Hi, y’all, it’s Amber, and I’m here to tell you my story on how I turned my hobby blog into an award winning business while only working part-time!
Blogging has landed me incredible opportunities including features on The Today Show, Cosmopolitan, Parade, Country Living and more, and has given me gigs like my current position at Green Bag Designs.
The biggest take away today? YOU CAN TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO A BUSINESS TOO!
I have a BFA in Creative Writing, I minored in photography, and cooking amazing food is my love language so, once the concept of a food blog was dangled in front of me, I grabbed a hold of that sucker and never let go!
Goodness knows I was oblivious to the doors blogging would open for me in the future.
How I Started A Blog
I decided I was going to turn my passion into a product I could share with other people, and I figured out how to start a blog. For me, that product was recipes, and I did as much research on becoming a blogger as I could. I studied the websites of the blogs I loved, taking notes on style, execution, layout, delivery, and design and then I took my product to friends, neighbors, and family for direct and honest feedback. Always keep up on community trends!
How I Spread the Word
I wanted to get my website in front of as many eyes as I could so I spent a good bit of time marketing myself to other bloggers without actually marketing myself to them. Basically I got involved in the community and I networked with other people in my niche. I connected through conversations, relationships, and collaborations and NEVER bombarded ANYONE with salesy messages, blog links, or insincere comments or share requests. That’ll get you blacklisted FAST.
How I Built My Brand
I’m constantly building my brand, but when I first started I figured out who my target audience was, I found a solution to their problem, and I made every effort I could to fix it. From there, I’ve joined Facebook Groups, attended workshops, watched webinars and implemented a variety of marketing strategies to help my numbers grow.
I currently have 11K+ social media followers, and I am always hoping for more. The same goes for the monthly page views to my site. I had surgery about a year ago which made my blog take a huge hit. I went from 40K page views a month to roughly 12K+ page views a month which I’ve just recently built back to about 21K+ page views a month. I make it a priority to push my product to various social media outlets including Pinterest, Instagram, and many, many more. Understand that I’m not just looking for numbers though. I’m looking to gain real followers who love my work, want to be my friend, and trust in the things I tell them.
How I Turned My Blog Into A Business
Being a blogger requires a very special skill set which has landed me a slew of opportunities which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I also know my worth, and I am not afraid to negotiate. It’s important for me to work with individuals and companies who understand the same and whose products and services I believe in.
Because of this, I have held various freelance positions in real estate offices and service based businesses, collaborated with famous brands, helped build local startups, developed photos and recipes for a New York Times Best Selling cookbook author, and managed various ad campaigns through a variety of platforms. I’ve also accumulated accounts with the most amazing, hardworking, trustworthy, and mind blowing marketing company on the planet, Green Bag Designs, who believes in my work, supports my blog, and is constantly driving me to succeed.
How To Build Your Business
What’s the bottom line? Find something you love and turn it into a solution to a specific group of people’s problems. Nurture that product, study your competition, and get yourself involved in the industry. From there, trust that it takes time to build your brand and understand that it’s constantly evolving. Make relationships that matter, and work with people and companies who push you forward, not bring you down. Lastly and most importantly, truly, truly, truly love your product and believe in changes the world. You can’t expect others to have respect your brand if you don’t have faith in it yourself.
Amber Hanna Forbes is a 30 something southern sassafras from Charleston, SC who manages life with a brain tumor, the antics of a 4 year old cyclone, and the schedule of a busy, hardworking husband. She is the founder of, Slim Pickin’s Kitchen, a food blog focusing on recipes that are inventive, fun, quick, and healthy. She is the Today’s Show’s Home Chef Challenge winner, a Flipkey by Trip Advisor Top South Carolina blogger, and an exclusive member of Mediavine Food. She credits her creativity to her “cuisine gene” and aims to develop dishes that are easy, tasty, and simple to pull together for busy folks and their families.