I am SO EXCITED to be interviewing Beckie Farrant, the creator of not one but three very popular blogs; Infarrantly Creative, Knockoff Décor and Roadkill Rescue…totaling over 2.5 million monthly pageviews!
Beckie is not only an incredible entrepreneur, she’s a pastor’s wife, doting mother, chocolate lover, and as REAL as they come. (I just wish you lived closer to me girl!)
By monitoring her own audience and what she was doing, Beckie was able to strategically identify niche markets where she could create new blogs and grow her audience.
Take a cue from Beckie: monitor your stats, listen to your readers, listen to the market. So much wisdom in one interview. Enjoy!
NAME OF COMPANY: Infarrantly Creative LLC
OWNER: Beckie Farrant
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF EA BLOG AND TARGET CUSTOMER/NICHE: All three of my blogs focus in the DIY, home décor, craft niche. While each of the blogs are different their goal is to inspire people to create.
YEAR BLOG LAUNCHED: 2007
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START YOUR BUSINESS? AND WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE (FINANCIALLY AND MENTALLY) TO PREPARE FOR THAT? Oh geesh I literally probably labored for 6 months before I decided to turn my blog into a business. I was so nervous that my super fun hobby, when turned into a job, would lose all joy to me. But then I decided it was fear holding me back so I went for it in 2009. At first I just kind of put a toe in the water with growing my business and making an income at it. A year later I decided to go all out and figure out how to turn my passion into a business. Mentally there was a mindshift. No longer did I see myself as a creative person trying to turn it into a business. I was a business woman trying to create. That is a big shift. So for starters before I started the creative aspect of my job each day I would do the business things (reach out to advertisers, check my ad networks, return emails, pitch companies, etc).
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE IN STARTING YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO OVERCOME THIS HURDLE? The biggest hurdle in starting my business was to turn my creative self into a business woman. Most creative bloggers are WAY underpaid. Our creativity holds us back many times because the business aspect of blogging is so much more difficult for us. I decided that I was going to change that for me and be good at the business stuff. So my creativity might have taken a hit a little while I was learning the biz but in the end I have found balance between the two.
WHAT STRATEGIES HELPED YOU TO GO FROM ZERO TO TODAY’S AVERAGE OF 2.5 MILLION MONTHLY PAGEVIEWS? In the beginning of blogging I was very prideful. In my mind I felt like if people wanted to find me they will. Holey moley has that mentality changed. Blogging is not a “build it and they will come.” I feel like I have had to work for each page view and reader I have. It is my job to look for my audience and connect. Not the reader’s job to find me. So I have employed many social media strategies as well as formed some great relationships with other bloggers who have helped promote me as well.
SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: I have had many people encourage me on my journey. I would say in the very beginning Heather from Dollar Store Crafts, Amy from Mod Podge Rocks and Jen from Tatertots & Jello were instrumental in helping me transform into a business blogger. We formed a little group and each week we talked on the phone and tried to encourage one another as well as challenge each other in different aspects of blogging. That was huge for me.
(Beckie as seen in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine)
WHAT WAS THE TIPPING POINT IN YOUR BUSINESS THAT MADE YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR BLOG WAS GOING TO THRIVE? I guess it was when I finally replaced my previous teacher’s salary. I guess that was the moment when I felt like I had arrived. I knew that my blog was going to cease to be a focus if I couldn’t do that quickly with my son entering school shortly. Each year after that has been more lucrative than the last. I am sure I will plateau soon (maybe 2014 is the year) but I will ride this amazing train as long as I can.
IF YOU HAD TO NAME ONE THING THAT HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN CATAPULTING YOUR BUSINESS TO SUCCESS, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Taking control of learning how to make an income from blogging. I don’t rely on what other people tell me. I make opportunities for myself.
WHAT WERE SOME CHALLENGES/MISTAKES YOU MADE ALONG THE WAY? Basically, if you could go back, what would you have done differently? I would have monetized earlier. I would have researched ad networks earlier. I would have learned SEO from the very beginning. I would have been an earlier adopter to some of the social media platforms. (Jump on G+ now people!)
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO A BLOGGER JUST STARTING OUT? I would say blogging is super saturated. If you want to be successful you will have to work your booty off and you will have to be good at a myriad of things (telling stories, social media, taking pictures, editing, graphics, coding, negotiating contracts, etc.) But if you are passionate about what you are blogging about and would do it whether you were paid or not, then keep trucking. And remember to EVOLVE…things change daily. Put on your big girl panties when something changes (i.e. Facebook algorithm) and EVOLVE.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON IN BUSINESS YOU’VE EVER LEARNED? You have to find your audience. They will not come to you. And that everything changes in an instant. You have to continue to grow and evolve when things change.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 STRATEGIES YOU USE TO DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE?
- Social Media (figure out where the best ROI is)
- Being authentic and sharing personal stories/struggles
- Networking with other bloggers
DESCRIBE FOR US A TYPICAL WORK DAY FOR YOU:
8:00 Get up, eat breakfast, help to get kids off to school
9:15 Work out
10:00 Post for the day, social media, check/return emails
12:30 Creative time where I am usually working on a project
4:30 Stop working for the day
6:00 Play with the kids, household chores
9:00 Consulting for an hour (3 days a week)
10:00 Emails, social media, editing pictures
11:00 Hang with hubby
I always have my phone on my hip so I will do some social media and quick emails during the day as well. I try and be strategic about my day. And in the end I will cheat my blog before I cheat my family.
YOU ARE A VERY BUSY WOMAN! WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIP FOR BALANCING WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE? A schedule and a timer. My kids know what time I work until. I constantly have timers going off to tell me when to move onto the next thing. I live by my timer to make sure I do all aspects of blogging and never spend too much on one area.
HOW DO YOU GENERATE INCOME FROM YOUR BLOGS? Ad networks, ad consulting, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, speaking engagements and brand ambassadorships.
WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER ENTREPRENEURS INTERESTED IN PURSUING A MONEY-MAKING BLOG? To do it because you love it and not for money. I know that sounds cliché. But you will burn out quick if it isn’t your passion. I would say to focus on content and pageviews for at least a year. Don’t try and start making money until you have 50k page views a month.
BONUS SPEED ROUND:
What is something most people don’t know about you? I have been a pastor’s wife for 16 years.
If you could travel to any place in the world right now, where would you go? Since we have had a brutal winter in the Midwest somewhere warm. We were in Miami a couple of weeks ago. I could take a month there right now. But without the cold on my brain I would love to visit Italy someday.
What is one thing you couldn’t live without? Chocolate. HA! I have to have at least a piece a day.
What is your favorite way to relax? Bubble baths! I live for my nightly 20 minute soak before bedtime. I experiment with different detox baths and bath bombs. Pure bliss!
What is one thing you wish you could change about yourself/you should work on? I tend to be a little “to the point”. So sometimes my emails can come off as harsh. I certainly don’t mean to sound that way. But if you ask me a question I usually skip the niceties and just answer the question. I have been known to reply back with “no,” when someone asks me a yes or no question. This girl ain’t got time for small talk. HA!