy. We should celebrate bloggers who find success!

  • Woah this is really helpful. My blog is only a hobby as I’m young and have only been blogging for a short time. I would love it to be a career because it’s fun and you can do what you like. How did you get your blog out there and gain so much popularity???

  • Hi Anna,

    So when I first started ABM (6.5 years ago) it was for fun and also to promote my line of scrapbooking products that I did at that time. So the product design was really my job and the blog was my hobby.

    When I left that job a year later and started selling on Etsy I started to realize the importance of posting more and along the way I started to enjoy writing more and more “teaching post” like occasional DIY projects and business advice.

    About two years in a friend of mine offered to help me start selling sidebar ads to supplement my struggling small business income.

    So the blog has had ads for about four or five years, but it didn’t become a full-time income until about the fourth or fifth year. I honestly don’t even remember because we’ve always had other side projects going on too.

    Currently our business has three income sources, blog advertisements, our app and our online classes/actions. We also make money from product collaborations and our books, just not very much. 😀

    Hope that helps! xx- Elsie

  • Loved reading this post! I completely agree. I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s such a creative outlet and I love helping people reach their goal of living healthier, happier and more kind lives 🙂

  • thanks so much for your honest reply elsie. it means more to me than you know. i’m going to make a conscious effort to share more (perfect of not) in pursuit of an eventual growth. can’t wait to watch your cooking video 🙂

  • One of the more interesting reads on the interwebs lately. Loved your thought on blogging! Especially as ABM is one of the biggest blogs (impact-wise) I know. I started a hobby blog about 4 years ago and since then I’ve toyed with the idea of monetizing it. I have conflicting emotions when it comes to turning my blog into a business. On one side, I love the work freedom it creates. I’d love it if it could turn into a side-business that could support my dream and studies, yet I fear that I would lose the enthusiasm when instead of wanting, I would have to blog. Still an on-going struggle for me.
    Thanks for your insights! Can’t wait for your new e-course! (loved the last ones:))

  • Thank you so much Elsie! I love your blog, I follow you from many years! Your style life is very far away from mine and when people ask me why ABM is my favourite blog? I always answer, “I don’t know, there is something…it’s fresh, funny,simple…I think you are the girls next door, the girls everyone will love have like a friend!! I started my blog because you and I’m proud of me, I learn a lot, I looks others blog and I “make virtual friends”. My dream will be have some money to live with but I know as you tell that there isn’t a place for everybody! So I live the present, I enyoy what I make and I’m honest with myself! Maybe I will never wins money but I wins a lot of things already: my kidoos love what I do, my husband as well and makes me feel happy!! Thanks Elsie and continue for inspirated us!! Love, Eva

  • Hey Heather,
    I don’t personally have any advice on this, but one of Emma’s favorite blogs Annie’s Eats http://www.annies-eats.com/ works full time and has two children. There are lots of amazing bloggers with full time jobs that you don’t even know about too.

    Can anyone else think of favorite blogs written by those balancing a full time job?
    Thanks so much- Elsie

  • Thanks Elsie! I love seeing your point of view from the “industry side”. I actually just blog for fun. I have a day job that I love working to help keep Louisiana’s wetlands clean, but another passion of mine is crocheting. I started a blog to share patterns and to just give my creative side some attention. Honestly, it never crosses my mind that people have blogging careers! It’s so awesome that people can grow a business from blogging, and the ABM team is the perfect example.You guys are amazing!

  • I agree with you too Elise. Well said!

    Also, I think that there is a learning curve to monetizing. It’s hard work and when you first start it’s easy to make mistakes and get pressured by agencies to copy/paste photos and words that are not your own. It’s a LOT of work when done well. With that said, when I see young bloggers doing their first sponsored post and it looks “too sponsored” I know that 99% of time they will get better with time. Throwing tomatoes isn’t going to help. There’s just a learning curve and most people figure out how to make it work for them really quickly!

    Elsie

  • Well I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and celebrate all your success. That said, I didn’t start blogging to win money. I did it (and do it) because I wanted to connect with other people, because i love to see and read other’s adventures, to read about their lives, to see places that probably I’m not going to be able to visit any time soon.
    Blogging for me has been such an adventure, i never thought that i could learn something, but thanks to diys and the recipes that bloggers share here and there, I feel that my life is richer than it used to be, like I never thought i would eat falafels and thanks to Emma’s recipe I totally loved.
    Why I do blog?, because just like I love to read and see, there would probably out there people who would like to read and see little bits of my life, which even when it’s not the most exciting, it’s different from theirs.
    I have a small number of followers, but it’s really exciting every time I see the number and let me thinking that people are actually reading what i write.
    If i’m planning making this my career, well, it would be awesome to be a full time blogger, but I’m still learning, so who knows.
    Can’t wait for the new e-course, i have the other one which i loved and helped me a lot!

  • Thank you so much Lizél-Antoinette! It makes me SO happy to visualize you reading all the way from South Africa. Just another modern miracle! 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading, Elsie

  • Hey Courteney,

    So cool you’ve been blogging for so long! Congratulations!

    Yes- sponsor work can be tricky because it’s no longer just your opinion that needs to be considered. There are so many other ways to monetize that I (personally) think are better for first time monetizing. Affiliate links, affiliate sidebar ads or a simple cpm based ad (like a google ad) are what I would suggest to just dip your toe in the water!

    Thanks for reading & congrats again on 7 years!! Elsie

  • I love this post! as a new blogger myself I get very nervous about content but I feel since i’m so new at this I just have to go with the flow, I would love for at one point this to become a career for me or something a bit similar!

    this has gave me a boost of confidence!

    thegreatcatsbyx.blogspot.co.uk

  • Tara,
    Your perspective totally hits home with me because I just wish that everyone could blog for at least a while without knowing about the monetizing side. I’m so glad I started this blog before I knew there would ever be any money and I hate that brand new bloggers have to have that built-in pressure!

    With that said, your seem very smart. You totally get it!! I can tell you’re going to do just fine because you already have a healthy perspective and expectations in check.

    Thanks so much for reading & good luck with your new blog!
    Elsie

  • Hi Jamie,

    Oh no, there is definitely no train to miss. I feel like, if anything, new bloggers have way more opportunities than us “oldies”. :))

    Good luck with your dream! It’s inspiring to hear your story!
    Elsie

  • It’s so inspiring to read stories like this. I sometimes envy people who managed to make blogging their career. I started an interior design blog 2 months ago and it is really hard for me (working full time) to find the time (and the interiors!) to focus on original content. I am thinking of maybe going more towards even small DIY projects to have more of my own stuff on the blog… Posts like this one give me motivation to try and find the time (and the interiors?) 🙂 Maybe I will be able to make this my career too if I try a bit harder 🙂

  • I have a huge respect for the work your group does, and I think you definitely set a great example for other bloggers. I’ve contemplated changing my own blogging direction (and name!) and may still do so. What I began as a blog following my journey into veganism has become so, SO much more (‘Your Moms a Vegan’ as a blog title doesn’t much fit into everything my blog touches, though I am still vegan). I think it’s nostalgia that keeps me from making a change. So, I was definitely drawn to #3 in your list above. Thank you, again, for bringing up very valid analyses!

    PS–STILL playing around and LOVING the ABM Actions 😀

  • My blog is slightly related to my business (artist) but mostly… not. I consider it a personal blog and I don’t try to make any income from it. Part of the reason for that is that I don’t like to guarantee a posting schedule and part is that I love posting about whatever strikes my fancy. I have problems categorizing my blog (I am an artist, and a dog fanatic, and a seamstress, and a gluten free baker, and a bunch of other things!) and I think that makes it hard for me to build a focused readership, which I have learned to accept. I kind of truly love my blog exactly the way it is. I love reading about the business of blogging, but I think that sometimes I need to take a step back and just do something because I just like to do it, with no hope for future monetary gain or plans to increase readership.

    Anyways, thanks for this peak behind the scenes! – Amanda

  • Hey Leah,
    Awe man, your comment is so sad!

    I see where you are coming from though. It is very hard to stay in the drivers seat while working with companies and agencies. (VERY hard) There is definitely a learning curve happening in the industry, but I still have a lot of hope for the future. More information is always a good thing and I’m hoping that as the years go by bloggers will feel more empowered to take control of their own careers.

    Thanks so much for reading,
    Elsie

  • Mary, I feel the same! Actually, my initial decision to illustrate all of my blog posts lead to a career as an artist (practice makes perfect)… even though I was in no way an artist when I began my blog!

  • This was so well written. I started blogging in July of last year. To be quite honest, I started just to keep myself accountable – tackling things throughout the year. It’s been so much more than that for me. Who knows where it will take me, I just hope I’m having as much fun doing it when I get there. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Very nice post. I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years and it’s been a lot of trial and error. I post about what I want to read and what I’m excited to share with my readers, but it’s hard not to get caught up in constantly checking page views. I’ve definitely seen some growth in my blog but not as much as I’d like. It’s really frustrating when I spend a lot of time on a post I’m really excited about and then nobody reads it. How do you handle situations like that? I am going to the Go Blog Social blogging conference in KC in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to gaining a lot of knowledge there.

  • I totally understand! We (and everyone on our team) had to have those similar conversations with people who mean a lot to us. Only time will tell, but we’ve found that people can go from skeptical to hopeful to cheering you on in a matter of just a few years if you keep sharing each little milestone!

    Sending hugs! Elsie

  • Hi Patricia!

    Yes, I completely agree with you. Like I said, I actually envy hobby bloggers! This post was written mainly for people with a desire to do it professionally in some way, but I think there is just as much value in doing it 100% for fun!

    Love hearing your thoughts,
    Elsie

  • Hi Stefania!
    It’s so fun to hear your story. I can’t wait to see how blogging evolves around the world over the next few years!

    Thanks so much for reading!
    Elsie

  • thank you elsie for that post! i live in austria and i am running a really successful blog, wheeew! sometimes i cant believe which goals i have reached with my page. and all those lovely comments and mails! i think that they are one of the best parts of being a blogger. to help other people, show them different views, inspire them!
    i am a young teacher too, so blogging really helps me to get new ideas for my pupils. and on the top: it gives me so much selfesteem too.
    i never ever thought about advertising or marketing when i opened my doors 3,5 years ago (blogging is a really really young “business” here). i think maybe that’s one of the most important things. not starting with the need to get paid for your work but for the love of it.
    (sorry for my bad english, ahh!)

  • Thank you very much for explaining your opinion. It is nice to hear from an expert. I’m with my blog since I was pregnant and I started writing to learn about this world. Sometimes I feel like you, that we are living a great time, the begining of a new Era, we are part of it. We are making the future. Sometimes when I say that I write a blog, people think that I’m waisting my time on stupid things on Internet. But I would like to do it more professional and if it’s possible earn money ;). If you want to have a look and give your opinion, I will be very pleased. Because I consider you an expert and I admire that you have been able to creat jobs with the blog. Since I know you, I can’t stop reading you:)
    http://tarragonain.blogspot.com.es

  • I’ve been a reader for years, and I find it extremely interesting to read your thoughts on blogging as a career and where it is going. I love the idea of blogging as an industry. I have long thought that blogging is an industry, but it is cool to see it beginning to be thought about and talked about in these terms. Blogging has become such an integral part of many communities, as well as society as a whole, and it has given so many people a platform to share ideas that would not have normally been able to reach so many people. I think it’s all just so interesting!
    xo

  • This post inspires me so much! I also started blogging just for fun to write about the things I wanted to read. What did you do in the beginning of your blogging career to get more traffic? Are there any more things you did in addition to posts with a great quality? xo Rosa

  • I’ve currently been writing small blogposts at my site, BessieBlogs.wordpress.com I’ve mainly been writing about things that I feel very opinionated on but ideally I’d love to create a lifestyle blog. I’m a student in my third year of university and I haven’t the money to do what I would want with my blog… Any advice??

  • Really interesting in other posts about “young industries.” I’ve just started my undergrad in a completely new program called Creative Industries! What we’re learning now (as the first class) is that the creative industries are getting bigger and new jobs, “young industries” as you call them, are being created all the time! I think my university’s program will play a role in giving more “credit” to people in these industries, though, which is lacking!

  • I loved reading this! My husband works for PodcastOne, a startup in the baby industry of podcasting (they sell commercial time in podcasts to advertisers and produce/distribute podcasts). Baby industries are SCARY, but also EXCITING. As he says “it’s exciting to have a seat at the table.” So glad ABM has traversed the scary waters and stays afloat (and stands out) in the big sea of blogs. Congrats to you!

  • I began my blog in high school for fun, it sat dormant for a few years and recently i’ve gotten back into it. I’m discovering how much I truly love it. You’re blog has been a huge inspiration for me, love the way you guys do life! It would be a dream to blog for a living but currently its just a hobby. Thank you for sharing a realistic view of what if takes and some really important things to be aware of.
    Thanks for being brave and paving the way for so many bloggers!

  • This was such an informative and inspiring post! I started blogging in December and continuously think about how to improve it because I honestly love it. Thank you so much for writing about this topic because it is such a baby industry and it is hard to know where to go next. I love your posts and your content is beyond gorgeous. I truly admire ABM  Thanks again!

    goldpolkadots.com

  • I blog as a hobby, and I feel like I’m at a turning point and don’t know which direction I’m supposed to go in.

    I started blogging in 2006 shortly after moving away from my family in the midwest to California as a way to “keep in touch” and to just kind of use it as an online journal. Then in 2010, I moved back to the midwest (Kansas City,) and I created a new blog – this one more as an online scrapbook- more centered around photography, DIY projects, the occasional recipe, my storm chasing ventures and life updates. My blog has only ever been a hobby and I’ve always loved having this “digital” scrapbook to go back to.

    But you’re right. It IS a lot of time and hard work. Currently I feel I’m at a crossroads. I love my blog, but I’d also love to find a way to turn it into a career. Or at least a side job. I’m passionate about it, but at the same time I’m currently feeling burnt out and lost. I work full time as a wedding photographer (a business I started in 2011 which I love,) and I really just don’t really know where to go from here.

    I think you guys are awesome and I’ve been following your blog since 2009. It’s my daily read in the mornings while I’m sipping my bullet proof coffee! I feel like we are kindred spirits because we have so much in common with our passions, interests and styles. On the other hand, and this is embarrassing to admit, I’ve been afraid of feeling like a “second rate” version of what you’re doing here. You know, doing crafts and recipes and projects only not as good. Yes, those are yucky thoughts and I try not to think that way, but they happen from time to time. I have tabs in my blog design like yours, and I see them daily (loving them) but thinking; “A Beautiful Mess also has tabs. I don’t want people to think I am trying to copy there content!”

    So basically, I’m at a point where I’m struggling to find direction. The more I think about how I could possibly turn it into a business and to find a new direction for it the more confused I feel. Usually I feel so inspired and excited by my blog, and I currently feel lost. I don’t want to leave it but I don’t know where to take it.

    Anyway this is getting super long- sorry! Maybe others will be able to relate to how I’m currently feeling.

    Keep up the good work!

