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photos by Ban Avenue Photography
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to sit down and really dive into questions pertaining to all things blogging. It’s something I get asked about quite a bit, and I’d love to have a place to send those wanting to start a blog where they can find encouragement, tips, and my best advice. I’m so, so far from an expert on the topic, which is a big part of why I haven’t talked about this much before. But if I can help someone starting out even a little, then it’s worth my time to at least tell my story. I plan to write a post in the next few weeks that’s much more in depth and informative, explaining things like: how to monetize a blog, what it’s like working with brands, what it means to be an “influencer”, etc. But for now, I wanted to give a quick(ish) background of how Hello Honey came about.
When Zach and I first got married back in 2011, I started a blog called Fun with the Fullwoods as a way to keep our family that all lived 7+ hours away in the loop on our newlywed happenings. I was in between jobs and had a lot of time on my hands (you know, before kids) and have always loved writing. I enjoyed taking photos and writing about our weekends discovering Houston, even though my Mom was the only one who read or really even knew about our blog in the beginning. Over time, I started sharing new recipes and crafts on our blog and genuinely loved reading other blogs and getting to know the ladies behind them. I started to realize there was this whole community of bloggers and while the now prominent ones like Rachel Parcell and Emily Gemma were just starting out at the time, I was only blogging because I genuinely loved it. I had no plans of ever monetizing from it or making it a career, and fully planned on teaching and blogging in my spare time.
Fastforward a couple of years, enter Bear Clayton. I never started teaching, and stayed home with Bear instead. For obvious reasons, Fun with the Fullwoods fell by the wayside a little bit. Being a first time mom, while it was life changing in the best possible way, was also very overwhelming. I still blogged some, but just wasn’t finding the same joy in it as I had before. I started using Instagram more, solely as a way to showcase Bear’s outfits and cuteness. He took over “the gram” and I loved it! But by the time he was 2 1/2, he was a bit over the suspenders and bowties, and I didn’t want to force him to dress up and take pictures just to humor Mommy. I still wanted a creative outlet, and decided to go for something I’d always wanted to try. I started a fashion and lifestyle blog.
I wanted something different than Fun with the Fullwoods, something more fashion-focused. I wanted a clean slate, a completely new website with a new name. I hired my friend Sarah to design a new website through Squarespace and decided on the name “Hello Honey”. I brainstormed a long time and finally chose Hello Honey because of it’s nod to our Southern roots and for Bear (since Bear’s like honey and all). I knew I wanted to take this blog more seriously, so I hired my friend Aimey to take photos for me. We’d meet once every few weeks and I’d shoot 3-4 outfits at a time, a method I still do to this day almost 4 years later. I still had no intention of actually making money blogging, nor did I realize people were making a living off of their blog. I just wanted a way to express myself and since Bear was more independent at the time, the blog kept me busy and I enjoyed it.
After a month or two of launching Hello Honey in May of 2015, I started wanting more people to see my content than just my Mom (I love you, Duke!). I knew to do this, I needed to promote my blog posts on social media. I created a Facebook page for Hello Honey and shifted my Instagram to be more blog-focused with professional photos and outfit details. I started following other local bloggers and meeting up with them for lunch. This is how I met some of my very best friends, and we ended up attending our first blogging conference in February of 2016. I learned a tremendous amount at the conference, and ended up landing my first paid sponsorship because of it. I never could’ve imagined actually making money off of blogging and while it helped justify the time I was putting into it, I didn’t start a blog for that reason. Which is a big piece of advice I have for anyone starting out: you have to really love what you’re doing. If you’re wanting to start a blog solely to make money, chances are your blog will fizzle out before you ever get there. It takes so much time, dedication, and love of what you’re doing (whatever that may be, not just fashion!) before you reach a point of making money as an influencer. But more on that another day.
This got much longer than I intended it to be, per usual. But that’s how this little space of the internet came about! Some of you have been here since day one, so you knew all this already. And I can’t begin to tell you how much your support over the years has meant to me. Because of you, I get to stay home with my boys and do what I love everyday. It’s truly a dream come true and I am incredibly lucky and thankful.
I’ll be back soon with more on this topic and if you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them in the post!
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