In the digital world, there is money to be made in more ways than ever before. For some, blogging has become a more lucrative hobby, with brand collaborations, events and endorsements making for a glamorous affair.
Scarlett Dixon's blog, Scarlett London, has sky-rocketed to a profitable platform with thousands of loyal followers and brands chasing her. And, aside from all that success, Scarlett is still studying for a degree! We asked her how she got to be in a position her peers would envy, and how she manages her busy schedule.
Could you give us a bit of background about yourself and what you do?
Sure! I'm Scarlett Dixon and I currently run the lifestyle site scarlettlondon.com, covering a variety of topics such as travel, fashion, food and beauty.
Initially, I set it up in 2011 as I needed an online portfolio to showcase to universities, however it's spiralled into something much larger than that.
Alongside my blog, I also run a number of large-scale blogger networking events in and around London - bringing together like-minded writers and brands to form future collaborations. Essentially, it's just a large, fun, informal get together which provides an arena for the online community to discuss blogging in real life. I feel so privileged it's something I'm able to do, as although it can get rather stressful, there's nothing quite like watching everyone enjoy a day that you've put together!
How has your university course helped you with your blog and other ventures?
I study multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University, which covers all of the main journalism disciplines - print, online, radio and television. It's a great course but it's also very intense so although I've attained some great new skills from studying there, it's been very tricky at times to balance both the studying and the blog side of things - more so I'm sure as I move into my final year.
However, the course has helped me to hone my writing disciplines, ensuring I research everything I write thoroughly and double-check it for accuracy. Although blogging and journalism are different 'industries' they bear striking similarities in terms of conduct and quality. No good journalist would put bad copy to her name and neither would any good blogger. There's a certain pride in putting something out with your name attached - and I've definitely taken that into consideration far more since studying at Bournemouth.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Tenacity, motivation and the ability to admit when you're wrong and move on. Although I consider myself far from a successful entrepreneur (I've still got a long way to go yet), what I've achieved so far has been because I've been so passionate about what I'm doing. I don't necessarily have one of those 'set in stone' five year plans, but I know where I want to be and I'm determined to get there.
Similarly, although I do like to think I'm making my own way, I think having the ability to listen to others, take it on board and admit when you might be wrong is important. I am a bit of a one-man-band but bouncing off friends or a team of people can be invaluable when you're stuck for inspiration.
Plus, you never know where someone else might be in five or even ten years' time, perhaps they will be more experienced than you - and the fact you've listened to them and given them your time in the past, may mean they're more willing to help you in the future.
What is an average working day like for you?
Every day is different, which is what I love about blogging. I've done the 9-til-5 thing, stuck behind a desk on my gap year - and although I learned a lot, I knew it wasn't where I wanted to be. Blogging is so flexible and you are your own boss, which at 21 is a pretty amazing thing to be able to say! I usually get up around 8am, make breakfast and flip open my laptop to catch up on Twitter and schedule a few tweets.
Once I've finished, I'll get ready for the day - which I think is so important, as even though you're working from home, it's far harder to be disciplined about your time and work ethic if you're still in your PJs. Then I'll sift through my emails, schedule a blog post or two and then take some time out.
If I've got an event on, everything is pushed back to the evening - however I take regular breaks because it's easy to aimlessly sit at your laptop wasting time on Facebook or Twitter. Keep your mind active by switching things up regularly - even if it's where you're sitting.
How do you knuckle down when writing?
Pen and paper is always my first port of call. I seem to have a million notepads dotted around (usually glittery, with cats or chocolate on the front) and whenever an idea strikes, I make an effort to jot it down in as much detail as possible. Sometimes I don't feel like writing, and I think it's important not to force yourself, as it will show in the blog post. But I read other blogs for motivation and inspiration, which usually helps!
What is the most important piece of advice you'd offer current students with big ideas like yours?
Nothing other than just to go for it! Unless you have to part with lots of money to get your idea off the ground then really you've got nothing to lose. So many people I speak to have been eager to set up a blog or set a business idea in motion but have claimed they are 'too afraid' to do so. There's nothing to be afraid of and no-one holding you back - apart from yourself!
How would you describe being an entrepreneur in one sentence?
When you're working for yourself, you're the sole person in control of where your future is headed - that's exciting!