Can Full-time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows + Hugs?

July 18, 2014

Hello lovely readers and friends. How are you today? I had quite a good week because it began with our wedding anniversary which was so, so nice this year to celebrate it with our baby. I hope all is well with you, too. So! I want to bring something up in this space because I wonder what your thoughts are and I wonder if this is just one rare comment or if lots of people are beginning to see blogger’s who make money as the bad guys? So let’s see what you think.

Can Full-time Bloggers Live Off Of Rainbows + Hugs?

I already know what I think! First, the comment that was left on my blog last night.

“dear holly, please allow me to be very frank. it’s all too much for me. all your books and now an online shop – you are marketing yourself too much for my taste. it has become all about earning money and i can feel the spirit fading away. so sorry to say so and i really grant you every success possible but i fear you are loosing your magic touch by selling, selling and more selling. still, all the best, uschi.”

I’m open to comments left by readers, I mean, we all have a right to our opinion. Yet, I’m always baffled when someone thinks a blogger who spends 8-10 hours a day putting together content for their site, employing others, writing books, teaching workshops, etc. is somehow supposed to be doing all of this for free and the moment they explore alternatives, they’re told they are “losing their magic”. They are judged because they earn their living from this work. Every blogger that I know who is having success with it tries to turn it into something that yields revenue so they can quit their jobs and spend time doing something that enriches their life. What’s wrong with that, really? If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be back in my cubicle at the investments company in Boston feeling like I’d never reach my childhood dream of authoring books. Isn’t this what we want for others though, to come out from under the clouds and find something positive to get involved in that makes them happy that is also good work that impacts others in a positive way? Don’t we want happiness for others?

This morning my husband told me he replied to a comment on my blog. I asked him which comment because I had approved the one above last night so quickly that I didn’t even read it. I was so tired and the baby needed me. When I read his comment, replying to the one above, the tears started to flow. He really nailed it for me – how I feel about making money as a blogger, how I feel about marketing what I do, all of it. So please read his reply below. I wonder if perhaps this will encourage those of you who, like me, are trying to keep it real and support your families by doing what you enjoy.

Hallo Uschi,

This is Thorsten, Holly’s husband and the “tech guy” behind decor8. I’ve just read your comment while performing some maintenance on decor8. This isn’t the first comment of this kind on decor8, by no means, and it certainly won’t be the last. I don’t usually comment on Holly’s blog since being her husband we have our conversations offline, in person. But there are occasions where I feel compelled to join a conversation publicly for means of coming to my wife’s aid. This is such a case.

I have been at Holly’s side, and on her side, ever since she started blogging back in 2006. She had and always will have my respect, support and admiration for all her hard work. I have been with her through the sweat and tears, the bullying, the name calling, the attacks on her reputation by other bloggers. It was atrocious at times, it was repulsive, it was disgusting. But she stuck with it. She had a goal: to make her dream of becoming a (paid) writer come true. As a writer myself sharing that same dream I kept saying “go for it”. I am proud of her for all she’s accomplished – proud of her successful blog, proud of her many published articles, proud of her books and all that’s yet to come.

Do you know how all this comes about? Through hard work. Unlike a good majority of bloggers Holly doesn’t grab content from other sites and reword it. She tries hard to make sure all her posts are not only original, as much as online writing can be original these days, but also reflective of her vision. This takes time and effort, often in excess of eight hours a day. She then publishes it free of charge on her blog for everyone’s enjoyment. In addition she wrote three books so far, each one taking a good year of preparation, negotiation, and traveling. I was there, I know first hand. I know about the stress, the tears, the heartaches, the doubts.

Now, as mentioned, I am a writer myself. I used to write articles for magazines, newspapers and various multimedia outlets. I call myself a journalist. A journalist is someone who writes professionally usually producing work for hire or selling articles. No one would ever accuse me of selling, selling, selling or losing my magic touch because I charge for what I write. In fact, if publishers would expect me to write for free I’d complain, probably loudly, on the web. Many people would come to my aid denouncing the “evil” publishers, those “greedy bastards”, the “disgusting freeloaders”. I expect to be paid for my hard work, everyone does.

Yet somehow bloggers have no right to that. They are expected to publish content for free. They are expected to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are expected to be magical creatures apparently living off of rainbows and hugs. Dare I say this holds true mostly for female bloggers. The moment a female blogger tries to find forms of compensation for her hard work she is chastised by a good percentage of her gender. She’s selling out. On the other hand if I, as a man, were to start a tech blog, had ads from major sponsors, wrote tech books, went on paid speaking assignments, did consultations etc. I’d be considered a successful man. Seth Godin comes to mind, also Darren Rowse of ProBlogger. It speaks for the still pitiful state of female empowerment in our day and age, the biggest opponents being other females.

So I say, YES, this is in part about earning money. Of course it is. How can it not be? How can Holly and other predominantly female bloggers be rightfully expected to do all this work for nil? More so for those who have made this a family business. Worse yet, are such family businesses judged by tired old societal frameworks like the good housewife and the hard working husband? He goes off to work while she takes care of the home and the children and everything she does is a hobby and will not be allowed to ever be more than that? Aren’t we beyond the Mad Men era by now?


So what do you bloggers and friends of bloggers think of this? I am curious so chime in!

(image: rainbow garland, etsy)


  • Reply Katie July 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    There are bloggers out there who I feel have sold out, who work with brands and partners a million miles away from the spirit of their blog. I appreciate their need to earn a living, but I also tune out from their writing when it becomes overtly like a sales tool for unrelated product. I would definitely NOT put Decor8 in that category. The stuff you write is always in your voice, the brand extensions you work on feel very natural and I think the fact that you’re earning a living from this, while being true to yourself and your readers, is really inspirational. Good for you!

  • Reply Katie July 18, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Also, PS: how awesome is your husband?!?

  • Reply Brooke Kunz July 18, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    i appreciate when bloggers are completely transparent about how they make their money and when a post is sponsored…otherwise it kind of feels like “trickery” when it sneaks up on your and seems totally unrelated to their usual content. i agree with the commenter above – if they make money and keep their blog in the same vein/spirit, great! if they morph their blog into something i dont enjoy reading, just so they can make money, that’s the same thing as a lame book that i’m going to put down and not buy.

  • Reply Liz C July 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    What a lovely response by Thorston, respectfully stated for all involved.

    This is an interesting topic to me, both because I think Thorston is completely correct about the bias against women bloggers in particular being perceived differently if they try to “go pro” with their blogs, and because I personally have struggled with how to handle it when a beloved blog I read becomes a constant stream of nothing but sponsored content.

    Some bloggers handle this very well – they’re able to take the requested sponsor’s product/collaboration/etc and make it fit into their voice, their writing style, and it’s a fairly seamless thing that doesn’t interfere with the blogger’s general “brand”.

    Others, however, don’t seem to handle that sort of content as well, and I have had to pull off my feed list a few that stopped making their own personal posts altogether, and became walking talking television commercials for a parade of brands.

    It’s not that it bothers me that they are making income for themselves – it’s just that I don’t read blogs to be advertised to by Big Brands, I read them because, in nearly every case, the unique writing voice and presentation of the blogger’s personal vision of the world was compelling to me, and once they stop doing that, I’m just not interested anymore. It’s not their FAULT, but I can’t think it’s terribly useful for their income, either.

    In your case, though, I have to say this comment to which Thorston replied is one that bewilders me. I have never perceived your blog as one in which you were “constantly selling” anything. While I have seen the flurries of promotion that accompany a book launch, this never bothers me, as your books are an extension of your voice and vision, which are the reason I follow your blog in the first place. (I feel the same for other blogs I read who have also written books, for the same reason)

    You also are very good at being sure to only incorporate content that fits your blog’s voice and vision, so when there have been posts you’ve made of collaborations or sponsorships (though admittedly right this second I cannot think of a time I have seen you do this, I think at some point in your history you must have?), they fit into your blog in a way that makes perfect sense to me.

    I read blogs for the personal stories and visions that the unique voices of each blogger create. Sometimes stories repeat themselves across the Blog Universe, and it doesn’t matter, because each person’s viewpoint is individual, and therefore the stories are new each time. I think the sticking point comes for me when a blogger, out of a desire to garner an income for their work, loses sight of their own voice and vision and becomes just another place where we’re bombarded by advertisement by Big Brands.

  • Reply Jennifer July 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Katie has captured my sentiments exactly. You have created a beautiful spot here that you should be very proud of.

    And your husband rocks :)

  • Reply Jessica Senti July 18, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Well said Thorsten! If I would have saw the comment, I would have gone to bat for you too! You are one of the most hard working women I’ve ever met and are extremely giving and supportive to all the women in your life. It’s really sad to hear that other people, particularly women, aren’t as supportive back to you.


  • Reply Patricia July 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Holly- I have admired you for so long. You’re an amazing inspiration to women who want to follow that voice inside them–to leave the gray-cubicle world behind in order to live their dreams. I am one of them and I look to you as an online mentor and “friend I’ve never met.” I completely agree with Thorsten. This does seem to be an issue for women–women who succeed in challenging traditional roles…women who ignore fear and senseless comments in favor of an authentic life and business…and women who are doing what others only wish they could do. Never doubt that your work resonates positively with so many of us who need that tangible example of what success looks like. You are amazing and real and inspiring. And your husband sounds like the bomb dot com :) Best of luck in all that you do. And I hope you make tons of money from it!

  • Reply Katie Johnson July 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Well said, Thorsten. I’m in agreement with the 1st Katie’s comment. There are sponsored posts on blogs I really dig, but the second I see the post is in regards to the company sponsoring it I move to the next blog. Not that I don’t like them or judge it, I just know their opinion will be biased. And as 1st Katie stated, decor8 is NOT in that category. By all means, make money doing what you love…you give people like me (a gal clawing her way out of Corp America) hope that I can succeed on my own as well. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply claire July 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Holly

    I love Thorsten’s reply, he nailed it. Why should you work for free, why should anyone (in the art world this is extremely common and artists that work at making work that is ‘commercial’ are very often looked down upon as sellouts). I would ignore the naysayers. Everything you do has your voice and integrity, and I guess it’s all down to the individual but I don’t really see you selling, selling, selling- you just seem to be having fun and making a living for yourself.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Lesley Myrick July 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Your husband is AWESOME.

    And I agree with Katie above – I feel that you promote your products very tastefully. You deserve to be compensated well for your work since it brings value to your readers. It’s disappointing when readers don’t realize the amount of time and energy that blogging requires. And while some bloggers don’t do promotion well (and their posts reek of pre-arranged sponsorship and product placement) I think you do a great job.

    Sidenote: I tweeted you earlier about a similar topic – brands wanting to promotion on blogs without paying for it. I always think of you when I get pitches like that, and politely decline. And in my response, I explain why I’m not going to take their opportunity. It often seems like brands want your time, effort, and audience – without paying for it. Le sigh.

    All that to say – keep doing what you’re doing. I admire you and your work greatly. xox

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      @Lesley – It’s hard to promote tastefully sometimes you know, because it’s like some people get offended so easily and others skim the text anyway and don’t even pay attention. It’s hard to know what’s going to get under someone else’s skin (or not). Oh I have to look at Twitter, I am interested in seeing what you tweeted…

  • Reply Jean July 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Holly, I wish i could live off of Rainbows & Hugs (and how happy finding/sharing awesome inspiration online makes me) – but that’s not the world we live in. Love this post! And admire all you’ve done and built over the years! :)

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      @Jean – Hello Jean so nice to see you here!!! I know I wish I could too because I hate dealing with or thinking about money.

  • Reply Am July 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I think your husband absolutely nailed it, especially the parts about society’s expectations of women vs. men and other females being the ones leveling criticism!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      @Am – Yeah I think so too, I was really proud to read his comment this morning – unexpected and very heartfelt and true.

  • Reply Danielle July 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    A big applause for Thorsten! Every word is so true. I have seen the blogging world change over the past year and it is really bothering me. People seem to take for granted how much work blogging is. I spend a lot of time on my blog and most of the time I don’t create my own content so only have a vague idea of how much time Holly spend on her blog. Like Holly I have a family and it is a constant struggle balancing time between work and private life. As the number of blogs are growing and a lot of bloggers work for free or for almost nothing earnings from ads for instance are decreasing because of this. Comments and positive feedback are also decreasing (which used to be a big award for me and was part of the fun of bloggingI) people are too busy or doesn’t seem to appreciate carefully curated posts anymore. Readers are so used to seeing content that they are not aware of the time and effort that went into creating a blog post. Where does this lead to? I don’t know. I have been on the verge of quitting my blog a few times. My mian priority is raising my son and being there for him. That’s why I guit a high paid job. With my blog I still am able to earn income, contributing to society, have a sense of self worth, be someone different that a mother, etc.

    In Holly’s case, why is it wrong to monetize your blog and writing books? It is her source of income. If you don’t agree with this, don’t read blogs anymore. Don’t make use of free content and buy magazines instead (which are filled with ads but nobody is complaining about that). Holly, you are doing a terrific job and you are an example for every women who want to start her own business/blog!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      @Danielle – So nice to see you here and I agree about the comments – I really miss that community spirit. I am the same as you now, with a little boy, and so I try to be balanced now more than ever and it is so hard but soooo worth it. I cannot imagine my life without little Aidan. I really am hoping to give him a good life now and also in the future, I am trying to take some of my money from blogging and stuff to put aside from him so one day, he has a savings account waiting for him so he can back pack across Australia or Asia, go to college, live in a beach shack selling pineapples, I don’t care as long as he is happy and I can help him kick off adulthood with a little money in his pocket. But my main goal isn’t money it is TIME for him now, time to spend with him and to be his mother because it all goes by so fast. Danielle thank you for commenting. xo

  • Reply Sam July 18, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    I’ve been a reader for so many years and although I’ve never commented, I believe yours was the first design blog I ever read back when I was in college. You are such an inspiration and I’ve never once thought that you were selling out.

    I’m surprised (although maybe I shouldn’t be) that there are others that don’t think you should be making money for all of your hard work and talents. I was so excited when you released your first book because at that point I felt that I “knew” you!

    Your husband is spot on and I’m so glad you decided to write an entire blog post on the subject. Continue doing what you’re doing!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      @Sam – Thank you, I’m so happy you have my first book. :) That makes me smile.

  • Reply Chelsea July 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm


    Thank you for posting about this issue! I have been dreaming about becoming a blogger for a couple of years now. One thing I have worried about is losing the passion for my blog due to the money issue. I think they way you have promoted yourself is great. You still have such passion and the material you are posting is original. You are a great inspiration to me of how to make money off of a blog, but still stay consistent to who you are. I hope to be able to progress like this someday. Keep up the good work!


    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      @Chelsea – Yeah I think that is a big concern for most bloggers, worrying about money. It’s like we feel “dirty” talking about it, right? At least I see that.

  • Reply Julie Nicholson July 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    As a fellow writer and blogger, I only have admiration for those of us who have the business savvy to make it work as a full time career, I’m getting there. To answer your question, yes, those of us that have evolved absolutely want others to be happy and that means fulfilling their dreams in what ever arena. I am always utterly astounded when someone writes a comment like this, not just for the obvious reasons of their stupidity, sitting in there, probably from their own cubicle, thinking we will work 14 hour days researching and writing just to fulfill their fantasies of a life they are not living and do it all for free! But also because it’s so basic, plain old envy. There is not guilt in making money, everyone should be so blessed as to make money doing what they love. Isn’t that what we all strive for!? She won’t have to worry, she’ll never make money, because she associates it with guilt and shame and tried to put that on you. You are inspiring. Unfortunately there are always haters in every area, it’s sad for them. I can’t help but think maybe no one ever taught them the basic ~ if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Julie xo

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      @Julie – Yeah I believe that too, there is always guilt associated with making money. At least with WOMEN making money. I’ve honestly never seen men shame other men for making a buck.

  • Reply Yuko | northfield gate July 18, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Reading Thorsten’s response brought tears to my eyes. What we reader enjoy here at your beautiful blog is the fruit of the years of your consistent hard work, determination, and perseverance. I was just telling my husband how much I admire your work, not just for your style and brand you’re created, but also for your ambition and attitude as an entrepreneur. I’ve been learning so much from you. As a new blogger myself, I understand how much time and effort it takes to put an original and compelling content out there. Thank you so much for all that you do, Holly. You’ve blessed so many people with your gift! xx
    p.s. Looking forward to taking Blogging Your Way course this fall!!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      @Yuko – Thank you, you too – I look forward to being in class together. :)

  • Reply Vanessa {Damask & Dentelle} July 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm


    I have been struggling with the same issue about tracing that line between creating uncommercial content and making a living. My blog has become a large part of my income and my blogging activities have led me to host a tv show. Both activities require me to now work with brands and I have had to adjust to the “sell-out” feeling it created within me at first.

    I have come to the conclusion that whatever brand wishes to work with me has to accept the fact that I will continue to voice my opinion regarding their products and whoever reads my blog will have to accept the fact that I am not a unicorn living off of rainbow sparkle and that I have to earn a living if I want to keep writing (my 5-year-old daughter would love too though (be a unicorn), but that’s a different story altogether!)

    Your husband seems to have gotten it all right, not only in terms of his response but also on getting his priorities straight and running to your defence. Kudos to him! Kudos to you both.

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      @Vanessa – Yes it’s so true – we’re not unicorns though I secretly wish it could be that nice and easy.

  • Reply Brenda Kula July 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Three years ago I got a divorce and moved away from where we’d been living. I am over 50 and had obtained a professional writing degree in journalism when I was younger. I had already started my blog, but then had to make money with it because I had to pay the bills somehow and eat. Also feed my dogs. People ask me what I do and I say I am a blogger. They ask me what that means. I don’t care, because even though I don’t make enough to pay the bills, it’s still a big contribution. And after all is said and done, and what I managed to walk out of, I’m a little bit proud of myself for having had the wherewithal to do “what I knew.” And to keep going.

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      @Brenda – Wow Brenda that is really great!

  • Reply Kat July 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I strongly believe that bloggers should be able to make a living from their work.

    The huge amount of time that goes into creating the free content should be supported by a business that allows you to spend that time creating. Whether it’s ads, shops, books, consulting or speaking there is no shame in creating an income that allows you to be a full-time blogger.

    When we set up Blogtacular it was a founding principle that we would pay the bloggers who spoke at our conference. I am so proud of creating a business that is part of the income mix for bloggers and that helps the community to be their very best.

    Hip hip hooray for Thorsten!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      @Kat – I heard that was such a great conference for bloggers – keep on keepin’ on! That’s great to do something like that for bloggers – to encourage and upbuild!

  • Reply Marie-Chantale July 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Happiness creates jealousy – this is human and we can’t do so much about that, beside hoping to inspire others to reach out for happiness, because it is possible to be happy and to make our dreams come true, if only we have the courage to.

    I choose, instead of being jealous, to thank the universe for giving me example of healthy happy people who are living their dreams – these are so precious!

    The world is filled with negative people who dont have the courage to go for their dreams, so of course the happy ones are pointed and criticised because of their difference –

    Be happy and bold Holly, do what your hearts wants you to do, it’s your life!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      @Marie-Chantale – I wish it weren’t that way though because we can all help one another get “there” together, you know? I sincerely believe in the power of positivity breeds positivity don’t you?

  • Reply Enid July 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I agree with everything that has been said, but I would like to add this. I think blogs are MOST enjoyable when they do all the things that bloggers need to do to make money YET manage to avoid SOUNDING like self-promotion. I know that this is a very difficult balance to strike. But I think it is worthwhile pursuing as an essentially stylistic goal that will welcome the greatest number of readers (and thus, one hopes, sponsors, partners, etc). Keep up the good work!

    • Reply decor8 July 18, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      @Enid – Yes, so true, and so hard because what sounds like it to some doesn’t to others so it’s such a fine line, right?!

  • Reply Marilyn July 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Why is it ok for Oprah or Martha Stewart to over market themselves but when a Blogger does it, it becomes questionable and they’re just trying to make a quick buck? Making income from your blog is sooooooooooo hard event when you put countless hours and your soul into it. I respectfully disagree with this person.

    There is definitely a fine line when it comes to promoted post. I once stopped following a blog because they were writing a Kotex review!! I get the Kotex PR emails too and just delete them.

    I absolutely love your blog as I find it’s the perfect balance of lifestyle, design, and growing as a blogger/business./brand. You are so blessed! And your husband is absolutely amazing!

  • Reply Maria July 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    As a blogger I am also used to comments like this one and I have to agree with Thorsten. This kind of goes hand in hand with a bigger issue which I’ve encountered numerous times; creative work somehow seems to be “less valuable” and thus free to use (with credits of course!). I think those of us who have followed you for years can appreciate the fact that you have, through extremely hard work, created a business and that being able to make it successful is actually a good thing, not something you need to justify.

  • Reply Ira July 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    dear Holly,

    i am very glad you started this discussion. the blog universe is getting through a very important phase at the moment and i am glad that big blogs like yours helping it to come through the phase;)

    i work in an advertising department in one of the biggest german apparel companies and i know that big companies discovered that blogs bring more Output than usual ads in magazines.

    that´s why more and more bloggers get paid by companies for advertising their products. 5 years from now it will be normal, but at the moment the readers dont understand/dont accept/dont like when bloggers whrite sponsored posts

    what do you think about some initiative among bloggers, similar to “link with love” it could be a great plattform to talk about this subject, to make it transparent. we can call it smth like “i earn my living by doing what i love/ i write from my heart/written with love or smth”

    bloggers that are part of the initiative will put the button on their blogs. the more bloggers upload the button the more readers start thinking about it and soon it will be spread

    the thing is that at least one big blog (like yours;)) should start the initiative. i read about this subject in many smaller blogs, they try to do what they can, but they dont have the power that big blogs have.

    have a look at elbdudler!!! for readers that are not from germany: this is the first advertising agency in germany that is frankly talking about their costs and expenses, which was at first very shocking for the advertising world in germany. elbdudle revolutionised the advertising world in germany.

    the time has come for the blog universe!!!!!;)

    p.s. you husband is a great guy;)) well done, Thorsten!!! Hut ab!;))

  • Reply julie July 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I want to thank you and your husband for all the heart and hard work behind this beautiful blog. Your free gift of inspiration and joy is deeply appreciated by myself and so many others. I feel a little bad for the person writing the comment as she probably wants to crawl under a rock right now…..but both you and your husband have addressed the issue in a tactful and kind manner and I think it was good that you did so. It’s always a good reminder to be very careful of our words to others.

  • Reply Jackie Masteron July 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I think this is an amazing article. Granted, many do try to take advantage of the IM world, by overselling awful products, and squeeze as many sales as they can on as little content as possible…

    When I started a cooking blog about six months ago, I didn’t know anything about making money off my blog…I did it solely for the love of cooking. Luckily I learned really quickly after finding a “blogging blueprint” so to speak..and ever since then I’ve been averaging $500+ per day. I admire bloggers like yourself who are still in it for the passion for your niche.

