Blogger spotlight – Eva Dorney

8 July

In this new series, I’m thrilled to interview some of my Three Thought Bubbles, blog students. They have kindly agreed to tell their story, share their experience and inspire others to start writing a blog. If you want to learn something new, it helps to talk to someone who has been there before you. I’m really grateful to each of them for baring their souls; I’m very proud of them too!

Eva Dorney Goldsmith Dublin

Eva Dorney is an Irish goldsmith who I’ve been a fan of for a long time. Well before I set up Three Thought Bubbles, I interviewed her for my previous business blog, Rangoli. I was totally intrigued by one part of her business, which involves taking old, sentimental pieces of jewellery and giving them a stylish re-birth! But that’s just the start of what she can create!

I think that Eva works magic with metal and gemstones. She gets inspired by listening to customers – her creations are literally fused with stories and memories. Eva already had a Facebook page but wanted a more personal space to share her stories – a blog was the perfect solution! Below is Eva’s gorgeous showroom in Windy Arbour. Let’s hear more about how she started blogging and how it has increased her business.

Eva Dorney goldsmith studio

Hi Eva! Why did you decide to write a blog and do you like having your own space to share your designs?

Initially I was sharing images to inspire confidence and create a body of work that people could peruse, but within a few months of starting my business I realized that I wanted to share more than just images of finished work with people. I really enjoy the personal interaction involved in creating one of a kind pieces for people and I wanted to convey that. I figured that if I was curious to know how things were made then surely others, no matter how few, would be too.

Before I set up my current website I used facebook as my substitute blog. It served me well, but I was itching to get all those stories under one roof so to speak and importantly in one searchable format. Having a static brochure website was standing in my way, but all that changed over the course of one very productive weekend in March when I built my new site and started the blog. Since then I’ve been writing about new and old projects, sharing people’s stories and the processes involved in making one of a kind jewellery.

How do you feel about sharing your creative process or ‘putting yourself out there’?

I have no problem with it at all. I come from a background where you share your knowledge rather than protecting it like a state secret. However I try to make my posts more overview than tutorial, not because of a desire to hide any knowledge, rather so as not to lose people in a technical mire. Ultimately I’m writing for the curious mind rather than the jewellery practitioner, though if they find it useful reading that’s great too.

For the most part I think my blog is satisfying a curiosity that people have to understand the processes behind every day items and that very basic desire to hear other people’s stories.

eva-dorney-recycled-gold-jewellery

How much time do you spend creating your blog posts?

I probably spend a half a day on each post between cleaning up photos, making collages, writing content and editing it. The former I would be doing anyway so that I have a record for my look-books and the content is really just fleshing out what I would historically have posted on facebook. I don’t necessarily spend all that time in one sitting, but it adds up!

Do you plan to blog about other designers or things that inspire you to design?

It’s still early days for my blog and it’s still new to me, but I must admit it’s an appealing idea. Being in a creative field I‘ve come to know lots of other creatives whose work I admire and it would be lovely to share their creative process on the blog. In fact I think I know who I’d like to start with! That’s one of the lovely things about the blog – it’s constantly evolving.

Eva Dorney Goldsmith Ireland

What sort of feedback have you got to your blog?

The response to my blog has been overwhelmingly positive and I always see a spike in activity across my website when I post. I think from the perspective of SEO the blog posts have been important in bringing my work to a wider audience and my instinct is that the increase in new business enquiries is as a direct result of them.

I’m also aware that the blog creates a greater sense of understanding and trust in people who haven’t worked with me before or who perhaps have never thought to order a bespoke piece. It helps to demystify the processes and to assure people that commissioning can be for everyone.

What were the key things you took away from your Three Thought Bubbles workshop?

1 It makes huge sense to blog
2​​ There’s no point blogging impersonally
3 Create a friendly about page and carry that tone through the entire site, especially the blog

And finally, do you have a piece of advice for someone considering writing a business blog?

