How I Started A $2.5K/Month Blog About Motherhood, Life And Travel
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Asia Crawford and I am a Motherhood, Life, and Travel blogger that resides in Vancouver, Canada. I am a wife and mother to two sweet little girls aged 4 and 2!
I started my blog back in July of 2018 to help mothers feel like they can relate to someone, to share budgeting and frugal life and travel tips, and just to have fun!
I tried to build this unique niche in being a frugal motherhood blog where I incorporate how we live in this expensive city but how we do because we are frugal and big-budget people. In just two years of blogging, I have been able to help my family financially by bringing in anywhere between $1,500 - $3,000 extra dollars every month and have been able to grow at a really quick rate.
I started with no community, 0 followers on any media page I had and in just two years have grown to 18.5K followers on Instagram, 1.2 MILLION monthly viewers on my Pinterest, 12.5K Pageviews a month on my blog website and have been nominated for 3 blogging awards.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
The purpose of starting my blog was to have some form of outlet and “passion project” if you will that would allow me to have creative space outside of being a wife and a mother. If you are a mom you know the work that comes with it and sometimes day in and day out you just feel like you have nothing for YOU, and I wanted to create something that I could have for ME and kind of get lost in and take my mind off of my other duties.
When I was pregnant for the first time, it was a HUGE shocker for my husband and me. We had no family around and I didn’t really know what to expect. I really relied on blog posts I found through Pinterest to prepare me.
When I got pregnant with my second baby, I was working as an accounts manager assistant, at a job I couldn’t stand. I was miserable and I knew I DID NOT want to go back to that after having TWO kids to take care of. Knowing I had all this financial background as I had been in that world for over 10 years, and now a mother of two, It came to me there might be a way to combine my knowledge in finance, with my everyday life and motherhood stuff.
We were financially doing fine, normal average wages, but I knew with two kids, I wanted to financially help out in a way that I enjoyed. I needed something that wouldn’t add extra stress to my day, and maybe a way I can incorporate my kids into my work so we are always together. I told my husband my idea to start a blog. I promised him I had done SO much research that I KNEW I could make something out of it. All I really wanted to be able to bring in eventually was $1,200/month because that’s what my maternity leave was. In my mind, if I could match that, we’d be fine.
I had so many inspirations from bloggers who were making money blogging, through sponsored blog posts and sponsored Instagram posts and I knew I could somehow get there! And I did, and then some!
I had ZERO ideas of how to build a website or really start a professional-looking blog. I literally went to the school of YouTube and self-taught myself EVERYTHING.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
The design process behind creating content for paid partnerships is actually quite extensive. I don’t think many people realize just HOW time-consuming the work behind a simple Instagram post is, but it’s a lot. First of all, you have the communication back and forth with the brand for a while until you can reach a mutual consensus on payment, payment terms, deliverables, timelines, etc.
Then after you have that figured out, you have to play out your shooting days, whether that be video or photo. Typically you will have a concept in mind that you are aiming for, but sometimes if kids are involved, and they aren’t happy, the photos aren't turning out and it just takes more time as you need more breaks in between.
Once you have your draft product shot, then you have to do all the editing for it. After that, you need to write up the caption and make sure it will not only be beneficial for the brand but appeal to your audience. After that, you need to send that off for approval before even posting.
A good portion of the time, brands need minor adjustments or tweaks and sometimes a FULL reshoot.
It’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy what you do, it’s fun!
I have a whole BTS (Behind the scenes) Instagram highlight reel that shares kind of a day's work.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Oh, launch day! That is such a fun day! I was about 5 months pregnant with my second baby when I decided to do this whole blogging thing. I had ZERO ideas of how to build a website or really start a professional-looking blog Instagram page, or even a business Pinterest page for that matter. I literally went to the school of YouTube and self-taught myself EVERYTHING.
Doing paid partnerships and sponsorships regularly with bigger brands also helps attract new customers.
It was stressful because I ran into all sorts of problems in creating my website but through many late nights when my daughter was sleeping to work during nap time and 4 am rises to get back at it, I got it sorted out. It wasn’t perfect that’s for sure. I have come a LONG way and still have so much to learn.
I knew my baby was due May 18th and I had most of my media pages in order, with obviously not too much going on as my blog wasn’t launched yet, but I was busy in the background trying to write 10-20 articles before launching. I kind of came up with this random date of July 21, 2018, for my launch date and I just stuck to that date.
I work tirelessly juggling a toddler and a brand new baby to get things going and up and running, but when July 21, 2018, came around, I had about 200 followers on Instagram and I promoted a blog launch giveaway with my good friend Haley of Beluga Baby.
She had a larger following and I thought that would be a good way to get some recognition and we launched my blog and the giveaway around the same time to amp it up and get people excited. In my living room was my mom and my mother in law cheering me on with champagne, along with my sister and husband and dad on the phone sending me all sorts of excited messages.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
As a content creator and blogger, the number one thing to continue to attract more of an audience is authenticity. Just truly being authentic to who you are and what you are all about. For me, that has worked really well. If people can trust you and want to learn from you, then they share your content and tell their friends and their friends tell their friends and it’s just this chain reaction of organic growth.
