Honest Mum

So why write this post (it’s not very British is it?) and why now?

I was asked by two high profile programmes on terrestrial TV if they could document my business/journey and earnings late last year and I said no. I was also approached by several popular tabloids for the story too. Again, I refused.

I want to do things my way, in my own space and importantly in own words on a platform I own and manage.

By writing a post (and I might well follow up with a vlog too) I can share what I want about my own journey without the fear that my words might be twisted or misconstrued by a journalist or filmmaker directing a documentary.

Here, I write from the heart and as always, honestly.

I’m not writing this to brag (those who know me, know that’s not my style), but to help inspire others to follow suit and earn a 6 figure salary plus, blogging and vlogging themselves.

Informing and supporting others through tech has been my goal since my blog started gaining momentum and I grew in confidence. I’m committed to sharing what I know to help build others up and importantly support parents to work in an empowering and flexible way around their families.

I used to teach and lecture in between directing work and I come from a long line of teachers (my mum was a university lecturer too) so it’s in me to share and support others. Nothing feels more rewarding than knowing you might have helped others realise their dreams.

I write about growing a digital business in my book #Mumboss out in March 2018, published by Piatkus/Little Brown sharing Honest Mum Ltd’s evolution in great detail along with mine and many experts’ advice on how you can act now and seize the digital space for yourself. Your rules, your way.

Want to work in the arts remotely and at any hour you fancy? Then blogging and vlogging might be for you. Want to be able to juggle parenting and work duties firmly in the driving seat? Well thanks to the internet, you can.

My book, at 70,000 words will, of course, go into far greater detail than this post possibly can, but I wanted something short (ish), sweet and hopefully useful here to help you realise the potential of your words, to drum home the creative and financial fulfilment blogging and vlogging can bring and to highlight the varying opportunities that can arise from putting your art out into the world.

Small steps really do lead to huge milestones. It simply takes some self-belief (even if its feigned at first) along with a commitment to honing your craft and embracing this industry so you can pivot from your current career to your new tech one if you so wish, transforming your life in the process.

You might well find some myths debunked here too.

Most of all, I hope you take away that being you is your superpower, and that integrity is everything.

Let’s go.

 

How did I start?

I started this blog in November 2010 at a time I was suffering from a traumatic birth and my first born was 10 months old. Feeling lost and alone being the first of my friends to have a baby and with my husband back at work, this blog was an emotional lifeline to me. The friends I made firstly thanks to twitter and later the blog, are still close to me to this day, and writing Honest Mum helped me to rediscover my voice and slowly build back my confidence, along with the help of a therapist and moving closer to family in Yorkshire.

Making that first step to starting a blog or launching a YT channel is a huge milestone. You are deeming yourself worthy of owning a piece of land online. You are giving yourself the gift of a virtual place to write, share and connect instantly sharing your point of view on the world. It’s a space you control.

It was a far cry, creatively to my screenwriting and directing job where my work was endlessly managed and controlled by gatekeepers: Development Execs and Exec Producers. The blog was all mine and I revelled in being in charge of what I wrote and published. No rewrites unless I decided to rewrite, no years of development hell as cast became attached to projects before they could be greenlit. Blogging and later vlogging meant fast and fulfilling creative pursuits written, filmed and shared quicker than I’d ever experienced before.

Plus, I could write and publish what and when I wanted using my audience as a gauge for what resonated most. It was utterly liberating, if not a little scary at first. So scary in some respects that it took 5 years to write about the trauma I had experienced with my firstborn. That post is one of my most read posts to this day. Along with gluten-free American pancakes. The internet is nothing if not diverse in their needs.

In the early days, I focused on sharing the funny side of parenting (it was my way of surviving the harder times) and this evolved to me sharing the topics I felt passionate about and reflected that moment in time, spanning family-life, film, style, travel, beauty as well as lots of opinion pieces and of course tips I was picking up about my new career as I went along.

I could not have imagined or anticipated then that blogging and vlogging would become my full-time job.

The landscape hadn’t changed at that point to the extent where digital is everything (so much so that it’s now surpassed traditional ad spend and that influencers are the new celebrities. The ‘real celebrities’ if you like that feel like your mates (I’m always shocked to be stopped on the street and definitely don’t consider myself famous so it’s nuts to be recognised frequently in London and Leeds. I was even spotted in Portugal on holiday recently and whilst I’ve had the odd strange comment (a Dad berated me for telling my son off in the supermarket on Instagram) people in person have been wonderful, wanting a hug or asking to touch my hair #truestory.

When I started Honest Mum in 2010, it was pre the DIGITAL  BOOM as I like to call it, although, unknowingly, I was starting a blog at an ideal time in which to build a brand if you like. Some refer to me as a pioneer. I often feel like a (young) Grandma of blogging (at 36) as I hit 7 years this November. That doesn’t mean you can’t start a blog today and become successful. Now is ideal as blogging is a viable career that can be built quickly with time, dedication and regular content. We oldies made the mistakes for you. You can start and thrive.

Business-wise there’s never been a better time to blog and vlog.

Andy Varley, CEO of Insanity Group who represent me stated recently that, ‘A study by Nielsen, suggests that advertisers see 11x higher ROI from influencer marketing compared to traditional digital marketing’.

I was also told recently by a PR that for every £1 spent on an influencer, brands receive £7.50 in return.

It was luck to have started a blog at a time not many in my field had, the rest was hard work and honing my voice.

