10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY Blogger

There are always a lot of little insider tips and juicy details about people’s seemingly glamorous occupations that would make for a GREAT reality show, don’t you think? DIY blogging is definitely one of them, and it seems like people are always so interested in jumping on the train, but before you make the leap, I thought I should let you in on 10 secret things about being a DIY blogger you might not have known.

Now, before anyone sends me hate emails, these bullets are just speaking from my own experience…

1. I hope you like ramen noodles—

When you’re first starting out, most people forget to think about how much it actually costs to constantly make new projects, and that’s assuming you haven’t had 5 failed attempts trying to figure out how to make a random idea come to life. On top of that you have to factor in what kind of space (literally, it used to be a corner of my living room) and time you’re going to have to carve out to be able to make those said failed attempts, which sometimes leaves you with about as much time and money leftover to have ramen for dinner (okay, it’s actually cereal in my case, but you get the idea). Like most big career moves, you have the initial mountain to climb and then things get better, but this career is 100% the opposite of a get-rich-quick scheme unlike a lot of viral blog articles make it out to be (I explained all about how we make money right here). If you’re willing to put in the time and work though, it can be one of the most fun jobs of all time.

2. You’ll get a WHOLE lot of emails from companies about “whipping something up”—

Worse than the aforementioned example are the companies that want you to make things and/or promote them for free or very little in exchange. They’re also usually the most persistent. Don’t get me wrong, there are awesome brands that are a dream to work with, and I’m all about a good bartering system when needed, but I’m talking about the few bad apples that we ALL talk about. They don’t want to pay you for anything, or for supplies, but they were hoping you could just “whip up” this idea they created out of nowhere for them as if you don’t sleep or eat. Or more importantly, have bills. And lastly, they definitely don’t want to you be well-versed enough on the blogging ropes to know you’re worth more than that.

3. You become overly concerned with your hands—

Once upon a time if I had had scarce blobs of fingernail polish that loosely resembled The Rorschach test left on each finger,  I might’ve looked the other way for a few more days. Now it turns out that having jacked up claws is very distracting for people trying to figure out what your fingers are actually doing in order to recreate a DIY. Not that I pride myself on being the girl that had spray paint or liquid gold leaf ground into her hands for long periods of time or anything, but I at least did like being able to get away with it as a low priority when I could. Not to mention you also become really jealous of people with naturally pretty hands when yours are veiny and mostly knuckles, but I’m not bitter or anything. My case in point below..

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

4. If you don’t already have thick skin, you’ll need to grow it—

Speaking of body parts, you’ll need some thick skin. Now internet trolls are totally relevant across all online categories, but I find them especially…unique.. when it comes to DIY’ing. For instance, it’s no longer just about how they took an additional two minutes out of their day that they’ll never get back in order to explain how much they dislike you/a project. Instead, they’ll also occasionally go into detail about how they could do it better, or my personal favorite, which is when they explain to you in depth about how disappointed they are that something cost X amount of dollars to DIY even though the hundreds of the tutorials and recipes on this site are provided for free.

5. Only about 20% of a DIY blog involves DIY’ing—

Surprise! Or were you not so surprised? To make a single DIY blog post you have to: conceptualize the idea, source the materials, go buy the materials, figure out what you’re going to style it with in case you also need to buy something for that, then you forgot something you needed and you have to go back out, then you make the project while stopping every five seconds to take tutorial shots, now you style the final version, photograph it, style it a another way so it doesn’t all look the same, photograph it again, edit the photos, export them to web ready, create a header image, write the text intro, write the tutorial copy, write the exit paragraph, insert SEO keywords and tags, upload the images, organize them in order of what images will attract the most eyes, categorize the post, schedule it, schedule the social shares to promote it, then posts the social shares the next day, and then pin it to Pinterest. That’s of course not including the everyday emails, accounting, scheduling, organizing content, creating content weeks ahead of time when you can, making sure clients feel confident in your work, reading through contracts, studying new social media algorithms, cleaning up from DIY days, thinking about the bigger business picture, staying relevant on social media, etc. Basically you have to wear 1,000 hats at all times.

