Donna Wishart is a family lifestyle blogger at www.whattheredheadsaid.com
What first inspired you to start blogging? Describe your career/lifestyle beforehand?
I started blogging in 2012 when we started weaning our first child. We did baby led weaning and at the time there wasn't much information around about it so I thought it might be interesting to write about and helpful for other new parents to read. At the time I was on maternity leave from my job as a Bank Manager and when I went back to work blogging and banking ran side by side for me until the end of 2016 when I gave up my job at the bank to blog full time.
What is the premise behind your blog and how does it differ from other popular parenting blogs/vlogs?
My blog has grown so much from when it started that it's now about busy family life. It follows our adventures, days out and travels as well as insights into the more ordinary moments of our lives too. I hope that it inspires other families to go on a day out or see the adventure in the everyday moments too.
I think that many parenting blogs are similar because we all write about our families. I don't differ massively from the others but do I tend to write about the ups and downs - not always the positives. I am transparent with what I write about and I have quite a clear brand based around myself and my daughter being redheads.
What is your current following?
I have over 50,000 followers across social media and another 3,000 who subscribe by email or Bloglovin - a blog reading app. I get about 40,000 pageviews per month with most of them coming from Google searches.
How do you work running the blog alongside motherhood and your other commitments?
Now that the blog is my job and both children are at school I find juggling everything so much easier than when one child was at nursery or when I had a day job too. Plus, up until six months ago my husband worked shifts too!
The blog is a full time job giving a full time income but the children are only at school 9am-3pm each day. This means that I have to spend every evening working too and I have to be really strict with time and be super organised to make everything work.
We have a meal plan each week, an online food order and a Google calendar shared with the family that has our whole lives on it. To make sure family life runs smoothly I have to make sure everyone knows where they need to be and what everyone is doing on each day. It isn't easy but it works.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? Are there any perks/downsides?
Before I started my blog we didn't have the money to go on big days out or travel around the UK. The blog has opened up so many opportunities for us as a family and the children have already seen so much of the country, stayed in so many hotels and been to so many places. Being able to share this life with my family is amazing and a definite perk of the job.
The downside though is that work never stops. If I have a day off I have to catch up. I have to be on social media every day and even if we go on holiday for two weeks and I switch off I need to keep tabs on my emails to make sure that I have work to come back to after the holiday. There really isn't much downtime as a blogger but I'm now living a life I love and I wouldn't have it any other way.
What would be your one piece of advice to any budding mum bloggers?
I have seen so many bloggers start writing purely because they see blogging as a quick route to 'free stuff' and money. I just wish it was like that. In reality you only get out of blogging what you put in and for me I had to work 35+ hours on my blog each week on top of my day job and family life in order to build up content, build a social following and increase engagement. A lot of that time I spent with no reward, no free stuff, no payment. I did it purely to build the blog and to get to the point where people did want to pay me for the work I was doing.