I was a multi-award winning filmmaker and TV Director pre-blogging writing and directing short films that were screened at film festivals and broadcast on TV all over the world as well as TV Drama, documentary, music videos, fashion films, commercials and music videos.

I was on maternity leave at the time I bought the domain name Honest Mum (now a registered trademark) and starting writing on what felt like quite the craziest of platforms. It was thanks to my good friend and fellow filmmaker, Amancay Tapia who badgered on at me to start a blog. I’m so glad I did. She recently took her own advice and you’ll find her at The Lady of The World.

I’d fully intended on returning back set when my son turned 1 and I did it, directing fashion commercials (online, funnily enough) but before I knew it, my blog was growing so rapidly that by 2012 and the birth of my second son, Alexander, my online work had surpassed that of any freelance writing and directing gigs, and I turned my attention to making this my full-time career. To giving it my all.

I will never forget the very first commissions I received on the blog, Bradford College was my first and I was literally in shock that a few weeks from starting my blog, someone would want to advertise on my site. I couldn’t even fathom how that would work and they literally explained it would be a sponsored post where I wrote about their courses as I would in a magazine.

4 weeks after starting Honest Mum, the brilliant and endlessly supportive BritMums made me a finalist at their Brilliance in Blogging Awards (I went on to win Best Social Media and Best of the Best awards in 2016) and a landmark campaign for me was in July 2011 with the forward-thinking British Gas who commissioned me (thanks to my friend James who recommended me to a PR friend) to attend their Big Dig beach in London and hang out with Olympians (as you do).

Now I work with global and UK brands that cover lifestyle, parenting, travel, style and beauty appearing in promo films, in press campaigns, on FB Lives and more.

 

So what do you need to do to grow?

1.Creating a Personal Brand

Do it your way. Your USP is you. Yes, that sounds cheesy af but it’s true. Your personal brand is EVERYTHING. Be yourself because that’s what people will get behind and trust. They will watch and read your work (and keep coming back) because of you.

Integrity and showing your personality is the most important thing you’ll ever do online and IRL.

Be honest.

People can see through dis-ingenuity, instantly.

I often hear experts bang on about sticking to a niche but I believe your voice is your niche and unless you want to limit your subject matter for a reason, embrace and share all of your passions in one place. By doing that, you’ll never feel limited or bored so are more likely to endure and succeed.

Remember you are the protagonist in your own narrative. The character others follow as you go along the journey that’s your actual life. I don’t like to be restrained creatively so you’ll find family-life, food, film, travel, fashion, beauty and cars on my site.

That doesn’t mean you can’t rock at one particular niche just don’t feel you have to choose a single area.

Remember life and interests evolve so a lifestyle site allows you the space and freedom to grow. In turn, the wider your scope, the more brands you’ll reach and the greater the opportunities.

All you need is a laptop and the will to begin. Go self-hosted too if you want to monetise.

My good friend, PR, digital pioneer and author of The Million Dollar Blog (which features my interview inside and quote on the cover) agrees, ‘It’s incredible to think we live in a time when you can basically sit at home and with a good idea, a laptop, some grit and determination turn that into a business. Across the world people are carving out new lives for themselves this way.’

I have always simply been myself and got used to sharing more and more of my life. I don’t reveal anything that makes myself or my friends and family uncomfortable and some things are sacred of course but I do unflinching share what matters to me, the good and the bad.

I hope my words support others and make them feel less alone whether it’s an image of my post-baby body in a bikini or a post on having a happy c-section. It’s a two way street of course as my readers help, inform and support me too. This is a conversation, an online discourse which connects and in many cases transforms both myself and my reader.

People have kindly told me my posts on blogging as a career have changed their life. There’s nothing more rewarding than the feeling you’ve helped someone else feel strong or take action.

 

So how do you share who you are to the world and build a personal brand? 

Here, I welcome Salma Shah, Personal Branding Psychologist for her advice,

 ‘Your personal brand is how people already describe you in a few words and more importantly it’s that gut visceral deep down feeling others experience in your presence or when they come across your online. The way you look, sound and behave all trigger powerful conscious and subconscious feelings.

Having a distinctive personal brand is like wearing your head turning ‘LBD’ (little black dress) with the perfect accessories that get you noticed for all the right reasons. There are millions of ways of pulling an outfit together but the way you wear that perfect LBD makes you distinctive, stand out from the crowd and is the ultimate crowd puller. Not just any crowd but your audience.

A great website, Instagram feed, Facebook page with hustle and hard work will build you profile and get you attention. But to build a longer term powerful personal brand you need to connect with your audience or target market and go a lot deeper. For instance, there is no point having a tagline which says you ‘serve others’ when once your audience starts to have a deeper connection with you it becomes blatantly obvious that the only person you truly serve is yourself. The point here is if you are truly committed to raising your profile and in it for the long game to succeed you need to be authentic.

The reality is most of us do genuinely want to have an authentic and non-spammy icky brand. The biggest problem is not knowing where to start or how to position yourself.

The starting point to building an authentic brand is with self-awareness. Understanding which feelings you are unconsciously evoking in others. And how you actually want to make them feel. The gap between the two shouldn’t be a big one otherwise there is a danger of coming across as fake and icky.

To get a better understanding of ‘feelings’ and brand building a good starting place is psychology.

Psychologist Carl Jung used the idea of common ‘archetypes’. These are deep rooted unconscious patterns in our human psyche of how we evoke powerful feelings in others.