    For anybody wanting to check out the blueprint (not sure if it’s still available) you can find it here:

    My only advice it to tune the naysayers out, and do what makes you happy! Good luck and I hope you continue to blog, because many people including myself love your work!


  • Reply Melissa Mortenson July 18, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Amen!!! Love you Thorsten :) my first book is being published this month and I do get the occasional “that’s nice honey” comments from people in my family and social circle. I want to scream “do you know how much work
    that book was ????!!” Thank you for so eloquently summing up how I feel.

  • Reply Rosane July 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Excellent! I couldn’t do better. I’m included in the universe of bloggers and have suffered the same attacks. Worse, I do my blog in a country of the “Third World”, which makes it harder.
    Congratulations Holly, Thorsten and commentators.
    Go ahead, master.

  • Reply Juliette July 18, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Great response from Thorsten! Yes, you’ve given great free content to so many for so long, seriously! That’s part of the reason I buy your books, to give back -that and they’re actually GOOD books, not deco-fluff.

    Also, there’s nary been a moment where I’ve thought you’ve sold out. True, some bloggers have, and that’s annoying from a reader’s perspective. But you stay true to your brand (which is extra hard work IMO and doubly worth the support), meaning I keep reading and trying to support you. Keep it up girlfriend!

  • Reply Cintya July 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Decor8 has become my destination for ideas and inspiration. I have and I will always have the upmost respect for full-time bloggers. I started blogging a year ago and each time I construct a post I realize that it’s not easy work. Blogging involves a lot of planning, thinking and dedication. Weather it be physical or mental, a job is a job and if you are presented with opportunities to expand something you love and enjoy doing, why not?

    There will always be negative feedback, it’s just part of life. It was really nice of your husband to reply to that comment. It’s nice to have someone you can truly trust working together with you. Continue what you’re doing. And much success.

  • Reply Dave July 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    The Internet still has this feel to some people that everything should be free and contributors should be giving selfless. It must be coming from the beginnings of it.
    The truth is there is no such thing as selfless giving. Everything people do is self motivated. Some people earn money with something they love and living from something you love is great. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that. Plus people have expenses not just in life, contributing costs money and time. Running a website isn’t free.
    I don’t comment very often but I still enjoy it here, reading and seeing it change. Change is a part of life. Spirit grows within change.

  • Reply diane sims July 18, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    You go girl! Everyone should be able to make money from doing what they love! We all get to enjoy your blog and info and tips for free, I say that is pretty awesome! and yes I also love the things you sell, I love to see any of women making money doing what they love, and you have a pretty awesome hubby too! CONGRATS! (the others that complain are just jealous because they have not figured out how to make any money probably because they are just plain crabby :)

  • Reply Dianne Conner July 18, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Bravo Thorsten and Holly! No One should be commenting anything negative of or about you or your blog! I have your book and I follow your blog and I enjoy everything you have posted and shared! Keep shining – this is your platform for sharing your passion and your ideas –
    Keep smiling and shining and loving on your little family!

  • Reply Lynne July 18, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Thorsten said it all and far better than I can. I have never written a blog but toyed with the idea for a little while and I can well imagine that amount of work and creativity that goes into it. Congrats, Holly on your books, your blog and your online store!

  • Reply Laura V July 18, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    First of all, love the fact that your husband came to your defense, and what he specifically had to say. I totally agree that there’s a gendered element to these comments about bloggers trying to make a living.

    I wanted to commend you for something you’ve shown great leadership in: paying other people who work on your projects! Many people could sponge up a bunch of free/reduced fee labor by people looking for exposure, but as anyone who’s read here awhile or taken your courses knows, you’re a strong advocate not only for getting paid for your own labor, but paying fairly for that of others.

    Thank you for your leadership in advocacy and encouragement to get paid what you’re worth!

  • Reply Michele July 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Any blogger than can make a living at it….is my hero.

    I never EVER think anything close to what the commenter said. As someone who is presently doing a job that “pays the bills”, I hope to one day make a living doing some I love, something I have passion for. And I’ve always thought/hoped blogging would be a part of it.

    I have read this blog for years and my only wish is that I get to for many many more!

  • Reply My Gramas Soul July 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Sorry this has happened to you. We all blog for different reasons…and no matter why you blog….it is your decision of what you put on your blog. I for one probably will not use my blog to make money…but I do believe that it takes a huge amount of time and effort to create an interesting and popular blog….and YOU, my friend, have done just that.


  • Reply Val July 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Can I just say… Dude, your husband rocks! :-) And… Holly I appreciate you addressing this, being honest, straightforward, not hiding, but not being catty either.

  • Reply Karen July 18, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Jessica Senti,
    “If I had seen…”
    Sorry, can’t help it.

  • Reply sjoukje July 18, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    You are so lucky to have a husband so supportive. Bloggers work hard for their money and all the blogs which make money certainly deserve it. Yes, it’s easy for people who work hard physically or have a job they don’t like to say the bloggers don’t deserve it, but I believe they perform a job which they love -> they put more effort in it -> it looks better -> it attracts more people -> they like it even more, it’s a vicuous circle! You shouldn’t feel offended because there’s no need to – you’re living a dream, I’d love to make money off my blog but it’s too early and maybe the time will never come, but I would never ever be mean to those who are priviliged to make money off of what they love! x

  • Reply Quinn July 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Perfectly stated reply by your husband. He’s a gem.

    I’ll love your blog, and you just keep on selling!

  • Reply Jen Bishop July 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    This got my back up so much I had to post about it!
    I agree with everything you and your husband have said Holly and it really REALLY irritates me that bloggers still get this kind of crap thrown at them. I am lucky to also have a supportive husband who appreciates what I do as a full-time blogger. Pay no attention and have a great weekend! Jen x

  • Reply MonW July 18, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Odd isn’t it that book writers and newspaper columnists never draw as much ire over making money. Yet, bloggers, aka web columnists, are still in the line of fire after all these years, and particularly females. A well-written(grammar, spelling), well-illustrated(drawings or good photos) column takes time to get completed. The project in the column is finished much slower with all the stopping for images and writing notes, not to mention the research before starting the project and article. I suspect heavy bias and envy from those who know better that “if it’s on the web, it should be free” and so on.

    I do avoid some columnists offline, because of the blatant shilling for whichever advertiser. We have a local tv program named for the entire state that seems to stay in the studio, focus on a single city of this state and shill for a select group of advertisers on a major network. The show feels like an infomercial. I do like the bias/shill rules many bloggers have adopted in recent years; I think it protects them and their readers. I avoid the blatant shill bloggers as well as that tv show. Reminds, me, time to clean my feeds again.

    While I haven’t observed an imbalance on your site, I have seen some changes in other blogs I’ve been following.
    * Less DIY posts online; they *all* go to the “whatever” deal instead.
    * DIY posts are major projects not the mini makeovers of the past.
    * More posts about book deal or new design deals/branding. Ok, that’s nice, but what about what lured me to the site long ago? I like the experiments, the goofs, and the corrections. Interesting that I visit their archives more than current articles. If you use Pinterest, you notice it in the older blog topic pins being prevalent vs newer entries.

    Your husband got the answer exactly right.

  • Reply Suzanne July 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Dear Team Decor8,
    I found your blog because I was looking for an interior book. I came across lots of 5 star reviews for yours and when I heard you had a blog I thought fantastic.
    When someone is talented and works hard, putting their heart and soul into something I find it reassuring that they are a success. To me that is the way it should be. You deserve your success. Good for you that there is a financial benefit too. You have ‘Team Decor8’ to feed. At the end of the day you can turn off the computer, close the door and the three of you have each other. We have all been there, don’t let it get to you.

    P.S Who said Knights in shining armour were a thing of the past!

  • Reply Nayla July 18, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    It’s easy to say ignore those types of comments but hard to do so. Usually people are harder on themselves than the public-at least the majority of it- are on them. And it doesn’t take much to allow even a little doubt to sneak in. People should think before saying things.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions but if their opinions may not be perceived as uplifting- they should keep them to themselves- UNLESS ASKED.
    If someone felt that way and commented here-fair game. But I will never understand why people feel the need to criticize when it’s not their place to.
    Now that my rants done- I commend what you do. You should be proud and deserve all the success you have. If she doesn’t want to buy the book or visit your store you’re not forcing her hand.

  • Reply Patricia Shea July 18, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    I admire your hubby for chiming in in such a kind and supportive way! I think it’s great you are doing a curated shop at and I understand completely the need for you to make a living as I am a designer/artist and I feel sometimes some people (but only a very small number) don’t understand that I need to make money from my art in order to be able to make my art – so you have my total empathies in that regard. You have not lost your magic for me – I like the considered way you have gone about the financial side of your blog/work. Brava!!!

  • Reply Carla Landi July 18, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    I never comment, but today I’ll do: perfect answer.
    Congrats on your achievements!

  • Reply Franglaise Mummy July 18, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    This is an excellent blog post, and so valid. I particularly love your husband’s response. And you know what? You go out there and do what you do, whatever works for you, because at the end of the day there will always be people who support you and ones that want to knock you down. Wishing you every success, both personal and financial, Sophie x

  • Reply Melissa July 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Holly, I first met you at The Creative Convention in 2011 and your key note during dinner touched me like no other creative entrepreneur ever had before. I remember thinking, “I can do this- it’s going to be a lot of work, but I can do it!” Next, I took your Blogging Your Way” course- loved it and need to take another one to keep learning.

    You’ve given so many of us creative a foundation to stand on so we can work to make our dreams a reality- thank you.

    Please keep doing what you are doing and don’t give up! Kudos to your wonderful husband for speaking up so eloquently. I appreciate his insight into the gender issue as well.

    You are beautiful and wonderful Holly- I can’t wait to see what you will do next.

  • Reply Jenny @ The Brick Castle July 18, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    How brilliant is your husband? He’s a keeper :)

  • Reply Kim Schofield July 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I say let the haters hate and don’t think another thing about them! You keep on going with your blog, books, and anything else you can think of to produce an income. This is your job and you should never, ever feel bad about earning money and never allow anyone else to make you feel bad. I 100% agree with your husband’s comments…ROCK ON!

  • Reply Kim Schofield July 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I say let the haters hate and don’t think another thing about them! You keep on going with your blog, books, and anything else you can think of to produce an income. This is your job and you should never, ever feel bad about earning money and never allow anyone else to make you feel bad. I 100% agree with your husband’s comments…ROCK ON! (I only wish I was creative enough to do the same…LOL!)

  • Reply Dianna July 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Well put everyone! Holly you are doing wonderful things, don’t stop. And continue to make it profitable for you and your family.

  • Reply Carrie Hurd July 18, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Dear Holly, Not sure if you are familiar with the Proverbs 31 woman from the Bible, but she took care of her house, bought a vineyard, ran it, crafted beautiful purple cloth for her family…… and she and her husband were greatly respected in the government and in commerce. I bet 4000 years ago there were other jealous and lazy women out there who found it easier to tear her down with their words than to busy themselves by doing excellent productive work. This is the stuff thick skin is made of and you have a husband to be greatly respected. Go girl! Glad you are enjoying that new little one. Carrie

  • Reply Karen Pottinger July 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Amen!! You said it very well Thorston and god love you for being such an amazing support to Holly. I know that people make some pretty nasty comments and I wonder what they are grounded in – jealousy maybe?

    Why can some people not be happy and respectful of other peoples success? The lady that wrote the original comment, in my opinion, has not read decor8 in any great amounts or she could easily see the wonderful and hard work that Holly does on the blog.

    I, for one, am very thankful that Holly started blogging. She is a pioneer in the blogging world and has paved the way for many bloggers.

  • Reply Elizabeth July 18, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I love that your husband stood up for you, Holly, but I do understand the critique your commenter was making. I think it’s easier when someone like Lauren Liess at Pure Style Home, uses her design blog to generate interest in her work as an Interior Designer. Or Maria at Color Me Happy would be another good example. I also think Joni Webb at Cote de Texas does a good job of choosing sponsors whom she’s genuinely enthusiastic about.

    I think it’s complicated by the fact that initially design blogs seemed like just a fun way for like minded souls to meet up and share their passion. It’s understandable that the transformation to design blogging as a business is sometimes awkward and off-putting, especially when there still seems to be so much free content out there.

    I wish you well and hope you’re able to keep doing the work you love, but also making it pay!

  • Reply Becky July 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    I make my living blogging full time too. I love to write I work hard and I get paid for it. People read it and seem to like it. How can that be wrong anyone????? My kids see a lot of me and we are happy. Your husband is ace and well done YOU!

  • Reply mel July 18, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Holly, Thorsten – thank you. Once again you’re bringing such an important conversation to the forefront and in turn making it a lot easier for other bloggers to never accept not being paid. Seriously do people have any idea how long it takes to create original content? You guys rock! Mel x

  • Reply Shari Goss (@knitwitshair) July 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Gold Star Husband!!

    My hubby didn’t always get excited about what I did or understand my need to do it. We sometimes battled through but as is always the case when we are on opposite sides of an issue, when one of us says this is how it is deal with it the other does. Well he dealt with it, eventually coming on board. One of my proudest moments is when we were visiting family, and I was chatting about work, and he was sitting off checking his phone. One of them casually commented on how I get free stuff, and he pipes up “She doesn’t get free stuff, she works very hard for that stuff, and it really saves us a lot of money, and she contributes money to our family as well. I am proud of her for everything she has done.” and he just kept going on his phone.

    It wasn’t a battle conversation, just a misspoken comment by a well-meaning family member, but knowing he had my back and got it was the biggest thing.

    As for this whole thing. We all are running our businesses the ways we think is best. What works for one might not work for me. I just keep plugging on what I am doing and feel proud that someone else is making their dreams come true too even if it’s not the way I would go about it! That’s the beauty of blogging! We can do it our way. If I don’t like something I just ignore it :P

  • Reply Danielle July 19, 2014 at 12:03 am

    Down with the haters! Keep doing what makes you happy. When you are able to make a living, then you are able to have the resources to continue providing great content to all of your followers. Rainbows and hugs are pretty good, but a little money makes them even better! XO

  • Reply annton July 19, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Thorsten is my hero of the week. Congratulations on such a husband. Not only, does he stand up for you, even more how he does it. He just nailed it. It is so sad, that women still have to explain themselves when making money with their talent and with a lot of work. Being an artist and a Blogger, I will be confronted, on different levels, constantly. Integrity is one of the most important points, when it comes to our careers. And earning money with my art, doesn’t mean I will give up on it. As once lost, it will be hard to get it back. But not getting compensated for my work, where would that put me. Besides the fact, that we all need to make a living, money is a way of valuation too. And there is nothing bad about it, unless you make it bad. Ask your plumber to work for free. Only for the glory of it. He will look at you completely blank or will have a good love. So, thank you, Holly and Thorsten, for putting this out there!

    P.S. What I totally don’t get, why was the comment adressed in the first place? Dear Uschi, if you don’t like the path Holly is following, you can simply stop reading her Blog. Why the lecturing, instead of working on your own vision.

  • Reply Marina Giller July 19, 2014 at 12:45 am

    I can tell that you’ve been expanding lately, but that’s a good thing – normal people can only feel happy for you! I mean, yes, it shows that your goal is to make money blogging, maybe more than it was before, but that’s totally fine, as long as you keep doing your thing.

    I don’t feel there’s any advertising on your blog at all – everything about you and your work is very organic. And your books or shop, or your amazing BYW courses… people, come on, if you don’t like it, scroll down, ignore the links and keep enjoying the same old lovely content! Also, more money for you means more quality content for readers.

    Still, there are some bloggers who can’t be described this way, they start to sell opinions rather then expertise. In this case, I think, it’s not about blogging anymore, because blogging means speaking from your heart, telling readers what you really think or know. Being paid for that is a huge success. Being paid for saying things that you can’t relate to is a different story. That’s selling out for sure!

  • Reply Libby Boyle July 19, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Agree. Agree. Agree. Thornsten said it so well. Blogging is hard work and deserves remuneration. If the quality of your site means brands are wanting to work with you it’s a huge compliment. Keep doing what you do so well. Try to ignore the voice of those who forget that we all have to make a living by a means that makes us happy.

  • Reply Blakandblanc July 19, 2014 at 1:01 am

    Yes, I enjoy every post Holly writes! Have purchased the books and proudly display them for my friends to explore. Women are all too often expected to just “give” when they should be expected to receive compensation for all their efforts!

  • Reply merilyn July 19, 2014 at 1:11 am

    go Holly and Thorsten! … well put!
    quite frankly it is your business how you want to pursue the future of your business!
    you have always been very transparent and I love that about you with the content of your blog … this is your passion and it clearly shows in your work! …
    I kept your story of how devastated you were when you couldn’t
    continue living the life you were living before blogging! … you are an inspiration
    one can’t live on cyber hugs! you have a baby to provide for now too …
    long term expences there! … all the best to you both! <3 m:)X

  • Reply Libby July 19, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Did you hear that? That’s the sound of my standing ovation for you Thorsten. Wishing you and Holly the continued success that comes with hard work and dedication.

  • Reply julia-tagandtibby July 19, 2014 at 1:20 am

    I don’t think people understand how painful it can be to have criticism of work. I’ve had friends ask “when are you going back to work?” The concept of blogging for business is difficult to understand. Especially for non-creative types or the older generation. My grandparents sat me down recently and told me they don’t know what a blog is (even though she is a top commenter on my FB page). Rest easy, your content is lovely!

  • Reply Merissa July 19, 2014 at 1:24 am

    Bravo Thorsten! You are Holly’s knight in shining armor! You pretty much set it straight. High-five! Holly, can Thorsten teach a writing course on BYW ;) Thank you for sharing this, it makes being a female blogger not feel alone in the blogosphere and that we all have feelings too. You have such a caring and gentle heart Holly and I’ve always admired you for nurturing us through BYW, your books, and Decor8. All that you have ever done was to share and grow others around you and I applaud you for it! You deserve a BIG paycheck! Everything you put out into the world is excellent, beautiful, and inspiring. x

  • Reply Kerry July 19, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Hi Holly,

    This was all very well written and I am now in full adoration of your husband. This situation made me think of what it’s (often) like to be an actor. We’re offered jobs that don’t pay (usually lunch is the trade off) and if we won’t work for free then we’re told we don’t want it “bad enough” or should just feel lucky to get to act.

    But here’s the thing: when you have something of value that you are sharing with the world, that should be compensated for. Yes, there are other ways outside of money but not when it’s your full time job. This is not seen as crazy thinking in any other field but artistic ones (which I include writing, of course).

    People who put themselves out there for the world to see – really out there, whether that’s in the public eye, on stage or screen, or on blogs – are brave. And brave people bring something up in those who wish desperately to be brave. The next time someone writes something like this, pat yourself on the back because it means you are showing your bravery.


  • Reply Tracy Gooding July 19, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Dear Holly, I for one absolutely love everything about your blog and your candid warm personality shines through. I wish only the very best for you and your family and you deserve every happiness and success. Thank you for sharing your talents with us! Tracy xx

  • Reply Melissa Allam July 19, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Such good a response from Thorsten! I love what you do here and was just thinking when I saw the goods you were selling on a couple sites the other day, Yay for you! I love that you work hard and find such an array of ways to bring in income. Keeps things interesting and not boring.

  • Reply Nicole S. July 19, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Aw, give your husband a hug for me, what a sweet comment! Do you guys speak mostly German or mostly English at home, or is it a mixture of both? It doesn’t seem like either of you write anything less than fluently in English and I know the format of sentences is totally different in German (from my high school German, most of which I’ve sadly forgotten!) If I spoke German all the time I would probably write things like “I to the store went” in English, lol.

    • Reply decor8 July 19, 2014 at 9:30 am

      @Nicole – With Aidan, he speaks only German and I only speak English to the baby. To one another, he’ll speak to me in German or English but mostly English when it comes to business, medical, etc.

  • Reply Jen Strange July 19, 2014 at 4:28 am

    I’m a little in love with your husband now. :) SO well said!!!


  • Reply Marzi July 19, 2014 at 4:42 am

    Hi Holly & Thornsten,

    Starving artists. Why is this a statement, as if a given fact and an acceptable comment to the “plight” of choosing to work in the arts?

    I feel that many good and honest people, with good ethics and principles, somehow never acknowledge the WORK that artist’s put into their creative and, therefore, de-value the arts as a whole.

    My daughter is currently in college, pursuing a degree in Animation. She uses various social media venues to share her creative work and her voice with others. Yet, even in this community of like minded souls, as soon as an artist seeks a means of earning money for creative work, there is a cry of “sell-out” and the most unimaginable mean spirited commentary.

    Meanwhile, our son who is a chef, creatives a dish and no one expects to eat it unless they pay for it. How is this different?

    Please keep this dialogue going so that perceptions change. Work is work and good creative should be valued and compensation provided, without question.

    Pierette M.

  • Reply Cassandra July 19, 2014 at 5:16 am

    I really struggled even with the idea of putting ads on my blog for exactly this reason. I think providing free content is extreme but I also think that bombarding readers with ads and only writing sponsored posts is not appropriate as well (which you do not). I think this is a case of a few giving a group a bad name. I recently came across a blog with a traveling banner ad on the top and bottom of her blog and a pop up ad in the middle so you basically couldn’t read anything on her site and you I was too irritated to even read what I came to the site for. I think you are doing a great job and are giving all of us a great name!

  • Reply Hester July 19, 2014 at 5:43 am

    When somebody is good at what they do, bring
    joy to thousands of readers, put in very long hours
    and hard work you expect them to be rewarded for it
    don’t you? I recon the comment was made out of
    ignorance and jealousy, somebody who thinks
    creating and writing an awesome blog is done in 15
    minutes. I am so pleased for you that your dream of
    becoming an author came true!! There are way
    to many people stuck in a job they don’t like
    and who keep dreaming of what if..
    You worked hard in establishing your dream,
    you inspire so many people, you creates such
    a strong brand now go and enjoy your success :)
    I can only dream of my blog one day becoming half as successful
    as yours. Keep living (and enjoying) your dream, you worked
    hard for it!!

  • Reply Vera July 19, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Holly, you have every right to be paid for the hard work you put into your blog and I find it very hard to understand why others think this is not the case.
    All the best, Vera

  • Reply Yanira July 19, 2014 at 6:45 am

    I’ve never commented but I literally had to sit back and say…well, damn. Your husband is right, we don’t support each other as often as we should. By we, I mean women. I’ve always been the one to stop a woman in the street to tell her she looks great today, help another mom out at the park, try to help anyone woman who sends me an email, why? Because someone has done it for me, help me in the park, tell me I look great, reply to my email and I remember how I felt every time. I wish more women were as supportive but don’t stop being you, it will catch on. Hopefully you land a few more deals, kids are expensive. ;)

  • Reply Ani July 19, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Wish I had more time to read all the comments above, but just want to say YAY Thorsten!

