Interview with creative and business owner Claire Donovan-Blackwood.

Creativity and business ownership don’t have to be in conflict. Photographer and artist Claire Donovan-Blackwood is a blogging expert and crafter. Claire has both a creative and business blog. She knows how to make money online without having to give up her creative passions. She graciously shared her secrets with me in an interview.

1. Tell me about yourself.

My name is Claire, and I’m from Belfast in Northern Ireland. My husband and I have a cat and she’s a tiny monster. Before I started my business I was finishing my degree in Photography and Creative imaging and I owned a photography studio. My hobby is making a mess! I love painting, drawing and creating mixed media art journal layouts.

2. What is your business?

My business is Heart Handmade Media. I run two blogs: one, a craft blog, Heart Handmade; and one blogging-as-business blog, Clarity Avenue.

On Heart Handmade, I teach crafters how to make quick and easy projects, inspire and motivate them with incredible DIY tutorials to follow and Bullet Journaling to be artistic and productive as all heck!

At Clarity Avenue, I teach bloggers how to earn money when they don’t blog about blogging. I show them how to get consistent, targeted traffic to those creative and business sites.

3. How long have you been working with your business?

I’ve been craft blogging since 2007 and began the business blog in early 2017.

4. Why did you want to work from home or work for yourself? What is your “why”?

I work for myself because I’m a disabled, chronically ill, house-bound woman and I know that I have something to contribute to society, even though I can’t leave my house.

When I found out that my condition wasn’t curable, I decided that I didn’t want to rely on government assistance. Even though I struggle with energy levels and perform some training videos and presentations from my bed, I have knowledge to share and something of value to share with bloggers.

5. Why did you start this business? Did you look into any other business ideas? Have you tried any others before this one?

My craft blog initially started as a hobby because I was stuck in bed for a couple of years while I went through hospital testing, seeing consultants etc. I couldn’t move but my head was still full of creative ideas. I can’t count the number of times I re-designed and decorated my bedroom on paper. There are art journals full of mood boards and magazine cut outs. It all evolved from there.

It took about six or seven years for my doctor to get my medication at a sweet spot, where I had a little more energy during the day.

6. How many hours do you work every day or week? What kinds of things do you do to make money?

I work a couple of hours each day.

On the craft blog, I use advertising, sponsored content and affiliate links to earn money.

On the business blog, I sell digital products, courses, coaching and affiliate income.

7. How long did it take to see your first sale? How long did it take to make a profit?

Because I had established an audience before I began developing digital products, I was able to make a few sales during my first launch sequence.

8. How do you help your customer? Why would they buy from you or work with you?

I give everything, including the kitchen sink in my products. I have private Facebook groups where I’m available for any questions somebody may have and always available through Facebook messenger!

9. What do you like best about your business?

The flexibility of it all and the fact that it is possible at all.

10. How would someone start a business like yours?

To begin with, plan your business.

To start a blog, I highly recommend going with a hosted platform. This can be done for under $100. Make yourself available on social media platforms. I use schedulers and spend approx $9.99 per month. Then build up an email list as soon as you start, as the money is in the list. People have already gone the extra mile to hear from you, so they’re far more likely to purchase from you.

You can build up an audience and sign up to Google Adsense to begin with. There are many many ways in which you can earn money as a blogger but ads a fairly good start. Building an engaged audience is a great way to get started with influencer marketing (getting paid to write posts).

Research is important!

Blogging is one of THE cheapest businesses to start. Full stop.

11. What do you do to help your customers succeed?

Basically, I hold their hand. I’m all about creating easy, actionable advice for people to follow. If they’re struggling, I help to take the overwhelm out of the task and move forward.

12. What kinds of expectations should someone new to online business, working from home, or working for yourself have?

You need to have the right mindset to succeed.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there”.

Depending on how much extra time you can spare to work on your blog will determine how quickly you grow and how fast you can monetise. You can monetise from the very beginning, implement affiliate links and allow your blog to grow while making a few cents here and there. Eventually those cents will turn into large dollar amounts.

It is entirely possible to earn a substantial full time income each month from blogging.

13. Anything else you would like someone to know about you or your business?

I would be thrilled to connect with you and answer any questions you may have!

14. How can someone connect with you?

I’m available on either of my websites, Heart Handmade or Clarity Avenue. You can also find me on Facebook at @ClarityAvenue or @TheCraftCafewHHMUK

Thanks Claire! If you’d like to be featured in an interview, please contact us!

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Interview with Creative and Business Blogger Claire Donovan-Blackwood

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