I am often asked questions from readers about blogging. Questions range from how to start a blog, to if you can make money blogging, to how to find companies to work with you. I would like to start working on a series of blog posts answering some of these questions for you, but I thought I would start by telling you why I started blogging, and what I have learned over my past 3+ years of blogging.
Why I Started Blogging:
Even before my husband and I were even married, we talked about having children together one day. We both agreed that it was important that I stay home with our children, and we would make any sacrifice needed to make that possible.
Well, after my daughter was born, I did indeed quit my job to stay home and take care of her. This meant the loss of my income, (which was almost equal to my husband’s) and was a huge hit to our already tight finances. To say money was tight is seriously an understatement. Our budget was stretched to the max and there was NO room for any extras.
I was blessed by many friends and family members with hand-me-downs and baby presents for our daughter, and dove into cloth diapers as a way to save us more money (and let me tell you, using cloth diapers with our children really has saved us a lot of money–but that is for another post). It was while researching today’s modern cloth diapers that I stumbled upon the world of “mommy bloggers.” I had NO idea before that they even existed! I spent a month reading blog review after blog review on the different cloth diapers I wanted to try…and I found the giveaways. I had about 8 cloth diapers which I washed and dried every single night to have fresh diapers for the next day. Having the chance to win a FREE cloth diaper was like a dream come true, so I started entering….and winning! I think I probably won 5-7 cloth diapers in the span of 2 months. It was a huge blessing to us and gave me just a little bit of extra time between washing. (I promise, this whole post won’t be about diapers!).
It was while I was entering to win another cloth diaper that a light bulb went off in my head. I have always enjoying writing and considered myself a hard worker. I decided that maybe, just maybe, if I started my own blog and worked REALLY hard, maybe after a few weeks or months, a company would be willing to send me a diaper for review, in exchange for reviewing it for them.
Essentially, I hoped that if I worked hard, over time, I would be blessed with a few items (mainly cloth diapers) to review that we really needed for our daughter.
This was a way for me (in my mind) to slightly make up for the loss of my income. I never, ever in my wildest dreams would have believed that Thrifty Nifty Mommy would turn into what it is today. I tell people all the time, this was something I started on a whim with NO KNOWLEDGE of blogging, public relations, social media, etc. Even more, I firmly believe this was a God thing – an idea he put in my head, and something He’s blessed over the years.
Three+ Years Later:
More than three years after starting Thrifty Nifty Mommy, my Facebook page has grown to over 47K followers, almost 10K followers on Pinterest, 5K email subscribers, and 17K Twitter followers. I am humbled and blessed that all of you have chosen to follow me and help me in my endeavor. I don’t say it enough that without you, this blog would not be here and I truly, TRULY appreciate every single one of you. I was always the shy girl in high school who kept to myself, and now I feel like I have “friends” all over the world. It’s truly amazing.
Not only have I had the opportunity to review cloth diapers, as I had originally hoped, I’ve been able to review everything from baby gear, to cars, to travel destinations, to toys, to kitchen gadgets. Over the years, I accumulated more cloth diapers than I needed for my children, so I have started donating them to friends in need, even giving some away on the blog. Baby gear items I longed to have for my daughter but could not afford, I was blessed with during the pregnancy and early months of my son’s life through blogging. I’ve been able to donate new toys to Toys For Tots, and give new and nearly new baby items, household products, and toys to families in my area who are in need. I love that this blog enables me to give back to my community!
I’ve also had the opportunity (through hosting giveaways) to give tons and tons of goodies away to you, my readers. I’ve received many excited emails about how much of a blessing winning a giveaway is, and it always warms my heart. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to just have the absolute necessities for my baby. So, to hear that the car seat that a family has won will replace an expired or outgrown car seat, well, it makes the time I spend blogging feel truly worth it. And, it reminds me why I love doing what I do.
I also have managed to start generating a little bit of monetary income from the blog through affiliate advertising, paid ads, and sponsored posts on my site. I never would have dreamed when I started blogging 3+ years ago that I could make money from blogging, but it is certainly a perk that has blessed my little family. Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for following my blog, clicking on the ads, shopping through my Amazon affiliate link, voting for me on Top Mommy Blogs, and supporting my blog in every other way.
If I Could Go Back 3 Year, What I Would Tell Myself:
Boy have I learned a LOT over the past 3 years, and it’s my hope that I can impart some of that wisdom on you as you begin to embark on a mommy blogging adventure. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself:
- Blogging is time consuming! Just like anything else in life, if you want to do something well, it is going to take time–and a lot of it! From the outside looking in, a typical review/giveaway post looked to me like a hour job–tops. Oh my, was I wrong! There are some posts where I take 3 hours just editing the pictures for it! It takes a lot of time to write a post, proofread the post, edit pictures, set up a giveaway form, promote a giveaway, draw a winner, and email sponsors. For one typical review/giveaway post, I would say you are looking at a minimum of 5 hours of work, many times more, depending on the product. I have given up sleep time and spare time to work on blog posts. I stay up late, get up early, and work through nap time almost daily. I rarely watch even a television show without working while I watch (yep, watching Law and Order right now!). The post you are reading now has taken me more than 2 hours to write.
- Make a schedule and, as much as possible, stick to it. This is one I am STILL working on, but scheduling is a must. There will ALWAYS be more blogging work that you need to do, but you have to set boundaries. Make a reasonable schedule with time for your children, housework, shopping, friends, husband, blogging, and anything else you have going on in your life. Then stick to it!
- Remember to blog about things you love. Blogging, like anything else, will have its ups and downs. Make sure you take time to blog about the things that are important to you, the things you are passionate about. It really makes a difference.
- If you are going to take the time to start a blog, join all of the popular social media sites at the same time. When I started blogging, I originally only signed up for a Facebook page. It wasn’t until I was probably over a year into blogging that I signed up for Twitter, and even longer before I started with Pinterest. Start out with all of those from the beginning–it’s how you get your writing out there!
As I work on writing more posts about blogging, I want to know, what do you want to hear about the most? Leave me a comment and I will try to work on an answer for you!