Vicki-Honest MumPhotograph by Kirsty Mattsson from the official shoot for Nova Harley.

I’m often asked what my career is and although I’m a trained, award winning filmmaker and adore directing, the last few years have seen me become a full time blogger, a career that happened organically and is one I LOVE.

Professional blogging is a lucrative career and it has also opened many doors for me from appearing on camera in parenting films for Yahoo to recently modelling worldwide for designer baby bags Nova Harley after they discovered me via my style blog, with even a recent appearance in Vogue below! Crazy but true!

Vogue Yes, I’ve also been developing a TV project for a while so my fingers are still in the media pie (see my film website here) but my living is predominantly made via this blog here and my style blog mummysgotstyle.com.

It doesn’t mean I won’t one day return to filmmaking but right now blogging stimulates me, it’s been my choice to pursue it and it works so much better than directing for me, around my little family.

It is so creative too, you are your own editor and my background as a writer, director, editor and teacher have all contributed to this here blog.

I actually read a brilliantly candid post by one of my favourite bloggers Alice over on More than Toast: Blogging as a Business: How I turned my Blog into my Career which prompted me to share my own experience as a professional blogger. And it’s about time too as I’m often asked lots of questions by new bloggers and even friends and family on how I started and what it takes to monetise a blog.

I’m so proud to earn a great living doing what a love, a living that equals what I earned as a freelance TV and promo director but which allows me to see my kids rather than working away or being on set for 15 hour days, most days.

Now, I don’t even have to leave the house if I don’t want to. It is still a full time job though which means I need childcare to make it work (thank goodness for parents, nursery and pre-school) but I’m around a lot, can work on evenings if I need to and being my own boss, means I make it work for me.

How did it all begin?

I started honestmum.com in November 2010 when my first son Oliver was 10 months old- I felt lost going from directing hundreds on set to just baby and I, pretty lonely and in desperate need of rediscovering my voice, but I wasn’t sure how…

My best friend and fellow filmmaker Amancay Tapia would listen to stories of my new parenting life and encouraged me (daily) to start a blog until I finally did. I will always be grateful to Amancay for her brilliant powers of persuasion.

After four weeks of mostly writing about relocating to Leeds from Bristol via London to be close to my Big Fat Greek Family, I was stunned to make it as a finalist at the Brit Mums’ Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice Category

This accolade helped me to regain my confidence, so much so that I went back on set to direct fashion commercials a month later.

It also helped to raise my blog’s profile and of course gave me so much more, a community who understood what I was going through, a foundation for advice and encouragement and a whole set of new, smart, caring friends online.

I was soon approached by a PR company who wanted to advertise with me and this happened frequently in my first year although I mostly declined being too busy on set… but things quickly took off with my blog so much that by the time my second baby came along I was a registered company reaching new heights daily. I’m not trying to brag, merely to inspire (you too can make it happen for yourself)…

I never set out for my blog to become my career but I’m glad and grateful it has. It helps that the last few years has seen blogging and particularly the parenting community of bloggers become recognised for the influential writers that we are.

In fact I had a meeting last year with a HUGE agency (they rep A list actors, directors, screenwriters etc) regarding my filmmaking work, they spent a lot of the meeting discussing my blogging. Goes to show!

…We are relateable, wise, funny and powerful and better believe it. Our voices matter whether we want to create a business or not.

So along with writing about my passions: my family, food, films and the constant juggle that is freelance life with kids, I also post a lot of self written sponsored content for brands I genuinely love including Evian, Hobbs, Ebay, John Lewis, Waitrose, Very, Zalando, Fairy and many, many more.

I sometimes also pop well written paid guest posts up too if I feel it’s relevant to my readers. Magazines need advertising to publish so I feel this is no different for my blogs and I.

Additionally, I recently took part in a commissioned live Google + hangout for Selfridges with renowned make up artist Charlotte Tilbury and I’m often paid to tweet (always marked with #spon of course). Kim Kardashian must be s***ing herself huh!

