It’s been a while since I talked about my new found career as a writer and blogger, and while there can’t be many left that haven’t heard me harp on about how much I love it, I thought maybe we were due a recap! Quite a few people have approached me about how to get into blogging and even more have asked me the secret of how to leave a career in finance for something more rewarding. I’ve been surprised and saddened to realise just how many people there are out there working nine to five in a job they hate.
This blog started as a journey. It was the guide to a puzzle I hadn’t quite figured out, how to do something that I was passionate about and how to make that into a career in place of my finance role. It was just over two years ago I started blogging as a way to build up a body of writing, but also to start talking to inspirational people who were making the changes I wanted to, bringing their dreams to life. Suddenly the limitations I had placed on myself seemed ridiculous, believing that I couldn’t do the job I wanted because we live on a small island or I cant write good copy because we have limited publications. With every blog and interview a new piece of the jigsaw fell into place and passion for my subject and writing translated into great stories to be read.
From this point I started freelancing for Gallery magazine, then was approached by De Gruchy to work for them on their in-house Seasons magazine. I now write for various publications on the Island including Manner and Connect on a wide variety of topics. Within a year I was able to approach a PR agency, Direct Input, about working for them and ended up landing the job of my dreams. In my PR role I get to communicate stories every single day, take on crazy sporting challenges for Connect magazine and help people find a voice for their brand. I don't think I realised at the time, but through my blog I was probably offering a PR service anyway!
Whilst my dream has been realised I keep the blog going now because I love the ability to write on subjects of my choosing. I treat it as my mini-magazine and write things that I would be interested in reading, in the hope others will too.
Everyone is different. Some use it as a diary to record their life, others as a business platform. I’ve never considered my blog as commercial, but I use it to demonstrate my capability as a writer which helps my freelancing work expand and most importantly I like to think it helps small businesses get publicity they couldn't otherwise afford.
Do you get free stuff?
Because everyone has to ask this question! Sometimes yes, but very infrequently. I certainly don’t court it. If I’m doing a review I usually get the spa treatment, exercise class on the house but it’s always in exchange for a honest option…no paid for reviews here!!
Was it hard to start?
Yes, afraid so. I read around the topic a lot and the resounding advice was don't hesitate, just do it. It doesn't matter if its wrong or doesn’t sound great, just get typing and learn as you go. There is much more of a supportive community on social media now though, willing to share tips and help others out. My earlier blogs resemble nothing like what I do nowadays, but they are part of my journey. The hardest thing I had to learn was that blogging isn't just about writing it requires photos, so I had to build relationships with photographers and learn how to take decent photos myself with an iphone.
I’ll just keep going until I no longer enjoy it. I like to go with the flow and see how my blog evolves. As I learn to take better pictures I’m leaning much more to writing about fashion as thats what I studied at University and I’ve built up good relationships with the shops in Jersey, where they will let me shoot all their clothes for my blog. But I still enjoy the challenge of telling peoples individual inspirational success stories. Jersey is way behind on the social media front and there’s still very few bloggers out there as it is a time intensive hobby! I’m keen to build a community that will support and help each other and carve out a niche in which bloggers can provide an alternative source of advertising and media to more traditional avenues.
Photos by Mark Stephenson