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It’s My Business: How it Happened

It’s My Business: How it Happened

When I started my blog several years ago I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I began it to share my styling tips and knowledge with a wider audience than just my personal clients. Image Consulting is hugely rewarding but it also took a major hit when the economy tanked a few years ago.

About a year ago my blog morphed from a hobby into a full-time business. It began to take up most of my waking hours plus cost me money to host, deliver my emails and get the technical assistance I need. I also needed to upgrade my camera equipment because my photos were too blurry. My husband is retired so I need this blog to cover itself.

I never thought of this as a business until my daughter told me her MBA class had chosen my business to study. Me? A business? Yes! At 60 I’m an entrepreneur running my own business. I’m also working like a one-armed wallpaper hanger to juggle all the balls and keep it going. It’s a lot of work and I love it!

Jennifer Connolly

I’m approached daily by brands and companies who want me to promote their product or service. I’m very choosy and turn down most offers that come my way.  Some bloggers will tell their readers everything is fabulous…I won’t.

I was approached by a company last month to promote their hair product. We emailed back and forth several times before it became clear they didn’t care about my opinion and just wanted access to you. Who is “you”? You’re my readers who I value and respect. They were offering me money to reach you for a product I could not endorse. Not happening!

I’m paid by some brands to try their products and if I like them, I share them with you. If I don’t like a product you’ll never hear about it. I’ll contact the brand, return the merchandise and say no thanks.

the business of blogging

I also use affiliate shopping links which can generate a small income for me if you buy things through the links on my site.

Thank you for supporting the brands I share that allow me to continue this blog. Your comments make my day and I’m so happy you’re here. Would I continue to do this if it cost me money? Probably, but it would be a challenge.

I love your questions and ideas for posts so keep them coming and I will do my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

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Affiliate links within this post may generate income for AWSL at no additional cost to you. When you shop through my links, I earn a small commission which helps support my business.

53 Comments

  1. Kathy
    May 31, 2017 / 4:47 am

    Jennifer, I love your blog and relate to you on many levels. We are also retired and looking to downsize. Adult communities around here, Atlanta, are quite expensive and you lose a yard and privacy. We’re not ready to compromise that much. I enjoy your fashion ideas very much and have purchased some of the clothes you have shown. I would love to see a few more cooking articles! I also enjoy hearing about your family.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Thanks Kathy! I always thought the south east was less expensive! Good to know! We don’t want to compromise privacy and would like a small yard so have left our options very open. I adore cooking and spend many hours daily creating tasty meals. Most are fish or vegetarian and all are gluten free. I didn’t get many comments on the few I have shared so I assumed my readers were not interested, but I can certainly share more!

  2. Pat B
    May 31, 2017 / 5:45 am

    Thank you for sharing your process, realities of the cost of running an ethical blog.
    Although I do visit the websites of recommended products, I stop short of ordering because of the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar and custom duties.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 7:49 am

      I totally understand, Pat! The exchange rate is awful right now and adding the insult of duties makes things prohibitive. Thanks so much for being here:)

  3. Judy
    May 31, 2017 / 5:50 am

    I know bloggers are compensated many times to wear or use products. I see many of the same items on different blog sites. But it is good to know you only put out there what you like. In the t,v. Business, where I worked in news for decades, the ads supported all of our salries, so they pretty much advertised everything and still do.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 7:53 am

      I’m glad brands see the value of collaborating with professional bloggers. More often than not the only compensation they offer is product. Ads support so many businesses! How would I ever find those shoes that seem to chase me around the Internet, popping up and reminding me I’d looked at them on a responsive ad?:)

  4. Yvonne
    May 31, 2017 / 6:10 am

    I really enjoy your blog and thank you for your honesty Jennifer. I only wish our Cdn$ was on par with yours, as I would order some of the clothing and accessories you list. We also get charged duty and taxes – as an example, my husband was sent a gift from a friend, who ordered it online from a U.S. company. FedEx arrived at the door with a charge of $38 for duty/taxes!! I’m sure his friend would have been mortified if he knew that.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 7:56 am

      Thank you for being here, Yvonne! That’s a ridiculous amount of duty. Yes the exchange rate is really bad right now. I’m going to see if I can work with a few Canadian brands because I have many Canadian readers, including most of my family:)

      • Allison
        May 31, 2017 / 3:37 pm

        Hi Yvonne,
        Shepherd’s Fashions it Ottawa carry a few of the clothing lines Jennifer references. They have an online store too. I am sure wherever you live that there are some boutiques that also bring in those lines. If not you could contact the manufacturer/ designer in the States directly and ask if they have a Canadian distributor or the names of any Canadian stores that may carry those lines. Yes you will pay more but no duty on delivery. You can also check out Borderfree for stores that ship to Canada. Nordstrom’s does if you don’t have one near you. I purchase a lot of my clothing on line, but if you frequent a particular boutique they can often special order an item. It doesn’t cost to ask. Good luck!

        • Jennifer
          Author
          May 31, 2017 / 4:52 pm

          Thanks for that Allison!!

