New York

April 6, 2017

7 Blogging Tips Every Blogger Needs To Know

Holy WOW. I’m 9 months into my blogging career and The Modern Jetsetter journey – I wish I could tell you where time escaped to, but I’m still wondering myself. I’m not one entire year in quite yet, but I’m in that precious reflection stage and ready to delve into this whirlwind beginning of entrepreneurship…and share the surprising lessons discovered about business and myself along the way.

how to become a blogger

I’ve spent hours in deep, soul-tickling brand introspection over the past few weeks and decided it’s time to fine-tune the chords of my voice so this blog is saturated with authenticity, my sharpened brand instincts and the truest essence of what it means to be a Modern Jetsetter woman. First, I want to share with new bloggers and creative business owners the steps that got me here.

Whether you’re reading this as a loyally devoted travel girl, craving new blogging tips or looking for pointers on how to start your own blog or creative business venture…I hope these tiny milestones of realization help shape your decisions as you follow your wanderlust for life, travel and success:

Reinvention and Change is Powerful; Embrace It

When I launched The Modern Jetsetter, I was as detached from American culture as I could be and travel plans to the U.S. were slim to none…flash forward to this moment as I type from a café in Williamsburg, Brooklyn…where I not only live part-time, but consider my home base for exploring one of my new niches: NYC and American living.

Upon watching election results from a London hotel room (liberal, heartbroken and three pizzas in), I realized I’m as American as an American girl gets. Upon embracing the new deep-rooted desire to renew wanderlust for this incredibly diverse and culturally wholesome country, the beat of my drum changed and my brand followed. By embracing who I was and my roots, the level of authenticity, quality and response to everything I put my fingerprint on increased ten-fold.

Don’t Fear Experimenting, Especially During Your First Year of Business

Coming from a journalistic background, I was accustomed to adjusting my voice to fit that of a brand and editorial content vision. The beautiful thing about blogging is…you are the brand. I put immense newsroom-driven pressure on myself and my content to be perfect from the get go – but the truth is: you can only craft your brand through creation, experiments, mistakes and the constant state of reinvention.

Don’t try to make your brand perfect and refined from the first day of blogging. Allow yourself room to enjoy the beginner’s journey and learn. As I approach this one-year mark, my brand instinct is constantly pulsating and the ability to streamline all content and business activities with my vision comes now almost effortlessly. That will come for you. Still, embracing the changing tides of imagination and natural reinvention is the pillar of progress – never let go of it, and certainly never fear it.

Don’t Forsake Authenticity for the Social Media Hamster Wheel

Dear bloggers just starting off, let me predict a bad habit you have: at least once a week, you find yourself in an Instagram-driven vortex of self-criticism because you don’t know how to keep up with the numbers, aesthetic perfection and luxury-brand-saturated feeds of your competitors. Let me tell you a secret: they aren’t your competition, they are noise.

The angst of being a new player in a world of – let’s face it – millions of bloggers who share the same niche as you is completely unnecessary. The constant need to have an aesthetically perfect and monochromatic feed is the first symptom of not being an authentic brand – the romance of life is found in the unexpected, changing seasons and the vibrancy of a diversely lived life true to yourself (especially with travel). Let go of the need to “keep up” with the rat race and let authenticity flow into your social media work. Engage with people. Make relationships, with both readers and brands. It’s only when you enjoy every moment the journey you are sharing that growth occurs.

Make content the king, engagement your mother and quality your pope. The rest will come (trust me).

Be Picky About Who You Work With …Even if it Takes Longer to Form Those Relationships To Form

At the beginning of your business, free trips, clothing and other trendy freebies will be tempting to grab – my advice: don’t.

Map out your dream collaborations and only drift from your vision if the offer truly enriches your content and brand message. The hustle to make those dream collaborations a reality is a long and restless one, but they do pay off and materialize faster than you think (and you won’t lose the trust of your audience by pushing products you only half-heartedly believe in).

Know Who You Are and Where You’re Going

Truth: I don’t consider myself a blogger. I’m a writer and storyteller in the first place. My brand, blog and travel activities fall under that umbrella but they are by no means my identity. Think carefully at how you brand yourself and not only your immediate career goals, but your long-term professional life. Obviously, if you blog as a hobby, this does not pertain to you, but if you blog as a career it’s time to start thinking of the big picture. Do you want to be solely a blogger in 20 years or is it your platform to something much bigger?

I’m thrilled that Modern Jetsetter is gaining more momentum than I can almost keep up with…yet, I’m using the milestones as building blocks to something greater. For example, this year I will spend a chunk of my travels devoted to finishing my first novel…which is full of ideas inspired by this journey. Your dreams shouldn’t stop at becoming a successful blogger because being a blogger won’t be enough in a decade. Harness your talents, solidify your platform and build a sustainable career from a cocktail of it all (piece by piece).

Know Your Worth and Demand It

Creating high-quality “spec” content for little to nothing in the beginning is a right of passage every influencer must venture through – but don’t stick to that habit for too long. Once you have a steady roster of clips and brand partnerships, set your rates for sponsorships and content creation and don’t waver from them.

You will get plenty of emails offering you freebies in exchange for content, my answer? Usually no, unless the trip or product value exceeds my usual rate or the experience is superfluously valuable content-wise. You can’t pay your bills and build a business from exchanges alone. I can’t divulge all my secrets or how I make a deal…but knowing your worth and sticking to it is step number one.

