How One Blogger Took Action, Left Her Job, and Began a Lifestyle Blog
Today marks the end of our series featuring stories from new bloggers. We really hope you’ve enjoyed them.
Jackie Baker recently started a lifestyle blog that celebrates the beauty in everyday life. She considered blogging as a business because she needed a career change that would both challenge her and leave time for a vacation once in a while.
But what would she write about? Jackie narrowed her blog’s focus to a few topics that bring joy, peace, and happiness to both her readers and herself. Hence the title of her blog: Pretty Things, Yummy Food.
What Jackie has learned from blogging:
- Take action and keep pushing forward when you feel stuck or scared
- Create a plan to prioritize tasks you need to get done
- Sign up for courses that show you how to start/launch a blog
- Connect with other bloggers who understand your excitement and frustration
- Embrace social media to find readers and build a community
- Use Canva to design graphics
- Don’t stress about what others think about you or your blog
Want to start a blog? Do it and don’t doubt yourself. Follow your gut, get into a blogging mindset, and find your message to discover you have plenty to offer the world.
Sign up for ProBlogger’s free Start a Blog course and participate in its International Start a Blog Day on February 7.
Links and Resources for How One Blogger Quit Her Job and Started a Lifestyle Blog:
Join our Facebook group
Darren: Hey there and welcome to episode 275 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, which is a site for you as a blogger or someone about to start a blog, that will help you grow that blog, create great content, and monetize it as well. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger and check out our two courses at problogger.com.
Speaking of our courses, today we’re finishing up our series of podcasts from stories who did our free Start A Blog course. We’re going to hear today from Jackie Baker from Pretty Things, Yummy Food, which sounds like the kind of blog I need to check out, particularly the yummy food part of it.
This series really is all about hearing from new bloggers, bloggers who haven’t been going for too long yet, to find out what they’ve learnt in their first year of blogging. I have loved the feedback we’ve had on this series. It seems that a lot of you have enjoyed hearing from new voices, people that they’ve never heard of before, rather than just hearing from experts or gurus or people who have been blogging for 10 years. The new bloggers have been sharing some of their journey as well.
We’re doing this really to highlight that people are continuing to start blogs these days and that there is a simple way to do it. That’s through our Start A Blog course, which you can find over at problogger.com/startablog. It’s completely free and it’s set out in seven simple steps that will walk you through the process.
Today, we’ve got Jackie Baker from Pretty Things, Yummy Food. It’s a lifestyle blog and it’s only been going for six months. Jackie started her blog as a result of going through our course and you’re going to hear her talk a little bit about that in today’s story. She recommends a great tool for those of you who are starting out and want to create some cool social graphics and gives you a few good tips as well. I’ll come back at the end of Jackie’s story to wrap things up and to pull out a few of the things that I love about her story.
Jackie: Hi everyone. I’m Jackie, the creator of Pretty Things, Yummy Food. Pretty Things, Yummy Food is a lifestyle blog designed to celebrate the beauty in everyday life and was officially launched on July 6, 2018. You can find the blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com.
I began thinking of blogging as a business back in January of 2018 and at the time when I felt like I needed a career change. The job I had at the time was a good job but I wanted something that would challenge me. I also hadn’t been on vacation in a while so I was also hoping to find something that might make it a little easier to make it to the beach. But more seriously, I’ve always wanted to own my own business and I felt this year could be a good year to strike out on my own. But doing what? I wanted to use my skills as a photographer and writer but I also knew that I wanted to get away from doing the freelance work that I had been doing.
While I was trying to think through my options, I received an email completely out of the blue from someone who just knew that I was looking to make a change but not what I was looking for specifically. Quite honestly, I didn’t even know what I was looking for, specifically. The email just had a link to a podcast episode about blogging full time. After listening to the episode, I started researching blogging and felt like it could actually be something I might enjoy and maybe a viable business option. So I decided to just go for it.
I left my job which was a really tough decision to make. But I decided to dive in and have the attitude that if this experiment failed, it failed. At least I would have tried it and wouldn’t be wondering ‘what if’ all my life. The only problem was that I had no idea what I would write about. I’m somebody who loves learning about everything and doesn’t really specialize in one specific thing. The thought of choosing one topic and sticking with it was a little terrifying to me.