    Also what about all the people you help everyday? All the businesses and artisans you talk about on Decor8, which helps people all over the world make a living?

    You, Holly are doing a great service to many people and of course you should make money!

  • Reply carly July 19, 2014 at 7:07 am

    First off, I completely agree with your husband. Second, I hope to one day find (and marry) a man who is even half as supportive as your husband…you definitely found one of the good ones!

  • Reply Rebecca Jones July 19, 2014 at 7:53 am

    How lovely to have such a supportive husband! Clearly you don’t just sell, sell, sell Holly otherwise we wouldn’t all be here. Readers of blogs and of magazines too aren’t stupid. If things become too commercial they walk away, it’s always been the case. If you run a magazine (I’m a features ed ((and mummy)) by day and a blogger by night) you lose readers if you have too many ads or obviously commercially driven features on your blog. The same for bloggers. It’s such a delicate balance, I also think that many people don’t understand just how much work a blog post involves. They don’t see the creative thinking behind it, the hours you spend getting the right pictures, cooking, crafting, writing seo stuff on the images before you even start writing the post. If people knew what was involved maybe they’d stop and think a bit more and realise that none of us her paid for every post like a journo does for every feature, so the money you make for paid content or side business has to pay for the rest of your content, ingredients, supplies, admin and everything else. Crikey if I one day get to make money from my blog I’ll be overjoyed. I hope by then attitudes will have changed and my female readers will support my success and be inspired by it. Good luck Holly. Rebecca x

  • Reply Inome July 19, 2014 at 8:18 am

    This blessed reader is just purely jealous….that’s it! So instead of just calling it like it is, this person just can’t do it. Bless this poor broken soul….they simply just don’t know who they really are..

  • Reply kinga July 19, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Wow…go Thorsten! great response. It is 2 am here, I just fed and helped my baby go back to sleep and while checking the time on my smartphone I got pulled into reading this and I’m glad I did. Firstly, thank goodness for supportive husbands, and second…what is wrong with people? seriously, why have we come to this point that we need to tell people we don’t like their success. This person may just as well have wrote to you “I liked you, but not anymore because you’re successful at living your life. I would like you way more if you blogged from a cardboard box”. I would disregard and consider that this person is perhaps projecting some insecurity about their own success or lack there of in their own life. Let’s build each other up. If anything, you are a great example of how one can truly make a great career of blogging through a ton of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Keep on doing what you’re doing, you’re good at it! And for people like this, who need to try to bring someone down, if you don’t like this space, or this person, why are you here? The Web is full of content, go find somewhere else to put your negativity.

    It’s late, sorry for typos, I’m going back to sleep…

  • Reply julie @ tractorgirl July 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I don’t make a lot of money out of my blog, but I work damn hard for what I do get. Writers (or people in any other creative pursuit) should be rewarded for their efforts if they do it with integrity and in the pursuit of quality.

    I feel much more honest and true to myself doing this than working at a crappy desk job (which pays infinitely better).

    All the best, and here’s to true equality for women!!

  • Reply Catherine Ingleby July 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Fascinating thread. As an artist I found that as I’m become successful, I often get accused of being “commercial”, most often by other artists. Now I’ve done my time in the freezing garret, and frankly couldn’t wait to earn enough money to rent somewhere a lot nicer. With heating, and fewer mice.

    Great post, and fabulous reply.

    Also, I have your book Decorate, and it inspires me every time I do a project. Keep up the good work.

    Catherine x

  • Reply karolina barnes July 19, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Dear Holly and Thorsten, I was so impressed with your honesty and how you handled the email comment. I wouldn’t bother about people like that. I think they are jealous and have no clue what blogging is about today (not 10 years ago), and what blogger actually does. Over the years blogging has become a business which needs to act as any other business i.e. generate revenue while providing a service or products. Some people don’t move with time and changes and they are still stuck in the past and expect something for nothing. Some people are jealous of others success. Blogging is hard work and hence should be rewarded, accordingly, as any other job. Don’t let these comments get to you and keep moving forward. All the best, Karolina x

  • Reply Ria July 19, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Thanks Thorsten for your reply! This is what women needs today- a husband like you. My own stands by my side all the hard way of blogging and is proud of me like you about Holly! It would be wonderful if women would learn to support each other in such way men do. Wish you and your little family all the best. Regards, Ria

  • Reply Romy (Diva Mystic Magazine) July 19, 2014 at 10:42 am

    As a new kid on the blogging block with aspirations to turn my blog for Super Sensitive Women into a full time career it saddens me that some women still waste their precious time and energy throwing stones at sisters that had the courage to say yes to their dreams, commit to them and then find a way to make them reality. And reality is, that most of us have bills to pay and desire a life and not just an existence. Holly, for me you are a role model and mentor and I greatly enjoyed your Blogging Your Way course. I am still implementing all that I have learned. Your books and your blog are an inspiration – Decorate with Flowers is waiting for me to dive in. I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to proclaim that I want to be a full time blogger without leaders like you showing us that it is indeed possible. Yes, it’s a LOT of hard work but oh so worth it. I wish you all the success you desire for yourself and your lovely family. I love how Thorsten drew his sword on your behalf. And I invite readers like Uschi to use the time and energy that writing a negative comment takes and instead sit still and unearth those dreams waiting to be expressed and lived in their own lives.

  • Reply Nicole Nicol July 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Great job true.
    I think these issues are really big..guilt associated with women earning money. And the idea that you shouldn’t earn money from creative endeavours, especially if you enjoy it.
    I have come up against this in the past working in creative areas..but now with my business growing every year I am proud to have dreams and ambition to make money and provide a great lifestyle for my family. And so should every woman with a dream out there.

    Holly , you have always had your integrity..I know if you say you like it you do. You have my trust …you will never be associated with something you don’t believe in , like etc.
    This is something people need to get a grip on and you should just continue to inspire us all holly

  • Reply Lisa Jane Humphries July 19, 2014 at 10:58 am

    WOAH – this gets me all fired bewilders me that someone took the time to prepare such an ill informed, inarticulate attack on one of the most generous, genuine and gifted women in the world of blogging/writing/online business.

    YES Holly, it is all about wanting others to be happy, for the majority of us. I have a deeply held abundance of well wishes for people like yourself who just ooze authenticity, and who also work their butts off consistently, for the long term, doing something that they are truly passionate about, and truly qualified and talented to pursue!

    Sadly there are also those others who just seem to thrive on the opposite of making others happy, tearing others down, publicly. For me I struggle with my compassion for those who are not able to exercise basic kindness, restraint, integrity and respect.

    Holly you are a shining light to the right people, you also hold up a mirror to those who are living in fear, allowing comparison to control their lives and this is never going to change. We almost need to build our resilience to these sorts of negative responses, because sadly they are not going to go away.

    Thank you for making the world a more beautiful place, your books are works of art, your blog is a beacon of light and you are an inspiration to so many xx

  • Reply Jub July 19, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Both opinions are right, I think.

    The spirit of any blog is really changing when money enters. And we regret the first spirit, most of the time. After the change, some articles let us a “I HAVE to publish something today” feeling. While before it was only “I can’t wait to show you something”.

    But we can also fully understand the want and need to earn money while doing something that really interest one, something that cames from a dream. I think the pleasure for the family must be very different, because one must be smiling most of the time, compared to the previous job.

    I don’t think it is a man / woman difference, by the way. It is about the content. Technology matches with money, while in our heads, decorating, sewing and knitting matches with tea and pleasure.

    That’s my comment, I hope you can fully understand my meaning because I don’t practise my english very often.

  • Reply Jub July 19, 2014 at 11:32 am


    I totally agree a point : most of the time I don’t read a post when I see “sponsored by…”, I just want to read what cames from the blogger, not what is initiated by brands. I like blogs because they are “person to person”, without any company interfering. I like the mind of the blogger I read, the creativity in it, I don’t want advertising like everywhere else in the world.

    Maybe in 5 years it will be something common, but I wish it wouldn’t change.

  • Reply Lilian Oliver July 19, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Hi Holly,
    Your blog is the only one I subscribe to. Your emails are the only one I do not immediately delete. I keep them there until I have a spare moment to read them and then 9 out of 10 times I archive it because the content inspires me. Your decorate book is the first book I ordered when I bought my new cottage so I could get the styling right. And the first thing I thought when you announced your shop was ‘I wonder if she ships to Australia’. I support you. Not because you blog, not because you teach, not because you write but because you inspire and I want you to keep inspiring me. I turn 37 tomorrow and there are very few things that make me smile in the world these days {besides my own life of course:)} that I awaken in the morning and look at my phone and hope I have an email from you.

    xx Lil

  • Reply Rincy K July 19, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I think subjects like this (unsurprisingly) are hotly debatable and one in which it is very easy to throw stones from either side. Having said that, I know that the world of blogging has changed so much and the influence it sheds is exponential. Like any work that has influence, any work that others earn profit from, any work that is loved and takes time- an individual deserves the right to earn income from. I am still new to this whole blogging world but the one thing that attracts me is the community spirit,support, friendship and for those bloggers I follow it is the transparency and honesty that keeps me connected.

    Holly, you are the most transparent and honest person/blogger I’ve met in REAL life. Your voice is your own and the work that you do is an extension of your soul and spirit- whether it be through collaborations, books, etc it is still so true to you.

    I stay connected and cheering YOU and your work on for that reason. The word blogger has such an unusual, negative connotation when related to earning an income and may be it’s that we should try to change instead of this mentality that work of this nature should not be paid for.

    Thorsten, I have never been more happy to see your words.

    Love and adore you both.

  • Reply Rina @ Oomanoot July 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    You should never be ashamed of trying to make a livivg doing something you love. I mean, isn’t that everyone’s dream?
    Having said that, some blogs (and I don’t think yours is one of them) start to market themselves to aggressively, and then it’s no fun to read them and they loose their marketing advantage. The strength of writing a blog is the personal connection to the readers, and it’s very important not to loose that. So it’s all about finding the balance between your marketing needs and the reader’s satisfaction.

  • Reply Laura July 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Wow! I completely agree with your husband, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad or be accused of selling out because you make money doing what you love. Life’s to short and people need to get over themselves. You sound ace and your blog is fab! If you can make your dreams come true and support your family then that’s inspiring and amazing!

  • Reply Claudia July 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I’m just now reading this because I was caught up with hackers trying to hack into my blog for the last three days and had to add another level of security to both my blogs. That costs money. So does having a host. Not to mention all the original content (and that’s all I write – original content) I come up with every day. So if I get a modest income from my blog that helps to support the operating costs, so be it. The content itself is free and I work hard at creating it.

    All that is to say that I send a bravo to you and Thorsten. He wrote a perfect response and I think he really hit on something: the fact that women who blog and earn money from it are held to a different standard than men who do the same. It’s shameful.

    Thank you for all of your hard work. It is very appreciated by this reader.

  • Reply Nicoco Chanel July 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Lesley Myrick,
    ” It’s disappointing when readers don’t realize the amount of time and energy that blogging requires.”
    I genuinely wish that, when people whine about bloggers being “lazy” (and, actually, this goes for people’s response to self-employed/working from home more or less totally), they’d be made to do it for a few years – try and build the thing up from scratch, maintain it with content and responding to readers, emails, companies, deal with photography, layouts, graphics, etc etc. Because I’m relatively certain they’d never whine again.

    But this is just my spiteful wishing lmao. >>

    This post is entirely wonderful and exactly what needs to be said more often. People don’t actually get money for sitting in their underwear and surfing the internet (because if they did, I’d be a millionaire) – those that blog are doing things almost constantly, it seems.

    (Also, definitely sharing this post in my weekly links. Cool?)

  • Reply Kim B. July 19, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Lesley Myrick,

    There, this: “You deserve to be compensated well for your work since it brings value to your readers.”

    To me that sums it up perfectly.

    And I admire Thorsten so much for crafting that defense while you slept so it was there for you. You two are a great team.

    I also like the point someone made earlier about how MUCH you support other women. That’s just *another* of your attributes/actions that I admire.

    Keep at it!!!

  • Reply SUZI WHISNANT July 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Just curious, I wonder how long the one voicing her disapproval would do her job without compensation? I believe her attitude toward all this is silly and immature. As for selling, when I see something I like, I appreciate being able to access the product. Blog on! Sell on! Love your blog :)

  • Reply Vicki July 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    I never fail to be amazed at how critical women can be of others who have been able to find a way to earn a living that helps support their family and offers flexibility of schedule so they can spend more time with their family. I hope to always encourage women to do just that! Who wants to spend their time in a cubicle all day and have to ask a “boss” if they can take their lunch time to attend a program at their child’s school? The internet has opened up a huge field with many opportunities for men and women to earn a living. Don’t let the negative voice ruin your day – Go for it and I wish you much success! I am encouraging my daughters to start businesses on the internet with a blog to promote and support it. Nina Bagley of wrote a great piece a couple of months ago about a comment she received criticizing her for writing a post when she had created some new pieces of her amazing jewelry. The thing is that these negative words have great power to discourage someone–and that is exactly the intent. I think it all boils down to envy.

  • Reply Laura July 19, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    This comment has nothing to do with decor8 or you, but is in regard to the subject matter in general. I’m not a professional blogger so I don’t know the ins and outs of the industry (and maybe that is representative of a lot of readers who are non-bloggers, we aren’t clear on how it works?). But in every field, there is critique and feedback and one must always sift through what is helpful and what is not. But just because there is critique (or negative critique specifically) doesn’t mean it is inherently bad, as hard as it is to hear (I had to learn this in undergrad as a photography student and then in my career in publishing!).

    Also, I must point out that, to the consumer, it kind of doesn’t matter how much time someone is putting into something, if the product/content isn’t good. This is goes for any industry. If a TV show takes a million people and hours to produce, but is terrible, I will not watch it, it’s nothing personal to the hard work and time people put into it. At the same time, all people deserve to be treated with respect, and I’m never condoning badmouthing or bullying.

    Books, events, custom services and products all seem very natural and organic extensions of a lot of bloggers I have read over the years and I love people making money from those things. I think the sponsored posts often come across like awkward product placement. As long as the other content is fresh and authentic, then I’ve mostly been willing to overlook that.

    Just another perspective :) Thanks for being willing to discuss!

    • Reply decor8 July 19, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      @Laura – I agree, no one thinks about the time and effort that goes into things – so true!

  • Reply Laura July 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm


    Oh and I also meant to give a thumbs up to your husband’s reply and support! I love seeing that in a relationship!

  • Reply Katharine July 19, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Wow. You’re making money? Way to GO! So many try and fail…

    This is a boost I have needed for a long time. My husband is like your Thorsten and I am like the lady he answered, not hating, but just feeling yucky about sales.
    Our husbands are right and I need to get over that hump and start putting up prices. Even non-profit workers get paid, for pity sake! I shall return here, often, until I’ve probably memorized this, and gotten a new backbone! <3 K

  • Reply Barbara Cortili July 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Holly! I admit to have been confused by the comment you mentioned in your post quite a bit. As that one of your students I indirectly witnessed the terrific work behind Decor8 for a few years till now, I have seen it growing day by day and it’s clear that your blog and activities are the result achivied with hard work and great professionality. You are a professional , so is your team . I really don’t see why it should be bad that you act like the professional you are.

    I loved Thorsten’s reply by the way, very wise and honest. Totally agree with his words.

  • Reply Jessica Senti July 19, 2014 at 6:17 pm


    I know! I noticed after I hit submit comment. Proof you should always double check! :)

  • Reply Sabina @GirlvsGlobe July 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Granted I know neither you nor your husband, but his response brought tears to my eyes! I am a huge advocate of gender equality and it’s so nice to hear an intelligent man come to not just his wife’s, but all women’s, support!

  • Reply Laura MyNewestAddiction July 19, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I thank you and your husband for your words. Totally hit the nail on the head. I am a beauty blogger and have recently started venturing into the lifestyle side of things. I sometimes wonder if my readers think I am selling out because I have been being compensated for a good bit of my content but I am not working outside of my home now so that income feeds my family.

    Thank you! <3

  • Reply Emma Harris July 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    Well done Thorsten, an eloquent response! I’ve done two BYW courses now, and you make it clear that remaining true to yourself and your ethics is a hugely important part of blogging, something you remind your students of regularly, anyone who could say you are selling out couldn’t be more wrong. You must have worked incredibly hard to achieve what you have, and you deserve every success and the monetary compensation that goes with it!

  • Reply Melanie Biehle July 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Hmm…obviously, I think we should be able to make money doing the work that we do. It’s creative and fun, but it’s still a job! We have bills to pay.

    I wonder how often the commenter reads your blog? Maybe she’s not here that often and felt annoyed because the two previous posts were both about selling things. Not that I’m complaining…my art is in your shop! :)

    Maybe she was feeling discouraged about her own circumstances in some way, saw those two posts in row, then BAM! types out her frustration. I wonder how often people would not write comments like that if they took a bit of time between reading and “speaking.”

    You’re awesome though. And nice job, Thorsten!


  • Reply senna July 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I just had one comment. I wonder if male bloggers get attacked as much as female bloggers? There seems to be a bias still against women making money for what they do. Whereas, it’s expected a man wouldn’t blog for “free”.

  • Reply senna July 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I just had one comment. I wonder if male bloggers get attacked as much as female bloggers? There seems to be a bias still against women making money for what they do. Whereas, it’s expected a man wouldn’t blog for “free”.

  • Reply Katherine July 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Great comment from Thorsten! I agree with others that it’s off-putting to see a blogger ‘sell out’ and just have sponsored content in a voice that doesn’t seem genuine on topics that don’t fit right. I don’t think you are doing that at all, I think you have worked hard to create a brand and like the rest of us just trying to earn a living, which you’re managing to do with something you love, that’s brilliant! I have no issues with bloggers opening shops (great idea, I get to buy the stuff I read about that I love!) or promoting books, and if the sponsored content is done well, then no problem with that either. Go for it.

  • Reply Annette - My Rose Valley July 19, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Dear Holly & Thorsten
    Could not agree more and i’m excited to see more than myself bringing up this very delicate topic. I wrote a blog post recently about Blog donations wondering how people felt about the donation buttons on blogs and i was surprised by the negative reaction i had from sometime readers. Me to questioned the fact that most craft bloggers are female and if this is one of the reasons why se don’t see these buttons a lot on craft blogs. Tech blogs, economy blogs and political blogs on the other hand seem to be fully accepted having donation buttons and making money through financial contribution from their readers. Do i need to add that the majoritet of these blogs are authored by men??.? I avsked My readers how it can be that we women can be so encouraging and supportive with countless adjektivens and attributes in comments, but the minute you try turn your blog to a business the same people think you are unfaitful to yourself and your readers and being greedy. I really think it is about time that we can allow bloggers to make business out of their blogs and realize and accept that blogging 2014 and for many years before IS a profession just like any other instead of resenting bloggers for their success. Bloggers work hard for their contents. Think you for bringing up this topic here at Decor8. And if you want to read what i wrote a couple a weeks ago, you are very welcome to come overklig and visit.

  • Reply Annette - My Rose Valley July 19, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Hi again. By mistake i pressed the send button before i finished my comment. Just wanted to say – Thank you Thorsten for wording your reply so well, it is spot on. And Thank you Holly for staying strong and true to yourself. Keep going and keep finding new ways of doing and growing your Decor8 business.

    Annette Ciccarelli
    My Rose Valley

  • Reply Sara July 20, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I used to blog professionally, which I guess translates to money. I was very good, I guess, featured in print and media fairly often. I’d rather not mention the name of the blog, or my real name, for that matter, but I do understand both sides. I struggled a lot with monetizing and keeping my readers happy, and myself for that matter. It was a tremendous amount of work and hours, and I get the whole “its not work if you really love what you do,” however I didn’t like the marketing side of it, and did start to feel like a sell out, whatever that actually means. I have a very good friend who started blogging around the same time as me, and is now working on publishing her second book. I love her dearly, but it’s become such a shark of a business, mentioning the book all the time, showing pics all the time about the book, or this appearance or that. She is a food blogger and I miss the food, the rustic convo about the food, not her latest sponsor I have to say I think Pioneer Woman has somehow managed to do this very well. She does sponsored posts, tons of books etc, but somehow still manages to keep it about the blog, at least 90% of the time, or so it seems. So, I don’t think the original commentator meant it in a bad way, it clearly seemed like she adored you and the blog. And remember, she is probably not a professional writer, so may not be able to fully express what she was thinking. I don’t think she means to not make money, or that “our gender” was being greedy, but that it’s become more commercial than she was used to. It is what it is, everyone is entitled to their opinion. All the best. And, FWIW, I am a woman, I never felt my gender was at odds of making money the way male bloggers were. But again, that’s just me.

  • Reply Fran July 20, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Adding my support to the idea you can run your blog how you wish. Like I fast forward advertisements on the TV I do not wish to see, it’s so easy to skip bits you don’t feel like reading. Surely most people have other thing to worry about than what a working blogger does and making negative comments. And thumbs up for having a supportive family. Fran

  • Reply Nitasha July 20, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Holly you have a rock star husband !
    I am fairly new to the blogging world but I can clearly say that yours is the first blog I started reading regularly. It was after reading your blog over time that I decided to start one of my own. Blogging has helped me overcome personal difficulties in my own life and given me hope to look ahead.
    I clearly don’t see what’s wrong in making a living doing something that you love? I hope to earn from my blog (hopefully) some day.
    There will always be criticism from some people. Please continue inspiring and writing and hope you write a dozen other successful books!!

  • Reply Vanessa July 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

    There is a common theme in many creative endeavours that making money is selling out. Rarely is it true.
    I say that if you are comfortable with the means of which you make your income (off your own skills, ethically and openly) then you go for it and kick butt with your goals! :)
    And keep that husband too, he sounds like a good one :)

  • Reply Kevin Barbieux July 20, 2014 at 2:23 am

    I starting bloging 12 years ago, reluctantly. Some friends on a discussion board thought that I blog would be a better outlet for my many rants, than on their discussion board. I guess I was bit too intense for their liking. Just as most the country at that time, I didn’t even know what a blog was. But I looked into it, and in an attempt to salvage real life friendships I started posting my thoughts on a blog – I did so because I had an intense need to get thoughts off my mind and into the ears of any one willing to read them. Money wasn’t the reason I started blogging, and really didn’t pursue it. Instead, the idea came from my readers who implored me to put a donation link on my blog, because they wanted to help support me and my blogging. So at their behest, I did. And almost immediately came the criticisms from other people “oh he’s just cyber panhandling” etc. They said these kinds of things although non-homeless blogs also had “tip jars” on them. For some reason, because i was homeless, I didn’t deserve people’s support. Well, it’s not like critics make much sense. I have also added to my blog some google adsense advertising – they’ve been on my blog for about 1/2 a year. and for those ads I make about 30 bucks a month. It’s certainly nothing a person could live on. But receiving donations did help keep me motivated to write, and it did give me a sense of worth, knowing that people actually wanted to support what I was doing with my blog. And when you’re homeless, having some pocket change to get something or another at the store, is a great feeling.

