Put in the work!
As I am slowly ending the second CONSISTENT year of blogging, I now have a better idea of the things that I should and shouldn't invest in. I've spent a ton of money on different things that many bloggers have recommended but didn't necessarily work for me. I think it's really all based on your workflow and the direction you see your blog growing into.
When I first started blogging in October of 2016 I started with a basic WordPress site. I didn't invest in anything until February 2017. In my humble opinion, I believe that time is more valuable than money. I knew that in the past when I first started blogging in 2008 I wasn't consistent. I started blogging on blogger and would blog as I felt. Then in 2009, I started a Youtube channel but once I got to college I wasn't consistent and would make videos as I pleased. From time to time I would write a blog post but for the most part, I was not consistent.
Based on these experiences no amount of money would keep me accountable and would help me start and grow.
Whenever I am asked what to invest in as a new blogger and how to start. I always say Invest your time and just start.
Because you have to develop a mindset and work ethic first. Investing in a new blog camera won't work if you do not have the discipline to create content around your work schedule. If you plan to blog full-time keep in mind that you are your own boss.
You have to respond to emails in a timely manner, you have to create an editorial calendar, come up with themes and ideas when pitching to brands. There are so many components behind blogging. So don't get so consumed in the glamorous side. If you plan on growing your blog you need discipline and systems that will keep you on top of things.
So the first investment I recommend is time! Be diligent, create and once you have created with just the basics then invest in an expensive camera. There is no point in buying a $300 camera that you don't pick up, to use.
Create a Monthly Budget
I recently went over my expenses for the past year and I have spent a ton of money on unnecessary things such as planners, notebooks, pens. I am guilty Target and TJmaxx get my coins every time. I also noticed that I spent a ton of money on clothes, for blog content. While this is good because when I first started out, I didn't have the budget to shop for new items. So shopping for new items to create content has actually paid off, when it comes to new followers, my engagement rate and things of that nature. But monetary wise, no. Followers and Instagram likes aren't my ultimate goals, especially if it's not making me money. So I recommend creating a budget on how much you would like to spend in different areas of your blog. Invest in the things that are going to help increase your profit. Here is a break down of my monthly expense categories.
Blogging Photography (Software)
I will go into detail on each of these categories.
Blogging Photography Essentials
When I first started blogging I used a free software on my MacBook called Photoscape, while it's a great inexpensive way to start. As I got more skilled when it came to themes I invested in the Adobe Photography package. It's about $10 a month and worth every penny. I know you can get Lightroom on your phone and while it's very convenient it is nothing compared to the amount of control you get in the actual program. I absolutely love it, I use the app along with the actual computer program. I normally like to purchase pre-sets which helps give my blog and Instagram an overall theme.
For insta-stories, there are numerous of free editing programs you can use. Many have certain themes that are inexpensive to purchase. If you are very creative and you're constantly trying out new techniques, you're definitely going to want to spend a few dollars here and there until you find the exact tools that you can't live without.
There are two cameras that we use. I have the Sony a5000, which is a good starter camera but not my favorite. I use the standard kit lens and will probably purchase another one soon.
For all of my pictures that you all have been loving recently is because of the camera that my Fiance uses. It's my FAVORITE! It's the Panasonic DMC- FZ1000 4k camera. We use the kit lens. It works perfectly for my content.
This was the first thing that I should have invested in when I first started blogging. I've tried Tailwind for Pinterest. I've also tried buffer for my twitter post. But I've found that I prefer CoSchedule. It's a bit pricey, but I love the layout and the fact that I can schedule my content out months in advance on not just Pinterest, but on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
Since investing in CoSchedule my blog page views has increased significantly thanks to posting consistently Pinterest. I've definitely learned this year that posting on Instagram wasn't enough for me. I've found that most of my audience is actually searching for my style of content using Google and Pinterest. I also receive consistent traffic from Twitter surprisingly. Although it's not a lot it's much better than Instagram traffic.
If you do not have someone who can take your pictures for you like a relative or friend. Then it's a great idea to spend the coins and invest in a photographer. Once I stepped my photography game up more collaborations began to come my way. You may not start seeing immediate results but with consistency done well, you soon notice. I invested in a photographer when I first started, but one of the things that are important to me is their aesthetic. It has to match the look that I am going for. Because I had a hard time finding that I've found that my fiance does the best job. From time to time, I also meet up with another blogger and in return, we take each other's pictures.
You need a budget for clothes. I am sure you have read plenty of stories about different bloggers going into debt. Trying to keep up a certain lifestyle all for Instagram. Personally, if I do not have any sponsored content coming up, then I do not go shopping. I simply maximize what I have creating new outfits. The theme for my blog is a personal style blog, my goal is to teach women how to use what they have to create more. So I stick with this rule.
Office supplies sometimes include extra expenses such as purchasing a guide that shows me how to pitch to brands. Hiring a coach, attending a webinar or purchasing a book that's going to help my blog/business grow.
I have yet to attend blog events, due to this mistake of not budgeting for travel. This is a category that I will be implementing in my budget furthermore. But this travel budget goes for anything that involves me traveling for the blog. Whether it's to scout locations, purchase new items etc.
Again, I am still a new blogger and have a long way to go. But the first consistent year of blogging I learned how to monetize my small audience. I have a ton of goals that I want to accomplish in the next few years. But I wanted to share with you all what i've learned so far since I tend to get a ton of blog related questions :)