The twelve most powerful archetypes according to Jung are:

The Innocent: Dreamer, Romantic e.g. Carrie Green (Female Entrepreneur Association)

The Hero: Warrior e.g. Erin Brokovich

Every Girl/Gal: Girl next door e.g. Drew Barrymore

The Nurturer: The parent e.g. Vicki Psarias

The Creator: Artist, Dreamer e.g. Emma Block

The Explorer: Seeker e.g. Cheryl Strayed

The Rebel: Revolutionary, outlaw e.g. Bushra Azhar (Persuasion Revolution)

The Lover: Idealist e.g. Kris Carr (Wellness)

The Magician: Transformation, visionary e.g. Marie Forleo and Salma Shah (me!)

The Ruler: Leader e.g. Ramit Sethi (I will teach you to be rich)

The Jester: Fool, comedian e.g. Ruby Wax

The Sage: Scholar, teacher e.g. Brene Brown

Once you’ve figured out your primary archetype the next thing to consider are your values. These are the indicators of what is deeply important to you, they’re the driving force behind the choices you make and how you live your life. An authentic brand should align with your core values.

Let’s look at the personal brand of Marie Forleo a well-known life coach, TV host and speaker. Her business is all about helping people change. Whether is changing their life or changing the world and so she evokes the archetype of Magician. If you continue reading her About Page she also goes on to say, ‘Yes, this is a business. Yes, we sell things. Yes, we’re proud and deeply grateful to earn a living doing so’. Clearly her values amongst others are business and success. However, the whole package draws her audience in.

As with all powerful personal brands these people can cause a strong reaction in us, both positive or negative. Which is as it should be. Don’t be worried about alienating others, a strong brand will attract you to the right individuals.

The third step in building your personal brand is to be clear on your goals. What do you want to achieve at the end of this and how do you want to feel by doing this?

Finally, having built your brand ladder of Archetype, Values, and Goals. Once you are clear on this begins the strategic work of positioning and setting yourself apart from the crowd. You are now ready to wear that LBD and choosing your accessories is deciding which aspects of yourself you are going to be known for.

Understanding who you want to get in front of i.e. your audience and how and where do you want to be seen. And what will they see.

Taking the leap of faith and putting yourself out there and being prepared to tweak and re-adjust as you go along. If the first three steps on the ladder (Archetypes, Values and Goals) are solid it will be a lot easier to tweak and re-work as your brand develops and grows’.

You can kickstart your Personal Brand journey by taking her 5 Day Personal Brand Challenge : https://salmashah.leadpages.co/5-day-personal-brand-challenge/.

Yes to that, what wise words. Don’t be scared to be yourself. A like-minded audience will find you.

 

2. Content is King

Or as I like to say, ‘Queen’. Write, write and write some more. Read widely, hone your voice, take writing and journalism courses, exercise your creative muscles and keep applying and growing in all that you do be it creating captions on social media, or making vlogs and films. Don’t self-sabotage and stop yourself from sharing your work. Don’t let the imposter syndrome win. If we all allowed that to happen, we’d never begin or continue.

It’s inevitable you will feel scared to try new things but you will only grow and realise your potential (that you can actually thrive) when you push out of your comfort zone.

Plus if you don’t try things out, how will you discover your passions?

I tried my hand at many things whilst studying for my BA and then MA at Goldsmiths, University of London. Every holiday and weekend saw me gain placements in radio, telly, on magazines and even on an internet show when only 3 people in the US used the internet. I got myself out there, I experienced what the media had to offer and learnt what made me happy. Studying Screenwriting & Direction led to that career and meant I could work across lots of creative areas whilst driving and and protecting the creative vision of each project.

Now as a blogger and vlogger I do the same. I’m selective about the brands I work with, I collaborate with them on the creative ideas and I decide what I want to write and film.

The beauty with this job is we, the creatives are in control.

You are being hired for your voice, visuals and take on things. Plus, you don’t need huge audiences to earn either. Small, targeted audiences are vital to brands too and everyone starts small, remember.

The beauty of organic SEO is that a like-minded audience will find you if you write and share your content regularly and build an archive. Plus, you also only one post or video away from being a viral sensation or potentially regarded as someone who is deemed an authority in their field.

This site is now a Google authority on gluten-free food which arose naturally as I published lots of gluten-free recipes I mostly made for my son who couldn’t eat gluten for two years. I suffer from a gluten-intolerance too so regularly share what I eat and this has been useful for my readers and those generally searching for recipes. Search Engines should be your number one traffic driver if your site is correctly optimised. Using Yoast plug-in, go through every post you’ve ever published until your site’s SEO is top-notch, giving your work the greatest chance of being seen.

See, offering an answer to a problem/question is what search engines want and you’ll find that your blog and channels can provide insight and support to many.

Never feel you have nothing to offer or that your voice doesn’t matter.

There is room for all online.

 

3. Knowing Your Worth

Now it’s invaluable to me that I have a brilliant manager in Neil Ransome at Insanity who is firstly like a brother to me, and also values my work and negotiates on my behalf. His insight and experience are second to none but the fact I was a TV Director pre-blogging meant I was able to handle the business side with experience and know how on my side, in the early days too.

As a director and producer I handled big commercial budgets and knew all about rates for creatives, so I was able to position myself from a place of knowledge and strength from the off.

Of course, rates have increased with demand and brand power, but that wealth of experience from my filmmaking and journalism days (I used to edit a quarterly film magazine too) meant that I never knowingly undersold myself nor have I ever.