    On the other hand, I’ve watched other blogs and internet offerings, such as youtube channels, that have been monetized. And it does distract a bit from the content I was used to seeing. But I quickly got over it. If people are able to make a living from the content they create for the internet, then why not? Go to youtube and search for the “Shaytards”. They just sold their internet company to Disney for 500 Million dollars. That’s a lot of scratch, for nothing more than showing off your family videos. And you bet, they too have a shop where you can buy anything from tshirts to socks to calendars too. If anything, those who feel hurt because a blog has started “selling out” are really just envious of your success. You don’t owe those jealous people anything. Conversely, you owe it to yourself and your family to earn as much of a living as you can.

    all the best to you,
    Kevin aka The Homeless Guy

  • Reply Cindy G. July 20, 2014 at 2:48 am

    Holly, I think I just fell in love with your husband. And, I have to agree with him: One of the things that sets your blog apart is that it is a carefully curated collection. I love your design sense!

  • Reply bridget {bake at 350} July 20, 2014 at 4:15 am

    LOVE your husband’s response!

  • Reply Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land July 20, 2014 at 4:23 am

    holly! you are amazing, and an inspiration. your husband is right – we can’t live off of rainbows and hugs!! i too have a little boy and i’m a blogger and writer. i work extremely hard to create original content for my blog – and i scrape together a living through freelance writing, the odd sponsored post and a few ad spots on my blog. it has always been my dream too to make a living as a writer, and i think the internet generation is so used to blazing through content and scanning posts and clicking away super fast they don’t realize that these posts take so much hard work, and even days to create sometimes! you deserve every success you’ve achieved, it’s exciting to see and inspiring all the same~~!! sending ya lots of rainbows, hugs and monetary success vibes! ^__^

  • Reply RookieMom Heather July 20, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Another Thorsten fan over here in Berkeley, CA! Thank you.

  • Reply Bea July 20, 2014 at 4:48 am

    You have to ask yourself one question? Why did I start a blog? For 99.99% it was for the money, notoriety and fame. Anyone who’s says different is a liar. I started my blog / journal for me and for my family so I am the exception. I don’t have advertisers or anything else. I do book reviews on books that I have paid my own hard earned money for. I refer my followers to other blogs that I love and ask them to check out the blog or just stop by and say hello. Anyone who says that it’s not about the money is not only living to themselves but also to their readers. I think that is where in the problem lies. They start getting the following they need to get noticed and then they start adding all the advertisers to the blog. Common sense will tell you that you cannot pump out 10 to 12 recipes a day with pics and a blog without the help from someone. When I am making the French Macaron and maybe one other recipe. I don’t have time for all the blogging taking pics of each ingredient and then taking care of a family who also has to eat and kids who are being home schooled by 99% of bloggers or so they say. So I think that is where some of this comes from.. I couldn’t blog, post pics, home school, cook for the family, take the kids to their ball practice, all while writing a cookbook and meeting with possible investors or reviewing products thrown into the mix also.. I know how impossible that can be. I still have Dr’s appts that I have to add in there to and then while most of these bloggers are on vacation they are still posting new recipes and not just one or two but several an hour plus all the vacation pics on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Linked in. I can kind of see it both ways to a point..I love your blog and kudos to anyone who can better themselves you have every right to make money if you can. Not everyone is able to get the help they need and not everyone is going to have fame and fortune from a blog. For anyone who doesn’t like u our success then go to another blogger and move on. It’s like TV, If you don’t like what’s playing then turn the c hannel

  • Reply Bea July 20, 2014 at 4:59 am

    You have to ask yourself one question? Why did I start a blog? For 99.99% it was for the money, notoriety and fame. Anyone who’s says different is a liar. I started my blog / journal for me and for my family so I am the exception. I don’t have advertisers or anything else. I do book reviews on books that I have paid my own hard earned money for. I refer my followers to other blogs that I love and ask them to check out the blog or just stop by and say hello. Anyone who says that it’s not about the money is not only living to themselves but also to their readers. I think that is where in the problem lies. They start getting the following they need to get noticed and then they start adding all the advertisers to the blog. Common sense will tell you that you cannot pump out 10 to 12 recipes a day with pics and a blog without the help from someone. When I am making the French Macaron and maybe one other recipe. I don’t have time for all the blogging taking pics of each ingredient and then taking care of a family who also has to eat and kids who are being home schooled by 99% of bloggers or so they say. So I think that is where some of this comes from.. I couldn’t blog, post pics, home school, cook for the family, take the kids to their ball practice, all while writing a cookbook and meeting with possible investors or reviewing products thrown into the mix also.. I know how impossible that can be. I still have Dr’s appts that I have to add in there to and then while most of these bloggers are on vacation they are still posting new recipes and not just one or two but several an hour plus all the vacation pics on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Linked in. I can kind of see it both ways to a point..I love your blog and kudos to anyone who can better themselves you have every right to make money if you can. Not everyone is able to get the help they need and not everyone is going to have fame and fortune from a blog. For anyone who doesn’t like u our success then go to another blogger and move on. It’s like TV, If you don’t like what’s playing then turn the channel. I just think that you have to consider the source. Most negative comments are coming from jealousy. That to me is ugly. So in closing keep doing what you are doing and best of luck to you and your family. I will be here to watch you grow and hopefully prosper. If you have a cookbook then please save me a signed copy!! I have PayPal. Have a great week. Being on disability I cannot make the book signings. Much respect. Xoxoxo

    • Reply decor8 July 20, 2014 at 7:43 am

      @Bea – I started my blog before money, notoriety and fame in blogging existed. I started when blogging was frowned upon, people laughed when you said you had one, blog ads and any revenue from a blog was unheard of and social media wasn’t even a word yet. I started my blog when magazine editors hung up the phone on me when I pitched story ideas to them then revealed I was a “blogger”. When I started blogging nothing positive was associated with it other than it was some new dumb thing everyone was getting into, kinda geeky, something closet writers did. The REASON I went for it anyway was because I believed that it could help me become a stronger writer and eventually land me some writing jobs at magazines. I thought “If ONLY they could see my work” because I didn’t have an impressive writing portfolio yet. So indirectly, blogging WAS something I started because I wanted to pick up jobs (design clients) and magazine work (writing freelance). But it was all a big “If”. I also FELT very strongly inside that blogging would become a movement, the next big thing, so I wanted to jump in and stick with it to see if my intuition was right. I must admit though, the BIGGEST reason why I did it though was to connect with people. I was lonely. I lived in nowhereville New Hampshire after moving from Boston and felt isolated and definitely not around “my people” any longer – people who loved and understood design and who really loved decorating their homes. Blogging was a way for me to reach out into the world and see if I could find others like me.

      And here I am 8.5 years later. I met and exceeded ALL expectations I had. I cannot believe it. This is great stuff!

      But yeah, I guess I’m the exception in the sense that I didn’t realize exactly WHAT I was getting into… I think bloggers who started after ads and revenue became possible at least had the advantage of knowing how to see themselves up, market themselves and their brand, etc. When I started decor8 I didn’t think of things like branding and positioning or anything. I slapped the name of my fledgling design practice on it (decor8 = decorate) and just started writing on the crappiest template ever. Logo? Branding? Readership? Stats? What was that?

      Thank you Bea for leaving your insightful comment, I really appreciated your perspective so much!

  • Reply Jaye@Curvatude July 20, 2014 at 5:10 am

    Its so weird to me when people feel like they know if someone has “strayed from their vision” especially since life is about change and growth and an interest or a focus today could bore you to tears tomorrow and nothing is worse than doing something that your heart isn’t in.

    Also, it’s annoying that people think its ok to call others integrity into question simply because they are posting what they think they should.

    I consider my blog my web home and like my physical home, no one can tell me what to do with it. When I decide to work with brands it’s because I deem them of interest firstly to me and hopefully to others who read my site.

    Thorsten hit it on the nail. Why should we work for hours on our sites and not get some kind of compensation for it? Why do other women especially feel a need to try to call you out when you are able to take something that you love and work hard at and reap the financial rewards of it.

    That comment says so many things about how women devalue themselves and other women and it is a sad state of affairs.

  • Reply Julie July 20, 2014 at 5:19 am

    I think I just fell a little in love with your husband, for not only standing up for you, but for eloquently addressing the issues many bloggers and creative types struggle with.
    When I stated I wanted to add an online shop on my blog to sell the clothing I make, I got similar comments. Apparently it is okay if I continue to sew for others and give away stuff, but not okay to hope that I get paid for my sewing.

  • Reply Chhavy July 20, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Wow! Not only did he defend you but he stood up to unaware sexism – in public! You both are so kickass and inspiring. Holly this reminds me of why I’m such a big fan of yours! You go for it anyway! Lots of respect from here!

  • Reply Shelley July 20, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I could kiss your husband… but I won’t… because that’s for you. ;) Give him a solid high five for me instead. ;) Thank him for what he said (as a fellow female blogger). ;)

  • Reply Emil Werner July 20, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I want to add my voice to the others and say don’t let the haters stop you. Thirsted us right when he says that as a man it’s expected to earn a living. We are many miles from a world where women are frowned on to earn a living. Blogging is about you. It’s your vision, your thoughts that people stop by to read. And like anything in life you and your readers have a choice to say and do what they want. If they don’t like you’re direction stop reading.
    For those of us who appreciate your efforts I say go girl. Earn a living doing what you love. You entertain and inspire me and for that thank you! Keep up the great work.
    Rainbows and hugs

  • Reply Kate July 20, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I’ll put my two cents in…
    I’m a blogger and I love to read blogs, too. I’ve seen bloggers who deal with sponsors in the perfect way. These blogs really care about the companies they are promoting and not just doing it for the money. I’ve also seen bloggers who will jump at any chance they get to make money, and lose a huge following because of it. I think that growing your business and expanding your ways to earn income (books, apps, shops, etc) is great, as long as there is quality time put into it, not just whipping it out and hope someone buys it.

    Now, coming from the other side, blogging is hard. Sometimes you blog for a year and earn nothing for your hard work. So I see why bloggers with agree to promote a company because *someone* wants what you have to offer. But personally, blogging isn’t a source of income for me so if a company wants to collab and I don’t fully support their mission, I won’t do it. It’s hard, but you have to stay true to yourself. Especially in this blogging world where there is so much content that you HAVE to be original to grow.

  • Reply Maria July 20, 2014 at 8:33 am


    Holly, I wanted to say the same!

  • Reply Robyn July 20, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My goodness you have a gem of a husband right there!! You deserve everything you get for all your work. Keep going xx

  • Reply Nic Squirrell July 20, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Thorsten, you have absolutely hit the nail on the head. And Holly, keep doing what you are doing so well.

  • Reply Natalie July 20, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Oh gosh, people can just be so kind can’t they! I would guess that it’s coming from a jealous place. When you’re successful, there are always people who want to knock you down. I would LOVE to be paid for writing, which is something that I love to do. If you can, WHY not?! Why not be paid for doing something that you love and makes you happy? Totally acceptable to be paid. X

  • Reply Tara July 20, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Dear Holly,

    When I think about how much time it takes just to read the blogs I follow, to pin some nice ideas and click around.. I can have a glimpse of an idea about how much time you need to create a post: have an idea, work around it, write a good/strong text about it, read it again, make some adjustments, what about photo’s, lay out, etc etc… And this every day of the week! (And these are just the things that a not-blogger thinks about! I bet there are a lot more things you have to concern while making a post) So yeah I’ve you take the time en make the effort for creating something as professional as that, why shouldn’t you make a living out of that. If you had tot work another job and you had to write after your 9-to 5 (If that still exists…) where would you get the time to make a really good blogpost or oh well take care of your husband of baby boy..
    I think it’s easy to criticize bloggers cause you have the screen always in between, you don’t see the hard work that’s been put in the blog.
    I do find some bloggers balancing on, or even stepping waaaaaaay over the thin line of selling out. But you, Holly, and the decor8 team are still on the right side. But still the bloggers on the ‘wrong’ side, who are we to judge? Maybe they have a good reason for taking lots and lots of ads or sponsored posts.. Again, the screen in between.. If you don’t like it as a reader, just move on to another blog.
    Keep doing what you love Holly. And if it has the benefit of creating other (also payed) opportunities, I can only cheer for that! It says you have made something unique that a lot of people like and appreciate you for. So take your hard earned money and enjoy it! ;)

    -I appoligize for the poor english.. Belgian reader..-

  • Reply Rash July 20, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that “Uschi” could be either Swiss or German. Maybe. If this is the case… there is a different mentality about blogging in Europe: it’s not taken as seriously as in the US (which isn’t saying much). Her expectation *may* be that this should be a cute little blog about decorating and that’s that. Also, if she *is* Swiss, there’s the whole other issue of “working women / women making money on their own” that’s best left unwritten.:-) This touches on a point your fabulous husband made. Not making an excuse for her, just adding another view.

    With all the above said: Holly, you rock. Your site rocks. And there’s not a doggone thing wrong with you making money as a result of those facts.

  • Reply Shambhavi July 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I always felt, a blogger’s community is the one where everyone’s promoting & encouraging each other to do their best. But with such comments, it only says one thing- that jealousy has creep-ed in. Working from home, managing a blog is more difficult than any 9-5 job. Because here you are all the time, you don’t actually have time frames, and sometimes even your weekends get over before you realize it started. It is people like Holly that are inspirations for us many who have decided to dedicate most of their time to this- something that we love. Its her that at least makes me want to hang-on- ‘your hard work will someday definitely pay!! Pay as in wholesome- readers who love you, people trusting you with your idea, your family time that sometimes are second in priority, keeping up late nights, understanding children, investment without profit- and all this without any expectation to earn out of it?? That’s so cruel. Your husband’s reply is bang-on and when you’ve a pillar of strength behind you, you can lean on and relax sometimes ;)

  • Reply claudia July 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Dear Holly,

    usually I do not comment on blogs even so I read yours regularly and took part in your last BYW course.

    You are such an example in building a business doing the thing you love and be successful with it. And what is a business for – of course to make money otherwise it´s a hobby. Nobody can create such good and inspiring content as a hobby – your day has only 24h like everyone´s else. It´s a privilege to get such inspiring content for free as a reader.

    Keep on going!

  • Reply Janyne Moore July 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm


    Firstly, What an amazing and supportive husband you have!

    Secondly, I think bloggers should be paid and I suspect many are underpaid for their time, effort and quality content.

    Years ago I always came home with a magazine from the newsagent .. all the time … now I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a magazine because there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting down and reading my favourite blogs as well as finding new ones.

    I only stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago and I love it. Great work and be very proud of what you’ve achieved.


  • Reply Heds July 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Hi, I’m sorry but I don’t really get the difference between blogs and magazines. I love reading both, I’m a magazine addict and I love reading blogs. They are both different writing styles blogs much more personal. I pay very happily for all my magazines, sponsorship and all. I would be more than happy to subscribe to certain blogs, why wouldn’t I ! Not everything in life is free and it shouldn’t be, maybe subscriptions would be a way for bloggers to avoid sponsorship. Times change – sorry if that’s against the rules of blogging, who cares, it’s my opinion. In short if I enjoy it, I’ll pay to read it!

  • Reply Heather July 20, 2014 at 4:17 pm WHAT is up with the taboo regarding money in our culture? Thank you so much for bringing this topic up. It is time to rally together and support and celebrate each others victories. And when something doesn’t resonate with us, we always have the option to move on. Since when do we feel the need to criticize each others every move publicly? I would never tell a person that I didn’t like how they were running their business, family, or life. People have so much nerve to do that online. Whatever, I’m sure it’s a reflection on their own insecurities. For every annoying comment, there are millions silently in support!

  • Reply Mitch Mitchell July 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    You have no idea who I am but one of my Facebook friends put this on her page and I was compelled to stop by to check it out.

    Let’s face the facts. All bloggers create in their space for one of two ultimate outcomes. One, for notoriety of some type, hopefully to make money in some fashion. Two, to hopefully build their space up so they can, if they so choose, make money from it.

    As with almost anything else, someone’s not going to like it. That’s on them because it’s “our” blog and it’s “our” space and we can do whatever we like with it. For most of is this isn’t free. We pay for our hosting and we pay for our domain name and we pay in time to write and sculpt our blog posts.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making money from our blogs. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making money off other things you’ve created, especially books, as I’m a big time reader who also wrote a book. I don’t overly promote it but I have written articles about it here and there.

    I think what’s bothered most people is this part:

    “i can feel the spirit fading away. so sorry to say so and i really grant you every success possible but i fear you are loosing your magic touch…”

    Pretty sanctimonious and petty. We all deal with it in some way but that… I’m glad you’ve persevered and I’m glad your husband addressed it before you, without your knowledge. Good luck; now that I know about the blog, I’ll be checking in. :-)

  • Reply Bernardo Margulis—This Makes Me Happy July 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    It’s interesting that when you are a struggling blogger people wish you make it big, but once you do they wish you stayed small. I do think it is possible to sell out and become a brand pusher to the sacrifice of the content, but if the content is right, why not monetize on the efforts to put it together? Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Bernardo Margulis—This Makes Me Happy July 20, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    It’s interesting that when you are a struggling blogger people wish you make it big, but once you do they wish you stayed small. I do think it is possible to sell out and become a brand pusher to the sacrifice of the content, but if the content is right, why not monetize on the efforts to put it together? Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Diane July 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Right on Thorsten! Will you marry me? (lol) I cannot for the life of me understand why people expect bloggers to write for free. While I will admit that some blogs are so filled with ads and even pop-ups that it is difficult to locate the content, I have to remember that it is a money making endeavor. I am a paid blogger, but not from my own blog but from clients who pay me to write their blogs. I wonder how your commenter would feel about that!? People are often envious of those who have more, especially money, I hope both you and Holly have developed an ability to let those roll off your back, sit back and enjoy your success and the opportunity to do what you love while staying at home and taking care of that gorgeous baby. Just FYI, Holly’s blog was one of the first I ever subscribed to and have followed her through all of the changes both personally and professionally, so I hope that she does not let the negative nellies bother her.

  • Reply Camels & Chocolate July 20, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    What a great husband! He knocked that commenter down a few pegs while being polite but realistic.

    I’m a journalist first (I make a (healthy) living as a full-time freelance magazine writer) and a blogger second (I don’t heavily market my travel blog I’ve had since 2007 but it earns me a supplementary income through long-term partnerships and sponsors) so I may be biased but a) I think Thorsten hit the nail on the head when he said us journalists don’t get chastised for the same things bloggers do and b) how on Earth do people thing bloggers make money if not to come up with multiple, creative revenue streams to capitalize on their talents? Ads alone aren’t going to do it. I’ve never read a blog I loved and thought, “well, that’s just sad; he/she sold out” when I’ve seen banner ads or links or ebooks or a shop crop up on that site. Rather, I’ve thought: “good for him/her! All that extra work takes a lot of time and entrepreneurial skills. I’m proud of him/her for having the gusto to try something new!”

    So keep on keeping on and just know that 99.9 percent of readers *are* going to completely understand and be on your team, but that you can’t always win everyone over, no matter what you do. =)

  • Reply Natalie Braham July 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I’d like to offer my thoughts. I’m not a blogger, but I love your blog. I’m a librarian with a pretty traditional 9-5 schedule. My husband works for himself as an attorney. When he was laid off last year, we had to get creative and so I created a website for him so that he could market himself and his business to clients. In this economy, which has shifted immensely over the last 10 years, we’ve got to get more creative in how we make a living. And you? You’re doing it. I admire it. If you can take a blank slate of a website and turn it into a way to make a living, support your family, and improve others’ lives, you are part of the solution. I don’t know what “selling out” means, but I do know that we all have to eat. If you can do that in a way that is ethical and aligns with your values, then you’re a role model for other women and families. Kudos to you, and best wishes for much success in the future.

  • Reply Rachelle July 20, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    LOVE your husband’s comment. Sending him a virtual *high five!*

    You should absolutely be paid for your work. And if anyone is jealous of that, they should be reminded that “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity. Nothing comes for free.

  • Reply Dulci Dantas July 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Oh My Goodness! Your husband IS AMAZING!!! You are such a lucky girl!

    He’s right. Your work is beautiful e and the major part of this is because you can live your life and take care of your family earning your money in a fair way.
    Many people have this fantasy – that money makes everything loose the real value, but this is not true. And certainly this is not true for you and your work.
    I’m your reader since the beggining and NO, you are not loosing your magic.
    Actually people want to be surprised everyday, every hour… I think because their own lives has no inner sense or brightness . So they charge the others – bloggers, brands, products, TV, facebook. “Please surprise me! Please make me happy! Please give me what I want”, but they don’t know what they want. I’m a no-paid blogger and I decided do not “serve” the expectation of everyone. It’s impossible.

  • Reply jen July 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Not that I can read the minds of these commenters who are against advertising and self-promotion on blogs but perhaps it could be any of the following: 1. They are hung up on the past. As I recall, in the beginning years of the craft/design blog community most people’s post were very personal and were not geared towards profit. Maybe it makes some people uncomfortable that a small number of ladies have been able to grow their blogs into profitable businesses. I even remember a badge some bloggers would put on their blog, something like “Ad Free Blog.” 2. Many female bloggers post about personal/family issues, have their own kids as models, and/or basically put their “whole” life online. To put ads on top of such content may come across as selling out, in poor taste, etc. I don’t have a problem with advertising on blogs in general but there is one such big time blogger who doesn’t seem to have many boundaries; she posts intimate details of her family on her blog (including negatives ones that would mortify me if I were her child), in addition to having corporate ads on it. This particular situation makes me uncomfortable but I haven’t felt the desire to let the blogger know this, I just don’t read her blog anymore. 3. Good old-fashioned jealousy + the anonymity of the internet.

    It seems like the more popular you become, the more negativity and abuse you receive. I’m glad you’ve powered through all of it and haven’t let it deter you from accomplishing your goals. And it’s so refreshing that you’ve taken an opportunity to stand up for bloggers like you (because us ladies as always supposed to be nice, polite and never rock the boat, right?).

  • Reply Jessa July 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm


    First of all, your husband’s response is so eloquent and well-thought out. I am so happy that you have him backing you up!

    Secondly, when I’m not working on my creative blog, I work as a registered nurse. What do these too occupations have in common? They are both dominated by women. I have found that women can be very critical and hard on each other. I’m sure that a lot of this snarkiness stems from jealousy and lack of confidence, but there is really no reason for it. I wish readers really understood how much time, energy and sometimes money it takes to create a post. Maybe things would be different.

    You deserve to make money from your wonderful site and fabulous books! You are building a fantastic little empire with your vision and I hope it continues to grow!

  • Reply Winnie Helmes-Ham July 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    It seems that when we have success as a blogger and entrepreneur in a creative job other people have no clue how hard we work for that success.

    Your husband did a great job by making his statement about bloggers, journalism and earning money.