You may be thinking…I’m a new blogger and my numbers aren’t anywhere near that of my competitors, how can I ask for money? Value is more than social following, and that truth is more relevant than ever as numbers can be bought and engagement becomes a truer measure for an influencer’s power. Coming from a journalistic background, one of my strengths is creating socially sharable and discoverable high-quality content with an editorial eye – and it was worth more than a high social media following when I started.

Know your strengths, put a price on them and make money. It’s time to break the stigma that creative jobs should be free or are less valuable than the corporate ladder.

Only You Are Responsible

People will want to help you, and it will be tempting, but never for a moment relax and divert from the most important mantra to live by: you alone are responsible for every ounce of your success or failure. This is especially vital to remember as success starts coming your way – don’t get used to it, build on it.

Never get comfortable, never delegate tasks blindingly, never count on anyone but yourself to bring your brand to the summit of success. Not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur or creative business owner – and that’s fine, it’s one of the most demanding, testing and challenging ventures one can take…it’s a lifelong lifestyle of business growth, not a hobby where you wait and hope for success. It’s a 24/7 job and vacation days aren’t a thing (family will get annoyed, friends won’t always understand) and it’s not always glamorous as Instagram shows.

But once you make the decision to turn your creativity and passions into your dream career it’s one of the most vibrant, rewarding, puzzling, romantic, frustrating, adventurous, truest ways of life and it will take you everywhere.

Echoing the words of Viola Davis’ incredible Oscar speech: “I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.”

how to become a blogger



  1. Samantha Lee

    April 6th, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Love love love this. Thank you so much for sharing Kortney. So happy for you and your success and excited to follow along! 🙂

  2. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Thanks for the support always, Samantha! I’m so happy to have you as a reader and love following your adventures. We should have a meetup one day to talk our wild journeys in person <3

    Love from NY!


  3. katie arruda

    April 6th, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Such great tips. Finding my voice can be so hard and I often feel myself straying to fit some mold. Thank you for all the reminders.

    Katie Wanders

  4. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Thanks for the blog love and for sharing that with me, Katie! It’s often hard for us bloggers to be real and admit our struggles with each other. I think honing your voice is a lifelong craft – just keep being fabulous, remain authentic and your voice will shine through even when you don’t realize it xx


  5. Nannymomrhonda

    April 17th, 2017 at 4:13 am

    These are some great tips. I see myself doing some of th big NOs like the Instagram vortex. The struggle is real ? Great read

  6. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:08 am

    It is hard, but hard work and authenticity DO pay off! Keep being fabulous you!


  7. Annette Dattilo

    April 19th, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Beautiful written in soooo many ways. Thank you for sharing this. It was EXACTLY what I needed to read. ?

  8. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:09 am

    That makes me so happy, Annette. Thanks for being a part of the Modern Jetsetter journey! <3


  9. Jay Colby

    April 21st, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    These are great tips that every blogger can utilize!

  10. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:09 am

    Why thank you! Happy you enjoyed!


  11. Ryan Biddulph

    April 21st, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Kortney I love that tip about knowing your worth.

    This is a toughie for most folks to embrace, then, to follow through on.

    So many bloggers sell themselves woefully short, basically charging pennies in the name of exposure or simply to build a bond. No need to do that. Sure we all work for free sometimes but never let a person or business who fears running out of money dictate how much you charge. I give away generous value through my blog posts, videos, podcasts, guest posts and blog comments so I charge generous rates. It’s that simple. Give freely and charge freely. And do not cave to individuals who drive hard bargains. Have posture. The money will flow in.

    Ditto on being picky. I pick clients. Never the other way around. Has to be that way. Otherwise, you are doing the freelance bit from the place of fear and lack and that will land you nightmarish clients at worst, and not too great clients at best. The work will feel like work, with pressure building. I hated that experience when I was not discerning a few times. When I did pick awesome clients I made more money with these folks and my initial freelance gig led to all sorts of sweet partnerships, including co-authoring a best selling eBook, various affiliate ventures and other cool perks of our strong bonds.

    I’m learning to be nimble. Just last week I stopped on a dime in a few blogging areas. Felt awesome. A little scary too. Perfect mix if you want to build a rocking blog because the love of fun and freedom WILL be mixed with the fear of failure and criticism from time to time. Gotta drink that emotional cocktail regularly to make this blogging bit work.

    But if you do drink this concoction you will go well beyond your wildest dreams through blogging. I retired to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. And I didn’t know what a blog was, 8 years ago. I also had never flown until I was 36 and needed to get my passport 3 months before flying. First flight: NYC to Bali. I ease into things 😉

    Well done K. And nice work on landing the first spot on a “blogging” search through your ad campaign. I went to check my friend Zac Johnson’s blog and you came up #1 for a hyper competitive keyword. You’re on point.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Signing off from Thailand.


  12. Evelyn Reese

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Wonderful advice, thank you for sharing. I am only a couple months new to blogging about my passion. I am building my brand.

  13. Kortney

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Hi Evelyn! You started, and that’s the most important step next to consistency. Don’t give up, be authentic and keep going…I’m rooting for you!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *