How My Blog Became My Business

 

Starting a hobby blog that turned into a business was one of the best decisions of my life. I’ve shared my complete story in 6 parts on my blog already, so I won’t repeat all of that here.  It’s a good read if you missed it and goes into much more detail than I’ll share on this post, but that’s how it all began.  For fun.  A hobby to keep me busy and an outlet for my decorating passion, which has been around for a long, long time.

I discovered the internet while working in the corporate world in the mid ‘90s. Once I found decorating forums full of other people who shared my passion for things like paint colors, renovation projects, and kitchens they wanted to remodel, I jumped right in too, asking and answering questions.  Before I knew it, six years had passed. We had seen homes transformed in front of our eyes, and the forums were a big part of my life. I discovered the home blogging community in 2006, and started my own the next year. I managed to make a header and learned enough html to change my background. Blogger was free, and easy to work with.

 “I can do this,” I thought!  I became obsessed with learning as much as I could that first year to make my blog pretty. I was constantly changing it up. 

I embraced blogging and began sharing what I was doing to my home at the time. I found more blogs in the home and crafting niche, and over time, my blog, and community, grew. I joined the BlogHer ad network in 2008, and began to make a little extra money. The BlogHer founders  foresaw a huge opportunity for women to have a voice online, and they also could see the potential for growth that brands would partner with these bloggers.   It was very part-time, but so exciting to get paid for writing about my home projects, painting, thrifting, and showing my house.

 painting-diamonds-on-the-floor.jpg

 These were my eight keys to turning my blog into a business: 

 1. Starting a blog early in the game:

Getting into blogging and the home niche early helped. I’m so grateful for all the readers that have been with me from the beginning.

2. Writing about what I’m passionate about:

My love for home design, decorating, and DIY brought me into the forums and online community in the first place. I brought my passion for these things to my blog. It continues to energize my work today.

3. Lots of hard work:

 Being self-employed is a wonderful thing (except for the paperwork and tax thing.)  I love being my own boss and not having to report into an office anymore, but I am also responsible for everything, from my blog design to my own content.  I love what I do! I spend a lot of time behind the computer (definitely as much as a 40 hour work week), but it’s still fun to me. 

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4. Trying new income streams:

 Learning how to work with ad networks, brands, and sponsors is a key part of making it all work together and making a living doing this.

5. Learning as much as I could along the way about blogging and technical stuff:

 I’ve come a long way since I made that first header. I still don’t know a lot about coding, but I can change out ad tags in my widgets and play around with my sidebars without breaking anything. 

 Haven stage

6. Taking on new projects and trying new things:

 I pulled together a group of women in my niche who were also passionate about starting our own blogging event, to start the Haven conference last year. We had no idea how to do it, but all the key players came together and we made it happen.  This year is even bigger and better, with some fantastic sponsors and vendors. 

7. Building my community

 The success has not all been financial or even tangible. The friendships and camaraderie I’ve found in blogging, and offline at conferences like BlogHer and Blissdom, and now Haven, has been amazing to me.  I have friends from all over the country now and it has opened up a completely new world. 

8. Last but not least, blessings from above, have brought me on this journey:

 I have worked hard, no doubt about it, but the blessings have come from God above and I don’t ever want to forget that.  He knew that I would need a career to sustain me again and He gave me the best gift I could ask for. 

 I tell people I really do have a dream job and I truly believe that. Something that I love to do is also my way of making a living. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else at this stage of my life, so I hope it lasts and lasts.

So far, so good!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Goal, Accomplished editorial series, made possible by P&G Always Infinity.


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. I am not a blogger but I still enjoyed reading that. Interesting!

  2. You really are an inspiration to me, Rhoda!

  3. Nice recap of your story. You’ve come a long way, baby! I
    am truly so happy for all your success. Blessings, dear cousin.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog for close to 1 year along with the blogs of several of the Haven group. What a neat story of talented women that have found such a niche for your creative blogs. Congratulations – very interesting.

  5. Right on Rhoda! God gave you the skills and you have made it into something amazing :) Congrats on your success and keep on inspiring! xo Kristin

  6. Lovely post, Rhoda! I never tire of hearing your story… God is so good and you are a reminder of His mercies!
    xo Heidi

  7. Rhoda-Congratulations on all of your well-deserved success! I really enjoyed this piece. Xo, Lisa

  8. Always love reading your blog. When I discovered blogs years ago, yours was one if the first ones I began reading on a regular basis. I felt a connection knowing you we’re in Birmingham (then). Loved “following you” to Atlanata! I get so many ideas and inspiration from you!! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Rhoda, I feel like your an old friend..I have know of you since GI, I always thought you were the kindest, most helpful person on that board and I’m so happy for all your accomplishments and success. I wish you many more years of successful blogging, it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

    • Thank you, Mary! That seems like a lifetime ago, but you’re so kind to say that. I do try to be helpful to folks, always have tried for that.