It seems to me that one of the big things with blogging is coming up with interesting content week after week so I’d suggest spending time planning what you’d like to write about over the course of the first few months or better still year.
I like to start half a dozen posts at a time, to get some ideas down and then flesh them out and edit them over the course of the following days or weeks as the case may be. I find it much less daunting to come to a half written post and finish it than to start with a blank page and know that within the next hours I need to transform it into a fully finished post. In a nutshell brainstorm and plan ahead!

Thanks For chatting with us here Eva – I love your idea about starting several posts at a time. That takes the pressure off trying to write the perfect post in one sitting 🙂

This interview is part of a series with Three Thought Bubbles students. Check out the others from the archives. And please get in touch if you’d like to hear more about my training courses. I offer different options to suit your level and needs.

EvaDorney.comEva’s blogClasped.ie FacebookTwitter

Blogger spotlight – Sustainable Rhythms

24 February

In this new series, I’m thrilled to interview some of my Three Thought Bubbles, blog students. They have kindly agreed to tell their story, share their experience and inspire others to start writing a blog. If you want to learn something new, it helps to talk to someone who has been there before you. I’m really grateful to each of them for baring their souls; I’m very proud of them too!

Derek Bell is a man of many skills and passions. Aside from working for Millward Brown Ireland, he has an understanding and passionate interest in urban ecology and urban sustainability. Derek is definitely a doer. As well as having aspirational goals, he wants to bring about change and get Irish people thinking and acting differently. What I think is brilliant about Derek’s blog is that he has found a niche market; urban dwellers (like himself) who live in Ireland and who would like to live a more sustainable life. Here he is to tell us about his blog Sustainable Rhythms and how it reflects his lifestyle and values.

derek bell sustainable rhythms

What made you want to start writing a blog? Tell us about where your skills and passions collide!

The funny thing is that my original intention wasn’t to blog, but to just feature some side research projects. Until very recently, the thought of blogging had never even crossed my mind. But then I tried it a few times and started getting into it more and more. I started to realise that blogging would allow me to express myself creatively, while also hopefully allowing others to do the same thing in the process by commenting on the blog posts. My hope now is that the comments made on Sustainable Rhythms blog posts will provide topics for future posts, and that it will also bring in others within the industry to offer their insight on various topics. I guess I wanted a blog that feeds off of the ideas, insights, and different perspectives of the participants, as opposed to me just spitting out facts and giving my own opinion.

Who do you want to inspire to think, feel, or act differently?

Great question. I think there are a lot of people out there – the majority of the Irish population – who are working really hard every day in order to just break even. And they may think they don’t have the time or energy to adopt more sustainable living habits, but still feel the need to do something. And to be honest – that hits pretty close to home for me. So I’m hoping to reach people who feel that way and give them a platform and voice to communicate and figure out ways to realistically live more sustainably.

What reservations did you have before you started?

Lots of reservations – definitely. I’m not even much of a Facebook user, so the thought of putting up my writing and making it so easily accessible online certainly made me think twice about it. But really – and this is a big one – the main reservation I had was that sustainable living isn’t the dominant socioeconomic rhythm in Ireland, and I know it’s a tough sell at the moment. It just doesn’t have a hugely popular image at present. We still live in a culture of consumption where, at first glance, there still seem to be unlimited resources. So the idea of me – an American no less – living in Ireland and talking about sustainable living was something I wasn’t sure would sell. And who knows, maybe it won’t. But I figured I had to try something.

How did you talk yourself out of these and press the publish button?

That’s a tough one – I guess I just convinced myself that people aren’t looking for perfection. There’s not a college prof grading your blog post who’s going to flunk you. So I just had to let go a little and just put myself out there.

It’s early days yet but what are your initial reactions to ‘putting yourself out into the world’?!

To be perfectly honest, I’m enjoying it a whole lot more than I ever thought I would. I thought it would be a chore, but I now find myself looking forward to the next post and interacting with people in the forums. I’m sure there will be some bumps along the way, but overall so far I must say I’m really getting into it.