6. You naturally become a very successful hoarder—

In an effort to try and cut out some of the added time from #6, you inadvertently become a hoarder with the best of intentions. I mean, you may never quite know when you’ll need that piece of left over styrofoam that looks like birds have been pecking at it for the last 10 years, just so you can shove it in the bottom of a container to jerry-rig a last minute popsicle/cakepop/lollipop stand. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in that emergency scenario several times and I now stay fully prepared. We also do not throw away nicely frosted cakes or old macarons of ANY KIND, and unless they’re growing mold, there is no expiration date to how long you can style them. Do you know how much magic a cake or macaron can bring to a styled setting? It’s like gold, my friends. This is also why should never assume something is still edible in our studio.

7. It’s a lot like constantly reinventing the toaster oven—

While wearing your 1,000 hats you also need to reinvent the toaster oven, but no pressure or anything. No one wants to accidentally have the same project that someone else has already done (and you definitely don’t want to accidentally step on anyone’s toes), so in order to stand out in a crowd full of bloggers, your next creation can’t just be okay, it has to be Freaking. Pinterest. Awesome. We’re talking the Toaster Oven x1000 in solid gold, the bedazzled edition.

my trouble with social media - sugar & cloth

8. Going out of town is about as quick and easy as wrangling stray zoo animals—

I don’t want to just assume that none of you have ever tried to assemble and/or use a drill for serious crafting in your hotel room while also simultaneously hoping there is decent light for photos, but if you haven’t, it’s really not fun. So to avoid that disaster, I usually just live in the path of my own tornado. That means I have to make sure that I have enough projects made, recipes cooked, photographs taken, posts written, emails done, and brand projects finished prior to being able to commit to leaving the state and/or city for longer than 48 hours at any given time. It’s actually really fascinating what 12 different kinds of emotions I can have in a single hour during those pre-traveling times.

9. You’re always friending up—

Okay, so technically this is just a wise life motto for hanging around people that will make you a better person, but it still rings very true with blogging. There’s no need to go all Bear Grylls/Survivorman when there are plenty of super wise people that have already trekked the trek that are willing to lend a helping hand with advice if you’re not too into yourself to listen. There’s actually a really big community of supporters behind the scenes.

10. Constantly dreaming never gets old—

Though I can write sarcastic comments about the woes of DIY blogging just as well as the next wannabe comedian blogger, and I may even be able to balance 1000 hats while only crying over a year old cake in the freezer once per quarter, I genuinely love being able to dream up new things to create and share with you as my job. Even if that means internet trolls, ramen noodles, and keeping old pieces of Styrofoam as a prized possession.

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

 

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY Blogger

There are always a lot of little insider tips and juicy details about people’s seemingly glamorous occupations that would make for a GREAT reality show, don’t you think? DIY blogging is definitely one of them, and it seems like people are always so interested in jumping on the train, but before you make the leap, I thought I should let you in on 10 secret things about being a DIY blogger you might not have known.

Now, before anyone sends me hate emails, these bullets are just speaking from my own experience…

1. I hope you like ramen noodles—

When you’re first starting out, most people forget to think about how much it actually costs to constantly make new projects, and that’s assuming you haven’t had 5 failed attempts trying to figure out how to make a random idea come to life. On top of that you have to factor in what kind of space (literally, it used to be a corner of my living room) and time you’re going to have to carve out to be able to make those said failed attempts, which sometimes leaves you with about as much time and money leftover to have ramen for dinner (okay, it’s actually cereal in my case, but you get the idea). Like most big career moves, you have the initial mountain to climb and then things get better, but this career is 100% the opposite of a get-rich-quick scheme unlike a lot of viral blog articles make it out to be (I explained all about how we make money right here). If you’re willing to put in the time and work though, it can be one of the most fun jobs of all time.

2. You’ll get a WHOLE lot of emails from companies about “whipping something up”—

Worse than the aforementioned example are the companies that want you to make things and/or promote them for free or very little in exchange. They’re also usually the most persistent. Don’t get me wrong, there are awesome brands that are a dream to work with, and I’m all about a good bartering system when needed, but I’m talking about the few bad apples that we ALL talk about. They don’t want to pay you for anything, or for supplies, but they were hoping you could just “whip up” this idea they created out of nowhere for them as if you don’t sleep or eat. Or more importantly, have bills. And lastly, they definitely don’t want to you be well-versed enough on the blogging ropes to know you’re worth more than that.

