Rewind back 365 days to a girl that is energetic and likes to always keep busy. That same girl found herself in a chair nursing her baby ALL the time and it was extremely hard. There are only but so many Pinterest boards you can make. I seen where one of my friends was blogging recipes and thought this would be a fun way to pass the time for myself. So in desperation I reached out to her. I asked her how hard it was to make a blog. She was extremely helpful and encouraging! By the way she kinda has the best style and cutest babies evvvvaa (@littlesartanfamily).
So after that I made a blog on a whim and turned my personal gram into an my instablog. I remember waking up the next morning feeling so rediculous like I was a fish out of water , I did not know the first thing about blogging. All I could think about was how much I had put myself out there for personal ridicule if I failed. I started researching as much as possible. I came across my friend Sophia’s(whom I did not know at the time) Instagram and found all of her Blog post about this subject SO helpful!
It was a slow process for me to grasp everything involved. But you know what? I did fail. Over and over and over and over and ovvvver. And every time I would fail, I would take on another challenge again, I did this until I started seeing the results I wanted. This was the biggest learning project I have ever taken on. It has worn me down so bad at certain times I would just have to walk away and quit thinking about it for a bit. It is like someone putting you in charge of a moving conveyor belt with eggs on it and they say, “Now don’t let these break”. But you have no idea how to work it so they’re smashing all around you! THAT is exactly how this journey has felt to me! But in one year’s time I have taught myself social media marketing, photography, Lightroom + photoshop, connection skills, videography, prop styling, etc. And I am really proud of that. There is room for SO much improvement in all of these areas, but I now have a base understanding to do nothing but make progress in.
Now, I say all of these to not make you want to run from instagraming or blogging, but rather to hear my story and realize how anyone with an ounce of creativity in their mind can achieve ANYTHING if you really apply yourself. It is a lot of work, and you’re not just going to start making money and growing followers at once. Your going to have to work very hard and see little to no return for quite awhile. But once you grow and make progress you will see that your Instagram and blog will too.
To celebrate my Instagram and blogs one year anniversary I wanted to open up to you all and share what I have personally learned! I am not at expert and hardly qualified. I’m just a stay at home mama who needed an outlet for my own personal creative heart. It has opened up so many opportunities and allowed me to make friendships with so many downright amazing women who inspire me to the fullest! If you would have told me a year ago that I would be here, doing something I love so much, I know I would had laughed. All I can say is thank the LORD! He is my strength and this has taken a lot of that not to lose my marbles haha!
So here we go!
Here are some answers from the top questions we get asked daily in our Instagram dm’s!
1. Do I need to make friends with other bloggers and instagrammers?
One of the BIGGEST mistakes I made in the beginning was thinking that I did not need to build a relationship with fellow instagrammer’s and blogger’s. This is crucial! I cannot tell you how much information my friends have passed onto me that has been some of the strongest building blocks for my social media. You can pull together to help one another so much!
2. What equipment do you use?
Don’t feel like you have to have top notch equipment, but DO strive for top quality. That is one of the biggest factors to set you apart from others. If you want to pursue this as a living, companies will not work with low quality. I have friends way up in the game using their phones and their instagrams are GORGEOUS. They’ve learned how to create beautiful quality photo’s. Unforturantly, I could never figure out phone photo’s, so I ended up getting a Nikon D3300 to start out. Gabe and I learned the basics of photography. We started to get small collaborations. EVERY time I seen our photography and creativity advance to the next level I would see bigger brands reaching out. We now shoot with a Cannon 5D mark-iii with the 85 mm lense. I’m really into bokeh and a soft background so this lense is definitely my style. I still use my Nikon to shoot the videos.
3. Do you use any type of lights for the pictures?
No, we are natural light photographers all the way. Winter has forced us to learn how to shoot indoors and that is definitely NOT one of my favorite things. But the upside is it has once again forced us to go out of our comfort zones and learn new things, like incorporating fairy lights to create beautiful bokeh!
4. How do you edit your pictures?
We edit all of our photos in Lightroom and photoshop (not the app). In my opinion they are the best! It was a challenge for me to learn how to use this software, but once you do your photography will improve tremendously!
5. If you could give one tip to help the flow of your Instagram what would that be?
Use gradient maps in photoshop! It is a great way to keep your feed cohesive. They are basically filters you create yourself. You choose a color for the shadows and a color for the highlights in your photo’s. I use a custom teal and gold that is extremely subtle, but it helps so much since I like a color variety.
6. How did you learn photography?
Gabe and I actually graduated from The University of Youtube 17′. I feel like we should get a diploma for how much research and studying we did. But in all seriousness this has been some real work, and will continue to be. I don’t ever want to stop learning! We are JUST now getting the hang of this photography thing and still have miles and miles to go!
7. How do I grow my Instagram?
This is NOT something that happens over night. Unless of course you go viral.
Ask fellow bloggers to do mutual shoutouts in stories! This has been the biggest help to get my name out there!
Tag accounts that feature similar photos to your niche. If you get a repost that will send a lot of followers your way.
Strive to bring quality. At the end of the day this will make the biggest impression.
Always interact and be genuine with your followers!
Collaborate with businesses if you feel you’re ready. They will often repost or allow you to host giveaways.
Be easy on yourself. This takes a lot of time and patience. I remember thinking I would never ever break 1000!
8. How do you collaborate? Do you reach out to them or do they contact you? Do they pay?
Yes, this is several questions, but it can all be covered with the same answers! In the beginning I would contact businesses . I would send a short email with a link to my Instagram and blog. Don’t be discouraged when they turn you down. It will happen and to be honest I was turned down more times than I can count. But once again as your quality improves you will roll in the brands. I now have a media kit, and when they reach out to me I reply with that. In the beginning I traded items from companies in return For posting a photo they wanted on my instagram or blog. I now have set prices for a post on my Instagram, instastory, blog post and videos. I recommend getting a platform.
9. What are platforms?
They are the craigslist for instagrams and blogs. They will team you up with the correct brands that are wanting to pay you to post ads for them. This is where things get tricky. I HIGHLY suggest ALWAYS staying with brands you truly believe in! I know this is our job and we have to make money to maintain doing this, but you don’t ever want to push things that you wouldn’t actually use or buy. People will see that and it will hurt your integrity.
A few of my favorite platforms are;
10. Do I have to have a blog and an Instagram?
Absolutely not, you can do whatever you want. I personally find they work well hand in hand, but I am WAY more active on my Instagram. If you can build up any type of social media presence you can make a living at that.
I hope this post has helped you in some small way! Be sure and let me know if you would like more information like this in the future! As always remain true to yourself and work hard. It will pay off, but it does take a lot of time and patience. I read the other day where a fellow blogger said if you get into this just to make money your in the wrong business. You must love what your doing and work for little to no return for a very long time. You can do it! If this mama can, ANYONE can! And as always don’t forget to head over to my Instagram and follow!