Happy Sunday Ladies (and Gents)! I hope you are all getting excited for Fall. We finally put our pumpkins & mums out today! So, I get a lot of questions from you guys about starting a fashion blog and thought I would just address them all in one post. Starting a new blog or any business, for that matter, is usually more complex than it seems at first glance.
Fact vs. Fiction in Starting a Blog:
(1) FACT: $$$ Few bloggers become profitable within the first year or even longer. This is no different than any other start-up that requires heavy investment in the beginning. Most bloggers will not secure paid brand partnerships within the first year, advertisements, or earn measurable product commission. Those things come over a period of sustained growth and engagement. Luckily, I was able to secure retail partnerships early, reduce my overhead and start-up costs, and increase my margin enough to cash in sooner.
FICTION: I will become profitable so fast…bloggers look like they make so much money. They are always wearing the newest and nicest clothing and are always traveling to exotic locations. This must all be for free!
Conclusion: A blog is no different than any other start-up. Having the expectation to be “rolling in the dough” by the end of year one is a nice dream, but hardly true. This is why most bloggers give up after their first year. You expected “fast money” and when it didn’t come, became discouraged. Lastly, you have not made a budget and determined what it will take for the blog to survive past the first year; it becomes an expensive hobby instead of a business that is long-term oriented with an actual strategy.
(2) FACT: Realistically, it is tough to build your follower base. You are one in 15,000 + fashion bloggers out there for people to choose from. Even if you were “re-grammed” every day by a major account, you would not authentically get this big in a year. Set goals for your first year, but don’t set them so unrealistically high. Most of the bloggers with huge followings have been working for years (consistently) to grow their following. If you are interested in learning more, read my post “Instagram Blogger Series.“
FICTION: In just a year, I expect to have 100,000 followers and work with the top brands. I want to be just like my favorite blogger with a milion followers within the next two years or so. These “famous bloggers” have been working for years to build their blogs and followers. It does not happen overnight or even within a year.
Conclusion: The first year can be full of ups & downs. Set your goals wisely and work every month to improve. For instance, I could choose to grow my follower base by 10,000 followers this year & next month, I would like to increase my followers by 10%. Followers will not just magically find you…you need to engage…a lot.
(3) FACT: In the beginning, you are going to have to invest in a lot of apparel, accessories or beauty items. Most people have to build up their content to showcase the quality before retailers or brands will agree to partner with them. However, if you are already buying a lot of clothing (ha), at least it can go towards your business now! For more info, see my post, “How to Start a Fashion Blog.”
FICTION: All of my clothing and handbags will be free, I won’t have to pay for a thing!
CONCLUSION: Most bloggers don’t start getting free clothing and perks until they reach 10,000 followers. But, it gives you a great incentive to work towards!
(4) FACT: Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes. Some of my favorite (and most popular) bloggers are curvy and don’t fit the “mold” for what the world tells us is “pretty.” Owning who you are creates an authentic experience for your readers. Plus, people follow bloggers because they want to be inspired and have a sense of what they would look like in an outfit before making a purchase. People tell me all the time how they like how I have a real figure and can picture themselves in what I am wearing.
FICTION: I have to be model-thin, tall and beautiful. If I don’t look like her, I won’t make it. I don’t think I am pretty enough.
Conclusion: We are who we are. People appreciate you for being real and you are more likely to gain and retain followers by being yourself. You will never be “XYZ Blogger” and just focus on being the best version of You!
(5) FACT: Blogging is work. Yes, it is fun, but it is still work. We have to utilize graphic design tools, photography software, & SEO optimization. We do our own styling and planning for seasonal changes, and develop new business relationships. We work on growing our social media, writing the actual posts, and searching down products online & similar items for cheaper. We engage with our readers to create meaningful discussions. Almost 50% of fashion bloggers hold down full-time jobs, working on their blogs on the side.
The other 50% that do not work full-time may be working other part-time jobs or have other sources of income. Many have been blogging for years and have finally made their blog a major source of full-time income (yay)!
FICTION: All bloggers are stay-at-home wives or moms. Life is all about taking lavish trips and All they do is take pictures of themselves and lounge around their house in fancy PJ’s drinking latte’s from a $500 espresso machine.
Conclusion: Don’t be fooled by the fancy photos…there’s more to it. See my post, “Day in the Life of a Fashion Blogger.”
Thanks for Reading and I am always taking questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anne S, Benton