There was a point in my life when I was painfully unemployed, reeling from a heartbreak, and hella, hella broke.
Every day seemed worse than the last, and I felt like I was running out of options. I remember thinking, “Is this it for me? Is this the ‘big plan’ for my life? To wind up alone, bitter, and working at a minimum wage job for the rest of eternity?”
Thankfully, the Universe had other plans for me.
Today, I’m proud to say that I’m my own boss.
I work from home as a “full-time” blogger, and I earn great money that more than pays the bills every month. In a few short weeks, I’m leaving my hometown behind and spending a year travelling around North America with my amazing partner, Scott.
Sometimes I look at my own life and feel like someone needs to pinch me. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
And here’s the craziest bit of all: That sad, lonely, super-broke Krista – that was less than two years ago. In under two years, my life has transformed from sadness and monotony to abundance, success, and unlimited possibility. And today, I want to share a bit of my story with you.
Why I’m Sharing My Story
Besides the fact that I haven’t talked much about my background and personal life on my blog (and I get lots of questions about it!) I want to share my story with you for one major reason…
To show you that YOU can achieve all of these amazing things, too!
No matter where you’re coming from, what you’ve been through, and where you’re at in your life right now, YOU have the ability to turn things around. You are the sole creator and shaper of your destiny.
Do you recognize how powerful that is?
If your biggest dream is to blog full-time, own an online business, or travel and work remotely, now is the time to turn those dreams into a reality. And this post will help you do just that.
Here’s what I’ll be sharing with you today:
+ My blogging “background” and how long I’ve been blogging for
+ The advantages I had going in, and how to identify and amplify YOUR skill set
+ The disadvantages I had to overcome along the way
+ The best things I did in the early stages that had a huge impact on my success
+ The next steps to take if you’re ready to grow and monetize your blog
Let’s dive in.
My Blogging “Resumé”
I’ve been blogging for a long, long time. I think a lot of people assume that Blog Beautifully is my first blog, but it definitely is not. Blog Beautifully has only been around since April 2016, and I started my very first blog back in… 2005 (8th grade!)
I still remember my first blog. It was hosted on Blogger, and I’d called it, “Sunshine Sketches” (after Stephen Leacock’s “Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town”).
Did I share sketches or artwork on my blog? Absolutely not, I’m a terrible artist. If memory serves me, I shared a mixture of “artsy” (read: terrible) photos I’d snapped with my $50 digital camera, and bits and pieces from a “novel” I was writing at the time. *Shudder*. As you can probably guess, that blog didn’t go very far.
By high school, I’d found a new passion: Beauty videos on YouTube. Being a makeup-obsessed 16-year-old, I decided to try my hand at making my own beauty videos. I ran a beauty channel on YouTube for a year (without telling anyone about it) but stopped making videos when I started university and my work/school schedule became too demanding.
Throughout university, I ran a couple of other blogs off-and-on. I remember one was called, “Welcome To My Vanity”, and the other was called, “Love, Krista”. I also started a new YouTube channel a few months after graduating university, but that one fell to the wayside quickly, too (commitment issues, much?!)
I did keep up the Love, Krista blog, however. And soon enough, beauty brands were reaching out to me to send me free products and collaborate with them on sponsored posts. During this time, I also went back to school for an Esthetics license to add more “credibility” to my blog.
Unfortunately, my interest in the “beauty world” began to wane as I got older (today, I rarely even wear makeup!) and I needed something new and fresh to hold my attention.
In the beginning of 2016, I made the decision to start a new blog centered around helping OTHER beauty bloggers work with brands and make money online. I loved talking about blogging and sharing what I knew, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
In April of 2016, Blog Beautifully was born. And as they say, the rest is history! The concept behind BB has shifted over time (I no longer focus solely on helping beauty bloggers, and I mix in some woo-woo stuff for fun), but what hasn’t changed is my passion for what I do. And I think that’s what makes all the difference!
Nowadays, I’m a “full-time blogger” – kind of a weird title, but I’m going with it – and so, SO incredibly blessed. To have achieved both time and financial freedom at age 25 is a pretty crazy and amazing thing!
My Advantages Going In & How to Discover Yours
You’ll often hear my say that ANYONE can be successful as a blogger, and I say that because I believe we all bring unique advantages and skills to the table. In other words, we all have strengths and superpowers that help up stand out online and become successful.
If you’re thinking, “Not me! I’m ugly, boring, and have NO business training whatsoever.” – TRUST ME, you have special traits and skills that will allow you to make a name for yourself as a blogger. You just need to identify them and then OWN them.
For instance, here are a few of MY special traits and “advantages” that helped me get a leg up as a blogger:
1. A combination of left-brain and right-brain thinking.
You’ll often hear people say that they’re either super “right-brained” (artistic, creative, linguistic) or totally “left-brained” (analytical, good at math and science, etc.) I have a feeling if you tested me, I’d be a 50/50 split right down the middle. In school I always did well in English AND Science, Math AND Creative Writing. Go figure.
What does this mean? Well, it means that I’m able to write great blog posts AND learn tech-y stuff like Facebook ads and Google Analytics.
I try not to take this ability for granted, because I know that not everyone can switch back and forth between these two different modes of thinking. (P.S. If it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn here, don’t worry – in just a minute I’m going to tell you all the things I suck at!)