3. You become overly concerned with your hands—

Once upon a time if I had had scarce blobs of fingernail polish that loosely resembled The Rorschach test left on each finger,  I might’ve looked the other way for a few more days. Now it turns out that having jacked up claws is very distracting for people trying to figure out what your fingers are actually doing in order to recreate a DIY. Not that I pride myself on being the girl that had spray paint or liquid gold leaf ground into her hands for long periods of time or anything, but I at least did like being able to get away with it as a low priority when I could. Not to mention you also become really jealous of people with naturally pretty hands when yours are veiny and mostly knuckles, but I’m not bitter or anything. My case in point below..

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

4. If you don’t already have thick skin, you’ll need to grow it—

Speaking of body parts, you’ll need some thick skin. Now internet trolls are totally relevant across all online categories, but I find them especially…unique.. when it comes to DIY’ing. For instance, it’s no longer just about how they took an additional two minutes out of their day that they’ll never get back in order to explain how much they dislike you/a project. Instead, they’ll also occasionally go into detail about how they could do it better, or my personal favorite, which is when they explain to you in depth about how disappointed they are that something cost X amount of dollars to DIY even though the hundreds of the tutorials and recipes on this site are provided for free.

5. Only about 20% of a DIY blog involves DIY’ing—

Surprise! Or were you not so surprised? To make a single DIY blog post you have to: conceptualize the idea, source the materials, go buy the materials, figure out what you’re going to style it with in case you also need to buy something for that, then you forgot something you needed and you have to go back out, then you make the project while stopping every five seconds to take tutorial shots, now you style the final version, photograph it, style it a another way so it doesn’t all look the same, photograph it again, edit the photos, export them to web ready, create a header image, write the text intro, write the tutorial copy, write the exit paragraph, insert SEO keywords and tags, upload the images, organize them in order of what images will attract the most eyes, categorize the post, schedule it, schedule the social shares to promote it, then posts the social shares the next day, and then pin it to Pinterest. That’s of course not including the everyday emails, accounting, scheduling, organizing content, creating content weeks ahead of time when you can, making sure clients feel confident in your work, reading through contracts, studying new social media algorithms, cleaning up from DIY days, thinking about the bigger business picture, staying relevant on social media, etc. Basically you have to wear 1,000 hats at all times.

6. You naturally become a very successful hoarder—

In an effort to try and cut out some of the added time from #6, you inadvertently become a hoarder with the best of intentions. I mean, you may never quite know when you’ll need that piece of left over styrofoam that looks like birds have been pecking at it for the last 10 years, just so you can shove it in the bottom of a container to jerry-rig a last minute popsicle/cakepop/lollipop stand. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in that emergency scenario several times and I now stay fully prepared. We also do not throw away nicely frosted cakes or old macarons of ANY KIND, and unless they’re growing mold, there is no expiration date to how long you can style them. Do you know how much magic a cake or macaron can bring to a styled setting? It’s like gold, my friends. This is also why should never assume something is still edible in our studio.

7. It’s a lot like constantly reinventing the toaster oven—

While wearing your 1,000 hats you also need to reinvent the toaster oven, but no pressure or anything. No one wants to accidentally have the same project that someone else has already done (and you definitely don’t want to accidentally step on anyone’s toes), so in order to stand out in a crowd full of bloggers, your next creation can’t just be okay, it has to be Freaking. Pinterest. Awesome. We’re talking the Toaster Oven x1000 in solid gold, the bedazzled edition.

my trouble with social media - sugar & cloth

8. Going out of town is about as quick and easy as wrangling stray zoo animals—

I don’t want to just assume that none of you have ever tried to assemble and/or use a drill for serious crafting in your hotel room while also simultaneously hoping there is decent light for photos, but if you haven’t, it’s really not fun. So to avoid that disaster, I usually just live in the path of my own tornado. That means I have to make sure that I have enough projects made, recipes cooked, photographs taken, posts written, emails done, and brand projects finished prior to being able to commit to leaving the state and/or city for longer than 48 hours at any given time. It’s actually really fascinating what 12 different kinds of emotions I can have in a single hour during those pre-traveling times.

