Good morning and welcome back to our latest guest blogger in the hotseat! I have really enjoyed getting to know so many new bloggers with this series and today I am excited to introduce you to Melissa who blogs over at Melissa Jane Lee.
Her blog focuses mainly on lifestyle however it also brings a mix of days out and life in general to the blog 🙂
Time to hand over to Melissa to share more!
Tell us a little bit about you & your blog
I am originally from Oxfordshire but moved to Gloucestershire in 2016 with my fiancé Sean and our rescue cat. We live in the Forest of Dean and moved here for a more relaxed lifestyle. Around the same time I gave up my job as an administrator to run an eBay business from home, and concentrate on my blog more. The blog has been all over the place in the past few years; it started off as a beauty blog, then switched to lifestyle. For a while after that I blogged mainly about interiors, and am now back to lifestyle. I’m definitely sticking with that now! I realised I like talking about lots of different things. My blog still covers beauty and interiors, but I throw in a bit of travel, style and general life updates now too.
What inspired you to start blogging?
I started blogging on New Year’s Day 2015 after deciding I really needed a creative outlet, and I wasn’t getting that at all from my job. I had been reading other people’s blogs for years, and wished I had the confidence to put myself out there. Bloggers were sharing their thoughts on things I was also interested in, and I wanted to be involved in the conversations. I made a New Year’s resolution to just go for it. Being almost 36 at the time, and not knowing a thing about blogging, I wasn’t sure how well it would go. It’s quite hard to publish your own opinions and words online at first, but gets a lot easier. And I still think starting a blog is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
What has been your highlight of blogging?
It’s hard to pick one as there are a few that stand out to me. But I think it would be the first time a major brand approached me and wanted to work with me. I remember being baffled, excited and a little scared all at once! It still feels surreal sometimes when well-known names get in touch. Particularly when you write your blog from a back bedroom in your pyjamas! But I still get a buzz when it happens.
Is there anything you have learnt about blogging which you wish you knew when you started out?
That there is so much more to it than just writing blog posts. Content is of course important, but there are so many skills involved behind the scenes. Photography, SEO, time management, pitching, negotiating, HTML, networking, social media, and so many more. Once you really get into it you realise that there is so much to learn, and I am not even halfway there with most of those. It can be daunting, but also very fulfilling to develop new skills. And there is always something new coming along that you need to learn about!
Bloggers sometimes get a lot of stick, however many work really hard and are reaping the rewards. What has been the most rewarding part of blogging for you?
Starting a blog is certainly not a quick way to find success or riches. The bigger blogs have a blogger behind them who has worked, and continues to work, incredibly hard for it. For me, the most rewarding part has been the wonderful realisation that I’ve built a little business of my own from scratch. It’s given me confidence. What I love about blogging is how accessible it is to everyone. The internet has provided so many opportunities for people to start making money on their own terms. Not that long ago I felt very trapped by my career choices, but blogging opened up a world of possibilities for me.
What would be your 1 tip you would give to all new bloggers starting out?
I think fundamentally the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re writing about. Having a real passion for your subject will carry your blog through more difficult times as a blogger. It could be not having enough time to write, losing inspiration, or just becoming disillusioned with your blog. If you love what you write about, you’ll find the motivation to keep blogging. Keep this in mind when you start your blog, and try to picture yourself several years down the line still being able to write about the same thing with the enthusiasm you have today. If you can see it working, then you’ve picked the right blogging niche.
Who do you find inspiring to read/watch in the blogging world?
I think I must read hundreds of blogs. I’ve particularly enjoyed the rapid growth of bloggers in the 30+ age groups, however. I joined the We Are Thirty Plus collective a while back, started by Hayley from London Beauty Queen. I also really enjoy following bloggers like Catherine from Not Dressed As Lamb who have flown the flag for bloggers 40 and over. There are so many bloggers now in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and above showing off their skills and fabulousness. Brands are also becoming more and more aware of this large community. As I approach 40, I’m even more excited about blogging than I was when I started.
Lastly – do you have any big plans/dreams for your blog in the next 12 months?
For my blog Melissa Jane Lee, I’m looking forward to starting a more consistent posting schedule, and posting more about my personal style (despite being extremely awkward in front of a camera!). I plan to finally go on a photography course and nail the art of the perfect blog photo. I am also working much harder on a newer blog of mine, At Home & Online, which is all about earning an income from home. I share lots of blogging tips and am hoping it will become a great resource for bloggers and other work-from-home entrepreneurs over the next year.
Thank you so much for having me on your lovely blog Paula!
Thank you for taking part Melissa! If you have enjoyed this then feel free to read our other bloggers answers here.