Starting a blog as a business not a hobby
By Lauren Floyd, Honeycomb Moms
I have a good feeling about this blogging thing. I’m optimistic about how far it can go and hopeful about the impact I think it could have. It inspires all kinds of happy thoughts of financial freedom, creative prowess and sisterhood, but it hasn’t been easy. No, it’s felt more like cramming four years of university education into one.
Still, I want to take some time to document every turn, every mistake, success and learning moment in this journey through the unfamiliar.
I’ll warn you in advance. Don’t wait for the other shoe to fall. It hasn’t, knocking on wood.
When I decided I wanted to create a blog, I never anticipated it being a hobby. This is a business, and I treated it as such.
I created a plan. The blog would be a space that allowed millennial moms of color to see their families, their stories, represented and to find answers to questions they may have.
I wanted to do this in a unique way, by sharing not only my story and daily struggles, but that of my closest sorority sisters who are also moms. We already had a group chat where we moaned and groaned about our problems, so the blog seemed like a natural fit.
I approached Honeycomb mom Sydnea Rutland first. She has a business background, so I thought she’d make the perfect partner.
I felt like I needed a partner, a safety net. I still had in the back of my mind that I alone couldn't create a business out of thin air and earn a living that way no matter how much I planned.
I don’t know why I felt that way, but Sydnea didn’t agree. She said frankly: “You don’t need me.”
Even if I did, she hardly had the time with a full-time job, a new business of her own and a toddler.
She instead, agreed to be a mentor, contribute content and help on the promoting end, but she just didn’t see a role for herself in the creation and leadership of the site.
It was my project, and she wanted me to own it. I wanted me to own it too. Still feeling like I needed more education if I was going to do this, I did the only thing I knew how to do when approaching new territory.
I came up with a name that represented what I was trying to do and tested my niche against 133 other blogs.
It held up.
Next, came time to pitch the idea to my other sorority sisters. All but one, who admitted she just didn’t have the time, excitedly got on board.
Off to the races we went.
I researched every element of blogging I could think of – how to make money, affiliate programs, trademarking, privacy policies, finding the right business structure, how to use Pinterest to promote my work and what other bloggers were doing.
I drafted weekly, six-month and one-year goals.
And by the time my June 1 launch date approached, I felt ready.
“I can do this,” I told myself.
I’m not sure if I can afford this, but I can definitely do it. I tapped into my savings and paid fee after fee – more than $200 for the trademark, more than $200 for a mailing address, $16 a month for a Squarespace business account and close to $700 for a DSLR camera and all the fixings.
I needed to do this right. It is my figurative baby, and I want it to help feed my actual baby someday. I had to do it right, so I did as best I could.
I was keeping up with my goals, checking off bullets on my to-do list.
With every goal met, my sorority sisters simply inspired me. They pitched article ideas, submitted pictures and eagerly answered my questions.
Getting the group of non-writers to write was a whole other story.
They are beautiful, courageous and giving women, but they are also perfectionists. Just a three-line intro ended up taking more than a week for some. On the first article request, most ignored the deadline all together.
I knew it would be a problem moving forward, but I couldn’t exactly push the point. My team agreed to do this for free on just the hope of one day earning a profit.
Of course, I pushed anyway because I’m me, and they’ve known me for 10 years. I can be myself with them. So I sent frequent reminders, lurked them via text message and had them lurk each other.
It’s been just more than one month since the blog launch, and my sorority sisters have not stopped working. They show up for their families, their jobs and for me day in and day out. I almost never tell them, but I appreciate them. I love working with them. And even if they all have to drop their contributions to a measly one article a year, I want them to have a home at Honeycomb Moms – a place to hideout, share their frustrations and find healing.