I get so many wonderful questions on Instagram and many of them are questions specific to blogging. I usually try and answer every single message I get, but sometimes when I am being asked the same thing multiple times I like to write a full post for people to reference in the future.
How do you start a blog?
This is one of those questions that I never know how to answer because it could go in so many different directions. Now that blogging is so popular there are a lot of easy avenues to take to get a blog up and running. I would start with doing some research on the best place to host your website. I started with Squarespace which is great for beginners and then moved to WordPress and more specially Showit because I wanted to be able to customize the design of my site a lot more. Once I found my website host I started playing around with names. Naming your blog seems like a daunting task in part because there are so many, you don’t want it to sound like anyone else’s and because you want to like it for a really long time. My suggestion is to pick something that has some meaning to you and not something that sounds like an already established blog. I knew I didn’t want my blog to be my own name and I didn’t want it to be a mash up of two random things, Harlowe James felt right the moment I wrote it down on paper and seemed like something that could not only be a blog, but eventually could grow into product if I went down that route.
Is it too late to start blogging?
This is hands down the question I get asked the most! I am by no means an expert and I have only had my blog for a little over two years. I thought it was too late two years ago, but that is simply not true. I didn’t think I would see the successes I have thus far, no matter how small they are. Yes there are millions of blogs out there so it can be a little intimidating, but there are millions of interior designers in the world and I still get up and go to work everyday to do that. If you have something you are passionate about and want to share, I couldn’t recommend blogging more. However if you are trying to get a ton of free products or make a lot of money I would say choose something else. There are perks to blogging, but the amount of time that goes into it is hardly comparable to a free candle or cool event. You have to really love what you are doing or burnout sets in very quickly. I continue to blog because I have something to say and content to share not to have millions of followers on Instagram, which I have to remind myself of from time to time!
Do you blog full time/how much time do you put into your blog?
I answered part of this one on Instagram, but it was interesting to see how many people had no clue I have a job. I am an Interior Designer and don’t consider myself a blogger, I say I have a blog. My blog has always been a side project and because of that I only post about three times a week. I hoped it would be more, but it can be a struggle to get posts out because of my work load.
I think the time that goes into all of this is one of the biggest misconceptions of blogging. There is no way around it, if you want a nice blog – it is a shitload of work! You have to come up with the content you want to create, style shoots, take photos, edit photos, write the posts, re write posts, manage social media, etc. This is definitely not to discourage anyone, but paint a more realistic picture of what goes on behind the scenes. Especially because I work during the week (plus side jobs on the weekend) and all of my photos are shot with natural light, that leaves Friday – Sunday to do a majority of the prep and then I write posts during the week. I always told myself I would have to sacrifice in order to be successful and I still believe that is so true. Of course you need to have a healthy work life balance, but I definitely don’t have as many fun weekend excursions these days and to be honest I don’t think I would change it!
How do you work with brands like Serena & Lily?
This is something I still do very sparingly. Because blogging is not solely how I make my income I can be a little choosier about brand collaborations. It can be really enticing at the beginning because it is all new and people want to send you products, but unless it is something you really love it is often not worth it. I have worked with brands both by them reaching out to me and me reaching out to them. If I reach out to them it is usually because I am dying to work with them in some facet and don’t have high expectations (as in payment) I am willing to be a lot more flexible to build that relationship overtime. If a brand reaches out to me, even if I love their work I tell them how much I charge for a blog post vs. Instagram post. This took me a long time because I didn’t start with a lot of confidence. I didn’t feel like I had enough followers to stand my ground with what I charged, but I realized it is so much more than that. I produce quality content and pour myself into what I do and I really think that shows. You have to belive in yourself/your work and others will too!
How did you get featured on websites like SMP Living?
This is another question I get asked a lot and it is perfect timing because my incredible friend (and woman who designed my website) just posted a detailed guide to getting work published on the IDCO blog. I knew when I started my blog I wanted to create a series of tablescapes that seemed more editorial. The first one I ever did with Torrey is still hands down my favorite photoshoot. We did it with the intention to submit to a site and it ended up being featured on SMP living. They have a full submissions tab, just like The Everygirl, Glitter Guide and Lauren Conrad which makes it very easy to send in your work. Being published on other sites is wonderful exposure and really helped me grow a following early on.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration in so many different ways. I love Pinterest and Instagram obviously, but I almost have a love hate relationship with both. I always want to create new and exciting content and because there is so much exposure to inspiration everywhere these days it can be easy to emulate someone else’s work even if accidentally. I have scrolled through my Instagram and seen about ten different versions of the same photo and direct rip offs of other peoples work including my own. I am guilty of this too and it is kind of just the world we live in, but lately I have been trying to find inspiration away from the computer. My brain is always running and I am creative by nature so I try and find inspiration in small things. Going on walks in the moring around Sausaito, dreaming of crisp fall evening dinner parties, watching Funny Face and looking at other sets of old movies. I like to dissect moments and bits of everything around me and incorporate that into work. I feel that is what makes photos look alive and brings a personality to everything.
I hope this answered some of your questions. I really can’t thank you all enough for continuing to follow along and engage on the blog and Instagram. I am thinking of doing another personal based Q&A soon so send in your questions if there is anything you are dying to know!