Behind the Scenes with Love Chic Living: January 2018

So with the advent of the New Year comes a new series here on the blog. After blogging for almost 6 years I wanted to find a way to document the ups and downs of life as a home and interiors blogger. I’d been thinking of this type of more personal, behind the scenes post for a while, and with the recent blogger/hotel debacle still fresh in many people’s minds, I thought it timely to kick this off. So, welcome to a behind the scenes look at Love Chic Living.

In this series, with one blog post towards the end of each month, I’m going to document not only homes and interiors news, but what life is like as a full-time blogger in the homes and interiors sector. I’m not a 22-year-old influencer (as many people believe all ‘influencers’ to be) – I’m a 48-year-old entrepreneur with a huge passion for my craft, a big love of all things home related, and a woman trying to carve a career and income in an industry that’s still new and evolving, and very often misunderstood. Hopefully this will give you more of an insight into an interior blogger’s world, a behind the scenes take if you will, on what great things I’ve seen and discovered, what I’ve been up to, recommendations I might have and both the high and low points. Let’s get going……

Brand Collaborations:

It’s been a great month for working with brands, and the collaborations have been hugely creative too. I was proud to have an interview on the Harvey Maria blog (they gifted the flooring for my kitchen and dining room makeovers), and I created some imagery and a blog post on Scandinavian interiors and plants for Interflora. I also wrote a piece for the npower blog on making those darn ugly boilers look better, which has just come out today.

I’m also helping a brand new interiors company get funding for their project, and if successful, look forward to helping them shape their home and interiors range as they develop their brand.

A shout out to the smaller companies too. Look out for Little Botanical for your beautifully potted houseplants and Monboy for bold and bright wall art (I’m going to giveaway one of their prints on Instagram next week, so come and see us there).

Finally I’m testing an iRobot Roomba vacuum over the next few weeks so should have a full review on the blog later in February.

Events:

I took 2 trips to London this month to visit a couple of different events:

Wayfair – had taken over a house and styled it with their products. High points for me were the kitchen/dining area and open plan living space.

Houzz – again took over an event space, a house in Soho and styled it with products from their vendors to create the Houzz of 2018. Another beautiful space where I really loved the bedroom and sitting room. (The house is open all of this week – w/c 29/1 to the public free of charge at 19 Greek Street, Soho.)

Instagram:

2018 has started well, and one of my key focuses is Instagram. It’s a platform I’ve often ignored, preferring to spend my time on Pinterest, but there is huge home and interiors inspiration there, and I know that businesses are all wanting to take advantage of it too. So in an effort to be more engaged, this month I launched a brand new hashtag, along with 4 amazing other interior bloggers. What does this mean? Well if you use Instagram, and like to share images of your home on there, tag them with #SUYHome (Show us Your Home) and I’ll get to see them. Plus many others using the hashtag could see them too.

We are also going to have prizes each month, and January was sponsored by the lovely Sweetpea and Willow with a £200 giftcard. If you use the hashtag, check out this post here for more details on how to be part of the giveaway.

You can follow me here to find out more. 

Pinterest:

My Pinterest blog has been a little quiet this month and I need to rectify that. In February I’ll be doing a few posts on the back to basics feature I started and updating the site a little. I’ve no plans to relaunch my Pinterest course currently but there are lots of useful free resources still there, and I’ll still be creating these over the coming months.

I have set up a Pinterest Account Management section of this business, and with a small team, run accounts for several businesses and bloggers.  It’s going really well, and definitely something I’ll look to expand in the next 6 months.

Homes News:

The sales have been in full force of course, and I spotted some great bargains at both Matalan and Zara Home. Check them out if you’re still looking. Slowly but surely we see the release of new collections for SS18 for both high street and online retailers. Keep your eye on some of my favourites, Maisons du Monde (above), Dunelm and H&M Home.

Blog Highlights:

This month saw the big reveal of the my kitchen makeover. It’s been months in the making (the makeover not the blog post!) and I’m thrilled with the results. Whilst it wasn’t a full new kitchen I did change-up LOTS about the original and as a result it feels completely brand new.

Income vs Expenses:

I’m not going to reveal my actual income, even though I know you’d probably like me too, but let’s just say January was a strong month. After a weaker Christmas it’s been much welcomed. February is looking exceptionally strong. One of the big issues with being a full-time blogger is the inconsistency in income, the ups and downs of revenue and a certain panic each month as you wonder how much work you’ll have coming in. It can wreck your self-esteem and make you doubt your ‘influence’ and worth. The key to success is to keep the faith, but it’s hard in a niche that struggles with finance budgets and has a wealth of bloggers and Instagrammers at its fingertips.

I run Love Chic Living as a limited company, and this month had to pay my personal tax (as many of us do) and it’s actually my business year-end too, so there’s a lot of accountancy chat happening. I’ve been keeping expenses to a minimum but did buy some new photography lights from Amazon. I talked a lot about this on Instagram, and can’t believe I waited so long invest in some – they were jut £50 and are hugely worthwhile purchase for interiors photography at this time of year.

Other monthly expenses include thinks like:

  • Accountant
  • Subscriptions to Canva, Teachable
  • Convertkit emailer
  • Payment to a course I purchased 4 months ago

What to Expect Next Month:

Currently there are a few collaborations already agreed, and I’m looking forward to working with both new and well established companies. I also have a huge job writing copy for a brand new interiors website. It’s a job we’ve been discussing for months and I’m proud to be creating the words for this exciting new brand. Watch this space for more, but suffice to say I need to get my head down and work like a trojan this month.

