The bloggersphere is ever changing, ever expanding and ever evolving. It’s certainly unrecognizable from the place that welcomed a young and enthusiastic woman that just wanted to talk about nail polish in 2010. Over the last four or so years I’ve taken this blog from a hobby into my full time career, refining and honing my skills in order to make the transition from blog to brand and business. However, there have been some incredible lessons learned along the way that have made me a better blogger (and a better person) overall. From being patient, to working hard on my photography skills, pushing jealousy to one side and rekindling a romance with an excel spreadsheet… Here are just a few of my hard learned lessons.

Back in 2010 most bloggers didn’t even have their own camera. We happily wrote oodles of words and focused on the opinions we were providing, wacking in a grainy stock image or (if you were lucky) a quick snap taken on a smartphone just to break up the text. However, as the years progressed the focus has very much shifted to illustrating products and news in an aspirational and creative way; photography is key, as is the overall design and atmosphere your blog provides. If I look back to photographs I took even a year ago, I’m incredibly embarrassed of the quality – the angles are awful, the lighting is terrible, the backgrounds don’t exactly set the scene and overall they didn’t provide the aspirational setting I wanted them too. Investing in a fancy camera, learning how to use a macro lens and playing with backgrounds really helped me to raise the bar of the blog and send me off into a much better direction in the long term.
Lesson Learned: Photography is just as important as the words, so experiment and find your own style. You don’t need a ridiculously expensive camera, but a short course or online tutorial can work wonders.

Content Plans
Although blogs are incredibly reactive and have the ability to bring news pretty much as its breaking, that can leave the author in somewhat of a tizz. I used to sit with my laptop and wait for the creative juices to start flowing, but on some occasions it simply doesn’t happen; I can’t tell you how many evenings (rightly or wrongly) I’ve spent worrying about having nothing to post about the next day. Ever since I took the blog full time I’ve been working off about five different spreadsheets to keep track of my content, projects, contacts and so on – and it’s never been easier. Plotting out my content for the week onto a spreadsheet helps to ensure I’ve covered off everything I want to, as well as highlighting any gaps or duplicate ideas. Even if you run your blog as a hobby, a content plan can really aid the running of your site and ensure you’re always on top of your game.
Lesson Learned: A simple spreadsheet can make your life so much easier. No matter how often you blog, tracking and plotting everything with ensure you feel in control.

Putting The Pressure On
When you’re a one-man-band it’s so easy to put the pressure on and push yourself close to breaking point. Checking and replying to emails, negotating collaborations, attending events, socialising just the right amount, networking with brands – and actually writing blog posts! It all builds up and leaves you feeling emotionally exhausted; you’ll never be able to tick every box and execute everything perfectly, so it’s essential that you learn to take a step back and breathe. I’ve almost had a breakdown at least five times since I started LBQ, putting so much pressure on myself to reach the moon and do it right now. However, taking everything step by step and setting smaller goals ensures you’re much happier, much more productive and allows you to take the time to celebrate even the smallest of successes. 
Lesson Learned: Too much pressure on yourself is counterproductive. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t get that lipstick review up and time won’t stop if you don’t clear your inbox daily. Take it easy and enjoy it; blogging is supposed to be fun.

Although they’re not the be-all-and-end-all, relationships can be incredibly fruitful when it comes to growing and building a blog – both with brands/PRs and other bloggers. It’s easy to cut yourself off from everyone else and ‘just do your thing’, but essentially you need to be part of a community in order to benefit from it. It took me a long time to realise the benefit and support being part of the bloggersphere could bring, not only expanding my social circle and providing shoulders to metaphorically cry on, but providing a network of people that really understood what it was like to be a blogger. Furthermore, building relationships with brands and PRs has allowed me to develop a commercial arm of the blog and turn it into an income source – having a relationship with someone ensures you’re top of mind when an opportunity crops up, as well as enabling you to approach them for a helping hand when you need it. 
Lesson Learned: Building relationships can elevate your blog, your social network and your ‘brand’, but most importantly you’ll have people to talk to about that Twitter spat.