Seriously though, I find the world of blogging and social media exciting, I love that I have carved out a brand for my blogs whiles having fun and as a prolific writer anyway, find this an easy way to make a living with a young family in tow.

I charge high fees and having been a film magazine editor and currently a freelance writer, screenwriter and lecturer (even writing for the Guardian whiles studying for my first degree in journalism), I know the rates of freelance writers and frankly and most importantly, I know my worth. I hope you know yours too!

I would advise to start high-ish when negotiating fees then there’s always room for manoeuvre. You can offer a slightly discounted rate for several commissions if you like or guaranteed future work. Start practicing making those deals so you feel comfortable taking money.

I’m lucky that I work with on the whole, PR’s and agencies who hugely value bloggers and appreciate and respect this is our job, paying well and offering suitable clients that are of interest to my followers… but of course like any industry, there are some who will try it on so it’s down to us ALL to set the standard and reject silly offers and blogging for free. Worthy reviews are not the same as blogging for no fee, you are getting something out of it and that’s down to you whether you want to agree.

Additionally certain PR opps might be beneficial to you, press events that help you connect to others for future work or ways you’ll get publicity might be beneficial but be wise and make sure you prioritise the paid gigs.

I do take on review posts myself, products or events, shows etc that add value to mine and my family’s life, big and small but paid work does what it say on the tin, so those will always come first.

So who do PR’s want to work with?

Self hosted blogs to start with and those of a PR Google Ranking of 2 and above although ones of 3 and over will gain the most work and of course PR’s check stats using several sites and online listings to assess your influence and authority.

Don’t worry though as stats and ‘blogging power’ will grow as your content does (content is king remember whether you want to earn from your blog or not and thus drives everything) so work on that first, hone your voice, invest in an online writing course or improve your photography skills if you feel you need to, and soon enough more readers and fellow bloggers will become familiar with your blog, link to you, creating more back links for your site which will in turn affect your popularity and thus google ranking and desirability to advertisers.

Most of your stats will come from search engines though so blogging daily if you can (I sometimes blog several times a day) will help with this and installing an SEO plug in will enable you to check how well each post will do online before you hit publish.

The easiest way to get your blog better known of course is to comment lots and LOTS on other posts and regularly, and of course if you want to monetise, comment on paid posts you see (most are and should be disclosed as such, so look out for ‘sponsored’ and ‘featured/ in association with’ etc marked posts, as that’s a great way of getting the PR’s attention who commissioned the post in the first place.

Commenting also leaves your blog URL links everywhere so make sure you include yours when leaving your thoughts on other’s posts. Leaving interesting, engaging comments will direct traffic to your blog. Also don’t forget to include URLS elsewhere online from your Linkedin profile to your twitter handle and beyond. Links equal clicks.

Partaking and hosting linkies is another useful way to gain greater exposure for you and your blog (international ones too) whiles sharing your passions with others.

I run Tasty Tuesdays and Brilliant Blog Posts right here and Fashion Friday on my style blog.

I’m also often discovered via my tweets, even when it comes to my lesser known blog Mummy’s Got Style so never underestimate the power of social media.

Promote and plug away and try to become a lot more American about shouting about your blog (as a freelancer I’ve never found this hard but realise it’s not so easy for everyone, simply start slow and build your confidence gradually!)

Some American bloggers are earning 6 figure salaries so think big and don’t be afraid to market yourself!

Plus, if PR’s aren’t coming to you (it takes time to build your rank and be discovered), seek out clients via twitter and be a bit tenacious. What’s the worst someone can say? No? Oh well, next! Develop a thick skin and learn to deal with rejection, I have years of freelance practice so it doesn’t bother me now…

Remember talent rises to the top, always, so write about what you know and want to read yourself, your voice is individual so never forget that, simply be inspired by those you love and value, life of course and read widely (not just blogs from your own community) whiles continuously raising your game.

