We’re excited to announce a new content series here at the blogfoster Academy. We want the Academy to be a great source of inspiration, guidance and advice for all bloggers and influencers. So we thought, what better way to do this than to invite a professional blogger, that can offer you all of that and more? So that’s what we’ve done! Meet Jo, wonder woman behind Slummy Single Mummy!
If you haven’t been lucky enough to stumble across Jo’s award-winning blog, she writes about all things parenting and lifestyle. She will be sharing her wisdom with us in our new series: the blogger’s corner!
Want to get to know Jo a little better? Well, let us introduce you….
Hey Jo. So first thing we want to know is, when and why did you start blogging?
Jo: I started my blog, Slummy Single Mummy, back in 2009, and it was never intended to be a thing in its own right. I’d recently left a full-time job in fundraising to go freelance as a journalist and, as I had no real relevant experience or qualifications, the blog was a way for me to market myself and showcase my writing. I wanted to be able to pitch ideas to magazines and newspapers and say ‘look, I wrote about this on my blog and it’s something that people are interested in.’
When did you first realise that blogging would be a big part of your life?
Jo: I get asked this a lot, and I always wish I had some kind of amazing tipping point that I could talk about, some kind of crazy moment where everything changed, but I don’t think that’s the reality of building up a business for most people. Success doesn’t come overnight or in one flash of inspiration, it comes from months and years of hard work, gradually building your reputation, trying new things, saying yes, and doing your best at every stage.
What does your blog mean to you in 3 words?
Jo: I want to say ‘pays the bills’, but that possibly sounds a bit cold! It does though, which is amazing. For me, being able to write my blog for a living is about creating a lifestyle that is much more focussed on me, my family, and being able to do the things that I want to do, when I want to do them, so the three words that encapsulate this for me are ‘freedom, independence and creativity.’
What would you say inspires you the most?
Jo: I guess I’m inspired by that lifestyle – the one where I get to choose what I work on, try new experiences and generally have lots of fun. I’ve worked in a lot of badly paid, tedious jobs, and I never want to have to do that again! Knowing what I want my life to look like and being able to make that happen on a day to day basis is incredibly inspiring.
Have you got any advice for someone wanting to start blogging?
Jo: I actually have a little motto, which my children tease me for, but which I think applies to pretty much every aspect of life, particularly blogging. It’s ‘Ready, Fire, Aim.’ The idea behind it is that often we can spend way too long on the ‘aim’ part of our lives, weighing up options, considering all the consequences and generally putting off making any kind of a decision as a result. I prefer to just START. You can always change and adapt what you do as you go along, but it’s much better than overthinking everything.
What do you consider the most rewarding thing about being a blogger?
Jo: There are a couple of things. Firstly, I get a lot of personal satisfaction when I’ve worked on a project that has been really interesting, and I know I’ve created something useful or entertaining that other people are going to (hopefully!) enjoy reading. Secondly, I like it when I feel like I have made a difference in some way. That might be through working with a charity and helping them to raise money or awareness about an issue, or it might just be that I’ve helped to solve a problem or pushed someone to do something that could be important. That could be anything from booking an overdue sight test to setting up a personal pension.
What has been one of your favourite memories/experiences so far?
Jo: This is a tough one because I’ve been able to do so many amazing things through my blog, and I feel really blessed as a result, (if that doesn’t sound too cheesy!) I think one of the most stand out memories for me has to be flying to New York to interview Antonio Banderas. Everything about that experience was so totally out of my comfort zone – I didn’t even realise at press interviews like that one that you were meant to prepare questions in advance! – and yet that to me is what keeps my job interesting. We all need to challenge ourselves to learn and to try new things, because otherwise we’re just going to go on getting the same results as we’ve always got.