I had this whole plan for things that I wanted to share with you all pertaining to blogging while working full-time but to be honest, I’ll still trying to find the best way to articulate the information. Since you all submitted such great questions, I figured I’d get those answered for you first! If you have anything else you want to know about how I handle blogging and/or working full-time while doing it, please let me know!
How do you make a website, logo, etc.? How much money does it cost?
Oooo… I can make a whole post about this and I think I eventually will. The two platforms I’ve used are Wix (on another blog I run, Kiss the Co-Pilot) and WordPress. I know people that love Wix but to be entirely transparent to you all, I did not whatsoever. I couldn’t switch back to WordPress fast enough. I host my blog through GoDaddy. They have the best customer service ever and are so helpful for a person like me who knew absolutely NOTHING when I started this journey. My theme is by Bella Creative Studio. Here’s the short end of it – choose a platform, purchase hosting, purchase your domain (also GoDaddy), purchase a theme, get rollin’. Sarah Joy Blog has a really great post about how she set hers up using Bluehost that I’d definitely check out in the meantime!
For the current logo I have, I made that myself using Photoshop. My other logo was done by one of my dear friends that is exceptional at hand lettering, Natalee (Natalligraphy). This post is actually going live at a very ironic time. Right now I’m in somewhat of a transitional period before doing a whole blog refresh this year. I love this space that I’ve created but I dream of making it into so much more. This year I think will be when I finally can make that come to fruition.
I mentioned here that blogging isn’t cheap. Every year I roughly spend around $200-300 to host my blog and keep it secure. A lot of the time I didn’t research enough to figure out what would be best budget wise (again, being transparent) because Go Daddy always kept my stuff in order so I didn’t want to mess that up. This year I am going to do a whole reevaluation when I refresh this whole thing and will share with you all what I found to be truly best for the peace of mind and our budget.
How did you get started with blogging?
I explained that in this post here! The summary of it is that I was in grad school and wanted to share about the marathons I was running and the donuts shops I was trying so I created a blog called Donut Stop Running. Over time it evolved quite a bit into the site you’re on now! I’ve learned so much along the way and made mistake after mistake after mistake.
What settings do you use on your camera? Or like a good place to start.
I just got a new camera – a Canon 6D but I used my ol’ Canon Rebel T4i and Canon Rebel Ti for years and years. I have a few different lenses but most of the time I used my kit lens and it did the trick! If I don’t have my camera near me, I’ll snap a photo on my iPhone 8 Plus. If you are looking into buying a camera, I’d suggest getting one from the Canon Rebel series like THIS ONE. I had my original Ti for years before I purchased a (used) T4i that I also used for years after that. It always treated me well and got the job done! As for how to use it… I have a brief description of how to use a DSLR in manual (which is the only way I use mine) on my Instagram highlights under ‘photography’ but I also have a little something up my sleeve to come out in a few months. Subscribe to the blog so you’ll be the first to know what that is! 😉
Did you want to have the contractors do less so the house would be done quicker or did you not have the ideas yet?
Leading up to our one year anniversary of owning this home I’m going to share all about what into this house to begin with – what we upgraded, what we wished we did, what we wished we didn’t do, etc. I think it can be a bit confusing since a lot of you saw that we built this house from the ground up. While that is true, it’s not considered a “custom home”. We did buy the plot of land that our house is on and then pick the design and most of the stuff in it but we weren’t able to choose freely like we would’ve been able to in a custom house, for instance. We had guidelines and limited options we had to choose from. We didn’t have the contractors do any less (I don’t think we were even able to), we just picked from the options they gave us and they did it. The timeline would’ve been the same no matter what.
How did you decide you wanted to DIY (like the fireplace and the bathroom) vs what you could have had the contractors do while they were building your house?
