Who: Aftab Pathan
What: Fresh and Fearless
Where: Bournemouth, England
Aftab Pathan divides his time between studying biochemistry in London and covering a wide range of topics on his blog. Aftab and I first met on a Twitter chat for bloggers, and I was immediately impressed by his creative restaurant reviews and blogger meetups. In our relatively smaller community of male bloggers, most of focus solely on fashion, so in my opinion we can all learn a thing or two from Aftab and the way he has spearheaded a fun and unique niche as a male blogger.
1. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in April 2013. It's been three years already but it only feels like yesterday. I started Fresh And Fearless because I was struggling with my move from my small town in Bournemouth to the big smoke, London. I was also at a time in my life where I was unmotivated and not very happy in life.
2. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Fresh And Fearless was something that hit me whilst I was studying for my A-levels. I was never a fearless person, in fact quite the opposite. However, starting my blog I had every intention of moulding myself to become this fearless person I have always wanted and needed to be. I also thought blogging would give me a fresh start, something to look forward to and give me a new lease of life—which it has. To everyone it’s just a short snappy name, but for me there is a lot of meaning behind it.
3. Do you blog full time or do you have a day job?
I wish I could blog full time, but I try my best to blog at least three times a week. I’m a university student studying Biochemistry, so it certainly is not easy to balance the two, but I have managed for the past three years!
4. What was the biggest mistake you made in your early days of blogging?
My biggest mistake was not using social media to share my blog posts earlier. I never wanted anyone to read my content, nor did I want anyone to even know I had a blog. It was only 8 months to a year later that I started opening up. There was a whole new world to blogging on social media and I wish I had discovered it from the very start.
5. What keeps you motivated when you feel burnt out from blogging?
My motivation comes from my love of my blog. I’ve created my very own piece of the web and spend over 1,000 days working away at it, sharing it over social media, writing posts, talking to PR, working on collaborations and it would be a shame to just give it all up. However, breaks are always required.
6. Which social media platform drives the most traffic back to your blog?
I would say Twitter brings in the most traffic for me. It’s such an easy way to share and help others grow as bloggers and push traffic towards their blogs. Many of my blogger friends will actively retweet each other in order to push traffic, which is one of my favourite things about the blogosphere.
7. Is your blog still your #1 effort, or is a social media channel becoming more important?
I still believe and will always believe that followers and readers come with good content. If your writing and photography is not up to standard, nobody will want to come back or read your posts. Therefore, I always put all effort into my blog and any spare time I put towards my social media/scheduling.
8. Where do you find most of your revenue is coming from? Sponsored posts, advertising, or something else?
To date, most of my revenue has come from sponsored posts. I have never offered advertising, nor will I ever. I don’t see the point in advertising as many people will visiti your blog because they have an interest in what you write about and very few times will people click on a button to leave your site to someone else’s.
9. How much do you think the design of your blog influences reader engagement? How did you come up with your aesthetic?
I think it’s important to have a clear and readable blog. If it’s cluttered, people get distracted easily and therefore the main reason they came to your blog (i.e. to read a certain post) will have been lost. Also if the text is really difficult to read, people will not want to squint to try and make out what it says, they will simply leave your site.
10. If you could describe the look and feel of your blog in one word, what would it be?
11. How would you describe your personal style? How do you find the right balance between style and lifestyle content?
My personal style is based around a smart concept, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find me in converse and jeans from time to time. I like to dress according to the weather, event being attended etc., whilst keeping a running smart and elegant element to it.
12. What unique challenges do you face as a male blogger?
I would say the biggest challenge is being undermined for your talents as a blogger, especially as the blogosphere is saturated by successful female figures. It is still hard for people to get past the concept that men cannot do it as well, but after three years I like to think I have proved many people wrong.
13. You often host blogger meetups. How did you start and what is the best part of meeting fellow bloggers?
I have hosted one blogger meet up which was during summer 2015. I had a great turn out of around 25 of us, which was grand. However, I tend to meet up with my blogger friends in smaller groups of 5-6 people over drinks or brunch. I started meeting people at events. The first few I ever went to I knew nobody and it was somewhat nerving but you just have to look past the existing connections and introduce yourself. You are likely to see them again at some point, therefore friendships develop over time. The best part of meeting bloggers is that initial connection you get, especially with those you have connected with over social media for a long time and finally meet. Most of my close friends are now bloggers and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
14. What male and female bloggers inspire you? Who would you like to have a drink with?
My only idol is male fashion blogger I AM GALLA. Ever since I started my blog, I idolised him and his ability to make anything he wears look good. He seems like a genuine guy from social media too. Therefore, I would love to sit down and have a drink with Adam and talk all things fashion and blog related.