  5. jodie filogomo
    May 31, 2017 / 6:13 am

    I know I started my blog thinking it would be a fun hobby!! And it is. But it’s also a ton of time and work, so it’s nice to get a little money back from it!! I remember at first, I wasn’t going to take advertisements or money because I wanted to be non biased and real! And it’s nice to be able to be picky about the companies we work with!!
    Luckily my mom (the 70+ model) and my stepmom (the 60+ model) only have to model for me—they don’t realize all of the back story!!
    🙂
    Jodie

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:03 am

      I am very choosy! I have very strong opinions and won’t share what I don’t think is a quality item or something I think my readers will be interested in. Youre lucky to have such willing models, Jody:)

  6. Brenda
    May 31, 2017 / 6:23 am

    Jennifer, could you reconsider the print font that is used in your articles? So many of us wear glasses anyway, and the small, light type is difficult to see easily, even in good light.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:06 am

      Yes, Brenda!! That’s one of things that’s costing me money right now. Even I can’t read the dumb font so I’m purchasing a new template and hiring someone to help me install it it properly. Coming very soon I hope.

  7. Allison
    May 31, 2017 / 6:25 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    It’s great to know that you have a policy of honesty and not selling off your readers by promoting products you wouldn’t use or don’t agree with. Any product that I have tried at your recommendation ( whether sunscreen or shoes) has been a winner! I may not always agree on your fashion choices but your life style/country/weather is very different from mine so we can agree to disagree. That being said I rarely read your blog without coming away with some valuable food for thought, whether from your writing or a reader’s comment.
    Congratulations on your daughter’s MBA class using your business model to study, especially since you are an older woman entrepreneur.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Thank you for telling me that, Allison. My goal has always been to provide value and help woman anyway I can. My readers are some of the smartest women around and I learn from them all the time!! They are the best. Thanks for being here 🙂

  8. May 31, 2017 / 6:32 am

    One of the reasons I began to collaborate with you is because of your integrity. I know you and I share the desire to truly help other women look and feel their best. And we also share a desire to be compensated for hard work and our professional skills. Yet, we will not compromise our integrity and bring just anything before our audience for a dime. When I found a kindred spirit in that area, I know we would become friends and build our businesses in support of one another. You are doing an amazing job and I trust what you say.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:12 am

      Thanks Pam. It’s totally mutual! It’s not about the money, it’s about helping women. I’m so happy to have met you my friend!

  9. Judith A Dempsey
    May 31, 2017 / 6:33 am

    Jennifer, you are my favourite fashion blogger. Others just show pictures of clothes, yours gives us helpful tips and insight. Your blog feels so personal and best of all REAL.
    Keep it up girl, you are appreciated!
    June Bug in Phoenix

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:14 am

      You are also appreciated, June Bug! Very much. Thanks so much for telling me. It made my day. xo

  10. Joanna
    May 31, 2017 / 6:38 am

    I love your honesty, Jennifer. Adding in other aspects of life, besides clothes, makes for a more personal connection. Keep it coming!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:16 am

      I so appreciate you being here. Thanks Joanna! I respect the privacy of my family if they don’t want me to share certain things but love to include realities because we all have similar challenges.

  11. Lisa
    May 31, 2017 / 6:41 am

    WOW! Who’d have thought. That’s just mean. I guess we live in a different world than we care to think we do. 🙁

  12. Donna
    May 31, 2017 / 6:59 am

    Whew, there’s a lot more to blogging than I thought. That’s interesting that your daughter’s MBA class is studying your business. Love the fact that you don’t try to sell your readers on everything that comes down the pike. Your honesty, I think, is what keeps use reading.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:21 am

      It is incredibly time consuming but hearing from my readers warms my heart and encourages me to continue. Thanks for being here, Donna. I’m always honest and that turns some people off but I never claimed to be everyone’s cup of tea:)

  13. Julie
    May 31, 2017 / 7:01 am

    Jennifer,

    That’s quite an honour to be slected by your daughter’s MBA class. Thanks for all your time and wisdom. You are so gracious. It’s always a pleasure to start the day with yours in my priority email reading list.

    I also have to thank you for the carrot Coconut soup you recommended in the fall. I made it last week. Absolutely a hit.

    Julie

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:23 am

      Thanks for being so delightful, Julie! You’re the second lady who mentioned recipes today so I will share more. I adore cooking so that’s fun for me too. WE had that soup last night. My husband made it!! Win win all around.

  14. Libby Martin
    May 31, 2017 / 8:27 am

    Jennifer, I discovered your blog about 2 weeks ago and have loved every post. I’ve just begun reading some of your older ones and found the ones on thinning hair. I relate quite well. I am beginning a regimen of another product, but will follow your progress as well. In the meantime, I will continue to read your info and advice, following with great interest. This 66 year old intends to keep on keeping on!!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Yay, Libby! Welcome and good luck. Hair thinning and loss feels devastating and really hit my confidence hard. Wishing luck with your regime.

