Tag Archives: business

On Self Worth

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Photo from Deutscher Hochzeitskongress, aka the German Wedding Congress, that I spoke at in Cologne this weekend! Yes, that was a HUGE audience – 200 people in fact. NO PRESSURE RIGHT?

I’ve had a crazy month. It’s my own fault though. I booked in too many things, over-commited myself too much, and I’ve been run-ragged because of it. Today’s post is short and sweet, partly because of that, but mostly because the message I wanted to pass on to you this week is simple.

I had an epic moment of self-realisation recently: I place a disproportionate amount of self worth on being busy. By that I mean when I’m busy, over-committed and in-demand, I feel better about myself than when I’m not. I’m shit at being bored and I’m useless at doing nothing.

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A Rock n Roll Blogiversary & Five Little Lessons for Aspiring Bloggers

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I don’t remember the exact date I started blogging. My first site got deleted in a moment of technical clumsiness sometime late in 2008, so my earliest posts are no longer on the internet. I’m actually rather pleased that my initial foray into writing about weddings is gone forever though because, man, that shit was embarrassingly bad! I do know that it was sometime during October 2007 that I registered my domain, which makes Rock n Roll Bride SEVEN years old this month and a relative dinosaur in the wedding blogging world!

While looking back is hilarious and mortifying in equal measure, it’s also a wonderful time capsule and a reminder of how far I’ve come. The (lack of) writing skill, the questionable photo choices, the terrible formatting and attempts at ‘branding’. But it’s all part of what got me to where I am today. Not having a clue, bumbling through, excitedly posting things at all hours of the day and night because I was just so damn enthusiastic about weddings!

While condensing everything I’ve discovered about blogging into one article would be impossible, here are five little lessons that I hope will inspire aspiring bloggers.

1. You have to be yourself

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. That overly quoted line by Oscar Wilde is a cliché for a reason. As with everything in life, you have to be yourself when it comes to blogging. Forget about trying to be the next whoever, be loud and proud and focus on being you!

People will love you for it. OK so some people might not, but screw them! Trying to be something you’re not is bloody exhausting, it’s much more fun to be unashamedly weird. Plus, the people who think like you do will powerfully connect with your blog because it speaks to them specifically. It’s much easier to write about things you genuinely like, and for people that feel the same way you do. Never try to be all things to all people, its a recipe for disaster.

2. Focus on your readers

Last week I was named Best Alternative Wedding Blog at the Wedding Blog Awards in London. In my unrehearsed, champagne-fuelled speech, I thanked the industry for embracing me, but most of all I wanted to have a massive gush about my readers. “Without them”, I said, “I’d be working in McDonalds”.

Without readers you don’t have a blog at all, so they should be your top priority. When you start to write something, always ask yourself if your readers will get something out of it. Is it helpful or entertaining (preferably both), or is it just something that’s promoting you?

If your content helps people they won’t be able to stop themselves coming back for more.

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How to Get Started in the Wedding Industry

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I got an email last week from a reader who wanted advice on how to get started in the wedding industry. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be part of the wedding biz”, she wrote, “But where do I begin? I am pretty crafty and I just love all aspects of weddings. I must spend most of my waking hours sifting through your website, Etsy and Pinterest. I’ve saved thousands of pictures of bouquets, décor of every theme, you name it. I want so desperately to be a part of it, I just don’t know where to start.”

This is quite a common conundrum for people starting out on their career path. They might have a vague idea about what industry they want to go into (fashion, weddings, music…) but not a clue about where to begin.

As surprising as it might be, we all have to start in the same place – right at the beginning. While you may want to simply wake up one day with a fabulous career, and knowing exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, in reality that just doesn’t happen. What you really need to do is find a way into the industry you want to work in. You might start as someone’s assistant, by doing admin and filing in an office or by selling your homemade treasures on Etsy.

You have to put yourself in a position where you’re exposed to the things that will eventually influence your career path. It’s not going to land on your lap if you’re not out there hustling for it, and you’re certainly not going to get there by sitting on the internet creating elaborate Pinterest boards all day.