  10. I’m not a blogger. Don’t think I would ever have the time or enough of my own ideas. But I love checking in on my favorite blogs every day and getting inspired to try things in my own home. I found your blog by accident a few years ago when I was looking for something else and that’s how my blog reading obsession began. Now I have a whole list I like to keep up with. Thank you…….I think!

  11. Well done! I’ve been a faithful reader for years. Your story is one of inspiration. Continued blessings to you!

  12. Hey Rhoda – This was very interesting to read! Thanks for sharing :) I’ve been reading your blog for several years now…my husband and I even purchase your bed when you moved from Bham! We still have it and love it by the way :) Anyway, you are definitely an inspiration…look forward to your posts!

  13. Becky in 'Bama says:

    I have followed your blog for years – and actually learned about it when I was visiting my daughter in St. Louis. I stopped in a decorating shop, and when the owner learned I was from B’ham – told me all about your blog and how much she loved it. I’ve been an avid follower since! Your faith in God has never waivered; you are blessed!

  14. Rhoda – I’ve enjoyed following your blog and life over the past few years. Your story is a true testimony to God’s faithfulness. Jer 29:11

  15. I enjoy your blog, getting to know your sweet family, and your sense of style! Great job!

  16. Thanks, Rhoda. I always wondered about your start-up in blogging. This post contained very comprehensive information and has sparked my curiosity about BlogHer…will have to read about them. God bless.

  17. Rhoda, I admire you so much! You have shared yourself with your readers! I have enjoyed following along on your journey! Thanks for all the inspiration in faith, family and home!

  18. I dream of being in your place. You have done a great job at
    becoming successful in a fun and creative way. I’m so envious!
    The html and coding is what scares me away-I don’t have a clue and unfortunately don’t wanna know. I just want to sew and decorate for my clients.

    I’m so proud of you and tell peeps about you all of the time!

    Thanks for sharing.

  19. Maureen Heenan says:

    I admire you for doing this. I always admire people who follow their dreams. I would like to, but I never seem to do it. I take some small steps, but get nervous and do now follow it to the end.
    I know you work hard at this, it shows. You deserve all good things.
    Would like a little push from you if possible.
    Thanks.

  20. Anne Boykin says:

    Hi Rhoda, Your love of all things decorating and creative shows in everything you do! You should be very proud of all you’ve accomplished and yet you are so down to earth too. I sure enjoy your lovely blog.

  21. I enjoy reading your blog–congratulations & continued success. Hopefully I can get a blog up & running soon to share what I love. Sooo enjoyed Haven! Learned so MUCH, just trying not to feel so overwhelmed! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  22. Hi Rhoda….I have been following your blog since the beginning and can’t believe you started it in 2007 – already 6 years under your belt! I have learned so much from you and you have always answered my emails when I had questions on different projects that you inspired me to take on! Your faith has guided you to this special ministry of inspiring and encouraging others. I start each day with your blog for some inspiration. Thank you!

  23. You continue to be an inspiration and your dedication is appreciated. You are one of the first bloggers I followed. Your truth, kindness, and talent continue to shine!

  24. Melesa Garrison says:

    I’m not a blogger, but I love reading your post everyday. You are so dedicated and I always look forward to seeing what Rhoda’s up to ;)

  25. …we too hope that it lasts and lasts for you rhoda!…so very touched and impressed by # 8…many of us forget to thank the most important One…you never do…blessings laney

  26. I also am not a blogger, but reading them has become a (happy) addiction for me! I first started reading yours while I was still working … during my lunch hour and sneaking a peek here and there! Now that I’m retired, my ritual every morning consists of getting a cup of coffee and reading thru all my favorite blogs. I corresponded with you when I read “your story” a couple of years ago, and from that point on you have been an inspiration … not only your incredible decorating talents, but your faith and determination to overcome obstacles that had been placed in your path. Thank you for all that you give us, your faithful followers! :)
    Diane

  27. Ninfa DePalma says:

    Rhoda, I have admired you since almost the beginning of your blogging days! Congrats on all you have accomplished, my daughter did something similar like you did!! She is an Oncology nurse and after 3 1/2 long years, she discovered pinterest and started blogging about it. Cynthia the put a Podcast into her Blog and now she has left the nursing world and is a Social Media Consultant that gets invited to speak at Social media conferences all over the US!!! So you can turn Blogging into a Career & earn a good income!!

    • Hi, Ninfa, I love that your daughter completely changed careers too in social media. That’s a fantastic story & shows how the internet has changed so many people’s lives.

  28. I don’t know how many years I’ve been reading your blog. It was while you married and I found you by a comment you made on a blog called Rue’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Life. I liked the name of your blog and even though I’m from the northeast I thought I give it a little look see. Every morning I have my coffee along with reading my list of favorite blogs. I always say someday I’d like to have a blog but I still haven’t done it. Perhaps someday.

