Today’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is the delightfully funny and super stylish, Vera Sweeney of Lady and the Blog and Getting Gorgeous with BFF Audrey McClelland. Did I mention they also run the Permission to Hustle Group and the PTH Retreat?
I am fairly certain that the woman never sleeps. I’ve never met Vera but she is a powerhouse blogger who has been rocking the blogging world for nearly a decade. She takes her businesses seriously but she is a wickedly funny, lighthearted lady with a great sense a humor. I’ve learned that just from watching her youtube channel.
The more I learned about Vera through the interview the more impressed I was not only by how she’s built her business but her dedication to her family. Finding the balance between family and career is something I struggle with and I love seeing moms who figure out that happy medium. Go Vera! I truly loved getting to know Vera Sweeney through her interview and I know you will too.
Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2005 after the birth of my first child. Blogging became a way for me to reconnect with the world during my daughter’s naptimes. It was my little escape from isolation.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?
Don’t expect to break through and hit 6 figures in your first month. I feel like that is the new wave of thinking these days. People assume that if they start a blog they will immediately earn some sort of revenue. It took me several years before I received my first paycheck.
Start because you have a passion to write or to connect – not because you are looking for a “get rich quick” scheme.
What are the three words that describe you best?
Type A, Semi-Manic, Hilarious (what? too much?)
What is your favorite website?
That’s a hard one! I don’t know. I’m going to go with Pinterest since that’s where I spend the vast majority of my day.
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What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
I would say traveling with my family. But honestly, when I travel I usually end up blogging about the adventure. So, I guess that’s not the greatest answer. Anything is fair game because I write a lifestyle blog. If I watch a movie, take a pottery class, or spend the entire day napping in my backyard, then I can mold each and every one of those experiences into a potential post.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?
I am a workaholic and that’s not a bad thing. I used to wear that word with shame – especially when my children were younger. I have learned through time that it is simply who I am and that doesn’t make me a terrible person. I enjoy putting in the effort and the long hours. Some people can’t understand this about me. They see a work-from-home mom of three and they expect a different type of person when they meet me. I’ve stopped worrying about them.
How do you balance life and blogging? How has blogging changed you or your life?
Life is blogging. Everything I do is content for my blog. I’m really lucky in that sense. If I cook a great meal for dinner (AS RARE AS THAT IS), I take pictures as I go and then I post it the very next day. It’s just part of our lives.
I truly believe blogging has made my life 100% better. My husband quit his job in 2007 and has stayed at home ever since. He manages our 4 websites and takes on the kids when I am away. We have been a true partnership for many, many years.
My children get to see their dad 24 hours a day. Not many families are lucky enough to have this set up and I never let that escape me. I am always grateful for our lives. I am so thankful that he is home with us and that wouldn’t be our reality if it wasn’t for blogging.
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What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?
Honesty. A real voice. No filter. And excuse me, I don’t mean Instagram filters because I use a million of those. I mean giving your readers a TRUE LOOK into your life. Get rid of the pixie dust. I think people have moved beyond that and are ready for a dose of reality. People want something that they can relate to. Everyone is looking to connect. Be that friend.
A great blog vs. a successful blog? I don’t know. That’s a hard question for me. Money comes to mind when I formulate my answer but I know plenty of successful fashion bloggers in NYC that aren’t making a lot of money. They have a ton of klout during fashion week though. It depends what the end user wants. I think this is a really personal question. Each blogger needs to define this one on their own.
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?
There are two things that I still have to do before my time is upon this Earth. I have to write a book. I started one already and I will leave it at that. It’s completely unrelated to this field just in case you thought I was going to go there.
The other dream I have is to open up a little shop in town. I have always wanted to do something like that but I know that it will require a lot of time and I don’t want to give that up while my children are so young. So, I think the latter will happen when all my babies are in college.
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life?
I’m an only child. This is actually really easy for me.
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days?
When I first started blogging in 2005, there were maybe 15 celebrity gossip bloggers. Imnotobsessed.com used to get around 7 million impressions a month. We were ROCKING big time and I loved every second of it. Now, everyone has a blog and I mean everyone. My mother, my daughter and the crossing guard at our school – everyone has a blog. So, the playing field is absolutely saturated which means it isn’t as easy to hit those numbers. I have to work a lot harder to get noticed by brands. I miss being one of the only few doing it. Is that so selfish of me to say?! I told you I am an only child! HA! My celebrity gossip site gets about half the amount of traffic it used to… so you can see where I am coming from!
What do you love that has changed?
I love how big the community has grown. It’s sort of the double-sided coin if you read my previous answer. I have met SO MANY PEOPLE that I would have never known. TRULY! My favorite part of my job is meeting other bloggers. In fact, I met my best friend through blogging – Audrey McClelland from Mom Generations.
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?
I live a full life. I lived in NYC up until 7 years ago when we moved to Long Island. We are constantly going into the city to watch new shows, attend previews, parades, try out new restaurants or walk through festivals. We also travel a LOT. Live a rich life and then document it.
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
Honestly – I’m not the best person for this question. I’m just not that deep. It’s somewhere between Jensen Ackles and Matthew McConaughey. You don’t want me to fill up this table. It would be obnoxious.
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I believe in the zombie apocalypse.
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?
Hmmm… good one. I wrote this one about my baby boy and it got some traction. I guess if I had to pick… https://www.ladyandtheblog.com/2014/04/28/41-reasons-why-you-should-have-that-last-baby/
Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Vera. I know you are super busy but I loved getting to know you better through this interview. Keep rocking the blogging world!
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