    ~Allison~

  • This post is really great! I just started a blog and I love updating it even if I don’t have many readers to start out. It’s a passion and I think that’s what makes it an industry. As long as there are people who are motivated to keep an industry going, it will flourish.

    Felicia,
    lotussaturday.com

  • Hi Elsie! This was wonderful to read as a new blogger. I finally took the leap at the end of last year and created my slice of the internet after a lot of thought: theromanticrealist.net. I actually took your Blog Love course, which was what finally convinced me to start!

    I still get so nervous whenever I publish a new post and I still deal with a lot of people looking at me like I’m a crazy person when I try to get a picture of my pretty pastry juuuuuust right. It can be an intimidating thing to put so much of yourself out there, but I keep telling myself that as long as I enjoy it and I have a group of people (however small) that find value in what I write that it’s worth it 🙂

    My next step is learning more about photography. I can cook, craft, scrapbook, and write in my sleep…but photography is sort of a black hole of the unknown to me. My limit at the moment is playing with the A Beautiful Mess photo app and other iPhone tips/tricks till I get what I’m looking for since I can’t afford to spring for a nicer camera at the moment.

    Thanks again (to you and Emma)for creating a fun, creative, and inspiring space for your readers to visit everyday!

  • Thank you for this massively encouraging post. I’ve just started a blog for my theatre group where I work as a volunteer, everything I do is in my own time, and I’m hoping to build some really good interaction with our customers. So far I’ve only done two posts but everyone has to start somewhere! I’m advertising our blog posts via our current social media as I’m not sure how else to bring people to the blog – do you think this is a good way or can you recommend other ways? (The blog is on the theatre website using WordPress) oh and can I just say, HUGE fan of ABM x

  • Thanks so much for writing this! I write my blog as a hobby but sometimes dream of it becoming my career (because I have so much fun doing it!). I always try to remind myself to write something that I would want to read.

    xx – Erica
    sweet-endeavors.com

  • Thank you so much for this amazing, informative post. I just love reading A Beautiful Mess.

    I honestly think that you guys have the best job in the whole world. I would love to do DIY, bake, cook and write for a living. It’s such a scary goal though and it’s such a scary thing to aspire too and often it’s hard to know where to even start. Thank you for providing such helpful insight into this.

    I am so encouraged by you guys because I know you work tirelessly and I’ve honestly been following your blog since it started sooooo long ago! I love reading it and I am so inspired. I have tried out tons of your recipes and DIY projects and I love trying them.

    Thank you for not getting caught up into all the craziness of sponsors and advertising and for always providing such helpful, creative, inspiring content.

  • “Write the blog you want to read.” That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? I just started blogging a few weeks ago and am still finding my voice and figuring out what my handful of followers are most interested in reading. I did, however, start with an eye toward eventually earning an income from blogging so I am eager to learn from those who have been around a while. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on blogging.

  • Thanks for sharing this Elsie 🙂 It’s great to read positive viewpoint on the future of blogging!

    It’s funny to see how many blogs there are lately about making money blogging 🙂 The latest issue of Cosmopolitan (in The Netherlands, where I’m from) is even advising everyone to start blogging and use social media to make money. I don’t think it’s that simple though, if you want to make money you have to be good at blogging. And have fun with it! The most fun blogs are the ones created out of love.

    Thanks for this great post, I really enjoy reading ABM 🙂

  • Oh my goodness Elsie, thank you so much!!
    This post was SO insightful. I live on an island in Canada and the blogging scene isn’t massive here, so when telling strangers, friends and family about my blog-they usually have no idea what I’m talking about, ha BUT every one is always so encouraging.
    I absolutely LOVE blogging. I love writing about, creating and curating things that make my heart sparkle. I’m constantly dreaming and planning for it but I have a little dilemma.

    See, I work full time (and then some) for my church (which I also LOVE) and I’m taking college classes through distance education as well on the side.
    As much as blogging full time seems incredible, I just couldn’t leave my day job. Yet, I know if I invest more in my blog, I’ll see greater results..ah!

    I’m going to Alt this June, so I’m excited to learn more there! But again thank you so much for this post and sorry about this novel of a comment!! ha
    xo, laura

  • Cannot express the gratitude I have towards this post! With only being 19, and ambitions to start my own blog in a few months, I am grateful for advise and new perspectives on blogging. After a long day of classes, I take much joy in reading ABM. Thank you for being a blog of quality and endless inspiration.

  • The other editor of our blog, Stephanie, already commented on this, but I wanted to as well! Just wanted to thank you for posting this; it’s such great information and it’s always nice hearing advice from ‘big time’ bloggers 🙂 This made me feel really optimistic (while still knowing I need to be realistic) about the blog we recently launched. It makes me feel like though incredibly challenging, it is possible to make this into a career. Until then, though, we’ll keep doing what we love and hope for the best! Thanks again!

  • This is such a great post! I’ve been blogging for a few years now, and only have really been investing in and trying to grow my blog in the past year or two. All of your advice is spot on. I think one of the biggest challenges, but something I really strive to (and sometimes feel like I achieve) is creating really quality, original, and fresh content. I just wish I had more time to devote to it!

    After reading this, I’m feeling super inspired. 🙂

  • I love this post! I love how and where your ideas on where blogging is going! I hope for all the same! I’m kind of new to blogging but fell in love with it after finding your blog and a few others! You’re such inspiration to me! I myself don’t blog just for the money, I do it purely because I enjoy rambling! 🙂 But it wouldn’t hurt and I wouldn’t complain if I made a living out of it! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! It is really interesting to read your view about blogging. In Portugal bloggers are very far away to be seen as a job. Hopefully it will change…

    Love ABM 🙂
    Regards from Portugal!

  • Hey Indi,
    Honestly, this is the toughest question to answer because there is no one path & what worked for us may not work for another blogger. So, with that disclaimer said, we built our brand by teaching creative projects mostly. It’s been a steady growth process, but the year we had the biggest growth spurt was the year Emma started sharing recipes and we started to put more effort into sharing projects with step photos on a regular basis. 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading!
    Elsie

  • I love young industries. The risk, the evolution… it is all so exciting! I am on online retail seller and when people around me (not my customers) realize I don’t have a physical storefront then they assume I am actually unemployed. I find it funny because someone has to sell all that stuff they buy on Amazon.

    As far as blogging goes, I almost feel like I decided to take my blog seriously (and professionally) too late in the game. It is more competitive than ever. I would be curious to know how many new blogs are created each day. However, I love a little competition and will just have to be more creative and consistent in order to float to the top. I am so glad that you shared your outlook on it. Lately, many successful bloggers have been talking about their frustrations, their pageviews dropping, and waiting for the blogging bubble to burst. Thank you for your honest optimism. Your outlook gives me hope!

  • Hey Hanna!
    Your struggle is totally valid. There is always give & take with every big choice so it’s smart that you’re thinking that through! 🙂 Good luck with your blog (on either path you choose!)

    Thanks so much for reading,
    Elsie

  • Hi Dulce,
    You have a great attitude! I think it’s very smart to keep both options open. You’re right… who knows! Blogging for fun is definitely the best way to get started- more fun, less pressure!

    Thanks so much for reading!
    Elsie

  • Thank you for this isn’t it strange how things turn up when you need it most? I have been blogging for four years and although my blog has come on leaps and bounds from where it first begun, sometimes I question what I love to do because I am yet to make a living solely from it. I love my blog, I do and I can’t imagine doing anything else but it can be disheartening when I see others progressing ahead of me.

    I needed to read this post so shrug the doubt off my shoulders and think about all the points you made and putting a lease of life into my priorities and focusing a bit more on the things I love and putting it into action.

  • Hey Elsie! Thank you SO much for this. I’ve so appreciated the insight and personal lessons you’ve shared both here and in the past. It’s a bit overwhelming at times to be apart of a generation where so much is up to us, and though it seems like that means freedom, it often feels like simply no direction, which is tough to try and ‘break into’. I have a day job I’m incredibly grateful for, but I’ve had a long time love and passion for all things ‘bloggy’ 🙂 I’ve tried on a couple of occasions, even after following your course, to start a blog of my own and really struggled under the pressure of feeling as though you have to hit it just right, straight out of the gate. For those so us coming into this exciting world wanting to join I think it often feels like we can’t afford the luxury of getting to go slow, figure it out as we go, make mistakes, and evolve – if we want to be ‘successful’. Though I have a love and passion for blogs – reading and maybe even writing my own some day – I don’t honestly know if I’m cut out for the ‘job’… Maybe that’s putting the cart before the horse though 🙂 I really appreciate that you mentioned writing the kind of blog you want to read, but I have to laugh b/c my first thought was ‘oh no, THAT’S a tall order’ 🙂 thank you so much for sharing and keeping a personal side to what you all share. You truly make up a unique, special, and hugely talented bunch, and it blows me away to know just how much work that’s taken for you to do this so successfully. Any thoughts about just getting out of the gate, how to get past that ‘honeymoon’ phase would be greatly appreciated, and though I don’t know that I’ll be doing much of my own blogging right now, I’m super excited to take your updated course when that becomes available. Thank you for the valuable, well thought content you all share each day – I love every it of it 🙂

  • Hi there!
    I completely relate with this. We did an interiors book this past year (coming in August) and it was more work than I can describe in words. Head to toe rooms have to be the hardest project EVER. The small stuff is definitely more do-able but the big projects can be SO inspiring and fun too. A mix of both is good! You can totally do it!

    xx- Elsie

  • Hi Elsie! Great post :). I, too, missed your last course on blogging and was so bummed when I couldn’t find it anymore. What ‘s your ETA for the new one? Can’t wait! Thanks, Christina in Austin

  • You have no idea how much you and Emma have inspired me, and how invaluable your honesty and words are. I love watching ABM’s success and although it’s not in the cards for all of us, you consistently provide your readers with inspiration and original content. This post and Emma’s Changing Dreams post have really gotten my wheels turning. Thanks for keeping us dreaming and reaching for the stars!

  • Hey Jes!
    I totally understand about the blog name. I chose this name when I was way younger and I probably wouldn’t still choose it today, but it’s special so we’re keeping it. 🙂

    Thanks so much for reading! Oh- and I’m so happy to hear your enjoying the actions!
    xx- Elsie

  • One of the most helpful blogging books I read at the start of my blogging journey was called ‘blogging for bliss’. That’s me. I blog for the bliss, the fun, the freedom and the autonomy of it. It’s my creative outlet, my scrapbook and my online diary (within reason!) I work full time as a University lecturer so could never dedicate the time needed to making my blog my career and whilst I sometimes look at my blog and wish it were better/had more original content etc, I know that is not always going to be possible for me and that’s ok as my blog is purely for me – and anyone else who happens to enjoy it!
    I’ve been reading ABM for a few years now and love watching the journey you have all been on – its incredible. From the days when your header was a bunch of cut out paper words on a wooden floor until now, it’s amazing how far you guys have come. I’m a big fan, congratulations to you!
    Claire.x

  • Hey Rosa!
    Not too much. I would link my friends and they would link to us. We never paid for advertising or anything like that. We did have a big spike in new readers on the first year we started posting recipes and regular DIY projects.

    I think it’s different for everyone, though! There is no big secret. Slow and steady growth is the best recipe, we think!

    Good luck with your blog,
    Elsie

  • Hey Bethany,
    My best advice is to write about stuff that you love reading about! There are so many ways to create a strong blog, you don’t have to spend any money. Just be creative and listen to your instincts!

    Good luck,
    Elsie

  • I love you guys! Reading this gave me a more excitement with blogging.. It may be just a hobby for me at the moment, but I’m happy to know that this industry is slowly being taken seriously. It’s exciting!! Looking forward to reading for more… thanks ladies!

    auie
    http://www.purevowels.com

  • This is such a great post. Lately, I’ve almost felt like blogging was dying down -so many bloggers I used to follow have just …stopped. It’s really bummed me out and kind of left me unmotivated. But reading this post has rejuvenated me and opened my eyes. Blogging is not dying down. I don’t know why I didn’t see it -it’s growing and evolving so much! I love seeing bloggers I’ve followed for years publishing books, apps, going on sponsored trips, etc. It’s so cool that our passion for writing/creating can be rewarded and encouraged:) Oh wow, now all I want to do is write like 5 blog posts. Wahoo! Thank you ABM:)

  • Hey Allison!
    Yes, I’m sure a lot of people can relate to you, I know we can! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Those “lost” feeling times can be some of the best because it forces you to step back and evaluate, make new plans and dream new dreams.

    Sending love! Thanks so much for reading,
    Elsie

  • This was such a wonderful post! Thank you so much for your thoughtful insight and expertise! I started my own blog last september and while I was so excited about it at first, I have found myself fall into a routine of writing and sharing stories that are just like other bloggers I see. It has made me lose sight of my original vision and my own personal creativity. I have read your e-courses bloglove and blogdesignlove and can not wait for the release of the next one! You continue to inspire me! Thank you! 🙂

  • Hey Emma!
    You are at a great stage. I remember when I was exactly where you are, saving up for my first camera. Enjoy the process! Not having fancy equipment only makes you more creative! 😀

    Thanks so much for reading,
    Elsie

  • Hi Claire,
    The best way to advertise (for free) that I’ve ever found is finding a few blog pals to cross promote with!

    Good luck with your blog!
    Elsie

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! My sister and I started a blog a year ago, not really sure of where it was heading. We were posting random things (seemingly), and just a week or two ago, we both realized we need to maintain a focus and find things we really are PASSIONATE about to write about. And a new title. But this is just what I needed to read – my sister is coming into town this weekend and we are going to come up with a plan of action!

  • This was so fun and interesting to read. I’m looking forward to your other posts in the series. I blog for fun, and started almost 7 years ago, and have had fits and spurts of ‘on again, off again’. I’ve been in an ‘on again’ spurt the last year, but my blog does not make any money. I’ve had a number of offers to have advertisers, but I don’t feel confident that my (tiny) readership would care about sponsored posts.
    I want to publish books someday, and I think my blog is excellent writing practice, on top of all the other writing (offline) I do. I also comment a lot on blogs, and have honed it down to about twenty favorites that I’m a ‘regular’ at. It feels so funny to have started reading blogs and writing my own back when they were basically unknown, and watch so many make huge success, whereas mine still has a ‘homemade’ feel. It’s not spiffy at all, but I never wanted it to be a burden, or to feel like I *had* to do it.
    Recently I have been reading a lot about marketing, advertising, and publishing because the traditional publishing avenues for books is changing so rapidly. I reviewed a marketing book for another author and in it was the statement that I, as an author, HAD to be on all these social medias: twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram, google+, and SHOULD ALSO have: a blog, do videos, etc. I can’t even imagine. Talk about overwhelming. That takes up all the writing time just figuring out all that jazz! I love pinterest, facebook, and reading/commenting on others’ blogs while writing my own. That feels genuine and enough. I just hope a publishing company feels that way some day!
    Best wishes from a reader who has been here from *nearly* the beginning!
    Sarah M

  • Reading through some other comments brought something else to mind I’d love to get your advice on 🙂 one challenge I’ve faced as I’ve started (but then just sort of stopped) a few blogs is bringing family into it, specifically as readers. I’ve got tons of personal interests and directions I’d love to go, and ultimately I feel more freedom when sharing somewhat ‘anonymously’ rather than when I know family is reading. I’ve had tons of encouragement from my family when I’ve posted, and that means a ton, but then I start to feel boxed into their expectations on top of so many others. I love my family, but they don’t all have the same perspective or interests, and therefor might not be the ideal audience LOL, just curious how you’ve handled that over time 🙂 thanks again!!!

