Hello there and welcome to Episode 263 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name’s Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, events, job board, series of e-books and courses all designed to help you have a profitable blog.
Now, today, we’re continuing our series on blogger breakthroughs, where we’ve got listeners of the podcast pitching their stories to us to share with you. We’ve chosen a few of them from many that were submitted in to share with you.
We tried to choose a variety of bloggers from different parts of the world with different accents, with different niches and different experiences of blogging. Today, we’ve got Mim Jenkinson who has a blog called Love from Mim at lovefrommim.com. Now, Mim started out blogging for one reason and ended up blogging for another. I’ll let her share that transition of her blog. She’s got a story that I’m sure many of you will relate to but also find quite inspiring as well. It’s got some real little nuggets in there, golden nuggets of advice that I want to pull out at the end so stay tuned until the end of her story. Again, you could check out her blog at lovefrommim.com and you can check out today’s show notes where I will have links to her blog and also a full transcription of her story at problogger.com/podcast/263. Now, here’s Mim.
Creating great content, finding an audience, building engagement, monetizing your blog. This is ProBlogger.
Mim: I’m Mim Jenkinson and my blog is Love from Mim. You can find ir at lovefrommim.com. I started blogging in 2013 in June and my blog is about how I stay organized as a busy mom of two small kids and how I work from home. I’d like to share my tips on how I try to stay organized and how I juggle my family time, work time and time for myself as well. Before my breakthrough, my blog was just a hobby blog so I would share everything about my life as a mom, a little bit about the kids and the things that we use to love the products and services, the things we got up to, and I made a small income occasionally from selling a few sponsored posts, but very small.
In November 2015, I was actually diagnosed with breast cancer and I just started quite a well-paid job in consulting so I had to leave that because the particular chemo and radiation regime that I started was quite a tough one and there was just no possible way I could continue to work. What I did was use my blog as an outlet so I shared the journey of my breast cancer diagnosis from the day after I was diagnosed and then I started to treat it like therapy, really, sharing everything I was going through.
It became a diary and it made me feel better to share my story and to connect with other women and, really, to get so much support from my audience, which grew quite quickly around that time. I got up every day, sat at my desk and I worked from 8:00 until 4:00 on my blog. Mainly, it was sharing my story but also writing articles that I’ve done so before about my life as a mom. I wrote about my cancer, wrote about myself and my family. I had already worked with a few brands on sponsored content before, as I said, but then I started to proactively pitch to them.
I had an idea for an article and thought of a brand that would be aligned with it. I contacted them to see if they’ll be interested in sponsoring it and, because of the personal nature of my posts, I think the amount I shared and the feedback I got from other brands appealed to new brands and most of them said yes. As my audience grew, I was able to charge more for sponsored campaigns as well and, soon, it became more lucrative as well as having this outlet as therapy also became a much bigger earner.
You can imagine the medical bills that we had a time, and it really helped. My income increased month from month and then, as my treatment ended, I didn’t want to go back to working for somebody else. I was just really enjoying the freedom and flexibility and just the opportunity that blogging and being a professional blogger had given to me. I spoke with my husband and I set myself a challenge that if I could earn as much as I was earning before when I was working for somebody else in three to six months that I would continue to blog full-time as my full-time job.
Then, of course, pitching became a much bigger part of my time and I really, really love pitching. I’ve come from a background in sales and marketing and events and I just find pitching really easy and fun. Mainly, with blogging, I pitch over email but I really do love to speak to people in person and present, also to speak to brands on the phone. Pitching was successful for me and I’m now earning six figures and the income’s made up of sponsored work, affiliate marketing, consulting as a content creator and also as just a marketing consultant, generally.
I used to work with a few brands. I now only work with one because the income that I’m making on my own blog is sufficient enough for me to make the majority of my working time in the week. Now, life as a professional blogger is really busy but it’s so joyful. I’ve really found my identity and I feel like I know now what I’m supposed to be doing. Although I really enjoyed my career and the jobs that I’ve had before, nothing compares to this. I find such a lot of joy in writing and my blog is still a real outlet for me so I still share really personal things about my life, not so much about the kids now.
Now, it’s more about me so I’ll share the journey with breast cancer, still, nearly three years on, the mental health struggles that I have, how I worked from home as well and how I do that, how I set up my day, how I plan my week, how I make an income. I like to really share things to help other people who might be interested in doing a similar thing themselves. I know how hard it is when you’re working in a full-time or even a part time job but you’re very reliant on that income so I know how hard it is when you really want to start your own business but you’re not sure how to start or you’re nervous about if it’s going to be successful or not and that dip in income, which there generally is a dip for most people while they’re ramping up things and starting their own business.
I left my job and there’s not enough hours in a day for all of the ideas I have. I’m having to work myself on setting some more identifiable goals and prioritizing because, every day–and I’m sure most bloggers will relate to this–every day and every night, so many ideas come into my head and it feels like an amazing idea that’s going to be super successful or rewarding and you want to do everything, but we just don’t have the time to do everything, unfortunately.
My next goal is to be in a position where I will let go of some of my control and actually hire a VA to help me because I know that will free up my time to be much more creative and to bring to fruition some of these other ideas that I’m having. I have a couple of tips to anyone else who’s looking to take their blog to the next level and monetize it. Perhaps you’re monetizing a little bit now or you never have done before, but what I would say is if you want your blog to be your job, then treat it like one even before you’ve earned anything at all.
