Last year we fell in love with Millie’s Beach Huts, a gorgeous beach hut hire company based in Walton On The Naze, Essex. Entrepreneur, Vicky Gunn is the mastermind behind this fabulous venture and her accompanying blog is every bit as inspiring.
The thing that I love about Vicky is that her writing oozes personality and after reading a post or two, I come away feeling like I have just been having a catch up with a friend over tea and cakes. She has the quality that super bloggers keep telling us that we need to find.. ‘our own voice’.
As a special treat, Vicky is offering all the 3 Little Buttons readers 10% off beach hut hire up until the 5th March 2017. This is the code that you will need when booking on her site: 3LITTLEBUTTONS10. It is valid for all of Millie’s Beach Huts and on any day too. You can book a date up to 12 months in advance! Hurry though, I can tell you from experience that these beauties book out in a blink of an eye. We will probably see you there!
Quick fire questions are so much fun but can also tell us so much about how someone thinks. Let’s see how Vicky got on.
*Waves, lefty over here too Vicky!
Grab a drink and get comfy, because Vicky is about to let us in on some of her top blogging tips and how they work for her.
My very first blog was back in September 2015 and between then and April 2016, I wrote a handful of blogs. Its so strange to think that was less than a year ago and by the end of 2016, I’d published 100 blogs and now started vlogging! Just a small turnaround in frequency and consistency.
Everything changed for me for two main reasons:
But I enjoy it.
I’ve really looking forward to doing this guest blog as for the last two weeks, I’ve been focused on producing information around our new services. When I don’t blog regularly, I miss it!
What’s kept me inspired? Well, if you mix personal and business blogging you can get so much value for yourself out of it as well as helping so many others too. There is nothing better than that one message from a reader who says you’ve inspired them to do some thing or that they just enjoyed reading your latest blog.
It’s those messages that inspire me to keep going.
Those first few blogs (and now even with my new vlog) were scary. Hitting the publish button was tough and I suspect I re-wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote. Edit after edit after edit.
When I read them now, I don’t really hear my own voice in those first few and I don’t feel any passion in them.
It’s clear that I was overthinking.
I wanted them to be so perfect, that I was afraid of voicing more of my opinion and writing as I would speak. Even if that means starting a sentence with “but”.
Now when I read my blogs, I recognise my voice.
There are parts of my writing that copywriters would hate but it’s me and I feel that I’m more free to talk about the true pros and cons of things, people, days out and accommodation without worrying about who I will upset by doing so.
Now this one is strange as I’m very much a pen and paper kind of person.
Most things I do start off with pen and paper (coloured ones of course) but when it comes to blogging, I go straight to the screen. I go straight into my WordPress website to type it in direct.
I like to add in the titles, subtitles, images etc. as I go and so I frequently use preview to get a feel for how it looks as I go along.
This approach has had its issues though.
Occasionally I have lost work when a server has gone done or Grammarly (my software to check spelling and grammar) hasn’t worked and I’ve hit publish with a few typos or duplicated sentences! All good learning.
I’m in love with my Surface Pro 3. It’s got great power and the capability of laptop but so light and portable. I’m actually writing this in Sainsbury’s café while waiting for my Dad to finish a physio appointment nearby.
However, most of my writing happens between 5am and 7am at my desk or in bed.
I find if it’s the first thing I do every day then there is no chance that I’ll disrupted or other tasks get in the way.
I know that I should be following a Miracle Morning routine BUT this works for me.
I don’t try to finish a blog in that time but 90minutes to 2hours blocked out each morning makes the world of a difference to me and the amount of content I publish. It was the only way I could squeeze it in while working full time and avoid the too tired to do so feeling at the end of a day.
A habit that I’ve kept going since leaving my full-time job.
Now, I’m writing for both of my business Millie’s Beach Huts and Millie’s Pet Services and have set targets for both for 2017.
That means writing at least once a week for Millie’s Beach Huts along with a monthly vlog and 3-4 times a week for Millie’s Pet Services as we are at that crucial start-up phase. It translates into 90mins to 2hours each morning including reporting and distribution of content too.
