Can blogging really be your full-time gig?
If you're anything like Ashley Pletcher of Afternoon Espresso, the answer is yes. After being laid off from a job she didn't really love, Ashley decided to make a go at this blogging thing. Three years later and she's still going strong.
Read below to learn more about Ashley, why she's so passionate about blogging, and what has been her biggest struggle through it all.
How did you get into blogging?
Blogging is something I really wanted to do for a long time. I just didn’t have the confidence to put myself out there initially. When I found that my career choice of Accounting really wasn’t for me, I needed some sort of outlet to help me get through. I needed something that I really enjoyed, so I decided to take the plunge and start Afternoon Espresso. The timing was right. Afternoon Espresso is a place where I can compile all of my passions and things that make me happy!
At what point did you realize that you didn't need to look for another accounting job because Afternoon Espresso was something that could actually pay the bills?
I had switched jobs to a smaller company, still doing accounting, in hopes that it wouldn’t be as stressful for me. The company actually went through some tough times and I was laid off from work due to the economic state of the company. Afternoon Espresso was already started, so I considered this a sign for me to go full force and see what this blog can do!
How much time do you spend planning, writing, recording, and posting on social media each week?
I actually have considered tracking the amount of hours I put in each week on blogging, but I haven’t done so yet. I probably don’t want to know! Roughly, I would say I put at least 50-60 hours a week including outfit shooting, blog posts, social media, strategizing, etc. There is always something that needs to be done.
What has been the biggest challenge for you over the course of blogging?
Honestly, the ups and downs of blogging have really been a struggle for me. There are weeks that go by and my page views will be the best they’ve ever been and I’m getting emails for collaborations left and right, and life is good! Then, there are some weeks where my page views have dropped, a decent number of people unfollowed me on Instagram, and you can hear crickets in my inbox. These weeks are tough, but this is the time where I have to remind myself why I started my blog in the first place. To share my passions and have fun with it.
What has been the most surprising?
The amount of work and effort that goes into blogging. It’s truly like running a small business. With small businesses you are required to wear many hats like being the photographer, or marketing yourself, doing the accounting, reviewing contracts, creating content which involves fresh new ideas, shopping, writing... the list honestly goes on and on!
A lot of women are told that a blog is THE path to financial freedom. Can you share a bit about how you've been able to monetize your site and what it takes to sustain month after month?
There are many ways to monetize a blog these days, especially since blogging is becoming an industry of its own! One of the main ways I monetize Afternoon Espresso is by being a part of several affiliate programs such as rewardStyle, ShareASale, and individual brand programs like Amazon. You typically have to apply to be accepted into these programs.
Other monetization areas include pay per click advertisements and sponsorships where brands will reach out to me to sponsor a post to share their products!
What's on the horizon for you? Any new collaborations or partnerships you are looking to build?
This year I've been focusing a lot on travel partnerships so I'm excited to be heading to Sonoma with The Farmhouse Inn in a few weeks! Other than that I'm gearing up for the holidays with everything from gift guides, decor ideas, and fun Holiday recipes!
I am also one of the founders of Style Social Pittsburgh alongside Kim Allera (Yes, Wear That!) and Tori Mistick (Wear, Wag, Repeat). We focus on networking with the local fashion bloggers in Pittsburgh and we have some major upcoming plans for 2017 that I can’t disclose just yet, but we are so excited about what’s to come!!
Famous last words... What advice would you give to women who are wanting to make it big in the fashion blogging world?
This might sound kind of cliché, but I really do mean it when I say, “do it because you love it and because it’s a passion for you.” Don’t do it to become famous or to make a ton of money. Blogging is a business, and with any business, it takes hard work, passion, and sometimes even tears, but it’s so rewarding when you find yourself successful!