I’m super excited to welcome Jessica Lam, Author of Diary of a Toronto Girl. For those who don’t know, Diary of a Toronto Girl is a Toronto based lifestyle blog. Jessica has been a huge inspiration to myself and I’m sure to many other inspiring Bloggers. Her story is very interesting and I’m thrilled that Jessica was willing to chat with me to share about her journey thus far.
First of all, thank you SO much Jessica for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share with myself and my lovely readers all about what you do and what it takes to be a blogger. You’ve had quite an interesting ride so far and I know your story will serve as an inspiration to my readers, as well as myself.
- Q: For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you tell us a bit about yourself & what you do?
A: Hey everyone! My name is Jessica and I’m the writer behind Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Toronto-based lifestyle, fashion, and travel blog.
- Q: What prompted your desire to start blogging?
A: I’d been writing for some other online publications for awhile and I wanted a place where I had my own freedom to write whatever I wanted without someone else editing my work or making decisions about what to write.
- Q: How long have you been blogging for?
A: I’ve been blogging for 3 years now!
- Q: What is the main message you hope to send others with Diary of a Toronto Girl?
A: My goal is to encourage people to be their most positive self and live their best life doing what makes them happy! I truly believe you get what you put out into the world, and it’s so important to live positively.
- Q: When did you decide to pursue blogging full-time, and what caused you to make this decision?
A: I never thought the 9-5 life was for me, and I didn’t want to sacrifice my creativity and happiness in exchange for a consistent income. I started blogging full-time 2 months ago, and I’ve never been happier!
- Q: I know you’ve lived in Toronto your whole life, and plan to stay here. What is your favourite thing about Toronto? Anything about Toronto you’re not so crazy about?
A: I absolutely love how diverse Toronto is! There are people from all kinds of cultures, backgrounds, and lifestyles, and it’s amazing. While I love the big city and all, I’m definitely not a fan of how bad traffic and rush hour can get because of all the people – it’s definitely one of my least favourite things about Toronto, but you just gotta stick it out or find your way around it!
- Q: Do you have any advice for bloggers about time management? I know this can be especially tricky when working at a full-time job.
A: I would definitely set aside time each day or on the weekend to work on the blog. It takes dedication and consistency to maintain a blog, especially with a full-time job, and it helps to have a specific time to work on it!
- Q: What are your goals, personal and blog-related, for 2019?
A: I would love to put out more consistent blog posts and get into more video content. I’ve put a lot of focus into Instagram in 2018, and as a blog is more sustainable and reliable in the long run, I think that’ll be a priority in 2019!
- Q: For those who don’t know your work, Jessica, do you have any advice for new bloggers about increasing traffic?
A: Pinterest and SEO are so important for growing your blog. While your tweets and Instagram posts will disappear into your feeds after a week, your pins and blog posts will be consistently found even 5 years from now.
- Q: What do you find to be the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
A: Being undervalued by brands is definitely one of the most frustrating parts. The blogging and influencer industry is still very new, and many brands ask a lot for very little or for nothing at all. However, there are many brands out there that know the work bloggers put in, and that definitely makes it worth it!
- Q: What was your greatest “failure” thus far and what did you learn from it?
A: I haven’t really had any “failures”, but at my first media event, I was so full of anxiety that I ran out as soon as the presentation ended without talking to any of the other 5 people that were there. I just kept thinking that the other girls didn’t want to talk to me because they got along so well with each other, when I should’ve instead tried to actually talk to them and not worry about the negative things. I’m still slowly breaking out of my comfort zone of talking to new people now, but it’s definitely way better than before!
- Q: What is your proudest achievement so far?
A: Being able to quit my full-time job to blog full-time is definitely up there for me! It’s something I never even considered when I first started blogging, and I’m so grateful for it.
- Q: What is your favourite post you’ve written so far, and why?
A: I don’t have any specific favourites, but I’m really proud of my mental health and positivity posts – I pour my heart into them, and it makes me so happy when people tell me that they relate or that it helps them in some way.
- Q: Who inspires you for Diary of a Toronto Girl? Any blog influencers you look up to?
A: I really admire Claire Marshall – she’s a YouTuber, but she’s my main source of inspiration when it comes to anything creative!
- Q: Who takes the majority of your photos?
A: My boyfriend or my friend Teresa (who’s also a blogger) usually take my photos for me! It’s definitely much easier to shoot photos with people who you’re familiar with and people who know what kinds of photos you like taken.
- Q: What are your favourite things to do when you aren’t blogging?
A: I love exploring the city and trying out new restaurants and cafés, and I love traveling!
- Q: Are there any resources or tools you would highly recommend to other bloggers?
A: Tailwind is amazing for growing your Pinterest account, and the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress is awesome for optimizing your SEO. I also really like RewardStyle and Amazon Associates for affiliate links!
- Q: If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
A: Not sure about this one actually! I feel like it would be so interesting to be literally anyone else and see what life would be like in their eyes.
- Q: What do you do when you’re having a bad day?
A: Bad days are the best time for self-care days! I like to make a nice cup of tea or coffee, cozy up on the couch with some Netflix, or cuddle and talk with my boyfriend.
- Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: In terms of blogging, it definitely irks me to see people buying followers and things like that. I’ve learned to accept (but not condone) it, but it definitely is frustrating.
- Q: Do you ever run out of post ideas? If not, what keeps you inspired to find new things to write about?
A: I do go through creative blocks every now and then, and I like to search through Bloglovin and other people’s blogs to find inspiration for new post ideas. It helps to take time and put together a bulk list of post ideas, and slowly pick away at them!
- Q: What companies have you worked with? Do you have a favourite?
A: I’ve worked with a variety of companies, including Amazon, Ford, and Second Cup, all of which I’ve really enjoyed!
- Q: Do you believe in email lists? What are your tips for gaining email subscriptions on your blog?
A: An email list is super important for connecting with your readers. Who knows where Instagram will be in 5 years? With an email list, you can get right into the inboxes of people who want to read what you have to say. I would definitely offer incentives for people to subscribe, whether it be a cute printable to-do list or an intensive guide on what to do around Toronto!
- Q: Do you ever struggle with keeping a healthy work-life balance?
A: Blogging pretty much requires you to be on your phone or laptop all the time, but I try to get as many things done as I can at once so I can make time for my boyfriend, family, and friends. Sometimes it is hard to maintain a good balance, but the people who care about you understand that it’s part of the job.
- Q: Do you have any last words of advice for our readers?
A: Whatever you want to do, get started right now. Life’s too short to wait for the “right” moment!
Thanks again to Jessica for taking the time out to chat with us today!
If you aren’t already following her, please make sure you do! I promise, you won’t want to miss her amazing content.
Also, be sure to follow me on instagram at @victoria_secretxo for daily updates & inspiration!