Blogging as a Business

Blogging as a business is tough. There have been lots of changes in the blog world the last few years. This is a post that I never expected to write.Blogging as a Business|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Blogging as a business is a tough job. There is so much competition today, millions of users write blogs. It wasn’t always like this.

My Blog Business Story

I began writing seven years ago as kind of a personal journal. We were going through a lot of financial and personal struggles. and blogging was a way to focus on the beautiful side of life and worry less about the hard things. Three years ago, I decided to get serious as a blogger and make blogging my primary business. This was never my intention as I originally began writing just for fun.

When I decided to become a business, I stretched myself to learn a little more each day. I learned Blogger, Word Press, new social media platforms, photography, Adobe Lightroom, PicMonkey, Picassa, Photoshop and other related computer programs. I learned to stage my money shots, link up to blog parties, find and work with brand sponsors.

My Blog Business Updates

Last summer I spent weeks re-writing my old content. I updated dozens of photos, added affiliate links and SEO to my old posts, along with new custom graphics for Pinterest on a total of more than 200 posts. I also redirected hundreds of blog pages to make my blog more efficient and run smoother. To make my site more appealing, I hired designers to install a new theme, and redesign and rebrand my blog and logos. I studied branding and how to create a style that would match my vision for this blog’s future.

By fall my blog was practically brand new, and I anticipated the next couple of years would include great things for me and that I would be able to achieve my business goals.

Overall blogging is a good experience, it inspires me to work harder to accomplish more. I am always learning new things, meeting great people and have come to enjoy and embrace every part of the blogging journey.

Until now.

My Blog Business Crash

Two weeks ago my site went down. Perhaps you were looking for it. My URL was completely blank for more than 5 days. You may have noticed that it now looks a little different. In fact, I have completely lost 8 months worth of new content, along with my new blue and gold theme, my logos and all my hard work. It has been a devastating loss.

Even though I have backups of my blog, my former web host failed to transfer data after I paid for them to do it. I thought I had multiple backup copies of my site. It turns out, that none of them were current or recoverable by my new host. To make things worse, the additional backup plugin I installed was never activated. It seems as though there is always something that I don’t yet know about blogging.

I am not technical, but I have learned a lot the last few years. Somehow it seems like I will never get where I want my blog to go. There are so many of us bloggers that love blogging, but can’t quite get to our end business goal to be successful. I am not alone in this frustration.

My Blog Business Future

For now, I am trying to decide how to proceed. There is no way I can re-create 8 months worth of content or I will never have the ambition to write anything new. It’s very discouraging to come back to the blog when it looks like it did a year ago, after I put so much time and effort into it. In addition, I have broken links all over the web from the posts and photos that were deleted. Right now, I have no idea how this will affect my site long term. Google does not like broken links, and generally punishes sites that have them. Honestly, I don’t know what that will do my page views or ranking.

I know I need to rebuild somehow, but it will take time. It is painful and I am disheartened. There are tons of updates that could be done, but I don’t know that I will even attempt to recreate the blog as it was. With each passing day there are new reasons for me to move ahead in yet a different direction. You will have to be patient with me while I work through it all.

My Blog Business Recovery

For now, I am concentrating on different things.  Recently, I compiled two new ebooks. Part of blogging as a business is creating content other than what is on the blog. Remember the phrase “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? It rings so true today.

I recently began publishing ebooks, and I have several more coming soon. My first adventure was this photography book and am now releasing two more ebooks for your reading pleasure.

Photography Challenge: Improve your photography and laugh at my attempts to master the camera. |Designers sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

The 30 Day Photo Challenge is the humorous account of how I actually learned to use a DSLR digital camera. I made lots of mistakes and you can laugh at every single one of them. This story proves that anyone can become a photographer, even me. This book is $1.99 and is available by clicking on the button below:

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The next book has been my most popular blog series ever. Thousands of pins and page views have made this series a huge hit. Projects from this book have been featured on the Huffington Post, Craft Gawker, Hometalk and various other websites.

