Tuesday 1 April 2014

Interview with Victoria Heckstall : Young Work at Home Mom

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, your blog(s)/website(s), and your aspirations and your hobbies!!

I am Victoria Heckstall. I have been working online and blogging since 2011. I started off with one blog, “Young Work at Home Moms”, and in 2012 I started a review blog, “Giveaways 4 Mom”. In the beginning of 2014 I published my first eBook, althoug
h I have been an author in some others. During my spare time I am a full time mom outside of work and I enjoy going to different places with my children. I have a goal of being able to make six digits a year solely through my online endeavors. 

2. How you first got involved in with blogging/writing, are you an imaginative person?
I actually just jumped into writing and blogging back in 2011 when I moved from FL to VA and was 5 months pregnant and no one wanted to hire me. I researched work at home jobs and started landing clients on forums such as WAHM.com, and Digital Point. The rest is kind of history. I have been working online and blogging since the day I started – it took me three months to make a full time income – and I have not looked back at brick and mortar jobs since.

3. What do you find most challenging about blogging/writing about your topic?
Since I write full time and blog full time the most challenging part is finding the time to do both. I have deadlines for some of the posts that I post on my Giveaway blog, since I work with companies, and I have deadlines for my writing clients. Managing my time wisely is something that can be very challenging at times. I never run out of things to write about it is just finding the time to get them drafted.

4. Tell me about some of the people you have met while working on your blog?Being the owner of two blogs I have met a lot of people. My work at home mom blog has allowed me to meet people online such as Carol Tice and other influential freelance writers. My Giveaway Blog has allowed me to work with a lot of brands such as Busch Gardens.

5. How would (someone) describe your blogging/writing style?My writing style is described as “real” when I blog. On both of my blogs I share photos and things from my personal life to let my readers know that I am a real person who can relate to them.

6. What do you do when you are not working on your blog
When I am not working on my blog usually I am spending time with my family, writing for writing clients, marketing for new clients, or interacting on social media. 

7 .Where do you see yourself blogging/writing wise in the next 6 months, and 5 years down the road?

In the next six months I hope to have my work at home blog back ranking since it was hit by Google recently and my Giveaway blog more well know. In five years, I hope to have a decent amount of traffic coming to my sites and to be considered a go to site in my niche. Regarding my writing career, I hope to be able to be pickier with the work that I accept. In addition, to being able to work less hours and make more money.

7. What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging/writing business?

I am always marketing and networking on various social media sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to always make sure that I am in the loop. Additionally, I have a few Google Alerts in place to insure that I can interact with people who post content that is relevant to me. Lastly, I have a few forums that I stop by in addition to joining at least one link up a day to stay connected with others in my niche.

8. How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.

Both of my niches – working online & product reviews/giveaways – always have something that need to be discussed. I will admit that I have let my work at home blog go a little bit. But, my Giveaway blog is always updated at least once a day. Blogging is one of my passions and it helps me escape from everyday life and interact with others. So, when blogging is something that you enjoy doing you will never have to worry about what you want to say.

9. Whats your strategy with your blog in general?

I schedule out posts on my Giveaway blog to insure that something will post everyday even if I do not have time to blog. My work at home blog I usually try to post something once a week.

10. Any specific tips you have for newbie bloggers who want to make it in the blogosphere?

New bloggers have to make sure that they are starting to blog because it is a passion and they are not just after the money that can come with it. If you are just after the money you will find that blogging seems to be more of a headache and you will more than likely have a blog that does not even make it for a year.

11. What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

My content and readers are my priority. I aim to write good content that my readers can benefit from. I actually do nothing SEO wise at all. However, I must be doing something right since my Giveaway blog is ranking for certain keywords and has an Alexa under 70,000.

12. What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

The best thing that a blogger can give to their readers is high quality content that comes from a real person.

13. A lot of people are interested in blogging/writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging/writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Honestly, when I first started blogging I had no clue that I could make money doing so. I started my work at home blog to connect with other people who worked from home as well as track my progress. When I learned about making money blogging I started my Giveaway blog. However, on my best month I have only made about $200 – unless you include the value of all of the products that I have received.

In my opinion before you start aiming to make money off your blog you need to have been blogging for at least six months. I would say avoid advertisements as they annoy readers and stay away from shading people who want to advertise in general. Even when making money off of your blog you should always have your reader’s best interest in mind. Besides, without them you would not have a blog.

14. What motivates you most in life?

My children motivate me the most in life. I aim to show them that you can succeed at anything as long as you put your mind to it.

15. What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

I am a member of various Facebook groups for bloggers, which allows me to reach larger audiences than my own.

17 What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

My most challenging moment is promoting and photos. I never seem to have the time to promote like I want to and I am always constantly working on improving my images so they would be ideal for Pinterest and Instagram.

18. Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?
This is my favorite blog post because it was my first time attending a mom event. I was so excited that I wrote it the moment that I got home from the event. This is my least favorite blog post because it was one of my earlier reviews and it shows just how much I did not know what I was doing. 

19. Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
The main blogger I look up to is Carol Tice. Not only does she blog but she writes too. She is amazing at both, manages her time wisely, and always writes blog posts that get people’s attention. 
20. What is the story behind the name of the blog?
Young Work at Home Moms originated because at the time I was 20 – a young mom – and I worked from home. Giveaways 4 Mom has its name because Giveaways for mom was not available and I wanted a site where I focused on providing moms with giveaways. 
21. Your connection with any Blogger Network like Indi blogger or Writeupcafe or any other and the experience?
I connect with some blogging groups for moms such as Mom Central and I am a member of The Freelance Writers Den.

22. Which genre do you feel gets the raw deal?
I only have experience with my two niches but I both think of them as equally the same.
23. Which one plug-in would you suggest all bloggers to have?
Disclosure picker to insure FTC guidelines are followed. 

24. Five adjectives that describe you.
Smart, strong, determined, spontaneous, and dedicated

25. What book would you say has made the biggest impact good or bad on you?I haven’t read a lot of books related to my industry. The ones that I have read did not provide me with much value.
26. Do you get easily provoked by positive/negative comments??
I enjoy receiving comments from my readers both positive and negative. I approve both on my blog. It just lets me know what I am doing right and what I need to improve. 

27. Do you plan to write a book, as every bloggers dream it is?
I have published my first eBook, working on my second, and I plan to do a hard copy book within the next three or four years. 

28. Are you a judgmental person, do you prefer to take sides instead of standing neutral?
I consider myself to be more of a neutral person.
29. Your collaboration with other bloggers, are you much into social networking, tell us everything about it?
I am very much into collaborating with other bloggers. I love social media and I interact every single day. Sometimes I have to limit myself from social media because I could literally spend all day up there interacting with my network.
30. What genre attracts you the most and which genre you avoid?
I enjoy the work at home industry, I would definitely avoid the health industry though. 

31. Your Views on Contests and increasing plagiarism?
I run contests on my blog all of the time. If multiple people are posting the same thing I always no index and no follow my posts. However, for my own contests I do not have to do so since I am the only one who is promoting the contest. 

33. On winning the Award/s , Are they Really necessary.
I don’t think they are necessary. However, it does feel good to win them. I was one of the top 50 review blogs in 2013 and I was thrilled when I received the email.

34. So whats Next in your list?

I plan to continue working online, blogging, and working on my books. Maybe by the end of the year I will even start another blog. 

35.Words for your readers and why they should follow you?
You should follow me if you want to be up to date with what goes on in the work at home industry, see real user experiences before purchasing products, and enter some amazing giveaways.

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