It’s hard to believe now, but fashion, travel and luxury lifestyle blog Fashion Foie Gras was born in a Holborn coffee shop with an HP laptop.
The year was 2009 and Emily Johnston was using her lunch hour to get started on her blog. From then on, it became a daily ritual. ‘The baristas knew my face and my order,’ says Emily.
This month marks the 7th anniversary of FFG's existence. In that time it’s gone from a side project to one of the UK’s most influential fashion sites. That’s why Emily likes to call those years her “lucky 7”. Luck is just a small part of it though. Emily credits hard work as the main factor behind its success. It’s not been plain sailing either, with her fair share of ups and downs.
So how can you turn your own hobby into a full-time job like Emily? According to the blogger, it’s all about getting started with your passion and keeping the momentum up. A key part of that is having the right tools – something she says is “just as important as having the guts to get going”.
Here’s Emily’s story and her tips for making your passion a reality.
One hour at a time
At the time of starting FFG, Emily was a self-confessed “workaholic”. That first lunch hour when she began writing was the first she’d taken in 8 years. From then on, she used those 60 minutes as her launchpad to get the blog off the ground. Every day she’d come into the same branch to write, using her laptop and the free Wi-Fi. The baristas soon memorised her order – a tall skinny latté, extra hot.
Soon Emily started creating more by working on the bus home and staying up long into the night. In the first year, her laptop never strayed far from her side. As she says: “I would sit at my desk in my full-time job, and my laptop would tease me from my bag. It was my gateway to another world and I was creating it one hour at a time.”
That time was a risk for Emily, but one that paid off. After 3 years of dedicating herself to the blog and her laptop, she was able to turn her dream into a full-time job. So, how did she do it?
According to Emily, there are a few key rules for making it as a blogger:
1. Get started
The first hurdle is deciding what you want your blog to be about. You can focus it on almost anything, so Emily recommends trying out a few different subjects if you’re unsure.
The key is to write about something you love. She says: “Trust the excited gut reaction. Being online and in the spotlight will require a great deal of grit and the love of a topic will allow you to persevere through it all.”
2. Give yourself the right tools
To get your blog off the ground, you’ll need to have the right technology. Emily’s top tech pics are:
- A reliable laptop – Emily still uses an HP, her model of choice being the Pavilion x360
- Software to manage your blog – especially if you plan on turning it into a business. For Emily, Windows 10 and Microsoft Office Home 365 are the ideal tools to run her site. From keeping track of her finances on Excel to drafting invoices in Word
- External storage for backing up all your hard work – to keep her files safe, Emily uses a Passport external hard drive
3. Throw fear out the window
Is the fear of not being successful or of being seen as a fraud holding you back? Emily says: “This isn't about anything other than pursuing a passion, so there are no wrong turns. You can only learn more about what works and what doesn't.”
4. Do it for the love, not the recognition
What’s your motivation behind starting a blog? Fame can be tempting, but foremost Emily believes it should be about following your passion. She says: “(With fame) there is always another mountain to climb... If you take one day at a time and appreciate your own talents, then each day becomes a win.”
5. Work hard
Building a blog requires a lot of time and effort. But Emily believes ultimately “the hard work always pays off”.
“If you're doing what you love, it won't feel like a waste of time at all,” she says. “And if you're doing what you love it also won't feel like hard work at all.”
Her final piece of advice? “At the end of the day, it's all about getting started and keeping it going. If you have the right attitude, the tools to support you and a topic you love to write about, the world's your oyster.” For more fashion, travel and luxury lifestyle content, check out Fashion Foie Gras
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