You learn a lot when you become a blogger. One of the benefits of blogging for me is learning about things I did not know enough about. This includes special educational needs. It is so inspirational how parents share their stories so openly and do their utmost to support other families. Blogging about special educational needs matters and I am delighted to share my interview with Ann Hickman who writes Rainbows are too beautiful  and was a finalist in the BAPS SEND Blog Awards 2017. Ann is also Britmums SEND Round-Up Editor and contributes posts to The Mighty Site and Huffington Post

Why did you start to blog?

It really was a spur of the moment decision.  I was in the playground one day with my autistic son and for the first time ever he played with another child for a few minutes without my help.  Sounds small, but for me, having a nearly non-verbal five year old, it seemed amazing.  I wanted to tell someone about it.  After I got home I googled ‘start a blog’ and wrote my first post that afternoon.  I wrote several times a week about the little things and then it just sort of expanded.  

As my sons and family grew I was being asked for advice by people and I thought I actually had a bunch of information and experience in my head that others might like to know so started sharing helpful information too as well as our stories.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Excited.  It was new and something I’d never done before.  The blog never really ‘took off’, just slowly built up.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I enjoy it. I think about what I want to write about.  I feel less pressure to write all the time which is nice.  I also love that it brings me friendships and opportunities such as speaking and writing, that I value very much. 

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It’s the small things, like helping others when they feel alone or changing an opinion.  Last year I responded to a journalist who wrote about a disabled child in a restaurant.  My post changed her opinion of kids like mine and that’s something I’m proud to have done. 

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Oooh.  I’m the Britmums SEND Editor at the moment, so I like attending the Britmums events.  But it’s probably going to the BAPS Awards.  It’s a smaller blogging awards especially for special educational needs bloggers.  As a group we don’t tend to get out much as out kids can need specialised help sometimes and it’s wonderful to meet up with these bloggers – that’s always the highlight for me at most events. 

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Very little. I include helpful information, services and products in my posts which come with a payment or in exchange for goods. These are sometimes reviews and sometimes links.  I turn down things that don’t fit in with our blog and our readers – making money is not what my blog is about. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

I blog about some quite sensitive topics.  Sometimes the real things I’d like to publish I don’t.  I sometimes read them out to my other half to tell me if it’s ok or not. 

What surprised you most about blogging?

I liked it! I’m still doing two and half years later and I didn’t think about that when I started.   

How do you balance blogging and family life?

This can be a hard one.  Being mindful helps and asking what do I want to do now?

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I didn’t like it anymore.  I like positive reinforcement and if things start to go down hill, I tend to jump ship with everything except family and friends. 

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Enjoy it. Figure out what you like and what’s important to you and your blog and try to stick with it. 

Huge thanks to Ann for sharing her blogging journey with us. Do you have a story about blogging that you would like to share with me?

Winnettes

Not everyone wants to turn their blog into a business, but those that do can often feel overwhelmed and intimidated in the early stages. There seems to be so much to do that it might feel impossible to actually get anything written down and posted and this can put a lot of people off their blogging dream.

Blog Into A Business

https://www.pexels.com/photo/author-blog-create-creative-267569/

However, there are solutions to get over this initial hump and then start making some serious cash. Even if it is not your goal for global blogging domination, there are still methods you can use to ensure that you keep a steady flow of cash coming in from what you write online.

DEALING WITH THE CASH

If you are starting to make money on your blog, you are going to be dealing with cheques and payments that you might never have expected. Additionally, you will need to work out the tax implications for any money you do make, and this is something you don’t want to forget.

Furthermore, if you want to keep your personal and professional life separate, you can get a virtual mailbox for your business which will send all your blog-related mail to a different location so that you don’t get overwhelmed with letter after letter and bill after bill. Along with this, it will make all your invoicing that much simpler and allow you to stay organised at a time where you feel anything but.

GETTING YOUR NAME OUT THERE

One of the biggest hurdles many bloggers experience is a lack of exposure. It is no good posting links to your blog day after day and week after week as, at some point, people will just start to ignore it.

However, you can look into ways in which you can promote your blog in a less intrusive way. This is through promotions and working alongside companies with products to sell, which can bring in revenue. Furthermore, using services such as Adwords can alert the right people to your blog and send them in the right direction. Over time, you will see the clicks and views flowing in.

NEVER STOP LEARNING

The problem that some people encounter when blogging for a while is that they believe they have achieved some sort of higher knowledge about blogging and can never learn anything else. This could not be farther from the truth, though, and can quickly have ruinous effects on the quality of your content.

