I recently met up with fellow blogger and friend, Mariann Yip, to chat a bit about the realities of being a blogger with a full-time job. As some of you may know, I’m a Marketing Manager at one of the Big 3 music corporations, and this blog is my passion project and main side-hustle. For Mariann, an Advertising Manager at a media production agency, blogging is also a huge priority in her life, which she intends to turn into her full-time career (rooting for the both of us over here!)
So over matcha brews at Cha Cha Matcha, Mariann and I talked for a few hours about our current endeavors, upcoming projects, and our take on several blogging-related matters. It was the first time we had a one-on-one conversation, as we usually run into each other at overly crowded social events, but the overall discussion flowed ever so naturally! This is probably my favorite part about setting up coffee dates and more intimate interactions with other bloggers. I’m all about connecting with inspiring individuals who hold an entrepreneurial mindset, as Mariann does. Networking and getting to know them on a deeper and more significant level has consistently proven to be a memorable learning experience for all parties involved. Take note.
Mariann and I turned out to have much more in common than we originally thought, especially in regards to our aspirations and the way in which we view the less glamorous aspects of blogging. Overall, she is a realist with an incredible sense of humor; a down-to-earth and incredibly witty individual, who will crack you up with her jaunty remarks and will keep you intrigued with her pragmatic attitude. Now to get down to business, here are the full deets of our Q&A. If you also want to check out my answers, head over to Mariann’s blog to read her take on our meet up HERE.
Q1: Define your personal style?
Mariann described her style as casual chic and greatly emphasized how she is really big on feeling comfortable. We both agreed we wouldn’t wear heels if it wasn’t truly necessary but when it comes to events, Mariann admits she’s still learning how to be comfortable in her own style – without heels in the picture. The cool thing about Mariann is, she doesn’t try too hard and likes to keep it as simple and natural as possible. Through her mission towards better defining her personal style, Mariann has learned she doesn’t need to fit into a specific label (i.e. preppy, tomboy, girly, etc.), she can be anything and everything she wants to be. This is why she likes exploring and playing around with new styles, though at the moment she is really vibing with athleisure wear. As she expressed, it all comes down to her interest in fitness and being able to merge it with her love of fashion.
Q2: How do you balance your 9-to-6 with blogging?
Mariann explained how at work she is busy in waves. In general, she has a good idea of when upcoming projects are happening and when she can take advantage of slower times. Working in SoHo makes it easier for her to schedule photoshoots in the area. She usually utilizes lunch breaks, time after work, and the weekends to carry out most of her photoshoots, “Whatever downtime I have, I take advantage of. I’m trying to be really, really smart about my time.” Following this motto, Mariann tries to eat at work and use her breaks to fit in shoots and content creation.
One of the most difficult things for her has been finding time to visit her boyfriend in Long Island, and still fit in time for blogging during the weekends. She is still trying to find a good schedule which works with her lifestyle; she gets up early in the morning, goes to the gym, then to work, and there are usually social events after work she needs to attend to. This is why her downtime is so valuable to her, even when she is traveling or at a doctor’s appointment, she is brainstorming on topic and content ideas. She also noted she is currently branching out more into lifestyle and wellness related topics as those are her other passions aside from fashion.
Q3: How important would you say finding like-minded people in the blogosphere is, to both support you and to learn from one another?
First of all, I feel it’s really awesome Mariann and I share the same feelings on this one. Last week I published a post in regards to growing your side hustle by networking and building a community, and in all honesty, it’s the only way to go! As Mariann discussed with me, within the past year the whole influencer and blogging scene has exploded. To her, it seems everyone is doing it and it is hard to stand out and differentiate yourself because the market is overly saturated and has become extremely competitive. When she goes to events, she finds it difficult to meet genuine people who truly want to get to know, listen to, and support her. As such, when she encounters bloggers she clicks with, she makes it a priority to meet with them outside of social events. Then, when she receives event invites, she makes sure to reach out to those bloggers who have been supportive towards her as well. “I honestly think what you give to the world is what you get in return. I believe in helping others and in sharing my tips and tricks with those who’ve helped me back. Why be selfish? You don’t get anything out of it.”
At the end of the day, Mariann understands how much you can learn from others in your industry when the people you interact with are open to it. We both feel it’s a pity some people are so protective and territorial over what they know. It is important to keep certain trade secrets to yourself, but helping others to grow their side hustles doesn’t cost you anything. Mariann’s ultimate goal is to meet genuine like-minded people who can relate to her. When connecting with fellow bloggers and influencers, she doesn’t go into it as “what can I get out of this connection” but rather, what can she share with them in order to contribute to their success.