  • I really like this post, thank you so much for it. I’m a new blogger and some friends and family just don’t get it. They think it’s a waste of time. I get lots of “does anyone even read it?” Maybe one day they’ll finally understand.

  • Hi Heather I saw your comment and just had to chime in because I work full time at an office job, have a baby, and also keep up a personal blog. My tips are to approach it seriously and professionally and to use an editorial calendar to plan posts. And use your lunch break at work strategically! I can get a draft of a post done over a lunch break or plan out the next couple weeks of posts or do social media, etc during lunch. I try to aim for 2-3 posts a week, haven’t been able to master the daily but with a bit more planning and balancing the more intensive posts with short once I’m sure you could do it!

  • In Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, she has a GREAT quote about this that really struck a chord with me. It’s something the creator of SNL said to her. The quote is as follows:

    “The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s 11:30.

    This is something Lorne has said often about Saturday Night Live, but I think it’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You have to let people see what you wrote. It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.” (123)

    I think a little imperfection helps people relate, and that’s the greatest part of blogging in my opinion! It’s such an accessible form of writing, a way to directly interact with readers.

    Happy writing to you both!

  • Thank you for this post! You guys are really the model for how to evolve in blogging and still be fresh and inspired. I remember when it was just you Elsie! I love that your business keeps growing but your blog content is still fun, personal, helpful, all the things it’s always been. I can’t tell you how many blogs over the years that I stopped reading because they became about nonstop sponsored posts and promotions, and the personal voice of the blogger just disappeared.

    I’ve been blogging for several years and have never monetized and don’t know if I ever will. I do use my blog to promote items from my Etsy shop, but I promote other artists and indie shops just as much, if not more. And I also just like to share bits of my life and offer creative inspiration. I’ve been hesitant to shift from mostly personal blogging to business blogging, but you guys definitely give me hope that it can be done in a way that wouldn’t make me feel sketchy. And that it could still be fun if it was my main gig. 🙂

  • I’m one of those people who thinks it’s pretty cool that you’re writing a blog as your full time job. I currently write & design training manuals & blog on the side. It’s mostly for fun, but I also hope it helps with my writing. It’s easy to get stuck in this world of technical writing. My favourite type of writing is the honest, personal kind though.

    I used to agonize over my posts before I ever published them, but I’ve recently let go of that a little. I think that’s the hardest thing: finding a balance between quality (& being a perfectionist) & reality (that I’m not perfect). I agree one hundred percent that quality is so important, but I’ve had to learn that doesn’t always mean perfection. I’m happy you guys seem to have found that! Congrats!

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Elsie. I have a blog that I started in July 2013. I absolutely love writing for my blog and it’s my dream to one day be a full-time blogger. Some days I feel so encouraged because I see where my blog has come from (it’s so much better than when I first started) and my that my readership is growing. Other days it feels so discouraging because I have no idea how to turn it into an actual business. Right now I work a normal, 40 hours a week, job as an office manager and often put 20 hours a week or more into my blog, so it can be exhausting! I love it so much, though, it makes all the extra time worth it. I really appreciate it when you take the time to write posts like this, it’s so encouraging to see other people who’ve made it and to be reminded that it takes time and effort, no one just ‘makes it’ over night. I really want to take your class and learn as much as I possibly can about this ever changing industry! Thank you again!

    http://howtomakehome.blogspot.com

  • Very timely and intuitive advice. Thank you! I am daily contemplating the majority of the things listed above. My first step to change of quality was with your new shop!! I wrote my first post today using the new actions and hope to take the DSLR class next time! I want to read a blog that is updated regularly, so guess what I need to start doing!! I think another struggle of mine is feeling like originality is lacking. I get great ideas on DIY’s for example, check pinterest, and then notice 20 other blogs have done the same DIY. *Dangit, I’m unoriginal!* haha. That could be a Portland thing, we all think we need to be original and the firsts to have heard a band or seen a particular show, but I guess I need advice inr egards to original content. I suppose it’s ok to repeat a DIY as my take is usually always different. IDK, you see! I can’t even decide what to write about! haha. #storyofmylife

  • How I would love to become part of the industry of blogging someday! It’s incredible how much work it takes, but I think it’s so cool how you can create an ideal job for yourself. Great tips, I’ll be keeping them in mind, especially knowing they’re from very successful bloggers! 😉

  • Thank you so much for this post. My best friend and I started our blog 6 months ago – and it can be very scary at times. We are trying to figure everything out as we go along, sometimes it feels like we have enough ideas to write 10 different blogs, and sometimes we simply don’t know what we are doing. But, with all that said, I love it and it is so exciting to be a part of an industry with such amazing bloggers to look up to (A Beautiful Mess being one of our personal favorites). It has been an exciting adventure! Thank you so much for this great advice!

    -Ashley

  • I feel like I need to post this to my Facebook page to help the older generation understand a big more what blogging can mean haha. A lot of the time I feel like when I talk about my blog (to non-bloggers) people think I’m an absolute joke! But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that I love and am passionate about what I do! I’ve recently been able to move down to part time because of my blog and that it really the greatest thing in the world, so “hah” to all of those people that gave me blank stares 😉

    xx -b.

  • My best friend and I are getting ready to start our very first blog 🙂 Your site has been so helpful to us in terms of inspiration and also learning new things. Thank you so much. We are working out the hosting and domain stuff, while writing articles and hope to be up and running in a couple months. I think there is still so much for us to learn but as an industry you are right that there is still so much more discovering to do. I can’t wait to be a part of that journey.

  • Thank you for the inspiration! I just start blogging as a fun and creative outlet, but there’s not a lot of guidance out there so I found this extremely helpful.

  • Hi Elsie! Wonderful post! As a new blogger that’s blogging just for a creative outlet—I love the feeling of putting something out there that’s a little piece of me—no matter if I’m the only one reading it! I have a “regular” job and post as often as I can in my free time. I started my blog as a way to give myself a dream assignment. 🙂 I have a great respect for people who are able to make blogging a full-time job. I think the profession can only grow. It’s truly fabulous to see where life & blogging will take you!

  • What a lovely post! I’ve been wanting to start a blog but it’s scary to take that first step. But I like your advice of writing the blog you want to read. I want to create a blog for my field (historic preservation) which has the youth and excitement of some of my favorite home decor blogs. There’s nothing out there quite like it, so maybe it’s time to put the worries aside and dive in!

    On a completely unrelated note…

    Where are the white & chartreuse top and the green pants from in your photo? So cute! 🙂

  • This came at the right time…I was needing this, as I’m sure so many others would agree…Thank You!!!! You inspire us to continue what we love to do 🙂

  • This post could not have come at a better time! My cousin and I did a beauty diploma a couple years ago and could not get jobs in the industry! It was too hard to break in with no experience and having just the qualification was not enough so we are starting our own skincare/beauty blog so we can use what we learnt to help others! We are so excited/scared but this post has made things a lost clearer!

    Thanks for this post! I appreciate your honesty 😀 x

  • I don’t usually comment but just wanted to say that I really love your “advice” posts like these—both business and life advice. Keep ’em coming!

  • I have to say, my personal style is a little different than ABM and sometimes I almost unfollow because so many of the projects don’t speak to me. But this? This is well written, thoughtful, helpful and genius. Thank you for writing it, Elsie. Very appreciated.

  • Thank you for your Insight and honesty! You’re so right, it is such an exciting industry to be a part of as you guys at ABM have really displayed how a blog can become a sustainable exciting business. I can only hope to have an empire as successful, exciting and fresh as ABM and might have a but of blog envy! Keep it up and the sky is the limit! xx

  • I blog as a hobby – mostly abaout books and movies (in portuguese). I have a career that I love and blogging is a way of sharing my passions outside wok. Also, it´s really great when a friend tell me he/she loved something that I shared, or discovered a new favorite author. It´s rewarding!
    Your blog is my favorite, thanks for always being so open and positive.

  • I blog as a hobby – mostly abaout books and movies (in portuguese). I have a career that I love and blogging is a way of sharing my passions outside wok. Also, it´s really great when a friend tell me he/she loved something that I shared, or discovered a new favorite author. It´s rewarding!
    Your blog is my favorite, thanks for always being so open and positive.

  • Thanks for this post it’s so motivating!
    I can’t say how much I love your blog and your book!
    I want to become blogger too when I’m ready with school (I’m 15 years old).
    I’ve already a blog but I’m not very motivated to blog because I don’t really like what I write.
    I think it’s because I don’t know how much personal stuff I can write before I say too much…
    Do you have any tips for me?
    Thank you
    xoxo
    Anna

  • This is a really interesting post. I only started my blog recently, within the last few months. For me at the moment, it is just (“just”!) a personal hobby. A sort of online diary – not the “Dear Diary” kind of diary, but somewhere I can post, share and keep my photos without having to bombard friends’ Facebook newsfeeds every day. My family don’t use things like Facebook either, so this way they can see what I’m doing with my time, too, which they love.
    The idea of posting publicy on the internet was a really scary thought for me at first… but so far I’m loving doing my little blog! It’s making me actively think back on each day, and kind of appreciate each day more, which has been a nice, and positive, way to start 2014.
    Who knows, if I continue to enjoy it as much as I am now, maybe it will become a career – that would be amazing! I’m going to have to see where it goes :o)
    I LOVE your blog by the way. Beautiful photos, and such original ideas! :o) x
    Laura: a Lifestyle Blog

  • I really enjoyed this post, it’s so interesting to hear your thoughts on blogging! I think youtube is quickly becoming an important aspect of blogging. This year especially, loads of my favourite UK fashion bloggers have moved on to youtube. I enjoy watching videos sometimes, but I much prefer to read what someone has written, and I feel really scared at the thought of filming a video myself! I write a blog as a hobby and don’t plan on turning it into a business, and it’s such an important part of my life. I have so much energy to put into it, and after a year and a half now I’ve formed real life friendships from it and I’m hoping to use my blog to advertise my etsy shop which is so exciting! I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about blogging becoming “unfashionable” so it’s reassuring to hear that yoy say something different 🙂 xx

  • I’ve been blogging as a hobby for 8 years (whoa, didn’t realize it was that long till I typed it out). Every now and then I consider trying to do more/better but I come back to it being something I enjoy and want to keep enjoying so it’s far from professional. I make my money at my day job.

    I am so grateful folks like you can blog full time and work out the income side. I know it is a ton of work and I am impressed and don’t mind a bit the ads etc (if I minded I would just stop reading). But, as a blog reader I think my favorite, favorite blogs tend to be the ones that are where you started out. Personal blogs of small business owners where the blog (in part) promotes their art or other work. Posie Gets Cozy comes to mind as an outstanding example. I also love a lot of personal bloggers who do run ads but my guess would be the income is supplementing rather than supporting the family. Swistle comes to mind as an example and maybe SouleMama and Smitten Kitchen.

    My guess is that to make a living of it you have to post a lot of content but as a reader the multiple, daily posts are actually an overwhelming amount to read 🙂 I still subscribe to ABM but have stopped subscribing to Design Sponge and a few others because I can’t keep up.

    Anyway, thank you for these valuable insight posts. I love them.

  • It’s great to hear your thoughts on blogging as the whole “blogging is dead” thing has been floating around. I think a lot of people start blogging because they feel they have stuff to share but then in an effort to get more readers, go about “branding” themselves. I know I did but it just felt so fake and so forced. I blog because I want to now, I have absolutely no interest in making blogging a career. I actually tend to gravitate to blogs where people share a lot of different aspects of their life instead of a more focused content. Again, thanks for sharing!

  • This is such a great post! I did a research project on blogging for one of my classes and the fact that I referred to blogging as an industry really bothered my instructor. He said that it is more of a “lucrative hobby” than an industry. I very much disagree and was so happy to see you mention this in your post. While I’m not currently a blogger (I would like to start one someday soon) I follow so many blogs that prove that blogging can be more than just a hobby.

  • I really enjoy your blog. You offer interesting posts and you are consistant. That is what brings me back every day. Great work!

  • Thank you so much for writing this! ABM inspires me daily, you all are truly a dream team. Just when I think, what is left for them to do? You surprise me with something else amazing! And it’s so refreshing to see your positive opinion of the future for the blogging industry. I’ve read several posts lately about how the blog is dying and it’s almost impossible for new bloggers to make it these days. You are definitely an example of how hard work, passion, and a true vision can make anything possible. I’ve been writing a blog for a while now, off and on, and yet it’s still almost impossible for me to tell anyone that I write now or would love to make it full time in the future. But…the ABM team is a great example of how amazing this industry is and what a blog can become.

  • Hey Elsie! Great post I love that you guys are very open about your adventure, I’ve been a long time reader and you are very inspiring! It is so true that there is no “career” choice for blogging. Whenever family and friends ask “so, what would your ultimate dream job be?” I always want to say well blogging, sharing and creating exciting content. I know what I mean but I kinda get some shifty eyebrows and just resort to saying art teacher or graphic designer to satisfy their question ha! It’s hard for creative people to explain what it is they do and grow into. I really love getting insight on your adventure with ABM. I was wondering if this was something you always knew you wanted to do? Or did one thing lead to another and “voila” this awesome blog was born?! Thanks again for sharing.

  • This is a really great post! I’m finishing up a ten page argumentative paper about the importance of small business vs. big business in America today, and I think I may cite this post in my paper because you made some really good points around the topic of the internet’s influence on small business today. You guys definitely put out consistent, quality material with a personal touch and I hope you continue living the dream your whole lives, I’ll still be reading when you’re 80 if you all keep going here! 🙂 That would be the cutest thing, elderly women’s lifestyle blog! Imagine the outfit posts!! hehe

  • My most absolute favorite part about this is how you mentioned that you now have health insurance and retirement options for your employees. As an actress and small biz owner (baby sized, at just me and just 6 months old), I cannot even begin to say how amazing that is. For people with “regular” jobs it’s probably hard to understand just how life changing benefits and a 401k can be. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder that I can get to that place, too. xo

  • This is a great post. I have been toying with affiliate links on my blog for a while now. I just don’t want the money to change me and what I do, you know. Too many blogs I like have turned into advertising pages (not you guys, of course). Thanks for being a great example of doing this whole blogging thing right.

  • I loved this, Elsie! Thank you! I started my blog because I couldn’t find it when I wanted to read it and when I stick to my vision, that’s where I feel the magic happens.

    I sometimes forget how young this industry is, but then I remember that youtube and facebook didn’t exist when I left high school. It’s just the beginning!