I can’t advise you on fees and I’m emailed about this daily, you need to work out what feels right for you. You need to value your time and learn to negotiate.

There are many variables when it comes to fees and budgets for each campaign but I will advise that you focus on the platform you own first: your blog.

You can measure your DA and PA (something PRs will look at along with their own tools which measure authority, engagement, quality and resonance) via Moz to see how search engines view you. The greater the higher authority sites link back to you, the higher you rank. It’s a bit like influential friends IRL recommending you to others. Google and others trust what high ranking sites tell them about others. I’ve actually been hired by Google on a campaign before.

I hired the renowned Exposure Ninja for a month to start optimising my site then after their initial work, I spent months going through every single post using plug in Yoast, optimising the entire site.

Tim, founder of Exposure Ninja and author shares his wisdom,

‘Optimising your blog to increase its ranking on Google means that it brings in more visitors, which in turn makes it more attractive to brands looking for exposure to large audiences. When we’re working with brands to identify bloggers who would make good partners, one of the key metrics we’ll use is Domain Authority (DA), which is a measure of how authoritative your site is from a search engine’s point of view, so there is a direct correlation between a blog’s SEO and its earning potential’.

I would also advise that you work on creating the best content you can across your blog and social channels and that you embrace video, watching tutorials to guide you and vlogging as much as possible.

Video is the most lucrative side of my work because of my directing experience and the fact that over the years I’ve garnered a lot of experience in front of the camera on high profile campaigns, in vlogs and videos and on TV.

I can make slick content easily because I’ve been directing since my MA at 21.

That doesn’t mean you can’t pick up a camera and hone that talent and even go viral with your work pretty much on your first go. That’s what Tired ‘n’ Tested did. It just means putting some work in, taking the time to research and practice working the camera, editing your footage and then uploading natively (for the best reach) to as many platforms as you can.

Don’t get bogged down by the numbers at first either. We all start with one follower, mine was my Mum and she’s still my most loyal reader. That one person will become two and they’ll tell their friends and before you know it people all over the world will be reading and watching your work. My blog reunited long lost family as far as Australia thanks to a Greek recipe I shared. That’s the power of blogging.

Now whilst brands appreciate solid numbers across all platforms, blog and social, do not dismiss your blog. You can’t sell your instagram handle but one day you might well sell your blog.

The fees you can command for video and blog posts on an established site can easily surpass what those with even millions of followers receive on Instagram so keep things in perspective.

Focus on watering the fruits in your own garden as I like to say, and keep an eye on everything else.

The 30 something market haven’t fully embraced YT so PRs commissioning me for videos are looking for quality content that they can use on their handles as well as my own. Content wins always.

 

4. PR is crucial

As a well known producer once told me, ‘You can make the greatest film in the world but if no one knows about it, how will anyone see it?’

PR is vital and in the film industry, press and advertising often makes up half the movie’s budget. You need to be seen to be discovered. I had a publicist for 2 years whose work moved into that of a a sub-editor as my workload became crazy. She helped upload interviews and guest posts, designed Pinterest images and even negotiated on business deals before I was taken on by Neil. She was since snapped up as an in-house PR for a rapidly growing global brand (and deserved to be) and I’m planning on hiring a Publicist again soon.

It’s fair to say I’ve worked hard at creating my own buzz around my blog and getting my work out there, thanks to having a huge archive of material which helps with SEO and press finding helped by how frequently I post (1-5 times a day) as consistency is key and of course thanks to guest posts on Grazia Daily, Marie Claire, Red Daily, Brit Mums Blog, Huffington Post and more.

I’m good at my own PR and I feel grateful to be in a position where the press regularly come to me. You can read my post on Being Your Own Best Publicist.

Shareable content helps get your work seen. Plus, once you garner some press, regional is great too, that can lead to more coverage. As with confidence, the more you achieve, the more it wills you, PR has a domino effect, and coverage on websites usually lasts forever.

My Wonderful Women interviews, a series started several years ago to champion brilliant women are some of my most shared posts, and have included a great many exclusives with famous actors, authors, comedians, bloggers, Olympians and even superstars like Anastacia.

Those pieces then reach their fans as the stars share the interview and even press can pick up on them, and the same applies to guest posts written by celebrated authors. Super content for my blog and I reach new audiences thanks to their own following.

PRs for authors approach me daily to feature exclusive posts from those with books are out soon, in the same way magazines host exclusives with book extracts.

Think up ways to host features that will be read and shared and don’t forget to promote your own posts.

Social media offers PR.

I love Social Oomph to schedule posts and reaching out for coverage. You can also easily connect with journos on twitter and elsewhere. The press need stories so don’t be afraid to approach them with angles.

My close friend and collaborator, publicist and entrepreneur, Jessica Huie MBE offers her advice to get your started,

‘While the digital world means that we don’t need permission to showcase our creativity, engage with our tribe and build an audience, traditional media’s powerful ability to position us as authorities in our space, remains unquestionable. Endorsement by a third party will always create more impact than you shouting about your brilliance through social media. For this reason, crafting a PR plan should not be ruled out by the ambitious. What is even more exciting is that the media will delight in showcasing you once you have done the groundwork. Building an online following is your ticket to monetising your creativity and getting featured in the press.
As the world changes society is fascinated by individuals who have leveraged the digital space to work from anywhere, its most people’s idea of a dream life, so build a captivating brand and landing a spot on the page of your favourite glossy magazine will become possible’.