    Your blog is one of the best and most inspirational interior en lifestyle blogs I follow! Keep up the good work! xo Winnie

  • Reply Johanna July 20, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I say Yes, to Holly and Thorsten! <3 You should get payment for your work! Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Desiree July 21, 2014 at 12:46 am

    I might be one of those 0,01 % you are talking about… I think it is a bit harsh to tell people liars and presuming most started their blog to make money. Do you ever look on how they maybe started?
    7 years ago I started blogging just to share my pictures with friends, then the audience grow and yes I am now making a little money by selling advertising space. But it costed me years of hard working!

    By the way
    I still write all content myself
    I still have no one making pictures for me doing research or writing blogposts.
    ohhh and I have a 30 hours dayjob …

  • Reply Kelly, Modern June July 21, 2014 at 1:06 am


    First off, let me say that you have a great man there! What a great hubby!! Well done, well said.

    That comment is uncalled for, (at this point) you are just building a stronger brand. You are taking from one revenue source and adding another. Your editing and curating. Why should that upset anyone? Your just giving us a chance to purchase what we love about your atheistic. I see this a perfectly natural progression for you. You are not diluting your message at all, after all you are a tastemaker!! That’s why we read your blog and buy your books. This is why we love you so much.

    I love your recent comment above about “branding” and why you started. You are so right, in 2006 none of us had any idea what we could do with a silly thing called a blog. The word branding was not even on our minds at the time, was it? When I started blogging, around the same time, I just wanted to share my retro vibe and sell a few more tablecloths. I earn money by sharing my world and products, why shouldn’t you too? Who knew we could turn a blog into anything more?

    As I see it, your started off by sharing what you truly love and you still are. You’ve earned every bit of your success. It pains me that someone would dare to questions your intentions or upset you. No blogger deserves that!!

    We should all remember what we (should have) learned so long ago, if you don’t have anything nice to say, save it for your best friend and her alone!

    Best to you and yours!

  • Reply Patrice July 21, 2014 at 1:28 am

    Yay, Thorsten!! Stand up for your lady. Way to go!

  • Reply Anonymous July 21, 2014 at 1:48 am

    We go a long way back ! the initial apartment therapy days and your own blogging and you had asked me if i had pictures to show of a craft project that i had done.

    Congragulations where you are !

    if someone does not have , what you have – because they did not desire it so / or they doubted themselves . ye of little faith.

    my own blog has nothing to do with design and more to do with political analysis of everything – even betweeen 2 pieces of paper !

    I am glad that Thorsten pointed out the pitfalls of female empowerment – and it is a fact – very few women would like to see other women up there !
    That’s exactly the reason why we dont have more women presidents ruling the world and yet the single most richest person in the world and the ruler of the world is still a women – the queen of england ! i am not going to get into my habit of analysis of politics – but when my book is published, you will know, because you have been my inspiration !

    So plough with happiness, joy, and live your dream .

    ( oh , i must not forget and you would know – Germany is forerunner in sci and technology and some one just told me today – Learn German – there are so many secrets in their journals all lost in translation by the english world .

  • Reply Megan@ meandwee July 21, 2014 at 3:57 am

    I love this blog! Over the years, many blogs have evolved from being journals into the private lives of strangers into slick professional web magazines. The term “blog” now covers a lot more content. Some people prefer the unedited and gritty personal posts blogs once seemed to represent. I think that is because they are relatable and make you feel less alone…a human connection in a digital world. The blogs that have become more about the content, information, etc are more like magazines and less like blogs of old…and that is great!!! It sounds to me like the commenter misses that more gritty personal space and is mourning that feeling of connection. Many blogs have gone “pro” with sponsor pairings, advertising, etc and while those things are great for the blogger, it can inhibit the personal connection for those who crave it. Some folks just want an escape from sponsorship buzz and commercials when they escape online for their precious “me” time. I love this blog and feel it is well balanced. There are plenty of blogs out there to suit all my moods and interests, so people need to remember that they can control what they are exposed to and when. Do your thing and the right audience will come to you and stick with you. The rest will find their own little niche. Congrats on following your dream and finding success in it! It’s so very inspiring! I think the solution to this divide is to popularize another term instead of “blog” for professional sites… Like “webazine” or something to make it more distinguished as a professional monetized source of original content that others can learn from. Just my observations!

  • Reply Aunt Clara July 21, 2014 at 4:27 am

    If anyone has struck a balance between keeping her voice and making a living from blogging it is you. People really have no idea of the long hours and constant struggle that is creating original, quality content for a blog I have never, ever felt that your money-making activities interfered with my enjoyment of your blog. I took one of your courses and I am well aware of the kind of hard work that you must have put into it. It was worth every penny.

    Kudos to Thorsten for coming to your defense.

    Also, why do people have to say/write everything that comes to their mind?

  • Reply Erica July 21, 2014 at 4:58 am

    Props to your hubby for coming to your aid!
    Mine has done the same before when comments get sticky, and it never fails to be a knight in shining armor moment on the web.

    I feel like I’m about to echo some previous comments, but I’ll do it anyway!
    While I agree that SOME bloggers actually do sell out and lack good, inspiring, meaningful content while after money or product compensation, that’s by no means the overarching case.
    I’m in a constant internal power struggle between going after sponsorships and partnerships versus brainstorming new material and writing, all with the extremely limited time I have as a full-time Ivy League student with an already overly-packed plate.

    But it’s necessary sometimes. Because as I think about my future and one day wanting children, I know I’m going to want to be home with them, and my ultimate dream is having my hobby become my full time job from the comfort of my living room. I dream of blogging every day while running a media group of my own, and I can only do that by fully maxing out on my online experiences up to that point to earn genuine readership and trust on the web – that all comes before ever having the opportunity for compensation, anyway.

    If anything, for the amount of time, effort, work, dedication, and metaphorical blood/sweat/tears (not-so-metaphorical tears…) that often go into blogging, the compensation falls so short. But it’s ok, because for so many of us, this is just what we also LOVE to do. It’s creative expression and cathartic release, and it brings invaluable skills to the table as we continue to learn and teach ourselves and explore and develop.

    You keep doing you, girl. People with naysay like that may just be upset that they haven’t found the secret to their own big bloggy bank break like you have. Congratulations on the books, on the blog, and on the husband that comes to the rescue! Looking forward to reading more and more. (:


  • Reply Katja July 21, 2014 at 6:15 am

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for posting this. As a blogger myself, this totally resonated with me. Yay for you for going for your dreams. Your family is lucky. And what a lovely husband you have. May you continue to grow and have amazing success!
    Love, Katja

  • Reply Gabi Barbará July 21, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Don’t mind these people! I heard a lot of weird comments when I left my office job to become an international model. Besides, you have an amazing family and a husband who supports your decisions. I always cheer for other peoples happiness and success. I believe the more we embrace success for all, the more success and happiness we have ourselves.

    Gabi Barbará

  • Reply Vanessa July 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Can someone please set up a Thorsten fan page? AWESOME husband! And awesome blog. Holly your balance between content and selling is fine. It’s when there’s more promo than content that it gets annoying x

  • Reply Clarissa July 21, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I don’t think people know, to be honest. If you’re *just* a reader, they don’t know about all the time and maintenance and changing and stressing and wanting to quit to getting that mojo back, etc.

    Some people will never understand, some people will continue to be negative, but keep doing what you’re doing. If you can sleep at night, that’s all that matters.

  • Reply Joanna Copestick July 21, 2014 at 9:18 am

    So eloquently put Thorsten. And keep on keeping on Holly!

  • Reply Katherine July 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

    True very true. We’re in fact no 1 on Urbanspoon, yet we still receive negativity.
    We at RMIT Newintstudents don’t mind advertising to earn a little bit of money on the side to help with our expenses but we are generally a not for profit.

    We of course have boundaries but we speak our mind as we like to be truthful to all of our readers (our readers are International students btw)

  • Reply Jo July 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    That is one good husband! An absolute spot in response.

  • Reply Amy July 21, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Congratulions on making money doing what you love! And so happy you have such a great cheerleader for a husband. Please keep up the hard work.

  • Reply Amanda July 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    To put it simply – if a blogger I’ve enjoyed, for free, for any amount of time comes up with a way to sell me something that I’m interested in – I will do what I can to support their hardwork. I’m excited when I see the bloggers I love come out with books, or have collections at stores where I shop. In many cases, blogs have replaced the magazines I used to pay for, and if anything, I worry more about the individual blogger’s ability to make money so that they can afford to stick around and continue to produce the content I enjoy, than I do worrying about if I’m being taken advantage of as a reader. Keep up the amazing work – I so enjoy everything you do!

  • Reply Tina Ramchandani July 21, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Holly. I’ve been a supporter of yours since stumbling across your blog years ago. I’m amazed at Thorston’s reply, it was actually perfect. And we females should be supporting each other! I believe everything you’ve put out there in the world supports your style and your tastes. You’ve done a fabulous job of ensuring that what you share represents you. You’re doing a great job and you deserve to make a living doing what you love. And while doing this you’re showcasing small businesses and brands that many of us may not have heard of, so in addition to making a living you’re aiding the design community.
    I’m not sure why that reader said what she said, maybe she doesn’t agree with how you’ve grown, and that’s a different matter. Continue on, and although words can hurt don’t let them get you down. Good luck!

  • Reply Kimberly ~ SerendipityRefined July 21, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    It’s never easy and there’s certainly no way to please everyone. I’ve been blogging “free” for over two years now. The cost of doing projects along with hosting and storage actually mean that it often costs me money to produce the content which I provide.

    Good for you that you’ve found a balance between paid content and original voice. It’s great that you have found a way to actually pay for a small fraction of what you produce. Hugs to Thorsen for his timely and well phrased comments.

  • Reply Amanda {Burlap & Babies} July 21, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    First off, I am still shocked when I read some people’s comments chastising women for trying to make money doing something they love. Isn’t that what we’ve always been taught? To go for your dream?! I know my dream job is to be a diy-mommy-blogger. And that has taken years for me to admit! My closest family and friends still don’t know I blog because I’m scared to get the funny looks and blank stares looking at me like I’m some hopeless dreamer. But that’s my dream. To one day help provide an income for my family while staying at home and doing what I love.

    Second, your husband is AWESOME! What he said was perfect and so supportive! I’m so glad he took the time to sit down and write his thoughts out to this reader. Thanks for sharing and being real!

  • Reply Kathe July 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    I loved 99% of what you wrote Thorsten but this line, as a blogger, really took me aback, “Unlike a good majority of bloggers Holly doesn’t grab content from other sites and reword it. She tries hard to make sure all her posts are not only original, as much as online writing can be original these days, but also reflective of her vision. ” I do not believe a “good majority of bloggers” grab stolen content! That really hurt to be lumped into that statement and not to be instead lumped into Holly’s realm of bloggers that write original content that is reflective of our own visions. GOOD bloggers, and the number of GOOD bloggers is MANY, use their own projects, content & photos. I’m sorry you and Holly feel that that the majority of bloggers steal the content they post. Makes it really hard for the rest of us to be taken seriously when statements like yours are included in an otherwise powerful comment such as the one you wrote.

    • Reply decor8 July 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      @Kathe – Thanks for your comment but his statement was his own, not mine so I want to clarify that up front. :)

      First, a little background… I founded Blogging Your Way in 2009 (Thorsten teaches now too but he runs the back end of the site), it’s by and for bloggers and is a powerful teaching platform but an even more powerful way to connect bloggers with other bloggers. We’ve taught nearly 8,000 students to date through online classes and in-person workshops. I LOVE THIS, I love supporting others in my profession. All of the bloggers I’ve met, students, non-students, friends, colleagues, etc. have all had war stories to share about how this or that blog ripped off their content, took their images and wouldn’t take them down even when asked, wouldn’t link back to them after taking their text, contacted their advertisers trying to “poach” them… I could go on and on. SO MUCH DRAMA. I personally have had so many blogs lift my posts and photos that either me or my contributors, whom I pay, have blogged on my site without a single credit or link. I don’t care if someone uses my photos AT ALL, just link to decor8. That ALL I ever ask.

      Do you know how many blogs exist online? To quote Wikipedia, “On 20 February 2014, there were around 172 million Tumblr and 75.8 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide. According to critics and other bloggers, Blogger is the most popular blogging service used today, however Blogger does not offer public statistics. Technorati has 1.3 million blogs as of February 22, 2014”.

      We can do the math and see that there are AT least around 200 MILLION blogs. Not sure how many are in the creative fields but I’m willing to guess A LOT. So many are pulling in RSS feeds, re-blogging content daily (serving as a “Pinterest” style blog), etc. While those blogs are NOT bad, it is fair to say that a good majority of the 200 million blogs out there are not operating as a business or even THINKING about stuff like linking and sharing and getting involved in the community.

      Finally, think of how many blogs we all read and love. I know thousands of amazing blogs. They have great people behind them. Like you. But that leaves millions of blogs that I’ll never see, and millions more that are shady and millions more that are ripping off and stealing content. That’s what he means. NOT ALL OF US. Someone who teaches bloggers and is such an advocate of this community (like us) would never mean that.

  • Reply Katie July 21, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I think that is amazing that he responded on your behalf. He made a point of saying that yes you are a business and businesses charge money. I say keep it up!

  • Reply Jen @ Migonis Home July 21, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Holly! I just discovered your blog today with a link to this article… I love that you posted this question and your husband’s response. He nailed it, both in his response but in his respect and love for you. You’ve got a fabulous blog and a great team on your side. :)
    Oh, and as a fellow blogger, you ABSOLUTELY should be making money and marketing yourself for all you do!

  • Reply michele July 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Please allow me to chime in on this topic :-) if i may…..The main message by “Uschi” was, and i quote her verbatim: “you are marketing YOURSELF too much.” Here are some useful tips to help Holly with her writing.

  • Reply AC July 21, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I’m here because Tsh Oxenreider posted a link. I’ve never read your blog so can’t comment on it :-) but I absolutely believe bloggers should be paid for their work.

    Here’s what can be frustrating, though:
    – When a blog becomes so monetized that every post is sponsored or pitching something you should buy
    – When the writer has lost the spirit of enjoyment and you can tell in their writing
    – My biggest annoyance, however, is when what started as a personal blog becomes a money maker yet the author still wants to treat it like their personal living room. Once you’re making money and it’s a business, the “this is my personal online home” line becomes insincere and a cop out to not deal with the less pleasant side of business that those of us with normal jobs deal with all the time.

    • Reply decor8 July 21, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      AC- Can you explain this further, because I don’t understand why that would change things… You said, “My biggest annoyance, however, is when what started as a personal blog becomes a money maker yet the author still wants to treat it like their personal living room. Once you’re making money and it’s a business, the “this is my personal online home” line becomes insincere and a cop out to not deal with the less pleasant side of business that those of us with normal jobs deal with all the time.”

  • Reply Jory July 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Holly!

    Love this piece! Thank you so much for writing it. As a fellow blogger sharing my original content for free on my site, I’d love to be able to earn an income in this “dream job” I’ve constructed. Originally, I was honored when a company wanted to send me a product in exchange for a review but now that seems insulting-though I’ve still agreed to do it here and there. Thank you for posing this question and for your husband’s perfect response. It reminds me that my content does take hours upon hours to create, perfect and then share and that it should not come without some compensation for me.

    Good for you for writing your books and marketing yourself! Who else will do it for us? I think the important thing for all of us to keep in mind is to stay true to ourselves and true to our brands.

    Best wishes,

  • Reply Conni Jespersen July 21, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Dear Holly,

    I often get asked the question, “do you think you can make a living from your blog?” At first, that question really bothered me. But then I got to thinking about all the parts, the hours, the curation, of blogging that people don’t understand or don’t see on their end. And every once in a while, you receive a comment from someone who makes that clear. You are working hard, making a living doing so, and people who aren’t in it just don’t quite understand that.
    Thank you for blogging like you do and it seems you have a fabulous other half who supports that too! keep doing what you’re doing, and making money from it!, and let those who don’t understand it go by the wayside. Let the opposition give you a renewed perspective and get to kicking butt!

  • Reply Mindie July 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Can I hug your hubby!?!?!? I don’t make a cent doing what I do, but I work my butt off to make original engaging content for my readers. That being said, I would LOVE to make money! LOL But I am a stay at home mom and it is hard to put into action all of my plans to make my blog financially helpful to our family. I blog late at night when the children sleep and by the time I get to the “making money” stuff I am exhausted and go to bed. I do what I do because I love to do it and I say more power to those that can get their ducks in a row to turn it into something more in their bank account. The public can be fickle sometimes and I think if you blog for you and they come along for the ride, then they do not get to dictate who you are and what you do. Followers come and go…. I lots a few “fans” on facebook one day because I admitted my 2 yr old said Bullsh*t. But these were the same folks who had always praised me for being real!?!?! And if I ever do get my crap together, I know that in my heart I will not sell out who I am even if some readers think so. As long as your true to yourself, your goals, and your vision, then if someone doesn’t like it…… well…..

  • Reply Jenn July 21, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Of course you should find ways to earn money while doing what you love. And more power to you for doing it so well.

  • Reply uschi July 21, 2014 at 9:51 pm


    you don’t know me, inome and many others – it’s definitely not about jealousy. as i said, i grant holly every success and income and yes, bloggers deserve to make money with their blogs, but …

  • Reply Jane July 21, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Dear Holly,

    Thanks for the honest post and for making room for this discussion. It is a brave step that is very you!

    After reading your article about the online shop, my first thought was something similar to what Uschi had written in her comment.

    Now, after having read your reply and Thorsten’s of course, I feel bad about having thought that way. But the thought was there.

    As for me, it has nothing to do with the fact that you run that shop, but somehow with the explanation that didn’t work for me. On the one hand you say the shop was about promoting talented people, but then also about making up for fewer ads. However, in my mind, the economic argument outweighs the emotional one and that’s why I can’t take the emotional as serious any more.

    That is quite possibly naive on my part. And maybe readers have to make a switch and understand that the early personal blogs have turned into proper businesses. However, suddenly, I felt as if the shop was a tough business decision that was wrapped up in a nice text about promoting talent. Which of course it wasn’t as you yourself brought up the subject of making money with it.

    But then, as you brought up the economic argument yourself, as a reader I felt that I didn’t really understand how exactly you would be making money from the shop (fee for every sale, or people paying for being part of collaboration….). That made me feel uncomfortable about the thing. Because on the one hand you were open about why you opened the shop and on the other hand it felt to me as if business related information was withheld.

    So, basically, I think due to the lack of coherence within the article and the ‘conflicting’ arguments, the shop project didn’t feel sincere for me.

    Hope this helps!

    Love, Jane

  • Reply uschi July 21, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    hello holly, hello readers,

    and now, to be very bold, i ask a big question that bothered me while reading this post and all the comments.

    why is thorsten speaking for holly ??? and everybody seems to be in tears and so so touched by that ?

    holly speaks for herself and most of the comments, including the one by thorsten, is about women earning their own respect, success and money and then there is the husband to take over ?

    i can feel a shitstorm coming my way, but i will stand my ground. the shop is too much – any other way of earning money with your blog, holly, is fully acceptable for me and i am very happy for you (not jealous !) and your little family. i know quite a lot of (successful) bloggers, especially female bloggers and they agree with me. ads, books, seminars, webinars etc, fine – a shop, too much.

    as mentioned before: i still love your blog and books, holly, and all my best wishes go out to you and i am happy for you, that you have a supportive & loving husband (strangely enough – i never received his answer. i only learnt about his text by reading your post !)

    warm greetings, uschi

    to all who left jealousy related comments:

    i’m not a holly-hater, so please stop being uschi-haters …

  • Reply Mary Kathryn Johnson July 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    As a Podcaster, Blogger and Mom, who considers herself an Entrepreneur, I agree 100% with you, Thorsten.

    It seems that “Mom Bloggers” are perfectly within their rights to attend “Mom Blogger” conferences, or “Girly, Giggly Conferences,” but if a female “Parent Entrepreneur” were to attend NMX, or World Domination Summit, or Agents of Change, because she is actually running a business, she is “selling out!”

    The only people who make these claims, however, have never built, loved and worked to make their writing, content and passion clear, crisp and (dare I say) successful. These people have no idea what goes into that kind of success.

    They simply read, enjoy, follow and comment once, or maybe even a few times a week, then go on about their “normal” lives – judging the content producer based on that transient interaction.

    Take heart, Holly…the people who matter and respect you for your desire to hone your craft into success know what you sacrifice.

    We know what goes into a great blog, and we won’t let a comment like Uschi’s influence us even a tiny, little bit!

    Enjoy the Journey!

  • Reply Sassy July 21, 2014 at 10:55 pm


    I bet this is Stacy makes cents!

  • Reply Dana July 21, 2014 at 11:12 pm


    Who are you to say that it is all “too much”, and what is the point in you doing so? Do you hope that she will stop trying to fulfill her own plans and desires just because you think it’s “too much”? I’m sorry, but as somebody who has made a living online for a decade now, who has a bunch of projects and products just like Holly does, I find it a shame that you can’t just support another woman who is clearly finding success in her ventures. You have no idea what her plans for the future are, or how everything she’s doing contributes to that. Perhaps you just don’t understand this type of life, which is fine, but don’t hate on others and feel the need to try to tell them to stop what they’re doing. That is not your place.

    I think that her husband said it perfectly well which is most likely why she posted that. I don’t think he’s “speaking for her” at all… he’s posting his own thoughts on the matter from his point of view after reading your hurtful comment that was left for his wife. A husband that understands her and stands up for her is amazing.

    I followed up a bit with your post on my own blog today… giving my perspective and support from a fellow blogger who’s received many similar comments. <3

  • Reply Alex M July 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I love this post! I was directed to it by Dana from a Wonder Forest. I think monetizing and being creative is something to be celebrated! ESPECIALLY when one is working on making the content symbiotic… I hear stories like this alot… guess blogs always have their haters.
    Good luck!

  • Reply Chloe Tomalin July 21, 2014 at 11:33 pm


    Fully support you and your entrepreneurial spirit. You are in no way a sell out and have worked hard for a long time to be where you are. Don’t ever think or be told otherwise.
    Sounds like you have a wonderful husband too!

    Clo :)

  • Reply Hanneke de Wit July 21, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    There is nothing greater then earning a living doing what you love most. Although this is what a lot of people desire, not everyone has enough drive and discipline to do that. Be proud with what you do (I’m sure you are), and enjoy it every day, because it’s not for everyone! There will always be people who envy you, whatever you do. That’s just how people are and has nothing to do with you.

    The reason these people don’t make it, is exactly what they hate you for: they lack the commercial insight you have to make this work.

  • Reply Penny July 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Holly,
    I think its wonderful that all your hard work is being rewarded. Blogging is hard work, not to mention that your privacy and lifestyle is impacted as a result.
    Having read your blog for at least 9 years now, I can see how much it has evolved, and perhaps that is where the real problem lies? Some people will go with the change, and some will not. You have grown as a woman, a business owner, a writer and now a mother, and the blog reflects those changes. Unfortunately not everyone will follow you where you go, but you have to take your own path.

