As a self-employed business woman, I decided to surround myself with positive, motivated and inspiring people. So I started a monthly networking group called 'Wonderful Women: Minding Our Own Business'. To encourage and motivate us I interview inspirational and creative business women, and I have picked the brains of Bernie Dexter, Angelique Houtkamp, Michelle Ward, Maureen Jann, Hayley Southwood, Rebecca McWattie, Jess Purser and Tara Scott.
Kat Williams is surely an inspiration to all of us who blog - she now makes her living as a blogger, and gets to have a mighty fine time while doing it! She writes and talks so honestly about her experiences, and her 'voice' reads so well over the page - it's clear why she's such a success!
Copyright: David McNeil photography
ReeRee Rockette: Can you tell us a bit about your career path that led you to writing Rock n Roll Bride?
Kat Williams: I started the blog while I was engaged and planning my wedding to Gareth. We were married in April 2008 and I started it just before in October 2007, as a way to document our wedding plans. I loved reading American wedding blogs and finally decided to get round to starting my own just before the wedding. After we were married I didn't want to give up blogging and writing so I decided to shift the style of the blog from writing about our wedding plans to sharing inspirational weddings and photography that I liked - with a Rock n Roll/alternative twist! There was nothing else like it at the time, and no other popular UK wedding blogs, so I kind of landed on a bit of a niche by accident.
ReeRee Rockette: When you started writing your blog, did you view it as a business? When did that change for you?
Kat Williams: No way! I didn't even know it was possible to make money out of a blog. The thought never crossed my mind! I guess it changed in early 2010 when I started getting requests from photographers and other wedding suppliers that I'd featured if they could advertise with me. I had no idea about any of this so I started by charging next to nothing (like £25 a month I think!) and it just went from there.
ReeRee Rockette: What is your average day like?
Kat Williams: It depends really whether its a 'writing' day or not. I have two kinds of days really - ones where I sit at home in my PJs all day writing, emailing and researching - and then the more exciting ones when I have meetings, photo shoots or events/shows.
On the writing days I usually get up at 9am when my husband's alarm goes off (he works from home too so we both get to sleep late - no nasty commute for us!) I then head downstairs, followed by my Maine Coons, feed them, make myself and the husband a coffee (take it to him in bed!) and then get straight to work.
I usually start by going through my emails, checking facebook & twitter, moderating blog comments and looking through my google reader for new content and a bit of early morning inspiration.
I'll then write my 3 or so blog posts for the next day (I always work a day ahead) and work on any magazine articles (or interviews!) I have to do. I then take a break for a bath...have some food...and I then spend the rest of the day doing less brain-taxing tasks like replying to emails, going through submissions, uploading images, keeping up to date on twitter and all that jazz.
At about 6.30 I'll stop working, making dinner for Gareth & I (or persuade him to take me out for dinner/get a take away in!) and watch a movie or TV. Lovely.
ReeRee: You relaunched/rebranded your site in 2009 - what led you to make that decision?
Kat Williams: erm....well..slight confession - I deleted it! Yeah seriously, I dont know how I did it but I accidentally deleted my whole website! Before this I was working on a 'blogger' blog, I didn't have the .com and I kind of kept the whole blog thing a secret...even Gareth didn't know I was doing it! I guess it was my little guilty secret that I was still wedding-obsessed.
However luckily for me, Gareth is an IT wizz and so although we couldn't get the blog back, he was able to recover some of the content. So, I decided to use this 'blip' (read: balls-up!) as an excuse to re-evaluate the direction of the blog and what I wanted from it. We purchased the .com, moved me to wordpress (much sexier /professional and more customisable) and I started again from scratch!
ReeRee Rockette: What challenges do you face as a blogger? How to you overcome them?
Kat Williams: The industry can sometimes get a little bitchy. There is a huge drive for most bloggers (myself included!) to get the most unique, exciting and exclusive content and sometimes it can all get a little...'schoolyard' shall we say. Over the past 3 + years however I've come to realise that there will always be new weddings and content to blog so if you miss out on something to just let. it. go!
I've also taken my blog that step further by creating my own content to complement the real weddings I feature though the external projects I do (photo shoots, wedding shows, writing magazine articles etc...and the most recent development is a catwalk show that I'm doing...yes I'm actually walking down the catwalk!) Doing these things means I've always got stuff to blog!
I guess I just always have to remind myself that it actually doesn't matter what anybody else is doing - what I'm doing for he good of my readers and sponsors is all that matters.
ReeRee Rockette: What are your views on the popularity of blogging? What has changed in the blogging world since you started out in 2007?
Kat Williams: Wow, so much has changed. When I started Rock n Roll Bride there were no UK wedding blogs. Blogs as a whole in fact were pretty rare over here. Now, there are hundreds of UK wedding blogs and brides, and the wedding industry especially, are realising the power of blogs. Brides now use them as well as traditional print magazines for inspiration for their own weddings and wedding suppliers are realising that this 'ready made' audience of brides is certainly something worth tapping into for their own businesses. It's fab and I'm so excited to be a part of it.
ReeRee Rockette: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a blog?
Kat Williams: Just do it! Don't think about making money from a blog in the beginning. Just focus your energy on creating a blog that is real (a refection of you as an individual) and unique. Having a niche is the key to success. You have to not only be unique in this but to have a really strong grasp of what it is you're trying to portray - whether that be a particular style of wedding or just a different opinion on a much discussed topic.
ReeRee Rockette: Do you have any business advice for other women? Anything you have learnt along the way?
Kat Williams: Be strong. Sometimes it's hard working for yourself, letting things get to you and letting yourself get bogged down with what other people think as well as everything you have to do. The best advice I can think of really is to a) focus on you and forget about everyone else is doing (us women do have a tendency to want to compete all time time huh? I'm certainly guilty of this!) and b) don't stress - keep it simple, try not to worry about everything you have to do and just focus on the small tasks one by one. You'll get there.
ReeRee Rockette: What have you been most proud of with Rock n Roll Bride?
Kat Williams: The fact that I started it from nothing, with no one to guide me and no one to really emulate, and I've created this (pink) monster that I can now do as a full time job. it's pretty incredible really. I'm also super proud of the friends I've made in the industry and I get a daily buzz when wedding suppliers say they've had wedding bookings from being featured on Rock n Roll Bride, or when brides say something I've written about has inspired them for their own weddings.
ReeRee Rockette: What do you see in the future for Rock n Roll Bride?
Kat Williams: Who knows! I'm a 'wing it' kindda girl. Everything that has happened with Rock n Roll Bride so far has been an organic process, I haven't really had to force anything and right now I'm loving the path it's taking me. Long may it continue!
Wow - what a lady!!