Ask Us Anything: Blogging Edition
Last month, we told you guys about a new series we’re starting here on The DIY Playbook called, “Ask Us Anything!” We certainly get lots of design-related questions, and we’re trying our best to answer those in our Reader SOS blog post series. But we still get tons of questions about things outside of the DIY/design field. That’s when the idea for our “Ask Us Anything!” series began.
You guys submitted tons of amazing questions last month, and we plucked out all of the questions about blogging to answer here today. Don’t worry, we plan to tackle the other non-blog related questions in a post next month, so everyone’s questions will eventually get answered. But today, let’s just focus on all of those blog and business-related questions.
Your Questions about Blogging
Casey, now that you work from home, how do you get your insurance?
I am so lucky that Finn has amazing insurance and I was able to join his plan before leaving my corporate job. If I wasn’t married, it would definitely be a struggle to find affordable insurance and I honestly don’t know if I would have made the leap to full-time blogging. But I’m so happy that it has worked out for us.
Do your co-workers know about your blog?
Casey: Back when I was working in TV and production all of my coworkers knew about the blog and I was very open about it. In fact, I put the blog on my resume because I think it is a big accomplishment and shows potential employers the diversity of skills I have. I think the blog actually helped get me the job at WGN because they saw I was interested in DIY projects and I eventually went on to produce 3 seasons of their home improvement show. While I certainly didn’t talk to my co-workers about the blog all the time, they were all incredibly supportive and were always asking about it…which was super sweet.
Bridget: Some of my co-workers know about the blog and some have no idea. When I’m at work, I give my full attention to being the best teacher I can be. Once I get home, my focus shifts to the blog. Not that I want to keep the blog a secret, but I do strive to keep these worlds separate out of respect to both my career as a teacher and a blogger.
How many hours a week do you spend blogging?
Oh man…more hours than we care to admit. Between doing the projects, taking photos, editing photos, writing posts, managing email, setting up social media, etc., we each spend at least 30-40 hours a week on the blog. It truly is a full-time job, even with two of us working at it!
How do you handle criticism?
In the beginning, it was really difficult for us to handle any negative feedback. Any comment that wasn’t positively glowing would really affect each of us. But over the past 5 years, we’ve definitely developed thicker skins. Does that mean that negative comments don’t affect us at all? Absolutely not. We’re human and we’re still hurt when criticized.
But we always try to do a couple things when evaluating criticism. First, is their point valid? Is there some truth to their comment? Those are often the hardest comments to swallow and we learn the most from those remarks.
Second, we take a look at the motive behind the comment. Was the person genuinely trying to be helpful and respectful? Or were they just being mean? If someone is just being mean, we often delete those comments and pay them no attention. We honestly don’t understand how some people take time out of their days to write negative words on someone’s blog or social media accounts (& we’re lucky it rarely happens), and always try to tell ourselves that it is much more about that person’s own insecurity. So while those comments still suck, we try out best to just move on.
How much time does it take to write a post from start to finish?
It really depends on the project, but we’ll try to generalize for you. Since we create original content for 99% of our blog posts, we often have to do a project and take fresh pictures. Of course, the amount of time spent on the project varies, but let’s say it’s about 4 hours total to do a DIY project. During the project, we also take photos. That’s another hour. Editing pics (more on that process on Friday) is another time-consuming task…probably around 2 hours per blog post, especially when it comes to naming files, organizing them on our computers, backing them up, uploading, etc. Once we have the project done and the photos in WordPress, it’s time to actually write the post. This takes at least 2-3 hours.
- Project – 4 hours
- Take Photos – 1 hour
- Edit Photos – 2 hours
- Write Post – 2 hours
- Total = 9 hours
Multiply that by 5 posts per week..and you’re looking at a lot of (wo)man hours!
I have also thought about starting a blog, but never do because I would be so embarrassed to have my family read it. Is this something you guys struggled with?
At the beginning, yes.
Now, not at all. When we first started the blog, this was definitely something that held us back and prevented us from really putting it all out there. We were worried about what other people would think…specifically those closest to us. But if you’re truly excited, passionate, and proud of your work then the people who love you will support you no matter what. Now our families are our biggest cheerleaders and we’re so happy we got past that initial self-doubt to move forward with the blog.
What blogs do you read yourselves?
Absolutely, love love love this question because the truth is, we were blog readers long before we were ever blog writers. We got started reading Young House Love and HouseTweaking (miss her!) and were instantly obsessed with all things home. We’ve been lucky enough to meet (& befriend) many of the bloggers we’ve followed for years since starting The DIY Playbook. Here are some of the blogs we both read on a regular basis…
- Young House Love
- IHeart Organizing
- Bower Power Blog
- A Thoughtful Place
- Hi Sugarplum
- Room for Tuesday
- A Beautiful Mess
- Wit & Delight
- Emily Henderson
- Chris Loves Julia
- Yellow Brick Home
- Sequins & Stripes
- Vintage Revivals
- Inspired by Charm
- Studio McGee
Honestly, we could go on and on and on…
How did you start finding paid sponsorship and freelance opportunities?
We really laid out how we work with brands in this post, so definitely give that a read for the full story. But essentially, it’s a combo of them emailing us and sometimes we will do our homework to find the best person at a company to reach out to with an idea. Be sure you have a killer media kit, your stats ready to go, and always pitch them a well-thought-out concept/idea. Then, once you have those relationships, it’s all about maintaining them!
Casey, in what ways has blogging full-time from home changed your life?
I’m planning to get into this even more on Thursday, so I’ll keep this pretty short. But honestly, it has been life-changing and amazing in so many ways. I feel like I can breathe again. Instead of running around like a mad woman, I have time for myself and more time to devote to projects I’m excited about. I have time for yoga and workout classes, and instead of spending my weekends doing projects and taking photos…I’m actually having a weekend. It’s been a wonderful change.
$100 Nordstrom Giveaway!
Our big birthday week continues with another giveaway. Today’s is a $100 gift card to one of our favorite shopping meccas…Nordstrom. Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below. And be sure to comment on today’s blog post with another question for our “Ask us Anything!” series. Your question can be about absolutely anything at all (not just blogging or DIY).
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.