Hey #girlboss! Today’s interview is with my internet bestie/SC sister, Courtney Bentley, who is talking about what she’s learned from blogging over the last 7 years (yes, SEVEN!!) and how she has turned her passion into profit. I also started a new topic inside the Member Dashboard so that we can keep the conversation going: click here to join the conversation. Let’s get started!
Tell us a little bit about how you got started with blogging.
I began to blog on Tumblr around 2009 right when I got my certification as a personal trainer through NASM as a an outlet to show off my new meal ideas and nutritional findings. I am a total research junkie so the thought of being able to research and share my finds online was so much fun. I think the love for blogging came from high school, I truly loved designing my Myspace page and learning HTML to make my blog pink with stars. I also loved sharing my weekend photos which at that time were shameful lol but I don’t think I am the only one..Anyways, my love for researching and having that online outlet really led me to LOVE blogging. I have been in this space ever since and have moved from Tumblr, to Blogger to a self hosted WordPress which is where I have been parked since 2013.
How long have you been blogging?
What is the biggest struggle you have faced as a blogger/influencer in this industry?
My biggest struggle in my industry is Instagram. I have a total love/hate relationship with Instagram. My heart floods because the platform enabled me to connect with some of my dearest closest friends. The loathe part is the fact that a girl who has no clue on how to train another individual is making money off selling waist wraps, diet pills and slimming teas by sharing photos of her abs. It makes me sick to my stomach but I know this is only one side of the industry not all of it. That is one of the biggest struggles for me, finding that balance and not being negative or pointing out harmful substances.
Have you ever wanted to just quit blogging? What stopped you from doing so?
Yes and I have quit more times than I can count. Every single time I stop blogging for a few weeks I get an email to take on an opportunity. For instance, the year I was moving from LA to Bangkok I was going to throw in the towel with my blog and then ehow.com approached me to make a 20, 2 part video series. Another time I wanted to quit, I got approached to speak at a women’s conference about health and wellness. The final time I wanted to quit, I met Annie via email and was encouraged to give it a go!
Ladies, trust me when I say you don’t have to have 100k followers to have a blog and make an impact. There is an audience out there, people rooting you on and there are women out there who need to hear your voice! Every time I want to give up, something just keeps me going!
What is the new direction you have decided to take your blog/brand and why?
I have been way more OPEN this year. I am usually closed off to opinions and like to keep things in my own head. I tend to go into my cave and overthink on my own but this year I have reached out to close friends and asked them what I should do to make my Instagram better or what blog posts appeal to you most, these things make a HUGE difference and make me more confident in my writing!
My direction for next year is to launch my Fit and Fabulous Club Membership site and bring together girl bosses around the globe who need quick, effective and space friendly workouts to get healthy! I want to create that community and space on the web. I want women who are feeling alone behind their computers to connect and grow together by moving together! I love the FLOW of that and I have been working day in and day out to get this thing off the ground!
Would you advise influencers to start their own business in addition to having a blog?
Yes, 100 times YES! Even if you have a 9-5 job, imagine the possibilities of having your own thing going on. If you are organized and committed enough to running and maintaining a blog, I for sure know you can run your own business. Find your passion, do your research and see how you can turn your passion into profit. See what people are searching for and are in desperate need of! I remember a day where someone paid me to sit and teach them how to use PicMonkey.com, a software that HAS free tutorials but they wanted ME to teach them! I am not even a pro graphic designer or sell that type of service. I have watched bloggers launch apps, host conferences and build million dollar brands! Some ideas: Host workshops, speak about fashion and how to style for certain events, the type of business you can create is amazing and you already have a platform with people who follow you! You are 100x ahead of most people who start a business so why not try it?
What tips can you give to women who want to make that transition from influencer to influencer/business owner?
Do your research. Like I mentioned in the above question, find your passion something that keeps you up at night and find how to turn it into a profit. Think about what people ask you for help with, is your Instagram stellar and your friends are constantly asking you how to grow their accounts? Maybe you need to create a course, maybe you need to offer a service to help them, find what you love to do and what people need. I wouldn’t quit your day job the instant you launch a product but spending a few hours a week working towards some extra cash and see where it takes you. That one e-book you write might turn into speaking gigs, a book deal or a course that people pay $100’s of dollars to take! Your styling tips might become a styling service where celebrity elite and CEO’s pay you to style them for events! There are ENDLESS possibilities but MAKE sure that people will pay and need your service. That is the one key mistake I made. I always made what I wanted not what others wanted, I have since changed this and now before any type of pen hits paper for creation, I run surveys to see if people need what I want to create for them.
What part of running your own business do you struggle with most?
I am very indecisive and have a hard time committing to one idea. My one idea always seeds out into an entire farm, I am a total creative by definition and it can be a bonus and a problem all bundled into one. I have learned to focus more through the years and because of that I have seen a growth in my income and opportunities as well. Whatever it is you struggle with, define it and figure out if you can outsource it or if you can find a way to manage it. If technology drives you nuts either spend a weekend learning how to do it or outsource it!
What is the most rewarding part?
Getting an email from a client saying how much a program I gave them not only changed their bodies but changed their habits. I love solving problems, and meeting people who tell me they don’t have time to workout or the ability to make healthy meals drives me to show them how to do it. Getting that email or seeing that sweaty selfie just wakes me up every single morning! I truly love teaching self-LOVE!
Last: where can we find you?!
Thank you SO much Courtney for sharing your knowledge with the Style Collective sisters and our blog readers.
Login to the Member Dashboard and click here to join the conversation. xo