Back to paid posts…I always try and post an interesting, non paid post close to posting a paid one to hopefully prevent my readers feeling alienated, but I do also try and ensure paid content is well written and fun to read and illustrated well (if you can’t take high res pics yourself it’s very cheap to purchase stock photos online)…

Competitions are also a great way to bring ‘the stats to the yard’ and Rafflecopter has to be my favourite widget and way of marketing my competitions.

Do add your competition URL’s to other comp sites too as a way of promoting.

BritMums has a great giveaways thread , Prize Finder, Money Saving Expert and Super Lucky Blog are also good ways to bring new people to your site. Request entries like and follow your social media channels for an extra boost for you! You’ll inevitably lose some but many will stay on, hooked by your fab content of course or for the next comp at the very least!

Other tips would be to keep your blogs looking clean, clear, stylish, enticing and as professional as possible (I use a web designer Amee D’Souza for my own sites and of course it helps my husband takes beautiful photographs and is an IT guru to boot!

Please don’t forget to make it easy for potential PR’s to find you too-ensure your email address is clickable and all your social media buttons are clear and near the top of your blog.

Also look at where your traffic is coming from-Pinterest? Instagram? Twitter? I use tweetdeck to schedule tweets so I can be living/working whiles twitter promotes my posts for me. Do consider promoting your archived posts too as well as linking old posts to new linkies, giving new life to pre-written content easily.

…Good luck!

Please do use the comments to ask me any questions. I’ve tried to cover as much as possible- I’m constantly learning too with this ever-evolving exciting brave new blogging world but I hope this post might have shed more light on blogging as a career.

Now go earn some money!

V

Linking up with All About You and Share with Me

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179 Responses

  1. Emma

    Another super blog! Going to file this. I’ve got solo much to learn, feels quite daunting at the moment!

    Reply
  2. Adventures of a Novice Mum

    Another fab read from a blogger I respect and a blog that I like more and more! I saw the link to this post in your comment on You Baby Me Mummy’s 50 blogging tips; I’m so glad I saw it.

    I really do appreciate your honesty and how encouraging you are to others to go for it. You’re willing to share your success and its ‘hows’.

    Thanks for being honest mum and I look forward to reading more from you and perhaps getting to know you / your work more.

    A really good, fresh, informative, open and encouraging read!
    Adventures of a Novice Mum recently posted…Blog Linkys: Top / Bottom 5My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      What a lovely comment, thanks so much, so pleased you have found it useful and are enjoying the blog. Really touched by your comment! Looking forward to getting to know you more too 🙂

      Reply
  3. Fatima

    Thank you for this excellent post, and for taking the time to make it so thorough. I’ve just started a website, whilst being pregnant with my third child, and have been feeling very discouraged lately that I’m ever going to get anyone to read it! But I’ve been very motivated by your article to keep on working on it… so thank you!
    Fatima recently posted…25% off plus free delivery and returns at BodenMy Profile

    Reply
  4. Jess Paterson

    This is a great post, love your energy and kick-ass attitude! Very inspiring. I love writing but am clueless about SEO etc so thanks for the great tips. You deserve your success hon! xx
    Jess Paterson recently posted…The Accidental CougarMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Jess, SEO is important and I really find it fascinating, learning all the time! YOAST really helps, an easy plug in that lets you check how good your SEO is on each post before you hit publish, love your blog and you deserve all your success too darling x

      Reply
  5. Katie Haydock

    So helpful again!
    I never thought in a million years that anyone would ever read my blog… and to now be thinking of making it a career is a crazy dream!

