Hi guys, welcome back to my behind the scenes series with some of my favourite parenting blogger crushes! This has been one of the most popular series yet and I think that is in large part due to the fact this group of mums, who are running kick-ass blogs are willing to be open and honest about what life is really like behind the scenes and the earning potential of a professional parenting blogger. This is exactly the kind of attitude the blogging industry needs to adapt so that we can dispel the myths and stand on our own two feet showing that this is a viable and professional career choice so I would like to say a big thank you to them all.
This week I’m really excited to welcome Donna, a mum of two, a top parenting blogger at What the redhead said. Donna made the move to full time blogger earlier this year and is not only taking her blog from strength to strength but also finds the time to support and help many other parenting bloggers, myself included.
1. What was your job before you became a blogger?
I started blogging when I was a branch manager for a High Street bank. I was on maternity leave and I stayed with the company for another four years after that, taking a step back after my second child was born and doing a ‘personal banker’ type role of opening accounts and helping people with their finances. But at the end of last year my blog and workload had grown so much that I was able to leave the bank and blog full time.
2. Why did you decide to start a blog?
I started my blog to document our weaning journey with our first child. We did baby led weaning and back then there wasn’t much information about it online so I thought it could be helpful to someone. Aside from that I just wanted to document our daughter growing and the milestones we reached. It’s been a great scrapbook of our family’s loves together.
3. At what point did you decide to give up your job for a career as a blogger and why?
When our son was a few months old in August 2013 I went self hosted with the aim of making something of my blog. I thought I could potentially earn some pocket money from blogging and had no idea it would turn into a career for me. But, a couple of years later, probably by the end of 2015, I knew that blogging could be a viable career option – not just for me but for our family as a whole. I then aimed to give up my day job and be fully self employed by the time our youngest started school – this September – and managed to do it sooner than I expected.
4. Can you describe a typical day as a parenting blogger?
I don’t think there is a typical day when you’re a blogger. For me, the typical parts of the day are the busy mornings, school run, school pick up and the dinner, bath and bed routine. But, in-between that I will be replying to emails, writing, taking photos and scheduling posts as well as reading and commenting on other blogs, being as active as possible on social media and chasing invoices.
The work of a blogger is never done and although I will have the whole school day to work from September I know that I’ll still be turning the laptop on once the children are in bed to work through the afternoon’s emails and finish off any bits and bobs and that can’t carry over to the next day.
5. What is the biggest challenge you face when relying on blogging as a career?
I think the biggest challenge for me is that blogging income isn’t guaranteed. I won’t have a nice pay packet land in my account on the same day each month and the money comes in bit by bit, often weeks after it should have arrived and I feel like I am constantly chasing people for payment. I like knowing I have invoices sent off that need to be paid as well as work agreed that I need to do and invoice for so that I have a regular stream of income. But the uncertainty is definitely the hardest thing for me.
6. Who is your biggest blogging influence and why?
I don’t think I have any blogging influences as such – I’ve always really just done my own thing. But there are bloggers who I have always followed, admired and respected both the work and opinion of.
One of the first blogs I started reading was Mummy Daddy Me and I know that reading her blog inspired me to start my own. I have loved watching Katie’s blog grow, as well as her family, and her photography and videography is something I can only aspire to.
Colette from We’re Going on an Adventure and Dave from The DADventurer are two bloggers who I really respect the opinion of and who I think have followed a similar path and timeline to my own – they have always been there and are great friends as well as colleagues who I love to have to ask questions and bounce ideas off of.
7. What is the best thing you have gained from changing your career to blogging?
The best thing for me is that I get to be at home with the children. It’s something I never thought would be possible and it’s something I will never take for granted. I’m able to work and be with the children and for me that’s the best of both worlds.
On top of that though, blogging has brought amazing opportunities to us as a family. We have had holidays, days out and experiences that we would never have had otherwise and I think our lives are all richer for having blogging in them.
8. What are the best and worst parts of your job now?
The best part for me would be staying at home with the children, the amazing experiences and the excitement of not knowing what is going to land in your inbox on any given day.
The worst though would be having to chase people for payment. I seem to spend half my time chasing invoices.
9. Do you have a plan for the future to expand your blog?
I get asked this quite a lot. I think it’s common now for bloggers to get book deals and merchandise but for me I’m pretty happy as I am. As long as my social media channels keep growing, people keep reading my blog and I keep getting work through the blog then I’m happy – I don’t think I’ll be on the shelves of Waterstones any time soon!
10. Name one top tip you would give a new parenting blogger on starting out.
I would tell any new blogger to make sure they keep focused on why they started blogging and never forget that. For me, I started blogging to document our family growing and although I do brand campaigns and other sponsored work I always make sure that I have regular family content, that I record the milestones and keep the blog grounded and in line with why I started.
Other people do start blogs to earn a living from them – or to get sent things to review – which is fine too. But it’s not a quick win, it does take a lot of work and as long as you’re prepared to put the hours and hours of work into a blog and really get behind it then you will succeed. You’ll get out of your blog exactly what you put in.
And the question we all want to know…what do you earn from your job as a parenting blogger?
My blog income has increased steadily over the last years so I don’t think I have a typical annual income yet – I think your income has to be consistent for a few years before you can say that’s categorically what your income is. But, I went from earning £4k from my blog and associated channels/work 3 years ago to earning £30k last year and on target to earn £50k this year. But, as long as I earn enough to stay at home, I’m happy.
A big thank you to Donna for joining in and giving us a sneak peak behind the scenes of life as a parenting blogger.
For more from Donna you can find her blog here and her social links below:
Until next time