  • Wow, I can’t say enough how much I love this post! Such great insight and advice that I for one really needed!

  • I love this post, and your perspective on blogging as a growing industry. Some things I’ve read seem to indicate that it’s”too late” to make a living from a food blog since there are already so many popular, established sites, but you’ve encouraged me to keep dreaming big!

  • Social media, and technology in general, have massively changed how every industry communicates. That’s a fact. I love that I earned a BA in Communication, then I can adapt to communicate on whatever avenue I need. I wasn’t trained on social media. Facebook came around at the end of my senior year of college. When I share that fact with the college students I work with now, they’re shocked. Already, people’s lives have been dominated by technology changes and they don’t realize that even 10 years ago, things were very different. As a career counselor, I’ve introduced the ideas of freelancing, blogging, being a guest blogger, and really putting yourself out there online to help start a career. Even though today’s college students are a generation raised on technology, these career paths are still foreign to them. Wow, I sound so old talking like this, but I swear I’m only 30. 🙂

    Thanks for the post! I will definitely be sharing it with the students I work with.

  • I LOVE that you wrote this. It really gives me peace of mind. Tonight, I told my husband that I am deleting all of the advertising from my blog (Treats With a Twist) and starting over and picking a new network (after 2 years with these ones). Sometimes its so hard and extremely frustrating to try to be brave and make these decisions. I didn’t go to business school but this is my passion, so I’m walking blindly. But its good to hear and remember that everyone in this industry is. The very few sponsored opportunities I get send me through the roof with excitement and I’ve even turned some down due to not believing in the company. I know that years down the road these decisions will all pay off for me (I’ve been blogging for over 4 years and I always tell people this is my job).
    Anyways, you’re such an inspiration, business-wise and creatively.

  • this was an inspiring and helpful post 🙂 I’m always looking to improve my blog – thank you for the tips!! Congratulations on the 6th anniversary of your blog! Always enjoying your posts!

  • Such great advice! I started my blog about 18 months ago but only recently decided to get serious and consistent with it. I have scoured the internet looking for blogging advice but have had such a hard time finding solid advice – and I think it’s just because everyone’s route looks differently! I suppose that’s what makes it so exciting.

    I completely agree about wanting to only read blog with original photography. I am so glad the industry is moving in that direction!

    Thanks for being so open to sharing the ‘secrets’ to your success. We all appreciate it!

  • Great post! So informative and good insight into the world of career blogging. Sounds like ABM is a great team to be a apart of. Your blog is inspiring me to work on my blog more.

  • Hi Elsie,

    I’m a long time reader and fellow Midwesterner, but I’ve never commented. You said you were particularly interested in hearing from bloggers who don’t want to be a professional and view it just as a hobby, and that definitely describes me. I blog about books, and sometimes movies or music, but as extension of my job as a collection development librarian rather than as something I hope will generate income. Whike I do write for a website that pays me, it’s a side gig (and I also write for free for my professional association). For me, it’s a way to connect with others who share similar interests, but I also enjoy learning about web design and social media, which are also useful skills in my line of work. My “hobby” reviewing books is what actually led me to my career as a librarian. It was easy to prove I was my knowledge and skills because I had a blog. I don’t do advertising, affiliate links, or sponsored content on my blog. If I invite an author to write for my blog, it’s because I believe they have something to say.

  • I bookmarked this post to my computer because I thought it was so useful. You guys are some of my favorite bloggers and are such inspiration to me because you write blog posts like this and genuinely care about the content and readers. I am so happy you wrote this. I learned so much and I hope you continue to write blogs detailing the “industry” of blogging.

    Krystal | http://www.moorekrystal.wordpress.com

  • You guys, I love this post so much and it totally resonated with me. I think it was also really inspiring- I’ve been hot and cold with blogging lately but this post got me excited, and reminded me of all that’s possible.

    <3

  • I was really inspired by A Beautiful Mess! Your blog is so fun! I’m a creative person by nature, but I let my day job and everyday (BUSY) life get in the way of feeding that side of my personality. I started blogging to help bring that creative side back to life, and I’m so happy I did. I can really see this becoming a career that I absolutely love, and I know it’s possible because of you gals! Keep up the inspiring work!

  • I am super excited for your blog e-course! I have always wanted to start a blog and many of my friends have but I never truly found I blog I loved until I started reading and following A Beautiful Mess! I love how it is totally you and not a watered down version! I love how it started as a one person blog, evolving into a sisters blog and now it is a career for you all! It is an inspiration! How did you start? And how do you organize all the blog posts you want to write and create? I would love to eventually have a blog that is doing as well as yours! But I am afraid of failure and am a total A type personality, wanting to read a textbook telling me how to start, like a jumping off point! Which is why I am so excited for your e-course! I don’t want to have a blog that fails but a blog that goes through changes and growth but that will eventually be successful! Thank you for all the hard work and thought you put into ABM!! You are a true inspiration and role model for a young and totally career clueless 21 year old! 🙂

  • Thanks for taking the time to write such an honest, enlightening and inspiring post Elsie! I find your insight into blogging so special, considering the very successful journey you’ve been on with A Beautiful Mess. I admire the hard work, flexibility, adaptation, enthusiasm and fearlessness you, Emma and the rest of your team exhibit daily to make your dreams a reality. As usual, I leave your blog feeling inspired and motivated to tackle the creative projects in my life with more gusto than ever (my little bitty blog included :).

    With sincere appreciation,

    Carli xo

  • It’s surprising to hear that you think blogging will become a legitimate career, however if that is the direction that it’s headed then I think it’s wonderful. The internet feels like a jungle sometimes because as you said there aren’t any concrete rules and that’s a good thing.

    I’d hate for blogging to be as rigid as the financial or insurance industries.

    I can tell that you girls work very hard and I don’t mind the fact that you make money from ads/sponsors. I’m not a DIY person but I enjoy looking at your projects. I don’t know how you come up with so many creative projects! Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • This is SUCH a great post. We are a weird generation; I catch myself wondering all the time how different my kids’ childhood will be than mine, because they will be around the 24/7 access to everything. (Sort of. I hope to limit the access, but we’ll see!)
    And I love that you addressed blogging as an industry and legitimate career. I still get shy or intimidated or just plain… afraid to mention that I have a blog to people I know, because I think… what will they say? What will *I* say if they ask why? Coming from a time before blogging, I always think people will think it’s so weird that I have one. But that’s not true; blogging is such a great thing, whether you’re just using it for fun, or whether it’s your job! I would love for blogging to one day be my full-time (well, part-time — motherhood is my full time job!) job, and not have to work another one. And it’s great that that is a legitimate possibility!
    Anyway. I feel like that was a little bit rambly, but this post encouraged me so much!

    xo

    Kristina
    http://www.eccentricowl.com

  • Wow, great post! Thank you so much for sharing your insight on blogging as an industry.

    I recently started blogging as a hobby. I am an artist who works a day job in an office. My intent with the blog is to build community among creative people who have to work not-so-creative jobs: making a beautiful life, while still making a living.

    Your blog is a source of daily inspiration. Thank you, and keep up the great work!

  • What a great & honest post. I started my blog just a few months ago and still make little tweaks here and there. Still trying to find the “perfect” theme that fits my idea of what I want my blog to look like. I’m excited for your e-course too.

    XOXO,
    Erin
    http://www.thevaughnlife.us

  • Thank you for posting this! Very interesting read. What attracts me the most to blogs is original photography and I feel so inaduate sometimes because I only have my iPhone 5s and don’t know photoshop. So I struggle with making my blog what I would expect/love to see in any other blog. So until I learn, I’m just trying to focus on the writing and learn one thing at a time..lol! Your right when you say the industry is in it’s infant stages since there is no guideline, which is both unsettling and thrilling at times 🙂
    Xoxo- Kristen

  • Super insightful and inspiring post, Elsie.

    A) I totally hear you on trying to explain what you do to other people. We joke that our grandparents think we’re playing on Ebay or money laundering all day long.

    B) I find your expectations for the industry to be accurate and SUPER inspiring. As a blogger, I do think the best is yet to come. And the awesome thing? We have the ability to make it that way. If I want my blog to be more diverse or creative or professional, I can make it that way. That’s incredibly empowering.

    C) I agree that you should create the blog that YOU want to read. If you don’t love it or it’s not fun, what’s the point? Such great advice.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this exciting topic! It was so awesome to hear from someone who I look up to so much in the blogging industry.

    Cheers!
    Dana

  • Elsie! It is because of you that I started a blog this year! I have been a fan of yours since your first days of being published in the scrapbook magazines. I have seen your wonderful transformations and have been cheering you on all this time, and every once in a while, I would read with interest your posts about blogging and your suggestions for how to approach it and it occurred to me that it was doable, and that I should test the waters. With your advice in mind, I started posting my photos in Pinterest, and found it to be an excellent way to sort out what exactly my strongest interests and passions were. This helped me develop a list of subjects to blog about, and well, now I am giving it a try. I don’t know exactly where it will go, but I am excited to tell you that you have been my inspiration and a motivating factor in my life.

  • Couldn’t agree more with advice #3! All too often I came across blogs that write 1 unoriginal paragraph paired with a stock photo; I can’t imagine any of them would be actually interested in following a blog like that as readers.

  • I LOVE YOUR BLOG. Such a great and helpful article for a new blogger like myself. I am super passionate about what I am blogging about and hope that it leads to……. Im not sure, something. I have told myself One Year 4 quality post a week… and then see what comes of it.

    I hope to take your next course. Thank you.

  • Great post! I love that you believe blogging will become a “real career” in the future. I’d love blogging to be my job.

    Erin, beingerin.com

  • Hello Elsie,

    Thank you for this post!
    I believe this post is very timely and a good reminder to us that there are “no shortcuts to success”. We don’t get to see all the “blood, sweat and tears” that it takes to get there 🙂 There isn’t some magic formula to success.

    It would be great to read a post on what bloggers do to stay inspired and how to avoid drawing inspiration from each other. What are some ways you and Emma gather fresh ideas outside of the internet world?

    Love this new series!!

    Merci

  • Great post as always. I blog as a hobby and to have a place to share my writing. In the beginning, I thought I wanted to do it to make some extra income- but it turns out, I couldn’t write about products, books, and other things I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. So it’s turned into my daily outlet and community. A place to talk about my life, the past, my present, and the awesome future to come. All I hope is that when someone stops by my blog that they leave happier than when they got there, a bit inspired, and definitely empowered and encouraged. This blogging thing has turned into so much more for me. Blogging makes me happy. Not getting pageviews or comments all the time can get me down, but then there’s those days where I get an email or comment that says I’ve made their day or it was just what they needed to hear/read. And that…that has made all the difference. Thank you again for this ounce of inspiration and it was just what I needed to read tonight…:)

  • What a great post. There’s so many posts out there that claim to know the secrets of successful blogging and most simply give you a formular that works for them. Now I think about it, all the blogs I enjoy reading have a very individual quality about them, they represent the person/s who write them in an honest and true way.

    As for technology I definitely feel our generation has seen the greatest changes. We’ve recently had a big declutter and there were some videos laying about in a ‘to go’ box. My 3 year old son got them out, he was twirling them and using them as binoculars… not a clue what they actually were. It was so funny to watch.

  • Such an interesting post! Times are changing and with that come new industries and working opportunities. How these mesh with the traditional often can be a bit tricky, but it certainly leave that interesting flavour of something new and exciting!

  • Hi Elsie
    I’ve been following you guys since Red Velvet days, yours was my first blog to follow and still my favourite (though this might be my first comment!). It’s been an inspiration to see you develop over the years. I’m a hobby blogger, I’m a Canadian living in Vietnam so the primary purpose is to share photos and stories of life here. I like the lack of pressure, all my readers know me personally and aren’t reading for any other purpose other than their interest in my experiences. I’m very comfortable with my blog staying in the personal blog category while reading other blogs much more professional and varied. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • I’m so glad to have read this. I’ve just started my own blog as a hobby this month (but I’m definitely open to monetizing it someday.) I have just two and a half posts right now — it’s very very young! I’ve started it because I want to be like the people whose blogs I follow. So you can say bloggers I follow (i.e. you! and a few others,) have inspired me to not only blog but more importantly, be a better version of myself. Thank you for this post and for all that you do! 🙂

  • Thank you for your thoughts! It’s inspiring to see your growth – I can’t wait to see what you have in store next. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all these comments, they add so much value. And, I think we all need a little validation from time to time on our own blogging struggles. Thanks again!

  • Hey Elsie, I’m just starting off a new blog. But I can’t narrow down what I want to write about! I love both lifestyle things such as food, decor and wellbeing, and beauty product reviews; I’d like to write both in depth. Do you think it’s necessary to specify from the outset? I’ve seen lifestyle blogs add beauty in as a category, but never in depth reviews – and vice versa.

  • These girls always seem to get it at right timing! Although my blog is still just a few months old, I can definitely say I am enjoying it the best I could… And these girls wrote something that is even more inspiring to keep me going…

    Good luck on your blog Jenni

    -Auie
    http://www.purevowels.com

  • Completely on the same track as you… Just going through University and hopefully can turn writing into a career… 😀 Blogging is so much fun!! Good luck on both your studies and blogging. What are you studying??

    -Auie
    http://www.purevowels.com

  • Thanks for sharing! Great post 🙂

    I’ve been blogging since 2005, as a hobby. Through the years, my activity hasn’t been constant at times, but in the next months I’m planning on giving it an overhaul.

    There are many things to consider, though, and these posts come in really handy in order to know what to consider, how to plan out the image and contents. Last year I took your blog lovin design course and it helped a lot, especially to know how to give my blog a new image.
    I may re-read all of it for these new changes…

    Anyway, the hardest part for me is to find a clear scheme of contents to use, especially how much personal information and views to share: my blog is mainly poems and illustration, but I find that the most interesting part is sharing how some things get done, arts, crafts, etc. I am a published author and would like to make my blog some sort of a “personal brand space”, talk about how I work, lifestyle, other things that I do and selling art throught it. I guess that takes a lot of planning before acting…

    One little “inconvenience” for me is language: my blog is in Galician (also the original language of my books), but that means my readers would always be a very limited base. Do you recommend multilingual blogs? What’s your advice on that? I always read a blogging advice about writing and treating your blog as if you had thousands of readers, not waiting for them to show up in order to make it good, so I feel like I should make it more professional looking, available for almost everyone (that means, in English…), so that anyone can pop by if they like what they see and not have then language constraint.

    Sorry for the loooong comment 🙂

    Again, great post!
    xoxo

  • I have been such a huge fan of ABM since I first encountered you guys on the blogosphere. I didn’t remember how I first stumbled upon ABM, but I believe it has been more than 3 years ago. Your blog is a huge inspiration for me, you and Emma are my idol! haha. I cam here almost every day! whack. I remember how in the past you were the only author and then came Emma whose jokes left me grinning every time i read the posts. you guys really inspired me to blog more but i have always had an issue with consistency. uh oh.

