Monday, 16 May 2016

How to be a success in the blogging world feat. Temporary:Secretary



Sarah's Blog     Sarah's Twitter      Sarah's Instagram     Sarah's Facebook
Today I’ve got a very special post that’s been waiting to go up for ages! But as they say quality over quantity. It’s all about getting into the blogging routine again. Today we’ve got an interview with Sarah from Temporary: Secretary! Sarah has achieved so much during her time online and she’s a very inspiring person! Sarah is very down to earth and professional and I’m delighted Sarah was able to do this interview with me. You’ll learn everything you need to know about Sarah, and how to be a success in the blogging world!
If you haven’t checked out Sarah’s links then make sure you do because Sarah’s pictures are VERY desirable and Sarah’s blog is incredible! A blogger who is real, approachable and always willing to help others! 
Without further delay let’s begin…

1. Hey hun, could you explain a little about yourself please 
My name is Sarah, and I’m in my 30’s. I have a fashion and beauty blog called Temporary:Secretary (www.temporary-secretary.com) which I started in 2008. 

2. Could you tell us a little about your blog please, and for those that don’t know, could you tell us how you started blogging?
 During the middle of Uni, I decided to launch a business and I got to learn about the exciting digital world. Everything was still new, like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook and blogging. When I started my business, I made accounts (including a blog) to spread the word about my brand. A few years down the line, I turned my blog in to a space where I could document the things I liked to do. On my blog, I cover everything and anything but it is predominately fashion and beauty based. I try to make it as positive, inspirational, and helpful as possible. Life is difficult as it is, you don’t want to go on someone’s blog to hear negative rants. 

3. When was the first time in your life that you realised you were into fashion and beauty?  
Like most girls, I started getting in to make-up as soon as I started secondary school. But even from a really young age, I decided I wanted to work in the fashion industry so I did everything I could do make that happen. I took textiles for GSCE and A-Levels to learn more about how to sew but it wasn’t as informative as I had hoped. It didn’t equip me for the next step so I went to a different college to study Fashion Design National Diploma BTEC for 2 years. I spent those two years drawing, illustrating, painting, designing, pattern cutting, sewing garments, and all of the other creative things. I absolutely loved it and I wish I could do it all again. I applied for Fashion Marketing at Northumbria University in Newcastle and I got an unconditional offer to study there. And that’s how things evolved for me! 

4. You have a very successful beauty and fashion blog, so how did it feel to be the winner of LOOK Magazine’s Best Blog? 
For the competition entry, we had to submit a blogpost to show why we deserved a place in the front row at the Look Magazine catwalk show. You can view my entry here  I used my knowledge of the technical side of fashion to display my skills and I guess that was what made me stand out at the time. We had to wait for the top 20 bloggers to be shortlisted, followed by the top 5. And when I saw that I had made it in to the top 5, I was so happy – I didn’t expect to be the overall winner. It was a great experience and it motivated me to make my blog as best as I can. 

5. How did you feel when you worked with LOOK Magazine on their campaign with Malibu Rum? And you got your own column!? WOW, how cool right? What was the experience like? 
I feel like I fluked it with this one. I was approached by Look Magazine who recommended me to their client, Malibu Rum. It was so exciting to get that phone call and it was definitely an opportunity I couldn’t resist! I was invited to their Summer event to cover it, I got my own section in their double page spread advertorial and I produced content for their social media channels for 9 months. 

6. When you saw your work in LOOK Magazine (a very popular magazine), how did it make you feel? And did you feel like you wanted to strive for more things like that? 
All of the credit goes to LOOK Magazine’s team for helping me throughout the process. I know I’ve been lucky in all the things I’ve done so far. I’m grateful for any opportunities that come my way because it could easily end tomorrow. I only want what’s best for my blog and to represent the blogging community every time I do something like this. 

7. You’ve worked with some amazing brands and achieved so much in such a little amount of time so what’s your secret? How do you carry on being a success time after time? 
At first, things took off very quickly, and that was great. But I’ve been blogging about fashion and beauty for 5 years now, and I feel like I should be at a better stage by now. That’s the thing about bloggers, they are always striving to be better. I am competitive with myself, I think that helps in driving me. I am a perfectionist and I take it hard on myself if photos don’t turn out right, or if a blogpost doesn’t look 100% great. I take a step back, start again the next day and make sure everything looks perfect. 
8. I’m not going to lie, I am addicted to your social media because it’s SO beautiful. How do you know what will work well in pictures? And how many pictures do you have to take before finding the ‘perfect’ picture? 
 I rely on natural day light for all of my photos, including the ones I take for social media. If the lighting is good and I’m behind the camera photographing a product, then it only takes one shot but then there’s also post-production to consider. However, it’s a completely different story when it comes to outfit posts. When I’m in front of the camera and I’m relying on someone else to take my photo, this is where it becomes complicated. I know what vision I want and I have to communicate this with the photographer. It’s not a case of how many photos it takes to get that PERFECT one, but how long. Weather permitting, it takes anything from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. I don’t like to fuss too much over it, and I don’t like to take to much of the photographer’s time – plus, I get shy if it’s a busy place – so basically, once I get enough shots that are useable, I’m outta there! I’m like “OK. LETS GO!” 

9. Where do you get your creativity from? What inspires you? 
Everything inspires me. If I see something that I like, I think ‘how do I make that my own? How can I put my own spin on it?’. And that’s where I challenge myself to be more creative, and think outside the box. It is hard to be original in a world where everything has been done before. Visiting places, reading more, seeing people… normal things inspire me. 

10. Who inspires you in the beauty and fashion world? 
Definitely other bloggers. Every blogger is different and unique, and it’s great how we can share our information, knowledge and opinions with others. This is the reason I’ve not bought a magazine in years. 

