Grab a cup of tea for the fourth installment in my series, where I showcase the creativity within the world of blogging. This time I’ve taken my interviews across the pond and met up with Noelle near her Greenpoint apartment. She’s originally from Louisiana and has been blogging since June 2013.
If you want to start blogging to make money, you’re going to fail. It’s going to take at least 1-1.5 years to make any financial return and you have to think of it as an investment. There’s no short answer as to why I started. Growing up I was never allowed to have a computer and I used to print pictures from Tumblr in secret. Even at that time I wanted to blog or do something online but had no idea how to get into it. I guess I needed to ‘find myself’. I’m from a small town and would have probably ended up at arts school in Savannah, if I hadn’t moved to New York.
I started out working at a store in Williamsburg and commented on Rachel of Jaglever’s instagram with something like ‘I’m working tomorrow, would love to meet you!’ She came in and we immediately hit it off. I started shooting her and after a month or so, she pushed me to start a blog of my own. I set it up two days later. We’d shoot each other and I actually managed her for about two years. We parted ways when I was about 24. That was just because my blog started to grow and I had so much going on for myself. I was crying everyday because I was so stressed out. She was one of my best friends, so I wanted to do the best job that I could.
My philosophy is that no one can represent your brand better than you can yourself. I feel like you can either go in two directions, you can hire a team of your own, which I think is really smart and what I would probably do. On the flipside, some people can’t talk about money and payment can take a long time. I wish I had a legal department to help things along sometimes.
There are a few factors as to why monetisation happened for me sooner than it does for most people. I had connections through other influencer friends who would tag me and PRs would take notice. Living in New York also helped and it took me about a year to start getting projects.
I love managing myself, but I don’t think it’s for everyone, especially if you feel like you’re being taken advantage or can’t keep track of everything. You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about money though, you are worth what you are asking for. You should believe that.
Blogging in New York is competitive but I try not to let it affect me. I definitely go to events and see people talk about all the money they’re making and who they’re working with. There’s also some who aren’t that nice until they see how many followers you have on Instagram. That’s one of the shittiest parts, this weird high school cattiness. Some of them are really shocked that I have a following and good engagement. I’m pretty used to it now. I also hate people that overcharge by insane amounts as they’re the ones who will put the blogging industry out of business. There’s a lot of astronomical pricing here.
A lot of people are bitter about the industry changing and people getting work who aren’t doing things the ‘right’ way. You can really get in this downward spiral comparing yourself to other bloggers and it can hold you back. I think it’s good to focus on your brand and what you’re doing. I try to genuinely be happy for people. If that’s what you do, you’ll be content with where you’re at and I recognise that someone else may be good for something that I’m not. I’m not perfect obviously, but the minute I start feeling envious, I try to remind myself that I feel so lucky and so blessed.
So many bloggers want to be the new Chiara, they want to be in print, they want to design their own line and have everyone know their name. I think it’s a little sad as it’s so much more fulfilling if you do have a purpose and something you feel strongly about. Three years ago I read Carrie’s post about body image and it happened to be on a day where I was feeling like total shit about myself. I literally started crying. I was at that weird point, I’d been blogging for a year and just comparing myself to others. I wrote her a long email about how much it meant to me and it was so powerful. I wish there was more of that, I even need to be better at that.
I used to feel really self-conscious about posting myself in swimwear but now it’s my favourite thing as it means so much to so many people. About 85% of my following is women and I get so many messages that ask ‘Why are you so confident?’ Sometimes I think ‘Is there something wrong with me? Is there something I shouldn’t be confident about?’
A lot of women feel like they can’t wear certain things. Some feel deterred because if you do have a larger chest, you think you’re going to be sexualised and therefore can’t wear something that shows cleavage. That breaks my heart. Even myself growing up, I hated my boobs because I felt like I couldn’t wear the same things as my friends. In Louisiana everyone wore Abercrombie & Fitch and a lot of my body issues stemmed from just seeing their models in the store and feeling like I didn’t look like that. It was such a bummer being insecure about something that’s just a part of you.
I have so many goals. I recently hired my assistant Jess and she’s helping me project them. I put an ad on my Instagram Story and she emailed me within ten minutes. She’s amazing, I feel like I can get things done and know I can’t mess around as I have someone on the clock. I was finding it so hard to balance everything before. You can be your worst enemy, beating yourself up for not taking the time to do these things.
Typically on Mondays I’ll do emails, invoicing and admin. It’s my personal day, so no make up and sweatpants. Tuesday, Wednesday I’ll shoot videos, photos and Instagrams with Jess. It’s just a more efficient way to get good Instagram content, I’ll change outfits at least 5 times and work my way up from Soho to Central Park. I try to dedicate one day to sponsored stuff and one for fun stuff. I think that I’m very fortunate to have exciting things going on and things that keep me busy. When things are slower, you feel less inspired and start freaking out a bit. My friend recently decided to start blogging full time and I was very candid with her in every aspect. There’s always slow months like any industry.
Connecting with people is something that’s so important to me. I still love doing outfit posts, but I also want to focus on more meaningful content and what my readers want. I try to be as candid as I can about different things but I’d like to be even more so. The response can be so overwhelming and it’s so easy to see these other girls who aren’t as open and think that they have it all. I know that we create a lot of these perfect moments sometimes and what we see online is not how it seems. I’ll see a person on Instagram posing with all these beautiful balloons and even I have to remind myself that they had to carry them all down the street.
The cool thing about blogging is that you never know what’s going to be next. I have a workout capsule collection coming out with Beyond Yoga in October and I’m so excited. It’s crazy, if someone had told me that my curvy body would have it’s own workout line?! When they reached out I was like, ‘For gifting?’ One of the founders wrote to me and said that she started Beyond Yoga because she wanted to inspire women like me. She said ‘What you do and how you share your struggles about body image touches me so much.’ Those are the moments when I feel like I’m doing the right thing and I feel so fulfilled.
See what Noelle’s up to via her blog and Instagram and make sure you catch up with the rest of the series. It would make my day if you could like this over on Bloglovin!