Starting A Lifestyle Blog For Millennials That Led To A $10K/Month Consulting Business

$10K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
product
The Confused Mill...
from Boca Raton, Florida, USA
started March 2016
$10,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
337K
alexa rank
20.2K
followers
11.1K
followers
3.36K
subs
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Starting A Lifestyle Blog For Millennials That Led To A $10K/Month Consulting Business

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Rachel Ritlop, the founder of The Confused Millennial, a lifestyle blog for millennials figuring out this whole #adulting and #momming things together.

I also work as a blog and business consultant. As a blog consultant, I work one-on-one with budding bloggers to create profitable, scalable websites with engaged audiences. As a business consultant, I’ve worked with major brands like Century 21 and Coca Cola on millennial marketing initiatives.

In less than 3 years of launching the blog, I reached over 2 million people, generating upwards of 6 figures annually, with multiple $20k+ months focusing on brand partnerships, content creation, and consulting. My work has been seen in Forbes, Fast Company, and Popsugar to name a few.

starting-a-lifestyle-blog-for-millennials-that-led-to-a-10k-month-consulting-business

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

The idea of The Confused Millennial happened at the height of my quarter-life crisis and on a whim.

About 2 years before I launched my blog, I had been fired twice in a month. I had just turned 25 and finished my master’s degree in counseling, but was miserable in my career. Each day I found myself crying and backsliding into a depression that I had worked so hard to overcome.

I had to take a step back and re-evaluate what I wanted. I couldn’t go back to a 9-5 so I decided to monetize my existing skillset at the time and fill a need I saw as a mental health and substance abuse counselor by writing a 200+ page life skills curriculum.

It focused on all the things I saw my peers and patients struggle with: vocational skills, financial literacy, sustainable health and wellness tips, etc.

starting-a-lifestyle-blog-for-millennials-that-led-to-a-10k-month-consulting-business

From there, I let my existing network know what I was doing. Local treatment centers started asking me to consult on their life skills programs and others asked me to run a weekly group on the subject.

I did that for about a year and received so much amazing feedback and insight that I decided to move things online and become a digital career and business coach to millennials. A lot of the early content you see on TCM, and the categories all stemmed from that year and life skills curriculum.

I had reached my limit of being spoon-fed what to do and think by others and just needed an outlet which is why The Confused Millennial was birthed in 48 hours.

As I started that process, I realized it felt too niche and wasn’t for me. I found myself crying on the couch one morning saying, “I’m just another confused millennial with no clue what I’m doing with my life!” And just like that, lightning had struck. I grabbed my laptop, bought the domain, and 48 hours later had a live blog.

You can learn more of my best tips for starting a non-niche blog with my free 5-day course here.

Describe the process of launching the business.

There wasn’t a launch strategy or a big blog announcement since things happened so fast. If you read some of the first blog posts like these:

You’ll see I was just in the middle of a quarter life crisis. I was angry about the notion we need to go to school, get a degree, get a job, and then what? We’d made it? Combine that with a bad experience hiring a business coach that felt more like an MLM scheme, and I was just done.

I had reached my limit of being spoon-fed what to do and think by others and just needed an outlet which is why The Confused Millennial was birthed in 48 hours. It was just about speaking my truth at that moment, but all of the experiences leading up to it allowed the perfect storm to happen.

In launching so quickly, I realized I was able to take the content I’d unintentionally been refining in my life skills workshops over the previous year and use it to build the blog.

starting-a-lifestyle-blog-for-millennials-that-led-to-a-10k-month-consulting-business

Six months after launching I moved my website from Squarespace to WordPress which led to a redesign and basically what you see today on the site.

I think there’s this notion that you need to be a super niche to be successful in business, particularly with blogging or on social media, but I’m proof that’s not true.

The Confused Millennial is getting a big makeover at the end of 2020. The focus of the new site on WordPress at the time was delivering content first and creating more opportunities to monetize. The focus of the redesign at the end of this year is to highlight more email opt-ins and video content.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Word of mouth, organic use of social media and SEO, and producing quality content have been the key to attracting and retaining an audience and client base.

Since I struggled with overspending in my early 20s, I’ve challenged myself to maintain a low overhead and bootstrap things. Meaning I haven’t run ads or invested a ton back into the business financially. Instead, I re-invest in myself and do the things that spark joy.