  • This is a great post. Thank you ever so much. I’ve been running my own blog for about three years now and I’ve also been running my own Etsy store for just as long. I am part-time self-employed with the aspirations of becoming full-time self-employed. This has been a vision of mine since I opened my Etsy store but I never knew how to get there. I think so far I’ve just been lucky as I am useless at business in general. Anyway, to get to the point. I had a mind opener the other day, and two weeks ago I started researching how to make this dream come true. I love blogging more than anything and have decided that this will be my main focus, as well as my store of course, as my blog is mainly about DIY. I’ve noticed that I have a complete different mindset now, my note book ( that is always empty) is full of scribbles and I suck up information as a sponge. I know passion is what drives me and that business is what drags me down. I think you just have to come to that point in your life where you decided whether you want your hobby to stay a hobby, or become something larger than that. And then realize how much work there really is to be done. I have snapped out of the “This blog is so beautiful I bet he/she is having the time of their lives every day” and “He/she is so lucky”, I can see the work behind the blogs I read now, as I know how hard it can be to keep the posts coming and to keep them interesting. But I have noticed that the posts that are the most popular are the ones I put the least “effort” into. Things that I might not find “that” interesting because it is about something I do every day, or even something about me. But people love these posts. I notice such a great sense of community in these posts. I guess it is because there are so many men and women out there that can relate to these posts. Sometimes I think it is easy to forget that you’re not alone in this world. I think this is the beauty about blogging. How it brings people from around the globe together and units them.

    Anyway, I have written down little quotes from this post like:
    “Change is your friend”
    “write a blog you would want to read”

    And I’m going to look at them every day. Thank you for sharing! I really needed it! Thank you thank you! And sorry for the rant 😉 lol

  • Great post, Elsie! Lots of great advice here that I’ll be taking to heart, especially “embrace change”. Your perspective is so legit, since you did build your business yourself, with so much hard work. So, thank you.

    My blog is a bit of a hybrid. I started it because I wanted the area where I live to get more attention, and to inspire hope in the young people who live there. It’s a very economically depressed part of Canada. But, I also wanted my blog to have personality and to be a kind of leader that way. I think it’s done well, but it’s still pretty personal and I’m still “figuring out what the heck I’m doing”. Someday I’d love for it to be my full-time job!

  • Thank you so much … I am a new blogger and I am at a cross roads. I am starting a new teen fitness/nutrition/body image business and I am trying to figure out if I can my blog over to that name. That is the content I write about but not sure if it is the right thing to do. I guess I have a hard time accepting change. Just a little FYI… I love waking up each morning before my kids get up, getting my coffee and going to my in-box to see what you guys have sent me today. So smitten over all you do!!!

  • This is so interesting. I agree completely with much of what you wrote. Blogging is definitely an industry now a days and more and more people are embracing that fact.

  • Elsie, I LOVE YOU!!! 😀
    I don’t blog ’cause I always make up excuses (too busy, too tired, what to post about… etc…).
    But you’re post is sooo inspiring and true not only about blogging world, but about a perspective to see life. I mean it’s better to embrace changes in our life and be prepared to them.

    Thanks Elsie, have a nice day!

    On of your loyal/loving reader,
    Claudia 🙂

  • Hi Elsie, I found this post so interesting, helpful and inspiring! I’ve literally just started my blog about three weeks ago after reading other peoples blogs, including your own for about 4 years now. I was always so nervous about starting my own incase people didn’t read it or didn’t like my work. I finally said myself just do it! I don’t need to write for anyone else, If I enjoy doing it and reading it that’s all that matter. I’m passionate about film photography and just want a place I can share my creative outlet. If people like it that’s a bonus but my blog has definitely got me excited and I guess that’s the joy of blogging about something you love 🙂 xx

  • Thank you for this…I just started a blog last week and this has been a fantastic source of information!

    I liked reading about your own experiences and you serve as great inspiration and proof that blogging can make you succesful!

    tamsin xo

  • What a helpful post. I been blogging for years now and have changed tack quite a few times. I recently started a new blog but it has taken such a long time to nail down exactly what kind of blog I want to make, this time I really feel like it’s working. I recently moved out of bedroom and into a small professional studio and now I want to monetize my blog in the right way for me. It’s strange, I knew years ago that I this is my dream job but what has been hard for me is to show people that it is, in fact, a real, legitimate job. They ask me what I do and I often end up having to break it down into something more recognizable (usually photographer). You’ve really hit the nail on the head and it makes me proud to be part of such an innovative and exiting industry. Thank you!

  • Wow, this really hits the nail on the head. I started blogging a few years ago, in fact, as soon as I realized that blogging could be a job, I wanted one and have been building on the right way to do it for me ever since. I have earned my living so far by making blogs for others and the ones I do for my self have kind of been experiments. Now working from my own professional studio and working on my own blog on a new platform (sqaurespace). I really appreciate your point about talking to others about your job. I so often end up breaking my job down into the sum of it’s parts and saying one of those ie. photographer or designer. When I first started telling people what I do I know I received those looks of ‘is that a real job?’. From now on, I’m going to embrace what I do and not play it down because I LOVE MY JOB! I feel like I’m part of something exiting that pulls all my interests and skills together in a way that makes me really happy and there is so much room for growth. Thanks for putting it in to words when I couldn’t.

  • I always love reading posts like this one! I feel like they are a good reminder of the fact that you’re a normal person who worked hard for their success, which is so encouraging for those of us just starting out. I hope blogging continues to evolve, it’s a great platform, especially for writers and artist. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Good morning!

    What a wonderful post to start the day to!

    I have been following quite a few blogs for a while now, but I am just now getting the courage to start my own. Your blog post today was so helpful, honest, and inspiring– especially to a rookie like me. Blogs (yours definitely being included in this) have always inspired me. As a writer, inspiration is needed in my life constantly.

    Thank you again for this post. It has helped give me a clear idea of what is ahead of me in the blogging world, but it has also helped me to not be discouraged.

    xxoo,

    Jamie

  • Thank you for this post! I started a blog last year as a way to share recipes and information with my fitness clients that I train. I recently left my training at the gym. I am wanting to take my blog to the next level and I am trying to establish a clear vision. I love helping and inspiring women. I am thinking after reading this I maybe need to be “A Lifestyle” blogger. To me Health and Fitness is a lifestyle. It should be easy and attainable for everyone! I want to help women achieve that! Do you mentor? Your story is very inspiring!
    Thank You, Joy

  • This is just what I needed to hear today. I started blogging last summer and it has overtaken my life. All in good ways, but as a stay-at-home mom with 2 little ones, I’m constantly searching for that balance and loosing quite a bit of sleep at this stage of it.

    I appreciate your thoughts and advice. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what other bloggers are doing, and it was great to be reminded that I can carve my own path in this industry, that I don’t have to conform to the norms and that if done well, that will help me stand out.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It means a lot!

  • Great post, it gave me even more motivation to write my blog! It’s hard sometimes when you have a small blog, and you put a lot of work in it, and do a job on a side because blogging doesn’t get you any income! But at the same time it’s really fun!

    http://www.whatsashawears.com

  • Great article!! Actually lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole subject. My blog is still a just-for-fun-thing and so is my label but I know that some day in the future I would like to do something different from my full time job and maybe blogging could at least be an option…I am still not sure what to think about the whole sponsoring-cooperation-thing, a friend of mine says it’s like selling yourself by posting links and products for money and it’s true, there are many blogs out there who definitely exaggerate it. On the other hand: when working in the media industria (for example advertising agencies, p.r., marketing)…don’t they sell themselves all the time and maybe only because the name under a big campaign is not a person but a companie, makes it better??
    thank you and i wish you guys/girls all the best, you really do a great job!!

    Sarah

  • Wow! Thank you so much for writing this! I couldn’t agree with you more! I live in a small rural town where the idea of blogging for a living is definitely unheard of. This is very inspiring… what is the upcoming e-course? I took the Blog Design Love e-course last March and I started my blog because of it! I would definitely be interested in taking more e-courses from you! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Wow, thank you so much for writing this! I couldn’t agree with you more! I live in a small rural town, where the idea of blogging for a living is definitely unheard of. The only good part about that is that being the (possible) first one is super exciting! What is the upcoming e-course? I took the Blog Design Love course this time last year, and started my blog because of it! So for that, I thank you! Blogging has changed my life! Looking forward to taking another e-course from you! Thank you for sharing this!

  • So much great information! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years, and I LOVE it! But now it is time for me to start setting some real goals and start learning more about this idea of blogging as a career! My 14 year old daughter introduced me to your blog. I bought your book for her for Christmas after thumbing thru it and seeing that she would love your style. I had no idea that you were a blog? She has now started her own blog and has dreams of one day doing exactly what you are doing! Thanks for all of the inspiration! Life to the full! Melissa

  • So needed to read this today!
    I had my website up on WordPress merely to promote my business as a language tutor for almost 2 years but in January I finally decided to start blogging!
    One of the best things I could have done for my business. Already I have been invited to talk about blogging for business at a networking group this month, have been sent stuff to review and have been invited to collaborate with a company I respect for a promo video!
    It’s all so exciting that I’ve recently turned down a teaching contract to allow me focus more time onto creating a bigger web presence. Yay!
    Thanks for all your posts. Always inspiring!
    Lindsay 🙂
    http://lindsaydoeslanguages.wordpress.com/

  • I am so in love with this post! It is very pleasant to read about blogging on my favorite go-to blog. I always was kind of a nerdy girl.. I just understood the computer and the internet (I can remember our first computer too, with the floppy-disks!) and had a lot of fun with it. I must’ve started my first blog when I was about fifteen years old. I wrote about my life, my friends, and used it as a early-on Facebook thingy 😉
    I had a lot of fun figuring out all the options, changing it’s look etc..
    I quit and started a new blog many times since then but am very certain that this time it will stick because I have done a lot of research and I am now writing what I love and what I know. I don’t pretend to be someone else anymore. I think this is the most important part of blogging. We compare ourselves too much to our competition.
    I am looking for an actual job and am planning to invest some money in upgrades once I get more readers. It is going really fast this time. I don’t know if I can make my blog into a full-salary job but if I can earn some money with it I would definatly not say no.
    😉

    Thank you for sharing your view on blogging with us Elsie,
    -Mariska

    http://CoralynxBlog.com/

  • Wow Ashley, that is so spot on.
    I have had this problem for so long. My previous blogs didn’t have many readers, and I didn’t want to share my blog with my friends and family. Now I am just starting again but I let go of what people could think about me.. If some people don’t like what I do or think it is ridiculous or that I am living in my tiny little world.. I let them think that. That’s just how the world is.
    And to have actually friends and family supporting me and liking my blog it is really encouraging.
    Mariska
    http://coralynxblog.com/

  • I love this post – and am printing it out to re-read and highlight. It never occurred to me that it is a ‘young industry’ but of course it is! Your blog is what inspired us to turn our traditional website into a blog-site. In our industry that is very uncommon and we also don’t post about what most of our industry posts about. But it’s what we wanted to read. Thank you for your honesty and for putting this out there. #grateful!

    Andrea
    Aleda Fitness

  • Thank you for sharing these thoughts on blogging and on your path! I absolutely love these posts, and always appreciate how incredibly honest you guys all are about the twists and turns and uncertainties you face. So inspiring — especially since I just love how gracefully you all have made the transitions to bigger and better things. 🙂

  • This was a fantastic post! I’ve been reading blogs for years and even as just a reader it’s amazing to see how far it’s come. I finally jumped in and started a blog this year. While it’s really hard to fit it in while working my day job 40-50 hours a week, I really enjoy the outlet.
    Someday I’d like to turn it into a real career, but I’m not sure what my particular focus would be just yet. I’m still just learning so much about it.
    I think something that most people don’t understand is just how much work it really is! Posts can take hours, and I’m not even great with photography yet so I know it would take longer when editing photos.
    I think you girls do such amazing work! I’m going to look into your e-course.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I can totally relate to what you’re saying, Allison! It’s hard not to compare yourself to other great blogs, and I, too, sometimes fear that others might think I’m copying an idol, when in fact, we may just have similar taste. I don’t think any two blogs are the same, even if the topics they write about coincide. Every blogger has their own unique perspective and that differentiates us from other like-minded bloggers.

    Good luck figuring out the right path for you!

    xo Hanna

  • Loved this post! I started with a very traditional creative background in writing and studio art but after college I got a job in advertising and marketing and learned a TON about branding and everything that comes with the territory. To be a successful blogger, you need to have a strong sense of yourself and your reader and you need to understand marketing.

    And I disagree that there aren’t enough readers–there totally are! But it takes a lot of research to first find them and secondly identify what they are looking for in a blog. Once you have that info, you have to put it to work and create the kind of content that they’ll find valuable in their lives. Your market is out there, it’s up to you to find and deliver to them.

  • Thanks for this read, it’s encouraging and inspiring. I’ve been blogging for only 6 months and it’s hard work!

  • Elsie, I wanted to weigh in the sponsored posts topic as well, because I really feel like you guys keep a great balance between the sponsored posts and regular posts, and the sponsored ones never feel forced or like a commercial to me.

    I’ve only been reading ABM for a year or so, but this blog is a large part of how I was able to stop hating my rental house (we’re not really in a position to buy a house right now). For the last few years, I hated being in the house because it made me feel so sad and frustrated, since we don’t own it and can’t do much to it. But then I started to see all of the bright, fun DIYs you guys were doing with furniture, and it totally inspired me to give my old boring coffee tables and cabinets a makeover, because you made it seem easy. And it was! So, thank you for the inspiration and sharing your ideas with the Internet!

  • I love blogging. Right now, it’s only a hobby, but I dream and try to work hard every day to make it into a career for me. It’s really hard and extremely frustrating at times, but not because I don’t love it. It’s hard because I also have to work and go to school, both full-time, instead of spending that time creating and expanding my dream career. However, ABM is a constant inspiration for me to work harder at what I love every single day. I hope to one day be at the same level as ABM and until then I’m gonna work my little butt off to get there! Thank you for all of the inspiration (again!)

    xoxo
    Taylor

    http://www.welcomehometaylor.com

  • I really connected with your last tip:)
    Write what you would want to read.

    Thanks for this post! Loved it!

  • VERY good advice!! I loved the beginning of the article when you were imagining how you would explain life without the internet- ha! Additionally, I really connected with your ideas about the evolution of the blogging industry, and how it is at its early stages. Thanks again for this insightful article!

    xo, Kinsey

    http://www.southerneasystyle.com/

  • Elsie, I ended up reading this by accident, but I really love this article. I’ve been blogging for a while and trying to figure out the rules has been tricky. Mostly I think it’s been about self-teaching: blog layouts, graphic design, photography, tailoring your writing style… there’s nothing outside of other bloggers to teach you that. What’s I’ve enjoyed the most is the sense of connectivity this brings. I think the biggest challenge is finding your own voice, over adapting to your audience; something I have struggled with for a while. But having a veteran like you giving us some advice over these years is priceless, utterly priceless.