What sort of feedback have you had from readers?

It’s kind of a mix. Some of the responses have included references to other blogs with a focus on the sustainability industry, but I’ve also had comments referring to how people had never heard of these concepts and that the posts have helped them to consider things in ways they really never had before.

What were the key takeaways from your Three Thought Bubbles class?

Your feedback about the importance of my About page was invaluable Aisling. After the class, I remember looking at my About page and just thinking “Man, my original page looks so boring – I myself wouldn’t even want to read it.” And I just hadn’t considered anything different like what you suggested. Now – I’m not saying it’s the best About page now, but it’s probably a hundred times better than it was before.

Do you have a structured way of writing or planning your content? Or what’s working for you now?

I have a list of topics that I am constantly adding to. But really, so far, I try to start drafting something a few days before I post so that I get a fresh look at it a few times before I put it up online. And then once I post it up, I try to avoid going back and doing further editing.

Would you like to share a blog (or post) that you enjoy reading and tell us what you like about it?

Probably the Community Supported Brewing post. There’s something intriguing to me about a community deciding that they’re going to control their own beer production. The concept is just so, so different. It excites me to think that this can be done in ANY town if coordinated properly. Not gonna lie – I’d jump at the opportunity to be involved in planning something like that. And so as you can probably tell, it’s something I’m passionate about and tended to enjoy writing about more.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a blog?

Pick something you love – and write about it. Don’t write about something you’re not passionate about, or else it will just seem like work.

What does a ‘successful’ blog mean to you?

I definitely am a long ways off from that, but I think that if Sustainable Rhythms (not me) motivates even one person to live a more sustainable lifestyle, then the blog will have been successful. And if there were to be more than one, I would call that a huge success.

Derek, I thoroughly enjoyed helping you focus on your blogging goals. Your passion is clear and you have a great story to tell. In return you have got me thinking about greener living and discovering more bite-sized ways to live sustainably in my city!

 

Visit Derek’s website Sustainable Rhythms or follow him on Facebook.
 

Are you ‘almost‘ ready to start a blog?! I teach one to one classes and small workshops on how to write a business blog with heart. I can customise a class to suit your level. What do you need help with right now? Let’s have a chat.

Blogger spotlight – Live & Breathe Pilates

2 February

In this new series, I’m thrilled to interview some of my Three Thought Bubbles, blog students. They have kindly agreed to tell their story, share their experience and inspire others to start writing a blog. If you want to learn something new, it helps to talk to someone who has been there before you. I’m really grateful to each of them for baring their souls; I’m very proud of them too!

First up is Steph Grey from Live & Breathe Pilates. Steph took one of my ‘Introduction to blogging classes‘. Working together, we looked at how she could reach and help her customers online. This is a continuation of what Steph does in person with her clients. We tackled her nervousness about ‘putting herself out there‘ and I gave her fresh tips on writing for an online audience. Steph impressed me with her speed in getting launched. As she says herself you need to ‘Just do it’! This is my no.1 mantra too. Let’s hear what she has to say;

live breathe pilates dublin
 

What made you want to start writing a blog? Tell us about where your skills and passions collide!

I’m really passionate about what I do and I wanted to spread the word about how Pilates and movement can help people in their day to day lives – to improve their posture, feel better, get stronger, recover from injury and in many cases get them out of pain. Making people aware that there is a way to take control of their own bodies and be an active participant in staying fit and healthy is a great motivator and the feedback we get is amazing. Having clients telling you that they are pain free for the first time in years, have no longer to take daily painkillers, that they can now touch their toes or feel they have their bodies back post pregnancy is fantastic. And I just want other people to feel and see the benefits too. I’m one of those annoying people who love their jobs because there’s a real satisfaction for me in helping people. That and being told by our website designer and digital marketing lady that I had to 🙂

Who do you want to inspire to think, feel, or act differently?