The Month in Review:

It’s been a positive month. I’ve seen and shared some interesting interiors and been inspired by new homes and designs on Instagram. Income has been good, and outgoings minimal, but it’s never great sorting out the taxes and I really dislike this area of the business (I’m not good at managing the finances and to be honest, preferred being a sole trader).

So, well done if you made it to the end of the post – thank you for reading! I’ll do another one of these towards the end of February, but is there anything else you’d like to know? This one is a bit of a brain dump, but I can tailor each month’s post to focus on a different area of my work and/or home interiors news if that’s more interesting. I look forward to your comments!

Jen x

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30 Comments

  1. January 29, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    Wow, Jen, this is a timely post for me. I am winding down clients and working on my blog more while preparing for a move across the country. Hearing how you’ve been doing this is quite helpful!

    • January 29, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      Ah that’s great to know Christine, I’m glad it’s helpful. I wanted it to be a slice of reality for both bloggers and others to try and showcase how it can be. I know subsequent posts throughout the year won’t be the same, so it will be interesting, for me too, to document the year.

  2. January 29, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing Jen! It’s really insightful for someone like me at the start of my influencer journey. Hope 2018 is a great year for you!

    • January 29, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks so much, and you too Donna x

  3. January 29, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    A busy time! Quite a revelation to see how many different things you get up to in a month.

    • January 29, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks Fiona, I surprised myself at how many different things I’d done this month.

  4. Helen
    January 29, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Loved reading this post Jen it was really interesting. I get so many people asking me to start my blog and its on my list just haven’t got around to it so its useful to read the behind the scenes reality of a full time blogger.

    • January 29, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Thanks Helen, it was quite interesting to write it all down. I think I forget how many things I tackle each month!

  5. January 29, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    OOh so interesting to read about your month…tell me about your lights!

    • January 29, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Oh the lights are AMAZING and only £50 from Amazon. Well worth it for indoor photos this time of year.

  6. January 29, 2018 / 8:41 pm

    very interesting post Jen, it sheds a light on what a full tome
    Blogger (or whatever the right term is!) doesnon a monthly basis. You look very busy and I think that’s great. You have a lovely blog, full of great ideas and you deserve the success that comes with the hard work!

    • January 30, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      Ah thanks Vicki, I have to say no two months are the same and I think the February post might be considerably less varied 😉 x

  7. January 29, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    It’s always nice to read behind the scenes of running a site everyday! It’s one of those things that can make you feel isolated. So nice to see others going through the same thing. I cannot wait to read your Roomba review!

    • January 30, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      Thanks so much Ricky, yes it’s nice to feel there are others on the same path 🙂

  8. January 30, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Thanks for providing such a valuable information.

  9. January 30, 2018 / 6:38 pm

    This was such an interesting post, Jen! I loved the work you did with Interflora this month, and I’m glad to hear 2018 has gotten off to such a good start for you! 🙂

    • January 31, 2018 / 9:56 am

      Thank you so much Catherine, that’s lovely to hear. I think it will be interesting as the months progress, to show how things can change. It’s not always as varied as this, and certainly not always as busy. x

  10. January 31, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    We often lose sight of how much we’ve achieved each month and I bet writing it down is a good exercise. It’s good to hear you are busy. x

    • January 31, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      I agree, I was quite surprised how much I’d achieved to be honest, especially as I didn’t really get going until the 8th. I know Jan can be a slow month so yes, I’m also surprised it’s been so busy x

  11. January 31, 2018 / 2:30 pm

    Found this really interesting thanks Jen! Great to see behind the scenes

    • January 31, 2018 / 2:47 pm

      Thanks Susie, that’s good to know it’s of use x

  12. January 31, 2018 / 7:15 pm

    I am rubbish at the admin part of blogging – which is something I mostly need time for given I work full time and often rush last minute to do things like:
    – sending out invoices for work already delivered
    – ensuring I don’t forget events (have to admit I rely A LOT on brands sending reminders a day in advance, and if they don’t I usually miss them! yikes!)
    – keeping track of expenses for my return – I know what I get paid, but when it comes to expenses, it’s last minute panic to find e-receipts if I kept anything!

  13. February 1, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    This is such an interesting post, Jen. It goes so far to explain that blogging and ‘influencing’ is not just the odd photo on Instagram here and there with no thought, creativity or intelligence behind the work. I love knowing what people’s days look like and what they’re working on.

  14. February 1, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    It must be great to write it all down as it makes you realise how lovely this month really was. Some great projects done and planned too. The kitchen looks amazing and a great job done.

  15. February 2, 2018 / 10:19 pm

    Interesting post Jen and glad to hear you’ve been so busy. Some exciting things coming up too. I look forward to reading future posts.

    • February 6, 2018 / 8:53 am

      Thanks Stacey, I’m looking forward to showing how diverse and unpredictable this life can be 😉

  16. February 7, 2018 / 11:36 am

    Congratulations on all your collaborations. It’s been extremely busy here for me too but I absolutely love it. Have done my personal tax and VAT returns. Next up is corporation tax returns.

    • February 12, 2018 / 12:28 pm

      Excellent, glad you’ve had a good month Geraldine. Yes corporation tax returns next for me too! Good luck!!

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