A few weeks ago, my Creative Director was literally mind blown when I told him about affiliate marketing. It got me thinking that there is still some sort of disconnect between bloggers and everyone else. So today, I decided to clear the air a bit.
I think over the last few years, bloggers really started getting bad reps once the industry took off out of nowhere. A lot of people still don’t quite understand what is blogging and what bloggers do as their jobs. Many people just assume that bloggers just stand and take pretty photos. Sure, that’s part of it. But there is a lot more that really goes into this business. I also truly understand why those who aren’t part of this industry have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. That’s why I’m writing this post today.
OKAY SO, you all know that I do not blog full time, but I still run Pink Champagne Problems as a business. I have to wear many, many hats as the owner of a small business. To be honest, the term blogger really doesn’t share what we actually do on an every day basis. I know people hate the term “content creators”, but that’s also another term for us and usually what I use for the lack of a better word.
I know every blogger/content creator/influencer/business owner runs their shows differently, but I wanted to give a little glimpse into how I run MY business.
Yes, duh. I write. I love writing. I always have. There’s just something about getting your thoughts down on paper (or a screen). I think everyone has noticed by now that I’m really trying to put more effort into my writing on Pink Champagne Problems. Writing is so therapeutic for me. Besides writing on Pink Champagne Problems, I love taking notes and making to-do lists. I love being organized and scheduling things out on paper so I can keep my life together in terms of my professional, personal and social life.
When I think of the term Creative Director, I always think of these prestigious people who run companies. But the more I think of it, bloggers also play this role. We have to create a brand and a name for ourselves. And stick to it. This is something I’m still considering a work in progress. I’m currently in the process of coming up with a mission statement so I can hold myself accountable when it comes to staying consistent with my brand. When it comes down to it, Pink Champagne Problems is meant to be a fun place for me to share my life with my readers. I share my interests (love of fashion/champagne/travel and my knowledge of certain topics). I also want to ensure I’m keeping things 100% real with my readers, all while feeling like life is one big champagne problem.
PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING
While I’m so thankful that I have Allie in my life to take absolutely stunning photos for me, I still need to make sure I’m doing my job to stay on top of my game. This means I need to scout locations, create themes (like on Instagram), and being strategic when it comes to shooting multiple outfits a day. And of course, have a back up plan when things go wrong — lighting, weather, outfits not looking right, etc. And if we’re being honest, I don’t think I have a creative eye when it comes to photography. This is something I’m working on every day. I’ve also been teaching myself how to edit photos (whether in Lightroom or through iPhone apps) so I can remain consistent in my brand image. There’s also another side to editing. I spend a lot of time choosing what type of content (photos + text) I’m posting on the blog and social. This is probably one of the most time consuming part of the job.
Just like my day job, emails are a huge part of my business. That’s where most my communication for partnerships happens. I’m constantly on-the-go, so I’m thankful my email can always be accessible. My inbox can definitely get overwhelming, and good time management comes into play. One of my biggest tips is to utilize labels to help me sort through emails and make sure I’m responding in a timely manner.
Events and press previews are a big part of the day-to-day in this business. I get close to 15-20 invites a week, which is usually why my inbox is overwhelming. I typically turn down most events because I simply don’t have the time to go. Or the events are in the middle of the day and I can’t leave work. This is a downside to have two full time jobs, but I always make sure I make time every week to attend events that I really want to go to. When I can, I try to jump on conference calls with brands or meet up for dinner/drinks. It’s much more personal than constant communication through email, and it’s a chance for you to really show a brand who you are.
PRESS TRIPS & TRAVEL
I’ve been on one actual press trip (with Royal Caribbean), and on a few trips that I’ve partnered with hotels and/or restaurants on my own. In 2017, I made a commitment to share more travel adventures with you. I’ve traveled to London, South Carolina, Nashville, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and most recently, Los Angeles. While I’m still trying to figure out my groove when it comes to the TYPE of travel content I want to create, I really just enjoy traveling. Traveling for work can be stressful because it’s WORK after all. I need to make sure that I’m creating great content to the brand/company I’m partnering with. It’s very hard to just sit back and relax on a trip that is technically for work.
