From 0 to 150,000 Visitors – How They Blog Interviews Emily Jones!

HowTheyBlog.com Interviews Emily Jones

Emily Jones

Blog: jonesdesigncompany.com

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Note from Crystal: Emily is one of those amazingly kind, creative, insightful women who I have followed online as long as I can recall reading blogs. I have several of her beautiful prints hanging on the walls of my home (and a yearly subscription to “JDC Monthly” has been on every Christmas, Birthday, and Anniversary gift list for 2 years..ahem..) and I absolutely loved hearing her speak with her husband Ryan last year at Allume. We know that you’ll be inspired and encouraged by her words today (and aren’t they just the cutest family?)! 

A How They Blog Interview with Emily Jones

Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.

silly family

When I was a little girl, all I wanted was to get married and have four children. I dreamed of being in love and living a care-free life where I drank lattes and watched my perfectly dressed children play at the park.

Crazy thing is, a bunch of those dreams came true. I am married and have four kids. We are in love {most of the time} and I do enjoy a latte on a daily basis. The care-free and perfectly dressed parts have seemed to elude me, but I can honestly say, I’m living my dream. Only it’s even better than I imagined because along the way I am being refined and stretched and blessed beyond measure by learning about how to be who God made me to be and share it with others. That’s what the blog is about.

2. Tell us your blogging story.

I began blogging about four years ago – with a private family blog and a public business blog {I began JDC in 2002 as a custom stationery business}. After a few months of posting separately, I decided it just didn’t feel right. My life isn’t separate, so it was hard to blog that way. I combined the two and launched Jones Design Company {the blog} in January 2010, right before having our fourth baby. Why did I think pursuing a new time-intensive hobby was a good idea right after having a baby, I do not know. But somehow it sparked a creativity in me that I could not contain. As the blog began to grow, so did the expenses associated with it. About 10 months in, we were paying over $500 per month to run the blog and we knew things had to change if I were to keep going. My husband, Ryan, who is a brilliant entrepreneur-type came on board and we began using the blog as a business – selling my artwork, producing classes and offering a monthly membership.

My blog is my creative outlet, a fun and humbling place to encourage and inspire other women and our family’s major source of income. –> Click to Tweet!

3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.

I’m on a big kick right now of encouraging ladies to just ‘do their thing’. It stems from my personal journey with always wanting approval and struggle with comparison {ugh} which is so often perpetuated in this visual candyland that is blogging/social media. Everyday, we see perfectly styled homes and perfectly dressed children and perfectly prepared meals and then look around at our own lives and feel like we are not measuring up. I get trapped into thinking my blog, my art, my home, my life is somehow not good enough and I completely lose my ability to share life with others. Don’t get me wrong; I love presenting a perfect snapshot of my life, but if I’m completely honest, that is not at all what I want to be known for. It’s always through being genuinely ME and recognizing all that I have to be grateful for {even in the messes} that I can be generous and make a difference in someone’s day. That’s what I want to be known for.

jdc-office-shelves-on-wall-dresser

4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?

Blogging brings many of my greatest talents together in one place. I love writing conversationally, which translates well with blogging. I am very visually motivated and appreciate pretty things, which translates well with blogging. I am a self-taught graphic designer and my husband is a self-taught marketing/web-designer/technology smarty-pants and together those translate well with blogging. Thankfully, our skills are matched up pretty well with this type of online business.

I especially appreciate how much freedom I have with running a blog – I can make my own schedule, write about whatever topic I’m interested in at the moment, go from chatting about parenting to pillows to making a new wreath. I love what I do and am grateful for the ways it allows me to be creative and share my voice.

Most of my real-life friends are not blog readers and they do a good job of keeping me grounded. With them, I’m just a regular mom with errands to run and too much laundry to fold. They support my business, but also remind me of what is most important to me. Having a life outside of JDC is the best way I’ve found to keep things fresh and interesting on the blog.

 on the steps

Gadget & Apps

1. What blog platform & theme/child theme do you use?

We use WordPress and a theme called The Cotton by ThemeForest. We teach a blogging class and in it recommend WooThemes Canvas theme. We’ll be switching my blog to that by the end of the year. I do my own graphics and Ryan {my husband} helps with plug-ins/coding/everything technical.