Going off of the previous answer… We didn’t have the option to do the things that we’re doing to the home now. Even if we did I don’t know if we would’ve had them do it. Some things, sure, but not everything because we enjoy coming up with the plans and working on them together. It’s also a boat load cheaper when we do the work vs a contractor of course! One thing I would’ve had them do is brick the entire fireplace up to the ceiling but that wasn’t an option at all.
What do you do aside from your side hustle?
I am a Food Technologist/Scientist (depends on the day, ha!) for one of the world’s largest food companies. I work in a manufacturing plant so some days it can easily be considered it a “dirty job”. The brief way of putting it- I’m basically a liaison between corporate Research and Development and the plant level. If a product needs something changed to it, I figure out how we can change the recipe at the plant level, test it, and if it gets approved by the customer, I work to make sure that our product is made to that new spec. If they need us to make an entirely new product, I figure out how to mass produce it and test it at the plant. I also am starting to specialize in x-ray technology which has put me on the road a lot recently.
Why don’t you share where you work?
Since I started blogging seriously I knew that was going to be one thing in particular I wouldn’t share. 1. For safety. I go to work at the same place practically every day unless I’m traveling. I don’t need people to know where that is. 2. I’m fairly certain some people will have their own opinions about the food industry and that’s fine! My blog is just not the place to discuss them. It’s the place for me to be creative and share life outside of what I do all day long so I try to make it a point to keep them separate.
What did you study in school?
Nothing to do with blogging, that’s for sure! Ha! I got my bachelor’s in Food Science & Technology and my master’s in the same field but I specialized in Food Safety and Food Microbiology. Both were from Virginia Tech where I met my sweet angel of a husband. Go Hokies!
I just started a “lifestyle” insta. Do you create a schedule of when you’ll post every week? Do you notice that if you do more stories, you get/keep/interact with more followers? Is it awkward to start doing stories of yourself (I’m so nervous)! Do you try to post multiple times per day?
Yay! So fun! I use the app Planoly to schedule my posts for the week. My goal every week is to have all of my posts scheduled for the week on Sunday evening. A lot of the time I fail at that but it’s a work in progress. They go live depending on when my stats (you can use a business Instagram account for this or other free apps to determine when it’s best to post) say most of my followers are on and will see the post. Those vary depending on the day. The great thing about having them all scheduled though is that I can be at work doing my normal job and the post goes live without me doing a thing! It’s great and worth putting in the extra effort ahead of time. I rarely ever post in real time on my feed now. That’s mainly because it takes me a while to gather my thoughts and figure out what I need to say. I’ve learned it’s best if I batch work (more on that later!) and get them all done at one time so my mind is constantly asking myself, “Will this post inspire, spark joy, or teach something new?” and there is purpose behind each post. I would LOVE to post twice a day. I grew a lot when I did that but realistically with my full-time job, I can’t produce enough content to post that often. Along with that, as stupid as it sounds, in the winter I don’t have enough daylight by the time I get home to snap all of the photos. I learned quickly that there’s a lot more that goes into an Instagram post when I viewed my page as a business/brand vs. just a platform to share pictures of me and my BFFs. If you do have time though and really want to grow, I suggest you post quality content daily if not twice daily. Consistency and quality are key!
I love Instagram stories so much! They are such a great way for me to connect with you all. Seriously, it makes my day! As for feeling awkward… Remember that story I shared about the middle school girl in this post? How I felt about starting a blog goes hand-in-hand with how I feel about stories. Stop worrying about what people will think and DO YOU. At the beginning I felt the most awkward when I was trying to take a story and Stephen was standing right next to me. That was weird and made me giggle like a little school girl but we quickly got over it. Heck, he’s the one that reminds me to get on there sometimes!
I haven’t gotten methodical about what I share on stories or planning those ahead of time, which you can do! Like I said, a lot of the time it’s the highlight of my day to get on there and interact with you all so for now, I plan to keep it that way!
This was so much fun! I hope we can do another one soon. If you have anymore questions, send them my way and I’ll compile them all to get answered for you.
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