The likelihood is that it won’t be all you’ve dreamed of in the beginning. Foot-in-the-door jobs are hard work, unglamorous and probably even a little boring. Your boss might be horrible, your tasks monotonous, the hours long and the pay crappy. But you have to do these jobs before you can work your way up to where you really want to be.

Before Rock n Roll Bride I worked in television. For years I did runner and assistant jobs, my first of which earned my a whopping £10,000 a year. However, when I left the industry I was producing three hours of live television a day, managing a team of eight and earning significantly more. I would have never have got there without doing the hard work, shit pay jobs first.

So don’t worry if you don’t fall in love with your career right away. No-one ever loves their entry level job, what matters is that you’re in the right industry.

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Ask Me Anything: Small Business Special!

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I’ve done a few ‘ask me anything’ style posts in the past, but I thought it was high time to do another one. I wanted to keep this one career specific, and so I asked my Facebook fans to hit me with their toughest questions related to running your own small business.

What are the best ways to keep motivated and keep on working when working for yourself? I’m at start up and suffer from a severe case of procrastination! – Kate Love

Pure, unadulterated obsession! I know it sounds like a terrible cliché, but I really can’t not blog, I love it to much! But I hear ya, and sometimes the day to day monotony  of running your own business can be less than glamorous.

First of all, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a few days of procrastination now and again. Giving yourself a mental break is good for the soul, and will help your productivity over all, so don’t beat yourself up over it. OBVIOUSLY this should be a rare treat though, so if you’re finding that you’re wasting more time on Pinterest that anything else, something probably needs addressing.

I’m going to force you to ask yourself a tough question now: are you really doing something that lights you up? As I said, I can’t not do what I do. I love it so much, there’s nothing I’d rather be filling my time with. If you’re finding that you’re procrastinating more than you should be, maybe you just haven”t found your ‘thing’ just yet. This is fine, just keep on exploring until you do!

Here’s my biggest practical tip for beating the procrastination monster though. It’s all about breaking your tasks into super manageable chunks. If you’re still struggling after you’ve done that, break them down some more until the task is so small it’s super easy to get it checked off your list. It’s much easier to do, say, 5 minutes of emails, and then have a break, than tell yourself you have to tackle your inbox ALL MORNING. That seems like such a big, boring task that you’ll just keep putting it off.

Not every single job you have to do is going to be completely thrilling so doing this, and rewarding yourself after you’ve completed things (even if it’s just a cup of tea!) is a really great way to encourage yourself to begin. Good luck!

Extra reading: 6 ways to stop procrastination and actually get things done ♥ How to get shit done when you have no time at all

Do you have a schedule that you like to keep to or do you only publish stuff if you think you have the right story? Do you pre-plan? Do you write posts and then publish them later? – Emily Lewis

I have a schedule for myself and for the blog. Both are equally important I think, because as a small business owner, if you tell yourself you can fill your day with anything, you’ll undoubtedly never get anything done! I start working before 9am and do most of my writing in the morning, followed by emails. My afternoons I filled with more admin related tasks that require less brainpower. I usually clock off around 7pm.

In terms of the schedule for the blog, I post twice a day on weekdays and once a day over the weekends. One of the most vital things to growing and maintaining a blog is consistency. So even if you can’t, or don’t want to, blog as often as I do you can still grow your audience. If once a week works for you, that’s perfectly fine, the key is that you are accountable and you do it every week! Otherwise it’s just all too easy to get out of the routine.

The reason that being consistent with your posting schedule is important is because it let’s your readers know when they can come back for updates. Even if they’re not consciously aware of what day or time you post, if they come and visit your site at the same time each day/week/month, they’ll always know there’s going to be new content.

Having a regularly updated blog is the best way to grow your audience. There’s nothing worse than finding a new blog and seeing that it hasn’t been updated for months. You’re probably not going to bother going back.

In terms of pre-planning, I always try and work a couple of days in advance, ideally at least week. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, you’re never going to put out good work if you have to rush it, and waking up in the morning and thinking “crap I need an idea for a blog post NOW”, is never the best way to be creative. Also, writing something and sitting on it for a few days can be really valuable. When you go back and read it with fresh eyes you’ll be able to spot typos easier, and you might figure out better ways of getting your points across. Both are almost impossible to do if you need to bash something out and publish it immediately!