  • Reply Sandra @ Sandra's Ark July 22, 2014 at 12:02 am

    Go Thorsten & Holly. Your blog Holly your decisions in everything and if people cannot keep their noses out just smile and realise that something else is probably bugging them, not really you.

  • Reply lisa July 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Thorsten, your response made me cry. Holly is lucky to have you in her life!

  • Reply Steph July 22, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Holly, I’ve only ever heard of you as of today (when a fellow blogger shared your link to this post), but I can say I relate to this post 100%.

    Most bloggers start because they have a passion for what they do, and they want to share that with others (or in my case, have a place to record my recipes online so I wouldn’t lose them). I know very few people who started blogging because they wanted to make money off of it.

    In any other aspect of commerce, if you provide a good or service, you are not looked at as greedy if you ask to be compensated. To folks who think it’s wrong for a blogger to make money from their services, I can only shake my head.

    I have experienced over-the-top marketing tactics and pushy sales stuff from bloggers but as with everything in life, I have the choice to walk away and not revisit that site. Simple as that.

    Holly, keep up the good work!

  • Reply Darren Rowse July 22, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Great response from Thorsten and a fascinating topic that is relevant to many bloggers.

    I have found myself leaving comments similar to Thorsten’s numerous times over the last 10 years in response to people saying similar things. The frequency of needing to do so has thankfully slowed as people have gotten used to the idea of bloggers making what they do sustainable but I don’t think it’ll ever completely disappear.

    The reality is that many (if not most) of our readers have no real understanding of what goes on behind the scenes to maintain a blog like this. I usually find that a simple comment outlining the time and expense that goes in and pointing out that it’s all free is enough to make people realise why you’re monetizing.

    I guess partly it’s an educative process for us as bloggers to help our readers understand what’s going on unseen behind the scenes. Finding relevant ways to show readers that we do it full time and have expenses is probably worth weaving into our content from time to time.

    The only other things I’d say is that sometimes (and it’s certainly not always) commenters have a good point and I think as bloggers we should allow their voices to drive us to keep things balanced in terms of delivering value vs profit.

    By no means am I saying you’re out of balance here – but I know on a personal level that there are times when I drift (without realising it) out of balance one way or the other. A discussion like this is a good opportunity to simply ask the question of one-self and make appropriate adjustments to our approach if needed.

    More power to you though Holly – love what you’re doing and this thread alone is a testament to your hard work paying off!

  • Reply Nina July 22, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Dear Holly,

    I have been pondering on this post for a while, trying to figure out how to feel about it. I have been reading your blog for years and always loved to read about your journey, design wise and personal. I read a lot of blogs daily and especially enjoy those that chronicle what I call Real-Life-DIY`s – usually people who blog about making their house a home like most of us do, without professional help and big budgets. Decor8 falls into this category less and less, which led to a lack of interest on my side. I too feel like it is too much for me- too much “general” content like products and trends, the books, the shop etc. and too little “personal stuff” like real life design dilemmas (but I still hope you have to deal with those too – don`t be Superwoman, please). So I know where these feelings Uschi expressed come from but that`s the thing- all of this is about ME being interested in other things, in a different sort of content and not about YOU, doing something wrong. I read your posts via feedly, so it`s easy for me to just skip the stuff I´m not interested in an read what looks interesting to me. By no means would I expect you to work for free and I understand your feeling baffled or hurt about that.

    The thing that bothers me about Uschis comment (and others like it, here and elsewhere) ist that we all feel so entitled to a certain kind of entertainment, yet no one ever bothers to think about how you guys make it possible. We admire the people that seemingly have it all- the clothes, the kids, the homes; vacations, daily dinners that live up to our Instagram-expectations and leisure time to read other blogs, the books the magazines. We get a glimpse of their (usually highly edited) lives and the nagging feeling that they get paid ON TOP OF ALL THIS seems enough to make us slightly jealous, at least. But I like to remind myself how much hard work and editing goes into all of this and how little we see of a bloggers life, really. If people don`t like your books, your shop, your workshops – then just don`t buy them folks. There is no need to support something that does not appeal to you. But it is one thing to just step back and decide you are not interested in something and quiet another to call someone out on their job.

    You once stated that your husband wants certain parts of your home to stay private, a refreshing thing to do in times when we can never expose enough of our lives to gain validation from others. You have to do the things you love, in a way that feels good to you- and the rest isn`t up to you, honestly. As hard as it sounds, just let it go and enjoy the life you made for yourself and your family. Don`t spread yourself too thin in an attempt to please them all! As they say: You can`t win them all. And thats okay.



  • Reply Gabby July 22, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Give that man a hug!! Awesome!! I have a blog and I can barely keep up with it .. because it does take a lot of time!! And energy .. and research … etc. People can have opinions but sheesh, see the big picture of the efforts of a blogger. You are awesome. Just as you are.

  • Reply Malia July 22, 2014 at 2:13 am


    I agree with Katie 100%!

  • Reply lau July 22, 2014 at 5:15 am

    “Every blogger that I know who is having success with (blogging) tries to turn it into something that yields revenue so they can quit their jobs and spend time doing something that enriches their life. What’s wrong with that, really?”

    Nothing, and I applaud you for doing so. But many of us aren’t trying to make a living out of it, and many people don’t want to read sponsored content. There’s a lot of sponsored content out there and it does sometimes feel to many of us like it’s drowning out the other kinds of content both online and in print, be it ‘brand-appropriate’ or not.

    Perhaps her comment, and those in a similar vein, come from a place of frustration. Maybe not articulated in the kindest way, but she’s letting you know what kind of content (unbranded, unsponsored) she comes to you to read, and that information should be valuable to you as a blogger.

    Re: the comments from your husband re: sexism and women being their own worst enemies (‘The moment a female blogger tries to find forms of compensation for her hard work she is chastised by a good percentage of her gender. She’s selling out.’) I don’t find this to be the case at all – I write a food blog and most food bloggers are women.

    Can we all please stop applauding Thorston?

    • Reply decor8 July 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

      @Lau – That’s true, everyone does not want to read sponsored content. They don’t have to. Readers can skip those posts. I don’t like to read Sports or Stock reports. I skip those sections in a newspaper, I don’t write to the editor and complain about them being there in the first place.

      I’ve been writing on decor8 full-time for 8.5 years, I’ve published 6,118 posts, and I have had 2-3 sponsored posts total — and only recently. I will have more in the future but tastefully done and fully disclosed. When I say more I mean maybe 4 per year. MAYBE. Out of 500 posts per year, having 3-4 that are sponsored and fully disclosed should not be pose a problem.

      And I’m glad people are applauding Thorsten. He deserves it.

  • Reply Steph July 22, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Holly, your living the dream!! And you’ve worked hard for it. There is ALWAYS going to be someone out there with something negative to say. I feel bad for those people – I’ve followed your blog for years and I still love reading every post. Thanks for all the good reads, Steph x

  • Reply Carrie July 22, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Dear Holly,
    Happily, you have received so much support to this post and I am very happy to read fellow fans of your community stand up & throw their arms around you.

    As a long-time reader, participant in your workshops, purchaser of your books – I feel a responsibility (right?) to add my thoughts to your post. Why do women feel like it’s okay to shame & rip each other down so much? You don’t see men acting like this. I will never understand the hoard mentality among females and the belief that tearing each other apart is somehow going to result in their success. Isn’t a better solution the concept of support, mentorship & community?

    Personally, I think one of the root causes of this whole issue is envy. Envy at your success. Envy at your opportunities and envy at your supportive audience. I will always believe that any project / partnership or opportunity you receive & share with your “people” is right for you / the site and your brand. I think that the honesty, clarity and respectability you have cultivated over the many years of blogging has given you the leg-room to stretch & try lots of things.

    Never be afraid to grow or change.
    Best to you!
    (PS – Your hubby just earned himself a WHOLE bucket of affection as well. What a catch!}

  • Reply Thorsten July 22, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Dear Kathe,

    I acknowledge your apparent dismay. Do note though that this particular statement is a) not indicative of me believing the majority of bloggers steal content else I’d come right out and said so and b) that it is merely an opinion based on experience and observation as well as influenced by emotional investment. As an opinion lacks argument it is open to interpretation, the “good majority” part – perhaps “good percentage” may have been a better choice – as well as the “doesn’t grab content from other sites and reword it” part – perhaps better stated as “doesn’t just repost articles in her own words” (which then forms the statement/opinion: “Unlike a good percentage of bloggers Holly doesn’t just repost articles in her own words”). For clarification I was referring to a) the quite common practice of plagiarism, especially online, though certainly in all types of media. There’s a fine line between “inspiration” and plagiarism, something all authors have to watch out for. Also b) taking something from a site such as a product description, PR material, even magazines, etc. and simply rewording it instead of providing one’s own context.

    I do respectfully object to having lumped anyone into a particular group. I do not believe I did this in any part of my reply. This is generally done by reader perception, though I don’t see reason for you to perceive yourself as part of the group described.


  • Reply Beth July 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Right on.
    I am an artists and educator and the same debate is going on in the fine art world on and off line! Yes, some folks do not blog with class… clearly not the case here. Thanks for such a lively discussion.

  • Reply ana July 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Holly I love your blog, and your success and I think your husband nailed it. The main reason I think women don’t support other women the way they should is because of jealousy. We like to package it up as a “dislike for selling out” but if the roles were reversed we’d all do the exact same thing.

    What I do want to point out though is that out of hundreds of positive comments only a handful are negative. So maybe we should focus on those that matter, let the negatives slide a bit. I think a lot of women do support one another and its pretty evident above. Hopefully the rest will follow suit.

    Posting sponsored content when its clearly identified as sponsored is alright in my books. What most people don’t get is that the majority of bloggers don’t do sponsored posts for products they don’t believe in. They don’t see the hours of work that go into those posts, into the photographs, the editing, the contract negotiations. They don’t see the countless sponsors that are turned down because bloggers feel they don’t match their personal style or because they don’t feel comfortable working with them. Are there exceptions, I’m sure there are. But the bloggers who I know who monetize their blogs have integrity and I fully support them in their endeavors.


  • Reply Laura Gaskill July 22, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Thorsten, you rock! :-)

  • Reply margarita July 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Dear Holly,
    Sometimes it is not worth it to pay attention to these comments, there will be always people out there who would feel like they have the right to make assumptions or criticise someone’s work and lifestyle and decisions. I choose to carry on with my life and work , and don’t listen to negative comments. We all need make a living, better if we do doing something we love and are passionated about it, remember that not everybody is brave enough to go after their dream and rather stay passive and envy others for their success.

  • Reply Irina July 22, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Holly, I really think you should be proud of yourself! I work for free – as a mom and by earning a doctorate in art history at the same time. I cannot wait to earn my own money again!

  • Reply Dawn July 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I think there is a line. If you are pushing brands and items that you believe in, and have tried and think others would enjoy, and especially if they tie in well with what you normally write, than go ahead. But, I think, if your posts become more about the products and less about an actual blog, then maybe something needs to be rethought. I think Life. Rearranged. does a great job of finding that line, and keeping it real. And sometimes even posting about items that she’s found useful, that she’s not getting paid to endorse. I also think most people understand if you’re trying to make a living.

  • Reply Lauren July 22, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Wow, what a great husband. How right on are his words? ! I personally thank you for your blog and all of the supposed “selling out” as it allows you to focus your life on what you love while we benefit from being your audience. Bravo to you.

  • Reply Sarah July 22, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    I am not a blogger myself. I have only toyed around with the idea but I read a ton of them. Like, a TON. I have never even read this blog – I found a link on someone’s Facebook …lol. You know what the difference is when an author starts to get paid to write? The words don’t seem to come from the heart any longer. Money is now the motivator. You blog because you are passionate and want to share. I don’t know how the tone of what is said changes once you are getting paid but it does….somehow…in a weird way that I can’t describe.

    Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE that women can do this. I am all for it! I just wish we could do it better. I don’t have the answer for that either. Helpful, I know. Thoughts?

    • Reply decor8 July 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Sarah hello and thanks for your comment BUT I’m a little confused by what you said, that when an author gets paid to write, the words don’t seem to come from the heart any longer.

      Can you explain why you believe that because that statement pretty much takes everything ever written by any author and says that to you, they are all a bunch of fakes, and this is sad.

      Do you believe that anyone making money doing what they love lacks heart?

  • Reply uschi July 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm


    nina, i really like your comment. especially the first paragraph, which explains a big part of my recent disappointment with holly’s blog.

  • Reply Kath July 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve read your blog for ages and your books are some of my favorite design books! Can’t wait for your next one. Not sure I understand the commenter’s criticism – she must not have read (and then re-read) your lovely books. The fact that you’ve had success with publishing seems like a bonus for blog readers who love your design style because we also get to enjoy your books.

    Enjoy your success – with your books, shop and any other endeavors – it is well-deserved! It seems like the common (unfair) criticism of all artists is that they are sell-outs if they achieve commercial success. Your talent and hard-work are the reason for your success and it doesn’t diminish your artistic ability one bit.

  • Reply Little Miss July 22, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I am in a completely irrelevant field (engineering)and i love love love reading blog to blow off some steam.
    And of course this IS a regular job for the writers/blogger (i consider blogging a different job than just writing).
    I had this discussion today with my boss that everyone needs to be aid according to the amount of work they produce.
    So, i do appreciate that if you provide our job you expect to get paid for it.
    However, i did notice a more “commercialised” version of your blog during the past 1.5 year.
    I say this with respect and love because i really do love your blog but i cant help but miss you sharing bit and pieces of your everyday life on a more frequent basis before :)
    please see above on a fair basis since being fair is a virtue :)

    • Reply decor8 July 22, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      little miss – what do you mean by commercialized, can you provide examples?

  • Reply Martina Simonic July 22, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Woo hoo! Love Thorstens reply.
    I’m not a blogger but an artist and it sucks when people expect that you will live off of rainbows and hugs.
    So keep on great work Holly! And thanks for daily inspiration :)

  • Reply Shauna S July 23, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Wow, some people amaze me. I think what you do is inspirational. I’m a mom blogger right now trying to make extra cash because I can’t afford daycare for my little one. Sell your books and make what you can, other people make their money the way they can. I think some people don’t understand that blogging can be another income or even a main source of income.

  • Reply Kate July 23, 2014 at 12:29 am

    thank you! I get this all the time too! We can’t live off rainbows and hugs…. and high res images LOL ;-) oh man, if only my mortgage company accepted high res images! – thank you!

  • Reply Kelly Tirman July 23, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Nope you can’t live of rainbow and hugs nor should you.

  • Reply Jen July 23, 2014 at 1:06 am

    I LOVE YOUR HUSBAND!!! How wonderful for you to have that kind of support! I am just starting to earn a little money from blogging and I’m in the process of developing a service to earn more. It’s encouraging to hear from a blogger who is making a living blogging that it’s OKAY to make money for all of the hard work that goes into your blog. Most people don’t understand it because it’s not a “traditional” career, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome of a job. This is my first but certainly not last, visit to your lovely site. Thanks for this candid post.

  • Reply MissMary July 23, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Congratulations on having a wonderful marriage and supportive husband. He let you take care for your baby & rest, while he so perfectly defended you from a ridiculous accusation of ‘selling’ out to help support your family. Keep up the great work and making a living for your family!

  • Reply Jessie July 23, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Oddly, this is the first time I’ve ever read your blog. I absolutely love this post and agree with you and your husband whole-heartedly. I particularly love his line “It speaks for the still pitiful state of female empowerment in our day and age, the biggest opponents being other females.” I have just shared this post on my facebook page for everyone I know who reads and enjoys blogs and for those who write them, and I commented with the following: “We can’t expect to be entertained, informed, etc. by writers who choose to blog if we don’t also expect them to earn a living as a writer.” Of the blogs I read (a good handful), I view each blogger as a true writer, and I admire and appreciate their work! Keep it up!

  • Reply Ally July 23, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Uschi should get a life. I’ve never read your blog before today, but I think that comment was just ridiculous. Keep on blogging on, and as I’ve been told before, let comments from people like Uschi roll off like water on a duck’s back. And your husband’s support is awesome.

  • Reply Kiersten July 23, 2014 at 2:12 am

    I absolutely love and completely appreciate Thorston’s comment! I’ve blogged off and on for about five years, but only recently started working to make money off of my blog (and only at my dad’s insistence that I should). Despite my reluctance though, I’ve never understood the disdain for bloggers who do make money. Just writing a blog can be a full-time job at times, and that doesn’t include reading and commenting on other blogs, or speaking, consulting, and publishing books like you do. It’s insane to suggest you SHOULDN’T be compensated, and Thorston is right that in NO other industry would that suggestion ever come up.

    I think you’re doing an amazing job, and if it’s helping you to realize your dreams while supporting your family, then that’s incredible!

  • Reply Vera Sweeney July 23, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Im a blogger who rarely ever reads blogs these days. However this was passed over to me because we are in the same boat. BRAVO MY FRIEND!!! Thank you for writing this!!

  • Reply Vera Sweeney July 23, 2014 at 2:33 am


    So every book ever written must not be from the heart either… since authors get paid (or has that recently stopped???) Guess we should include magazine articles and newspaper feeds as well…

  • Reply foodiesagenda July 23, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Go hubby!

    As a blogger too, I see no wrong in getting paid for hard work.

    I believe in two ‘rules’ when it comes to this, that any sponsored/paid post should be highlighted & as you do, stay true to your own personal thoughts & writing style.

    Keep up the good work


  • Reply Wrenaissance Art July 23, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Kudos to Thorsten!
    Isn’t it ironic that while the editors of the top fashion magazines receive all kinds of couture swag (in their perfect size and favorite colors, natch) that is never disclosed, and never questioned, and the unfortunate truth about some of the deluxe featured homes you see in home design magazines is that they’re discreetly on the market, people try to shame an interior-design blogger because she is up front and transparent about her advertising practices and income streams?

  • Reply Jules July 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Love your blog Holly, and I hope you are enjoying motherhood. (They grow so quickly)
    This comment made me so angry on your behalf….and all I can say is GO THORSTEN!!!!!!! Well written, it was emotional and informative, as is Holly’s blog.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Reply melissa July 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm


    I 100% and completely agree. We are free and don’t have to read or engage with any particular post. If you’re not necessarily a fan of posts which promote products etc then you can choose to ignore them altogether. As a new reader of this blog I don’t have quite the opinion of someone who has been reading for the past 7 years but I do agree in such as saying the original spirit of decor8 is not lost by the attempt of making money from something that the author loves doing.

  • Reply JJ - 84thand3rd July 23, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve always said that if someone can earn a living doing what they love then why shouldn’t they. Not only do I agree with what you wrote but the points made by your husband are so very spot on – good on him for replying and good on you for having someone by you that is so supportive of what you do. People need to turn their judgement on themselves not others. Congrats on all your successes!

  • Reply Elrica July 23, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    There is nothing wrong with earnjng money through blog :)
    Am a beauty blogger based in Singapore and Jakarta, and i have a fee for brands that would like me to write specifically for their brand.

    Although the opinion is based on my honest review, i feel they are paying for my time, my expertise, and to convey the information to my readers. Just like a sort of ads – but more personal.

    For those that are not happy because you are earning money through your blog; ignore them! They are not the one paying your groceries bill anyway :)

  • Reply Barb @ A Life in Balance July 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Your post was shared in one of my tribes, and I had to come over and read it. First of all, your husband is awesome! I love his response!

    Second, I’m signing up to follow your blog because I get it. As a fellow blogger who thinks constantly about the balance between authentic content and needing to pay the bills, I need to be inspired daily by bloggers who consciously work on the same balance.

  • Reply blogqueendiane July 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Way to go, Thorston!!!

  • Reply Renee @ Gettin Fit Fab July 23, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I LOVE your what your husband wrote, it reads like my fiancé could have written it. Besides that, There is nothing wrong with earning money on your blog, your blog is still YOU, and the content is still true to you.

    I have been publicly blogging for only a year now but I love it, and just began making money from my blog. I haven’t sold out, nor accused as such, yet.
    Keep on doing you girlie, you are a blog I aspire to be like one day.


  • Reply Deanna July 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    This article made me a new follower of your blog! I completely agree – bloggers can certainly make money from blogging. They can even make money from blogging and stay true to the spirit of their blog. As a new blogger myself I aspire to make money from it someday, but I’m happy figuring out who I am as a blogger right now and developing a spirit for my blog that I will stay true to forever, no matter what comes. Great article! Thanks for posting!

  • Reply Little Miss July 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm


    I mean while reading your blog i do have a sense of promotional material.
    however, i do love your style and approach on really does speak to my soul (if it makes any sense).
    For example i remember a couple of years ago that you announced that you will be away for a while to get some rest. i know its a detail but i really did appreciate you taking the time to do that for your readers :)
    anyway….its not a big deal and of course it will not stop me from coming back every time.
    congrats to your husband for standing up for you.
    Unity is always the key!!!

    • Reply decor8 July 23, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      @Little Miss, I still do that, maybe you just missed those posts. :) Did you read my very long and special birth story? I still work very hard to have a strong meaningful connection to my readers, it’s the #1 most important thing to me and why I keep blogging in the first place.

  • Reply uschi July 23, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    dear holly,
    i just received information by another reader, that you might not have had the right to copy & paste my full comment, including my name, in your post, without contacting me first. there is a difference between me leaving a comment and you posting it, i was told !
    i have to think about the consequences and will let you know. your action was new and surprising for me, but it seems that it was also not legal ! i don’t want to fight and i still like your blog, but this really is food for thought.
    regards, uschi

  • Reply shavonda@ahomefullofcolor July 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Your husband freakin ROCKS!!! Good for him. And good for you for pursuing your dreams and doing it on your terms. There will always be someone who isn’t happy about something youre doing. That’s just the world, right? As a fellow blogger, what we do is valuable and we are in many ways providing a service. While I don’t necessarily like that many have become overly involved with brand cheerleading to the point of losing their voice, I do believe the ultimate goal in life is to be getting paid to do what you love, is it not? This what our parents tell us as we embark on our journey into adulthood. Its what is preached to us by media and strangers. Everyone wants the kind of job where they get paid to do what they love. Entrepreneurship is highly regarded in our society, however, for many, blogging somehow doesn’t fall under that umbrella? You can only be your best you. I think you are fabulous and so is Decor8, and so is your husband:)

  • Reply gregoryhan July 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    The people who correlate passion with the absence of profit have it wrong in this case; Holly has made this site a successful business because of her passion to provide resources and inspiration beyond the norm.

