Blogging Month: interview to Jennifer Burger, from Simply + Fiercely

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To finish off our Blogging Month beautifully, we have another special guest, Jennifer Burger, from Simply + Fiercely.

If you haven’t met her yet, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! Currently living in Queensland, Autralia, she grew up in Baltimore (USA), taught English in China, traveled around New Zealand and Central America, just to mention a few of the places she’s been to, as traveling is one of her biggest pleasures!

In Simply + Fiercely, she teaches us how to listen to our heart more, to do more of what we really like and how to let everything else go.

Discover the fascinating Jennifer!


Note: the translated version of this interview can be read here.


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It’s (not) so simple: I must, in the first place, thank you for being here with us today, Jennifer. Your blog is remarkable! I’ll begin by asking you when did you start blogging and what was the name of your first blog? What inspired you to begin and what did you talk about there?

Jennifer: I actually started my first blog in 2001, to document a summer I spent teaching English in China. My blog was called Follow Jen’s Life (very creative – haha!).

Since then, I’ve had various blogs, but only decided to take blogging seriously in 2015 when I started Simply + Fiercely.

I: When did you know that your current blog was your ideal space?

J: Probably around 6 months after launching; I started getting feedback from readers and hearing their stories helped me clarify my purpose.

I: If you remember the beginning of your current blog, what were your main feelings? Were there fears, challenges, insecurities, or only positive emotions? Can you describe what you recall from that time?

JHonestly – for the first six months it was mostly fears and insecurities! Of course, there were some positive emotions, but for the most part it was nerve-wracking to share so much of myself with the world. I can clearly remember how nervous I felt when I hit ‘publish’ for the first time!

I’m much more confident now, but those fears never completely go away.

I: Of all the topics you’ve covered so far, which is your favorite and why? And is there a text that you’d consider your best?

JI write about a range of topics (minimalism, intentional living, self-care, and travel) but my favourite posts are when I get to share my personal stories and connect with my readers. I try and share messages I’ve needed to hear at some stage in my own life, with the hope that they can help someone else in theirs.

This is why my favourite post is “6 Things Your Soul Needs to Hear”; quite a few people have told me that this post has helped them during a difficult time and, as a writer, that’s the best feedback I could possibly receive.

I: Was there a post that was specially hard to write? If yes, for what reason?

JI’ve struggled with quite a few of my posts, but the toughest was definitely one I wrote about my journey towards self-acceptance.

Like many young women, I’ve often struggled with self-doubt (and sometimes even self-hate) and I wanted to share my story – but it’s was a huge challenge deciding how much to share about my past and my fears! It was definitely a difficult journey down memory lane.

I: Which article had the most unexpected reactions from your readers?

JHmm… tough one! I’d probably say one of the first posts I ever wrote – “4 Ways to Stop Letting Little Things Bother You”. I wrote it mostly for myself, because it’s something I often struggle with!

But it looks like I’m not alone because I’ve received feedback from quite a few readers, commenting that this post changed their lives.

I: What questions do you get frequently asked?

J: Sometimes I get asked specific questions about minimalism, but the emails I get most often are from people who feel stuck in their lives and are looking for a change.

Instead of specific questions, I think they’re often looking to share their stories and to find encouragement to take a step down a new path.

I also get asked a lot about how I afford to travel! 🙂

I: How do you conciliate your blog with the rest of your life and your routines?

J: To be honest, I’m still working this out. Sometimes my blog plays a huge role in my life and takes up a lot of time, and sometimes I feel like I ignore it all together!

I’m still trying to work out the perfect balance.

I: The reasons that make you continue in the blogosphere are the same that led you to start? What are your current goals for your blog? How far would you like to go?

JMy biggest motivation for blogging is the sharing of ideas. Blogs have been a huge source of inspiration in my life (teaching me to travel around the world and to embrace a minimalist lifestyle) so I love giving back and spreading the message further and further!

I also just love blogging; it’s so much fun to have complete control of a project (creative direction, marketing, etc.). It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding to create something meaningful out of nothing!

At the moment, I’m not too focussed on goals. Instead, what’s most important to me right now is to find a way to balance the workload so it fits well into my lifestyle.

I: Have you ever considered transforming your blog into your sole occupation? Can you tell us more about that?

JYes and no. I’m still working out all the details, but ideally I’d like to make a small, consistent income from my blog in a way that supports my values and lifestyle.

I actually took the first steps last September, when I launched an online course, so I’m already making a tiny income. It’s been really exciting, but the experience taught me a lot about the work involved in ‘blogging as a business’ … so I’m still deciding how much of myself I want to invest in the future.

I: How do you deal with the exposure that being on the blogosphere presupposes? I mean, that there are people that don’t know you personally that know things that maybe you wouldn’t disclose so easily when face to face.

JDefinitely – the majority of people in my life aren’t interested in the topics I talk about online, so it does feel strange sometimes. Also, I’m naturally an introvert, so sharing so much of myself is definitely a challenge!

I deal with it by not overthinking things; in my mind, I’m writing for one or two readers – not thousands!

I: I’m sure that, if you could go back, there would be things that you would do differently. Bearing that in mind, what advice would you give someone who is beginning a blog now, or someone who is seriously thinking of starting one?

J: There is so much to say! A few things that come to mind are:

  • Don’t try and be everywhere on social media at the start – you waste so much time! Choose one or two platforms and you can invest in other’s later on. I highly recommend Pinterest and it’s my number one source of traffic.
  • Start growing and nurturing your mailing list right away.
  • Be honest and tell your own stories – this is how you create loyal readers.

I: Dear Jennifer, it was so good to have here at It’s (not) so simple! Your wise words have been very helpful. If we wish to follow you closer, can we?

J: Yep! I’m on:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram


Did you enjoy discovering Jennifer and her blog? What do you think of her inspiring message?