Gifts Wrapped in Glass: Crafts, Recipes, and projects in mason jars|Designers Sweet Spot|www.designerssweetspot.com

Writing this crafty book was one of the best things ever. I purchased and used more than 150 Mason jars of different styles, sizes and colors for this project.

Filled them with all sorts of beautiful things, and gave them all away.

This book, also $1,99 is full of ideas for crafts, recipes, sewing projects, home decor and much more all wrapped up in cute little Mason Jars.

You’re going to love it.

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Balloon Rally

balloon profile @designerssweetspot.com

I have been taking it easy lately. It feels good to spend time out doors, and catch up on things behind the scenes. My son and I took a side trip to see the Balloon Rally going on in the Monroe, WI. It’s a lovely small town in the southern part of our state. We ate hamburgers and ice cream from the food vendors, and listened to live jazz and blues music while we watched the balloons. A perfect summer’s evening in my book.

Blue balloon stripes

I have always wanted to see the Balloon Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had no idea such a thing existed here in Wisconsin. I happened to see an ad for this event that they haven’t had in almost 5 years. What are the odds?

Balloons rising

We arrived at the fair grounds just in time to see the balloons filling up and taking off into the horizon.

black balloon rising

They are of course absolutely huge!  So graceful and beautiful!

Pilots in the balloon basket

We were fortunate enough to be right below the flight path….

Bottom view of balloon basket

You would be surprised how loud they are as they release the hot air into the balloon. It seemed like we were so close we could have touched the basket!

2 balloons

Have you ever read Around the World in 80 Days? Seeing the balloons makes me want to read it again, such a great book!

Balloon glow

balloon profile

As the balloons disappeared behind us, we would turn around and there would be another one up in the air ready to take off. There were 6-8 balloons total. They all took off at once and made a short 6 mile trip into the countryside. Then they descend to the ground, pack up the balloon, and bring it back to the rally for another go. The last take off of the day is just before sunset. They call it “The Balloon Glow”.

Rainbow balloon overhead

This balloon was even more beautiful than the first! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go for a ride in a hot air balloon? Definitely on my bucket list! #yesIamcrazy

Balloons on the horizon

There were dozens of photographers at this event. I couldn’t wait to see how the pictures came out. I wasn’t disappointed.

Tuscan sunset balloon3

The last balloon to take off was named Tequila Sunrise. What a great name! Such summer fun! What are you doing for fun this summer?

 

 

 

Red Roses and Old Letters

Red Roses at @designerssweetspot.com

I have been reminiscing this week. We have had weddings, graduations and parties, which are fun but emotionally draining. I have taken some time off from my regular creative projects to work on things that I have let slide for a long time. One of the projects is a book I am working on.

Roses and letter

I am not ready to disclose the project just yet, but here’s a clue.

It is a real process and a real struggle. The distractions are everywhere. I have kids that come and go in and out, a hubby who works from home, my Mother lives here, even the cat wants attention. I want time to stroll in the park and think about what I am working on. Focus is elusive when you are working from a chaotic home.

Bass with roses in a vase

There doesn’t seem to be enough time to write. There are things weighing me down and I am not sure at all how things will come out. I have given myself a due date, but I might miss it. I fear would rather go to one of the free concerts in the park and hear the classical music for inspiration. I am a romantic at heart you know.

Roses on wooden table

I am getting ready to send out my next newsletter, if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do that so you can receive special offers and free items that no one else will get.

By the way, our rose bushes are blooming. I couldn’t resist taking pictures of them. They are so captivating! I almost cut them all down before I knew what they looked like. I am in love with their rich color and fresh scent. Guess I won’t be removing them anymore. I couldn’t possibly cut them down now that I know how beautiful they are.

Have a lovely day!

 

The Secret of the Garden

 

Wooden bridge with cherry blossoms

I have been meaning to visit the local botanical garden for the last several weeks. We usually go there once a year in the middle of the summer. For some reason,  I kept putting it off.

I was too busy. It would take too much time.

It cost too much. I didn’t have time.