    Reply
  6. Amy

    This is a brilliant post I’ve just started blogging and hoping it’ll grow to be successful one day, at the moment tho I’m really enjoying it so I guess that’s the main thing. reading this has given me some great tips thanks
    Amy recently posted…Fun in the sunMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Great, so glad Amy! I love that the blog is my job, I’m so passionate about it, it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ x

      Reply
  7. Oh Little One Sweet

    Thank you for sharing all these fantastic tips. A really interesting and informative read. Although my blog hasn’t been up and running for long and I’m currently juggling it with being a full time teacher and mummy to a 10 month old, I’m aiming to really get it going once I’ve finished with my current job this summer. Feeling very inspired now! Thank you!
    Amelia x
    http://ohlittleonesweet.blogspot.co.uk/
    Oh Little One Sweet recently posted…The Ordinary Moments # 6 ‘Let’s eat together’My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      I’m so pleased Amelia, it’s great you are self hosted already too. Give me a shout if you need any more tips and advice x

      Reply
  8. Vicki - The Free From Fairy

    What a brilliant and useful post! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips. I am always afraid that when I blog lots I put people off…I find it annoying if I subscribe to a blog that sends out loads and loads of stuff each week, but perhaps that is just me! Maybe I will try to post more frequently!
    Vicki – The Free From Fairy recently posted…Tideford Organics and Easy Bean…tasty meal solutions.My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Understand that Vicki but I think subscriptions are changing and I wouldn’t worry what people think, they don’t have to read all your posts. Do what’s right for you though, I blog a lot and it works for me as a career and generally and of course it will help your SEO and the majority of everyone’s traffic comes from search engines x

      Reply
  9. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Thanks so much for linking this up to #AllAboutYou – definitely a featured post darling!
    Mama and More aka Zaz recently posted…Saying goodbye – remembering a friend lost to breast cancerMy Profile

    Reply
  10. Kerry Brind

    What a wonderful post Vicki, a real eye opener into the huge potential for mummy blogs. I’m also a media gal – 15 years copywriting and freelance blogging – and I recently decided to put what I’ve learnt over the years into my own blog. I’ve built popular blogs for dozens of businesses but striking out on my own has still been quite scary! Along with the fantastic advice in your post I’d encourage mummy bloggers to think big, really BIG. Successful bloggers really do have the world at their feet and can use their blogging skills as a springboard to huge success – freelance blogging and writing, book publishing deals, speaker opportunities and more! Kx

    Reply
  11. Kerry Brind

    What a wonderful post Vicki, a real eye opener into the huge potential for mummy blogs. I’m also a media gal – 15 years copywriting and freelance blogging – and I recently decided to put what I’ve learnt over the years into my own blog. I’ve built popular blogs for dozens of businesses but striking out on my own has still been quite scary! Along with the fantastic advice in your post I’d encourage mummy bloggers to think big, really BIG. Successful bloggers really do have the world at their feet and can use their blogging skills as a springboard to huge success – freelance blogging and writing, book publishing deals, speaker opportunities and more! Kx

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Kerry that’s great Kerry, congrats on all your suceess, I totally agree, blogging opens so so many doors x

      Reply
  12. jenny

    This is amazing Vicky. Way to go you for accomplishing so much in such a little time. I am in awe of you and feel like you inspire me and teach me so very much already. I really want to make my blog my career. It’s something I am very passionate about and want to take further and further to fit around my family of course too. It’s a struggle to know where to start and what is the most important aspect of it all. I am taking it in stride and hopefully moving the right way. Love this post though Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Missy Moo’s Milestones: 11 monthsMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      My pleasure Jenny and you are doing great, blogging works so well around kids and is a wonderful, well paid career. I am sure you will achieve this too! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  13. Denise (mum on a mission for a better life)

    I found this post really interesting as I have been blogging for about 8 months and have just decided to return to a social work degree that I started years ago but had to leave due to ill health as I had decided that it would be impossible to make a living from blogging! I find it really hard as I have won some blogging competitions so that makes me think that I must be doing something right but I do not get very many visits at all and I hear about blogs that get thousands of hits a day and I am lucky if I get 100. Oh well, I guess it is like most things in life, it only works for the highly talented. Thank you for sharing your story 🙂 xx
    Denise (mum on a mission for a better life) recently posted…Our day of shopping in ColchesterMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Hi Denise thanks for your comment, keep at it, seriously, apply what I’ve mentioned in the post, keep writing great content which yours no doubt is especially with your awards, work social media, reach out to brands if they are not coming to you and keep pushing. Don’t worry about the stats, these will grow. Good luck with it all, it’s all there for the taking x

