From Broke & Unemployed to Full-Time Blogger & Digital Nomad in Less Than 2 Years
There was a point in my life not that long ago when I was unemployed, reeling from heartbreak, and hella broke. Every day felt worse than the last, and 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?"
Thankfully, the Universe had other plans for me. Today, 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. In a few short weeks, I'm leaving my hometown behind to travel North America in an RV.
Sometimes I feel like someone seriously needs to pinch me. And here's the craziest bit of all. That sad, lonely, super-broke Krista — that was me less than two years ago. In less than two years, my life has transformed from sadness, hopelessness, and monotony to abundance, success, and total freedom. 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 that 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 in your life, and where you're at right now, you always have the ability to turn things around. You are the sole creator of your destiny. Do you recognize how powerful you truly are?
If you dream of blogging full-time and traveling/working remotely, there’s never been a better time to turn those dreams into reality. I hope that my story inspires you to chase after your dreams and make them happen! Here’s what I’ll be sharing with you:
My blogging "background" and how long I've been blogging for
The advantages I had going into blogging, and how to identify and make the most of your unique skill set
The disadvantages I had to overcome along the way
The best things I did in the early stages of blogging that had a huge impact on my success
The next steps to take if you're ready to build a profitable 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 most definitely is not.
Blog Beautifully has only been around since April of 2016, and I started my very first blog back in... 2005 (8th grade!). I can still vividly remember my first blog. It was hosted on the “Blogger” (Blogspot) platform, and I named 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. But by high school, I'd found a new passion: Beauty videos on YouTube. As a makeup-obsessed 16-year-old, I decided to try my own hand at making my own beauty videos. I started a beauty channel on YouTube and ran it for over a year without telling anyone about it, but then I 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 in particular that was called, "Welcome To My Vanity", and another one called, "Love, Krista". I also started a new YouTube channel a few months after I graduated university and moved to Vancouver Island, but that one fell to the wayside quickly, too.
I did keep up the Love, Krista blog for a while. And soon enough, beauty brands were reaching out to me, sending me free products, and asking to collaborate on sponsored posts. Around this time, I went back to school to get my Esthetics license. Unfortunately, my interest in the beauty world started to wane as I got older, and I felt like I needed something new and fresh to hold my attention.
In early 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’d learned over the years, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
In April of 2016, Blog Beautifully went live for the world to see. And as they say, the rest is history! The concept behind Blog Beautifully has shifted over time, but what hasn't changed is my passion for what I do. I think that makes all the difference!
Nowadays, I'm a "full-time blogger" (kind of a weird title, but I sort of love it) and so incredibly blessed to have achieved both time and financial freedom by age 25.
My advantages & 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 skills to the table. In other words, we all have strengths that help up stand out online and become successful.
If you're thinking, "Not me! I'm boring, I hate social media, and I have no business training whatsoever," — trust me, you have special traits and skills that will help you stand out online. You just need to identify them and own them.
So you can see what I mean, here are a few of my special traits and "advantages" that helped me get a leg up as a blogger:
1. i’m a weird mix of left-brain and right-brain.
You'll often hear people say that they're either "right-brained" (artistic, creative, linguistic) or totally "left-brained" (analytical, good at math and science, etc.).
I have a feeling that if you could somehow test me, I'd be a pretty even split right down the middle. In school, I always did well in English and Science, Math and Creative Writing. Go figure.
What does all this mean? It means that I'm able to write great blog posts and learn tech-y things like Facebook ads and Google Analytics. I try not to take this for granted because I know that not everyone is made this way.
2. i have Good public speaking and conversational skills.
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 total strangers, but it eventually became second nature.
What does this mean for me as a blogger? It means that Facebook Lives and webinars don’t scare me in the slightest. It means that making small talk and connecting with new people feels very easy and natural for me, which is hugely beneficial when building relationships online.
3. I literally had to sink or swim.
A month before I started Blog Beautifully, I quit my job.
Technically, 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 when I started my website meant that things were "sink or swim" from day one. This forced me to work hard and learn quickly. I was able to earn $1,000 in only my third month of running Blog Beautifully, and my income continued to increase 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?
The disadvantages I had to overcome
Of course, everything isn't always all sunshine and rainbows. There were also a lot of hurdles I had to overcome along the way.
1. Having ZERO business training.
My education includes 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 myself as a business, etc.).
But hey, if I can get through it, so can you! And I promise that kind of stuff becomes 10x easier over time.
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" part of my brain. Nope.
Although my website is pretty cute nowadays, it definitely wasn’t always a nice sight to look at. I’ve had to learn a lot about design over the past two years! I also think that investing in a nice website (whether that means purchasing a professional template or hiring someone to create it for you) is one of the best investments you’ll ever make for your blog.
3 things that helped me grow & make money quickly
Lots of people think it's absurd to earn a full-time income within six months of starting a new blog, but that was the case for me. There were a few key things I did in the early days that helped me get there...
1. I jumped in headfirst.
Like I mentioned earlier, it was sink or swim from Day 1 and that forced me to get creative and really go all in. I started taking coaching clients in May, only a month and a half 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.
2. I created a Mastermind group.
I truly believe that masterminds are game-changers. I've been part of several mastermind groups in the past, and they’ve all skyrocketed my blog and business 10x faster than what I could have achieved on my own.
Don’t hesitate — start or join a mastermind a.s.a.p. You won’t regret it.
3. I diversified my profit strategies.
Since the very beginning (and still to this day), I never put all my eggs in one basket. I constantly test out different ways of making money online. If you're curious, here are the strategies I've personally had success with:
Offering virtual services (blog coaching and Pinterest services)
Writing and selling ebooks
Offering my digital products as bonuses for other people's paid offerings
The next step in my story (and your next step!)
My next step is packing up all of my belongings and setting off to travel around North America for the next 4-6 months. The next step for you? Go after your dreams! Know that anything you want can be yours. Just look at me! If I can transform my life in only two years, so can you.