Pink blossoms on white ground

There would be nothing worthwhile seeing this early in the season. I had seen it all before.

I wouldn’t get anything out of it. It would be a waste of time.

I needed to stay home and get things done. The blog world needed me.

The other day those little voices in my head finally got the better of me. Mom and I dropped everything and made our way to the garden. She had never been there before even though she lived in our area for more than 40 years.

We took off and left dishes in the sink. We left wet laundry in the washer. We left no cooked food or directions for making lunch (I know! GASP!).

Pond with wood duck

What we saw, shocked me. I was completely amazed at how beautiful the garden was in the spring. Picture perfect. This wooden bridge melted me. Monet’s famous garden in Giverney, France can’t be more beautiful than this.

Silly me, why did I think it would not be beautiful??

Secret pathway

The pathways were lush and green. The garden was full of birds and wildlife.

Pathway with blossoms

The trees were still in bloom. Even though they were beginning to loose their petals, they were amazing and beautiful.

Bench with petals on the ground

The fallen petals reminded me of snow on the ground. Such a fairyland this is! I could have sat on this bench for hours in contentment.

Calendula

Hard to believe we almost didn’t come to visit. We could have missed it all.

Mom in the garden

Mom loved it. She is 85 years young, and her memory is failing her. She asked me what every plant was as we walked along. I pointed out the plants that I knew, but she couldn’t remember them, and I would have to tell her again what they were the next time we came across them. It was a long, long walk.

It’s a walk I will always remember, although I am sure she will not.

Pot with curly willow branches

The garden was all but deserted. Very few visitors were there.

They were too busy.

They thought it would cost too much, even though it’s actually free to visit.

They didn’t think there would be much to see, even thought there is plenty to see.

They didn’t have time, although they could have made the time.

They needed to stay home and get things done, but they probably weren’t really accomplishing very much anyway.

The Secret of the Garden is in the big reveal. Every time I go there, it reveals something new to me and I learn something new about myself. Each time I come home refreshed and inspired.

I wonder how many other beautiful things I have missed because of those negative thoughts in my mind? I have decided I don’t want to miss them anymore. I will be listening for them and working to make them go away.

You never know where or when inspiration will find you. You may even find it where you are sure it won’t exist. That’s the Secret for today.

I hope you have been inspired!

 

Sew Fire Learn to Sew Printables

 

FB Live Camera Set Up

Good hello my friends! I am excited for my Live FB segment today!

That’s 10:00am CST on Mondays and Wednesdays. Be sure to check it out!  Fridays I am posting a video tutorial for a simple project you can make with your newly learned sewing skills. If you aren’t sure why you should learn to sew, read this post.

Actually, this week Friday, I will have a no sew project to give you a few more days to practice if you are new to sewing! You are going to love it, so be sure to stop by!

I thought you might appreciate an insight into what goes on behind the camera. I know I love to see how other people do things. I am new to video, I have done a few of them in the past (see my YouTube channel) but I have so much to learn. I recently attended a class on video production, so I feel I have new skills to help me along!

For now, this is my Facebook Live recording process. It’s rather funny actually, and if you see me smiling smugly at the camera it’s because I am cracking up inside over this pathetic set up! Hopefully, it won’t come crashing down when I am on camera! The lighting isn’t great but with a few lamps I can improve things a bit.

In this photo you will see my cell phone attached to a selfie stick. Yup, that’s what it is. The selfie stick is connected to an old tennis ball holder with bull dog clips to hold it in place. It is sitting on one of our old kitchen chairs. Someday I will update to an actual tripod attachment gismo, but for now this ridiculous contraption seems to work rather well. It also makes me laugh on camera and helps to relieve my camera shyness.

Crazy right?

I am posting to give you the links to the promised So Fire FREE PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS.

I will be adding more to this page as time goes on, here are a few to get you started!

Lesson 1 Sewing a Straight Stitch

Lesson 2 Learning to Pivot

Lesson 3 Sewing Curves

Lesson 4 Thread Do’s and Don’ts (also coming next week!)

See you soon!