We were recently approached by tech giant Huawei about their current campaign for the new MateBook, where it’s all about the new style of business in our city. The MateBook is essentially a lightweight laptop with a detachable screen, turning it into a tablet when needed. It comes with the Stylus Mate Pen which lets you scribble down notes or design a fancy logo. This baby is a true all-rounder and stylish on top of it. It fits me perfectly, because I need exactly that from the electronics I work with: Flexibility. Capability. Multi-tasking. Style.
When it comes down to it I’m not only a travel blogger. I’m also a business woman. A photographer. An editor. Stylist. Model. Marketing specialist. PR strategist. Community manager. I’m also a friend. A daughter. A mom. And most of all I am me and I want to fill my life with things that make me happy. I want to have a job that fulfills me so much I cannot think of a better one to have. I chose blogging.
This is my story.
I’ve always known that I needed travel in my life to be happy. That a 9 to 5 job would never be enough for me, nor the 30 days of vacation per year it usually comes with. Because isn’t this what it’s all about? Living a good, wholesome, happy life? When I first started blogging I quickly realized that this was truly something I would enjoy doing every day. Documenting my experiences. Sharing inspirational stories and images. Giving food for thought. If I could make money with a blog, that would be the jackpot.
Fast forward 10 years.
I currently run 3 blogs: Travelettes.net, an international travel blog by women for women, Glowbus.de, a German lifestyle blog for cool women aged 30 and up, and Glamcanyon.com, the oldest of the bunch, a streetstyle site.
My main occupation and the biggest of the three is this one, travelettes. What began as a little travel blog, attracting an average of 200 readers a day has now amounted to a well-respected travel online magazine with 10 regular writers and countless freelance contributors living across the globe. An average of 7000 readers now click on the site every day, 270.000 follow us on Facebook, another 48.000 have joined us on Instagram. We are not just a website anymore, we are a community. Our closed Facebook group for women travelers boasts an impressive 21.000 members. Here, females from around the world gather digitally to exchange information, ask questions, share inspiration. And when it comes down to it, we owe it all to one thing: The Internet. Without it, none of this would be possible.
When my son was born in 2014 I knew I had to refocus my professional energy. I had been working quite successfully as a photographer and while that allowed me a certain level of flexibility, I knew it wouldn’t be ideal. When you have 20 people waiting on set for you, no one wants to hear your baby is sick. You cannot simply send someone else, it just doesn’t work that way in that industry. This is when I made the decisive move: I would run travelettes as my business.
This was about year ago. We have successfully invested the money we made in the past in our relaunch, hiring quality editors and SEO specialists. I have devoted my child-free time into negotiating business deals, establishing better brand partnerships and adopting an overall business mindset in my approach to blogging.
My blog, my business.
How did all this work out, you may wonder? Well, I love my job more than ever. I feel like the many years during which this website was purely a labor of love (although it did of course enable us to travel to many incredible places we would not otherwise have seen) are paying off and we are trying hard to find ways of incorporating the business side of things in a way that is still useful for our readers. We have been very lucky to find partners we love, with products we actually use and are happy to endorse.
I think this may well be the ultimate job because not only can I focus my energies onto doing stuff I actually enjoy doing, I can also work from anywhere, in my own time, and with people I can choose myself. I can say yes and no when I want to and keep that good feeling of knowing I’m doing the right thing.
Those who know me will be able to confirm that I am a bit of a proponent of blogging. I will tell anyone and everyone that they should think about starting a blog because it holds so much potential. My friend Sophia for example sat in a bar with me one night and complained that she was unsure where life was taking her. At 30-something she was mostly DJing but wanted to know what else life had in store for her. I talked her into giving blogging a chance. Four years on, her blog has enabled her to write 2 cookbooks, appear on TV frequently and become a highly acclaimed vegan chef in Berlin. She is one of many who just started a blog and reaped the rewards of investing your time and energy into something you truly enjoy doing.
5 tips to turn a blog into a business
I wanted to use this post to share a couple of my top tips when it comes to running a professional blog; maybe it will inspire some of you to start your own blog or to give the one you have a new direction.
1. Be your own worst critic
The bottom line of running a successful blog is to have a good one. Not any old, half-hearted blog has what it takes to become professional, just like any product that’s just not that great won’t stand a chance at conquering the market. Have a look around: what are your favorite bloggers doing right? Do you have to up the frequency you blog with? Do you need better photos? Should you optimize your subjects/headlines/social media game?
2. Outsource where necessary
While professional bloggers are usually all-rounders and good at a lot of stuff, it’s not necessary to really excel at everything. Some bloggers do their own HTML/programming but many don’t. We don’t, we pay someone to do it. Is your photography not up to pro standard? Find someone who can help you. If you don’t have a budget, offer deals, maybe you can swap something they need?
3. Adopt a business mindset
This is kind of a big one. When you see your blog as your business you are bound to try harder, be more perfectionist and think ahead. Suddenly you start seeing content everywhere. That Cappuccino you’re having at that new coffeeshop with the lovely wooden tables? That would make a stellar Instagram photo! That PR dude who’s friends with your friends? Tell them about your product!
4. Become your own PR machine
The move from small blog to big player came down to this one thing: letting people know we exist. There are a lot of ways of doing it and I suggest you keep your eyes and ears open for the different ways brands, blogs and artists have built a reputation for themselves. For travelettes we started a blogger flea market way back then and were amongst the first to do so. It got us a lot of coverage on various blogs and for a while more people had heard of the Travelettes Flea market than of Travelettes, the blog. It helped us get our feed off the ground and fortifying our Google ranking. We started to up our game in social media as well, studying the big facebook pages and finding out what sort of content worked best on them and analyzing what made them popular.
5. Reach out
To actually make money it often takes as little as a response email to one of those annoying press releases you may get, if your blog has established a bit of a following. Email them back asking if they have a budget for a possible collaboration and if they do, pitch an idea for an interesting blogpost that your readers will enjoy while incorporating info on said product. You can also try to contact brands you would love to work with and try to convince them that you have ideas for collaboration which you feel are bound to be successful. I have had positive experiences with both methods but the latter has been reaping the greatest rewards since I was truly passionate about the product and knew that including it on our site would be of awesome value to our readers as well.
I hope I was able to share a glimpse into what I think it takes to turn your blog into a business. You just have to be an all-rounder! The good news is, you don’t have to attend 10 courses and get 3 degrees to make it there. A great start is the willingness to learn on the job, push your own boundaries, dig deep to find the answers to your questions and to have a great piece of equipment to assist you throughout the process. And with a Huawei MateBook you can not only bring your light and versatile laptop with you virtually anywhere, you can also design an original logo in a heartbeat with the Stylus Mate Pen, professionally present your blog to potential clients at trade shows or meetings thanks to the detachable screen – all while looking on-point in the process.
*This post was created in collaboration with Huawei