Karen Bryan [karenbryan]
How did the entrepreneurial spirit rise up in you? Were you exposed to entrepreneurship in your family or your social environment when you were a child?
My Grandad owned a newsagents shop, my Dad had a toy and book shop so I suppose I was used to the idea of self employment.
Do you have employees or people that you outsource tasks to? What do they do?
I have a team of freelance writers who contribute once a week to the Europe a la Carte Blog.
How do you balance work with relaxation?
It's really hard to relax when you're running your own business, you can't just switch off. It can be even worse as a travel blogger, as even when you go on holiday, you are still thinking about gathering material for the blog.
What is your main motivation: being your own boss, adventure and discovery, getting rich, doing good for others, or is there something else?
I'd like to be able to do something I enjoy for the forseeable future to keep me occupied and to earn money as opposed to thinking of retirement, like many of my contemporaries. As I spend time at home with my kids when they were young, I haven't been able build up a large pension pot.
What do you do to maintain morale and continue persevering in low times?
That's hard when you're bogged down with a long to-do list but hopefully if you take a break, then you're keen to get back to work afterward.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
The Europe a la Carte blog features Europe travel tips about the best places to visit and stay in Europe.
What was it that made you create your blog? On what date did you start it?
In October 2006 I received an email from a tourism student who was writing a dissertation on travel company blogs. Initially I thought why would a business have a blog? OI did some research and it was all so positive about blogging that I decided that the original Europe a la Carte site, founded in July 2002, would be better structured as a blog.
What blogging system have you adopted and why?
I use self hosted wordpress, it was reommended by our techie son who said it was easiest for non techies to use and most flexibile blogging platform.
How many visits a day do you get? What type of comments do you receive?
The Europe a la Carte Blog receives around 1700 visits a day. I get quite a few interesting comments asking questions, adding useful links, relating experiences but a lot of spam too.
How has 'having a blog' contributed to your life?
Being editor of the Europe a la Carte Blog has, to a large extent taken over my life. I work at least 70 hours a week.
How often do you post? Does regular posting of your blog require a lot of effort on your part?
My Europe a la Carte posting is irregular but probably averages 3 - 4 posts a week. IK spend a lot of time on SEO, on social media, marketing the blog, selling advertising
However there is a blogging team of 10 writers who all contribute once a week,
Does blogging bring in income for you? Can one make a living from posting?
It's hard to make a living from travel blogging. It's very competitive as everyone and their Granny thinks they can be a travel writer. I only gave up my part time day job in June 2009, once the Europe a la Carte Blog was well established.
What advice would you give to someone who wishes to begin a blog?
Don't think setting up a blog is an easy way to make money. It takes a lot of time and effort.