  29. You’re such an inspiration Rhoda! I love your blog! It’s so awesome to see women blogging about what they love and making a living from it! I’d love to be able to do that with my own blog one day!

  30. Like you Rhoda, I never dreamed my blog could make me an income, more recently, however, I am getting more opportunities for sponsored posts and it looks as if all the long hours I put into my blog might finally give back a little.

    I am so in awe of how you have turned this love into a full time business, maybe in a few years time I might be able to achieve something similar.

    I do believe that being in early is important and although I have missed out on that boat, I am one of only a few New Zealand home inspiration blogs. However with the internet being world wide I have to admit most of my business comes from the UK and USA. I am very mindful of keeping my blog what it is about and that is to inspire people with their homes, therefore I often turn down paid opportunites that may not be fitting, and select only those that keep with my theme.

    Have a lovely day and congratulations on where you are today.

    Lee

  31. Gail Bobel says:

    I too love decorating and want to start a blog. Don’t know where to start, however I am gonna give it a try. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  32. Love reading success stories like this and YOU of all people deserve it! So happy to know you personally and get to hang out every now and then.

    Thank you , thank you, thank you for everything you did to pull Haven off last week. It was so much fun, made some great new friends and deepened other friendships, I learned so much and just had an amazing time! It was amazing and even better than last year (which I thought was awesome too!)

  33. yum the mashed potatoes look perfect – I’m going to have to try your mom’s concoction for frying okra; I use the bagged cornbread mix but her way sounds really good; we eat this way in Virginia also! Your Mom should write a cookbook – we’d all buy a copy!

  34. So interesting to hear about your personal journey through the blogging world. I enjoy reading how a successful women comes into her own a makes a creative space for herself. I love reading your blog, thanks for sharing!!

  35. I started reading other’s blogs 4-5 years ago and your blog was one of those early reads. I especially enjoy any blog related to the South! As someone who decorates and redecorates other’s homes, I’ve been told many times that I should start a blog (plus my hubby is a carpenter so he adds another level of pizzazz!) But as my hubby is self-employed I decided that I needed to put my time and energy into a job with benefits, but I always wonder what could have happened if I had started one! I do have a question: how do you and other blogger businesses reconcile the unknown longevity of your blog as a source of income? Do you think it will last 10, 20 years or longer?

    • Hi, Rhonda, that’s the thing, we don’t know how long it will last, but we are grateful for it at this time and what I plan to do is save my money for a rainy day. Hoping it continues for years, but we don’t have a guarantee. But, it is worth it to take the chance!

  36. Rhoda, you have been an inspiration to me for a few years now. As a woman who also got surprised by divorce in midlife, I too have done the reinvention thing. And I too couldn’t be happier! I started my own online decor shop this year, and my head is exploding with all that I am learning. Let’s keep showing ‘em what we got!

  37. Rhoda I am so happy for you and all your successful endeavors. Keep it up :)

  38. Rhoda,

    I’ve been following you for at least the last five years. I think you’ve done a fabulous job with your projects over the years. I love your blend of home décor, cooking and travels in your blog posts. You have great style!

    I was looking for the source of your rug in your dining room in old posts and couldn’t find it. Can you tell me where you purchased it and if you’re happy with it? (I’m looking for a textural rug in my living room).

    • HI, Laurie, thanks so much! I got that rug from Overstock about a year ago. It’s square and fits in my DR really nicely.

  39. You can see now through your journey that God was watching over you and preparing you, even though it meant deep hurts and uncertain times. Our story is vastly different but just as filled with the struggles. I look forward to continue reading yours as I write and live mine! Blogging is definitely so much more than a job. What a blessing!

  40. Ofelia, from Mexico City says:

    Im not a blogger, but really love reading blogs, especially yours, because your have made a fabulous job transforming your spaces and puting your ideas together. Your blog, I mean your jorney, is just inspiring to me. Congratulations!

  41. Your blog was one of the first ones I ever read before I began my own! Love hearing your path to happiness and career freedom. Good job Rhoda!

  42. Great post. I really love your blog. Lots of great information. I’m in a similar situation to where you started out and just blogging for a creative outlet from my job as a corporate stooge. Seems I woke up 20 years later and said “Hey, where is that creative person I used to be?” It’s important to make whatever’s important to your happiness a priority in your life. Time goes by too fast. All the best to you!
    Christine

  43. Hey Cuz! Just wanted to let you know that I just finished reading your entire Blog Story series in one sitting, with a few detours to other posts along the way. I have to say I am so inspired by your blogging journey and so proud of your success and many accomplishments. I remember when you started blogging for fun and encouraged me to try it years ago. Now, I am starting a new blogging venture, still very much in the design stages, and I am looking forward to picking your blogging brain when I head up to the cabin in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait to see your new house, too! Love you!

  44. Amazing & inspiring!

  45. I’ve been a follower of your blog for over a year and finally read your story (it was like a – I shoulda had a V8- pop in the head for me. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it before. I love reading your story and your blog.. Very inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

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