    That Holly and Thorsten have the energy AND passion to want to offer classes, share/sell product they love and want to spotlight with their readers, write books, all the while maintaining a healthy site shouldn’t be criticized, it should be applauded as a triumph of an entrepreneur who are also parents. Each segment is reflective of their interests and their own vision for Decor8. That some draw a line at ads, others with books, while yet someone else at the launch of an online store is all extremely subjective (someone will always be unhappy with change, as is the nature of anything beloved), since we as readers come to a site desiring different things.

    Anyone who has worked behind the scenes of a regularly maintained site can empathize: it takes an indescribable amount of work to keep a site up, let alone growing (I’ve got the scars to prove it). That’s where professional experience lends insight, and I think readers sometime forget creating content for a site is very similar to creating a magazine or operating a store – every day is an onslaught of responsibilities which roll of the daily tasks of a writer, coder, graphic designer, customer service, tech support, and media expert all in one.

    It really shouldn’t be strange that someone who has to be a multi-tasker has a spectrum of interests and goals beyond what they began working for. Neither should it be considered unusual after years of performing these tasks with little or no compensation, eventually they’d like to build beyond getting by, begin saving for retirement, afford healthcare for themselves/families, and maybe even take a vacation or two. There’s actually very few bloggers outside of corporate backed ones that can offer any of these things for themselves or contributors.

    Even the most beautiful or biggest website is at best a precarious Jenga block system held together with bubblegum, dried up tears, duct tape, prayers, and the sheer will of those who make it happen, day in, day out. Most jobs do not require the sort of daily (hourly even) flexibility and attention, and thus, it’s really rare to find the types who can lead the charge into growing the seed into a tree, creatively, technically, and fiscally. Sites like Decor8 are the exception and exceptional.

    I think this is where Holly may have an opportunity to bridge with readers who might not yet know the “how” “whys” and “what”, perhaps opening the doors behind the scenes of the process (sort of like a director’s commentary). I think this sort of criticism is misplaced and born of ignorance, but might be softened if people saw some of the process (I can see a new book idea!).

    It should go without saying, I’ve long believed Holly’s (and Thorsten) passion and efforts are what shaped their site’s credibility, fueled their growth. You really can’t get this far without either being at the core of your business.

    (*Also, Thorsten’s reply was reflective of a loving partner standing up and by his partner, not FOR his partner. That she choose to spotlight it was probably more indicative of the equality and solidity of their relationship, both professionally and personally).

  • Reply Alex July 24, 2014 at 1:09 am

    I am not a blogger, but I am a long-time reader of this blog. Unlike many blogs that I routinely visit, this blog has never seemed like a wholly commercial enterprise to me, and that is a credit to Holly for managing the voice.

    It has been a long time since I thought that any blog was run solely for the personal enjoyment of the blogger – there is always, it seems, some quid pro quo, whether it be monetary or otherwise (for example, it has been clear to me for some time that many bloggers receive free stuff, which the normal person would pay for). But to me, if I see something on a blog and I like it, I often follow the source, and that may lead to commercial gain for some other person. This could happen whether or not the post is initiated because of a commercial relationship (although I admit I prefer to know if a post is sponsored or if the blogger received something of value).

    It does not, therefore, seem strange to me that bloggers are paid to discuss products, or that bloggers would have “stores” that sell a curated selection of products. In the first case, we have had years of discussion of why no one should “blog for free” – which can mean don’t post anything unless you are paid by someone, or don’t post things you wouldn’t ordinarily cover unless you are paid – and this can backfire if people start thinking the blogger is just a paid mouthpiece in a product channel. In the case of the store, of course, the risk that the blogger takes is much greater – because if a store is opened that contains products that do not echo the voice of the blog, then the blogger is essentially watering down their brand. In most cases, the store will not generate sufficient revenue to justify this, and the blogger loses out.

    I have seen this at times through other blogs – blogs that started as personal and moved to more commercial status, and the blogger’s voice and perspective no longer seem as appealing. This has happened most obviously with some blogs that took on huge staffs, and now seem to concentrate less on content, and more on partnerships that lead to other revenue streams. Some of this may be attributable to the personal growth of the blogger, however, as they move into different stages of life; in other cases, it seems like corporate investors are dictating the activity on the blog. Blogs can be like bands; they have some prime years, and then they peak, and that also seems natural to me (but please do not do what I am seeing in other places – updating “prior” posts to fill content placement needs – yuck!). Overall, the biggest risk must be changing tastes, however, and that is an unpredictable situation.

    To that end, as a long time reader, it seems to me a natural progression to open a curated store, and I wish you the best of luck. I will continue to browse decor8, skipping the posts that don’t resonate and reading and clicking through on the ones that do. There are many artists out there whose work I have purchased because I either saw it on decor8, or because found it through a link that I clicked on from decor8, and of course, it makes complete sense that decor8 should benefit from these clicks. Although I probably click less than in prior years, its because of changes in my life, not your content. I can still lose myself on your site for hours.

    As I pay nothing to read it, thanks for producing interesting content.


  • Reply Stephanie Elizabeth {Fab You Bliss} July 24, 2014 at 1:15 am

    A million high fives for your husband. What an awesome response to an ignorant comment! I don’t know why people feel the need to chastise us for wanting to get paid for what we do. I work harder as a full time blogger than I ever did working in the corporate world.

    Deep down I suspect such comments come from jealousy. At least that’s what I tell myself whenever something like this comes up in my world. I’ve been following you for years and love what you do. Keep on keeping on. There are a lot more of us out here who think what you’re doing is fantastic! xoxo

  • Reply Jennifer July 24, 2014 at 1:51 am

    I worry at times about the amount of affiliate links I use on my blog, but I provide a clear disclosure. The amount I make on my young blog barely offsets my costs. I work full-time on my blog and sacrifice many moments with my family and for myself.

    Your husband’s support of your work is touching. My husband has struggled with the time I devote to my blog, because it takes away from the family and doesn’t produce much income.

    There are bloggers who post mostly sponsored content, but I don’t read their blogs. I’m surprised anyone does. Thank you for this post.

  • Reply Kylie July 24, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Yours was the first blog I ever read and still read on a regular basis. That you can inspire others and lead a life doing this is a wonderful thing. Keep doing it. Keep being an author. Keep showing everyone else how.

  • Reply Sally Smith July 24, 2014 at 5:16 am

    Absolutely Holly should make money & lots of it ! from all her hard work, why do some people think creatives shouldn’t make a living from their work! crazy! keep up the awesome work Holly & try not to listen to the mean people, stay happy ! x

  • Reply Amber at Adventures of a Rainbow Mama July 24, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Hi Holly,

    What a guy. Give him a big hug for me!

    My husband is my biggest advocate too { he’s also a writer like yours } and I couldn’t do what I do without him. That being said, I think this is a conversation of a certain age; and that somewhere down the track – hopefully not too far! – people will have a better understand of blogging and a less judgemental view as it becomes a more mainstream ‘profession’.

    Having said that; I’m happy to be in the sharp pointy end of it – there are amazing opportunities out there and we are the ones leading the way. Don’t forget that – you are setting standards and suring up the place for those to come. And I’m giving out big high 5’s for that :)

    Love, Amber at Adventures of a Rainbow Mama

  • Reply Lori (Adventures of a Sick Chick) July 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Love this so much! What a perfectly articulated response! Thank you for sharing. Btw, I just discovered your blog and fell in love with it at first sight. Wonderful content, stunning photos and full of inspiration. If this is “selling out” then where do I sign up? ;) Looking forward to becoming a regular reader! :)

  • Reply Thorsten July 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Dear uschi,

    Do please read the ‘Disclaimer’ at the bottom of this page (, specifically the part ‘User Content’.

    You raised an important question and it has lead to important, much needed, positive conversations. I think it best to continue this conversation amicably even if we can’t come to a consent.


  • Reply DessertForTwo July 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Oh my gosh, thank you SO much for posting this! I can’t believe the comment, and your husband’s recipe? PRICELESS. I have to say, I’m a bit fired up because I never before realized that when a man makes a living online, he’s an entrepreneur, but when a woman does, she’s a sell out. I know it’s true, but I never though about the harsh sexist tone to it. Now I’m mad about it, hah!

    I’m SO DANG TIRED of women bringing other women down. It is seriously the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. Even celebrities (Gwyneth Paltrow comes to mind, however you feel about her) has been writing about what a shame it is when women tear each other down. shouldn’t we support each other? YES WE SHOULD.

    Shame, shame, shame, Uschi. Feel free to leave the internet. I’m afraid your tearing down of women has made you the most unlikable person on the internet today. Good one.

    As for you, Holly, keep on creating and living the dream. The world needs more people like you.

    (no, really, I’m going to click around on your ads and content to send you some money instead, haha!)

  • Reply aisling July 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm


    I’m 100% with Katie on this one. In the last few weeks I’ve been doing a “reader cleanse” and cutting my subscription to a heap of big name blogs. I’m tired with the same content coming out of every blog, similar looking images, all perfect and white and glowing. Many big name bloggers are losing their soul and I can’t quite figure out if it’s because they’ve simply run out of ideas full stop, or if it’s because they’re stretching small ideas into long blog posts to fill some sort of quota for content, for the purpose of advertising agreements…
    However, in all this cutting of dead content I’m hanging onto my subscription to Decor8 because it’s one of the originals and because your content is always good Holly. It’s fresh and I never get the feeling that you’re producing content for the sake of producing content. (Another post on “DIY Cake Toppers for your Perfect Pink Picnic Party” with 1 million pictures of the process, dear God no!)
    Keep on producing fresh, interesting content and those who begrudge you making money from your job are shown to not understand the creative environment and working for a living…
    a x

  • Reply Katharina July 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Everyone knows the cozy feeling in a small store, maybe a café or a handmade store. Every piece is handpicked, everything mirrors the person behind, the heart and soul. We feel so good being there, having a good time.

    This store grows, because so many people love it. The person cannot do all allone, employees are hired, rooms become bigger, maybee a second, third store is opened.

    This is a logical process and it is logical that the store is not the same anymore. It simply could not stay the same. Not the same must not mean bad. It’s different from past times.

    This process happens to stores, journals and blogs too. I have the same feeling about a few blogs and I read them rarely or no longer. That does not mean that I hate the blog or that I’m jealous. It’s only a personal feeling about a situation and a decision about how I spent my time.

    I think Uschi was only honest about her feelings. She wrote that she was happy about your success. But she is missing something that was there before, something she really loved and cared about. No speak of envy or hate.

    I don’t understand why an honest commenter must be identified as a hater. Such a comment is maybe worth more then 100 “It’s so great”.

    I’m blogging myself, not so intensely, but I know the amount of work and if someone get the chance of being paid and earn a living this is wonderful! Especially for woman and even more especially for mothers! But readers will feel this change. In some blogs more than in others. Some readers will go, many will stay, other readers will come – that’s life, that’s blogging.

    You will go your way and I’m sure it will be a success!

  • Reply Rosie Slosek July 24, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Blogging, whether full or part time or fitting it in when you can, can be as much about being of service to your readers as you enjoy writing it.

    Money is needed to live but it isn’t about that.

    We’re people, we want to give and connect and communicate. We want to buy, to share, to learn. A blogger selling ebook, courses, coaching, writing, whatever the means is, is giving me a service. I want to buy.

    Examples: Emma Cossey of The Free;lance Lifestyle has a paid ecourse that has been of huge value to me. Of course I expect to pay for it. Elizabeth Seller s of Rosalilium has Big Blogging Bootcamp, and of course I paid for that too. Marianne Cantwell has her online communities (paid!) and book, and of course I will pay.

    It’s not about their living (although they need to do that too). It’s about an investment in myself and committing to that. Undercharging wouldn’t serve me as a reader. I value them too much.

    Money is a flow as well as a means to live. Paying is about flow going back to the blogger for the joy, sharing and learning I have received.

    My final comment is that if you are a blogger and making money from your blog (and it’s a great way to start becoming financially free), you need to keep records. You need to prove your income meets your expenses so you aren’t actually losing money, or make a decision about whether your blog will be a business or not for tax. It sounds scary, but making money does mean getting serious and stopping pretending that we all live in unicorn rainbow land.

    There is a link below to some worksheets for UK readers to start you off :)

  • Reply Liz July 24, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    It’s fairly simple. Some of the people some of the time applies here. Your true audience won’t care whether or how much money you make. They are here to read appreciate and learn from you. You. See a friend recently posted “If you live for other acceptance, you will die from their rejection.” I belive she’s right. Your success is yours. You made the sacrifice and did the work. And while it may be important to appreciate your audience you don’t owe us any explanation nor apologies for it. It’s yours.

  • Reply uschi July 24, 2014 at 7:45 pm


    please behave yourself, dessertfortwo. i have always been polite in my comments and replies. i’ve just written about my feelings regarding holly’s recent ideas. and that i still care for her and her blog. full stop.
    your comment is full of hatred !

  • Reply uschi July 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm


    finally somebody who really understands what i meant ! thank you sooo much, katharina

  • Reply Thorsten July 24, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Dear all who commented,

    Thank you for all your comments and for providing your perspective, thoughts, ideas and feedback. It is much appreciated and looking at the web wide response this is a topic close to the heart of many bloggers. I do hope that the conversation will continue (albeit outside this post) and blogging will evolve. There is a lot of food for thought here.

    However, I also like to state that I believe in and am a proponent of mutual respect. I have seen some very forceful comments concerning the original commenter and her assumed character and intentions. I do not share these assessments. I think there are some lessons in respect that can be learned here as well, something that will propel online interactions forward and onward. I personally prefer cool headed discussions over heated arguments, earnestly expressed feelings over blunt emotions.


  • Reply Sandy Deasey July 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Go Thorsten! You two are living the dream in my view – doing work you love that also allows you the flexibility to raise your little one equally together. I just started a little business last year in the hopes of doing just that. I’m making things and selling them like many a creative start-up, and I don’t see any difference in what you’re doing. There’s nothing wrong in selling something you create. It takes bravery to take the leap into running your own business and creativity to find a way of providing for your family from that business, and you two are a shining example of how to do it well.
    Sandy x

  • Reply Kristine July 25, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Thorsten rocks and as a blogger myself trying to monetize so I can pay bills and continue to buy the food for the recipes I develop and share on my blog I say AMEN!! :)

  • Reply Jay July 25, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I don’t comment on blogs very much but I had to comment on this.

    I have enjoyed your blog for a long time – I think it might have been the first interiors blog I found. And I snapped up your first book as soon as it came out (in New Zealand ). Without bloggers I’d have less access to interiors writing – New Zealand has fantastic interiors bloggers but we are small so it is wonderful to have access to others’ work. BTW check out for a wonderful NZ example. Anyway I just wanted to say, of course you must earn your living. Of course.

  • Reply Honest Mum July 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Your husband’s response brought tears to my eyes. Everything he wrote was spot on!

    I’m also a full time professional blogger, moving from a career as a filmmaker to full time blogging when I had my kids.

    I treat my blogs as magazines and hard work (along with talent and tenacity) does pays and it SHOULD.

    I earn the same as working as a full time director but I’m my own boss and editor and feel I’ve found my calling, I love what I do and am proud of what I’ve achieved and hopefully will continue to.

    Thank you so much for this, it’s wonderful to discover your beautiful blog! I’m utterly inspired. You rock, Vicki

  • Reply Jessica | The Budget Savvy Bride July 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    If only rainbows and hugs paid the bills, I would gladly accept them as payment. :)

    This is something that every professional blogger struggles with I think, but you handle it fantastically. Love that you shared this as well as your hubby’s amazing response. Kudos for defending all of us!

  • Reply Kristina B July 25, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I don’t have anything really to add (because, really…what else needs to be said) except YOUR HUSBAND FOR THE WIN.

  • Reply Mary Speidel July 26, 2014 at 2:07 am

    Amen Thorsten! You go Holly! Just trying to get my site working is a challenge, working full-time & trying to figure things out by myself for the site. Admire anyone who has made a go of it!

  • Reply Theresa July 26, 2014 at 2:48 am

    I’m a blogger as well, and although I currently don’t make an income from it, I hope to one day! Even just posting twice a week means hours of dedication for me–literally, hours each week that I could be doing something else, I’d rather be writing and getting content out into the world. I can only imagine the amount of time I’ll be able to put in when this becomes my main source of income.

    So if you have creative ways to generate income, I think that’s great! It’s a business, not just a hobby, and if you can monetize your content, make your own hours, and do what you love, then…well, that’s the dream, right? Do it!

  • Reply Tinaslo July 26, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Well said! Holly you would not be where you are today without all the hard work and hours and years you’ve put into your career. I think some people imagine that a blogger sits at home eating Bon bons. Pay no attention to the nay sayers, they are the type of people who are like that with everyone.

  • Reply Rebecca July 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I am a first time visitor to your site, I believe clicked through Keeper of the Home’s link. I have a few comments…. :)

    1. I have a blog. It is no good, as I am not a writer, and I am just doing it for fun, learning as I go. I just started in the past 3 weeks with Amazon affiliate links and I made $15 so far…. not much to scoff at, but it is fun to learn so that I can teach others who may really need advice.

    2. I have a full time, well paying job that I LOVE, and I work from home. I have worked for my company for 8 years, and I currently reside in Panama (central America!) because I can work anywhere. I am VERY BLESSED.

    3. I LOVE learning, and reading blogs. Procrastinate a lot of my other work because I spend hours in the mornings (I am an early riser) reading blogs. I love the personal ones, especially, that bring their own experiences in to the blog. (I am nosy by nature, hahah).

    4. I have a side business that I have had for over 9 years, selling detox products. I started my blog to hopefully get more traffic to that site, which seems to be working. So that is good, as I said, I am still learning.

    5. I HATE being blatantly sold something. I don’t mind passive advertisements on blogs, or even occasional product reviews, or AdWords, banner ads, etc.

    What I hate is getting emailed daily over and over about an eBook bundle, an eCourse, etc. Especially when the bloggers are laymen, not certified in their chosen niche, etc.

    And I hate it when bloggers succomb to multi level marketing schemes and try to get their readers to become part of their downline.

    From looking at your blog, I do not think you have anything to worry about. But, I am wondering if the reader who posted that comment was getting fed up with all the other bloggers out there who are aggressively promoting their products, their advertisers, etc. — “selling out” per se’ — does that make sense?

    I don’t think you should be worried about that one comment. Bloggers — especially those with skill like you have — should be able to monetize. But do it passively, not aggressively. People like to skip over commercials when they watch TV, right? People will stop reading blogs and opening the RSS feeds if it becomes one big commercial. I have unsubscribed from blogs because of this.

    Good luck to you and keep up the good work.

  • Reply Rebecca July 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Oh, one more thing…. :) I am actively on Facebook and other social media outlets, and rely on Bloggers’ content to share with my fans on FB, TWitter, Pinterest, G+ etc so I want to see “share” links very visible on any blog I read. That will get your content shared with thousands more people.

    That is a tip for bloggers in general. The “like” button on Facebook (to “like” a blog article) does not bear near enough weight with me than the “share” button does. Keeper of the Home has the like button but not the share button. That means it will be seen by only my personal friends, vs. almost 6,000 of my fans that are interested in her target audience. I have emailed her a few times requesting she add the Share button, to no avail. So I don’t share her content like I would otherwise.

    I manage about 5 Facebook pages with thousands and thousands of fans (true organic fans). Wouldn’t people want to make it easy for me to share their content? That is one thing I don’t understand.

  • Reply Jane July 26, 2014 at 4:22 pm


    Spot on! This comment really nails the issues for me. In my opinion, the question is not, if full-time bloggers can live of rainbows and hugs (of course NOT!), but must long-time readers like everything related to a blog growing bigger and bigger? Certainly NOT either.

  • Reply Alycia July 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Dude, your husband rules. That is one hell of an awesome response.

  • Reply classic casual home July 27, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Wow….what a man! I try to keep it real but I have some ads (minor income). I don’t like landing on blogs with sponsored posts or all about selling. I would only link to items that I would buy myself. You totally have the right balance.

  • Reply Lisa H July 27, 2014 at 7:19 am

    This is the first time I visited your blog, and I found this post via Emily A. Clark’s “Saturday 6” feature.

    First, your husband is awesome and articulate. Nothing beats knowing your spouse is always in your corner. Second, you should be applauded for pursuing your dreams–whether others like the results or not.

    I am still a novice blogger, but one of the things that disappoints me most is when readers get possessive about a site’s content. It’s as if people think visiting a site X number of times somehow gives them part ownership. This has never happened to me (no one has read my blog X number of times), but I have seen it happen to at least one other blogger who I greatly respect, and it was easy to see how much it hurt her. This is your space, and you get to decide what happens in it.

    As your husband said, you are offering all of your content for free. Everyone is here willingly. So why do some readers react as if you a signed a contract with them, and you’re legally required to hold up your end of the bargain? If someone thinks a blog is too commercial, too personal, too crafty–whatever it is–why can’t he or she simply stop visiting that blog–without blasting the author on his or her way out?

    Rainbows and hugs are beautiful things, but they don’t buy diapers, pay site hosting fees, or allow you to quit your day job and blog full time. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what is best for you, your family, and your blog.

  • Reply Rose L. July 27, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I say don’t take it personal. Everyone has an opinion and we can agree or not. I must say, I wish I could make money with my blog. Mine is not as put together as yours, more personal. And your hubby is a sweetheart to step in with his words!

  • Reply Brenda July 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Your husband completely nailed it. By no means should ANY blogger have to feel guilty about earning a living from their writing. As for those who tell you that you’re “selling out” or “losing your magic”? Well, let’s just say they’re not your people.

    Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and keep up the awesome :-)

  • Reply Amy July 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    I can’t decide which is better: this blog post, or your husband’s stalwart defense of you. What a treasure. I’m so thankful that I read this, because I’ve been writing a blog for nearly two years and I’m on the CUSP of releasing an e-book and a few other things to make a bit of money off of it, and I’ve been feeling GUILTY . . . kind of like I really have no right to make money from all this time I pour into this blog. But I really needed to read this post today, and thank you, thank you. Blessings.

  • Reply Jennifer July 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    All the best to you, Holly. And fist bump to your husband for hitting the nail on the head and coming to your defense in a clear, respectful way. Sounds like you nabbed a good one!

  • Reply Jaclyn July 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I think its great when bloggers are able to turn their blog into full time careers. They have obviously worked hard and put a lot of effort and work into their blog and brand that they have the capacity to do so. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I’ve never read your blog before, but I am glad that I found it through this post. Your posts all appear to be well thought out with a lot of effort having gone into them.

    My biggest problem is bloggers who monazite their blogs are are not upfront with their readers about content that is sponsored or if posts contain affiliate links. I think that sponsored posts can be done well, if the content fits with the blog topic and the authors voice still remains genuine. I think the problem is, that a lot of blogs, seem to take sponsorships from every company under the sun, even if it doesn’t fit with their target audience. I have noticed a lot of blogs have just turned into sponsored content and I feel like when that happens blogs lose what they once had and miss that spark. That being said, there are plenty of blogs that do sponsored content well and have it fit with their brand. Food blogs who use sponsored ingredients in their recipes, for example. What irks me the most is when content (sponsored or otherwise) feels like its been rushed or is just a post for the sake of posting that day. When a blog post is littered with typos, it says to me that the blogger doesn’t care about their reader or take it seriously.

