Happy Monday, lovelies!
I hope your weekend was amazing! Today, I’m interviewing Erica from Coming Up Roses for this month’s Girl Boss post (see previous Girl Bosses here). If you’re new, the Girl Boss series is a monthly collaboration showcasing advice from lady entrepreneurs that are killing it in the blogging world. Erica might be a familiar face to some of you and is not only known for her cute, casual attire but also for her expertise in the industry and love of helping others. She is very knowledgable when it comes to the business side of blogging and even created a course dedicated to pitching brands. She is a kind person that has helped me personally see the value in my brand, but also in myself. Check out the interview below!
Tell us about yourself:
Heyyoooo! I’m Erica – I write the blog Coming Up Roses…it’s something I hope to be a genuine source of inspiration + badassery, fun + affordable style, easy + achievable beauty, travel, + everything you could basically need as an ambitious 20-something. 🙂 My hubby’s name is Jamie, we’ve got three rescue cats – Moose, Pumpkin, and Purrcy, and we live right outside of Philly! I love red wine, strong coffee, bold lipstick, and kind people. Some other fun facts: I’d live on Sour Patch watermelons if I could, anytime I get blood drawn I faint, I know all the words to Fergalicious, and one time I blacked out in a max security prison. (Long story, it’s on the blog 😉 ).
Tell us about your journey to becoming a full-time blogger:
CUR was born in my college dorm room as a totally chill, fun side thing to give me an outlet away from corporate finance homework, which I thoroughly detested. 😉 I never in a million years thought I’d be blogging as my full time job a few years later! When CUR started, it was a once-a-week hobby with really bad photography and meh everything else. I loveloveLOVED writing – always have, always will – so it was really more of just a creative outlet for me than anything else, I’d say. For some reason, it started to catch on – I was totally overwhelmed with ideas and knew that once a week would not be enough for long. I upped it to 3x/week and expanded my topics, and in 2016 I underwent a big redesign of my website – I think that’s when things really started to pick up and take off. Brands had taken notice and I was making some money from it, doing what I love, so I definitely didn’t mind the hustle! Eventually, once it came time for me to graduate college, I had been considering other job opportunities but really knew that CUR had my heart and always would – I’d either be halfassing another job to just get to work on CUR in any free time, or I’d be working my butt off to just quit ASAP anyways to pursue the blog. At that point, I really felt like the one thing I needed was TIME – if only I had more time, everything else would fall into place and I’d make the money I truly needed to have a fulltime income from Coming Up Roses. That, and around that time, I learned a few totally life-changing lessons about valuing myself, my worth as a blogger, etc…and I ended up completely changing my rates for working with brands accordingly. ALSO, I started pitching myself. I knew that if I wanted to be a full-time blogger without having a panic attack every other Tuesday for fear of not being able to feed my family, I’d need some semblance of consistency and reliability (two things not often put in the same sentence as “blogging for a living”). I really honed in on the art of pitching and building relationships directly with brands (and then created a course about it), which was probably the biggest gamechanger for me. I went from hustling my ASS off and barely getting by, to still hustling…but making comfortable, consistent income and feeling SO MUCH MORE IN CONTROL of my life and business.
How has your blog evolved since you first began?
I’d say #1: the photography. If you scroll back through the archives…OY. So bad!! Ha! I knew absolutely diddly squat about photography, and that much is VERY obvious. I try to approach every single thing I publish today with just a different degree of professionalism – not that I didn’t try in the past, though! I think now, my take is much more “If my dream brand or dream reader stumbled upon this blog post as their first time being on CUR…would I be proud of that? Would I WANT them to see it? Or would I want them going somewhere else first instead?” Since we obviously can’t control someone’s path online and how they get to where they get on our websites, I really just learned to take EVERY part of it seriously and make sure the entire process is something to be proud of!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced with blogging and how did you overcome it?