Turn up to work, set goals, create a structure, plan your week and work hard and be professional. I always did that from the beginning, from the day that I wanted to start earning. Even before I had earned anything, I acted as if it was my business. My next tip would be to always stay very true to yourself and to stay ethical. I work on so many sponsored campaigns and I feel so accountable when a brand invests their time and money into collaborating with me. Don’t just take your brand’s money and run; be very clear on the deliverables they’re looking for in the campaign and be sure that you can give them a return on their investment.
Be as sure as you can. It might not always happen and you can learn from them, and there have been a couple of occasions where the outcome of a sponsored campaign I’ve worked on hasn’t delivered the results that I thought it would. You learn from that. You learn to know what your audience relates to, what they want, what they’re really going to buy into and what they won’t. You obviously do more or deliver more of what they want and less of what they don’t, obviously.
I work with a few brands now but numerous times a year so I’m lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for some really amazing Australian brands. The brands I work with, they know me and they trust me as much as I do them as well. I’m trying to continue to earn from my blog but I really work with brands who I absolutely love, trust and can wholeheartedly recommend to the people who follow me into my audience and leadership. I think that that comes through because the brands I work with, I’m so happy to rave about because they have changed my life in many ways with the products and services they offer.
I think it’s very easy to spot fake notions when you’re talking about brands, products and services. It’s very easy for your readers to see whether you truly do rate and recommend them or not so be ethical. I always knew that I wanted to work for myself and I’ve always been really entrepreneurial. I’m so delighted that I found my dream job. For years and years, I knew that I would be my own boss one day. I just didn’t know how that was going to look or turn out but life as a professional blogger can be a bit lonely and isolating. I’m sure some of you will relate to that as well.
To make the most of the amazing blogging community that’s out there–and it took some time for me to actually realize there was such a huge community out there, especially for moms who blog like me. Go to events, network, find blogging buddies, find mentors, go to the ProBlogger events. They’re amazing, just completely life-changing and transformational for me and my blog. Share ideas, share wins and challenges and be really generous as well with your time and with the things that you’ve learned.
I’ve tried to be really generous with my advice and I recommend that you do so as well. When you can, share your time. Help other bloggers. They’re not your competition; they’re your peers and they’re your potential clients and that’s the way that I see the blogging community. Yes, they might be doing things that you want to do but you can do similar things. Put your own spin on it because your readers are interested in your content because of you. It took me a little while to work that out truly and I still struggle now with imposter syndrome and with comparison.
I still struggle with those two things but I’m really trying to make a big effort not to because I have readers who turn up to see me and to read about me and my opinion on things. Have some confidence. Be yourself. Thank you so much to Darren and ProBlogger for letting me on the show today. I’ve been a huge fan of ProBlogger for so many years and I’m just so delighted to be a part of it as well. Thank you very much to the team for your generosity and continuing to share all the wonderful tips and advice that you do because, as I’ve said before, it’s completely changed my blog, especially where monetization is concerned so thank you.
Darren: You’re listening to ProBlogger.
Thanks so much to Mim for sharing her story today. I really did appreciate it, and there were a few things that really jumped out at me in her story. Firstly, the power of vulnerability has been of a bit of theme of this podcast of late, and we’ve heard a number of bloggers in this series talk about different aspects of this. I talked about my own vulnerability in a post recently a few episodes ago as well, and it’s something that continues to be something that I thought a lot about of late.
It’s not something that comes easy sometimes, getting out there and sharing your story, sharing about issues of health or mental health, all those types of things, but it is a very powerful thing. It connects with your readers. It’s something that gets noticed. It’s something that rallies the support of others and gets engagement as well. Now, you want to do it authentically, of course, but it’s certainly something to consider as you create content.
The second thing on a completely different topic that jumped out–it’s almost in passing. Mim said that she had multiple income streams. This is something I really do want to emphasize for bloggers who are looking to make that leap from part-time income into full-time income. Almost every blogger that I’ve talked to who’s made that list has done so by having not just one income stream but multiple income streams. Mim talked about having sponsored content that she does sponsored posts but also affiliate marketing, doing some commission work, consulting, marketing consulting and also content consulting.
There’s three or four different income streams there as well. If you are right at that point of wanting to make that leap, one way that you can grow your income is to add a new income stream rather than just get more traffic or charge more for your content. Then, the last thing–and, again, this is just something that Mim mentioned in passing but I really want to emphasize. Right at the end of her story, she talked about imposter syndrome and feeling like everyone’s already blogged about everything there is to say on your topic and other people blog perhaps better than you.
This is something that a lot of bloggers do struggle with, but I really love the advice that she gave there. Your readers are interested in your content because of you, not just the topic, and this is something that’s really important to grasp. People don’t want just another blog about whatever their topic is; they want you. They want to know what you think about your topic. They want to hear your story as it relates to that particular topic. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, please be encouraged.
The people who are following you want more of you and so they wouldn’t really even mind what you talk about half the time as long as you are being authentic, as long as you’re being true and bringing your personality to the topic and your experience to the topic as well. I hope Mim’s story has been encouraging to you. You can check out more from Mim at lovefrommim.com, and I’ll link to that in today’s show notes which you can find at problogger.com/podcast/263.
Before I go this week, I’ll let you know about two other episodes that do relate to a couple of things that I just spoke about: firstly, 121 where I give you seven strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome for those of you who are grappling with that one; and Episode 236 which has five areas to focus on if you do want to grow your blogging income. One of those things is adding new income streams into your blog as well, as well as four other things that you might want to consider if you are at that phase of making that leap into full-time income.
Again, that was Episode 121 for imposter syndrome and 236 for growing your blog’s income. Again, I’ll link to them in today’s show notes at problogger.com/podcast/263.
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