Only focusing on things I enjoy doing I think translates to a great experience for the people who work with me as a blog consultant or in brand partnerships, while also growing an audience.

starting-a-lifestyle-blog-for-millennials-that-led-to-a-10k-month-consulting-business

What that looks like on a day to day is spending an hour on Pinterest, spending an hour doing SEO research when laying the framework for a new blog post, and at times spending an hour engaging on social media.

The other key for me has been in building relationships. Relationships with brands that hire me to either create content or consult on millennial marketing initiatives. Relationships with bloggers to promote one another or provide one-on-one blog consulting services too. And of course, a relationship with my audience through my weekly newsletter, blog posts, and social media. I’ve even met readers in real life which has been some of the best experiences as a blogger.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Each year in my business I’ve grown over 30% in revenue and I’m on track to do that again this year. Ever since having a baby last year, my focus has been on setting up passive revenue streams. I realized that I was still trading time for money and things weren’t scalable without me always being on.

For the first time, I installed ads on my website and have started to dive into affiliate marketing. My plans forward are to continue building those pillars in my business and mastering video content creation on my growing Youtube channel.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

A couple of things come to mind:

1) It’s your business so do what you want. Follow your passion and you can make anything happen.

You already know how to manifest, and are doing it daily. So you are either doing it in a way that supports or hinders your dream. Learn to pivot and abandon projects that aren’t supporting you. While it may not be “traditional” at times you got into this because you have a unique gift to offer so don’t second guess that.

2) Know how to price yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for more.

If you don’t feel uncomfortable with the number you’re throwing out, it’s not high enough. I know finding your sweet spot in pricing can feel challenging so what I did in the early days was add $50-100 to the last contracted amount I received.

For instance, when I first discovered how to work with brands on sponsored blog posts, I had no idea what to charge. My first brand campaign was for $550 it was 6 months into my blogging journey and they just said “okay.” No negotiation. So the next brand partnership I did, I asked for $650 and so on until I started to receive push back.

Of course, you need to be able to talk about your rates, why you’re charging them, and have sound reasoning as part of the negotiation process, but this way I quickly found where my pricing sweet spot was.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I keep things pretty simple and mostly use the Gsuite tools (google docs, sheets, drive, etc.) since I can access the documents from anywhere and can easily share them with brand partners or if I’m hiring a contractor for a specific project.

As far as staying organized with content creation and to-do lists, I love Trello. I have one board for my to-do list. Each day of the week is a column and there’s one for outstanding campaigns/payments and floating tasks.

Then I have a board for my editorial calendar with all of my lifestyle blog post ideas I plan to work on. You can access my free editorial calendar template here with detailed instructions on how to use it, and it’s already laid out for you!

I’ve also created a board that’s essentially a CRM for managing brand contacts and relationships broken down by category (one column for the parenting sector, one for home, one for finance, etc.)

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

There are so many books and podcasts that have influenced me that this would be a short novel! So I’d suggest reading my favorite self-help books for millennials and some of the best books for millennials to get you started. There’s a detailed description of each book in those posts and something for everyone, whether you’re looking for career advice, business tips, figure out your purpose, and so much more.

As far as the best podcasts for millennials and business owners, I enjoy How I Built This with Guy Raz and Growth Now Movement with Justin Schenck.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I think there’s this notion that you need to be a super niche to be successful in business, particularly with blogging or on social media, but I’m proof that’s not true.

In less than 3 years of launching The Confused Millennial, I’ve reached over 2 million people, generating 6 figures a year, have consulted for major companies like Century 21 and Coca Cola, and have been featured in top news outlets like Forbes, Fast Company, Popsugar and more. And I’m the sole income for my growing family.

I left the 9-5 world because I couldn’t do the same thing every day. I need to switch things up and follow my passion to stay engaged with my work. So if you're someone who feels like they are constantly switching careers or losing interest, then content creation is a great industry to get into since there are so many different tasks you’ll end up doing.

You certainly won’t get bored. You can learn more about my best tips for starting a non-niche blog with my free course here.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
Rachel Ritlop,   Founder of The Confused Millennial
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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