Hello, hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I get a fair amount of questions from you guys about so many different topics that I figured it was time to put out an all-call to answer some in a big FAQ post. I did a big FAQ Post in 2017, but it was time for a reboot! I put out a Google doc about a month ago and sent some reminders on Facebook and Instagram and you guys didn’t disappoint! The number one question I got last time was about my hair (funny to me!) and the number one question I got this time around was about finding work as a freelancer. So, without further ado – let’s get right down to the questions…
The Big FAQ Post – 2019
How do you get Instagram followers that actually engage and stick around?
This is a tough one, because Instagram is a platform that is constantly evolving. Here’s what I know – I always put myself out there on Instagram with things that are going on in my life, what I’m up to, what I’m struggling with, personal wins….everything! I want it to be as if I’m having a face-to-face conversation with you in my living room. For me, Instagram has always been about forming relationships. The more I’ve grown (personally and online), the more I realize that it’s not about numbers, rather fostering the relationships I already have there, if that makes sense. I do my best to reply to every comment and engage with the people I follow, whether that is responding to stories or leaving comments on their photos. I also write long captions (#guilty), because I tend to talk a lot in real life, so it’s truly like you are getting a “dump” of what has been on my heart. I think as more and more of our lives become digital, we crave that sense of real-ness. That’s what I try to bring every time I post on Instagram.
How did you become a photographer?
This is SUCH a compliment – thank you! I knew that as a freelancer I could become far more valuable if I was able to market myself as both a writer and photographer and offer editors the full package, which drives me to constantly learn more and do better. I’m completely self-taught and lucky to have been surrounded by many, many talented full time photographers throughout the years that have either given me tips, tricks, encouragement or all three! I bought my DSLR kit and had no clue what I was doing. In fact, I remember taking my first photo as I fumbled around with it on the couch and the whole screen was black. I thought “Oh shit, what have I done…I am in way over my head.” Pinterest tutorials, Youtube tutorials and online webinars/classes have been a true gift from above for me! If you’re interested, I share all my photography gear 🙂
How do you budget for travel? Per trip? Or set a yearly budget for travel?
I shared how we budget our money and for the most part, it’s still true. Because we live off of Dane’s salary and budget for travel that way, it’s easy for us to set a monetary amount we want to spend for each trip because we can see it in our bank account. We used to set a yearly budget, but that became unrealistic as I began to travel more for work. We have a list of trips we want to take in our lifetime with a ballpark cost beside each one, so when we are planning trips, we can slot in places based on cost.
What are your goals for your next decade now that you’re in your 30s?
This one made me stop and think, because truthfully – I haven’t really thought about it! They say that your 30s are your best and I believe it. In the next ten years, I hope to become more assertive in what does/does not make me happy (and get rid of the negativity), grow in my career, travel, read more, learn to say no more and set more goals that scare me. My 30s are going to be fun!
Tips for finding work as a freelancer before you’re well known or have a lot of connections?/ What are your tips for getting into freelancing?
This is a good one! I have never been afraid of “cold calling” (writing someone you’ve never met without an introduction), but that can be really intimidating. To be honest, I have tried to put myself out there as much as possible. I send anywhere from 25-30 pitches per week, so I’m consistently brainstorming ideas for pieces and where they would be a good fit. When I have a story I love, I don’t stop until it’s placed. Don’t be afraid of hearing “no” — you’ll hear it a lot, actually. They say freelancers should aim for 100 rejections per year, because if you get that many rejections, you are sure to get quite a few acceptances, too 🙂 I consistently free write, carry a journal around with me everywhere I go, always carry my business card and anyone who has ever met me will tell you – I talk to nearly everyone I see and meet. Forming those connections whether you’re at an airport, bar or online are crucial!
What does Dane do?
I actually got quite a few of this one. Dane is kind of a private person, but he felt comfortable having me share that he is an engineer and loves his job 🙂
How do you decide where you’re going to travel next?
Dane and I have a running “bucket list” of all the places we want to travel and an approximation of how much that trip would cost. This list grows weekly as we read about or discover new places! We also know that being on Oahu for too long makes us twitch, so traveling is a big priority in our lives. When we see a good deal pop up for a place we know we want to go, we book it if we can. We try to go away every year in the fall and over our anniversary in August, but the other times throughout the year are usually spur-of-the-moment decisions.
How would you describe your style?
My home style would definitely be eclectic meets mid-century modern meets tropical. My personal style would be…I don’t even know. 90% of the time I’m wearing athleisure clothing, but when I’m not, I love to shop at J.Crew, Nordstrom, Athleta (they have good regular clothes, too!) and Target/Amazon. I will sometimes pick up pricier pieces that I love from Anthropologie, Lilly Pulitzer and Mara Hoffman, but they have to be pieces I know I’ll love for many years and get a lot of good use from.
What is a good tutorial for adding ads to your blog?
I am part of the MediaVine ad network and they control all of the ads you might see on my site. They have a threshold for being accepted that is dependent upon sessions, but once you’re in, they take care of everything!
How do you go about cultivating relationships with companies/sponsors?
I love this one! I think that sometimes blogging gets a bad rep for always being about sponsored or paid content. I know I’m guilty of partnering with companies in the past that haven’t always been a tremendous fit. More about that in my Update On Sponsored Posts, Brands I’ve Talked About + How I Feel Now post. That said, these days I work with a handful of companies I love, that fit organically into my lifestyle and that I feel could be valuable to my audience if I shared about them. I typically partner with them through agencies that represent those brands that reach out to me to see if I would be interested in partnering. Another way is that brand will fill out my Contact form and I get pinged directly to my e-mail. I prefer long partnerships (6 months or more), because that gives me a chance to really showcase the brand in a genuine way and allows my creativity in posts to shine. For the brand, long-term partnerships brings brand loyalty and trust.
And that rounds things out! You guys had some great questions and I was blown away by how many of you sent messages! If I missed anything, be sure to let me know and maybe keep an eye out for future FAQ posts – this was fun!