I’d say it’s a two-fer…managing time and effectively communicating my worth. For time management, I had to get comfortable with the idea of investing in my business for it to be investment-worthy. If I wanted to operate at a professional level, I had to get sereious and be OK with delegating some things out if they’re better suited for someone else’s time and expertise. For example…web development. I know nothing about it. If my website needs backend work, I’m not the gal for the job – but having a down website or something that doesn’t perform efficiently when readers are ON it means I’m not serving them well, which is no bueno! So hiring a web developer made sense, so that someone else’s expertise could totally be in control there. And knowing + communicating my worth…it was such a work in progress. I had no one to hold my hand, so it was a lot of guesswork and estimation and negotiation and conversation until I figured out what worked and what didn’t and what was more of an industry “norm.” And then I created a course to help other bloggers in the way I never had, to save soooo much time and mental energy holy moly. Ha!
What are some common misconceptions about blogging?
That it’s easy. That anyone can do it. That it’s just a matter of hitting publish on something and VOILA. Internet fame and fortune! Ha! It’s really SO much work to do well – you play so many roles and wear so many hats. Writer, editor, content creator, social media manager, photographer, accountant, stylist, personal assistant and inbox manager – the list goes on! You’ve gotta be able to juggle multiple tasks well.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?
Favorite: My readers and community. I feel SO STINKIN BLESSED to have such a boss group of women following along with Coming Up Roses. After 5+ years, they really feel like my friends and family. Which is so crazy to me! But it’s absolutely amazing being able to have an outlet to connect with other women, and to connect them with each OTHER, and to create something bigger than myself.
Least favorite: Jerk brands who still don’t understand how to create a marketing budget. *sigh*
Can you give us a peek into what a typical day is like?
I wake up at 6 typically to publish the day’s post! My mornings are spent in my inbox handling anything urgent, signing contracts, drinking coffee and getting ready for the day, writing the next day’s post, and letting my audience know what’s new via all of my social platforms. After lunch, I typically try to tackle any off-computer tasks, like shooting photography, running errands for shoot supplies, hopping on calls with brands, etc. By the afternoon, I’m ready to hit anything not urgent but important, like growth and development, updates to BossPitch, etc. And I spend more time in my inbox before calling it quits for the day! TBH, I feel like I’m always in my inbox…ha!
What advice do you have about remaining authentic in the digital space?
Ignore the noise and do YOU. Stop trying to do what someone else does because it feels “popular” – put YOUR readers and followers first and always aim to serve THEM. What serves Sally’s audience may be the exact opposite to serve yours – so just put them first and constantly align your content with what they want and need to ensure you’re really being of value to them!
What has been your biggest “pinch me” moment?
That’s a tie between my first ever press trip – which was to Mexico – my press trip to Disney World, and speaking on a panel at a conference and having the chance to meet a lot of CUR readers. All were just so SURREAL to me and were so humbling.
If you weren’t blogging, what would you be doing?
Most likely working in brand strategy or creative directing in an agency setting! Or, in my dream world, being a dolphin trainer.
What is the most common thing you see new bloggers doing that could prevent them from building their online presence?
Forgetting to always prioritize creating genuine value first and foremost. I see so many girls start and jump right into things that really big, popular bloggers do frequently, like big Q&As or what’s in my bag…but people don’t KNOW you yet! I think it’s so important to build your crowd by serving them and being so insanely valuable to them in their everyday life that they can’t help but come back over and over again – and THEN, things like Q&A’s will be natural, because you’ll actually be getting a ton of questions! Create a strong brand and create a reason for folks to keep coming back. And they will!
What advice would you give to those wanting to start a blog?
Be so insanely consistent from the very start, and always invest in yourself. Even if you’re only blogging once a week (like I was!), make it the same exact day every week so that people know when to expect a new post (for me, it was Hump Day – woo woo!). Make it so that you are recognizable online! And never be afraid to smartly invest in yourself. I’ve spent so much money over the years on courses and classes to learn skills I didn’t have but knew I needed – and as a broke college girl, that was no joke. It was HARD, but I just made sure to try to make decisions that were as smart as possible to know that it would specifically help me reach XYZ goal.
Words to live by:
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” Also: MAKE IT HAPPEN!
What are your thoughts on this interview?