Jessica’s Top 3 PR Tips,

‘Stand for something more than commerce. Have a mission, an underlying why which underpins your brand. The communicate this why to your audience. These value systems are part of the elixir which will enable you to both resonate and reach your tribe.

Repurpose your content via the traditional media. That blog on your website might work equally well as an article for the Daily Mail – don’t limit yourself to the digital box.

Be visible offline. Explore speaking events and panels where you can meet face to face and build offline relationships with your audience. Connections built on human connection remain the most potent’.

 

5.  Be open-minded and Never Stop Learning

As Natasha so wisely states, ‘What is clear is that no successful blogger of the 50 or so I talked to for the book knew all the answers before they started. You learn as you go along, but you can’t begin to learn until you start.’

We are constantly learning and working organically as tech advances and our own personal stories change. I love keeping up to date with tech because it excites me. I need to know not just how to write and film in an emotive way but how to use the technology to its potential to reach as big an audience and have the greatest impact. Knowledge is power.

My priority as with filmmaking, is to keep getting emotion on screen. To hopefully keep touch, inspire and entertain others.

I don’t do affiliate advertising but I do work on sponsored campaigns both for features on my blog and the client’s sites as well as for traditional press and TV, and I’m also paid to host workshops, lecture, attend events, direct and appear in videos and consult.

My work can span everything from modelling for high street and designer brands to creating bespoke recipes and of course being the UK’s first digital ambassador for the airline Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, making history in the process.

Of course blogging and vlogging can lead to offline opportunities too, your site acting as a live CV and portfolio with many being commissioned to photograph, film and cover campaigns and events. It was thanks to this blog that I was offered a book deal and so much of my ambassadorial work comes from brands reading my editorial pieces (the meat and veg of my blog) as well as the sponsored campaigns. Your blog shows others what you can do and the good news is, that the sky is literally your limit when it comes to working in this frankly, magical digital field.

It feels to me that creatives are for the first time, being paid what they deserve.

That the tables have turned thanks to the democracy of the internet, and that with talent and tenacity, everyone can achieve creative and financial success.

I hope this has inspired. Go get blogging and vlogging!

 

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How I Earn 6 Figures Blogging & Vlogging & You Can Too - Honest Mum

 

 

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  3. Rob

    Phew! I needed to hear this from a blogger of your stature “Don’t let your niche limit you”, so many times we hear “niche down”. While I can see the benefits, I can also see the disadvantages, one being it stifles your creativity.
    Also, I am really interested in the fact that you have trademarked your name. I have had a little look on your site but I can’t find out if you’ve written about why you did it?
    Anyway, not that you need my endorsement, but this blog is brilliant and I’m now off to read your writer’s block post – excellent!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Rob, yes I trademarked Honest Mum and Mum Boss, head to .gov site to read up on it as I’ve not blogged about it. You can call them too for advice. I believe our voice is our niche 🙂

      Reply
  4. Angela Milnes

    I really want to start vlogging. It’s something I have been thinking about for a few months. I’m not sure how to edit or what programs/ software to use but I am going to look for tips and advice and try and learn to do this! I think vlogging could be fun!

    Reply
  5. Carol Cameleon

    I’ve ‘niched down’, which is something I was happy to do a few months ago but I’m finding that what I want to naturally write about is blurring the lines and am considering relaxing my own rules. It seems to me that there’s never a right answer! A post jam-packed with helpful info Vicky and one that I’ve bookmarked to return to time and again! Thanks for hosting #brillblogposts
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…Time for a dose of happiness in #HighlightsofHappy blog linky #49 ~ because life’s for the good stuffMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Carol, I believe you must do what feels right but also not be scared to change your mind: your blog, your way x

      Reply
  6. Laura

    Thank you for sharing your advice. I can’t wait to put it into action and you have helped me to better understand how to brand. You are an inspiration to so many.

    Reply
  7. Mrs Mummy Harris

    There is so much valuable information here! bookmarked for future reference! #brilliantblogposts
    Mrs Mummy Harris recently posted…Triumphant Tales #10My Profile

    Reply
  8. Aleena

    This really is such a useful, insightful, and honest post. When I first put finger to keyboard I told my fiancé not to expect too much from the blog because I was sure that no one would read it. 5 months down the line, a coupe of thousand people read my words every month, and that is mind boggling to me! Reading about the hard work that you have put into your blog, your brand, and your work in general is truly an inspiration. And I couldn’t agree more that the creatives among us look to be getting their day! #BrillBlogPosts
    Aleena recently posted…#Im_PerfectShot: Share Your Perfectly Imperfect Shots!My Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Yay well done Aleena, you are amazing and you are so right about creatives earning what they deserve, thank you for your lovely comment x

      Reply
  9. Lizzy

    Thank you for this astounding amount of information. It’s so incredibly useful. Your passion and talent are a potent cocktail and your giving personality combined with that make you a true inspiration. Brava Vicki and I wish you every continued success xxxxx
    Lizzy recently posted…The Perfect Dress For Spring Summer Weddings, A Day At The Races and Special Occasions.My Profile

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    • Honest Mum

      Oh Lizzy, you are making me well up, thank you so much. You are an inspiration to me, I adore your blog you beautiful, talented lady. Thank you for your kind words xx