  • I really enjoyed reading this post! I’am working in fashion for years and started blogging this year for a creative outlet. And also because working in fashion is really much less glamorous than many people think 🙂

    I am also looking forward to see the development and the business opportunities for professional bloggers! I really appreciate that just 10% of your posts are sponsored! Regardless of the success any blog should stay independet!

    Thank you for this post!

    Maria

  • Thanks ladies for some great information. I am going to my own domain in less then thirty days and going to my first two blogging conferences in the next sixty days so I will take all of this information and advice!

  • Elsie, thanks for this post! I just started a blog a month ago and I am loving it so far. I don’t have a huge audience yet but I’m ok with that right now. I’m no where near ready for hundreds of people (that would be so overwhelming, ha!). I love what you said about making a blog quality. I think that is so important. I want to continue to strive and make that happen with each post.

    I like your business posts. They are my favorite.

  • I loved this post. I think you are so right about the blogging industry and it’s really hard to find a job like this.
    Really enjoyed myself reading this and I try to the best I can with my blog.
    xoxo. Alex!

  • I blog just as a hobby! I graduated college a couple of years ago and got married, so my family, his family, friends from college, and friends from home can all keep up with us on my blog.

    It’s a great way for people to see what we’re up to, but I also use it as a creative outlet. I love to craft, decorate, and travel, so I include that in my blog as well!

    There have been times that I’ve felt insecure about my blog because it doesn’t necessarily fit into a particular blog “category”. When I start to have these feelings, I have to remind myself that my blog is for me to enjoy, and if it becomes something that stresses me out, I will take a break from it.

    I’ve had my blog for two years and my readership has definitely grown, but I know it’s not something I desire to pursue full time right now. But in the future, who knows!

  • Great post. While my blog is in no way making me money right now, I hope that it can one day help direct more people towards my patterns. I think the key for many of us is to not care too much about how many read our blogs if we are not looking to earn straight from it. It only takes one look from the right person to get you where you would like to go. Of course more people increase that chance, but I don’t fuss about it. I just have fun…

  • I enjoyed this post so much! thanks!
    I’ve started my first blog couple of months ago, but i’m having a really hard time posting regularly because of my university. So for now i’m keeping it as a hobby, but we’ll see what the future brings 🙂

  • Thanks for replying to this, Sara. Makes me feel better that others are noticing it, too. And yes, we should definitely celebrate bloggers who find success. It means we can find success, too.

  • Elsie (I know your name of course, but still almost spelled that Elise out of habit, haha),

    That’s actually a really good point I never thought of: it can be difficult to get sponsored posts to look natural at first.

    Unfortunately, in my industry, (survival + knives) original writing and photography is still very under-used. Many content scrape, stealing whole articles and pasting them to their own blogs. On top of that, most product reviews are actually written by people who have never owned or used the products themselves: they just regurgitate reviews written on Amazon product pages. I guess it can be hard for readers to trust bloggers with monetization when there are so many sketchy practices in my own industry. But it’s very obvious (to me at least) who’s just trying to make a quick buck and who actually is trying to provide valuable content. I can only hope the better content producers are noticed for their efforts.

  • That was a perfectly stated post! Thank you Elsie:-) It’s like you read my mind. I love it!! Last night I was telling my husband that I think blogging hasn’t reached it’s peak yet. I see it becoming as common as Facebook one day, where people talk about it in their daily conversations…wouldn’t that be nice 🙂 I get blank stares every day when I try to tell someone what I want to do with my blog. It could be that I am the only blogger that I know of in my entire region, I kinda live in the middle of nowhere. I also think that A Beautiful Mess is the “standard” for blogging. It’s fun to watch you dream and then live your dreams. I have quite a ways to go if I want to be a “top blog” lol, but I really love to learn, change & dream…Very inspiring:-)

  • Hi Kelsey! Thank you so much for your thoughts and encouragement! I was thinking that planning projects and posts ahead of time and having all of the images prepared would probably be the best bet. I truly appriciate your help 🙂

  • I’ve recently started reading your blog and I love it! It think it’s such a shame that so many blogs have become too commercial.
    On some blogs it has even become hard to find non-sponsered posts and those blogs are really not fun to read anymore.
    I think the way you approach blogging, is way better and more enjoyable for readers!

  • thank you for this post! i’ve started and stopped blogging many times in the past couple years. it’s usually because i feel my content isn’t good enough and i get discouraged. then i get discouraged that my blog doesn’t get as many readers as i hoped. you inspire me to just keep doing it because i love it. if someone likes what i post, then yay! if not, then at lease i’m doing it because it’s what i like to do 🙂
    xo jac
    thesunshinedistrict.blogspot.com

  • I totally get what you mean by all this! It’s just such an amazing industry and to be honest I can’t wait for the rest of this series! Any hints on what the next posts will include? 😉
    And I really want to make my blog into more of what I would read. My dream thing, like a magazine to read, would be something with a mixture of design, photography, illustration, lifestyle and diy! I just hope I can start doing more of this myself too!
    Lauren | OhHay Blogs!
    xxx

  • Thank you for sharing your wonderful advice! It’s always inspiring to hear from successful bloggers about how they’ve gotten to where they are today. I already think that blogging is a legitimate career, and like you said, I don’t think it will be long until the rest of society recognizes it as well. In May my blog will be a year old. So I am obviously still very new to blogging. Right now, its just a hobby and I feel like I don’t have a solid direction – I’m posting about things that I’m interested in or inspired by.
    But thanks again. I’m looking forward the next post in this series and to your e-course.

    Candace
    http://simplyluckylife.blogspot.com/

  • This is such an incredible post Elsie! I definitely agree that blogging is changing at an incredible rate. I haven’t been a “steady” blogger for long, but I’ve had a few blogs over the last couple of years. Just watching everyone else and seeing how its changed in 2 short years is incredible.

    I mentioned to my boyfriend how it’s weird to see people referring to blogging as an industry now and he pretty much just laughed at me! But in time it’ll be pretty huge. It’s already growing quite quickly.

    I personally would love to get where I can hire full time staff and have my own office in a pretty house in the future. The thought of providing others jobs in this day and age sounds really fulfilling.

    Again, great post. I love reading through your blog! 🙂

  • This post is as inspiring as always. I’ve had my blog for nearly four years (I think), but because I only set off travelling 18 months ago, thats when I’d say I’ve had the most readership (hopefully it’s not just my Mum). I use google blogger and I’m starting to think I should start using a different blog platform such as wordpress, because I would like to take it more seriously and gain more readership and hopefully one day, make money out of it. My first change is to try and a mix lifestyle and travel, just so it gives me more ideas to write about. Change is always a good thing, I just wish I could learn all this stuff faster, but I guess I just need to be a bit more patient with myself and practice makes perfect, as they say.

    Thanks for the post and always inspiring! 🙂

  • I have been blogging for four years and it has taken me that long to identify exactly what I wanted in a blog and brand. Now I feel I’ve finally found my online home. A Beautiful Mess has always been a huge inspiration to me! I too look at other blogs that are successful because it’s a business model that works. At the same time, I’m glad I’ve found my own pair of wings to spread 🙂

    http://www.thesecretsurprisinista.com

  • This is such an inspiring and reaffirming read! I know and accept that gaining followers and sorting out what you want to write about, and just developing my blog in general will take a lot of time (and even more time to make it a living) but I’ve been pretty discouraged lately knowing that there aren’t a certain number of steps you have to take, and that people might not view my career path as legitimate. After reading this, though, I am motivated all over again and I’m prepared to put in the time to create something awesome and long lasting.

    Thanks 🙂

  • Elsie… you’re so great!

    I feel the same way. It’s not incredibly defined or recognized yet, but that’s what makes it so incredible. You are my inspiration and my role model every time I write a post, hoping I get as far as you guys have.

  • Thanks for your thoughts on this! I started my blog just a couple of months ago and always appreciate the “inside scoop” on blogging. Yes, it’s definitely scary moving forward with something that has no defined career path — but totally freeing, too.

  • One of the things I like most about your blog is the feeling like every blog post is like a conversation with a friend. That is how I felt after this post. I love not knowing what you all are going to think of next and I get great inspiration and ideas from you. Someday I see myself trying out a blog, I guess it is a goal of mine. Thanks again.

  • Thank you SO much for this post, Elsie. I’ve struggled with my direction in life so much, and I’ve only recently realized that blogging is what I want to do. I’ve had blogs that I didn’t focus too much on for years, but that’s all going to change. I’ve never made much progress in my “real job” field, and I always felt like there was something wrong with me or I wasn’t as focused or just more lazy than everyone else. It has taken moving all over the country and practically begging for jobs in a field I don’t even want to be in to realize what my dream really is- to reach new people everyday with common interests and ideas. After a long sojourn in New York and L.A. I’ve decided to go home to Florida where I can live cheap and focus on my goals- upping my photography and editing skills, partnering with young local businesses, and building my brand. A total overhaul and probably a new name are on the horizon, and I’m finally getting excited about my future!!

    This blog began inspiring me 6 years ago, and it continues to do so everyday. Thank you so much Elsie, Emma, and the whole ABM team for all you do!

    Cheers, Nicki

  • You and your sister are my big inspiration, hope you can read me. I am a girl from Central America, who dream with a career in blogging, but now i can´t be a full time blog. I am starting again at the university, studing fashion design, I have your age (I think) but I had a different life, I never had idea what I really want, or maybe I was scared, was hard (that part of me) I stayed at home with my parents, studied inner design, but was not my passion, later my father got sick and I helped my mom with him, he died almost 3 years ago, and now is my moment with me, trying to find something to do with my life, maybe someday I can have a place in this world, in latin america is more hard, because as you said (As an industry, blogging is still just a baby) is worst down here, but not impossible, I love this world, and I want to give you thanks because you always write beautiful post about this themes. I am a blogger, hoping with a good future.

    xo Ruzu.

  • Thank you for this post! I could use all the help I can get at this point! I just started my blog in January after taking your blog love course and I would love to turn it in to a real business venture. ABM is such an inspiration for me and I love everything you do! Keep up the good work and congrats on all your hard work and success!

  • Being a military family, I blogged for 5 years about our life so that family and friends could keep up with our adventures from afar – strictly as a hobby. Just four months ago, I decided to open a fresh venue to explore blogging as a career. Figuring out how to make money at it is super tough, though! At least now when my family or friends say, “How’d you do that?” I can direct them to my blog for the deets.

    Much appreciate your candid post. Looking forward to riding the rise of this young industry with you!
    Hayley
    http://www.greyhouseharbor.com

  • Hi there,
    I do have a blog but the end game for me is not making a living out of it. It’s more about connecting with people that share the same interest. For example, I started Project Life this year and I also started a blog to talk about it. I don’t have a big audience and that’s not my number one goal. Of course, I want people to read it, otherwise what’s the point to write it, right? But the goal (for me) is to create a community of people who share their views and progress on the same thing. Facebook groups are great for that too, but I just wanted to created my little space on this big and crazy new digital universe. And I must say that I love these connections that it creates between people that wouldn’t know each other otherwise.

    I really enjoy reading blogs that makes a living out of their webspace, like ours, and I wish you all the best. What an achievement to be able to support 6 full time salaries. That is really impressive, well done!

  • this post could not have come at a more perfect time for me. i’m in the very first stages of coming up with my vision and goals for my blog, in hopes to turn it into something that will allow me to not only write about and take pictures of things i’m passionate about, but to have more time to be home with my family.

    your thoughts and ideas are inspiring, and so are all the comments! you have amazing readers!!!

  • How is it that I’ve never seen your blog before?! I stumbled on it through a google search, but I’m here to stay.

    This post was absolutely perfect timing! I’ve had a blog for years, but it was really only for me and far away family to see what we were thinking and doing and how the kids were growing. But now I really want to blog for others. So even though I’ve blogged for years, I’m pretty much in the “first year” stage of things. I’ll definitely be following this series for advice and inspiration.

  • I hungrily read every word of this post, because you’re doing it–you’re designing your life and your business and blogging and I’m wanting to do the same thing. Thanks! Write more about blogging! It’s a great help to me, a baby-blogger.

  • I didn’t think I was a hobbyist blogger but I guess I am! I have a blog attached to my forth-coming stationery shop and, for the most part, it has nothing REALLY to do with stationery. Of course I SQUEE about paper but also I love posting pictures of my Project Life, weird stories from when I try (and fail) to cook, and random thoughts. And I really really love to write.

    The Bloggess says she has “found her tribe” through her blog and I think that’s why I love to blog, too. I’m just kind of chatting to no one but sometimes I get a comment or a follower who says they have been looking for a voice like mine and that is really cool and satisfying! I am finding my tribe through blogging too!

  • Hi Elsie,

    I LOVE your blog and this post in particular was extremely inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and advice with other readers and bloggers. Keep up the amazing work! PS. You app is awesome, use it all the time!

    Laurenxo

  • Thank you for this post! I recently took the plunge and started my own blog – I’m only 4 posts in! What I have found most encouraging is the blogging community and how open and honest they are; ready to share their top tips based on their own experiences and lessons learned. It really does provide the inspiration and motivation required for me to keep going. I’m so glad that I finally have a creative outlet and that so many other bloggers are there to cheer me on from the sidelines. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • I think you hit on many great points. I totally agree that being a Blogger is a career and will be recognized as a career option. I also think that competition is good because eventually the crappy ones will be drowned out. As a blogger you have to love to learn and can easily adjust to change because everything internet is constantly changing. I think I spend more time trying to keep up on all the changes than actually blogging. I also love this community because most of the people blogging are very supportive, it’s like we are in this boat together and we don’t know where we are going and we don’t see land, so we are going to help each other along the way. Maybe it’s just because most of us in this thing called blogging are women that we support each for the most part. Blogging, because it’s mostly women might just help improve the world as a whole. So stay your course and maintain authenticity because there’s enough bull shit out there. 😉

  • Thank you for this! A very interesting read for me, a small hobby blogger. I am surprised that you envy the hobby blogger! I envy you guys. It often feels like I do so very much work for my little blog, for not much return. I do not get any money return, but I get so much therapy from it. That therapy is enough to keep me going… But when I am honest with myself, I know I do not want to make it a full time career right now.
    It is a constant struggle for a small blogger also to not compare. There are so many rockin blogs out there (Like ABM!) that can make me so discouraged. But reading posts like this one help keep me realistic, and remember that I am in charge of my own show here and if I am enjoying what I do- that is really what matters! 🙂

  • What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing! This is just what I needed since I am just starting off in the blogging world…. thank you!!

  • Thanks for a great post 🙂 I started blogging really as a way to share my story and journey through chronic illness, in the hope that it is as helpful to others as I have found similar blogs. I also find it quite therapeutic, as I have always loved to write, and it helps to share my thoughts and experiences, and to hear other people’s reactions and advice. I would love my blog to be a stepping stone to further my interests in writing, nutrition and health promotion, but presently, I am happy blogging for me and for readers who need help and company through the struggle of chronic illness, or the improvement of their health and wellbeing.

    Gemma

  • This generation is definitely something else, and not in a bad way, but just in a different way.

