Blog it

How to make money from your hobby

17 March 2017 | Art and Entertainment

Fashionista Leah Misika has been at it for almost 10 years now shares her experience of how she never backed down while food blogger Ashley Dube talks about the challenges of starting a blog from scratch. Blogging is one of the easiest and simplest ways of reaching out to your audience using social media. It has proved to be a very effective medium for building a reputation as well as building relationships for business purposes. Blogging comes in many forms such as posting videos on YouTube (vlogging), having a webpage that is updated regularly or using Facebook and Instagram. Some are more diverse, presenting links to all types of sites. And others are more like personal journals, presenting the author's daily life and thoughts.



The freshman - Ashley Dube

tjil (T): Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?

Ashley (A): Well, my name is Ashley Dube and my blog, 1 Humble Palate, naturally came out of my love and passion for two things - food and writing, so it made sense to start a food-centered blog that focuses on contemporary, traditional and alternative cuisine, restaurant reviews, advice and my own cooking here and there, of course. Lol. It also came as a need to fill a void that does not have a lot of people focusing on at the moment. Not a lot of people are making noise about Namibian food and eateries like we should be.



T: Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

A: It started off as a hobby, something I did just for the love, but I see it developing into so much more; that's the vision.



T: Did you have any professional help or did you create the blog yourself?

A: Through the help of pre-set blog sites and platforms, I sort of got going on my own, learning what works and what doesn't. It is really simple to get a handle on as technology is advancing and making the creative space easier to access for more people.



T: As a new blogger, what do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?

A: For me it has been a lot of word of mouth and associating myself with different culinary institutions and eateries within the city. The more I write about different places and foods, the more the people themselves respond, create a chain reaction that leads people to reading more about what I have to write about. Getting your friends to share your work helps a lot. Of course they always want dinner at some restaurant in return. The biggest pull factor ultimately is the content and how you present it.



T: How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?

A: I try to be as active as is humanly possible without suffocating my blog and choking the readership I am trying to grow. So, in essence I am online at least once every day to respond to questions queries and comments, but my postings, which vary, are, on average, once every other day, and every other time I am at a “food event”/restaurant.



T: What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to readers?

A: Accurate and consistent information. At least that's what I also look for when it comes to the people and blogs I follow. I want to be able to access a certain piece of “relevant” information at any moment. Don't get distracted and start talking about things not remotely linked to your subject matter if there is no connection. One thing I pride myself in doing is being able to give you advice and information on what best to eat and where within Windhoek and coastal areas, at a specific time and/or season. It takes work. Great content presented creatively always wins.



The expert - Leah Misika

tjil (T): Would you encourage other people to create blogs?

Leah (L): Yes! Oh yes! There is always a story to tell about one thing or the other! If you have a story, it needs to be heard, and in so doing, you create a platform for people to relate to you and what you have to share. There is always going to be people interested in what you have to say and/or show. Creativity has no formula.



T: When did you get into the blogging industry?

L: I started blogging in 2008 after a few months in college. I realised very early while in college that I was behind and needed to chat up. I started a fashion blog and had no clue what I was actually doing.



T: What are some of your strengths that helped you in blogging?

L: It is definitely the fact that I loved to write and the fact that I love fashion; the industry, the clothes and my obsession with defining my own notions of beauty. My blog is literally powered by my obsession with fashion.



T: As a renowned blogger, what type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?

L: The number one thing that has helped enhance my blog traffic is definitely consistency, that and social media really helps you to drive people to what you want them to see. In terms of networking for me personally it has been networking in the retail world. Retail can open up so many doors to the local blogger, but these doors are not easy to find.



T: How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?

L: It is because of the scheduling and a two-man team. Being a one-man show is exhausting especially when you have to constantly create content. I run my business full time and blogging is only a third of it so my photographer/videographer is the reason I have time for anything else.



T: Many Namibians have attempted to run blogs but have failed, how do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?

L: Well just like anything I do, I set goals. You can start a lot of things based on passion, but after a while you are going to need more. When you are working towards something it is easy to forget how hard you are working. Plus I have clients that pay for some of my blogging so I cannot let them down.



June Shimuoshili