I decided that I should probably choose a theme or an idea that could cross niches. As I thought of what that would be, I kept coming back to the fact that I love pretty things and yummy food. Pretty things don’t just have to be things, though they certainly can be. They can be a well-decorated room or a vacation with friends or just a comforting cup of tea. The main requirement for it to be a pretty thing is if it brings joy, peace, and happiness to you in a world that so often seems to take these things away instead of give them.
My goal for Pretty Things, Yummy Food is that it’s a place where readers feel encouraged to follow their dreams, whether they’re small like trying to make crème brûlée or big like traveling the world. When people ask me what Pretty Things, Yummy Food is about, I tell them it’s a little bit of everything. There are recipes of my favorite cookies, posts on the Mediterranean trip I took was friends, and my tips for traveling there yourself, plus DIY projects that can help brighten up your home.
Although it’s only been about a year since I even started the process of starting a blog, it feels like so much longer ago because I’m grown so much since then. I’ve learned that I have way more ideas when I ever knew I had and that I possess more boldness and tenacity to follow my dreams than I ever gave myself credit for. That’s why I would encourage anyone who’s thinking of starting a blog to do it. You may feel like you don’t have anything to say or that you might not be creative enough, but I really believe that once you get into that blogging mindset and find your message, you’ll find out that you have plenty to offer the world.
Over the past year, I’ve learned that so much of the time when you’re feeling stuck or scared, the best thing to do is to take some sort of action. The longer you stand still, the harder it is to get going. But if you just keep pushing forward, even doing small pieces at a time, the momentum will pick up and you’ll slowly start chipping away at your to-do list.
Creating a plan, even just for the day that prioritizes what needs to get done—and it actually possible to get done before you go to bed that night—is so helpful in sorting the truly important things from the things that are just cluttering up your head and making you nervous. I’m not an actual plan maker but I found that prioritizing tasks for each day helped a lot in actually accomplishing these tasks. If you feel like there are just so many things that need to get done that you can even start to sort them out, take advantage of some of the free resources out there from bloggers who have been where you are and want to help you push through and get your blog started.
When I was finally to the stage where I felt like I could actually start a blog but had no clue where to start, I signed up for ProBlogger’s Ultimate Guide To Starting A Blog course and I found some stuffs that got me past my analysis paralysis. Having a list of what needed to be done and how to actually get it done was instrumental in me actually launching Pretty Things, Yummy Food. Getting advice from someone who’s farther down the road than you in general is so helpful in getting through the rough patches. Connecting with people who or where you are also helps.
When I first started, I was a little bashful about admitting that I had started a blog because what if people actually looked at it and didn’t like it? But I forced myself to tell people and in the process, I found out that one of my close friends was also thinking about starting a blog and we hadn’t even thought to mention it to each other. But having someone else who understands the excitement and the stress of starting a blog has been a huge encouragement for me in my first year of blogging.
Don’t be like me and try to do everything on your own. There are so many incredible resources out there that can make starting a blog easier. For example, I’ve always approach the social media like someone from the 1920s, which is to say that I really didn’t approach it at all. When I started the blog, I avoided Instagram like the plague. But eventually, I saw the ways that it could be so helpful in building a community around the blog. I finally got on Instagram and I’m so glad that I did.
Instagram’s a great starting place for new bloggers in finding readers because these readers are already on Instagram. You just have to go out and find them. Reaching potential readers by finding them on Instagram is a much faster and more efficiently way to connect with them, than just hoping that they’ll find you by stumbling onto your brand new blog buried somewhere in the internet.
I also cannot say enough good things about Canva, which is a free website that helps you design graphics for your blog. When I started out, I made all my pins, my logo, and other blog graphics using Photoshop. Big mistake. What took me hours on Photoshop takes me minutes on Canva, which simplifies so much of the blogging process.
Finally, I just want to encourage you to remember that the only opinion that really matters is yours. What I mean is that if you truly feel like you found what you’re called to do, then do it. Ignore your previous opinions on the subject and ignore all the things you’re imagining people are saying about you, which honestly they probably aren’t because they’re too busy trying to figure out what they’re going to do next to really think about anyone else’s life decisions. Just follow your gut and work towards making your dream a reality. Don’t worry if it feels like it’s taking a long time. Things that are truly worth doing rarely happen quickly. Full disclosure, I’m still working another job while I continue to build my business. Your dreams are worth the effort so I say this year’s the year. Go out and make them happen.