      Reply
  14. Ebabee

    Fabulous post! Really inspiring stuff. Well done you x
    Ebabee recently posted…Baby shoes with a pop of colourMy Profile

    Reply
  15. Emma Kershaw

    Such a great post and so informative, really enjoyed reading it and will be putting some of your tips into practice from now on, thank you! 🙂 #sharewithme
    Emma Kershaw recently posted…Siblings – JuneMy Profile

    Reply
  16. suzanne3childrenandit

    What an incredibly informative and well-written post. Thank you for sharing this. I’m getting a few sponsored opportunities and decent items to review but I was wondering how to make this a full-time job because I just can’t see it! I don’t market myself really though as I don’t have much time at the moment. I guess it’s taking that leap of faith and believing in yourself.
    suzanne3childrenandit recently posted…And My Sponsor for Britmums Live 2014 is….My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks Suzanne, it really is, we are all influential bloggers and once you start making that leap, greater confidence will come x

      Reply
  17. Michelle

    I absolutely love this post. I love your blog and looking at all your delicious recipes. You inspire me to try new things and bake different food with my girls. You have given fantastic tips which I will definitely take away! Thank you #sharewithme x

    Reply
  18. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Fab post with some really useful tips and info! You are such a fab blogger and a bit of an inspiration. I love that you have made it into a lucrative career – well done you! xx #allaboutyou
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…Second Trimester Style – Under Bump or Over Bump?My Profile

    Reply
  19. normaleverydaylife

    This was so interesting! I loved reading tips from behind the scenes and about your background. Congratulations on all your success! #allaboutyou
    normaleverydaylife recently posted…Removing Our MasksMy Profile

    Reply
  20. Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours

    Love this post, very inspiring! I love blogging but do find it difficult to find the time! I want to make more of an effort to grow my blog and make it worthwhile! Thanks for a great post 🙂 Will def be back to join in with your linkies too x
    Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours recently posted…Holidays BluesMy Profile

    Reply
  21. Sophie at Franglaise Cooking

    You have got to be the nicest blogger and person I know to share all these wise words with everyone. Well done on doing so well, you’re an inspiration to all of us and thanks for sharing so candidly xx
    Sophie at Franglaise Cooking recently posted…Squid aÌ€ l’ArmoricaineMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Oh Sophie what a lovely comment, thank you, I am so touched that so many have found this useful and truly happy to help! Thanks for your lovely words, you’re amazing and inspirational yourself x

      Reply
  22. Anneka@mamaandthree

    Really great advice! I’m a new blogger and reading this post is really inspiring
    Anneka x
    Anneka@mamaandthree recently posted…Haircuts and Ice creams!My Profile

    Reply
  23. Claire

    Thank You so much for inspiring me today Vicki over on twitter. I have read your blog post with so much admiration for what you do.. Whilst working full time I am just launching my blog site like most people start out.. I have made it live although it still needs fine tuning and a few tweaks having looked on your site and taken some great tips for layout!! I will be mainly spending my weekend working on some blog posts so that I can set them up to automate and have regular daily content as you said content is king!! I will continue with my social media outlets 3 I have found work well for me and Pintrest i need to explore more.. Glad I across you today the kick up the butt i needed… Claire xx

    Reply
  24. Michelle @ Bod for tea

    SO many comments – what can I add? Other than to say that this was the swift kick up the behind that I needed to finally move me to self-hosting. Thank you for your honesty, your support and your inspiration to your fellow bloggers. Can’t wait for that britmumslive hug x
    Michelle @ Bod for tea recently posted…Would you pay me to run?My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Michelle, so pleased this post has helped you and so many, can’t wait to see you too for big cuddle x

      Reply
  25. Sam @ And then the fun began...

