Victoria Smith's blog, SF Girl by Bay, is one of the most beautifully designed blogs around. She has wonderful success engaging readers and has built a rewarding business by sharing her unique design passion. Today, Victoria shares glimpses of her own blog growth process and tips that we can each use.
When did you start blogging?
I started in June 2006, as just a hobby at first. It was never meant to be my "day job".
Tell us a little about what you do and what your site is about.
My blog is known for representing what I call Bohemian Modern Style. I showcase new designers, artists and virtual tours of their creative spaces, along with behind-the-scenes interviews, as well as new products and design trends and touch a little bit on fashion and lifestyle ideas.
What is your idea of blogging success?
I think I feel most successful when I put together a uniquely creative blog post that the readers really respond to. It's satisfying to share something from a new point of view, or maybe something that hasn't been seen before. I get a great sense of creative accomplishment from that.
What has been the best decision you have made regarding your blog to this point?
I think it must be quitting my day job and taking the plunge into full-time blogging. I was a successful Art Buyer and Director of Creative Resources at an advertising agency for many years, and I left that steady, reliable position to head into a thing I had to succeed at all on my own.
I'm not married, so I do this without any support system, with the exception of the emotional support I get from the readers and the wonderful friends I've made in the blogging community. It's truly taken my life in a whole new, and very rewarding direction.
What about blogging do you enjoy the most?
I've always had a love of photography and interior design, as well as writing, and the blog seemed to encompass everything I was passionate about. It's still that - I love curating inspiring and interesting posts to share with people who share a similar aesthetic. And, I've met some of the most amazingly talented and generous people I know through blogging. It's a very warm and giving community.
How do you maintain inspiration, creativity and sanity as a full-time blogger?
Everyone has those days where you feel so full of to do lists you can't think straight, or in any way creatively, and it's difficult to think about something worth sharing with the readers. Those days are tough, and when I feel like that it's time to go do something else - see a movie, take a hike, read a book. Anything, but get off of the computer!
But, for the most part it might be easier to tell you what doesn't inspire me. I'm a pretty visual person, so wherever I go it's likely I'm taking photos either with my iPhone (I'm addicted to Instagram) or with my camera. The city of San Francisco is nonstop inspiring to me and everywhere I look there's something beautiful and colorful. My friends are very creative and they inspire me endlessly. I love art and photography and books. Great stories and films inspire me. I also love European design magazines, like Living Etc., Hus & Hem, Marie Claire Maison.
I find great inspiration from my friends on Twitter. They tweet, and I follow. The amount of creativity I find there is constant -- from photography, to great interiors, to design, and fashion or even a great laugh. I'm pretty well addicted.
What does the coming season look like for your site?
Pretty much insanity. :) But I hope to learn more about making videos and share more original content. Creating new visual eye candy that's useful and entertaining to the reader.
That's the magic word: original.
I'm also collaborating on a new creative co-working space in San Francisco called Makeshift Society. A place for freelancers to come together and share ideas, find collaborating partners, bounce ideas off each other. I'm designing the interiors and decorating the space, helping to rally sponsors, so I'll be sharing that design process on the blog, which is really fun and challenging.
What is your favorite music to rock while you work?
I listen to KCRW's Eclectic 24 Public Radio all day on iTunes. It's streaming worldwide, and it's a wonderful, indie radio station that plays all the music that I love, commercial free.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a new blogger?
I would tell them to make it as unique and as individual as they are. Don't copy others! Find your own voice and share what you love. When people see something unique and genuine and a voice that resonates with them, they will follow.
Create something that's all yours!