Are you passionate about beauty – and want to take it to the next (=paid) level?
Get inspired by the journey of beauty blogger Kara Ferguson, of Politics of Pretty.
This is #2 of our Beauty Pro Interviews, enjoy!
Tell our audience a little about yourself
Hmm… where to start… I’m from a suburb outside of Washington, D.C. (Chevy Chase, Maryland). I grew up there for most of my life and then after meeting the love of my life/husband, I moved to Columbia, MD (a suburb outside of Baltimore) to live with him since it was halfway between his job and my job.
Can you tell me about your business?
I actually work full-time outside of my side hustle — my blog. I work full-time as a social media analyst with an extensive background in digital marketing. I started my beauty blog in 2012 as a fun hobby because I love trying beauty products and sharing my thoughts.
What is your role?
This little beauty blog was started by myself and of course I am the sole publisher so I write and edit all of the content as well as forge relationships with beauty brands for collaborations and projects. I’m responsible for sourcing advertisers, pitching brands and collaborating with photographers for original photos for my blog.
What makes it different than other beauty blogs?
I have always communicated the same message to my readers– I’m a consumer just like everyone else. I’m not a professional makeup artist or hairstylist so I try new products, trends and attempt to DIY a lot of beauty looks for the sake of finding easy and not-so-complicated beauty solutions.
Who do you write for?
My blog is really for the young professional women who are always on-the-go and need products that are effective and convenient. As someone who also works full-time in addition to my side hustle, I think this makes me relatable and real.
Have you always wanted to be a beauty blogger?
I’ve always enjoyed writing but blogging was never really an aspiration for me, it just became the appropriate creative outlet for myself. I knew my blog could be more than just a hobby when I started to gain more visitors each day/week/month and when brands wanted to invest in collaborations and campaigns.
What kind of education have you received?
I went to Towson University, a state school in Maryland, and graduated with a degree in Mass Communications – Journalism and New Media. My first job out of college was working as an editorial assistant for a lifestyle magazine so it prepared me very well for a job in journalism. As I made the shift to digital marketing, the skills I learned from studying journalism are still relevant to my full-time job and especially my blog.
Can you describe a typical work day?
A typical work day is never the same but there are definitely some core consistencies. Since I work full-time, I spend each morning commuting to my full-time job. Every day is not always a 9-5, sometimes it’s much longer, but at my full-time job, I dedicate my time to helping clients with their social media marketing strategy and provide valuable insights from social media listening.
Usually when I get home in the evening, I’ll hop back online and work on my side hustle– my blog! I try my best to pre-plan my posts for the week but sometimes I find myself working on the next day’s post the night before. I also spend the evening reading and responding to emails and scheduling social media posts.
What are the most enjoyable aspects of your business?
There are so many enjoyable aspects about my blog but I would say it’s getting to read and respond to comments from readers both on my blog and on social media. It means so much to me when I meet someone in real life that reads my blog or sends me an email about a blog post they read and enjoyed (or had questions). Also, getting to connect with other bloggers. I love networking and meeting other bloggers to share our trials and tribulations in this digital atmosphere.
What is one of the least enjoyable sides, and how do you deal with this?
Blogging is very much a full-time job and presents many challenges but the least enjoyable part is not being able to dedicate all of my time to it. Because I can only do this part-time, my days and nights are extremely busy and it’s at times exhausting to sit down and write a blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I love blogging. But having a healthy break away from the computer or enjoying a weekend without working is always needed–especially for creative energy to keep going.
I deal with this by simply not forcing creativity. I don’t always blog every day and I’m OK with that because I’d rather focus my energy on producing quality content rather than forcing a post every day.
Can you also describe an important milestone, or another success experience you had with your business? How did it influence you?
I don’t think I’ll ever forget seeing myself in a print magazine, being featured for my work as a beauty blogger. It was great to see some of my dreams come to fruition and to be featured in a print magazine opened me up to so many other cool opportunities for my blog, as well as gave me great exposure to new audiences. Being featured on any website or in any magazine influences me to continue to keep working hard on my blog and expand my capabilities to reach new successes.
What are qualities someone should have to become a beauty blogger? And what are the qualities should they have to run their own business?
It’s hard to sum up specific qualities someone should have to become a beauty blogger but I would recommend that aspiring beauty bloggers to have drive and passion for what they do. Also, patience is key. Blogging is easy to do without many roadblocks but trying to expand it into a business is no easy feat. You will get turned down for sponsored opportunities but that’s OK and it will propel you to keep pushing. Also, focus on your readers. Forget paid opportunities and all the fun perks. When you focus on delivering quality content to your readers that’s what matters and ultimately, that will be what pays off in the long run.
What would be the first step someone should take if they’re thinking about becoming a professional blogger?
If someone is thinking about becoming a blogger – they need to start with the simply first steps. Ask yourself, what do you want to blog about? Is there a specific topic in mind or a larger category? What is the goal of your blog? From there, I recommend validating you have a plethora of content ideas for your chosen topic by trying to come up with 30 post ideas. Once you know what you want to blog about and a general idea about the types of content, come up with a blog name! Talk to your friends, have a brainstorming session. It should be a creative and fun process and if it feels like work then chances are blogging might not be for you.
Kara, thank you so much for your time & wisdom. and keep on beauty rocking!
Our takeaway from Kara’s experience:
Beauty blogging sounds like an easy thing to do, but to make it successful you need focus & persistence, as well as genuine interest & dedication towards your readers. But if you are willing to work – it will be very fulfilling.
This was our second interview in our Beauty Pro Talks series – I hope it was helpful and inspiring! Is there someone you think we should invite? Feel free to contact us right now.