Darren: Hey there and thanks, Jackie, for sharing your story. You can check our Jackie’s blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes as well, where there will be a full transcript of today’s show. I’ll also link to her recommendation of Canva and might pop in a couple of further listening recommendations as well.
I love this story and I thought it was a great one to finish up this series that we’re doing because it touches on a few of the things that I know many bloggers or prebloggers, particularly, would be feeling as I get into this process of starting a blog. Firstly, she talked about being stuck and being scared. Very common feelings for people who are going through this process. Even though we’ve outlined the process in seven relatively easy steps, it can feel overwhelming at times. I really would encourage you to take the advice that Jackie gave of taking action, even small steps that take you towards your goal, will help to build some momentum and also help you to overcome that feeling of stuckness because you are moving.
Also, I find personally that when I take action when I’m scared, it kind of put the fear in its place. The fear for me doesn’t tend to disappear completely but it kind of lessens as I move forward, as I learn new skills, as I can gain confidence by taking small steps. She talked about creating a plan as well. That is great advice and it’s something that I do as well everyday. I start my day by putting aside a few minutes to come up with a to-do list for that day. I tend to prioritize that list to the most important things first and then work through the list over time.
Having a friend to go on a journey with is another great thing and I would encourage you, if you don’t know anyone who’s starting a blog at the moment, check out our Facebook group. There’s always new bloggers starting out in our Facebook group. You will find people there who can help you through that process. I’ll link to the group in and the show notes today but you can also find it by searching for ProBlogger Community on Facebook. It’s a place where you can ask any question you like about blogging and there’s plenty of experienced bloggers in there as well as new bloggers in there who can help you through that process.
Also love that recommendation on starting on Instagram is a great place to start for social media. It will probably depend a little bit upon your niche and with it you’ve got a visual element for you’re niche. But particularly if you’re starting a lifestyle blog, a blog about food or pretty things, then Instagram is a super smart place to start. That idea of actually going in finding your readers rather than hoping they will find you, that is so key and we teach that over on ProBlogger, particularly on our 31 Days To Build A Better Blog course. Get off your blog and begin to take action in the places where your potential readers are hanging out as well.
Anyway, great story there from Jackie. I can’t wait to see where that particular blog goes. I think you hear in Jackie’s voice that she’s someone who is thinking really smart about this. She’s taking a bit of a risk by quitting her job and starting a blog. I’m glad to hear right at the end there that she’s also got another blog to keep her going through that, because it take time to build a blog. I wouldn’t recommend you just quit your job to start a blog unless you’ve got something else to feed you, pay your mortgage, and support your family through that process as well. So it sounds like Jackie’s doing the right thing there. Props to her for taking that big step in action and I can’t wait to see what happens as a result of that.
Again you can check out Jackie’s blog at prettythingsyummyfood.com. Check out the show notes today at problogger.com/podcast/275. You can always find our show notes. If you just go to problogger.com and look for the podcast tab at the top, it will take you to where the latest podcasts are.
If you’ve got a moment today at the end of the series, I would love it if you would share some of the podcasts that we’ve been doing with a friend. Someone who you think should start a blog. Send them to any of the last six or so episodes or just straight over to the Start A Blog course at problogger.com/startablog. Give them the gift of having their own blog, a place to express themselves and share what they know and love with the world.
Thanks so much for listening to this little series. We’re going to go back to once-a-week podcasts now after we’re done with this little intense burst of six. I can’t wait to see the blogs that will be launched as a result of the stories being shared.
I should finish up by saying thanks so much to those of you who submitted stories that we weren’t able to use. We got a lot of stories submitted and we just couldn’t use them all but we do hope to use some of them in the future and continue to use the podcast to highlight what other people are learning about blogging. Bloggers at all stages of the journey.
If you want something else to listen to, dig back in to the archives, head over to iTunes, and check out some of the 274 other episodes that we’ve got. There’s tons in there on all aspects of blogging. But until next week, have a great week of blogging.
How did you go with today’s episode?
Enjoy this podcast? Sign up to our ProBloggerPLUS newsletter to get notified of all new tutorials and podcasts.