|Symbolically, I’m wearing my first gift from SheIn, this sequin jacket|
After a year of blogging, I think it’s high time for me to actually write something! I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should say to you on my “birthday” (:D!), and decided it should be something useful and motivational for the ones who are considering getting into blogging, or the ones who are already doing it – there’s always something new to be learned;
The reason I didn’t write as much until now is that my blog is mostly a photo-blog, according to the subject I’ve chosen – fashion. Now, the ones who really know me know that there’s no way I could have possibly chosen another subject. They also know I have always been a pretty good writer. In high school I was the best in class, along with my best friend Ivana, who recently started her own blog, so you can check it out here, although it’s in Serbian. She and I have very different styles of writing – her style is much more poetic and philosophical, while mine tends to be more simple, but I do like to throw in a fancy expression here and there 😀 It just goes to show that both styles, although completely opposite, can be considered good writing, so worry not!
Another reason I don’t write enough is that I’d prefer to write in in my own language, because naturally I have a richer vocabulary, aaand because I really love my language. I wanted to study Serbian language and literature (which unfortunately wouldn’t be very profitable). Writing in my language wouldn’t make much sense, since the alternative fashion niche is already pretty limited to a small group of people, and naturally I’d like to reach a wider audience. Also, I feel like in the last couple of years I mostly read and listen to English, so my vocabulary has probably expanded much more than Serbian.
Now I often see girls saying they don’t want a typical fashion “wear this bag with these shoes” blog, but, come on, it’s fashion, what else are you supposed to write? Maybe you should start a philosophy blog instead. If you’re a good writer you can write about fashion and make it sound like poetry, or you can write about philosophy and still sound simple. To me, fashion is an escape, and I don’t want to talk about difficult subjects like grief or depression, but I respect bloggers who have the courage to open up about those things .
I like to keep my tone neutral, maybe with a touch of sarcasm, but the important thing is not to sound too diva-like and pretentious (I see this a lot with new models, bloggers, internet “celebrities”), or to offend anyone, because your personality shows whatever you write. Keep it professional, don’t talk down to your readers, and don’t offend other bloggers! (I once read a girl wrote that all fashion bloggers are fancy, which I find rude and untrue 🙂
Now enough about language and writing! 😀
Here I want to tell you as much as I can about my blogging experience and what I learned, as honestly as I can. There are certain things that bloggers just don’t talk about, and believe me, I’ve read every “Blogging How-to” article I could get my hands on! In my year of blogging I can say I’ve pretty much experienced all sorts of collaborations – for money, for clothes, guest posts etc. The only thing I haven’t had is a giveaway, but it’s coming soon! 😀
The reason I started this blog was that I wanted to apply for a job at a fashion magazine. The real reason is I always knew I wanted to do something fashion-related. I wanted to start blogging back when I was living alone in Vienna, I didn’t have all my wardrobe with me, who would take my pics, what will people think etc.
Now that I think about it, I could have just taken photos of the city, that would have been pretty cool, I mean, I was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The real turning point was when I started taking outfit pics for my public instagram account back in 2013, and realized it’s not so scary after all, but I thought blogs had been already outdated. (I was so wrong, there are much more blogging opportunities today than there were 5 years ago, and the blogging world is only expanding!)
Sooo one cold January evening I decided it’s now or never and that it’s high time I stop living the half-life and start doing what I love. I was studying economics, and needless to say it wasn’t enough to feed my creative soul, so I got tired of it and wanted something more from life.
Now, when you make that kind of a decision, nothing can stop you. You just know what you have to do. I still had all the obstacles – I’m not a model, I don’t have a photographer boyfriend, in fact, I don’t know any photographers, or designer friends, or blogger friends. I never even had a person in my life that I see every day who could take my OOTDs. So I decided to just jump right in, and see what happens.
Which leads us to:
The most important factor in fashion is the aesthetics, so good photography is a must. Every blogging how-to will tell you you should take your pics outside and during daytime, which are already two requirements that are hard to meet, since most people work during the day (not me, but most people 🙂 So I got a few friends to take my pics for the first couple of posts, and then afterwards I was left on my own. For the first 6 months I was taking the photos on the go, when it’s convenient, with my phone! Then, I met my best friend – the tripod. I found an old camera that I didn’t even know still worked, and started taking my own pics, in my own back yard. Of course it feels awkward posing on your own in front of a camera, but the really good, surprising news is that you get used to it! Afterwards, I started working with brands, got a new camera and started shooting on other locations as well. I still don’t own a DSLR, but one day, when I get the money! 🙂
Working with brands
I started by filling out the applications on the famous clothing websites and sending out emails, and of course didn’t get many answers at first. For my first collaboration I was promised money or clothes, so i made all the effort, promotion and everything, and in the end didn’t get even a Thank you email. It was my first collaboration for a gothic clothing brand and my first disappointment (I’m not gonna mention any names, since I’m a professional, unlike some.) Still, I’m thankful cause I got a valuable experience and lots of traffic.
Now for my first real collaboration I was asked to do a wishlist and a certain number of clicks was required, in order to start our cooperation. That happened for me about 9 months into blogging.