    I am more then happy to support bloggers that I really enjoy reading and who are open, honest and genuine on their blog. Blog content speaks for itself a lot of the time. It is very clear and obvious which bloggers put in the time and effort and who truly care about their readers. It is easy to see how these bloggers put it 8+ hours a day on their blogs, and they have every right to be compensated for that.

  • Reply Miranda July 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I could not agree more with your husband when he says that women empowerment has its biggest opponent in… other women!! In fact, from my experience in life – and I am not so young as to have none – most women cannot bare the fact of other women being successful and happy in what they do. Call it envy, jealousy, I don’t know, but the moment a woman starts being successful, other women are quick to jump in and harpy on how she does not deserve her success. How come? Why? Why do women hate other women sooo much? Of course a blogger should be compensated for what she or he does, in financial forms. Of course! Or does it mean that if you’re happy with what you’re doing, if it brings you a sense of satisfaction, you do not deserve to be paid? One can only be financially compensated if one is doing something one hates and cannot stomach? Jeez.

  • Reply Sarah @ 702 Park Project July 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Perfect, Thorsten! Blogging, for many, is a full time job. Why should you not be paid for working full time? Thank you for your response to this commenter, and for sharing it with us! :)

  • Reply Steve July 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    True dat, Thorsten!

  • Reply Pre July 29, 2014 at 4:03 am

    I personally never understood peoples need to publicly judge and put down others (does it come from their own unhappiness, superiority, jealousy, ignorance, simply a need to be heard? who knows…). If you don’t like what somebody is doing on their blog then simply stop reading it and move on to the next – no need to post negative comments. Earning income is hard enough to do in any industry. If somebody has figured out a way to do that (especially in a tough field like blogging), why would you post negative comments to potentially put their income in jeopardy? Would you want somebody walking into your workplace and speaking negatively about your work to your boss and co-workers? Again, if you don’t like the direction of the blog just move on.

    All of that being said, I do enjoy this blog, have been a follower for a while, and I very much agreed with (and loved the support of) your husband’s comment. Thank you for this post.

  • Reply Dawn July 29, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    New(ish) to your blog; first time commenting. I’m adding you to my bloglovin’ feed after I write this, because I’m interested in seeing more of the content your readers are praising in these comments. Best wishes to you for continued success… both personally and commercially.

    I find the backlash against bloggers who earn actual dollars from blogging bewildering. I really enjoy strolling through Target, perusing their displays, and getting ideas for decorating my own home. I inhale issues of Coastal Living like it’s my job. I never get angry that these entities are for profit. It doesn’t remove any magic to see a price tag (well, one that I can afford!). A lamp isn’t less beautiful because there’s an ad for it. Etc. I just don’t get that thought process.

  • Reply Inge July 31, 2014 at 10:03 am

    First of all… there’s a hint of jealousy in that comment left by Ushi. Because if she is a blogger too, she would know herself how hard it is to work on writing text, original content, taking pictures, thinking of what you can share and write next, etc etc.

    As a mommy of two boys now, I always struggle to find time but since I love blogging and my little online place so much, I don’t dislike finding time and writing away until the wee hours of the night. Because I know in my heart it will pay off someday. And I also had my doubts, I also thought some days: oh what the heck, I quit blogging. But no, because I love it, I keep and kept on going. I didn’t give up. Because just like Steve Jobs said: ‘when you find your passion, your heart will know. And if you haven’t, keep on looking until you find it.’ I couldn’t have said it better!

    So I will keep on blogging because I love it. And I too hope to earn some money from my blog in the future. Because WHAT in the world is wrong with getting hard-earned money from your blog? It would mean the world to me to get money out of what I love doing, because that means I made a job out of my passion. Just like Holly did.

    And indeed, I also think there’s a big bias against female bloggers who get paid for what they do (through e-classes, webshop, and so on). Why is it so hard to other women to understand that we bloggers put LOADS of energy, time, sweat and tears in what we love doing?

    I mean, since I started my own little blog back in 2010 with first having no clue what I was doing, I learned from Holly herself how you can take your blog to a next level and that if you work really hard, your dreams can come true.
    Holly is my inspiration, a sort of role model.

    She learned through her online classes that it is wrong to not ask money for what we do! Companies wouldn’t take us seriously! Because like Thorsten says here himself, a male journalist would start complaining from the beginning if he wasn’t getting paid. It is all so true what he replied to Ushi.

    I can only end with respect for Holly and Thorsten. And Holly, you have the best husband for supporting the way he does! Love you guys!! Keep up with your great work!
    Inge x

  • Reply angela July 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    It didn’t sound to me like she was bashing you earning a living as much as it draining the spirit out of the blog. I haven’t noticed it too much here but on some blogs it’s getting obnoxious. On other blogs I have stumbled upon their products accidentally – no clue they sold things after years of following .It’s awesome and special to do what you love. Rock on to making money but there is something negatively inherent in personal marketing to some people. Bottom line is you can’t please everyone.

  • Reply Alex July 31, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Lisa H,

    Lisa H,
    as a blog reader, I feel like if a blog has an “about me” or “team” page that represents one thing and it omits the fact that its really only pushing products, and my reading the blog contributes (however minimally) to the blog’s value, then I’ve been taken.

    I love that there is a vast library of opinions and ideas unleashed to the world. But when a blog represents that they are sourcing their own content, and you then learn that the content flow is really driven by the undisclosed free products they get or the deals (affiliate, ad, click through, etc) that they are negotiating, as a reader, I think you can legitimately be annoyed. And there is no reason why you should not tell the blog why you’re not clicking through as frequently, or why you are unsubscribing. And if you want that point to be made effectively, then you do it in comments.

    So while any reader can vote with their feet, its also a free world, and any reader can say, ‘”hey, you’re not doing what you said” as well.


  • Reply Milena Gruber August 1, 2014 at 3:07 am

    Wow this was amazing! I completely agree with your husband and I am glad he decided to reply and help you. I am an aspiring blogger and my dream is to become a full time blogger in which I can stay home, like you, and create content that will inspire others and myself too. I have not ran across any comments or bullying yet but I am sure as I continue on the blogging path and lifestyle, I am sure I will run into quite a few. The way your husband replied is something my husband would do and it is great to see you have such a strong partner beside you.

    You have definitely found a new follower in me and I can’t wait to keep on getting inspired every time I read your blog and follow your work.

  • Reply Sarah Spain August 1, 2014 at 4:25 am

    I have two thoughts:

    1. Git it GURRRL!

    2. Your husband rocks!

    This is just so awesome, and I love your site. Keep on keepin’ on!

    xoxo sarah

  • Reply Olivia August 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I just wanted to say – You go girl, your blog is wonderful and interesting and was recommended to me by someone I know and I see something that interests me every day from decor8, and I was just thinking earlier today “how does she think of something so original for every day”, before I even read this post. Also, well done for your husband for being so eloquent in the way he approached the reply to the initial comment that sparked this particular post.

    All the best,
    Olivia. x

  • Reply Katrin August 1, 2014 at 10:34 am

    This entry is just to support your approach. People should finally recognize that no service will remain free on the Internet when it has enough subscribers who can’t live without it. So if somebody still wants to maintain the illusion of getting quality services for free, that is their choice. I don’t think any professional should justify themselves in front of thus people. Often they haven’t reached professionalism in any area. If they would, they would understand how much effort goes into becoming recognized expert. I consider your blog not only professional and a joy to follow, but I personally am grateful for you doing all the work searching nice, tasteful things in the world for me. I would not be surprised if one day you could start offer a paid monthly subscription with extra services.

  • Reply Kelsey Finkle August 1, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
    That is all!

    • Reply decor8 August 1, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      @Kelsey AMEN!!!!!!

  • Reply Chrystina August 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Way to go Thorsten. All so true. Keep up the good work, lady! Always love reading along.

  • Reply Allison T August 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Bravo for writing such a wonderful post! Unfortunately I am not suppriswd at the negative nelly comment, it just goes back to the anonymous nature of the internet! People feel like they can say what ever they feel behind the guise of the internet, things they typically would not say to your face. As a new blogger I can honestly say I had no idea the hard work that is involved in blogging. I love to read post by bloggers who share the reality of blogging! It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, it’s hard work! I completely agree with your husbands comment, it is unfair how woman are held to a different standard. Thank you for being real with this post, so many people see all of the “big bloggers” perfect life but what they don’t see is the real life hardships behind the camera! My dream is to one day be able to turn my blog into a money making job but until then I am going to continue to post quality content.

  • Reply Jane August 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I read this post after years of on-again/off-again following of your blog. I admire successful entrepreneurs and I admire your work. I also believe that both growing and established businesses should always be open to scrutiny and criticism. To be clear, I don’t think you should be bullied for your growing success. But criticism, especially when it’s constructive, shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand as coming always from a place of meanness or envy.

    I have to say, I find it shocking that it’s your husband, not you Holly, who responded to your reader’s criticism. I know your husband works on the tech side, but you are the voice of this blog and it’s fascinating to me that this post reminds us you’re a “real business” while also hiding behind what the “Mr.” says. Moreover, he didn’t respond to the commenter as much as counter-accuse her of being sexist and stupid.

    Unlike the other commenters here, I found your husband’s response quite condescending. No, I don’t think anybody (including the original commenter) thinks you can or should make a living off rainbows and hugs. Did she even say that? Is she not allowed question or criticize a business or its content without her stance being portrayed as puerile? If a reader wrote a letter to the editor to the New York Times or to Vogue and mentioned that they felt the content had changed, had perhaps become more advertorial than editorial, do you think they would respond thusly? You want to remind us you’re a “real business” but this response does not feel like a professional one.

    Moreover, is your husband not exhibiting the same kind of sexism that he is accusing your critic(s) of? He says they don’t take your business as seriously because it’s run by a woman? But does he take their criticisms seriously by implying they are so uncomprehending of how a business is and should be run? Perhaps they’re not asking you to make an either/or choice between revenue and rainbows as much as pointing out that they feel (rightly or wrongly) like you’re losing some of your original voice in a blind pursuit of growing revenue.

    I think blog readers and the blog community should be always able to have a healthy discussion about editorial integrity, about monetization, sponsored content, diversification of a blog brands etc. After all, blogs are still a relatively young phenomena. The landscape is changing all the time and we’re all constantly re-establishing boundaries, finding new revenue streams, learning more about content creation, presentation, evolving engagement etc.

    Finally, as for the argument that readers don’t pay for content so have no right to be critical — well, yes and no. Readers, of course, should be aware that they are consuming content for free and that this forces a blogger to look for other revenue streams. However, the blogger should also be aware that without readers, her blog would not be attractive to those advertisers in the first place…

    • Reply decor8 August 4, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      @Jane – Hi Jane, you make some good points, thank you for commenting! We can agree to disagree on this I suppose, but I want you to know that I do appreciate your different perspective on this. Have a great week! – Holly xo

  • Reply Andrea August 4, 2014 at 2:40 am

    Hi Holly,
    As a brand-spanking-new blogger myself, I have to say that everything you have accomplished is inspiring and amazing. I have nothing but respect for bloggers who offer valuable content, and it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest if they make money while doing it.
    For some reason this brings to mind the hair-band wars of my youth (I’m dating myself here) but the minute one of those hair-bands got a hit single, there were always the nay-sayers who claimed they would never listen to that band again because they were “sell-outs!” Even at 14, I thought this was faulty logic.
    All the best to you (and your thoughtful and supportive husband)

  • Reply angela August 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm


    well said!

  • Reply Ame August 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Wow! I LOVE Thorsten’s reply! So well put, and so right.

    I have been blogging for 4 years, and I have not taken payment yet for anything. A lot of it stems from my feeling that if I get paid for it, or accept anything in exchange for “reviews” or “posts” that I am somehow less trustworthy and that my opinions are bought and paid for, vs completely genuine.

    My blog has cost me a great deal of money, but I felt like I needed to pay for these things to maintain my integrity. This year I spent a lot to have it designed by a professional, and moved to WordPress as a self-hosted entity so it would look less like a “free blog”. I have been debating how to handle my feelings about that whole “I feel dirty accepting payment” thing, with the “I am losing my ass paying for all this stuff myself”.

    I don’t have a problem with bloggers making money to at least offset costs. Writing a book that you will obviously later sell is a great brand extension of your blog. Teaching blogging, as you are a successful blogger with the experience to share, is a great brand extension of your blog. Both are great ways to earn income, and neither would be offensive, at least not to me.

  • Reply Julia August 8, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Holly, thank you so much for posting this. As a blogger I too have struggled with the idea of monetizing the blog and putting people off. And both of you made very good points when you expressed that people really shouldn’t expect so much for free. It’s your time and energy and creative juices going into the blog and it’s work. And of course you should be paid for it. If the reader is getting your content for free why shouldn’t you get paid in other ways? It’s not disrupting the reader, they still get your content and your voice.

    And I have to say, I was in tears reading Thorston’s comment. I loved his point about how it’s different for male writers, because that is not something that anyone seems to bring up in the mostly female world of blogging. Which definitely should change. Plus, his amount of respect for what you do was so apparent and loving. It reminded me of myself and others who having that loving someone in our lives who really believes in what we do. So thank you to Thorston for being such a great, supportive person. You hit the nail on the head with that comment.

    I’m a new reader but wanted to leave a comment telling you to keep rocking it and for making us readers grateful for a voice that’s not afraid to share.

  • Reply Liz August 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I can personally admit I’m guilty of being one of those types of commenters, but honestly, I think I had a good reason at the time. I came from Sarah’s Blog Love post , so I’m not a usual reader of yours. I think the way a person makes money with their blog comes into play: some have ad after ad after ad on their sidebar, thus stretching out the page, as well as link after link for advertising, and sometimes you’re led to a misleading page through a link they linked, and there’s no warning.

    I think as long as it’s done naturally, i.e. not too intrusive and not sleazy, it’s perfectly fine. The idea that bloggers shouldn’t have ads on their blogs is a bit insane. The idea that people shouldn’t try to make money in an honest way via their blogs is also insane.

    I tried it on my personal blog (6birds) before, but it didn’t go too well; it didn’t feel right, just because of the fact that it was more of a hobby, and making money wasn’t something I wanted to do through it. (I mean, there are other outlets I have.)

    If readers need another way to look at it, they could imagine scarce posts going up, if any, and maybe even no blog at all. It’s pretty approximate, but my post on the cost of a blog kind of explains further to those who don’t blog how blogging alone isn’t exactly free…

    ..and I think your husband is pretty awesome for being so supportive and whatnot!

  • Reply Shannon August 12, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Your husband is a gem…:) He nailed it perfectly and I’m in complete agreement.

    I get it all the time both with my art and with my jewelry. It’s like there’s something ‘wrong’ with charging for my time, talent and the years of learning and experimenting and perfecting and failing only to try again and again and again. My voice has VALUE just like yours does and this blog IS you.

    I’m working hard right now to make pieces fitting the vision I have for Gifted Designs and it’s future. I’m looking for new courses to take so I can more effectively and knowledgeably run my business and improve my abilities as a designer. I get constantly poo-pooed by well meaning people who don’t get how important it is for me to be financially viable doing what I love to do.

    This blog is one of the few I visit nearly every day. I don’t post very often just because most of the comments already reflect what I’m feeling…:) I’ve watched you decorate your son’s room and I am watching him grow on Instagram now. It’s something pretty damned special to see. There is nothing about this blog that is a selling machine. It has heart and I’m so SO glad you’ve chosen to share that with us.

  • Reply Anna Nahman August 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I think this person is just jealous for your success. I see absolutely NO problem if the blogger starts to earn money! You spend so much time and effort for it plus nobody really thinks that supporting a blog – hosting, design, equipment, photographing etc also costs a lot of money! I also have affiliate links, Etsy shop and some ads on my blog and I think only people who are interested will visit them – I am not forcing to click on them! I really love Thorsten’s answer! You guys do amazing job – I have been on your course and would recommend it to everyone!

  • Reply Chantal August 14, 2014 at 6:19 am


    It amazes me that is this day and age women are still judged and prosecuted (often by other women) for being intelligent, empowered and business minded. You make a living doing what you love, good on you! Isn’t that what we are told to pursue? A career we love? You have the love, support and respect of so many readers, bloggers and industry professionals. There will always be naysayers. The real question is are they happy or jealous?


  • Reply MrsP August 14, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Well said Mr. Becker!

    Holly, your blog hasn’t lost its whimsy, magic or sparkle. It’s a real source of inspiration and some of us really appreciate the passion and hard graft that goes into creating it.
    I never cease to be amazed by the rudeness that the anonymity of the internet breeds.
    Keep up the wonderful work Holly, and yah-boo-sucks to the naysayers!

    MrsP x

  • Reply Karen August 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    The bottom line, Holly, is that this is YOUR voice, YOUR vision, YOUR blog and YOUR world. We are invited into your space and welcomed to stay as long as we like. If someone takes offense at anything, they can leave. That is the way blogs work — you read by choice and you don’t read by choice. We choose YOUR blog because of all that you are and all that you share with us.

    I see your extension into curating products as a good thing. Every photo on your blog has us wondering where we might find such interesting and beautiful things for ourselves. YOU are providing that service by selecting those items that resonate with your sense of design. That is an added benefit to your readers and one that is most likely greatly appreciated by the majority of your followers.

    I wouldn’t spend much time thinking about any negative comments, Holly. You need to do what completes your vision for your blog, your space, and your life. As always, we are here to enjoy your sharing it all with us.

    Congratulations on a decision to enlarge your world and ours as well.


  • Reply {leah} August 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Such wise words from your husband. I have to agree on all points here. It’s ok to make a living doing what you do – the main point being to keep within the spirit of your writing and style – which you totally do. I personally love what you do. I wouldn’t expect to pick up a magazine that I purchase at a news stand and find it free of ads and cross promotions for their other publications – and I’m already paying for the content they’re giving me to start with. From one woman to another, “Go, Holly, go!” Live your dreams. And make a living doing it.

  • Reply Valerie October 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I am smiling to read the last two Paragraphs. Especially what your husband sais about women. How come women are expected to do it all for free and if not she is labeled as being too commercial or money oriented and a man is on the other hand if he charges good for his work is a successful man? Golden words from your husband, thanks so much.

    If someone asks me why a sponsored article costs money, they say ”you write about it anyway”…I answer that if you read a Design or Decor Magazine, you pay for it as well, how come the work of an online writer other than that?

    I think the most people, who are educated and modern could say that blogging is the new journalism. The freedom that bloging offers us as writers is to be commercial and provide reach content with a personal tone and voice on the blogs.

    I feel as a bloger that I put my soul and intellect when I write my articles. I do not sit and think, oh, how can I make money with this article. But I also think that what I try to provide online with my blog is not a diary for means of self expression only, it is an idea of beeing like an online magazine which inspires people and a community where people can exchange ideas. Do many other design bloggers feel the same? And if we see blogs as online magazines then why should the work for a writor, editor, designer would not be rewarded? If you want to read a magazine, you pay for it also…

    so I thinkg bloggers should free themselves from proving some people why blogfing is work which can and needs to be rewarded…

    Best Regards,

    p.s I just signed up for your Blog Boss e course and am excited to learn more about professional blogging..

  • Reply Anick Giroux November 28, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Hello Holly,

    I’m sorry to say that I haven’t read any of the comments left by the others, but I did read your blog post and I must say «Chapeau» to your husband. He took his pen out there and wrote exactly his thought and the truth on the matter.

    Blogging is being looked at has a hobby, but it ain’t. If for instance you replace the blogger title for journalist or writer, strangely everyone looks at you differently, but in the reality what is an actual blogger? It’s someone that writes. The only difference is the paycheque and employer. Some journalist and writter looks at us like ennemies too. On the other hand if there was a way like journalist or writer to be paid for blogging, I would be the first one in line to sign in probably, because then a lot of things would change for me and my family!

    Maybe we should make a blogger association?

    Holly, thank you for this generous and open heart post,


  • Reply The Fit Foodie February 28, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Love that hubby!

    As a fellow blogger, I know how much time and effort you put into your website – sharing information and valuable resources for free. You are absolutely right to monetise it in as many ways as possible so that you may continue to work on your passion. if people don’t like it – theres a thousand other blogs to look at.

    Keep up the awesome work!


  • Reply The Fit Foodie February 28, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Love that hubby!

    As a fellow blogger, I know how much time and effort you put into your website – sharing information and valuable resources for free. You are absolutely right to monetise it in as many ways as possible so that you may continue to work on your passion. if people don’t like it – theres a thousand other blogs to look at.

    Keep doing what you’re doing lovely. x


  • Reply Naomi Andrews June 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Hey Holly and Thorsten,
    I absolutely loved every word of this post! You have a lovely blog fill with beautiful content and incredibly helpful and resourceful tips. Reading what Thorsten was heart warming. I loved that you shared his response. I manage to blog once a week, I don’t think people realize the effort it takes to brainstorm, create content, photographs, edit, and write a post. Of course you should be able to turn that HARD work into a profit! Isn’t that the dream? I love to blog, right now it’s just a side project, but if I could turn it into a career, I’d be excited beyond words.

    Keep doing what you you do! You have a beautiful blog.

  • Reply Naomi Andrews June 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Hey Holly and Thorsten,
    I absolutely loved every word of this post! You have a lovely blog fill with beautiful content and incredibly helpful and resourceful tips. Reading what Thorsten was heart warming. I loved that you shared his response. I manage to blog once a week, I don’t think people realize the effort it takes to brainstorm, create content, photographs, edit, and write a post. Of course you should be able to turn that HARD work into a profit! Isn’t that the dream? I love to blog, right now it’s just a side project, but if I could turn it into a career, I’d be excited beyond words.

    Keep doing what you you do! You have a beautiful blog.

  • Reply Kelly June 5, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Reply marilen June 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Hello Holly,
    Thank you for posting this. I really needed this now because I just lost a possible collaboration project with a great brand. They wanted me to do workshops on Interior design for a very small amount of products. My agency didn’t approve of it and after a series of negotiations, they just had no budget. I recall one of your topics on our Blogging Your Way Workshop was not do work for free. I’m still a little sad but this was encouraging. Goodluck and love your new site!

  • Reply Lucy Chen July 7, 2015 at 5:37 am

    This is beautiful. Nothing more needs to be said!

  • Reply Annette - My Rose Valley April 27, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Holly
    I’m going through some old mailboxes while transferring all my data from my old computer to my shiny new one, and I found the link to this article and read it again.It is such a great post and it truly deserves to be in the lime light once again. I’m thinking of the new course coming up now with the “How To Work With Brands and Make Money On Your blog” theme… You should really lift this article forward again for your readers an students to take part of. Just a thought. 3 years later and this is still a major issue… So sad.

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