Jen Jamar lives in Robbinsdale and blogs at LifewithLevi.com
Jen Jamar’s first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. When she got pregnant again, she joined Twitter, she said, “so I could communicate about it without telling anyone I knew. The people I followed on Twitter were bloggers — moms who’d had miscarriages, who were pregnant. They encouraged people to comment and share their experiences. I thought ‘Oh, that would be almost like keeping a diary.’ It’s a way cheaper form of therapy.”
For a year after her child was born, she blogged about breastfeeding and hosted the “Breastfeeding Blog Hop.” “I would put out a topic and any other bloggers on the Internet were welcome to link up their article on the topic,” she said. “I still keep the archive on my site.”
Now, three years into the “Life with Levi” blog, her tagline is, “Lifestyle, humor and a little bit of parenting.” She provides instructions for making marshmallow-based finger paint, but she also reviews fashion and Twin Cities events and attractions.
“I over-share a lot,” she said. “I’ve written about my parenting struggles, when my ex-husband and I were going through marriage struggles. I kind of feel like in this day and age, they’re things about me that people could find out anyway if they dug hard enough. I looked at the privacy spectrum and had to find a place where I was comfortable. I had to decide when I sat down to write if I was OK that my family and friends and boss read it.”
What makes you a “professional blogger”?
I had been making money for almost a year before I considered myself a professional blogger. I had a figure in mind of what that meant — a certain dollar value every month that’s the equivalent of a part-time regular job, with relatively consistent income. I don’t think you have to be full-time to be considered professional. It’s about how you treat your website — if you treat it as a business, you’ll get there sooner.
What are the sources of revenue for a blogger?
For me, it’s primarily brand ambassadorships — long-term contracts with different brands who hire me to do sponsored content or social media/content mix on their behalf. There’s some ad revenue, but I don’t run a lot of ads. I keep them unobtrusive. I make money consulting with businesses — doing blog audits for companies who are launching content marketing, doing social media consulting and social media management for some events.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Finding balance. It’s not just the balance between home and work time or working hours and family hours. It’s also about finding balance for your content — how much sponsored content is enough or too much and will turn off your audience? How much time do you spend building social media that feeds back to the blog? There’s no set guideline. It’s a lot harder than it looks. Not just the business side — the actual content generation. I blog three to five times a week. Finding new content is a challenge. What am I enthusiastic about now? Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch and watch another episode of Breaking Bad.
Is it fun?
It’s absolutely fun — I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun. Where else am I going to get paid to write about my life? Enjoying it is a key — you’re not going to last very long if you don’t enjoy it.