Now, I don’t usually have to send out emails, the brands come to me for cooperation.
Yes, you can make money blogging, but it has to find you working! I got all the offers in my inbox, which means you have to put yourself out there, in order for readers and sponsors to even know about your existence. Now I wasn’t really promoting my blog until I started working for brands, and you can’t start working with brands until you start promoting, so it’s a never ending circle. Some of the brands I worked with even asked me where to find other bloggers, and I told them to check out the comments on my posts.
I’m not worried about being considered a sellout, I only post the things I like and would wear myself (which is a really wide range:). I usually pick out the pieces that are more retro or goth, but those are nuances. I always mention when it’s a sponsored post, and I’m always honest about the prices. Bottom line, until two months ago I couldn’t even imagine that it’s possible for me to do something I love and get paid for it, and I’m beyond happy and proud to be making my own money and finally be able to help my father out financially.
Promoting your blog
The simplest solution is usually the right one, there’s no shortcut to success! Which means: sharing and commenting on other blogs!
Share to the Facebook and G+ groups (example: here, here and here), and don’t forget Reddit and StumpleUpon! You can’t be on all social media all the time though, so don’t beat yourself up.
You only get what you give
Show interest in other people’s blogs, and they’ll show interest in yours. Meaning: comment on a post you like, even if it’s just :”great outfit” or “great pics”, sometimes it’s enough, and leave the link to your blog. Just don’t write something general like: nice (post), now go check out mine, that’s very rude!
Asking for a Follow 4 follow is fine by me, I don’t consider myself above anything or anyone, just make sure to be polite and put a compliment about my blog somewhere in there 🙂 And then make sure you actually follow back, or you’ll lose all credibility! Also, later on, show some interest in those blogs you followed, I always make sure to comment from time to time if I haven’t visited a blog in awhile, or like a post on facebook, or support other bloggers by pinning the looks I like – I find inspiration everywhere! I’m also always finding new blogs on facebook etc. and spreading my network.
Is there a place for someone truly different?
Yes and no. On one hand I’m glad mainstream brands are recognising such alternative bloggers as myself and their unique styles. On the other hand, we have goth and “alternative” fashion pages, where they only accept traditional goth looks that haven’t changed probably since the ‘90s. Mark my words – the world does not want progress, people mostly accept what’s safe and familiar, but I hope that’s about to change. The fashion will be subject of another post.
Like I said, I wanted to bring something new into this world, and so far I’m not complaining 🙂
All in all:
Blogging IS hard work. I thought bloggers are being over-dramatic, but it’s true (it took me 3 days only for this post). And as hard work, it should be payed for. You shouldn’t accept to work for free even as a new blogger, but that’s all valuable experience. It could easily be a 9-5 job, or even an all day job, although you probably can’t make a living out of it. Promoting is never over, and just once I’d like to go out and not worry about the views, comments, likes and traffic. I’ve been rejected, ignored, let down and used, I lost or let go of sponsors, mostly because they ask for too much/offer too little, and now I have to spend my time wisely.
Don’t worry about the sponsors too much though, just do the best you can, new online stores are opening all the time, and online shopping is only going to grow. I’m thankful that nowadays I have the opportunity to rebuild my wardrobe the way I always wanted it to be, because I can shop worldwide without expensive travel costs.
Share your knowledge with other bloggers, help us grow together, because there really is no direct competition, each of us is an individual and no two persons have the same style.
It’s not all fun and games though, of course I also had some negative comments on social media, the only thing I can say is I pity the people who actually take their time to insult a person they don’t even know online. If someone puts you down or ignores your work on purpose, they probably have a problem with your success and see you as a threat.
On top of that, I didn’t lose as many friends as I expected – I lost more. I say the easiest way to get disappointed by a person is to ask them for a favor or lend them money. I’ve also helped people with their careers and they quickly forgot to return the favor. I’ve had hurtful comments from people from whom I expected it the least. I just can’t understand that someone can’t be happy for me and that I’m finally doing what I love after all that I had been through. But, know this: no one can really understand what you do unless they’re doing the exact same thing as you, so, in my case – absolutely no one.
In the end – out of all the things I’ve done, blogging has really changed my life the most, because it brought me a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and that’s priceless! I probably think about it 70% of the time, which replaced my destructive thoughts. I honestly don’t know what could happen for me to ever quit, even if it means never getting a dollar or a freebie again! There’s no turning back now, only expansion! My next investment would be getting my own domain.
So – find something you love, find the time and courage, and don’t worry about people’s opinions, because you’re gonna get judged anyway, and you only have one life to live your purpose! I really believe that when you do something with love, only good can come out of it!
At the very end of course I’d like to thank my followers for supporting my blog! I’d love to see what you think in the comments, and if you have some advice and useful tips to add, go ahead, because I certainly don’t know it all. This is just my opinion and my experience so far 🙂
Some of these subjects will probably get a separate post, and if you’d like me to do one of them in depth, just ask! A birthday giveaway is coming too, but more about that soon! <3
Love you all! o/