2. Good public speaking and conversational skills.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I was a waitress for a LONG time. Like, eight years. And that means I talked to a LOT of different people from a LOT of different walks of life. At first it was scary trying to make conversation with strangers, but now it’s second nature for me.
What does this mean for me as a blogger? It means that doing Facebook Lives and webinars doesn’t scare me. It means that making “small talk” is just part of my personality that can be turned on with very little effort, and it gives me confidence during coaching calls and video presentations.
3. I literally had to sink or swim.
A month before I started Blog Beautifully, I quit my job.
Logistically, I quit because Scott and I were moving to a new city, but at the same time, I saw our move as an opportunity to act on a calling I’d had for a while: To try my hand at “full-time” blogging and see if I could make it.
Some people would look at unemployment as a disadvantage, but I chose to see it in a different light. Instead, this was my BIG SHOT. My chance to pursue a dream I’d had for years. And if I failed, hey – I could always go out and get another job!
Not having a steady paycheck meant that things with my new blog were “sink or swim” right from day one. This forced me to work hard and to learn quickly. I was able to earn $1,000 by June (my third month of running Blog Beautifully) and my income continued to grow from there.
Now it’s your turn: What special skills, knowledge, and advantages do YOU have that will set you apart and help you become successful as a blogger? Some of your advantages might be the same as mine, but chances are they’ll be totally different.
If you need more help in this area, be sure to read this post on identifying your superpowers as a blogger.
The Disadvantages I Had to Overcome
Of course, everything isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. There were a lot of hurdles I had to overcome along the way, like…
1. Having ZERO formal business training.
I have a degree in Psychology and an Esthetics license. Read: I’ve never taken a single class in business, marketing, or entrepreneurship. By far, the biggest challenges I’ve faced over the last year have been related to the “business” side of blogging – tracking my finances, creating contracts, paying taxes, registering as a business, etc.
But hey, if I can get through it, so can you! And don’t worry, that kind of stuff becomes 10x easier over time and the more you do it. I found a great resource in my friend Jackie’s site, Jade & Oak. Definitely check it out if you need to learn more about the legal side of blogging!
2. Sucking at design.
As someone who LIVES for creative writing (and is pretty good at it, if I do say so myself), you’d think that maybe the creative genes would have rubbed off in the “artistic” and “design” parts of my brain.
To prove my point, let’s have a looksie at one of my “designs” (if you’d even call them that) from a mere one year ago…
Yea… Bad. BAD bad.
Thankfully last summer I stumbled across an amazing course on Adobe Illustrator that gave me the confidence to upgrade to a premium design program (and seriously uplevelled my skills). My designs still aren’t my #1 asset, but they get the job done. Plus, when I need something more extravagant, I can always outsource to a graphic designer.
THE TAKEAWAY: Don’t stress over the stuff you aren’t great at. Take a course to improve your skills or simply outsource those tasks until you can handle them yourself.
The Things That Helped Me Grow & Monetize Quickly
Lots of people think it’s absurd to earn a full-time income within 6 months of starting a new blog, but there were a few key things I did in the early days that helped me get there (and keep in mind that Blog Beautifully wasn’t my first blog).
1. I jumped in headfirst.
Like I mentioned earlier, it was sink or swim from day 1, which forced me to get creative and go ALL IN. I started taking coaching clients in May, only my second month after launching Blog Beautifully. I started managing Pinterest accounts in June, and I created my first online course at the start of July.
None of these things brought in thousands of dollars right away, but together they made enough money to pay my bills and show me that I could stay home and continue blogging and building up my business.
THE TAKEAWAY: Jump in! You’ll never feel 100% ready for anything, so get comfortable ditching the “wait period” and giving it your all ASAP.
Related Read: The #1 Thing Holding You Back & How to Create an MVP For Your Blog
2. I created a Mastermind group.
I’ve talked about Masterminds before, and I truly believe they’re game-changers. I’ve been a part of two Mastermind groups in the past, and both have skyrocketed my blog and business 10x faster than what I could have achieved on my own.
THE TAKEAWAY: Start or join a Mastermind. My current group has 3 awesome ladies, and we use Slack to communicate. I really can’t recommend Mastermind groups enough!
3. I diversified my monetization strategies.
Since the very beginning (and to this day), I never put all of my eggs in one basket. I constantly try new and different ways of making money online. The days of being able to live off of ad revenue or sponsored posts are disappearing fast, so it’s time to diversify your income!
If you’re curious, here are the monetization strategies I’ve personally used with success:
+ Offering services – blog coaching and Pinterest-related services
+ Affiliate marketing
+ Writing and selling ebooks
+ Creating and selling online courses
+ Offering my digital products as bonuses for other people’s paid offerings
THE TAKEAWAY: Mix things up, and don’t be afraid to test out different methods to find the ones that work best for you, your niche, and your audience.
The Next Step In My Story (And Yours!)
The next step in my journey is packing up all of my belongings and setting off to travel around North America (and maybe even Europe!) for the next 12 months. Speaking of, be sure to follow me on Instagram so you know when I’m in your area – I’d love to meet up and squeeze you!!
The next step for you? It’s to put yourself out there. To go after your dreams, knowing that anything you want in your life is possible. Just look at me! If I can transform my life in two short years, so can you.