I’ve always been an impatient so-and-so. I’ve always wanted everything right now, no excuses – whether or not it’s a promotion, a new handbag or 25,000 Twitter followers. However, blogging is a little bit of a waiting game and success only comes with tonnes of hard work and a dusting of patience. You do have to quietly beaver away and carve your way, building relationships and contacts as well as dedicated readers that really trust what you say; success only comes with time and you do have to be patient. I can’t tell you how many tweets, emails and messages I get every single week from new bloggers that want to know how to become ‘a big blogger’; my answer is always the same: there’s no magic answer, just keep doing your thing and be patient.  
Lesson Learned: Patience is a virtue. Take your time and great things will come (with hard work of course,) so don’t expect your dreams to turn into reality overnight.

The green-eyed monster crops up when you least expect it, but it will always be your downfall. I’ve experienced huge periods of jealousy, begrudging others’ success when I really should be celebrating it – after all, someone has to pave the way and start opening doors! – but you learn from it and start to realise that you should focus your energies on your own site and your own dreams. Once you learn the jealousy bug is not your friend, it’s almost like you have a moment of clarity. Although I do still occasionally think “oh b*gger it, I wish I’d got that opportunity,” I’m now much for focused on celebrating what I have achieved, thanking other bloggers for opening doors and changing the way in which brands work with bloggers overall.
Lesson Learned: It’s not all about you. Turn your jealousy on its head and make it drive you forward to bigger and better things. The world is your oyster.

Have you learned anything from blogging? Are there things you’d wish you’d known when you started your site, or have these points helped you take that first step?



  1. Nicola Wood
    October 12, 2014 / 8:06 pm

    Brilliant advice! What I've found is that encouragement often turns up when you least expect it. Having not posted for ages, a FB update got a, "Yay! You're back", from a friend in Alsaska. Things like that help with the keep on keeping on thing

  2. Loevens
    October 12, 2014 / 8:14 pm

    As Always, a Great post from you. Oh How I can relate to the picture part. My pictures were horrible in The beginning and I still have a long way to

  3. Eleanor Broome
    October 12, 2014 / 8:29 pm

    You're such a great blogger and a lovely person, plus your advice is super useful! I'm fairly new to blogging and am only just starting to really get into the swing of things and while I hope that I'm heading in the right direction with my blog a nice advice post every now and then really helps me to focus my thoughts. I'm definitely going to start planning my content more and trying harder with my photography (starting with photo composition). I love reading your blog and I aspire to get my content as good as yours some day!

  4. TR's Thoughts
    October 12, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    Loved this post, I'm a relatively new blogger and I definitely picked up a thing or two from this <3TR's Thoughts

  5. Felicity kelly
    October 12, 2014 / 11:29 pm

    Great advice, I really would like to improve my photography!

  6. Autumn Hope
    October 13, 2014 / 12:14 am

    Great advice! Thank you!

  7. Louise Nickel
    October 13, 2014 / 2:19 am

    Amazing post! =] Great information

  8. Tatty Bojangles
    October 13, 2014 / 8:33 am

    Hmmmm. Patience huh? Not sure I agree with you've written there. "success only comes with hard work and patience" The problem there is it won't happen for everyone. The thousands of bloggers out there won't all be successful despite their patience and hard work…..there isn't the space in the market for everyone to be a lbq or.a jane or a Zoe. So many will flounder in obscurity despite dedicating their free time and inserting their passion into what they do.I started my site in 2008, well before you and still have no readers, no comments, no interest really in what I write, so how has my patience and hard work come off? It hasn't. Yu have to understand the readership which is where I failed, in 2008 it wasn't clear blogs were the way forward so I set up as a magazine….albeit with very personal content. I didn't understand about Instagram, Twitter and bloglovin till it was too late and wasn't on blogger so didn't get the chance to build readers through google friend connect.I'm not prepared to give it up now, I've invested 6 years into my site and I will continue to find ways to build readership but I'm not going to sell my soul by changing it to a blog, I always wanted an online magazine and maybe women my age (that we discussed in your "do you have to be beautiful to be a beauty blogger") will embrace redwing about makeup online like the under 30's do. Or they may come looking to an older bird when they need anti-aging skincare reviews and advice as I've tried and tested so much.Sorry to not be totally on your bandwagon but think it's a little misleading to new and novice bloggers. Sometimes it's just luck and being in the right place at the right time.XxxSarahSimply Woman Magazine