Everyone! Pilates can be beneficial for so many people – our two oldest clients are in their late 70s, and if I’m as strong and flexible as they are when I’m their age I’ll be very happy. Our youngest clients came in yesterday with her Mum, she’s just 12 ½ weeks old and her Mum is getting back to Pilates after her pregnancy. Baby is working on her roll overs. Pilates can be tailored to suit the individual body – and should be – so it can be appropriate for all. I really believe Pilates (done correctly) can help many people – so I’d like to get as much knowledge out there about the benefits as I possibly can. For example, if one of our over 55s clients learns how important balance is as you age and can then explain that to their friends and family, then that can maybe have an impact on reducing falls and fractures in their circle. Most new mums want to get back to having a flat tummy as fast as possible post delivery – and decide to start doing sit ups – not the best thing for their bodies immediately after having a baby. Educating people about their bodies and the “why” is as important to me as teaching the exercises. It empowers people.

What reservations did you have before you started blogging?

Loads. I’m not a writer – I’m a talker. I even talk to myself all the time. My husband will tell you I never shut up. So sitting down and seeing the blank screen in front of me, with a flashing cursor expecting input was very daunting. I didn’t think anyone would really be interested in anything I had to say – or that I’d say the wrong thing and make a tit of myself. All the usual fears of failure that we Irish are so scared of.

How did you talk yourself out of these and press the publish button?

I decided I needed help first. I had no idea where to start so when I saw Aisling’s blogging workshop online I decided to start there – in the hope it would enable me to put some sort of structure around what I wanted to do.

During our blogging session, Aisling made a very good point to me – I stand up in front of groups and talk about Pilates and anatomy every day with no bother at all. My clients (as well as my husband) will tell you I never stop talking. So she suggested I think about it more as a face to face conversation and I have found that really helpful. And I’ve accepted I’m not going to be perfect – but everything has a learning curve. I think it’s good to scare the hell out of yourself regularly and do things you’re unfamiliar with. It keeps life interesting.

It’s early days yet but what are your initial reactions to ‘putting yourself out into the world’?!

I’m starting to get more comfortable with it and to be more engaged in the online world – blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We’re all in the same boat and have to start somewhere I suppose – and people are genuinely really nice and friends and family and our wonderful clients have been very helpful and supportive. I’ve also met some great people online too. So the plan is to keep at it, keep plugging away and I’m hoping the more I do it the easier it will become.

What sort of feedback have you had from customers or readers? How is your blog helping your business?

Many of our client’s have been with us long term – so I know they get the benefits of Pilates and also like our classes and studio. We get a lot of new clients into the studio from word of mouth – so it’s good to be getting the word out online too. We’ve lots of testimonials on our website from our clients – which I’m very proud of and we have had more likes on FB and follows on Twitter. I’ve been told blogging helps with your google rankings too. We’ve also recently updated our website and put in an online booking system – so all this has helped us to stay on page 1 of the google searches. Not bad when you’re a small business and handling all your own marketing etc inhouse – as opposed to other studios out there with massive marketing budgets. We have no PR machine behind us or celebrity to rely on – it’s just me, my hubby and our fab web designer Clare. And of course, the consistent quality of the studio and the classes we offer all help too.

I’ve learnt a lot about running a business over the past 2 years – though my background in business has really helped too. I worked in IT for many years as a sales executive, handling global accounts from initial contact all the way through tender writing to project management of rollouts for successful bids. The skillsets I picked up along the way are useful in my new role as a studio owner. Many people have commented that’s an incredible (even stupid) jump to make – from a well paid IT job to a penniless Pilates instructor – but it’s all very similar really – you’re still dealing with people and people buy from people. The scariest thing was leaving a full time well paid job for self employment – earning a fraction of my previous wage in the middle of the worst recession in years. Working for myself and being responsible for my own destiny is scary as hell but it’s the best thing I have ever done. I’d highly recommend it.

What were the key takeaways from your Three Thought Bubbles class?

