We're delighted to introduce our new beauty guest writer, Norlin Mustapha, who will be sharing her expertise in all things beauty. We caught up with Norlin to find out what inspires her, what's involved in running a WAHM business with three children and her love for beauty and blogging.
Tell us a little about yourself, what makes life good and what makes up a normal day for you?
I'm the editor of Baubles, Bubbles & Bags Style File, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog for everyday women between the ages of 30 - 55. I've got three kids ages nine, seven and five and whilst this sounds like a cliché, life is good when my kids are happy. When they're happy, it gives me less to worry about and then I can concentrate on other things in life, like my business and my blog.
A typical day for me is, getting the kids ready for school, school drop off, then back home to write some articles for my blogs, and onto my social media pages to network and see what's been happening in the last 24 hours.
Have you always had a passion for beauty and blogging or was it a happy discovery?
Blogging started off as a supplement to my businesses, and then I found that I actually enjoyed that a lot more rather than just finding topics to market my products with. For my Baubles, Bubbles & Bags Style File, I found that I loved talking about fashion, trends, beauty and anything related to women within the age range of 30-55. I find that women in this age range often get left out, with lots of blogs out there targeting younger women.
What (or who) inspires you, that encourages you to reach out and make things happen?
Being a WAHM can be difficult sometimes, you don't often get physical contact with your peers, except the occasional networking events, so it can really get you down at times. I'm lucky to have my kids, who are such resilient and resourceful beings.
What's you're favourite way to indulge yourself?
I'm a very simple girl and the term "Best things in life are free", does resonate with me. My guilty indulgence is to have a nice sleep in, or curling up in bed with a good book. That's a true indulgence for someone who seldom gets to do these simple things.
What do you enjoy most about having a beauty blog?
The best thing about this job, if you can call it a job, is being able to share what I've learned and know about the beauty and fashion world - from an everyday person's perspective. Being able to experiment and trial the different beauty products and make-up is another bonus to having a beauty blog.
It's not so much getting freebies, although that is nice too, but more the fact that I get to discover the new products available, especially from Australian companies.
What's been the hardest part or experience you're had since starting your blog and business?
The hardest part when I was just starting out was my confidence. Having confidence in myself that I was an expert, not in the sense that I have papers to prove my expertise, but more so through my experience. And giving constructive criticism on reviews. You really have to find out why you don't like certain products and how they can be improved or who it would be more suitable for if it didn't suit you.
Do you see your beauty blog as a business? Do you hope to make a living from it?
Although my blog is fast evolving to become a business, I'd rather not see it that way, I don't want it to kill my love for writing. I'd love to make a living out of it, without the pressure of knowing that I have to.
What's been the best thing for the business that you just stumbled upon?
The best thing so far that I found out while blogging, is the beautiful readers that I have. I love the comments my faithful readers leave with each post published. It tells me that yes, you're doing the right thing, you are engaging with them. Although getting huge numbers of visitors would be great, on the other hand, I'd rather have quality readers, readers that actually are interested in what I have to share and in sharing what they think.
What do you think has been the most successful promotional activities you've explored to getting the word out about Baubles, Bubbles & Bags Style File?
Another thing that WAHMs face is a limited budget, especially when it comes to advertising, so, using social media as a means to get your blog out there is one of the best ways to "advertise".
You have a flourishing number of followers on Twitter - what do you think has been the best way of getting your name out there on Twitter?
I think showing the virtual world that you ARE a real person is important when it comes to using social media platforms like Twitter and even Facebook.
Engaging with your followers and those you follow, even if the topics are not about fashion or beauty helps to build your presence and contribute to the growth of the blog. It's really about building relationships and a community.
What do you think been a really important regular activity with your social media that's helped you grow?
My blogging and sharing what I've blogged about on the different social media networks. Making sure that what I blog about is relevant, current and interesting. Also sharing with my followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn other issues that I've read or heard about.
Again, communicating with people is the most important thing. Being on them at least once a day is a good measure. Social media is fast paced and fickle, if you're not there for a day, people might not remember you.
What are the hopes and plans for Baubles, Bubbles & Bags Style File this year?
Baubles, Bubbles & Bags Style File in my opinion, is still in it's infancy, so I hope to grow my number of readers, and share my experience in the area of fashion and beauty.
Who would be yourfavourite inspiring online beauty editors that you think have something fascinating to offer?
So far, I've only got two that I find are fascinating. Phoebe from Lady Melbourne, who is a fabulous fashion blogger and Zoe Foster, beauty editor for Primped. I love their style of writing and their honesty.