2. How do you capture your blog ideas?

I’m a paper list maker. I have a calendar for each month sitting on my desk where I fill dates with posts and have a running list along the margins with other ideas. I like to be flexible and post on a whim, so nothing is ever set in stone {or written in ink!}.

3. What are your most useful computer/web apps?

I use Adobe Illustrator on a daily basis both for designing artwork and blog post graphics. Photoshop gets a good workout for editing blog photos {I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I just run my photos through a few different actions {PioneerWoman has a great set of free ones}.

4. What are your most useful phone/tablet apps?

I should probably just call my phone my personal search-engine because that is what I most use it for. My kids will ask me some random question like what is the biggest spider or how many days until my birthday and a quick Google search never lets me down.

The camera app gets plenty of use and Instagram is my very favorite. I edit photos using Afterlight.

Even though I never thought I’d like it, I read most often from the Kindle app on my iPad or phone. It makes it so easy to instantly download a new book and pick it up whenever I have a few minutes of downtime.

5. What other tech do you use? (Camera for photos, mic for podcasting…etc.)

For blog post photos, I use a canon Rebel xti that is about 5 years old and still works great. Lately, I’ve been hand lettering or watercoloring artwork and then turning into a PDF using this little tabletop scanner

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On Social Media & Writing

1. How do you keep social media from running your life? Is it a struggle for you? Any social media management tips?

My four kids do a pretty good job of keeping my attention so social media just doesn’t compete with their real life tugging and questions and cuteness. My phone is like a permanent fixture on me, so I check email and Instagram often, but Facebook and Pinterest don’t capture my attention in quite the same way. I like to pin, but rarely use Pinterest for browsing, and I like to browse but rarely post to Facebook. Because I run a business, you would think it would be good to really use social media {Facebook and Twitter especially} but if I’ve learned anything, its that you have to do what works for you. Tweeting and scheduling Facebook posts are just not a top priority and so I’ve let it go.

2. What is your writing process? When do you write? How long does it take you to create a post?

I write most often in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. If the post includes photos, those are all shot during the day for the best light – sometimes days ahead if I am really organized. I write such a random assortment of posts, but on average a post takes about 1-2 hours to compose.

Because I don’t post everyday, my goal is for each post to be great – offering some type of value to my readers. Sometimes that means I stay up late making just the right graphic, or hours proofing and re-proofing a more journally post to make sure what I want to say is coming across right. Tutorials always take a bit longer because it’s important that the steps all make sense and photos are included. This is where the perfectionist comes out in me, but I think it makes my content better and serves my readers well.

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3. Do you have a blogging mentor or accountability group (formal or informal)? How have you created and fostered those relationships?

There are a handful of bloggers I have connected with from around the country whom I adore and will email or text random questions or encouragement. It’s nice that we “get” each other and have a sounding board when needed.

But as darling as those ladies are, it is my real life friends who keep me accountable. They are the ones who really know me and truly see me in my day-to-day life. I try to be as genuine and honest as possible on my blog, but there are still big parts of our lives that are not published and I love having a close group of friends and my family who love us even with the complete picture

4. What is the best blogging advice you have received? (OR) What is the best blogging advice you could give?

Do your thing.

I’ve received that advice and I offer it back freely! We each have different talents, passions, styles, voices and even though the temptation is to compare and try to emulate others, it’s just never going to feel right.

Do your thing. Be who you are. Find your own art. And then share it. –> Click to Tweet!

Q & A with Emily Jones

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Comments

  1. Love JDC! Emily’s blog was the first one I subscribed to, back in 2010 :). I like her style, easy DIYs, and great graphics. And her art prints.

    Thanks, Emily, for the encouragement to be yourself–whenever I hear that from another blogger, it’s just so refreshing and kind of takes some (self-imposed) pressure off.

  2. “My life isn’t separate, so it was hard to blog that way.” – this really resonated with me. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing both a public and a private blog, but have always resisted the urge because of this very reason.

  3. What great timing! I just discovered Emily through Pinterest when I was looking for printable fall art and found her “Autumn Essentials” piece. Today I happened to blog about where it (and three other fall printables) are hanging in my house! Her artwork is lovely and it was fun to read about her here.

  4. I don’t know how I found Emily Jones but I am so glad I did – thank you for sharing your life with us. I found this interview very inspiring!

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