It’s been seven years…. seven!
Seven years since I was at home with my second baby, trawling the internet for company, inspiration and a way to express myself. Seven years since I saw the American bloggers talking about their lives online and providing a fun insight into who they were and what they did. I saw a glimpse of a world I wanted to be part of, so purely for my own self interest and a way to make my voice heard, I published my first post and this spectacular journey was born.
Blogging was and always will be my creative outlet. JuggleMum is a place where I have full editorial control. Stuff gets seen here because I decided to put it here. This blog answers to no-one. I post when I choose, I talk about what I choose and it looks how I choose and I love that! I’m the ladyboss at JuggleMum HQ and I think that rocks!
When I started blogging, some people in real life just didn’t get it. Seven years ago there was only a few hundred ‘mummy bloggers’ (as we were called then) it wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. I joined a network of bloggers for support and a community which was called British Mummy Bloggers – at the time there was a list of the ‘early members’ on the site and a counter of sorts, showing how many bloggers were in this niche. I seem to remember I joined and was member 497 or around that mark, so there weren’t that many of us. The British Mummy Bloggers network started by Susanna Scott of A Modern Mother eventually evolved into what is known these days at BritMums – the UK’s biggest collective of lifestyle bloggers and influencers with more than 8000 members and counting.
These days people ‘get’ blogging. Brands and advertisers recognise that blogs are a trusted source of information from real life people, who are passionate about sharing their experiences online. When families are making large household purchases from new cars to holidays, where do they go for ideas and knowledge? They do a web search and often end up on someone’s blog who can tell it like it is, warts and all and how they use the item or experience as a family. This kind of insight is invaluable.
Because of this brands are increasingly looking to bloggers to work with them in a professional capacity, doing paid work or as a brand ambassador. Over the years I have grown this blog from a kind of personal online diary into a platform that earns money through sponsored posts and advertising. I have come into contact with and worked with some incredible brands, who have encouraged me to contribute to their consumer offering like a real part of their team, where my opinion helps shape their product development. I love to ‘get stuck in’ and help, I love that my input is valued and ultimately I want these companies that I’m working with to thrive. They are ‘my guys’ after all!
Had I not dared to take a chance on pressing ‘publish’ on that post seven years ago (which was about time management if I remember correctly!) I never would have had the wealth of experiences and fun that I have had. I remember like it was yesterday, I was so nervous to publish it and put myself ‘out there’! It felt like a party I had no invite to. Why would anyone read what I had to say? Or worse, what if someone did read it and hated it?! But I bit the bullet and did it anyway, and the earth didn’t move and no-one hated it that I recall, and I’m not sure anyone really read it either, but that wasn’t the point for me. The point was that I did it – I decided I had something to say and so I said it. End of. It was a shift in attitude moment for me, rather than hide my light under a bushel, I gave myself props and appraised my knowledge and decided it was good enough to share. I think it was the first step to a real inner confidence.
Blogging has been so much and more to me over the years. Through it I have developed new skills (marketable, real world skills I might add!) such as learning the language of html coding, image editing including the notoriously complicated Photoshop package, photo styling, vlogging and presenting, video editing and SEO to name a few. All whilst being at home to raise my family, doing every school run, attending every nativity play, taking kids to every dentist check up and generally being ‘mum’.
Blogging is growing at a faster rate than ever and I love seeing the fresh take on things the younger bloggers are bringing in, whilst enjoying the work of my blogging peers who like me, are constantly improving their offer and expanding their reach. Blogging has become my full time career, but remains my passion. I cannot now, imagine a life without blogging in it, and am eternally grateful for the freedom of speech we have where we live and the technology we have available that allows us to do this.
One of the companies I work with through blogging is MODE, and I was commissioned to produce this story for them recently. It is a round-up of blog posts under the heading ‘Blogging: 8 things I wish I’d known before I began‘. Do click through to have a read and let me know your blogging story. How long have you been at this and what advice would you have for newbie bloggers?
My own advice would echo that which I told myself seven years ago as my finger hovered over the button that would publish my first post. Trust yourself, you have something to say, go do it!