If you have established yourself in the blogosphere, then it is time to ensure you keep yourself there and this can only be achieved by continuing to learn. You can do this by collaborating with other bloggers too and offering to guest post on their blogs and vice versa. Furthermore, this will allow you to spread your network and find further opportunities with others as well as carry on providing exciting content for your readers to click away at.

BLOG TO BUSINESS

Turning your blog into a business is not something that will bear fruit overnight. As with most things in life it takes discipline, hard work, and self-growth. Believing you are the finished article will get you nowhere in life, and so taking steps to ensuring that you can keep proving your audience with reasons to keep returning is essential to building on existing success.

I am delighted to share my interview with Rachel Bustin where she shares her blogging journey including the sad reason she started blogging and how her blog has developed from a hobby into a job.

Blogging Journey

Why did you start to blog?

I started to blog in March 2015 after my 3rd miscarriage. It was my husband who suggested it to me to take my mind off things.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I was feeling down after my unlucky time of trying to get pregnant, so blogging was my release. In fact I fell in love with blogging very quickly. Back then I blogged about books, gardening and competitions. Slightly different to the family lifestyle I blog about today.

How do you feel about blogging today?

It’s amazing! I have finally found my thing in life, my career!

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

That I’m able to help support my family and have that little extra money for things.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Living down in Cornwall, events are few and far between!

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

My main source of income is sponsored posts. I do have some adverts but have made like £32 from Google Adsense in 3 years! I have made a few pounds from affiliate income sources but it’s not a lot. I think you need huge amounts to make real money from these. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

The promoting of blog posts. I never seem to have enough time to promote once I have written the post I’m on to the next one.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The online world of bloggers I never knew existed. Always there to help and advise. It’s an awesome community.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I’m not sure to be honest. I work full time in my day job, so do lots at lunch times at work. Oh I don’t have much time to sleep either my brain is always coming up with blogging ideas. I have a never ending list of things I need to get done with the blog. I think the balance need to be better for me and I’m aiming to take an evening off a week…..maybe!

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I can’t see anything that would ever lead me to give up blogging, but you never know!

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Go straight to self hosted. I started off on blogger for about 14 months but was limited in what I could do. 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Blogging for me started as a hobby, now it’s a job, but one I love. Hopefully after I have had my second baby this year I can afford to drop hours when I go back to work in 2019. 

Huge thanks to Rachel  for sharing her story so generously.

Every blogging journey is different and if you would like to take part in my interview with a blogger series, do get in touch.

Reflections from Me

A positive blogger is not hard to find. Time and time again we hear how supportive and lovely the blogging community is and that is true on the whole. However, there are some stand-out people who are just special and particularly helpful to others. One of these is Becky from Cuddle Fairy so I was delighted when she agreed to take part in my series of blogger stories.

Positive Blogger

Why did you start to blog?

I started Cuddle Fairy to spread positivity. I felt really motivated towards that but wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve that goal. Initially I wrote about parenting in a positive way but it evolved into quotes and mindset and positive lifestyle posts.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I was kind of terrified when I started blogging to be honest. I had no idea what I was doing and I remember on my lauch day loads went wrong. It’s been a real learning process but one of the best things I learned is not to panic if something goes wrong on the blog front!

How do you feel about blogging today?

I love blogging, and feel calm and happy about it most of the time. I have some stressful days or days when I worry about something but I aim to keep my mindset positive which helps a lot. I find a lot of joy out of writing, taking photos and making videos!

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

I wrote a blog post about my daughter’s hip dysplasia. She wore a brace as a baby and it was a difficult thing to accept and to deal with at the time. I googled and googled and found it so hard to get information or articles written about practical life with a baby in a brace. So, when I started my blog, I wrote the post about my baby’s hip dysplasia so other moms out there would know that how they feel is normal and a few tips I learned on how to manage the brace. I get messages from moms every few months who have read my post and who’s baby was just put into a brace. I feel for each of them so much. I’m so happy that they have someone to reach out to and an article to read that they can relate to. I have a few positivity posts that I get feed back on as well. So to make this long story short, the positive feedback from blog posts is my proudest achievement.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

The Netflix Event in London! We had such a great time. Netflix had activities organized, delicious food and great company in a stylish London penthouse. We were treated so well!

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Brands and PR’s started to email me about collaborating. I am quite choosy when it comes to who I work with. But I did start accepting offers and as time has gone on I have gotten more and more happily!

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Not taking things personally and holding my self worth was challenging at the beginning. It’s hard to understand as a new blogger why everyone who emails is looking for things for less or nothing or pushing for something. Or times when work didn’t come in, not to think there was something wrong with me or blame myself.

What surprised you most about blogging?

