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#176: Can You Be a Successful Lifestyle Blogger?

Today, I’m asking the age-old question. Can you be a successful lifestyle blogger in a world where we are all experts in one thing? I always preach the concept of niching down, staying in your lane, and focus.

So today I’m talking to Jessica Burgess from the blog, Fantabulosity. She is the quintessential lifestyle blogger, blogging about food, organization, and anything related to family life.

And she has found tremendous success. She monetizes with display ads (she’s with MediaVine), sponsored content, affiliate sales, and digital products.

Even though Jessica blogs about a variety of topics, she is still very specific in the content she creates, and knows exactly what her audience wants from her.

So if you can’t narrow it down in terms of niche, listen to this episode to learn Jessica’s secrets.

Can You Be a Successful Lifestyle Blogger | MiloTree.com

Show Notes:

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Intro 0:04
Welcome to the Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.

Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the Blogger Genius Podcast. I am so honored that you’re here spending your time with me. I am Jillian Leslie, I am a serial entrepreneur. I have founded Catch My Party and the MiloTree pop-up app with my husband, David.

I am a business coach. And as I like to call myself a business translator, I get no better joy than helping you grow and monetize your online business. Before I get started, I wanted to read a review that somebody left on iTunes of the podcast.

This is from Suzie Taylor Oakley, and she wrote, “If you’re a blogger, you’re in for such a treat with The Blogger Genius Podcast. I’ve been blogging since 2007. But Jillian takes stuff that I already know and brings it into the 2020s. Things change so frequently online, and that’s why you need Jillian.

“She and her guests will help you understand the big and the small so, that you can stay relevant online. She comes alongside as a mom, a business owner and a friend to assure you that you can do this.”

Thank you, Suzie that really touches my heart. If you are getting value from the podcast, would you head to iTunes and give the podcast five stars. I currently have 62 reviews and I would love to get it to 100 so, that more people can find the show.

So, I thank you in advance for doing that.

Can You Be a Successful Lifestyle Blogger?

For today’s episode, I am interviewing Jessica Burgess from the blog, Fantabulosity. Now, Jessica is a lifestyle blogger. And if you listen to my podcast, you know that I am constantly preaching niche, down niche down.

So, we talk about

it. Now, Jessica blogs about recipes, organizational tips, and everyday living. Is it possible to be a lifestyle blogger in 2021? We get into it. I think this is super interesting, especially if you have not yet picked a lane.

So, without further delay, here is my interview with Jessica Burgess. Jessica, welcome to the Blogger Genius. It is great to have you.

Jessica Burgess 2:46
Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here.

Jillian Leslie 2:50
You are the quintessential lifestyle blogger. So, will you share how you got into blogging? When you got into blogging and where you are now?

Jessica Burgess 3:01
Absolutely. So, I started blogging in 2011 when I had my first kiddo, and to say that I was bored is kind of harsh to say because you have a new baby, you you’re not really bored. But I was bored creatively. I was lacking that creative inspiration.

And I felt like something was missing. So, that was about the time that I found out what Pinterest was. And I started seeing these pins, these images on this thing I couldn’t figure it out. I actually even rebelled against it.

I was like, that’s silly, who would use something like that. But as I dug in more, I noticed it started leading me to websites and these blogs and I noticed people styling parties, which I really enjoyed.

And making these good recipes, which I also enjoyed cooking and long story short, I thought I could do that I enjoy writing. I think that’s something I could do. So, I started a blog. I actually started one on party planning.

And that’s perfect for this conversation because I quickly felt suffocated, very restricted only being able to talk about party planning.

Starting a Lifestyle Blog

So, that is when I transitioned into a lifestyle blog. And about a year after that someone said you know; you can make money blogging.

Jillian Leslie 4:12
So, when you started this was really just a creative outlet. What did you do before were you a creative person?

Jessica Burgess 4:18
I was a creative person but didn’t know it. So, I was working in an office. I always thought I was going to be a secretary and then I helped my husband and his business.

I was the CFO and still those days felt like something was missing. It wasn’t for me and now looking back because I was a creative person and I wasn’t utilizing my creative, whatever you want to call it talent skills, outlets.

Jillian Leslie 4:43
So, when you started your blog, it was not to make money.

Jessica Burgess 4:46

Jillian Leslie 4:46
It was because I’ve got a little baby and I need to kind of have something of my own.

Jessica Burgess 4:52
That’s exactly what I say all the time. I needed something of my own because my husband he had his own business and everything. And it sounds selfish, but everything felt like it was about him and his business and his growth.

And I quickly started feeling like an entrepreneur, I feel like there’s something for me. And so yeah, I actually said, I need something of my own. And that’s when Pinterest came in, and it just kind of went ding, ding, ding.