Extra reading: How often should I be blogging?

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How To Sell Your Own Products On Your Blog

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One of the things I learnt pretty early on when I started to monetise this blog, was that having multiple income streams was a good idea. While I continue to earn the bulk of my income from banner advertising and sponsored content, only relying on this every month wouldn’t be that smart. I mean, what if all my advertisers suddenly decided to go elsewhere?

Around mid-2012 I started to brainstorm other ways I could make an income from this site. One of those was selling products. I dabbled with a number of things but the most significant for me have been The Blogcademy, my print magazine and my headpiece collection with Crown and Glory.

If you want to start selling products through your own blog, then here are a few keys things you need to consider.

Bring your readers on the journey with you

The reason the people that read your blog will buy from you over anyone else is because they are invested in YOU. There are a million wedding magazines out there and a squillion brightly coloured headpieces on Etsy, but the reason mine sell is because my readers love the Rock n Roll Bride brand.

In order to capitalise on this fandom (for lack of a better word!), you should bring your readers on the journey with you. Share sneak peeks of the design process and tease the launch on social media. Run exclusive discounts or contests on your blog. Let your readers know, before anyone else, what you’re working on and when they can buy it.

Last week I was shooting the look book for my new collection with Crown and Glory (which is launching on September 15th by the way!) and I made sure I shared a few behind the scenes shots on Instagram. I also snapped some other photos to tease out slowly before the launch (ahem, like in this blog post!) This way, my readers are hopefully already excited about the new collection before it’s even released.

It’s important that you don’t give too much away with your previews though. You don’t want your readers to feel like they’ve already seen everything before you launch! You’ll notice, for example, that I haven’t shared any close up shots of the actual pieces yet. You need to keep some mystery!

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Collaborate with others

There is no way I could sell any of my products without a team behind me. With The Blogcademy I have Gala (co-founder), Shauna (co-founder and designer) and Gareth (developer); with the magazine I have Shauna (designer) and Gareth (packing and shipping); and with the headpieces Sophie and (another!) Gareth of Crown and Glory (designer, making, packing and shipping). It would be impossible for me to do all these things on my own.

If you’re thinking of selling something yourself, collaborating with someone else might be a smart move. Not only can you pool your skills, but also your marketing power. Naomi and Josh of Love Taza just joined forces with Joy of Oh Joy! to launch their app, Pippit, for example.

Have a launch plan

It’s all very well and good spending months working on your product but if you don’t have a launch plan, no-one will ever know about it! Unless you have an enormous Kardashian-sized audience, if you don’t work hard to promote it, no-one else will do it for you. Word of mouth may start to spread down the line, but you need to kick the process off.

Obviously you should share your new products on your own platforms, but that’s rarely enough these days. What else will you do to get the word out?

You could reach out to other bloggers and magazines, do some paid advertising, or run some competitions. Marketing is a slow and steady process, so don’t ever launch a product without some kind of idea on how you’re going market it.

A Beautiful Mess just did this really well with their latest iPhone app, Party Party. First they announced it on their blog. Then, they sent out a care package with some fun props to some of their blogger friends with access to the app so they could try it and share the results on their own platforms. They now continue to write content on their own blog that shares the behind the scenes process of app building, as well as images and gifs made with the app. They’ve also managed to secure some major press features.

If you want to learn more about marketing a blog or product, have a gander at The Blogcademy Home School’s PR and Marketing module!

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Rock n Roll Bride Advertising End Of Year Discount!

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With the madness of wedding season finally coming to a close, I’d imagine that many of my wedding supplier readers will be thinking about their marketing strategy for 2015. To help you start of the new year with a flurry of enquiries, I’m offering discounts on some of my most popular advertising options for the rest of 2014!

If you’d like your business to be exposed to an audience of hundreds of thousands AND at a lower than usual rate, then drop me an email with the subject line “Discounted Advertising” to see my media kit and to qualify for the lower rate. Please also include your website URL and a brief introduction about who you are and what you do in your email.

Yay 2015, LET’S DO THIS!

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