    For example, I went to a concert yesterday and I was mesmerized in the music, never even thinking of taking pictures or videos, because it would never capture the moment as well as my mind and heart. But I saw all these younger people who all they did throughout the concert is take instagram pictures and show them to each other. I love me some instagram, don’t get me wrong. But the whole 24/7 technology is making us lose a bit of the “be in the moment and enjoy” kind of thing…

  • I’ve been blogging since 2008 and it has been CRAZY to see all of the changes that have occurred since then. I can not tell you how stressed out I was the first time I tried to “style” a photo shoot for a DIY project- it seems so foreign back then to me- I kept thinking “don’t they just want to know how to make it?” *wink*– I admit to getting slightly overwhelmed at time at the amount of content being created on a daily basis… and even intimated sometimes.

    I just keep making stuff that I would want and so far it has been resonating with my readers- I think once bloggers start taking on projects that they normally would not take on – or working with products just because it’s sponsored, the content quality falls off.. So thats the measure I use for myself, “make stuff I like”…

    I hope that blogging stays around for a long time, I love it and the connection it gives creatives to others in the world- that being said, I would still would like to figure out how to “bump” myself up to the next level- but like you said, we’re just figuring this out as we go.

    Thanks for your thoughts- I enjoyed reading them.

  • Great post and I’ve enjoyed reading the comments too. Even though my blog has always been a hobby and a place for me to be creative, I’ve always felt silly talking to people about it. I actually avoid talking about it person. It is so ironic that I want to share my blog with the world yet dread the blank stares I get when I tell people that I write a blog.
    Recently I’ve started thinking about my blog’s potential, which is exciting and scary and embarrassing all at the same time. To admit out-loud that I want to grow my blog, have some success, sharing recipes and stories online seems absolutely ridiculous to this mother-of-two with a “real” career. This post came a great time… looking forward to more of them.

  • Yet again you’ve very selflessly shared your expertise in a way that is inspiring and optimistic! I just started a blog with two of my best friends as the first step in a long term business plan, I love that I can see that other women have succeeded in this industry and are so willing to encourage the rest of us to follow suit, thanks for a great post!
    Meabh

  • With all the blogs I’ve been reading and searching through I’ve yet to read a post that looks at blogging at this perspective. I particularly love that you mentioned the blogging world being over saturated and that being a good thing. As a new blogger I tend to get disheartened when I read blogs saying how over saturated the industry is and the negative effect it does and will have on the blogging industry, but this post made me look at the over saturation of bloggers as a positive thing that can really help me. The more bloggers there are the more attention is being brought to blogging as a whole which will benefit all of us and I love that. Thanks for this post!

  • Such great tips – thank you for sharing them! You’re third tip on writing the blog you want to read is so important. When I first started blogging I didn’t do this, I was just blogging since I thought it would make me look good to employers (I wanted a career in the media), so I blogged purely about media-related things. Now that I write posts that I would read on other blogs I enjoy blogging so much more! 😀

  • Very well put together post. “Write a blog you would want to read.” is exactly what my goal is for my blog. When I switched from my old one to the new, one of the reasons for change was the fact that my old blog became something I would unsubscribe from, so I knew it was time to let go.

    I like your view on blogging as business, too, as it sure is one, whether or not everyone agrees on it. It does get hard to explain why we do XY thing and then post it on the internet, people often don’t take it seriously.

  • I’ve been blogging for a long time, and it’s hard to even bring up the subject to friends and family because most don’t see it as a ‘real’ anything. Not a real job, not real authorship… my parents call it ‘spending too much time on the internet.’ Sadly, I think most people find it self-indulgent.

    I was even recently hired to manage a blog for a small business in Portland – one that I’d been contributing to for a long time. They pay ‘real’ money, and it’s a very legitimate, rewarding job, but when I try to explain what I do for a living… *crickets* It’s like the elephant in the room.

  • I’ve been a reader for a little over five years now, and I’ve got to say the way your blog has grown into this amazingly successful business has been really fascinating to watch! You’ve tried several different traditional business models outside of the blog, but really built your brand through the blog, and huge opportunities have come to you because your branding has been so successful. I feel like a lot of blogs are created the other way around- to gain online support for an already existing business, but maybe that’s something that is changing as blogging becomes a more commonplace media. I guess we’ll see what happens in the next decade or so!

    Love your work, great post.

  • What a great post! I’ve been an avid follower of A beautiful Mess for a couple of years now. I love what you guys post and I love watching you guys grow. I finally joined the blogging world, and its been fun and challenging. Its hard to find the answers to the questions that linger for too long. I haven’t found a particular person that I can approach with my questions, because its kind of like owning a vintage store- you have found what works for you and you don’t give away all of your secrets. Thanks for this post, it is very insightful.

  • Hi Lauren,
    Im currently with wordpress and hitting alot of walls. How have you found the switch over to Typepad?
    🙂 Sarah

  • What a great post. Just to add to what some other folks said in the comments about being ‘ready’ – there is great advice from Ira Glass about developing good taste. There is a gap, for the first couple of years you’re making something, you’re not that good, even if your taste is sophisticated. What you’re making may disappoint you. A lot of people never get past that point and quit. People who do progress recognize that their initial work falls short of their taste. The most important thing is to do a lot of work to close the gap.

  • Hi Elsie, this is so refreshing! Thank you for writing this post. I am not a blogger (yet), but one day I may be. You are right…it’s so important to keep evolving and being open to change and improvements. I think it’s safe to say that goes for any area you want to grow in, and not just blogging. I love your blog and look forward to it. I really, really wish I had Photoshop just so I could use your actions…sigh. 🙂

  • Elsie, you are a mind-reader! I have been thinking so much about this for the past few weeks. I’ve been reading ABM for years now and find it to be such a huge source of inspiration. I am at a point with my blogging where I feel like I need to make a decision with where it needs to go … Do I keep it more personal with day-to-day occurrences, or do I focus on a more specific niche and dive in for it? I love how you essentially say it is an industry for people that like change, and I swear I have hobby ADD because I am always flipping around and changing things up. How do you successfully find which content to specifically focus on as major topics? I suppose I should host a survey or something, but then I hate the idea of anyone dictating what I write about. It is this inner struggle of wanting to write compelling, fascinating content that gets lots of pins and views versus saying, “to hell with that” and writing about what I want, even if it is boring and not what my current readers have an interest in. Blogging can be so stressful! 😉 Looks like I desperately need to take one of your e-courses. Oh, and I am so happy you said you think blogging is only beginning… I am so sick of people saying it is a dying social media platform. Thanks again for this post! xo

  • Lindsay, I can SO relate to the ‘spending too much time on the internet’ claim from family. It seems like every time I am updating my blog and checking emails, I receive a call from my mom or MIL and I can just feel them judging me through the phone! Okay, maybe not because they are two of my biggest fans, but I still get that vibe from quite a few family members. You’re not alone! 🙂

  • Really interesting post! I’ve recently been able to talk to quite a few bloggers who I interact with on Twitter and it was refreshing to be able to openly talk about our blogs without anyone getting bored. It’s do refreshing to be able to do this and share best practice. It’s also great to develop a new circle of friends with a common interest.

    In your article you mentioned growing a blog as a business. I’m at the point where I want to start monitoring my blog. I want to do this in a manageable way as I still want the majority of my content to be my experiences. But it’s difficult to know where to start on a pricing model, do you have any suggestions?

  • I really admire your blog, your energy, your creativity, your DEDICATION! I frequent your site daily and it is a consistent source of inspiration to me. Your branding seems flawless and I have to remind myself that I am seeing the result of years and years of hard work, not an impulsive thought to create a site. I started my blog at the beginning of the year without a clear direction, but more out of a “you gotta start somewhere” mentality. Right now it’s a digital collage of everything I love, and I know that it will take its shape as I move forward. “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar.” Walker, there is no road, you create the road by walking. (rough translation… 🙂 )

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR DAILY INSPIRATION.

    http://www.tarynnicole.com

  • Wonderful post! Thank you… As a fairly new (14 months ) blogger I gained a lot from reading your insights. I have a vision, have come a good way in a short time and have BIG goals. I jotted down “keeping your vision healthy & inspired is your job”. Stay focused on the vision, write solid content share beautiful photographs and good things will come. Well at least I hope so!
    Thank you Elsie!

  • i love this. i needed this. i’m so looking forward to your new e-course. (i told my husband in January that one of my goals for the year is to take a blogging course from y’all.) i’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as i can remember, but i gave up on it years ago because of, well, life. 😉 now that i stay home (homeschool mom to 3 boys), i have a baby blog, & am trying to find my voice again. hearing there are legitimate, unlimited possibilities is so encouraging. i am waiting with bated breath for your course. (you’ve already inspired me to improve my photos – husband bought me a canon 40d last month!)

  • I really enjoyed reading this because it has been fun to watch ABM take off and as you stated, support a team of people in a lot of ways. Good for you for putting your thoughts down on paper (…on blog?) and being open to change. I’m sure that writing what you want to read is the best tip.

  • I am blogging as a hobby right now and don’t have a ton of interest in making it my full-time job just yet. I love that I can have a little corner of the web just for me (and for whoever stumbles upon it) with no pressure. I live my life and find different ways to creatively express it, and that’s good enough for me 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom Elsie. I love reading these articles related to blogging. They are so interesting, fascinating even, and nourishing. Really appreciated and enjoyed this 🙂

  • Thank you ABM for this wonderful post this past week. My close friend and I just started our own blog and it went live last Monday. As two twenty-somethings trying to figure out how we can spend our lives creatively, productively, and helping others, blogging seemed like a platform we wanted to try out. It definitely has turned out to be more of a full time job than either of us could have imagined, and we are only about to start week 2! The growth of your blog and wonderful advice is such an inspiration. Thank you so much for being a role model for those who are just starting out!

    <3 Bryce at http://www.since-yesterday.com

  • Hi Elsie,

    This is a wonderful post, and just what I needed right now. I write a travel blog and it’s been going for a year now. Each day I learn something new, and often I hit a brick wall and it’s challenging, but I kind of like that too.

    One challenging thing about a travel blog, is making it an every day type blog, rather than a ‘when I need it’ blog. I always look to A Beautiful Mess for inspiration and advice. I think it’s important to look to other blogging niches to see how everyone is evolving I have a long, long way to go, but I love it so am hanging on in there!

    Thanks,

    Helen x

  • Elsie,
    Thank you for sharing such great advice. My sister and I just dove into blogging in January and we are in love and overwhelmed at the same time! You are so right about embracing change. Practically every day we are contemplating this strategy or that topic or project. This is the part that we love! We can be so varied in our interests and viewpoints, though, that it’s hard to keep that singular focus or vision. I love what you said about writing the blog that you would want to read. I am going to keep that in mind for every post moving forward and use that as my guide. (And then I suppose if I would like to read about 20 different topics, I’ll just need to organize the blog so that “me” can find all 20 different things that she’s looking for!)
    Thanks again, Elsie!
    ~ Beth Anne

  • Loving this read Elsie. It’s so thoughtful and I agree with what you’ve said 100%. There’s no doubt that A beautiful mess has become more than a blog, it’s an incredible platform reaching out to a brilliant group of young minds who a learning & engaging with so many varieties of topics. Before blogs began we hadn’t even reached the tip of that iceberg. I agree the possibilities of the industry is so relevant as we engage with information in the modern age.

    Thanks for these inspiring words!

  • This is a really great post for a new blogger, I have been lucky to meet someone who has a bit more blogging experience to give me advice, but not everybody has, and this will help many new bloggers to think about their blog in a different way. I enjoy that you point out that it is a baby industry, but one that is growing fast. i have been very surprised at how many people I know actually have started a blog in the last two months or so. Hopefully one day, it will become acceptable to say for a job title, I am a blogger.

  • Thank you so much for this post. I started my blog to show my 15 year old daughter you can do anything if you put your mind to it. I didn’t really have a plan at the beginning but I have found it is necessary if you want to have a successful blog. I am a preschool teacher by day and I am finding out that I really want to bring teaching into my blog. Not just crafts but possibly use it to teach how to actually blog with lots of help from blog experts like you. I want things to grow organically and this just seems to be the way things are going. Suggestions??? Thanks again, Kathleen

  • Hi Elsie

    What an excellent post, really. The amount of times I get drawn in to a ‘how to better your blog’ or ’10 amazing blogging tips’ type post, spend 20 minutes reading it and then realise its just one massive rehash of something else I’ve read before that didn’t help, I couldn’t tell you. But this post really does strike the right chord.

    You’ve been at it way longer than I have and clearly you’ve stuck to your guns and got where you wanted to be. I run 2 blogs– one much bigger than the other –and I’d love nothing more than to quit my day job and go full-time but I just don’t make enough revenue. I’m thinking of studying online for a diploma in Digital Marketing, so as to be able to better market myself and equip myself with the skills to market other companies but I think there are other options out there but I’m just not seeing them!

    Drone.

    Great post, great blog, awesome vision.

  • So refreshing to hear another blogger give this perspective. It´s great to be encouraged to do things you own way.
    I have been to many blogger conference and events and hear alot of rubbish. Unfortunately the generous bloggers sharing tips and advice at these events is often hard to come across.
    I´ve been blogging for just over two years now. One or two quality posts per week.
    It´s only now that I am really beginning to see the hard work begin to pay off.

    Great post. Thanks for the positivity.

    Molly in Spain
    http://www.piccavey.com

  • Thank you so much for this post. I get so overwhelmed with all of the things I feel like I need to be doing with my blog and have no idea where to start. This was very encouraging!
    Diana

  • This is such an encouraging and interesting post! I’ve been giving lots of thought to this idea lately because “young industries” are really up and coming these days. I’m a freelance photojournalist, but I also write a blog and work for a social media app, and I find myself either avoiding conversation about these things because I’m afraid others will think I don’t have a real “job”, or I overexplain them in an effort to convince them why I do.

    Either way, you’re right when you say that it’s hard to be offended by this because we’ve all grown up in a different time.

    Thanks so much for the relevant posts- I love what you ladies are doing!

  • I loved reading this post mainly because it is SO CLEAR!!! I blog as a hobby and have no ideia of making my blog my career or my bread winner. I blog because my “career” is SAHM, and while my child is away at school, I love being able to just create content for my blog, taking pictures for it, doing the editing – because all of it is a learning process that I’m so passionate about, and because it seems to connect me to some like minded people who I would not even have a chance to “talk to” if it weren’t for the internet and for blogging, like I’m doing now. I’m from an older generation, so my friends do not get what blogging is for, nor do they find it an adult thing – even as a hobby!! – they regard it as something teens do, and no way would they ever even look at it as an industry, a business. Like I said, I do not envision making my blogging anymore than what it is to me right now: something fun, that takes my mind away from everyday life and responsibilities, something that pushes me farther into things I always liked and never had a chance to pursue, like photography, and aesthetics and a certain type of writing. Blogging for me is something I do to keep busy and to have fun, like the novel I have been writing since 2009 😉 not career choices, not jobs, but when I come to think of it, things I work REALLY hard at doing, things that occupy a lot of my time and mind, but that I do for the love of it, and not to get an income out of. Sorry tor writing this much, I hope you read it all lool!!!

