by Rich Lopez
So you want to start a sneaker blog?
Throughout my eight years running KixandtheCity.com, I regularly received two questions:
- How many sneakers do you own?
- How do I start my own sneaker blog?
The first question usually came from a person outside of sneaker culture. It’s the type of person that couldn't fathom owning nearly 1000 pairs of sneakers and and was equal parts impressed, shocked, and disgusted.
The second question always came from a person within the culture. I personally could never distinguish if this person was truly passionate about sneakers and was looking to bring value to it through a blog or just looking to hop on the train for some free shoes and e-fame. It’s strange that a person would ask me how they could start their own sneaker blog. Why are you asking me how you can be my competition? And why are you asking me how you can start your own sneaker blog instead of asking me if I was hiring?
I doubt that people looking to make it in the tech field would ask Bill Gates how they could start their own software giant. They'd probably ask him for a job, or even an internship, first.
Now, I'm not directly comparing a sneaker blog to a software giant, but if you actually want to start and run your own successful sneaker blog, and I'm going to assume you want it to be successful enough to financially support your lifestyle. There are many direct parallels between starting and running Microsoft and a starting and running a sneaker blog.
Back to "How can I start my own sneaker blog?" I always answered it with a question that was designed to really have the person think about what they were getting into. It was something to the tune of, "Are you ready to work 24/7 and give every ounce of your focus, energy, and effort to it?"
One might look at the tweets, Instagram pics, the videos, etc. and think that running a sneaker blog is a glamorous job filled with free sneakers, all-expense-paid trips, and parties with sneaker legends. One might also look at the end product of a sneaker blog, often a simple post with pictures and some text or a quick Youtube video, and think that it is easy enough to do. Well, I'm here to tell you that starting and running your own sneaker blog is far from glamorous and far from easy.
Starting and running your own site is a lot of hard work, sweat equity, and sleepless nights. You must understand that you aren't actually starting and running just a sneaker blog, you’re actually starting and running a global business, you know, like Microsoft.
I could write a book on this topic but I'm going to attempt to keep the overall difficulties brief by breaking them down into two categories: difficulty of the business and the difficulty of the heart.
While the scale and scope of an independent sneaker blog may be different from let's say an ESPN and a Sole Collector, the backbone is the same. The goal of any business is to make money and as such, you need to understand business as a whole. You need to know your specific business how to make money from it. I personally graduated from one of the top universities in the country with a degree in business administration, with dual concentrations in marketing and management information systems. Now I'm not saying that you need those type of credentials to start a sneaker blog, but it does take that level of studying and learning, either formally or self taught, to start a successful global business. Even though the end product of a sneaker blog might appear simple, many of the successful entrepreneurs and sneaker bloggers are a lot more intelligent and skilled than you might think.
In addition to the background knowledge required to start and run your own successful sneaker blog, it takes constant learning, evolving, adapting, ideation, creation, etc. to compete in a crowded and constantly evolving space. It takes skill development across web administration, time management, writing, editing, photography, design, video production, social media, SEO, technology, analytics, public speaking, working with people, marketing, advertising, technology, accounting, and much more.
You have to constantly find ways to compete. You have to constantly evolve. You have to constantly assess what works and what doesn't work. You have to work with people from around the world. You have to deal with the pressure, the deadlines, and the speed. You have to succeed and you have to fail, and then you have to do that, over and over again. You can never turn off.
I never took a vacation in eight years at KATC. When I did leave the office for a weekend vacation, I worked everyday. I worked on and posted several times on my wedding day. I posted several times while on my honeymoon.
I'm sure that you love sneakers and love sneaker culture, but if you start and run your own blog, you’ll find yourself doing things, at least at times, that are designed to make money more than they are designed to provide value to the culture. And even though it might not be that serious, you'll probably end up feeling terrible about it. Afterall, you are running a business and the goal of that business is to make money, so you shouldn't feel too bad about the click bait. You shouldn't feel too bad about posting about kids losing their lives over sneakers, or sneaker stores getting looted and robbed, or creating the hype that influences kids to sleep outside for days with the hope of buying a pair of sneakers that they can't afford. After all, you have to make money, I guess, and there are certain things that you just have to do.
All in all, if you haven't figured it out already, it's damn hard to start and run your own successful sneaker blog. I started and ran my own successful sneaker blog, or better yet, global media business, for eight years. Even though I will say that it was incredibly rewarding and an amazing experience that allowed to me to do things that I had only previously dreamed of, it was also the most difficult eight years of my life.
So today, if you asked me, "How can I start my own sneaker blog?" I'd answer, "Don't."
Rich Lopez founded KixandtheCity.com and is now a writer for hire in New York. You can follow him on Twitter here.