At the amazing Goodroots festival in 2016, Phanella hosted a panel on HOW TO TURN A BLOG INTO A BUSINESS in front of a captivated audience of 400 attendees. In the hot seats were food guru Melissa Hemsley, YouTuber Niomi Smart, wellness fanatic Madeleine Shaw and style blogger and authoer Sasha Wilkins, aka Liberty London Girl. It was an animated discussion and the huge queue that formed at the end to meet our Step Up panellists, proved what a success it had been.
Here are the top 3 things we learnt:
1. Believe in yourself. As ever, everything began and ended with confidence. Despite her huge current following, Niomi Smart began by chatting to a camcorder in her living room and doubting anyone would watch. How did she get over her fears? By just doing it. The more she posted a video, honed her editing skills (she still produces everything herself) and got feedback from her followers, the more she realised that vlogging could become an actual job, and one she was good at. This month we’ve been taking a leaf out of her book and just trusting that if we keep at it, our confidence and competence will both grow.
2. Make your own luck. Mel Hemsley was bartending when her sister Jasmine suggested they set up a healthy catering business. Having honed their recipes and with a few celebrity clients, the two joked one night that it would be amazing to have a column in Vogue. They wrote an example post, pressed send and hoped for the best. Fast forward 4 years and they have 2 book, a restaurant and even a tv show under their belts. Putting themselves out there with that email was just the start. But it was a start of their own making. If you have something you’ve been meaning to do for a while, something that seems just a little bit too ballsy, take a leaf out of their book and press send too.
3. Keep learning. Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London girl was a blogger before blogs were even a thing. She described her ups and downs – she’s run out of money, had her apartment burn down – but what’s kept her going is a feeling that there is always more to do. It helps that she writes about her passions – fashion, style, food and her sausage dogs – and is completely passionate about writing. But it’s an ability to learn new things that has kept this member of the blogger old guard at the vanguard for over 10 years. Every time she goes on a trip, she makes it her mission to master one new thing whether it’s analytics, a language or, most recently, Periscope. When we are brave enough to embrace the new and commit to mastering a skill we might not find easy but really need, we enable ourselves and our careers to grow.