We’re finally getting around to posting the rest of the Q&A you guys had from our Reader Survey! We started this post months ago and then got side tracked with some projects and well, life…and now here we are, rolling it out a few months later than intended. Hopefully this will help give those of you who were curious about how we started and those wanting to know more about the business side of blogging, some idea of what goes on behind the scenes here at The Merrythought. And feel free to reach out with any other questions you have – we love that you’re curious about what we do and how we do it!
I’m super curious how you coordinate posts between the two of you. My best friend and I just started a small Etsy shop together, and while I know it’s not quite the same thing, I’d be interested in hearing any experience and tips you have.
We use Google calendar to schedule our posts. It’s free, really simple to use and we can both edit/add to it as needed. We both just add to it as we think of ideas, trying to keep the posts about even for how much we’re each contributing. We also meet together at least once a week (but usually more), to go over the more business-y side of things and to spend time bouncing ideas off each other and planning out posts that we’ll be working on together. We try to evenly split all the work that we can. It’s really helpful that we only live a few miles down the road from each other, so getting together is easy. And Caitlin’s really great about being flexible with my schedule since I have young kids.
How do you guys decide how much money/time/resources would go into the blog in the beginning?
We basically went into it knowing that we would be making nothing off it and actually investing our own money into it. They say it takes a good 3-5 years to start seeing decent income off of blogging, and we went into with that mindset so we wouldn’t feel disappointed if nothing was happening for a while.
We also knew that if we didn’t put almost full-time hours into it, we probably wouldn’t make a go of it. It’d be too easy to let it fall to the side and just become more of a hobby when we had the time. We had both been blogging on personal blogs for a few years before this, so we knew what went in to it, and how much more effort & time would be required if we were going to try to make it somewhat successful. We didn’t have any set time/dollar amount. When we started, we looked at bigger blogs and how many posts they were putting out and tried to do something similar. We knew we’d have to prove that we were “established” and legit and it’s basically kind of like building up a portfolio for yourself. When we did start making money, we used that to pay for supplies/expenses and start building a small savings account. It was quite a while into it before we actually felt like we had enough to cover our expenses and pay ourselves as well.
Was there a goal to get it to support itself long term?
We did have a goal to try to “make it” as a business. Since we had both already been running our own personal blogs prior to creating The Merrythought, the whole plan behind this website was to create a business that would, hopefully, create some income!
How long did it take from start until you had a lot of followers.. I have been longing to start a blog but this worries me a lot.. that I don´t get followers.. where to get them?! How?!…
It took at least two years until we felt like we had some momentum going and we felt like we had a pretty steady following and enough of our stuff was out in various corners of the internet bringing in consistent traffic. We were definitely lucky timing-wise that we started up when Pinterest and Instagram were a huge launching pad for this type of business. New algorithms since then have become our worst enemy! Ha!
Honestly, we still don’t feel like we have “a lot” of followers… Haha! This is definitely one of those things that changes with each season of success that we’ve had. It’s hard to be aiming higher as a business and also be excited about how far you’ve come – one of those tricky balances & comparison games that can happen in many areas of life.
Overall consistency with posting and commitment to your brand/style will be huge when it comes to building followers.
How much time per week/day do you spend on researching posts?
Occasionally we do some research on posts – when we have a project idea, we usually do some searching to see how many people have already done it, or if it’s a specific technique used we research what has worked well for other people. The majority of our time is definitely spent on scheduling and executing the actual posts. Shopping for supplies, working on projects, photoshoots, editing, and writing posts. Then with all the business side of things, like emails and bookkeeping, we probably each work at least 20 hrs/week on the blog.
What were the most difficult challenges in making The Merrythought? How early do you schedule your projects before you post them?
Our first challenge was deciding on a name for the blog. There were three of us when we were starting out and it had to be something we all could agree on – that process felt like it took forever for us! Typical things for learning to work with someone else – learning workflow, pace, style, etc. Blogging can also kind of take over your life, and in a way it will just have to because of what you’re sharing/doing, but finding that balance between work & life has always been a struggle; it just felt a lot harder in the beginning because there was that fear that if you weren’t putting out work, you’d be left behind. On the web end, there was things like people stealing photos and posts (which, while still isn’t cool, we kind of got used to it, but as a newbie, it felt more personal), learning to take rude or mean comments in stride, dealing with servers and code – which is still a challenge, ha!
We try to schedule posts out for at least one month . We end up bumping things around a lot. We do have a few random post ideas scheduled out throughout the year that would work better for that season/time or for the length of time we know the project will need.
I would love to know more about where you get your inspiration for your projects! / How do you come up with all these ideas, especially the room transformations?
Pre-blogging days, we were makers out of necessity – if we needed a shelf and couldn’t afford to buy a new one – we’d make one using scrap wood in the garage. Blogging stretched us to create even more and think out of the box a bit as we challenge ourselves to incorporate new trends and styles into our existing decor.
We find inspiration everywhere! Sometimes our projects come from something we need around our homes, so we make it to fit that need. Sometimes we see something at a store or online, and are inspired to create something similar but that fits our style and/or budget.
When we’re completely reinventing a room to be everything that we love – we’ve found that Pinterest helps a lot. Being able to create a board of a bunch of living rooms that you love and then drawing inspiration from the common things that you love from those rooms to create a dream room with the style & function that works for you!
As always, thanks so much for reading along! We’re so thankful for those of you that are checking in weekly, reading along, encouraging us with comments and emails and genuinely interested in what we share! We wouldn’t be doing this without you. 😉
Photos by the lovely & talented Rachel Liz Photography