When I first started blogging, there wasn't as many beauty (and other) bloggers as there are now. Blogging has evolved a lot in the past few years and no doubt will continue to do so. Although I'd read blogs previously to starting my own, I didn't really have any preconceptions, I just sort of jumped in and went with the flow. If I started blogging today, then it would probably be a different story. I'd be likely to be overwhelmed and not have a clue about what I was doing. Beauty blogging and blogs in general are big business these days, however having blogged now for over two years and knowing what I do now, I still say that a blog is a blog and you shouldn't sell yourself short. I think theres a few things that people assume you need in order to blog but I can assure you that you really don't.
1. A DSLR
At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite as I do own a dslr camera (canon 1100d), I will say that having an expensive camera isn't a must for blogging. It sounds like a cliche, but it really is about how you take photos rather than the equipment used. A lot of compact cameras now do a great job at taking photographs and for the purposes of taking product photos or outfit photos etc, a cheaper camera or even the camera on your phone will do the job. My own camera was a birthday gift before I started blogging so it wasn't purchased for the sole purpose of this blog. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have invested in a dslr if I didn't own one previously - if you look at some of the photos on here from when I started you'll see that the quality is terrible on some of them. I'd say, get to know your camera, try and take photos in natural light (if possible) and have a few trial and error sessions to see how you can make best use of your space and camera.
Lighting, such as softboxes and rings can cost a hell of a lot of money. Depending on where you live, then you might be lucky enough to get a lot of natural light. Obviously in winter, its difficult to take photos especially if you're busy during the day. Lights do help with this problem but for the purpose of blogging I'm not sure spending hundreds on lights is necessary. There are a few DIY light box tutorials out there - I like this one here. and also this DIY reflector over on makeup savvy. Also a cheap lamp from Ikea would work well with a daylight bulb.
I've only ever used a free trial of photoshop but I didnt think it was worth buying for the purpose of blogging. Whilst photoshop is great in terms of design, for photo editing, there are some great free programs out there.
I have a post here comparing the best free photo editing sites - I personally use either pic monkey or ipiccy, though pixlr is great for collages and design.
4. Spending £££'s on a blog design
Now, this is obviously a personal decision but if you're not looking to spend a lot of money then you really dont need to. I've spent ages changing up my design and I have a few html tips here. If I can learn it then anyone can and its free to learn as there are all kinds of html information on the net. There's also lots of free templates too - I have one here. If you want something more unique, I highly recommend etsy as there are some beautiful designs for under £20 and also designers offering one of a kind templates.
5. A luxurious background for your photos
You dont need to splash out on things like candles etc if its not something you're going to use anyway. Likewise, you dont need to purchase specific things for backgrounds. I use things like bedding, throws, clothes, trays and even chopping boards. You can find free wallpapers samples in DIY stores and some shops may offer free fabric/paper samples.
6. Masses of products/clothes etc
As a blog grows, theres the potential for free samples/collaborations with companies. However, you dont need tonnes of samples to blog effectively. I have a post here on blogging on a budget. You can get a few free samples from makeup counters, certain sites online and magazines. I always think its good to think outside the box too when it comes to blog posts - just because your blog is aimed at beauty/fashion etc doesnt mean you have to post about those things. Remember its your blog and you can write about whatever you want.
Personally, I've never had any set goals when it comes to blogging. Sure, I'd like to improve my photography, writing skills etc but I've never set myself any targets and its completely ok not to. Likewise, if your using your blog to help with your career aspirations then thats ok too. Your blog is your online space, whether its your hobby or something more. Goals are great but sometimes I think they can add extra pressure. Its perfectly ok not to post everyday or to have x number of subscribers or x number of views. Whats they saying? Dont compare someone elses middle to your beginning.
I'm no blogging pro but I've seen a few bloggers recently say that they dont feel great about their blog. There are so many blogs out there, it can often feel overwhelming - I try to remember why I started my blog and the passion I have for it. You dont need tonnes of cash no matter how it may seem. Anyone can start a blog, which is the great thing about it!