As I said earlier, keeping in mind that your blog should be like having a conversation really helped me to get the words out. Also having a structure around how to get started and the general demystification of how it all works. That and actually getting started writing!

Do you have a structured way of writing or planning your content? Or what’s working for you now?

I’m still a bit of a nerd so I use online tools like Evernote to take notes of ideas as I’m out and about. I follow lots of Pilates and anatomy sites and blogs using Feedly. And I listen to clients – what they ask in class, niggles or injures they feel have improved after coming to Pilates for a while – and also reading other non Pilates based blogs and websites for ideas.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone considering starting a blog?

Just do it. You’ll make mistakes, but the more you do it the better you’ll get. Same as starting Pilates I suppose.

What does a ‘successful’ blog mean to you?

Interaction is key really – the more interesting your content the better. But it doesn’t always have to be about the specific business you’re in. I wrote a blog about new year’s resolutions earlier this year. And lack of motivation about keeping them as we end up just feeling deprived. Not Pilates specific at all – but hopefully helpful to clients in a different way.

Thanks for talking with us here Steph. It’s been fascinating helping you and seeing how your ‘job’ and way of life are so naturally entwined. I wish you all the best with your business and will be keenly following your blog.

Connect with Steph online:

Website and Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Steph’s website designer is Claire Regan, from
Fierce Clever.
 

Blogger Spotlight – Curious Design

6 April

Rachel and Marie from Curious Design

I get a great buzz from chatting with other business owners and hearing how they do things. So I’m starting a regular feature called Blogger Spotlights where I’ll be introducing you to some of my favourite Irish and International bloggers. Diversity is the name of the game. The best blogging advice I got was to look outside your industry or area of interest for inspiration!

So, first up (after my own self-interview!) is Marie from Curious Design. Marie and Rachel run this Irish company and design everything from branding to brochures and email newsletters to e-commerce. They especially love creating identities for small creative businesses. Let’s meet Marie;

The ‘Curious Design’ and ‘Curious Casa’ blogs

Hi Rachel and Marie! I love following both your blogs; your Curious Design as well as Curious Casa. Curious is a brilliant word – tell us how it sums up you two and what you do?

Thanks Aisling, we really like it too!

We thought long and hard about our name. Asking questions, researching and getting to know our clients is a big part of our design process and something we really enjoy so we wanted to reference this in our company name. Curious was a nice friendly word that felt like a good fit. We are also quite nosey!

 Branding, website and print for photographer Magda Lukas

You describe yourselves as ‘friends, work-mates, and design junkies’. Tell us a bit more about those three things!

We’ve been friends since we met on our first day of college in 2001 and collaborated and bounced ideas off each other all the time during those 4 years. After college we still shared inspiration and ideas when working for various companies, as well as brainstorming (some would say obsessing…) over our weddings, houses, and quite a few fancy dress parties. In 2011 we set up curious together. Those years of collaborating have proved invaluable, as we know how the other ticks at this stage and work very well together.

We have very similar taste and love simple modern quirky design. We occasionally drive our other halves batty showing them pictures on pinterest so curious casa is a good outlet and way of sharing cool things we have found with each other.

Branding for BFI - an organisation offering free resources for educators and bilingual/multilingual families.

When was Curious design set up and who do you most want to help?

Curious was set up in 2011. We really like working with smart enthusiastic small businesses and individuals and start ups. It’s particularly fun working with people who are just setting up as you can follow their journey from idea to fully fledged business.

I’m envious that there are two of you! It must be brilliant to share skills and bounce ideas off each other. What are the benefits of working together? And are there any downsides? Spill the beans…

Having a business partner is fantastic!

It’s great to have someone to share the load with and to bounce ideas off. Rachel has lots of experience working with print and knows all the different techniques inside out while  I studied web design and development after college and specialises in that area. We overlap a lot on projects but having different skillsets means that we can offer a broader range of services to our clients, as well as learning from each other.