I’m a massive advocate of Marcus Sheridan’s Content Matrix which as a structure helps you brainstorm your products/services across several key headings: Cost, Reviews, best of, Comparisons, what is, How to and Problems. I think about all the services we provide and the types of activities that my reader (ideal client) do in their day to day lives. This gives me a fab list of ideas that will keep me going for at least another two years.
Around those topics, I scatter in whatever’s on my mind and/or happening in my life. I think it’s important if you are a small business owner to share you occasionally too. We can learn a lot from other lifestyle bloggers on this front!
There was a week late August where I hadn’t written for a week. This may not seem a big deal but this was during the time, where I’d set myself a target of 5 blogs per week. So, by the Wednesday of the following week, I was technically 8 behind my target and starting to feel down about it.
I was so frustrated. I had the ideas listed out with titles but I just couldn’t get into it. I wasn’t feeling it at all.
It wasn’t even like they were topics I didn’t’ want to write about. I love a ‘best of’ type post and know I revert to them even if I don’t quite feel like writing. But that wasn’t working either!
I was also about to travel up to Aviemore for a week and knew that I would be chasing my tail that week regardless. Had I completely failed the challenge?
I had a call the first night in Aviemore with my accountability group. I explained I just felt rubbish and not for any reason. I was also frustrated that I was within sight of my target for that 3 month period but had gotten so behind. They all picked me up but it was one simple idea that helped me. “Why don’t you forget about last week and put a line under it and get on with this weeks. Once you’re done, you could always go back”. It was what I needed.
Someone’s permission to draw a line and just get on with this week’s blogs. I churned out 2 blogs over the following 12 hours and got back into it.
I never did catch up on that week I missed but well, it was better that I just restarted and got my blogging mojo back.
If you don’t have an accountability group, then get one quick. They are invaluable and that call once a fortnight is one I don’t miss.
Bloggers rock because no matter what problem you have, they’ll have shared their experiences and solutions with you so that you never quite feel alone. They can make the most complex of subjects feel much more manageable and help inspire you.
Nooooooooo. Don’t make me answer that! This question is so hard, particularly when I’m’ surrounded by so many talented people every day. Ok… final 3:
Julie Christie. Originally of Julie Christie Photography, I’ve watched Julie transform her business month after month after month and she now runs both Tea Break Togs and Togs in Business. So, whether you are a photographer who is in business yourself or just a keen photographer she provides so much value. Julie cares and it shines through but it’s how she works that inspires me. She just gets on with it. No drama, no fuss. She works so hard behind the scenes and really seems to have no idea how good she is!
Check out her weekly blog on the weekly theme on Tea Break Togs. I just love looking at the images each week. So many talented photographers.
Ann Handley. All I can say is…. THE WRITING!!!! It’s articulate, it’s fluid, it’s clean, it’s human and its….. well it’s Ann Handley. She talks about social media and marketing over on her blog and I just love how she dissects others writing too. I learn so much from how she writes. One super cool lady and if I can write at 10% of the level she does, I’ll be happy!
Dear Beautiful Boy. Lucy and her family were our very first guests at my beach huts. I had no idea she was a blogger and she had no idea they were my first guests!! It’s felt like fate since then and I’ve loved seeing how her family have grown over the last few years through her blog and vlogs. But it’s the variety of styles and way Lucy communicates that I love. From her regular features to adhoc reviews, she’s consistent but it always still feels fresh and honest. I can’t wait to see how she develops during 2017 too.
Create a rubbish first draft. Let it be a stream of consciousness, ignore the typos, grammar, spelling mistakes you make along the way and keep typing or writing.
THEN go away and do something else before going back to edit.
I love this and I achieve so much more when doing so. It stops you from going back and correcting typos etc. and just to keep writing!
Ann Handley’s book “Everybody Writes” Is a must buy for any blogger and this is one of the learnings I took away from her book that has had the biggest impact.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan and as I left my full-time job last year, I bought one of the limited-edition prints as inspiration for my writing corner!
I just love this quote and it inspires me every day. I hope that just one blog, helps someone else feel they can believe and that they can dream of anything that they want to!
The Inspire Me guest series will be running over the coming weeks. It will be featuring some of my favourite bloggers. From the queen bee’s themselves, to the much newer bloggers on the scene. All have that elusive something that you can’t quite put your finger on that makes them stand out from the crowd, as well as being key inspirers.