11. When did you realise that ‘yeah I’ve made it in the blogging world’? 
I don’t feel confident enough to ever think I’ve ‘made it’. In fact, I feel inadequate in the blogging world at the moment, sadly. I’m constantly beating myself down and comparing myself with those that have reached (and surpassed) a million readers/subscribers. But what I am grateful for is everything that has happened so far and I should feel content about that. I need to be more confident. (Gonna give myself a pep-talk after I’ve finished typing my answers!) 

12. I read that you worked in digital marketing for Soap & Glory, now that seems like an amazing job right? What's it like to be working for Soap & Glory? Is it all glory ;)? 
Working in digital at a beauty brand in the capital city is totally a dream. Soap & Glory was a fantastic place to work for and I couldn’t have asked for a better team of people to work with. I was only there on an interim basis and that was ideal for me. I have been self-employed for 8 years now, I have never had a job in the ‘real world’, so I was constantly wondering what it was like. When a chance came along to step out of my comfort zone, I decided to go for it! 

13. When your readers look at your social media or blog, all we see are these amazing well put together pictures, blog and social media, but in reality could you tell us how much work you actually put into everything? 
Beauty blogposts are a lot quicker to do. I can get all the photographs I need in 15 minutes, edit them so that they look nice and bright, research the product, trial the product, and spend 2-4 hours writing. But again, it’s a longer process for outfit post. It takes twice the amount of time. Aswell as photography and writing, other things that bloggers may do on a daily basis included: admin, replying to emails, promoting the blogposts, optimizing the content for SEO, format content for social media (every platform has different dimension spec), interact with readers, maintain the design of your blog. And if you’re a full-time blogger, you have to go to meetings and do paperwork for bookkeeping. 
14. Did you tell your family and friends that you were going to blog? And what reactions did you get? What does your family and friends think of your blogging achievements?
I started the blog for a jewellery business I had at the time, so I’m lucky in the sense that it just grew in to what it is today. Having a business isn’t something you should be secretive about so everyone already knew about it, anyway. I never kept it a secret because I wanted the word to spread, I wanted them to buy my products. After only a couple of months of fashion/style blogging, I entered LOOK Magazine’s blogging competition and when I won it, I shared it on Facebook and everyone was really pleased for me. Blogging is a unique thing to my friends and family – they don’t really understand it – but they know I work hard to make it what it is. I put my all in everything I do and if it’s not good enough, I’ll just keep it to myself!! 

15. Have you ever felt like giving up, or have you had any negative thoughts cross your mind? If so, how did/do you overcome that? 
Oh, ALL the time. For the past years, it has been my full-time job, and when it becomes our main source of income, the stress can get to you. The transition of it being a hobby to a full-time job is difficult. I am working on something exciting at the moment so by the end of this year, my blog will soon go back to being my side project. I won’t ever give it up though, I enjoy it and I have learnt so much because of it! 

16. What has been the hardest part of your journey yet? 
The toughest thing is the constant battle with myself for comparing my blog to someone else. Blogging is such a big thing now, a lot of smaller bloggers like myself can be forgotten about. I don’t sit and moan about it – that’s not productive one bit - but it does make me panic. I wonder why I’m not good enough and how I can make my blog better. 

17. What has been one of the highlights and best moments on your amazing journey? 
• Highlights include winning LOOK Magazine’s blogging competition. 
• Being in a photoshoot with other bloggers for F&F Partywear campaign. You can watch our video here.
• Attending the WGSN Fashion Awards at the V&A: here.
 • Being flown to Germany to a launch party with other bloggers from all over Europe: here.
• Working with brands such as Gap, New Look, Malibu, and ASOS. 

18. Could you let us know your plans for the future and what would you really want to accomplish in the future? 
I am working on a big project at the moment, but I’ve just started it so I’m not in the position to reveal more (because I don’t know what is set in stone yet). One thing is for sure, I want to continue blogging and creating pretty content. 

19.If someone was wanting to follow in your footsteps what best advice would you like to give them? 
My advice for them is to: 
• Experiment until you find your own style. 
• Show people what you’re good at. 
• Don’t be scared to ask friends, family, or other bloggers for help and advice. 
• Be willing to learn about things like html/CSS, SEO, and even email etiquette. 
• Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s what makes you a better blogger. 
 • Be kind, friendly, and professional. Be yourself! 
• It’s hard to stand out in a saturated world of bloggers, but know that you’re unique. You have your own vision, your own voice and your own taste. 
• If you’ve achieved something you’re proud of, tell the whole world. 

20. Thank you once again for your time and lastly, would you like to add anything else? 
If anyone is thinking of starting a blog, don’t hesitate for one second. I say GO FOR IT AND DON’T LOOK BACK. It takes guts to put yourself out on the Internet, whatever form it is. It might just be the best thing you have ever done. 
 

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A massive THANK YOU to Sarah for doing this interview and sharing all she knows and being able to give us all some tips! I hope you have all learnt something as much as I have. If you need to talk to Sarah then just send her a message. Sarah is very open and always out to help others. Thank you once again Sarah! 

 Let me know in the comments what one advice/tip did you find useful from Sarah?

 Until next time, take care and keep smiling. 
xxx
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4 comments

  1. This was such a lovely, comprehensive interview to read! It is so refreshing and nice to hear someone has the same insecurities or struggles with their blog, I think all of us can relate!

    Raashi
    reflectionswithraa.blogspot.com.au

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    1. I totally agree Raashi! Being a massive influencer and still having the same insecurities make you aware that we're all in the same boat. xx

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  2. Loved reading this. Definitely going over to check out her blog now <3

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Fatima! Sarah's blog is worth the read :)

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