The downside would be that business talk can eat into “friend time” very easily, we try our best to keep the two separate but there will always be an overlap.

 Website design and development for the Swift Satire Festival 2012

Why did you set up your Curious Design blog and were you nervous before you started?!

We started the blog to help clients get to know us a bit better and also to learn about blogging ourselves. At the time we were also launching curious so there were nerves abounding!

Have you any reservations about sharing your design process online?

No. We try to make our process as transparent as possible for our clients and anything that helps us do this is a good thing.

How do you measure how your blog helps your business?

We keep an eye on our analytics and will also usually ask clients how they heard of us. The majority of our clients are referrals but they will usually have checked out the website and blog before they get in touch. Having a little bit of our personality online helps people feel they know us a bit better before getting in contact.

Do you share the writing?

Yes, and we share the proof reading too – Rachel is good at spotting typos!

Irish Mammies t-towels
 Design of Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

What is the best thing about blogging for you?

We find that our blog has become a great resource for us and our clients as we have posts explaining many of the common questions we get, like the difference between a vector file and a jpeg. Connecting with like-minded people is fun too – we love comments!

What do you find hardest about it?

Finding time to blog! Like any small business we are usually busy working on client work so it’s difficult to make time to blog on top of this.

Do you have a content planner or how do you plan your posts?

How we plan depends on the type of post – if it’s part of a series we tend to plan more and have a shared folder in dropbox where we save our plan and schedule. We usually write and save posts as drafts and get the other to review them before scheduling them.

Posts inspired by a project we’ve finished or a lovely piece of design we’ve spotted tend to be less planned and more spontaneous.

 Website design and development for Ciara of Style Serendipity

Do you have a favourite on-line app, tool or resource that helps you with blogging?

We use photoshop all the time for work anyway but it is also extremely useful for resizing and cropping images.

Has blogging brought you any unexpected opportunities?

Rachel’s home was featured in the IKEA live magazine after one of the editors spotted our blog which was a fun experience.

Who inspires you in the blog world?

I (Marie) am a big fan of Gretchin Rubin from the happiness project. She has 2 best selling books on the topic of happiness both of which I really enjoyed. Her blog has played a huge part in this success and she uses it as a reference and resource for her
books.

What one tip would you give a new business blogger?

If you aren’t sure how you will come up with ideas for posts a series can be a useful format. We found the design a-z was a good structure that helped us come up with ideas.

Thanks for those curious insights Marie! I agree with your thoughts on being as transparent as possible with your clients. It’s one of the reasons I started blogging myself. Your a-z series is a winner too!

 

So, if you’re an aspiring or established blogger – what does your design brand say about you? Is your blog a pleasant place for your readers to hang out? Get in touch with Marie or Rachel if you’d like to spruce up your space!

Call Rachel and Marie on 01 453 7907
Curious Design website and blog
Twitter: @curious_design
Facebook: CuriousDesignIreland
Websites mentioned in the interview: Magda Lukas Photography, Style Serendipity, Swift Satire Festival 2012, Irish Mammy “Tweet Towels”

Blogger spotlight – Rangoli

13 December

If I’m going to start a series of interviews with business bloggers, I guess I should shine the spotlight on Rangoli! What is it about this blogging lark that I have found to be so great? And why do I want to teach you how to do it too? Let’s get this self-interview started.

Please note that my previous business Rangoli is now closed so I can focus on Three Thought Bubbles; teaching businesses how to write an authentic blog.

Who are you and what do you like to do?

I’m Aisling Nelson and from 1998 to 2013 I owned a business called Rangoli. I designed bridal jewellery and hair accessories. In 2008 I started writing a Rangoli blog and found that it was a great way for me chat naturally about my business and connect with my customers before they met me in person. My blog was a finalist in the Blog Awards Ireland in 2012 and 2103 for best blog of a SME. That was a thrill! I realised that this was a skill I’d love to share with others and so the business Three Thought Bubbles was born. I teach businesses how to write an authentic blog. I train one-to-one or small group workshops. I also work as a social media consultant.

