Are you wondering if you can actually make it blogging full-time? Did your first blog fail?
Today, I have a fun interview with Lauren from Create and Go. whose first blog failed.
Now, she’s a seven-figure blogger who runs 2 incredible blogs with her business partner, Alex.
Lauren shares her favorite business tools for running her blog, what she’d do differently if she started over, and what she recommends for people struggling with traffic.
Blogging isn’t for everyone. It’s not for most people. You work a ton for free. You build up a business and don’t see the payoff until a few months (or even a year) later. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about quitting in the beginning, but I kept going and now I’m here, working from home on my own schedule. It’s really amazing, but wasn’t easy.
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1. Can you share a little bit about yourself and your blog?
I’m Lauren McManus and in my past, pre-blog life, I worked as a CPA for a small accounting firm in Dallas, Texas.
It was there that I met my current business partner, Alex Nerney, on Tinder of all places!
He was a personal trainer at the time, and I was just coming off of a two-year stint as a vegan.
We both had a real passion for health and fitness and also a desire to start an online business that would make us a passive income stream. So, we started a health blog, Avocadu.com.
With this health blog, we teach women how to lose weight with our online weight loss programs.
2. What first inspired you to start Create and Go?
Alex and I are both business majors, so we both really gravitated towards the business side of the blog.
Improving traffic, sales, and conversions through marketing and other strategies was really FUN for us.
We loved learning more about how to grow our business, implement different strategies, and see what worked and what didn’t.
After earning six figures with our health and wellness blog in the first year, we decided to start Create and Go, where we teach others how to start and run their own online businesses through blogging.
3. What are your favorite tools to run your business?
Some of our favorite tools that we’ve been using for YEARS include:
- ConvertKit– Seriously the best email marketing company for bloggers.
- Teachable– What we use to sell our online courses and programs.
- LeadPages– Really simple and affordable landing page software.
- SEMrush– Awesome keyword research tool that also provides you with a ton of information on your domain, organic traffic, and more.
Alex and I flew solo (as in didn’t have any help with our website) for almost 2 years since we started.
We have recently begun building out a team to help us run our growing businesses and these two tools have been super important to our success:
- Slack– An app that our team uses to communicate with each other (better than email!).
- Asana– A project management software that we use to keep track of our content calendar, current projects, and other tasks.
4. What would you do differently if you could go back in time when you first started Create and Go?
We would have built a team sooner. As I said before, we did everything ourselves for about two years.
Everything from customer service to marketing to writing to sales to tech stuff.
There were two of us and we still worked 80-hour weeks most of the time – as we were pitching “passive” income. And it could have been more passive if we had hired on some help when the need arose.
But when you work for yourself, it’s SO hard to escape that “I might as well do it myself because it’s cheaper and I can do a better job.” No one knows your business like you do, so it’s hard to let go of some of those important tasks. It’s hard to trust others to do it.
I was really the bottleneck here because I managed all of the internal operations.
Alex was more in charge of content and growth. It slowly got out of control until I realized that I didn’t have time for anything other than work anymore.
We finally got some help to manage the customer service side of our businesses, and we now have a team of 10+ people responsible for everything from customer service to social media to SEO.
This has allowed Alex and I to finally have the time to ENJOY what we have worked so hard for!
5. If someone is struggling with traffic, what do you recommend doing?
Our best advice is always to focus on really hard on ONE source of traffic first.
Learn it, master it, and only then move on to exploring multiple channels.
Most bloggers get started and try to get traffic from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google all at once.
Your time is so valuable and you’re selling yourself short when you split it so much between multiple platforms.
If you’re a blogger and you haven’t explored Pinterest yet (or mastered it), I highly recommend starting there. It’s far easier to get your content ranking on Pinterest than it is on Google.
Getting steady Pinterest traffic coming to your blog can also help boost your content in Google’s algorithm too because it signals to Google that you have good content.
We’re super passionate about marketing your blog on Pinterest.
We actually have an entire course on Pinterest traffic called Pinterest Traffic Avalanche– it was the first course that we ever created on Create and Go because it was so vital to our six-figure success for Avocadu in our first year.
6. What’s your best tip for someone wanting to start a business? If someone is stuck and ready to create a strategy to make more income on their blog, what do you recommend?
I know it sounds really simple, but the best advice I can give you is to just START already.
Stop thinking about the perfect name and the perfect way to monetize.
You’ll likely end up failing the first time(s) around anyway and end up changing your strategy completely. I know because this happened to us many times in our first year.
Our first blog failed. Our first products failed.
And a LOT of ideas failed after that — and still do but thankfully less frequently). That’s because the most important thing you can do is to make mistakes and learn from them.
Taking action is better than not taking action and making more mistakes means more opportunities to learn and grow and be better.
Our process to monetize our blog was honestly to consume as much content as we could on making money with our blog and then to immediately implement it into our business. Most things didn’t work but some did, and that has made all the difference.
These are the strategies that we teach in our blogging courses.
They all come from the mistakes that we made along the way. We try to help our bloggers avoid most of those common mistakes.
P.S. Anyone who purchases the Pro Blogger bundle through my link gets my highly rated guide on becoming a full-time blogger. Full details below.
What to read next: How To Blog Without Breaking The Law
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