      Reply
  10. Debbie Gibson

    Thanks so much for sharing your advice and experiences Vicki, it really is inspirational and so much info to take in! My blogging isn’t very well timed or regulated at the moment, due to my many other commitments. I do panic sometimes that I’m getting nowhere, so its nice to read things that help and reassure.Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Take things in your own time, this isn’t a race. Remind yourself why you blog, the way it makes you feel and what it offers you and take the pressure off yourself. Thank you for your kind words xx

      Reply
  11. Rebecca

    This is a great post and doesn’t come across as bragging at all lovely! It is very useful actually for bid time bloggers to share how they got to where they are… it means you ARE truly being the nurturer! Thank you <3 #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw thank you Rebecca, I love sharing all that I know and can’t wait until my book is out next year. Thanks for your kindness and support xx

      Reply
  12. Emma Peach

    So much useful and valuable advice here Vicki. I’ve read and re-read this post because I want to fully absorb everything. One of the things I love most about blogging (apart from the wonderful people I meet) is constantly learning. Blogging encompasses so many roles and I’ve learned so much…sometimes the learning curve is steep, but when I finally crack whatever it is I’m trying to do it’s so satisfying! Thanks for such an inspiring post!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com
    Emma Peach recently posted…Jord Watch Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      I love your comment so much Emma because I feel this way about blogging too, the tech side has stimulated me as much as the creative, I love that it stretches us, therein lies the growth and fulfilment. Thanks again for your kind words xx

      Reply
  13. Mama Grace

    There’s a lot to take from this and very interesting stuff. I hadn’t considered vlogging my poems but perhaps there;s a way to do that. Thanks #brillblogposts
    Mama Grace recently posted…I loved porridgeMy Profile

    Reply
  14. Maria Hughes

    This is such an inspiring post; my blog is nearly 3 years old but I still have so much to learn and so much to do! x
    Maria Hughes recently posted…Forty Hall & Estate | A Beautiful Place To VisitMy Profile

    Reply
  15. Ali Duke

    Thank you for all of the information you have packed into this post! All of this is very helpful indeed. I can only hope to be half as successful as you have been x
    #brilliantblogposts
    Ali Duke recently posted…April Review & May GoalsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Ali, you can be more successful, just go for it all! So glad you found the piece useful x

      Reply
  16. Michelle

    I’ve been feeling in a bit of a blogging slump the last few days and this has inspired me. Great post and some fab ideas #brillblogposts

    Reply
  17. Michelle

    Thank you for writing this Vikki, it’s come at just the right time for me. I’ve been feeling a bit low about blogging lately – I sometimes feel as if I am banging my head against a wall.

    You’ve shared some great tips and, more importantly, you’re not pushing the word niche down everyone’s throat. Boy am I sick of that word! I started a lifestyle blog to talk about life – and that involves plenty of topics. I honestly think I’d go mad if I had to blog about the same thing over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I gave up a pretty successful wedding blog, it was simply too restraining and I had to keep my somewhat quirky sense of humour under wraps (most grooms and brides-to-be have sense of humour failures on the run up to the big day).

    I’ve recently started vlogging and have been somewhat disheartened by the numbers, but I’ll keep in mind your advice to ignore them and they’ll grow.

    Thanks again, Michelle xx

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Michelle, whilst some love a niche, we are in charge of our content and should never feel restricted. I cover everything and anything I fancy and it’s not limited me in any way, in fact it’s done the opposite. Video is exploding so definitely starting vlogging and don’t worry about numbers, quality counts and numbers will always grow x

      Reply
  18. Lisa

    What a brilliant and generous post, Vicki. Every blogger has those days or weeks where we wonder why in the world we are doing this, why the rewards don’t come sooner, why it seems like you are blogging in a vacuum, or are taking two steps forward and one step back. Then again, no matter what job you do, you have those days!

    This post is a great shot in the arm. It encourages me to be a little more outside the box than just an outfit blogger. Some of my most popular posts aren’t outfit posts, so why not do more? You’ve done brilliantly at such diverse subjects; it is really inspirational. Thank you for this. xxx
    Lisa recently posted…Paris, The Sequinist Guide.My Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Hi Lisa, thank you for this and I’m glad it’s inspired you. Please do branch out and assessing which posts have done well and what your audience like is smart. Look at your favourite fashion mags, many include opinion pieces and food posts xx

      Reply
  19. Steven Lea

    Great post vicki, some really insightful tips for bloggers!

    Can you recommend any small PR agencies or social influencers to get started growing a blog?

    Reply
  20. Susan Mann

    What a great read and you have done amazing. I think you were right to publish this yourself, rather than someone twist your words. You have done amazing xx

    Reply
  21. Lucy At Home

    You’re so inspirational, Vicki. I love your honesty the way that you’re so keen for everyone to be a success #brillblogposts
    Lucy At Home recently posted…That Time The School Attendance Letter Made Me SobMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks for your lovely comment Lucy, it’s so rewarding sharing what I know and I love seeing others shine x

      Reply
  22. Nat - Awaybies

    Thanks so much for sharing all your incredible wisdom, Vicki. What an exciting and life-changing journey you have had in becoming a successful blogger! You’re an inspiration to us all. I love that your first and most dedicated reader is your mum, where would we be without loyal, lovely mothers! The unsung heroes! #brillblogposts

    Reply
  23. mummy here and there

    Interesting read, it is very hard not to say no butyour definitely right to do things your way! X #brilliantblogposts
    mummy here and there recently posted…MorningMy Profile