  • elsie. i gotta say your never give up spirit has been a huge inspiration to me as a creative. i recently read a blog post by a very prominent blogger and honestly she kind of criticized your blog and some others (hers isn`t doing so well right now) and i was bummed. and i thought about it and i couldn`t help but think of how much i like your blog and how i come back here every day (and only visit hers sparingly). you keep it cheerful and fun and this other blogger does not imo. stay awesome and a big congrats on all your success. keep inspiring us indie designers and creatives!

  • Thanks so much Elsie!! I just started blogging a couple of months ago as a hobby, and I really love it, spending more and more time on it. I have no plans to make a career out of it, but I love how it reminds me ‘to live’ (I know I must sound crazy!!!) After I started writing the blog, I’ve started doing so much more: reading books and writing book reviews on time, taking photos to keep track of all the food I’ve cooked, and basically keep track of my personal growth, and the best part is that I’ve helped some people and made friends on the way! Also to keep me-and my blog inspired- I follow other blogs more frequently, so I really feel I’m doing much more of everything! Thanks for the inspiring post!!! :))

  • I really love this post and it could be words from my own mind.

    I have been a full time blogger since May 2011 – that is, supporting my family (husband, 2 children) and lifetsyle from my blog and only my blog since this time (set up my blog in 2009). I have someone one amazing support me and am about to (hopefully!) extend their hours and take on my first social media community manager. A proper little team.

    For a long time, I wasn’t sure whether I felt that my wonderful little blogging bubble might burst – you know the feeling? It’s too good to be true, the market will become over saturated, blogging isn’t sustainable long-term because something else, some new fandangled way of communicating will come along. I’ve *completely* changed my views over the past year or so. Like you, I now wholeheartedly believe blogging is a legitimate career – a potentially very lucrative, rewarding, fulfilling and wonderful career and I’m so proud to have built up my blogging business to the place it is at today (undergoing a huge re-design and migration from Typepad to WordPress to enable us to develop exciting new services).

    It’s damn scary at times when you’re reminded that you’re having to set the rules yourself – that no one else is going to do it for you, but I love that challenge and it pushes me out of my comfort zone in a really good, healthy way. I have learned SO much from other bloggers and bloggers who blog for a living – I am hugely inspired by their experiences, knowledge and wisdom.

    Blogging has brought the most incredible opportunities in to my life; I became a published author too last year, I have new friends who inspire me all the time, I’ve met my design idols, travelled to new places, I’m reading and being inspired more and I feel excited to be part of a generation at the forefront of a developing young industry. We have become an influencer in our industry and so we can help brands reach potential clients – we’re generating new business for brands large and small all over the globe and we’re inspiring readers with thoughtfully written inspirational content. What more could I possibly want in a career? It’s the ultimate job for me with the best career satisfaction ever.

    I love A Beautiful Mess – it’s long been one of those blogs I feel a kindred spirit with. Thanks for sharing this post and reminding me what a brilliant job I have 🙂

    Annabel x

  • Hi Sarah, just to say, I’ve been with Typepad since 2009, but am actually migrating to WordPress (with the help of someone very smart who knows what he’s doing – and I also have a team completely rebranding for me). I have found Typepad to be too limiting for my needs and wouldn’t recommend it for business blogs, but then Oh Joy and A Beautiful Mess both use Typepad, so it’s not all bad. Their back-end service is really great – they are very responsive, very helpful and supportive, but I needed my blog to have functionality that Typepad can’t currently provide, so I decided to make the move.

    Typepad are also quite slow on the update with social media advances. IT took them literally months to enable their users to incorporate a Pinterest button! They do get there in the end, they are just quite slow in that respect. Other things that bug me about Typepad; no auto-save function, their mobile support is pretty chronic and I have been told by many people that WordPress is better for SEO purposes.

    Good luck with whatever platform you choose 🙂 x

  • Thank you Elsie for the post! I’m about to start my own blog and I hope one day to just be a blogger! Lots of people are telling me I can’t do it as a career but I truly believe I CAN! I live reading you tips and also I love your e-courses! Ciao

  • I work in social media marketing, and blogging is a HUGE part of our model. We’re a small company, but these are great tips and insights for both commercial and personal blogs. Thanks for sharing!

  • (I just remember when I found out about ABM blog, you were a creative painter and known as Elsie Cake, when actually you didn’t really like so much cakes hehe)

    Wow, what an interesting post! very very interesting! Not only your wise words that tought us a lot of things but also reading all the comments and different prespectives, thanks everyone 🙂

    I started my blog just to give advice to my friends who wanted to travel in Central America, so instead of keep repeat myself I just start sending them to the blog haha lazy bunny!! But day by day I enjoyed more and more and found out that it’s one of my fave hobbies because I feel like a journalist (my ex-dream job), improve my photography skills and pratice my written english. At the same time I love the connection you create with few bloggers around the world.

    The last weeks I thought about continue sharing my travels adventures as a backpacker world citizen and get some profit out of it. Why not? Many people ask me about writting a book but I fell it’s more fun blogging.
    I even started to make a blog project haha so all these tips are very important right now, in my life.

    I’m glad you didn’t reach the commercial point blog, otherwise you would lose the essence of this beautiful mess 😀

    Wish you guys all the best sucess, you are very inspiring!

  • Thanks for this great article – really enjoyed reading it, along with everything else on your gorgeous blog! I have been blogging for awhile – its a specific blog really aimed at the card-making & scrapbooking industry, but I am changing from a blogger to wordpress platform and hoping to grow my reach a bit more. I am a full-time mom, but have time to devote to my creative work & blog a couple days per week. Do you have any recommendations for any e-courses, articles, etc on how to grow a blog, invited sponsors, product photography, etc?

    Any advice greatly appreciated!
    http://www.seizethestamp.blogspot.com

  • This was really interesting to read. Blogging isn’t my full time job, but my side hustle and because I run a book focused blog and not something that’s lifestyle based, I am not even sure what kind of courses or ebooks or however it is that people monetize besides ads and affiliate marketing I could offer.

    Anyways.

    I feel like you all are living the dream and it’s so inspiring to see people making blogging a full time career. It’s something I am passionate about and envious of, at the same time, if that makes sense.

    I’ll be excited to see how blogging will evolve in the years to come.

  • This was exactly what I’d been needing to hear/be reminded of! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, ideas, etc in this post, and for doing it in a positive light. (I have saved this specific post for future days when I need a little pick-me-up/you’re not crazy reminder. ha!)

  • Just wanted to say what a great inspirational post! I shared it on a group FB forum for Canadian bloggers that I am a part of it and it evoked a great discussion among all our members. So cheers!

  • I have a casual blog that I started up this year and is purely just a hobbie. It’s a creative outlet where I can share things I make wear and enjoy.
    I understand that original content is ideal, but as someone who does a mix, I don’t see it as the end of the world if u adapt someone else’s recipe, give them the credit and share it on your blog, if u have a smal blog that it. But I love how far blogging has come and how they can vary greatly in personality and style. 🙂

  • I find your blog so inspiring and particularly enjoyed this post! I’ve just started up my blog over the last month and although I don’t necessarily intend to make a career out of it, it’s really refreshing and inspiring to read about likeminded people and i’m excited to share my own views!

    I study Advertising at the moment and can really see the blogging industry taking off, sharing original content and views is way more powerful and enriching than any other media platform in my opinion!

    Really enjoyed this post 🙂 Thanks for sharing Elsie!

    Mia x

    thatstyleoflife.blogspot.co.uk

  • Merci merci merci sooooo much for sharing. You girls do rock. So inspiring. I am definitely looking forward for your e-course. From a french girl, well woman I assume. Or maybe not. Does being 31 and a young mom make you a woman? Sorry just wanted to say Thank you 😉
    Benedicte

  • Hi! I just found you and I’m so glad I did. Even though I only just started my blog, I’m always thinking of how I can improve and this post will definitely be bookmarked for common reference.

    I’m going to explore the rest of your blog, but I wanted to stop and thank you for all of your insight and tips.

  • I really appreciated your viewpoint on the future of blogging. I started my blog four months ago, and I often hear that unless you have been blogging since 2007, don’t bother. The market is closed, blogs are dying, blah blah blah. I don’t blog for a living, but I do hope it opens doors for me (and it already has, actually). I’m glad you don’t think blogging is going to die out any time soon!

  • I know your blog will continue to bless new and retired readers for a long time. God bless.;)

  • I’ve been intermittently writing a just-for-fun blog for a year and a half. When I first started I didn’t know how to do anything, I barely read any blogs, I didn’t know anything about html coding or photography and I wasn’t sure about how I wanted to communicate. But it’s amazing how quick you can evolve and make your blog look the way you want. There’s so much information out there! Evolution, that’s the key word on this post. It would be so nice being able of working the way you do, guys!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

    P.S. It would be awesome if you visited my blog and gave me a professional opinion. 😀

  • Hi Elsie. Really love this post and your grounded perspective. It’s important that we recognise the role blogging is playing in our society now. Yes it is competitive but at the same time it’s a versatile career or simply hobby for creative people to share their passions with others. This can only be a good thing! Great job! Jess http://www.greekyoghurtblog.com

  • Very interesting blog that made me think about why i actually blog… I am a garden writer and photographer writing for Dutch and English magazines, so writing “for fun” on my blog in my spare time can seem a little weird. I am not making any money from my blog, nor am I trying to. But because gardening magazines are generally quite conservative and geared toward a certain audience, often when I express my views and believes concerning sustainibility etc., those parts get cut. The reason I enjoy blogging is that it gives me the freedom to write exactly the way I want to, not trying to tiptoe around sensitive topics. It is much more personal, too. Blogging stimulates me to be more creative in the kitchen and actually record what I do. My blog is my diary, my recipe archive and a creative outlet. Thank you, Vera

  • I would love it if my blog were my career, but I don’t see that happening. I just don’t have the business knowledge, but I’m certainly trying to learn. I love what you said about writing the blog you want to read. I was searching for ages for a blog with a certain point of view. I never found it, so I decided to start it myself. Luckily, I absolutely love it and will keep doing it even if it never makes a dime.

  • Hi Elsie,

    I’ve been blogging as a hobby for nearly nine years, often referring to my blog as my free online therapist! It also supports my love of blog designing, my skills are basic, I am currently on Squarespace and love playing around with their different designs and layouts. I have also changed URL’s a few times, in hindsight probably not the best idea if you want to keep your, albeit moderate, following. Even though I never intended to blog professionally I struggle a little with my blog’s purpose these days and seem to have a strong need to declare a ‘theme’ and follow that. Alas, for now it is what it’s always been, a photo journaled chronicle of my life.

    Thanks for an insightful and timely post, I am always intrigued by those who are able to make a living from blogging and its associated ventures. It is so good to see the hard work pay off and I am very impressed by all that you and your sister as well as your team have achieved!

    Take care,
    Kerstin

  • I’ve kept a blog, mostly as a hobby for awhile and have heard some of the same about being a blogger. It’s amazing how framing things differently gets people past their assumptions. If I say “I’m a writer and photographer, you can check my work out on my blog,” people have completely different reactions. It’s like the difference between when I say “I’m staying home with my kids right now/I’m a stay-at-home mom” or joking, “I’m a mama to 3 boys and run the Drouillard Co.” People respond so differently.

    Thanks for the emphasis on quality and the tips. Even though I don’t have much time to blog right now, they’re great reminders for other jobs/life, too.

    I hope more active bloggers comment in this thread because it’s a really interesting discussion, even viewing it at a hobbyist.

    All the best, you guys.

  • For better or worse I finally took the plunge & started a “real” blog. I’m mostly just talking to myself about crafts & food at this point but it’s already so much fun.. and so time consuming! I don’t know how y’all do it! I’m looking forward to more posts about blogging tips in the future. 🙂

    eatsandmakes.wordpress.com

  • I just got started blogging two weeks ago and am feeling very excited but also somewhat overwhelmed! Can you speak a little towards how much investment is worthwhile at the start? Should I try to get a decent following before I pay for an ideal layout and SEO? Thanks so much for writing this post, it was quite helpful.

  • Hihi I’m one of those people who blog just for fun and just for a hobby 🙂 it’s fun because I can write whatever I want instead of being too commercial heheh… 🙂

  • Thank you for the article! Nicely done.
    To be honest, the article didn’t reveal or add anything new to my understanding of writing a blog, even though I am quite a new person in blogging world. But defenitely it confirmed my belief in how I want to run my blog, what kind of rules I want to follow. I didn’t start my blog for commercial reasons and I’m not sure if it will be anyhow, anyday a place for sponsored materials. I want my blog to be my personal even intimate tabula rasa which will be filled by my own thoughs and opinions and I can agree for sponsored content only if it will smoothly fit to my blog.

  • Great post, thanks Elsie!! I have just started blogging (my husband and I took a year off to travel) and I would love to continue the blog after this year is up and/or maybe start a new one. Your post gives me hope that this really is the way of the future and I love hearing a “veteran’s” oppinion on the industry. I am finding it really fun to create and you are exactly right, the standards, especially for visual design and photography are through the roof! People amaze me! I did just find your app though, which is super helpful for creating cute text on pics quickly and easily, so thanks for that as well!! Maybe you already posted about it and I missed it, but I would love to hear about your experiences with the app creation process 🙂

    Kirsten
    Planestrainsandparks.com

  • Hi and very nice meeting you. Really interesting post! So far I only blog as a hobby. Mainly because it’s quite time intense and it’s already lots of work to keep it alive at all. Cooking is my big passion and I wish I could only do that and have my food blog. But I also have a job I like, friends, a partner, love yoga and need some me time and time to cook as well. So where to get all the time from? I often end up only posting a pic on my Facebook page (which is much quicker and easier than writing a full blog post). Shame though at the same time as the Facebook page grows bit not the blog. How can that be improved? Happy for any tips! Sending sunshine & love, N

  • So interesting! What books/tools do you use (besides years of experience!) to educate yourselves about the blogging industry, online marketing/advertising and small businesses, analytics, etc? Also, any photography book recommendations? Just bought a DSLR – super excited!
    Thanks!

    PS Love your stuff!

  • I so agree with your perspective. We’ve just started our family life and style blog and quality is very important for us. While many people appreciate out work, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand why we put so much effort in our photography and all the projects but we’ll just keep doing our thing 🙂

  • Beautiful advice. This is exactly the kind of genuine, informative post I need to stumble across from time to time to keep me motivated and re-ignite my passion. Truly inspiration, much like the rest of your blog.

    xx Kayla
    http://notyourstandard.com

  • Thanks for this post (and on a side note- we’re excited to hear about an upcoming e-course!!!). We’re in the 5th month of our blog and the dream would be to be able to be full time bloggers and savvy business women such as yourselves. Not having industry standards as you’ve mentioned has been tricky for us as we’ve only recently begun advertising/collaborating with companies but at the same time it’s such an exciting new industry that we’re just happy to be slowly paving our path in a small part of it! XO