What’s it like being a blogger – with www.littlepaperswans.com
To any new blogger, the suggestion that they could make money out of their little corner of the internet would probably leave us feeling impossibly shy. Because to begin with most of us will just tell you that we do this as a hobby, perhaps we have a passion for something and we want to share that passion with others. Perhaps the blog is just a an amusing way to remember that time you went travelling, or like me, it was a space to keep my mind active while I was on maternity leave with no expectation that it would ever amount to much. However, for some bloggers there is a shift at some point, a tiny seed has been planted and it has began to grow. And when you let your mind wander, I mean really wander, there is a light somewhere that draws you on, a whisper that you can hear telling you ‘this could be something’ ‘maybe I’m quite good at this’ and ‘what if you push yourself harder’.
I hear that voice, I hear it getting louder. And for so long I would ignore those little voices telling me positive life changing affirmations. I would tell myself that I could not change my life with a blog or an Instagram account, don’t be silly, that’s what happens to other people. Other lucky people who have a viral following or were in the right place at the right time. But… do you know what… Actually, now I realise if you want to succeed at blogging or Instagram or… ANYHING. You have to do a few simple things; ONE – understand that the thing you love can be your career, TWO – listen to your inner positivity, THREE – work really hard at it.
Viral followings and ‘right place right time’, will have some bearing in the online world. But actually, what I have come to realise about all the wonderful bloggers and influencers I have met, followed and conversed with over this past year is that they all work really really hard!
That is why I will bringing you a few interviews with some bloogers, photographers and freelancers over the coming weeks. I wanted to delve a bit deeper into what it takes to start from zero and believe in yourself. To put your self out there, to quit your day job and start calling yourself by your own appointed job title.
The first in my interview Series is the lovely Cathryn from www.littlepaperswans.com Cathryn is a mum of one, with another one on the way (due very soon!) And for me I find her story very inspiring. Not in a rags to riches type way. But in the way that her story is relatable and accessible and realistic. And on top of that she is lovely and hard working and her photos are beautiful.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, your family?
My name is Cathryn. I’m a 24 year old Mama to Edith and we are expecting another little girl in March. I’m married to an incredible man, who never questions my wacky photo ideas. We live on the Suffolk Coast. We are a 10 minute walk away from the beach now and I can not wait to spend the whole of the summer down there.
What was ‘job’ before you went freelance?
Before going on maternity leave with Edith I was a retail supervisor. I used to run the store when the managers were off for very little pay. I loved the girls I worked with though, we had a great time every shift but it definitely wasn’t where my passion was. I didn’t go back to it after maternity leave and went freelance instead.
Can you describe your job now?
My job title now isn’t so simple. I’m a lifestyle and photography blogger. I did work as freelance photographer too up until very recently, photographing weddings and families but I’ve stopped that now to focus on my blog. I also run e-courses for people wanting to improve their photography and I produce stock photos for other bloggers and creatives to use on their sites.
How did you start doing what your doing. What were the first steps you made, how did you build up your business?
Erm. This is a big question. I started my blog 6 years ago as a hobby, at that point I didn’t know of any bloggers in the UK making money from their blog. I kept at it and then in August 2016 I pulled myself together (finally) and started to make a little bit of money from my blog from sponsored posts. I put myself and my blog out there more and more people came to read my blog. My Instagram also grew from January 2017. I’ve gained a really lovely community. I might not have tens of thousands of followers but I’ve got some really lovely and supportive friends in the app in my phone!
What pit falls and hurdles have you come across and briefly how did you manage to overcome them?
Self belief. Until I realised what I could do, what I knew and what I could share. I would say it wasn’t until May last year that I realised I didn’t have to follow the same path as every other blogger. So I started to share my personal interests, stories and started sharing my photography advice. Once I realised that actually I do know what I’m talking about it really helped my career pick up. I would say if you’re doubting yourself, you need to stop because you know what you are doing!
What is the best thing about being freelance?
Being able to be at home with Edith. I don’t have many people that I trust to look after her (tell me I’m not the only one) and all of my family works so childcare wasn’t really available. I get to be there for her everyday, apart from two mornings a week when she happily skips off to pre-school. That’s my worktime!
And what is the worst/hardest?
Work/life balance. I don’t really have any downtime. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas, especially late at night. I’m constantly planning for the next thing. It’s really hard to switch off. I’m hugely passionate about my job so it doesn’t always feel like work to me even when it is.
Would you have done anything differently if you started out now?
I would realise what I had and what I could have done sooner. I could have taken things further a lot quicker than I did but until I had Edith I didn’t want to make the scary jump of quitting my day job.
What advice would you give somebody starting out in freelance work today?
Get out there and do it. Work hard and it will pay off. Be nice, reply to people. In the beginning it will feel like no one is listening but they will. They just haven’t heard your voice yet.