I’ve always been very customer focused; working one to one with brides taught be all about listening and storytelling. That’s what blogging and all social communication is all about! When I’m not designing, I love to go on travel adventures.

When and why did you start blogging?

I got introduced to blogs around 2006. Most of the blogs I read were industry related (bridal) and American. There were very few Irish bloggers on my radar. Bridal trends generally start in the US and filter here after a year or two. I found it a great way to forecast trends. The downside was that the content didn’t always relate to a European audience. I also found a lot of them to be too ‘perfect’. My husband and super-techie business advisor, suggested that I should write a Rangoli blog. I remember my shocked reaction;

Why would I do that? What would I write about? Who would want to read it and how would it help my business?

These, I discovered were very important questions. I thought about them briefly, chose a blogger domain and jumped right in!

Recently re-designed blog template
 

Did you enjoy it straight away and would suggest others take the same approach?

Yes and yes/maybe. I totally took to blogging even though I felt awkward ‘talking to myself’ initially, (now I ramble on confidently as if I was speaking to a bunch of friends!). Writing a blog reminded me of the creative diaries I kept in college. It was a place to gather all of the things that inspired me to design. I immediately saw how ‘friendly’ my blog was compared to my static website.  My service is very personal and I wanted to share some of that feeling on my blog.

What appeals to you about blogging?

One of the main reasons that I enjoy blogging is that I am quite a shy person. I am really good with small numbers of people but I used to find networking or self-promotion quite difficult. Blogging changed all that. I was able to be the ‘me’ that people met when they visited my studio. I have made great connections with customers and peers online. I see blogging as an introduction before a face to face meeting. It’s a lot more sociable than people think! Writing a blog has led me to giving public talks which I would never have imagined possible. (It has also led to great brunch dates at The Fumbally).

Sharing sketches and samples for a bespoke Rangoli design

How did you choose your content – did you have a structure?

From day one, I knew that I didn’t want my blog to be all about me. I thought about the things my readers would be interested in reading about. Then I chose six distinct categories;

Rangoli designs; Here I showed bespoke designs so that readers could see the process of having a piece designed. I often involved the client in the story too and shared pictures of the work in progress. The image below illustrates an unusual jewellery request.

Inspiration for you: These posts are things that I discovered that I felt would be of interest to my readers. My headpiece designs were closely tied in with hairstyles so I featured lots of posts on choosing wedding hairstyles. I’ll also recommended quality products and included links to other online inspiration.

Tips and advice: A place to share my knowledge and expertise on everything from styling your look to being yourself!

Rangoli Loves: Simply put; a place to document things that inspired me to design! Random stuff like Downton Abbey or underwater photography.

Wedding stories: This was a really popular section of the blog where clients shared stories and photos from their wedding day.

And finally, Aisling’s world: Things I love, places I’ve been and the magic in between.

A desert wedding spotted on a trip to Uzbekistan
 

What do you think makes a blog successful?

I think the key is to be very authentic and write with your reader in mind. I write my blog for adventurous on-line explorers like myself! I am a fickle reader with subscription-commitment issues. I want to be surprised by new ideas and feel a connection with people.

If someone reads a couple of my posts and decides to get in touch as a result, then I consider my blog to be successful. The aim of my blog is not long-term readership necessarily. The beauty of this type of content is that is archived for people to read whenever they search for it.

What do you like most about blogs?

For me, it’s finding out something about people and why they do what they do. I love the communication possibilities from written word and visuals to video or audio podcasts. Many people think that the internet is an impersonal place but blogging is all about being sociable! Here are some great storytellers that I discovered recently;

  • Herriot Grace, an online, collaborative family business, where a father and daughter live 3400 kilometres apart.
  • and the Real Italian Foodies, an Irish-Italian couple who run an award-winning restaurant in Limerick and now sell their own line of Italian sauces.
Margarita from Chocolate creative shares her inspiration and design process

What has blogging taught you?