    Brilliant advice hon! I don’t do anything money-related on my blog right now but I have toyed with the idea. My problem is that I just don’t have the time or the inclination to do all the work needed to boost my rating (which I’m pretty sure is fairly dire 😉 ) Look at this – I’m only getting around to commenting on things I linked to on Wednesday and Thursday on Friday and I still have linkies I linked to today to go commenting on too – it all piles up a bit sometimes – I kind of envy you for being able to call this your career and have full time dedicated time to make it all work to the very best of your abilities. I will definitely pin this post for a later date 🙂 X
    Sam @ And then the fun began… recently posted…Love the Little Things Week 4My Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Hi Sam thanks for your comment, don’t beat yourself up about time, there’s never any pressure when you comment, I still need to comment on everyone’s posts myself and not everyone wants to make their blogs a business or has time to. Content is king whether you monetise or not and you are doing great things. This career works for me around my family and I find writing fun and it comes easy to me so it’s rewarding and works so well around the kids. See where things go for you and don’t put pressure on yourself, so pleased you’ve found this post helpful x

      Reply
  26. tinuke (@circusmum_)

    I really loved this post, it was food for thought, I’m far from being a professional blogger, but it’s something I would LOVE to be! You’ve given me some valuable tips. Particularly about the amount of times I blog, mine’s been dorment all week – first week working full time has made me fall asleep by early evening!!

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Tinuke thanks so much and of course everyone should blog when they can but of course the more the better for SEO, so glad you found this useful x

      Reply
  27. Mummy Hargreaves

    A really helpful post, I will be tagging this so that I can keep looking back. I’m new to blogging this year, I would love to turn it into something more, I really do love writing and reading what others have to say x
    Mummy Hargreaves recently posted…Premature BirthMy Profile

    Reply
  28. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    A fabulous and wonderfully helpful post. Thank you for sharing. And well done for all you’ve achieved, it’s wonderful and you should be so very proud xxx
    Potty Mouthed Mummy recently posted…What Feisty Females Teach MeMy Profile

    Reply
  29. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    Great post Vicki. I went self hosted with a view to starting to try and earn a little money, but I am really not good at self promotion, so I’m struggling at the outset! I’m hoping BritMums will inspire me to get out there a bit more… I’ve pinned this to my blogging tips board, really useful and inspiring post x
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted…Music and SignsMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Sara that’s great as self-hosted is the only way to monetise. BritMums is very inspiring and sure you will find it really useful. I think the more self promotion you do even small bits will make it easier to build, you are brilliant, tell the world x

      Reply
  30. Sophie Lovett

    Such an interesting and inspiring post. I’m still pretty new to this blogging lark, and am enjoying at the moment mainly as a way to record my experiences as a new mum and hone my writing skills. I’m beginning to realise the added bonus of the huge community I’m now a part of though, as well as the myriad of opportunities blogging can open up. All very exciting stuff! X
    Sophie Lovett recently posted…D is for daddyMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      Thanks so much Sophie, it’s a wonderfully stimulating and rewarding world, making a blog a business is not for everyone but the opportunity is there if you want it. Thanks for you lovely comment x

      Reply
  31. brummymummyof2

    This is AMAZING!!!!!! I really loved this and I have found it really helpful and quite quite inspiring. I like to blog lots and worry that will put people off? Like 4 or 5 times a week. Only if I think the stuff is good. Oh I can’t tell you how fab this is! Brilliant. Will refer back to it time and time again xxx
    brummymummyof2 recently posted…A Poem for A New MumMy Profile

    Reply
    • honestmum

      @Brummymummyof2 I sometimes blog 4 times a day. The more you blog the better your SEO is but you must do what feels right for you and works for you, if you want to blog lots, you go for it! So glad you’ve found this helpful xx

      Reply

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