    • Hayley Carr
      October 13, 2014 / 9:04 am

      I do understand your point, but writing "make sure you don't have a rubbish site that nobody wants to read" is a bit harsh and not exactly positive. I disagree with you that it was 'too late' to get onto social networks and such – I joined Instagram and Bloglovin incredibly late, but with hard work you can turn it around. I don't think you should give up at all either, just keep doing what you're doing. Blogging is the same as every industry; not everyone can be a popstar, top footballer, successful artist or winner of The Apprentice – but telling people they 'can't' isn't the message I want to portray. The world is everybody's oyster.

    • Tatty Bojangles
      October 13, 2014 / 9:24 am

      I didn't say "make sure you don't have a rubbish site did I"?What I was trying it to get across was that despite all best efforts, hard work and patience a blogger may still not be successful and if that's what they are aiming for they need to understand the reality which is exactly as you said it is, same for every industry there are Wayne Rooneys and lads in their early 30's playing for their local village team. So I wouldn't tell people they can't either, just that there is a harsh reality that they might not get what they want out of it but other people will and that can be hard to watch.I'm working on Instagram, I'm slowly working out how it can be used to connect with people and brands so leave that one with me.:-)

  9. Joanne Mallon
    October 13, 2014 / 9:11 am

    I have been blogging for over 7 years and the thing I really like about it is that it is a voyage of discovery in which you are always learning something new. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I hope new bloggers continue to value their independence, and the fact that they are offering something fresh as an alternative to mainstream media. I would like to see all new bloggers cherishing their unique voice. Don't try to ape what's gone before, instead value what you can bring to the party.

  10. Rock without a reason
    October 13, 2014 / 10:03 am

    Great advice! My main goal is just to have fun and it should not be an obligation.

  11. Ting Yn
    October 13, 2014 / 11:36 am

    Depending on how you want to define your own success, then absolutely yes to your points here. It is hard work but I love it as it is fun and rewarding. I'm also proud of everything – including my poor photography at the beginning. But it's all part of me growing and that's ok. Ting |

  12. Nicola
    October 13, 2014 / 6:51 pm

    Thank you for this post I don't think I am dedicated enough to be a massive blogger I just like to blog for fun but I must admit it would be nice to have more followers and share my tips 🙂 well done on making your blog your job xx

  13. Elizabeth @ Awesome Wave
    October 14, 2014 / 3:06 pm

    The point on jealous reminds me of a little saying I repeat to myself every now and then:"Don't get jealous, be inspired."

  14. Kalina Eneva
    October 15, 2014 / 8:55 am

    Really good a helpful post. Thank you for sharing!Kisses, Kali| Kali's inspiration board |

  15. dellilah
    October 15, 2014 / 9:59 pm

    Always a great reminder. I love the way you always encourage everyone.RegardsD, x

  16. Grace The Big Reveal
    October 16, 2014 / 10:59 am

    What lovely advice! I'm so glad I found my way here. I know that comparison is the thief of joy, but that is definitely the one I fall victim to probably the most. I always try to remember when I see someone else's images or posts that look so amazing and effortless, that I've been behind the scenes and it definitely took that person as much time and effort as it is taking me to do. Blogging is hard work despite what people think, but is so rewarding that I can't imagine doing anything else!

  17. Nashia Anthony
    October 18, 2014 / 9:22 am

    As I just started blogging myself this gives mecconfidence that I can achieve what I want. Thank you it was very inspirational.

  18. CS
    November 7, 2014 / 4:49 pm

    Solid advice

  19. Kerry Brown
    January 13, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    I've found your blog recently and i just have to say that i've enjoyed every single blog post you have done.I've started out my blog again and re done my wall paper and i've still got a long way to go but your posts help and inspire me to do better!Thank you!Kerry B Blog

  20. Julia
    January 20, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    Great article. I find the hardest thing to deal with when blogging is patience. There were so many times when I questioned the necessity to blog any longer, because I got so frustrated with the lack of results. But of course nothing comes easy, so we just need to focus and work hard 🙂

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