Have you ever thought of turning your hobby into your dream job?
Paula Holmes, the lifestyle blogger behind The LDN Diaries, did just that. Six years ago, Paula was working in a media agency and reaching out to influencers to collaborate on campaigns.
She was so inspired by their creativity and passion, she decided to set up her own blog. Today, The LDN Diaries is a go-to destination for anyone who wants to discover the best London has on offer, from the best cocktail bar to beauty and fashion recommendations. Along the way, she scooped up awards for Most Addictive Blog at the Thirty Plus Awards 2016 and Best Use of Social Media at the Beauty Blogger Awards 2015.
But blogging isn’t her only passion. Paula is also an aspiring novelist. I wouldn’t be surprised if she announced her first novel soon…
In this interview, Paula shares her journey as a professional lifestyle blogger, the challenges she’s overcome along the way and how she deals with fear and self-doubt:
1. What is your dream and how are you currently living it out?
I definitely have more than one dream and I am hoping to fulfil some new ones this year, but I can say I am living the dream of working for myself and as my own boss. I don’t think I really enjoyed any of my previous jobs and it wasn’t until I was able to work for myself that I did. I love every day of what I do, it’s a little cliché but the phrase ‘choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’ is so true. Yes, I work hard and more than I ever did before, but I enjoy it so much it doesn’t feel like work.
2. What steps did you take to get started in the beginning?
In a previous role in a digital agency I worked with bloggers, mainly on an SEO basis. It was then I realised I would love to start my own corner of the Internet. I registered for a domain and hosting and the blog went from there. I continued my blog whilst working full-time, in three separate jobs none the less – I think that was a bit of a give away that I wasn’t happy in my career. I had the push I needed to go freelance with my writing and social media work and whilst I did that I continued the blog. It wasn’t until I spent more time on the blog that it really took off and I was able to go full-time with it. I was always working on the blog even when working, it was my passion for writing and my patience of putting time into it that made it the success it has become today.
3. What challenges did you face to pursue your dream and how did you overcome them?
The main challenge for me was fear. Fear of it not working out or not having enough work coming in to pay the bills. But it’s that fear that kept me going, it pushed me on to work harder to achieve my goals.
It’s that fear that kept me going, it pushed me on to work harder to achieve my goals.
4. What mindset shifts did you have to go through to turn your dream into a reality?
One of the biggest things I think every blogger deals with is ‘feedback’. I use that term lightly as there is genuine feedback and then just hurtful unnecessary comments. Instead of fearing feedback, I’ve turned any defensiveness I had in the beginning into curiosity and from that I’ve been able to develop and make changes to the blog, whether it’s a new category or maybe even a YouTube set-up or video idea. I think you have to be open to the criticism that may come your way as long as it’s genuine and be open to asking your readers what they’d like to see.
5. How do you deal with fears and self-doubt?
In this industry, it’s hard to not have fears and self-doubt, you are constantly comparing yourself to others. I have learnt more recently to step away a little from social media when I feel this happening and focus on my goals and what I want to achieve. Even if you aren’t feeling confident, the old saying ‘fake it till you make it’ comes to mind. If no one knows you are having these thoughts then they probably don’t see what you are doubting about yourself either.
- Fave personal development/business book: I just finished reading How To Be An Overnight Success by Maria Hatzistefanis. I love reading the stories of successful business woman and Maria has some great insights and tips on achieving your goals.
- Inspiration: My boyfriend Danny. He works so hard and encourages me to be the best version of myself.
- Mantra to live by: Just do it!
- Breakfast: Bacon sandwiches (not every day!)
- Fave app: Kira Kira
6. When did you realise you had made it?
Doing interviews like this ha-ha! I guess I was really proud when I knew finally that I was able to work for myself and make it work. Working with brands I’ve loved for years and getting paid for it is another massive pinch me moment that I will never tire of.
7. What personal characteristic helped you the most in achieving your dream?
Never giving up. I won’t stop until I get what I want.
8. Do you have any daily habits or rituals that have set you up for success?
I like to make lists and plans for the week ahead, maybe even months for content ideas. I also take separate days for tasks, so I might have a photography day or a writing day or just a general admin day. That way I won’t get distracted.
9. What are three lessons you’ve learned on your journey?
Network with everyone, you never know where they will end up or how they can help you. Never give up even when it seems hard. Don’t stress over things.
10. What advice would you give to other women who want to start their own lifestyle blogs?
Be yourself. It sounds easy, but it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of the cookie cutter blog layout, the similar photograph style and the pink Instagram theme. If that’s you, great! But if it isn’t then just being yourself is what will make you stand out.