9. You’re always friending up—

Okay, so technically this is just a wise life motto for hanging around people that will make you a better person, but it still rings very true with blogging. There’s no need to go all Bear Grylls/Survivorman when there are plenty of super wise people that have already trekked the trek that are willing to lend a helping hand with advice if you’re not too into yourself to listen. There’s actually a really big community of supporters behind the scenes.

10. Constantly dreaming never gets old—

Though I can write sarcastic comments about the woes of DIY blogging just as well as the next wannabe comedian blogger, and I may even be able to balance 1000 hats while only crying over a year old cake in the freezer once per quarter, I genuinely love being able to dream up new things to create and share with you as my job. Even if that means internet trolls, ramen noodles, and keeping old pieces of Styrofoam as a prized possession.

10 Secret Things About Being a DIY blogger you probably didn't know - sugar and cloth - ashley rose

 

Comments

  • Kristine

    03.02.16

    The one that made me laugh was the hands. I was thinking about how my own looked just yesterday when working on a video. from what i can tell, yours look just fine :)

    • Ashley said:

      haha, well thank you for the reassurance ;)

  • Grace

    03.02.16

    :D That was fun to read :) Absolutely agree on 4,5,9 and 10… :)

    • Ashley said:

      haha! I’ve been learning alllll about 4 lately ;)

  • Kara Whitten

    03.02.16

    Love this post! It is very true, but just like you said it will be worth it! And ditto on the hands thing! I can’t seem to keep polish on my nails with all the projects I am working on, so I always have to repaint them before photos! and I always see weird creases and can’t figure out how to hold the camera and take pics of me doing something. I guess it is time to set up a tripod and a remote! BTW it was great meeting you this past weekend!

    • Ashley said:

      Gel polish is the ONLY way to go :) great meeting you too!

  • OMG I love this post so much! It’s so true! I may be eating ramen for dinner, but my god do my nails look fresh hahah!

    • Ashley said:

      bahaha! I love you ;)

  • Jeska

    03.02.16

    so spot on about how you become good at hoarding! since starting my blog, i have such a hard time throwing things away.

    the cool part is that you look at your ideas and it’s like “wow, that was a piece of junk. and i made it work.”

  • Mandy P.

    03.02.16

    Very well said. I tried my hand at DIY blogging and, for many of the reasons you stated above, just couldn’t hang in there. You’re doing great juggling them!

    • Ashley said:

      miss you, Mandy! Hope you’ve been well! xo

  • Jessica

    03.02.16

    I dont have a blog yet, but since i started the diy thing i can relate to all of this! I couLdnt help laughing over and over. The hoarding thing is my worst offense haha- i keep decorated macarons aNd candy melt covered creations piled high in the fridge, and warped foam board and every Single scrap of paper shapes ive cut out for a project omG lol.

    • Ashley said:

      Ido the paper scraps hoarding, too!

  • allison

    03.02.16

    The new blog layout/design is absolutely lovely!

    • Ashley said:

      thanks so much, Allison! xo

  • Kristina B

    03.02.16

    OMG. This is the best ever and SO true. When you listed all the things you put into a post a smiled and nodded the whole time because I know what goes into my Instagram posts and what I do to curate my feed. Just to have a bank of photos for a couple WEEKS takes HOURS! Ha! Great stuff Ash!

    • Ashley said:

      haha, so true about photo banks. The struggle is real ;)

  • Krista

    03.02.16

    This post was hilarious, but so true! And my hands are veiny but I still think they look good haha :)

    • Ashley said:

      haha! we’re rock the veiny hands, girl! ;)

  • Carrie

    03.02.16

    Oh, man, this is so spot on!!! I definitely feel you on so many of these points…We all need a stress-free vacation—am I right?! (says the girl who just spent two hours planning her to-do list through May so that she could take a vacation in April). We appreciate all of your hard work!!!