How many friends I’ve made through it. I didn’t expect that – at all! I have made blogger friends who are some of my best friends now.

How do you balance blogging and family life?

That was a tricky one for a long time actually. I have blog stop times and start times and I take Sunday off. Sometimes the stop time can go late if I’m very busy but I really try not to do that. So by keeping hours I have family time preserved.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I hope nothing. It’s my creative outlet and I really love it! Unless I started something else that I felt more passionate about, but even then I’d hate to say good bye to my Cuddle Fairy!

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Not to stress! Do not stress. Everything will be ok with your site and your social media. It all takes time to learn so give yourself a break. Join blogger groups, ask questions and take help when you get it. Only focus on one social network at a time, don’t over load yourself. I know that’s more than one lol

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Blogging has brought me so much from friends to a place to be creative to a voice outside my home. And a connection with people out there I never would have met otherwise. To any bloggers reading this who loves their blogs, never let yourself or your blog feel inadequate from what someone says or does. Hold your worth and value always and enjoy what you do!

So if you want to find a positive blogger and have not visited Becky’s blog yet, I urge you to do so because I know you will not be disappointed.

If you would like to share your story of blogging with me, just get in touch.

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My Random Musings

In my series of interviews with bloggers, I spoke to journalist turned blogger Nicole. I hope you enjoy her story and visit her blog.

Journalist

Why did you start to blog?

Before I became a SAHM, I was a journalist with a lifestyle newspaper. So writing has always been a huge part of my life. When my son turned two and started part-time nursery, I found some free time and decided to get back to doing what I loved – writing.

I had written for all mediums before from newspapers to magazines to websites, but I had never blogged. And blogging seemed the best avenue to pursue writing around being a full-time mum. And so my second baby – Tales from Mamaville – was born in Jan 2016!

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Extremely excited and completely clueless! I was glad to get back to writing, excited to be starting my very own blog but quite clueless about it all. Thank God for google in the beginning, and then as I found my feet in the blogging world, the blogging community helped me hugely.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I wouldn’t know what to do with my time if I didn’t have my blog! It has consumed me, but in a lovely way. I am forever chasing deadlines and making mental notes about posts, always on my phone catching up on social media, and staying up late to get blogmin done – and it’s exhausting doing it around being a full-time mum – but I love it. It’s given me a new sense of purpose, and I like referring to myself as a blogger and not just a SAHM.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It would have to be the fact that I self-learnt everything I know about blogging and literally started from scratch! I did a lot of research before hitting publish on my first post, tried out themes, thought long and hard about my blog name etc etc. And even though I still have loads more to learn, I’m proud of the fact that words like SEO and DA don’t frighten me as much. And I’m so much more confident with tech!!!

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

I’m attending my first-ever blogging conference this year (booked my ticket already) and I can’t wait to meet so many bloggers who I interact with online and of course learn so much about different aspects of blogging.

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

I recently started to do so – another mini blogging achievement for me! It’s nice to be able to earn a little income while doing something I love and can do while being a SAHM. I do reviews, sponsored posts, link insertions and social media advertising.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

Finding enough time to do it all. There is SO MUCH to do from planning posts to writing them, finding or clicking suitable images, SEO-ing the text and images, pinning the posts, promoting them, scheduling future promotions. Then there are deadlines to meet for paid opportunities and emails to send to PRs and brands. And the blogmin is another day’s work – fixing broken links, updating plugins… blogging is a 24/7 job. There is no off switch.

What surprised you most about blogging?

The fact that it is so time-consuming and that promoting your content is so crucial to your blog, especially if you want to monetize it. If you just write and sit tight, nobody will know you or your blog exist!

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I’m still figuring that one out haha. I try and sneak in blog work whenever I can during the day (like catch up on social media or reply to emails on my phone while cooking or waiting for the kettle to boil), but most of my blog work is when my son is at nursery or late at night.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

I don’t know if I could not blog now. I’m addicted haha. I might slow down when we plan and have baby number 2 or when other responsibilities come calling, but I think I am too much in love with it to give it up completely.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Be yourself and write for yourself first – let your personality and own writing style shine through your blog. Promotion is key but content is king.

For more tips, here’s a post I recently penned…

https://talesfrommamaville.com/post-on-blogging/

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’d like to add that the blogging community is absolutely FANTASTIC. Bloggers are so helpful and sweet, even to the newbies, and if you ever have a question about anything blog-related, just ask on a blogging group or social media and boom, you’ve got your answer! I have made so many blog buddies online who I hope to meet in real life soon.

Blog: https://talesfrommamaville.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MamavilleTales

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MamavilleTales/

If you would like to share your blogger story, please do get in touch.

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