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“You can’t do this because you think you’re making lots of money,” said Ty Alexander, founder of the fashion and beauty blog “Gorgeous in Grey.” This was one of many nuggets of wisdom Alexander passed along during a ColorComm event hosted by cosmetics brand Inglot USA.

There are a ton of women out there who would love the opportunity to fulfill their passion for beauty and fashion by becoming a full-time blogger on the subject. But, as anyone who actually does the job can tell you, making a living can be tough. If you’re not independently wealthy, paying your bills will be difficult to navigate without a strategy. Alexander is in her fourth year as a blogger and it was a long road of hard work to make this a true career.

Still, it’s been worth it. “Gorgeous in Grey” has been recognized by and Black Enterprise, and has become a source for other outlets like Bust and Essence. Alexander also talked a bit about a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show. You know you’ve got it when you’re sitting on stage next to Dr. Oz.

So first the fun stuff: one of Alexander’s major trends for the summer is color anywhere. That includes lips (maybe orange?) and toes (perhaps white?).

Now down to business: how do you make it as a fashion and beauty blogger?

“Blogging alone isn’t enough,” Alexander told MadameNoire after she wrapped up her Q&A session. “Find a niche. Show your face. Get on TV, in a magazine, something else to build a brand.” Here are some tips for basic brand building from a marketing expert we spoke with a while back.

Getting out there and making connections is also useful for brainstorming and building a presence on social media. For the social media aspect of things, it’s important to remember that this is “an extension” of the blog, Alexander says. Your content isn’t confined to your URL. So don’t waste your time and your brand-building space on things like silly memes. Alexander uses her social networks to continue setting the tone for her brand and to “curate” the content that she wants to be known for.

As a beauty and fashion blogger, your content should speak to the trends you support. Besides the actual looks themselves, Alexander stresses the need to be authentic. “If you’re always being authentic, you’ll always be on trend,” she says. More than just keeping an eye out for the latest in makeup application or hem length, speak to the ways you see these trends play out from your own perspective.

Finally, go back to the very first lesson you learned in kindergarten. “Always be nice to people you come in contact with,” Alexander said. “You never know what someone else is doing.” For instance, the person you’re sitting next to at the next beauty event you attend could be a blogger or a publicist with connections that you’d like to get to know. Don’t think the only important person in the room is the person behind the podium.

“You can be as talented as you want to be. If you don’t know the right people, you won’t get anywhere,” Alexander said before opening her arms wide for a hug and making her way around the room.

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