    • Ashley said:

      I LITERALLY just made the same list, haha!

  • This post made me so happy. Thank you for sharing so many of the realities and so many of the perks, too. Cake and macs are a blogger’s gold… truth!

  • I definitely have a little more appreciation for you awesome diy’ers now!! wow that’s a lot to happen!

    • Ashley said:

      don’t be too impressed, I fail often ;) xoxo

  • Linda

    03.02.16

    LOVE YOUR POST! I AM blogging SINce a few MONThs AND I love waering THE 1000 hats. I TOTAlly REGOnize what YOU are writhing. THANKS for THE BEHIND the scenes!

    • Ashley said:

      glad you loved the post, Linda! And wishing you lots of success on the new blog!

  • Agree whole heartedly! This post both inspired but tells the truth behind DIY blogging. You forgot cleaning your space before creating so it will photograph well to number 5. ;)

    • Ashley said:

      ah! Dang it, you’re right!

  • Yes! All of this is so true! People tell me all of the time that they don’t have those pretty rooms happen. me either, it takes work! I just started sharing craft videos and feel like I need to do fingers work outs to get slim hands… and a manicure!

    • Ashley said:

      bahaha! please let me know which finger workouts you end up liking best, haha ;)

  • Valerie

    03.02.16

    Yes to all of this! I am such a hoarder with craft supplies. I also used to think I had pretty hands until I saw them In a close up picture. The struggle is real!

    • Ashley said:

      haha, right?! Mine look great when they’re out of focus though ;)

  • Trisha

    03.02.16

    I kept having ‘oh, Yeah’, ‘exactly! ‘, and, ‘absolutely, without a doubt! ‘ moments throughout your entire post! I prefer eating cereal, too, but when I feel like splurging, I make a pb&j sandwich on toasted wheat bread with a tall glass of chocolate milk! Such a great post! :)

    • Ashley said:

      thanks trisha! xo

  • Sandra

    03.02.16

    So true and funny, I was just complaining to my granddaughter about how veiny my hands are. I can relate to so many of these as a food blogger and Party person. My freezer is loaded with leftover sweets and I sure there’s a law against the amount of plastic bins i own.

    • Ashley said:

      haha, yes, the bins! I also have an abnormal amount of gallon sized ziploc bags :)

  • First time commenter, long-time follower. Thank you for spelling all of these things out. It amazes me how many people think that starting a craft blog is just such an easy thing. the hours of behind the scenes for sometimes a mere few views can be disheartening for all of us. and finding that balance between passion and day job can be a tricky thing sometimes. I hope I never lose my passion for creativity.

    • Ashley said:

      thank you so much for reading a long and taking the time to comment, it makes my day! xo

  • Tori

    03.02.16

    I can so relate to the hand drama! I always dream of befriending a neighbor with gorge hands who can just “pop” over when I need someone to hold a cocktail for a shoot! ;)

    • Ashley said:

      haha, can you send me any references they may have for friends living in the Houston area as well? ;)

  • Miriam

    03.03.16

    It was so fun. You were so damn right. I totally agree with every point. You naturally become a very successful hoarder was so nice to read. Keep going girl. We love you!

    • Ashley said:

      the love is mutual!

  • Jessica Kramer

    03.04.16

    Ashley, thank you for your insights! I’ve always wondered, “How the heck do these ladies make this work, and make it look so fun and easy?!” It’s nice to see behind the scenes, and appreciate all the hard work that you put into each post and project.

    • Ashley said:

      it’s not always super fun and easy, but I love it either way ;)

  • Amy Ehmann

    03.04.16

    Love this post. No.5 is soooo true!!! I wish I had a team of people photographing and writing everything I do while the only think I did was the actual DIY. =D

  • KElsey

    03.09.16

    I love this! I laughed the whole way through because it is all so true. I just started DIY blogging (wish me luck) and it was mostly fueled by the fact that my house is over-flowing with random stuff I save “because I KNOW I’ll need it or can make something out of it, even if I just don’t know what that is yet!” So I decided I needed an outlet. Thanks for all the insight!

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