We are coming up on our 10 year anniversary of blogging in a couple weeks and while I didn’t start this blog with any intention of it becoming a paid gig, let alone a full time job for both Chris and I, it has become just that. A full blown career that has become rather successful and we decided we’d like to pass on some of the knowledge and experience we’ve gained to anyone else hoping to make it as a blogger, instagrammer, or influencer in the digital world. For this week’s CLJ Q&A video, we’re answering all of your questions you sent in about blogging as a career. There were so many that we decided to divide it into a few videos. We’ll get to the how we make money, but you gotta learn to walk before you run, you know?
In this first session, we cover:
How did you get started? :50
Was it hard to convince Chris? 1:38
What do you do for insurance, benefits and retirement? 3:49
How do you gain a following? 5:10
What if your story isn’t unique? 13:10
How often should I blog? 17:15
Do you need to blog? 19:34
What’s better; content or the look of the blog? 23:04
How do you keep going if you aren’t gaining readers? 23:38
What technology do I invest in? 26:05
What part of you job don’t you like? 28:03
Is it too late to be successful? 29:28
One of the questions asked about what tech I used, so I wanted to share links to my favorites here, too. Photos are critical to success and the number 1 thing I credit to growing my instagram following organically (read more about that here).
1. Canon 70D : I have only upgraded my camera body (from a Rebel) to the 70D (still a pretty affordable camera) one time and have found the best results by investing in some lenses. This camera body has been a great tool.
2. Tripod : This is one, heavy duty tripod. It has served me well for years. I pull it out every time a room doesn’t have a ton of light or the sun starts setting before my work day is through. A tripod is essential for shooting poorly lit spaces because it keeps your camera really still so you can extend the shutter speed (for sometimes seconds!) and make it look like it’s noon outside.
3. iPhone X Max : The new iPhone camera is everything it’s cracked up to be. I shoot with it about 50% of the time now.
4. Memory Card
5. Lightning to SD Card Reader : This is a great tool if you don’t have a phone with the best camera. Use your real camera and this tool to access the photos from your camera card directly to your phone for editing and posting!
6. MacBook Pro C Hub Adapter : Most laptops these days don’t have a port for an SD card, so one of these comes in handy.
7. Canon 50mm Lens : This was the first extra lens I ever got. It’s reasonably priced and will make SUCH A DIFFERENCE in your photos if you want to create some blur in the background and focus on one thing. Absolutely a must have.
8. Canon 10-18mm Lens : I recently got this wide-angled lens that has very little distortion and it has been a life saver for shooting interiors.
9. Canon 24-70mm Lens : A splurge, but arguable the best lens money can buy.
10. VSCO : As far as photo editing apps go, I have a few go-to filters in the VSCO app I won’t quit. As far as filters go, I always recommend turning them down to at most 60% opacity (if not less). I love A6 and J6 here.
11. Photoshop : We have an Adobe Suite subscription and I use photoshop quite a bit for lens and color correction. I’m self taught, but I would love to take a class to really dive into everything possible here. There’s also a free Photoshop Fix app that comes in handy to edit out rogue dog hair tumbling across our floors from time to time.
12. Lightroom : I use the Lightroom app on my phone all the time. Lots of people are making a killing selling lightroom presets and I’ve purchased a few ones that I love (they are no longer sold, or I would share). Presets are very similar to filters, but with a lot more flexibility when you want to adjust lighting, shadows, highlights and colors after you apply the preset.
13. A Color Story : I love this photo editing app so much and I almost always run a photo through A Color Story even if I used any of the above apps because I can select which area of a photo I want to adjust in their tools. I can make a spot in the ceiling brighter or make a plant a little more green when a filter desaturated it. This is my favorite.
If there are any must-know questions about making a career out of blogging you have, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll try to address as many as we can in future Q&As in this series!