In terms of attracting and retaining an audience or customers who may purchase a future product or course from me, I really utilize other media platforms like Pinterest. It is a great tool to get my articles out to a much larger crowd and help grow my traffic. My number one traffic source to my website is Pinterest.
It is really easy to randomly go viral on Pinterest. I was sitting around 5,000 pageviews and in just a week my page views skyrocketed to over 11K pageviews. Using these tools is really beneficial.
On top of that, doing paid partnerships and sponsorships regularly with bigger brands also helps attract new customers. For instance, doing a partnership with Graco Canada, allows me to be put in front of another audience that is mom-related and if they aren’t already apart of my audience and like the content I put out, that converts into a new follower or potential client in the future.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My business is doing SO good!! Each year I have been able to become more profitable. This year I have doubled my revenue from last year and am definitely in line to triple it by next year.
The beauty of what I do is that there's not a lot of overhead as most of my marketing is done by free tools such as Pinterest and Instagram. In my first year of blogging, I launched in July of 2018 and from July to December only spent $181.00 in marketing and advertising fees. In the entire year of 2019, I amped it up a little bit and spent $186 (haha) on Marketing and Advertising. This year as of 2020 I have spent $252.
My other business expenses consist of my Tailwind Manager for Pinterest which is about $119 a year, I have my email service which is $24.99/month and that is really all the expenses I have other than the normal business write-offs for travel, office supplies, networking, etc.
To date, I have 19K on Instagram, 1 Million monthly viewers on Pinterest, and 1.1K followers on Pinterest, with 300 email subscribers. This is really exciting because as mentioned before, just two years ago I had 0. No audience at all. I have grown pretty quickly and on top of it in those two years have been nominated for the 2020 Mompreneur awards, the 2019 Vancouver Mom Top 30 bloggers, and The World Bloggers Award in the “Family/Parenting” category!
I am really looking forward to this coming year as I have been working on a couple of REALLY exciting projects that will not only bring in more profit but will build my audience even more. I don’t want to give too much away but it is something I have been wanting to do since day 1 of starting my blog so I am so excited to see it come to life!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I have learned SO much. I am a big trial and error person and I truly believe that if you don’t try and fail, you will never learn. I see a lot of people make this mistake in a business where they are too scared to take risks and they halt themselves from real growth.
I think the biggest lesson in Influencer Marketing is the “Trends” that people deem as good ways to grow. For instance, I talk about this a lot as of lately, engagement groups, and loop giveaways. I was told this was a great way to grow by so many, so I did it. I joined the groups, I did the giveaways, but I learned this year that Instagram doesn’t reward those strategies as they aren't authentic and genuine.
After recognizing that this isn’t a “marketing strategy” that should be used anymore, I blatantly called myself out for using these tactics on my Instagram page and had no idea if I was going to ruin my entire business or not.
Thankfully everyone saw my openness, my apologies, and my honesty and really respected it. I am happy to report that since removing these bad habits from my page and revamping my marketing strategies to a much more authentic and genuine way, my impressions, reach, interactions, organic engagement and so much more has grown IMMENSELY. That’s just one example.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
As previously mentioned, Instagram and Pinterest are the main tools. I have recently got into TikTok as well for cross-promotion, I am noticing this really works for a lot of people and is another free way to get yourself to a wider audience.
To make scheduling my pins much easier I use the Tailwind App! Absolutely recommend!
Email tools I use are FloDesk. By far the best, easiest to use, and prettiest email format and templates.
As far as editing tools, Lightroom Adobe CC all the way! I am all about Canva for designing anything, I use ReTouch to touch up or remove objects in my photos I don’t want, for Video Editing I use InShot and Quik.
And finally, for my website I use Bluehost and WordPress! Very reliable and easy to use!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The podcasts that really inspired me through creating my website, figuring out how to utilize opt-in methods and marketing strategies, etc., were Jenna Kutcher, ANYTHING from her Goal Digger Podcast. I really appreciated Melyssa Griffin, she really was knowledgeable about Pinterest and finally Julie Solomon, the Influencer Podcast.
Those were the ones I heavily relied on.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
I talk to so many women daily that have this desire to start something but just don’t. They can’t figure out when a good time will be, they don’t know where to begin, they don’t have resources, etc. My advice is JUST DO IT. There will never be the “perfect time” and nowadays there are so many free online tools you can use, it’s ok to be Frugal (hello - Frugal and Frills over here). Look at me for example for my overhead costs. There is almost nothing and yet I am profitable!
Just start and stop holding yourself back is my biggest advice. Learn from others, listen to others, ask questions, do research, etc. Don’t give up!
Also, don’t worry about having to be on every platform at once. Choose a couple you can cross-promote on and MASTER those!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I am a one-man show right now, I do absolutely everything on my own, from photos to edits to pitching to landing partnerships, etc. At this point I am getting very busy and would LOVE to be able to hire someone part-time one day, would love it to be my sister, so, we will see.
Where can we go to learn more?
Frugal and Frills has provided an update on their business!
5 months ago, we followed up with Frugal and Frills to see how they've been doing since we published this article.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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