  15. May 31, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    I was pleased to hear that Debra Granich, CEO of the Red Hat Society has been talking with you, as I share your philosophy 100%. The RHS has been approached umpteen times to promote products we would never recommend as well as fielded offers from those who would buy our business only to use our members. Not happening – ever. I hope that we find a way to work together in some way, as we too have a passion for encouraging other older women who are nowhere near ready to stop enjoying life in every possible area. We are “not dead and not done.”

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 9:37 am

      Hi Sue! It was wonderful to connect with Debra, we do share a common goal. I would love to collaborate with RHS. We are definitely not invisible or done!

  16. May 31, 2017 / 9:05 am

    I’ve always thought you struck a great balance between business and personal blogging. That’s cool that your daughter’s MBA class studied your business. I’m sure they had some interesting insights. xo

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 9:39 am

      They really did, Jen. It was thrilling to have active young minds offer ideas to this 60 year old.

  17. Diane ouverson
    May 31, 2017 / 10:33 am

    Do you think 70 is to old to start a blog? I enjoy your blog very much ?

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 10:58 am

      We are never too old to start something new! Go for it, Diane. Thanks for being here.

  18. Sue
    May 31, 2017 / 11:00 am

    I appreciate your business ethics. Nice to know “you can’t be bought”!!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Nope, I can’t and I value my readers too much to insult their intelligence by sharing stuff I don’t like.

  19. May 31, 2017 / 12:10 pm

    Jennifer – I was recently giving a presentation on marketing/branding and used you as an example of authenticity in the world of blogging. Your voice is true and I think that makes all the difference. Your passions and beliefs are clear, and you obviously take your work quite seriously. It is a pleasure to know you and read you, to say nothing of being associated with you.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 12:44 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Lisa! I too enjoy our collaborations and appreciate your company’s commitment to support North American artists. It is entirely my pleasure to share your company with my readers.

  20. May 31, 2017 / 2:02 pm

    I found this post very interesting, Jennifer. Though I don’t consider my blog a business, it does take considerable time and in recent months I have been approached by a couple of businesses asking me to promote their products. So far, I’ve felt that they fit my blog and readership well, so I was happy to comply, but like you, I would not put anything in front of my readers that I didn’t feel 100% comfortable endorsing.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      Good for you Elaine! I’m happy to hear that. Integrity in blogging is important to me. Sadly, I see many misleading the audience with falsehoods and exaggerations.

  21. JulieJ
    May 31, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    Bravo Jennifer!You always come across as authentic and it’s always a pleasure to read your blog.Thanks for recommending genuine products.
    Also,I’m investigating new eyeglass frames for my fair colouring,thinning blonde hair and vanity.I love your frames and how they flatter your face so well.I now have some inspiration.
    Greetings from Australia.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Greetings Julie! Take your time and try many, many on before you decide. I find it helps to take a selfie of me wearing the frames I like and then examine the differences later at home.

  22. Janet
    May 31, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Jennifer – I appreciate your honesty and integrity! You have a fan and a follower!

    • Jennifer
      Author
      May 31, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Thank you so much, Janet!

  23. Sandra
    June 1, 2017 / 7:31 am

    Jennifer,thanks for being you.I am a 61 yrs old I think just finding herself. Lose 24 lbs and trying ti find the style of a 61,you look awesome and healthy, can I ask ,do you drink soda again thanks

    • Jennifer
      Author
      June 1, 2017 / 10:19 am

      Thanks, Sandra. Congrats on your weight goals! I do not drink soda at all.

  24. June 5, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story on how your blog/business began. I’ve been blogging for a year now, my blog is primadarling. It’s time consuming but I love it and would like to grow it into a business. Blogs are the new magazines for targeted audiences since the major fashion magazines are not offering real-life style solutions for women over 40. I appreciate your insights and integrity.

    • Jennifer
      Author
      June 5, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      I completely agree about fashion magazines. They continue to ignore the woman over 40 which was part and parcel to the demise of More magazine. Good luck with your blog, JoLain! It is a labor of love and so rewarding.

  25. Cathy
    June 9, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    Jennifer,
    I love, love ,love reading your blog! It’s not just the styling, although I love that, but also how open you are about other aspects of your life that you share: favorite recipes, places, things to do. Your recent mentions of searching for a home to retire really struck a chord with me as this is something that my husband and are currently wrestling with. It’s not an easy decision but reading your thoughts – and those of your readers – makes it a burden shared and lightens the load.
    Thanks so much for all your hard work and “friendship”. I truly appreciate it!
    CJ

    • Jennifer
      Author
      June 9, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      Your comment means the world to me, Cathy! Thank you so much for taking the time to be here and share your voice. xx

  26. July 14, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    What would you bring to a Silver Seas cruise to the Norwegian Fjords?

    • Jennifer
      Author
      July 15, 2017 / 8:38 pm

      Having been in the Baltic during their summer months, I would suggest layers. It’s chilly. Silver Seas can be more dressy than many other cruise lines so I would bring resort casual with accessories to dress them up. Feel free to email me for more personalized wardrobe planning.

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