Why the change from The Very UnFrench Wife to The Very UnFrench Wives, eh?
More inclusive, I feel.
As you all know by now, I am travelling with my Mr UnFrench and not in France...where I should be!
This irks me very much, but life moves in mysterious ways, so it does. There isn't a day we don't talk about life in France, him and I, or our pile of bricks, waiting patiently for us.
In life, they say (who the heck are they? No clue) things happen for a reason.
So here we are.
Clare, meanwhile is actually in France, living the 'good life' and able to regale you with tales of her adventures.
Building the dream.
I mustn't be jealous, I suppose, but I am, just a little. My time will come soon enough, I know. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey......right now we are only weeks away, from receiving planning permission, I hope! Then we can begin.
The other half of UnFrench, the lovely Clare, doesn't have the time to give to the project right now, sadly. She's coping with a damaged wrist that needs surgery and has other fish to fry at the moment, so her suggestion we make a team, came as a blessing for her and me in the end.
Hopefully, she will be back in fine fettle, once she's had surgery and a good recovery. Personally, I can't see her staying away for long can you, but difficult with a buggered wrist eh! Once a blogger, always a blogger, I say, it's an addiction!
Anyway, I digress......so I thought I'd chat to you about UnFrench and blogging in general. It goes like this...........once I decided to return to my second love UnFrench, not much thought needed really to be honest, I ran with part 2 and here we are. One fancy new website (getting there) and a new UnFrench Forum and members chat area for the use of!
More to come.
Things should always move forward, not back, don't you think?
My plan is to get us virtually 'together' as an online EXPAT in France community daily and get us chatting in one place. I really wanted the site to be more interactive altogether and of course with room to grow.
You might already be a fan of UnFrench and living in France or you may be dreaming of living in France?
I hear you! We take dreams seriously at UnFrench and you are VERY welcome to join our community! Let's face it, we all started with a dream.
UnFrench is not in competition with other groups or pages. Let me tell you, I've heard the chat! I don't see it that way, no. No! I know that UnFrench is an exception to the rule, an extension of those already chatting merrily away, chewing the cud about life in France, in the 'spaghetti junction' that is the internet. The only difference is, I've built it all in one place for you. The 'experts' and amateurs out there, are very, very welcome at the UnFrench table. There's room for all I promise you.
If anyone has something to ask me, please do? I'm all ears and happy to answer any questions you may have. Best from the horses mouth eh!
So in essence, I'm building the brand! Building on that which I founded and Clare did a great job of care taking of whilst I recovered from a long illness.
I've been blogging one way or another for around 5/6 years now and I know what it takes to build a brand. Hence, why I'm sat here writing to you at 5am from sleepless in Toronto!
The main thing you need in a blogging business is COMMITMENT.
The second is PASSION.
The third is TIME.
The Forth is a PLAN.
This goes for anything you do in life, yep!
If you start with this little bowl of magic ingredients, you are almost there, but then you need to work at it every dam day without fail. moving forward every so slightly, sometimes backwards too. Baby steps and all that. Just like a French renovation project!
Add friends and stir, eh!
What is an online Community?
Well, thats easy! It's a group of people coming together at a virtual table to have a yarn, share information, help each other out! We find each other in a purposely created space in the ether!
That's what I am working on well into the night, whilst you sleep. I never heard an entrepreneur say they slept more than 4 hours a night in the early days. I get it!
Yes, we all have lives! I can't/won't sit at a desk all day and night and ignore the rest of my life. I work it in. Yes! I take time off too. Everyone needs to recharge. Sometimes shutting out the noise for a week, is key to being able to refresh yourself and your blog brand!
For instance, last night, part way through sleep, I realized the recipe app is pants and needs to go! This thought must have attacked my brain in the middle of the night! It rudely pushed through my beauty sleep and demanded attention! That's part of what building a brand requires. It needs your/my attention! Think of it as a sour dough starter! You need to feed it everyday to keep it alive and you need one other thing.....a TALENT really.
Blogging versus Mental Health. Now then........for some it's great, cathartic even. For others, not so good. Be aware of how you are feeling and act on it. I suggest for some people the stress of running a blogging business is too much. Unfortunately, you do come across negativity and some downright lunacy. It takes all sorts but If you can't filter the rubbish out or handle other folk opinions, then think twice before blogging! I have come across many blogger with mental health issues over the years. Some have found the whole experience too much and others have found it helped them. You have to be honest with yourself. Blogging can be too emotional for some.
With a blog you can find your tribe on the internet and build around them.
You also need to be able to ENGAGE an audience. Be a gatherer of people!
Talk to them, include them and honour the 2 minutes of their time they gift you every day. Reward their loyalty!
If your heart is not in it, then it's not for you and you need something else, right?
There's no shame in deciding it's not for you and moving on to a different project. Many people think a successful blog and relevant socials are all about being just a good writer. It's part of the requirement, sure, but you need to embed your personality in it, so your fans can buy into your journey, story, life even. It can be tough. Social Media platforms are really tough these days and full of people giving it their all, so how do you stand out?
You have to put yourself out there and that's not everyone's cuppa tea!
You lay yourself bare. Fans know if you are hiding and that its more about grammar and punctuation for you than open, honest chat.
Honesty, my friends, is the secret ingredient, but mainly it is about treating your blog like a growing, global brand. You have the world listening in and that gives you a plethora of 'stuff' to talk about with them.
Sometimes you just need someone like me, eh?
Start the conversation.
One can't sit and procrastinate and hope, play avoidance or go missing. It can be hard to maintain the momentum.
Yes, It can be really scary and a huge leap of faith to build something, anything from scratch really but if you really want to, you will.
