Instead of forging ahead with planning the August Tea Party Event, I thought I’d take a short break and answer the above question. (Thank you for all the comments yesterday! I am thinking through some menu adjustments and I’ll be sure to let you know what I decide.) I’m meeting professionals in both arenas who are watching me out of the corner of their eyes wondering what I’m up to. I think some tea professionals aren’t convinced blogging is a viable platform to build a business. And the bloggers want to know if a non-technical blog can really fly*
I want to be clear from the beginning. I treat Tea Party Girl as a business. I see my blog as an on-line magazine. Instead of a glossy you receive in your mailbox once a month with twenty articles and beautiful pictures, my readers receive one article a day for twenty days, give or take, per month. As I write, you, my readers, are always in the forefront of my mind. I write to provide you with~
- Quality content and information.
- A gathering place and sense of community with other Tea Party fans.
- A way to find what you need, when you need it to plan a Tea Party Event. Quickly.
Obviously, this takes time and work. I look forward to some of you writing as guest columnists, building an even greater sense of community through contests, carnivals, comments, etc., and educating those searching the web for tea party ideas. Just for fun, here’s a small list of some of the search terms others use to find me in the last twenty-four hours:
- non soggy tea sandwiches
- grocery store tea party foods
- benefits of different types of tea
- summer tea time invite
Last summer at this time, I became licensed as a Tea Specialist through Lady Dawnya’s Start a Tea Business program. I joined Lady Dawnya’s class because like so many who do, I had caught the afternoon tea bug and wanted to open a tea room. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it without having to work at a restaurant (remember my love for being in the kitchen!). Thankfully, taking her class talked me out of it as she led us through understanding all the ways we could make “tea” our business. Instead of opening the traditional tea room, I considered:
- 0rganizing a tea club with special events.
- starting a tea publication.
- training students and children about the tea party.
- giving tea parties in others’ homes.
- conducting tea tours. (Mom just did her first one yesterday, yea Mom!)
- working with an established bed and breakfast.
- offering speaking engagements.
My other reality includes three children who are growing up very quickly. The way this reads out is that our family educates them at home which means I am home. A lot. Trying to do something away from home and away from them doesn’t fit the current life paradigm. My tea business needs to truly work from home.
Since February ’06, I’ve begun selling loose leaf tea and tea brewing accessories, held tea events in my home, worked at a BnB/tea room, and opened an on-line tea business Wellspring Tea (no longer available). I’ve continued to work with Lady Dawnya in preparation for a new venture in her business that also involves me(more info coming soon) and written a column with Mom for a local paper. None of these opportunities, however, compare to the joy, satisfaction, and excitement I find creating Tea Party Girl. I love connecting with my readers quickly and spending the majority of my work-time writing and marketing about a topic I’m passionate about.
Blogs are unique because of their immediacy. Anyone can publish (with grammatical and spelling errors, I might add! This is not easy for me knowing my journalist father and English-teaching mother read this!). They need to be updated often to gain and keep an audience and it requires a lot of work. However, blogs are not unique in the sense that if they are going to be a business and not a hobby, they need to make money.
There are a number of ways to monetize a blog, I am learning. Two of the most common ways include incorporating ads and selling affiliate products. Someday you may see an ad or two pop up at Tea Party Girl.
HOWEVER, know this. The monetization of this blog will always be in the background while providing value and community to my readers will stay in the forefront. That is my commitment to you. All I ask is for your openness and continued contributions as Tea Party Girl grows. The best way for you to say thank you if you find the content valuable is to subscribe (it’s free and considered a vote to the search engines) and consider buying through my Amazon store if you need a Tea Read for yourself or someone else. That’s it!
Otherwise, continue to brew yourself a cuppa tea and spend some time here at Tea Party Girl. Oh, and be sure to tell your friends!
*Many of us at Blog Mastermind are certainly pouring our heart and energy into finding out. Some of the blog topics include Japanese drama, gardening, and cartoon drawings with a church ministry twist, among many others. Consider giving them a visit and cheering them on if you feel so inclined.