We love bloggers. We get all sorts of next-level tips from nail art bloggers, home office inspo from decor bloggers and save-the-day ideas from cool mommy bloggers. If you’ve been dying to start your own niche blog, but have no idea where to begin, tune into this week’s How to Quit Your Day Job series. We chat with Cora Harrington, the founder of The Lingerie Addict, a blog dedicated to the fashion of lingerie, about how she turned her passion for undergarments into a six-figure revenue-generating blog. She shares her expert tips for making blogging your full-time gig.
Meet the Blogging Pro: Cora Harrington
Cora worked at several nonprofits and started The Lingerie Addict as a hobby under a pen name. She started the blog because she was interested in lingerie and wanted to buy some nice undergarments, but she couldn’t find anything online to help her buy the right lingerie. Once she realized that her blog brought in as much money as her full-time job, she considered making the switch to blogging as her main career. Nowadays, The Lingerie Addict has nearly 400,000 social media followers, and Cora’s blog has been quoted in everything from The Wall Street Journal to Racked.
1. Start with a personal passion. Cora started The Lingerie Addict because she couldn’t find what she wanted in intimate apparel online. “While there was a handful of lingerie blogs when I started, most of them were focused on press releases or lookbooks. There was almost no information about how to buy, where to shop or what brands were worth the money,” says Cora. With her interest in finding lingerie pieces that were most accessible to her, she shared her discoveries with her readers who relished in her quality and dedication to undergarments.
2. Look at your blog critically. Before making the switch to full-time blogger, Cora took a look at her bills, her revenue, where her visitors were coming from and how much growth she could anticipate. Then she made a plan to make The Lingerie Addict her job. Though she recommends paying off all debt before starting self-employment, she took advantage of the momentum she had from her blog. “I also, full disclosure, took a part-time night job in a gym folding towels just to be sure I’d have enough money to make ends meet. Not very glamorous, but the transition to self-employment isn’t always!” says Cora. Don’t be afraid to do what you need to do to make ends meet.
3. Develop your expertise. Since Cora spent time developing The Lingerie Addict under a pen name, she maintained a separate work life from her blog until she was absolutely certain that she was ready to take on running the blog full-time. “I wanted to make sure there was no possibility my blog would bleed over into my professional life. That’s why I wrote under a pen name, for example, and didn’t even share a picture of myself until I’d been blogging for over a year. Practical considerations aside, taking those extra steps early on also helped me create a distinctive blog voice and personality,” says Cora. By focusing entirely on the content and her voice, Cora set herself apart from other lingerie blogs.
4. Hit your financial goals. Currently, The Lingerie Addict’s revenue is in the six figures. Cora’s foremost goal isn’t about reaching a certain income. She’s focused on maximizing all business opportunities, using her resources wisely and investing in her blog’s position as the authority on intimate apparel. “When I do those things, the revenue follows. I pitch myself regularly to potential advertisers, compose affiliate-linked shopping guides and regularly update and promote my blog to The Lingerie Addict’s nearly 400,000 social media followers,” says Cora. By creating avenues for revenue and investing time and energy into her blog, she’s turned a hobby into a real business.
5. Cater to your readers. One of the tenants of The Lingerie Addict is focusing on lingerie that is for every body shape, ethnicity and budget. Body-shaming comments are immediately deleted. “I want my readers to feel like they can visit The Lingerie Addict and safely read about lingerie without also reading critical remarks about their appearance or the appearance of others,” says Cora. Cora also wants to feature brands that are undiscovered, and she spends quite a bit of time searching Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr to find new designers. “Readers need to get something from The Lingerie Addict that they can’t get anywhere else, and that means putting the work in to ensure our content is fresh, interesting and original,” she says. When you’re true to your core audience’s needs and desires for a safe space, particularly with something as unique as lingerie, then you’ll gain loyal fans who value what you do.
6. Treat your blog like a business. Cora is brimming with sage advice for anyone looking to start their own blog brand. “Have a clear sense of what your business is, and be brutally honest with yourself. Be willing to do the less glamorous work like SEO, research, bookkeeping and legal filings, or set aside the budget to hire other people to do it. Purchase your domains, register your trademarks, set up separate bank accounts for your business and personal funds. Set goals and play the long game,” shares Cora. By treating The Lingerie Addict like a business from the very beginning, Cora has become the most popular fashion blog in her category. “I’ve flown to Paris to meet with the French Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, and my blog receives millions of visitors per year, but most people don’t know my name. If you can be okay with that, there’s a lot of room for success.”
7. Focus on you. From the start, Cora was clear about what she wanted The Lingerie Addict to be, but not everyone else was on board. Initially, a lot of lingerie brands didn’t want to talk with The Lingerie Addict because it didn’t have the right look, so Cora focused on her readers instead. “What a shame it would have been to stop in those early days because other people disliked my blog. Be nice, but don’t worry too much about everyone liking you,” says Cora. While there are always a million things to do when running your own biz, Cora cautions against spending your time on efforts that aren’t going to grow your brand. “If you waste an hour, a month, a week, a year, you don’t get it back. Hoard your time and invest it in the things that are most important for your business,” says Cora. Value your time, yourself and your expertise, and most of all, enjoy your passion.
Perfect Your Skills
1. Build Your Brand on Social Media Online Class ($39): Being a successful blogger means having an active presence across all digital platforms. Social media guru Melanie Ham will teach you how to find your target audience, develop a weekly editorial calendar and decide which channels you’ll use for your particular brand.
2. Build a Successful Creative Blog ($99): In three days, marketing maven April Bowles-Olin will help you start a traffic-generating blog through this online course. Learn how to create great content, develop your audience and market your blog.
3. Six Months to Six Figures ($99): Peter Voogd, the author of the best-selling book 6 Months to 6 Figures, shares how he went from dead broke to a six-figure salary as a serial entrepreneur. Design the future you want for yourself, create a productivity plan and gain confidence in the decisions that you’re making.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Photos via Journelle, Coco Haus Photography, Lars Kommienezuspadt and Nomi Ellenson)