    Reply
  24. Sophie Le Brozec

    I love how generous you always are with your time, knowledge and advice 🙂 Marie Forleo is such a huge girl crush of mine, I’ve done two of her courses and I’m in her business Facebook group and she’s just amazing! As for talking about money – another course I did was Denise Duffield-Thomas’s Money Bootcamp, where she works on normalising women talking about money, and in particular making big money, to un-dirty the whole money talk. So talk away – we need more female role models showing us how to do it whilst remaining kind 🙂 xx
    Sophie Le Brozec recently posted…When It’s All A Bit Too MuchMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Love MF, amazing lady, you are so right, women should talk about money to naturalise that and to encourage other women too. Thank you for your kind words x

      Reply
  25. Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com

    What an inspirational post, Vicki – I love reading all your posts, but especially this kind. We live at an amazing time, don’t we? I love that quote ‘It’s incredible to think we live in a time when you can basically sit at home and with a good idea, a laptop, some grit and determination turn that into a business.’ It’s so true…of course, I am just a beginner compared to you (always kicking myself I didn’t start my blog sooner!), but I love seeing every day how my blog grows and develops and how much potential it has to grow more…and become something amazing! And I love that I can do all that working flexibly around my two kids….yeah sure it means putting in some late nights, but it’s worth it if I get to pick my kids up from school and go to sports day etc. Literally cannot wait until your book comes out!! Eb x
    Eb Gargano / easypeasyfoodie.com recently posted…Lamb Tacos with Avocado, Feta and PomegranateMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      It is absolutely worth it and when you love something, you find the time don’t you, you make things happen. You are doing brilliantly and should feel so proud. I love your blog x

      Reply
  26. Michelle

    Love, love, love this post, Vicki! Finally, someone is telling me to write everything I’m interested in and not keeping to just one niche. I found it hard to narrow down to a niche too, because we are human, there are so many things we love! There are so many good advice in this post. The first thing I’m doing now is to stick my mission on the blog. It’s been hiding in my FB About Page for too long.
    Michelle recently posted…The 5 of UsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Yay, go for it and yes write about everything you’re passionate about, that’s what I do and it’s liberating and means I work across lots of different campaigns. Variety is good for the soul and means as a creative, you never get bored xx

      Reply
  27. Amanda

    What an inspiration you are Vicki! I’m still in the beginning stages (and unpaid stages) of blogging, but your story is inspirational! I’m off to my first blogging event tomorrow to hopefully build some relationships with companies and other bloggers! I look forward to your book!
    Amanda recently posted…My Little Love Heart: ReviewMy Profile

    Reply
  28. Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb

    Vicki I’ve said it before but you are totally awesome – it’s so refreshing to find a really successful blogger who’s prepared to give so much back and help others! I’m so pleased for your success, and thank you for writing this post and not selling your story to one of those awful newspapers [=cough= Daily Fail] – as you said you got to write this in YOUR words.

    You’re an inspiration, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and wisdom 🙂

    Catherine x
    Catherine, Not Dressed As Lamb recently posted…A Colourful, Preppy Outfit for Dog Walking in the SummerMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks darling for your support and friendship. You are successful yourself and an inspiration to us all. Thank you for your kind words xx

      Reply
  29. Rebecca Smith

    Absolutely nailed it Vicki! I’ve read this twice now just to ensure I’ve absorbed every drop of information. I’ve read countless posts along the same lines and they all gave a little pep talk at the time. This is everything wrapped up neatly with a pretty bow on top. Thank you, like Emma mentioned before in comments, I needed this today, your timing is fortuitous. xx
    Rebecca Smith recently posted…The Blogger Behind the Blog: Blog On IcebreakerMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Rebecca for your words, it means a lot you’ve found it useful. So glad it came at the right time too. I hope you know how awesome you are xx

      Reply
  30. Pen

    Hi,

    This must have taken ages to write, but it is really thorough and considered. Thank you. It is definitely something that I will print and refer back to.

    Much appreciated. Pen x
    Pen recently posted…I’ve been feeling frazzled … so I treated myself.My Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      You know it didn’t. The words just flowed. I’ve been thinking about writing it for a while and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for your comment, so happy you’ve found it useful x

      Reply
  31. Hope

    What a fabulous post Vicki, I have saved it to read through again! You truly are inspirational! I do think honesty and authenticity is so important as anything other than that eventually starts to show to your readers and if you are not being authentic to yourself your passion will start to die. That’s really interesting what you have said about the archetypes, I have heard of these before but never through to relate it to blogging, this is very helpful. I think as a new blogger it is quite hard to find your voice, and to have courage to pout yourself out there, this post is very helpful with so points to ponder – thank you!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks Hope, Salma’s wisdom on archetypes rings so true and applies to all media forms. Integrity and being yourself is everything. So glad you’ve found this post helpful, thanks so much for your kind words.