MANAGING & BUILDING SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
It seems that social media is bigger than ever and is the star of the show for bloggers and influencers. While my blog will always be my number one priority, social media is a huge part of Pink Champagne Problems. Maintaining multiple social media accounts can be exhausting because I have to keep a constant presence on all of them. I use each platform for so many things: Twitter for promoting blog posts and being real AF, Instagram for sharing a glimpse into my life and promoting posts, and Facebook for promoting posts and sharing random news/sales. I’ve officially left Snapchat in the past, and am all about Instagram Stories (I wrote about my feelings on it here). Growing a platform is harder than ever right now, and I’m trying so hard to not let it affect me.
Sure, I’m not happy that I’ve been stagnant on Instagram for months. But that’s why I always say your blog should be where you put your eggs. I’ve realized that Instagram and Twitter are platforms where I engage with my readers and followers on a different level and in different ways.
In a nutshell, social media is very, very time consuming.
EDITORIAL CALENDARS & SCHEDULING TOOLS
Using an editorial calendar has been so beneficial for me and my brand. I wrote a post about how I use editorial calendars, and you can check that out here. Scheduling is an absolute key to running a successful business. For social media scheduling, I rely heavily on CoSchedule (read about the program here). I use Google Sheets for my editorial calendar, so I can access it anywhere at any time. And when it comes to scheduling my life, I love my Kate Spade planner and Google Calendar.
BACK-END & TECHY THINGS
I’m actually pretty tech-savvy. Shocking, I know. But I am. I’m pretty good at teaching myself new programs and troubleshooting. Now that I’ve hired an SEO strategist to help with this part of my blog, I’ve stepped away from learning a bit more about meta descriptions, tags, and optimization. I’ve also recently installed my own theme for Pink Champagne Problems after feeling bored with the site. I’m really happy with how my blog looks right now, and I love learning how to implement new things (have to thank Google for the help). I’ve learned that it takes a lot of errors and patience to bring my vision to life, but it’s SO worth it.
BRAND PARTNERSHIPS & CONTRACTS
I do this entirely on my own. I know a lot of people have managers or agencies to handle this part of the business for them. Landing partnerships with brands is one of the most rewarding experiences for me as a business owner. It’s also one of the most challenging parts of running a business. I’ve had to learn how to step out of my comfort zone and protect myself and my brand. When I first realized I could work with brands, I jumped on every opportunity. I thought it was really cool. Now, after 5 years of doing this (OMG 5?!), I say no more than I say yes and really only take on partnerships that will be beneficial for my readers. I’ve gotten pretty good at negotiating and sending pitches, and that’s something I’m really proud of. When I’m in contract with a brand (occasionally more than one brand at a time), I need to make sure I’m 100% on top of my game. I need to make sure I’m very aware of all the deliverables, timing, and if clauses are conflicting.
When it comes to the legal side of my business, it’s really scary and very important that I stay on top of this.
INCOME REPORTS & INVOICES
Fun fact: I’m HORRIBLE at math and with numbers. I do know the basics and how to use formulas in Excel/Google Sheets. This is where I keep track of all of my income, expenses and invoice status. I’m horrible at analyzing numbers, so I’m trying to teach myself how to budget and determine what I can spend. When it comes to invoicing, I created my own template for invoices and keep track of them in a folder on Google Drive. Really helpful! In my spreadsheet, I keep track of when I sent the invoice, when payment is expected, and when I’m actually paid. This allows me to stay on top of any late payments (because those do happen, ugh).
Owning your own business is definitely not cheap. Some of the things I invest in are: web hosting, design, back-end investments, equipment, services, travel, and transportation. I always try to put whatever I make on Pink Champagne Problems back into my business, but sometimes that doesn’t always happen (thanks student loans). Trust me, although it sucks to have to spend money on things for your business, it’s SO worth it in the end.
So there ya have it. Are you still with me? This was a long one. And there’s definitely a lot more that goes into being a blogger (like research). There are good, bad, and ugly sides to the world of blogging, but I’m honored to be part of it all. Although I have a “typical” 9-to-5 job, I really consider blogging a 24/7 job too. I’m always thinking about my brand and I’m always trying to push the envelope. I know so many people do this full time and it makes me sad that they have to defend what they do. I love what I do as a blogger, and I just wanted to shed some light on how blogging is, in fact, a REAL JOB. Just because it’s “unconventional” in some ways, it’s still a career. It’s a way people are making a living for themselves and often times their families. And honestly, it seems to be the direction many talented people are heading.