Startup Spotlight - Blog and Beyond

April 06, 2018
Michael Hayes
Michael Hayes

Co-Founder of RookieOven and Add Jam

The RookieOven Startup Spotlight highlights a member of the Scottish tech startup community. The aim is to, as the name suggests, put the spotlight on Scotland’s best startups from across the country. It’s an opportunity to share information about an exciting tech startup from Scotland you may not have heard of. Giving a brief overview of the company, what they do, where they are and who they are. This post the spotlight falls on RookieOven tenant Blog and Beyond.

Tell us a bit about what Blog and Beyond does…

Blog and Beyond is a platform for bloggers big and small which aims to share information and resources for all aspects of the industry. It's a pretty new sector which has seen so much growth recently, and as a result, there's a lot of uncertainty about best practice for both bloggers and brands. The website pulls together posts from lots of different people in the industry who provide insight and advice on how to build a blog, work with brands and turn it into a business.

How did Blog and Beyond get started?

I'd been blogging for nearly eight years myself and spend a lot of time giving other bloggers advice. It's something I cover on my own blog, Colours and Carousels, quite regularly and last year I started a newsletter dedicated to sharing blogging tips and tricks. It grew pretty fast, and I had the idea to turn it into a dedicated website that other bloggers could turn to as a one-stop shop for advice when they need it - instead of a fortnightly email that soon disappears into the depths of your inbox.

Did you always see yourself starting your own company?

Yes and no - I'd never really known what I wanted to do. Various career paths I'd considered included running a bakery, being a storm chaser, working in fashion or being an air hostess. Business was definitely my favourite subject at school, alongside English, and I've always loved writing - so it's not really all that surprising that my current career path brings the two subjects together. I never imagined that I'd be working for myself, though, as it wasn't something that was originally shown to me as an option.

What are the biggest challenges you face being self-employed?

Managing my work-life balance can be difficult. I'm not good at switching off, and when a lot of my work revolves around social media it can be hard to draw the line at the end of the working day. Putting my phone down helps, but I'm hopelessly addicted to Instagram.

If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?

Believe in yourself. I think this applies to my current self, too! I'm the worst for doubting myself and as a result, I always put my plans and projects off as I think they'll fail from the very start. That hasn't happened yet, and I've always had really encouraging feedback from the people I've worked or connected with, so I think it's time I got over my fear and learned to trust my own skillset a bit more.

What’s your favourite thing about working in RookieOven?

Does the biscuit stash count? Otherwise, I like being in an environment with a real mix of people. I've learned a lot from the other RookieOven residents and, although I'm still painfully awkward, it has helped bring me out of my shell a little bit. Being surrounded by motivated, entrepreneurial people helps me push myself that bit further. Plus, it makes me get out of the house when I need a change of scenery!

Do you have one piece of advice you’d give to people looking to start their own business?

You can spend forever waiting for the "right moment" - there is no right moment. Preparation is important, but sometimes you just need to go for it and give it your all even when you don't feel 100% ready. (Also, to-do lists are the best)

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