I’ve found a way to tell people what I do in a way that feels comfortable to me. But the biggest revelation is how amazing it is to connect and collaborate with other creative people. The support from other people is amazing!

What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a business blog?

  • Take action and get started (you can keep it private initially until you have some content to share.)
  • Be clear about who your audience is and what they want to read about.
  • Edit and re-edit. Reduce your word count and make every word matter!
  • Be sociable and supportive towards other bloggers; it’s a really friendly community. Meet up in person too.
  • Enjoy not knowing exactly where your blog will take you! It’s a big huge adventure.

Do you have a favourite quote?

People are reading about you while you sleep.” Michael Margolis from Get Storied.

I love this radical yet simple idea. Put your ideas out there online and they’ll work for you even while you’re snoozing!

Why do you want to teach others how to write their own business blog?

Every day I discover brilliant businesses online that are telling their story. But I can think of so many Irish businesses that don’t have a strong internet presence. I really want to change that! Blogging is simple, inexpensive and really effective for business. I’m here to share this skill and de-mystify some of the preconceptions about self-publishing. Here’s the biggie though; I want to teach you that it’s fun. And it will definitely change your world in unexpected ways!

Where else can we find you online?

*Rangoli is now closed but my sites are still available to view for reference.

Rangoli Website
Blog
Facebook
Pinterest
Twitter

Aisling Nelson (rangolitweets) on Pinterest

 

Did you enjoy reading this interview? It’s tricky interviewing yourself, so ask me any question and I’d be delighted to answer it for you! This is part of a series about business bloggers – check out the others. Do you have a favourite blog? Send them my way and tell me what you love about them. And if this post has got you thinking about starting your own blog, let’s get talking about my next workshop dates. I’d love to meet you. 

Three Thought Bubbles…

23 October

Hello World! And hello to you. This is a momentous day for me; I’ve been developing this project for over a year.  I can hardly believe that I’m writing another ‘first post’! It’s time to tell you about ‘Three Thought Bubbles’.

I discovered blogs in 2007. Then in a moment of madness I jumped right in and became a business blogger myself and set up Three Thought Bubbles. I experienced all the fear and thrill of learning a new skill. ‘Exposing myself’ online scared the pants off me, but pretty soon I had to admit that I loved it. This was a place where I could communicate with others and share what I am passionate about. I discovered a friendly and supportive community.

Rangoli Jewellery blog Ireland Rangoli Jewellery blog

Blogging has had a big impact on me and the way that I run my business. But something else unexpected has happened which has grabbed me by the hand! While trawling the internet and connecting with other business owners, I have become so inspired by the skills and stories that we share. I see my workshops as a learning collaboration with like-minded people.

At the moment, I’m hoovering up books that talk about the power of storytelling in business! A lot of us are missing the point completely. It’s time to reach out and tell customers why you do what you do, rather than what.  There is no shortage of qualifications in the world. What sets us apart is the why and who you can help in the process.

I’m here to show you how easy it is to write and maintain your own successful business blog. This blog is an additional resource for business bloggers and anyone thinking of starting a blog.

I’ll be sharing some of the daily treasures I discover online:

  • How to: Tips on how to be a great blogger
  • Inspiration: Ideas to get your creative mind racing
  • Design: Great branding design
  • Stories: Brilliant and engaging business stories
  • Blogger spotlight: Insightful interviews with fellow bloggers

I want Three Thought Bubbles to be about and for the blogging community. Please get in touch to say hello and tell me about what you do. Can you share any tips that have worked for you? What do you think about blogging? I want to hear your thoughts so we can get a conversation going.

Nothing beats face to face connection though, which is why you will learn so much more by attending a workshop. I’ll  be announcing my upcoming course dates soon and would love to meet you. In the meantime, read about who the course is suitable for and what I will be teaching.

Welcome to the Three Thought Bubbles blog!