Building a community takes more than one person. It needs lots of like minded people, excited and on board to help!
Luckily, we have folks like Sheryl, Karen and Ashley who believe in fairies and the UnFrenchies! Along they way there have been others happy to help and I am so grateful for them.
Strong, creative women and the odd chap like John, rocking and rolling, supporting each other in business and pleasure!
We aren't against testicles, no way! If you have a pair and want to be a WIFE....welcome on board fella!
We are all inclusive, friendly and happy to have you pull up a chair and share your thoughts! I will grab the cutlery and set a place for you!
A bit FED UP in France?
UnFrench will put a virtual arm around you don't worry, you wont be the only one.
Two nights ago, with a lot on my mind my good pal in France, Sheelagh, gave me a pep talk. Must have been 2 am her time but chat we did! This wonderful woman has shown me lots and lots of properties over the years and never a sale made between us, BUT we did make a solid gold friendship instead!
I call it 'Frinetworking', we are friends and are building businesses, one way or another! The perfect combo!
To blog successfully you really need to understand how people spend their time on Social Media.
If you aren't selling anything bar yourself, you have to have a 'special' something to offer. A unique selling point!
Ours is EXPAT life in France of course.
BTW. There is no shame in monetizing a brand! In fact its bonkers not to! If nothing else one needs to cover running costs. Many folks feel using social advertising is odd. I think it's odd not to use the, biggest marketing tool known to modern man occasionally! No marketing is bad marketing. However be wary of using it too much as it's stupid expensive. We need to use each other instead!
To run a successful blog you need decent content and a lot of it. If you dont have it, go find it. If your blog is struggling, find a successful blog and ask to guest blog for them and they for you. Sharing is key! However, many bloggers are afraid of diluting their own brand. Personally I think the more platforms you appear on, the better. Don't be afraid of sharing and supporting other brands and or businesses.
You need air time and so do they!
Be prepared to learn. Learn from your fans and other bloggers.
Folks on social media read in a particular way and that's fast and in tiny bites. People often wonder, how or even why I write like I do? It's because long, long tomes, too many visuals, or whatever bells and whistles you might use no longer suit the way people read, or even if they bother to read and you do want them to.
They really are in and out without touching the sides. Lol...........So stop with the uber long blogs. This is why I never subscribed to the long recipe blogs because the truth is, fans just read two sentences and scroll to the recipe.
Don't blame them! We don't have time to waste do we?
Also don't be afraid to be edited. Take constructive criticism on board but remember you almost have to be blind to those that chat behind your back. Your focus isn't them, it's your blog. They don't know or understand you, so why do you care?
I once got four peeps unknown to me, to read my blog out loud. It sounded so different each time and was interpreted differently by each reader! One reader read my black humour as anger, the other was laughing his socks off!
My biggest tip to you is to read it out loud yourself! You may realize immediately, that it lacks something somewhere.
I always edit new guest bloggers as they usually hold back first time and generally it's more of a boring article, than insight into their lives. They do generally grow in confidence, so do take time to mentor them to success.
Don't be scared to let it flow. I make no apology for sharing the bad with the good. There's this supposed unwritten rule that people want only positive vibes? I think most people want the truth even if it's just your truth. I'm a warts an all kinda girl. So you get the dish full to overflowing. I like it that way, I'm a feeder!
I also know from experience, what lack of commitment looks like, from guest bloggers and partners. In my time there have been many that want the glory, but not the work to go with, or they just expect immediate fame. Ten minutes of play and they ask me why they aren't famous yet and it's such a lot of work...........oh boo hoo!
People like riding success, it's the easiest ladder to climb, of course it is, so don't be ashamed of setting the rules for your blog and sticking to them. You don't want to become the bridesmaid to your guest bloggers. You are the star and don't you forget it!
There are those that start well enough and then say 'oh it's not working' after three sporadic blogs, without putting in 100% effort and at least a year! Are we surprised......I think not!
Rome wasn't built in a day love!
Blogging egos are legendary!
Partnerships in any business can be initially quite tough. Work must be shared equally and each partner must have a go at everything initially. You must communicate effectively and leave friendships at the door. If you are meant to be into it together, you will find a balance that suits. You don't have to have the same skills or talents. No, not at all. One partner might be the brand manager and the money, the other, the face. What must never happen is one person doing everything. If the work isn't shared equally then its not a partnership, it's a piss take.
These things take time to settle, of course. Much like a marriage. I cant stress enough, that good communication is the key ingredient to a working partnership.
Have the difficult conversations! Work hard to find the middle ground and ensure you both are working towards the same aim.
There are those that find sharing the spotlight difficult or impossible even. I can't tell you how many times I've heard 'I can do this myself'. Yes you can, if you have that little bowl of ingredients and PATIENCE and you know what? I will happily support you. Very few do.
The worst thing to do in blogging life is to start a story, gather a fan base then get bored. It's a crime. Work it into your life. Get a desk and a chair, a lamp maybe. Go to it an hour a day even if that hour has to be spilt.
We bloggers do hit brick walls sometimes, writers block and all that. If you are stuck. Sit down. Write a list of things that need doing. Tackle them one at a time and you won't be overwhelmed. Look around you? Whats trending? There's always something to talk about right?
Don't look back, you are not going that way!
Re start the chat!
Thats the secret ingredient I'm talking about really. The ability to talk and write about anything! That's it right there! You'll soon know if you have it!
I've always said, make your blog a person, your husband or wife, best friend even, the person sat at the end of your bed at the beginning and the end of the day, asking you 'what news do you have?' and go from there? Your blog garden will grow I can assure you!
Let's share our journey to living the good life in La Belle France together eh?
I'm always happy to help a fellow UnFrenchie, are you?