      Reply
  32. Chloe

    Hi, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and providing some fab advice for fellow bloggers. I like many others will learn a lot from this post, BrilliantBlogPosts
    Chloe recently posted…Review of London Tea Company Sencha Green TeaMy Profile

    Reply
  33. Susie/So Happy In Town

    I’m so glad you wrote this post Vicki because you don’t for one minute sound like you’re bragging – even though I haven’t met you personally, it doesn’t seem in your nature to ever do that anyway. But quite the opposite, you are sharing all this valuable knowledge you have gained over the years through sheer hard work, because want others to have success. You obviously feel so passionately about helping other bloggers do well and that always always comes across. I will never forget when you e-mailed me directly back in November when I was still humming and hawing about starting a blog and I asked you lots of very basic questions. But you still made the time and you’re constantly doing it. Yet another extremely inspiring and positive post for fellow bloggers, who can only gain from the experience you have gained. Thank you x
    Susie/So Happy In Town recently posted…Comment on Let’s Talk About Mental Health by jeremy@thirstydaddyMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh Susie, you are making me well up, thanks so much, I am not bragging at all, I love to help others and I’m committed to sharing what I know. I am so glad you emailed me in November (I love your blog. Your words mean a lot to me, thank you xx

      Reply
  34. Mel

    Such an inspiring post, as always, and a tale of success, not through luck, but through sheer determination, hard work and creativity. Love you, lady!

    Reply
  35. Kim Taylor

    You should be proud of what you have achieved. Thank you for writing this post, I have found it useful and inspiring, I would love to see more posts about blogging/vlogging from you x

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much Kim, there is a category on blogging called Blogging Tips and Becoming A Mumboss with lots of posts there and I hope to vlog this too, thanks for your kind words x

      Reply
  36. Cassie

    As much information as there is here, I feel like it’s really to the point. I’ve read lots of posts like this and I still came away none the wiser.

    I really admire you as a blogger/vlogger and a person. I love seeing what you are getting up to and telling my husband how successful this business can be. That said, I don’t know if I could maintain what you do myself. You definitely inspire me though. I feel we share common ground in our honesty and now you’ve pointed it out I think many are drawn to blogging as a result of traumatic experiences. My birth with George was pretty traumatic. As was the serious of event which followed in our extended family. The stress levels rising and feeling of loneliness as I had become a new person. I was now a mum. I had changed. Everyone else around me hadn’t. Blogging wa as great outlet and I’ve always loved writing.

    It’s so lovely to read how you got to where you did and I love seeing your piccies and videos.

    Keep up the fabulous, hard work and keep us all smiling. Best of luck with the book too ?

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh Cassie, thank you so much for your touching words. I am so sorry you also went through a traumatic birth and a serious event in your extended family. Blogging and vlogging are creative ways to process some of these things even if you don’t directly blog about them. They give you the space to free yourself creatively and to rediscover who you are and gain strength. I hope you are better now for you all, thank you for your kind comment xx

      Reply
  37. Lexie @ mommyhomemanager.com

    It sounds to me like you’re saying that it all boils down to honesty and a lot of hard (but fun) work. As a new blogger, it isn’t easy to get people interested. I have had to put myself out there as much as possible to get people to even look at my site. Your success is inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks so much, honesty, hard work, a commitment to your craft and the strength to keep going. Thank you for your kind words and wishing you all the best too x

      Reply
  38. Clare

    What a totally amazing and inspirational post. I loved reading it…. and will be back many times to read it over and over. So flipping inspirational, love it and love your style you fantabulous lady!

    I love how you write with such honetsy (I try to do that to)

    Thanks – you are my motivation

    Big Love Cx

    Reply
  39. Helen @ Mummymode

    Do you know what I love about you? The fact you write all this to help others achieve their dreams too. The line you write about there being room for all- it is so true, yet you are such a positive force for pointing it out and for offering practical, helpful advice as well. You’re a hardworking, inspirational lady who I’m very happy to count as a friend x
    Helen @ Mummymode recently posted…An Unintentional Digital DetoxMy Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Oh Helen, you are making me cry, thank you so, so much, I love helping others, it’s in my bones to do that, to support and lift people up. I’m constantly making introductions, trying to help others get work or book deals. There is enough room for all and thank goodness but we can only be our best selves when we collaborate with others. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend and inspiration. I love your blog and can’t wait to catch up in person, hopefully soon xx

      Reply
  40. Wave to Mummy

    What a brilliant post! I remember you mentioned this 6 figure income to me in passing one time and I’ve been hoping you might write a post about how you have achieved that income since 🙂 I think knowing your own worth is so important! And feeling brave enough to ask for what you deserve.

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Thanks lovely lady, knowing your worth is vital. I thought it was time to write about it and importantly in my own words. Thank you x

      Reply
  41. Nina

    Wow. Thanks for posting this Vicki. Really insightful and a lot to learn from. Wishing you all the best in the future… keep writing! 🙂

    Reply
  42. Jini

    Thank you for this. I have read so many “how to blog” articles and by far this is the most straightforward with no jargon. I love writing and do so on my blog occasionally ? and many times I’ve thought about doing it full time but the fear ? of drowning in the digital world always outweigh my desire. Funnily enough I come from a similar background to yours … Broadcasting, media lecturer and used to head the PR office of the Seychelles Tourism Marketing Board. I am still in the education sector and still mastering the courage to go solo. Your story give me hope that may be I can actually do this. Thank you for sharing and good luck with the book from one
    of your biggest fans ❤️❤️

    Reply
  43. emma amoscato

    Fabulous post Vicki! Thanks for sharing. I needed to read this today xx
    emma amoscato recently posted…7 recipes to use your leftover Easter chocolateMy Profile

    Reply
  44. Susanna

    Absolutely LOVE this post. In fact I’m going to re read this so many times till I have memorised it. I agree the national press could have twisted your words to suit their own needs. This way, we know it’s true and from your heart. Love it ! And now I’m going to do more blog planning 😉 xx
    Susanna recently posted…George’s First Blogging Event with Monster Pet Supplies.My Profile

    Reply

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