Q&A #3: Answering Your Questions About My Blogging Career

Answering all your questions about my blogging career & more!
Q&A: Answering Your Most Frequently Asked Questions about My Blogging Career! #fulltimeblogging #howtoblog #howtoblogfulltime #howtomonetizeablog #careeradvice #blogging #businessadvice #smallbusiness #Q&A

Every time I ask on Instagram for submissions for these Q&A posts, I get questions about my blogging career and how I got to this stage. Sometimes the questions about how I got started, the ins and outs of managing my business, and so forth. I always try to answer every DM, but sometimes I end up answering the same questions over and over! It’s definitely time to answer the questions I get asked the most often in one place. Maybe you’ll even learn more about me and my career path, too!

Q&A: Answering Your Most Frequently Asked Questions about My Blogging Career

How did you start?

This post is a great place to start when asking about how I started my blogging career! Not much has changed since I shared that post back in 2016 aside from now I work with a management team. My team acts as a liaison between me and brands, so they handle communications, invoicing, contracts, and my calendar. They’ve been able to help take things off my plate so I can do even more and create even better content!

P.S. If you’d like to learn even more about social media and my best practice tips for it, check out The Jojotastic School of Social Media!

Were taxes and financial aspects of your business really complicated/scary to figure out?

YES. And they continue to be! The fact is that the IRS doesn’t really understand what bloggers and stylists do. There is a lot of grey area, especially when it comes to what is a business expense that can be written off and what isn’t. Most of what I have learned is stuff that I’ve picked up along the way.

A couple of years ago, I got serious about managing my business’s financials. Because of this, I hired a book keeper and dedicated small business accountant. I reached a point where I couldn’t manage it all on my own anymore… and I had to admit that I just wasn’t good at managing it. Both my accountant and book keeper are worth their weight in gold.

What’s the biggest challenge of being self-employed?

For me, the biggest challenge of having a full-time blogging career is that I am always connected. I am very aware that without the support of my readers and followers, I literally wouldn’t have a full-time blogging career. Because of this, I bend over backwards to make sure that I answer every DM, question, and email. It might take me a while, but I really try!

This can sometimes mean that I don’t feel like I can totally unplug. Unfortunately, algorithms are set up to ‘reward’ you for being on an app more… so if I decide to unplug and not engage on social for a weekend, my follower count can slip. And that’s my bread and butter! More and more, I’m focusing on achieving a balance of being connect and being a great resource for you, but I also need time off.

I recently reached a point when I realized that if I don’t take good care of myself, the blog is going to suffer. This is why you’re seeing more wellness and self-care content here, because blogging about it is a way for me to stay accountable for the changes I want to make. Building that awareness of balance has been crucial for me and I hope it helps you, too.

Did you learn photography formally?

Yes! I have a bachelor’s of fine arts in Industrial Design and a minor in photography and digital imaging. I attended college before digital cameras were mainstream, which means I learned how to shoot, develop, and process film first! Remember those days? I spent countless hours in the darkroom and I really feel like that has contributed to the quality of work I produce now.

Do you do meet ups with your readers in Seattle?

I’ve never actually done a meet up. But it’s definitely something I am curious about exploring more. I’ve also considered hosting workshops and tutorial classes because I really, really just want to be able to share so much more with you. Instead of just like, ‘hey, this is me, let’s hangout and have a drink,’ I think it’s more valuable if I can somehow share a skill or info with you.

Would you be interested in a meet up? Leave a comment on this post and let me know!

How to start a freelance business and working with brands? I just started out.

My biggest piece of career advice, regardless of the type of business, is to JUST START. It can feel so daunting, but the key is just starting. Definitely think through your goals and even write them down, but don’t be afraid to simply start.

In terms of working with brands, the key is sounding professional and having a polished media kit that you can send. For me, this includes examples of my best content, my bio, my social stats, press mentions, and anything else that makes me stand out. One thing I can’t stress enough when working on your media kit is to make it all about what makes you special. There are so many bloggers and influencers out there… so what do YOU bring to the table? If you can confidently tell a brand that, then you’re in business.

How do you decide what to post/when?

My brain is constantly going with ideas. Because of this, I have a crazyyyy spreadsheet where I categorize and store all of my content ideas. Typically, I plan a month ahead at a time. So at the start of April, I looked at my calendar for May. I know that I post 5 times a week and that there are series that I do every month, like Small Space Squad. Those calendar invites roll over to be twice a month, every month. Same with DIY posts, recipes, etc.

Then I identify gaps and look at which holidays are coming up. If Fourth of July is around the corner, I know I want to post recipes and DIYs that are related to that. It wouldn’t make sense to post about holiday decor in the middle of summer, right?

I also try to balance the topics I cover within each week. This means that I don’t want each post in a week to be about home decor, for example. So instead, I’ll mix it up and do a decor post, then maybe something small space-related, a Q&A, a recipe, and a round up.

In terms of when I post, I publish every weekday at 3 am PST. My hope is that I’ll catch the early crowd on the east coast with that time slot. Then, during the holidays, I post every day because I want to be able to share as many gift guides as possible — my traffic sometimes triples during that time of year, so I work hard to make sure the blog is fresh and updated!

For more info about my career path, check out these posts:

My next Q&A post will be dedicated to small spaces, as usual… so I’d love more questions to answer! To submit more small space design questions, leave them in a comment on this post, shoot me an email, or DM me on Instagram!

Photography & styling by Jojotastic. See more of my studio here.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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