We spoke to one of the UK’s leading bloggers to find out how she built her successful business

Kelly Hood set up a wedding blog in 2009 and has built it into a successful business. Here’s how she did it.

Kelly Hood is a self-described wedding obsessive. She started her blog, Boho Weddings, soon after marrying her husband Nik, initially running it alongside her wedding planning business.

Now she focuses solely on Boho Weddings, working around the clock to make sure the content is fresh and appealing.

We recently spoke to Kelly about the challenges of running a business while raising a young son. We also want to find out how she manages to keep her blog profitable – here’s what she had to say.

Challenging the misconceptions about working for yourself

It can be difficult to make money from a blog. You need to dedicate many hours a week to writing quality content – and it can be months before you start seeing an income.

The first trick with blogging is to find your niche. Kelly’s focus is on weddings, but her niche goes further – boho weddings aren’t your traditional church-going fare. Think natural, rustic, and vintage. It’s undoubtedly a fun topic to blog about, but we wanted to know whether people forget that it requires plenty of hard work behind the scenes.

Simply Business: Your job must be lots of people’s dream job because it’s seen as being so much fun. Is there a downside to this? Have you ever struggled with people thinking your business ‘isn’t a real job’?

Kelly Hood: The job is great but it’s also very isolated. I work on my own all day five days a week, so it isn’t social at all. People always ask me how I make a living, and think I pay myself in the freebies I get sent, which isn’t the case at all.

SB: What are the most challenging aspects of your job? The most rewarding?

KH: The most challenging aspect is bringing in the money each month. People email every day asking for free publicity, forgetting that I’m also a small business trying to make a living. The most rewarding is knowing I’ve been doing this for nearly 10 years and still have a successful blog that people draw a lot of inspiration from.

SB: How do you make sure your blog is profitable?

KH: That’s the hard bit! It’s a massive juggling act. I find my job is more sales based now than ever before. It’s constantly trying to get people interested in the blog to make them want to advertise with me. Plus you have to keep the content fresh and appealing so it’s interesting for the brides and grooms that read it. In turn that makes them keep coming back, making sure my advertisers are getting a return for their investment.

But it’s no quick way to make money

Like most other businesses, Kelly says that her blog takes hard work and dedication. Despite working as a wedding planner, it still took time to get Boho Weddings recognised by the community-at-large.

SB: You’ve been running your business for 10 years now – what do you know now that you wish you knew back then?

KH: I wish I knew just how hard it would be to set up the business and how long it would take to establish myself in the market. There are lots of people setting up the same sort of thing now, thinking it’s a quick way to make money, but it’s hard work and long hours.

SB: What made you step back from wedding planning and focus entirely on your blog?

KH: Having my son. Wedding planning is long and unsociable hours. It wouldn’t have been possible to raise a baby and still carry on the wedding planning. Couples wanted to see me at weekends and evenings, which is my time with my family these days. The blog is long hours but they are flexible and I can work around my son’s childcare.

Juggling raising a young son with the pressures of self-employed life

Being a parent can be difficult for someone who’s self-employed. New self-employed mums aren’t entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay. And while they’re entitled to Maternity Allowance, we recently reported that many new mums could be missing out on the £145.18 payments altogether.

That’s not to mention the pressures on your time. At the end of 2015, Citizens Advice found that as many as three in five self-employed people were taking less than a week off after the birth of their baby.

Kelly says that despite all the hard work and long hours, being self-employed does offer an advantage when it comes to raising a child – flexibility.

SB: You mentioned your son earlier – how does running your own business make motherhood easier? Or harder?

KH: The hours are flexible which makes looking after him easier. I can take time off when I need to and school holidays aren’t as hard, as I can work around them to a certain degree. However, I do get invited to a lot of events, which I can’t go to as I have school drop off and pick up to consider. My husband works away a lot so I am responsible for the majority of the child care, which means I miss out on going to a lot of events and shows.

Finding joy each day of the year

Discussions about hard work and long hours don’t always encompass the toll it can take on your mental health.

And while the self-employed enjoy the flexibility of working for themselves, life can also be lonely, as Kelly’s mentioned.

Kelly’s blog includes a page dedicated to happiness, and we asked her whether that was to help combat the toll being self-employed takes on your mental health.

SB: Could you tell us about ‘the happiness project’ part of your blog? What made you start that?

KH: It started when I was struggling to get pregnant and was at quite a low point in my life, so I decided to start the happiness project. I took a photo of something that made me happy every day to try to find more joy in my life. This progressed to the quotes that I now put up Monday – Saturday, along with a collection of photos of things that have made me happy on the last Sunday of every month.

On World Mental Health Day last year, we wrote about how the self-employed can tackle the problems specific to them – see how to reduce self-employed stress here.

Do you run a blog for your business? Let us know more in the comments below.

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