Jillian Leslie 5:20
But you weren’t thinking money?

Jessica Burgess 5:22
No, no, when somebody said, you can make money doing this, I thought what? So, then it was like the entrepreneurial me and the creative me align and thought, “Oh, I’m going all in, this is going to happen. If I can make money doing something that I love, something that I’m already doing, why not?”

And, for lack of better term, I became really obsessed with the idea of turning my blog into a business. And it’s just been that way ever since.

Jillian Leslie 5:50
Okay. So, what are the different areas as a lifestyle blogger that you blog about?

Jessica Burgess 5:59
I actually pretty heavily blog about recipes, quick and easy recipes for busy moms. I also blog about organization, because thanks to my mom, I am a natural organizer. And she has taught me a lot as a kid.

So, I love sharing ways, and tips and hacks to help other busy moms organize. And then I kind of filter in and supplement with some fashion.

Because I am not somebody that’s going to post on Instagram, “Look at my new outfit I got yesterday, look at my new outfit I got today.” But occasionally, as a busy mom, I might see something on sale and go grab it.

And then I’ll want to show everybody say, “Hey, look what’s on sale, go grab that.” So, I’ll just kind of filter in the other topics like party planning or fashion or how I curled my hair with this new tool.

Or just like the other day I shared this new mattress we got because I absolutely love it. So, I love the freedom.

Jillian Leslie 6:50
What kind of mattress did you get?

Jessica Burgess 6:52

Jillian Leslie 6:53

Jessica Burgess 6:54
A purple mattress.

Jillian Leslie 6:55
And you liked it?

Jessica Burgess 6:56
I do like it. I will say we’ve worked together on a sponsored campaign. And I truly don’t, truly don’t recommend anything I don’t love. And so, when I got the pro mattress, I said, “Look, I love this thing. You don’t even have to pay me to blog about this.”

So, they didn’t. It feels so good. And we absolutely love it.

Jillian Leslie 7:20
Okay. So, when somebody said to you, you can start making money doing this, what was the first way that you said, “I’m going to start making money.” How did you bring in money?

Jessica Burgess 7:33
Well, I didn’t know. That’s the beautiful thing I didn’t know how to at first. So, I started reading and researching. And I heard about these things called ads and affiliate income. So, I started with those first.

And to say those I mean, I toyed around with Google AdSense. But now as an experienced blogger, I don’t really recommend that to any of my friends or new bloggers that I’m talking with. I don’t really recommend that.

But those are the first two income streams I really focused on.

Jillian Leslie 8:04
Okay, and are you with an ad network today?

Jessica Burgess 8:07
I am. So, in 2015. I went to a blogging conference.

Jillian Leslie 8:12
Which one?

Jessica Burgess 8:13
Oh, gosh. I don’t remember.

Jillian Leslie 8:18
It’s okay.

Jessica Burgess 8:20
But I met Mediavine there. And I thought what do you all do? And they explained what they do. And they said, “You know what, when you get 25,000 pageviews, come talk to us.”

And I thought oh my gosh, because at that time, I think I was getting 15,000 pageviews a month. And so, I made that my goal, because I had heard from other bloggers and them how much money could be made from ads. So, it was gangbusters.

Can You Be a Successful Lifestyle Blogger | MiloTree.com

Monetizing with Ads as a Blogger with MediaVine

I was totally focused on that goal. And I got to the 25,000 pageviews. I think maybe it was within a year. I don’t remember how many months but that was when I really get started to click.

Wow! Like that. You can make good money from this because I think the first payment, I got from them paid our electric bill. And that was a big thing.

Jillian Leslie 9:05
Do you remember how much it was?

Jessica Burgess 9:07
It was $400.

Jillian Leslie 9:08

Jessica Burgess 9:08
And I was thinking my husband’s not the only one taking care of us financially. I just helped pay the electric bill. And then it was the house payment. And then it was extra money to pay off more debt.

And then it was extra money to go on vacation. And it just kind of snowballed. And still today it’s a big earner of the blog.

Jillian Leslie 9:27
Okay. Let’s talk about the ways that you monetized at the beginning and the ways that you monetize now. If that’s changed and where they are in terms of, I make the most money from ads followed by sponsor, that kind of thing.

Jessica Burgess 9:43
Okay. So, I make the most money from ads still today. And I don’t want to change that necessarily, but I’m a big believer in not putting your eggs in one basket. What’s the saying, “Millionaires have seven streams of income.” I think is what we hear.

So, I really like that. I want to have different income streams. So, I like that ad is a big part of it because it operates for you. It generates in the background.

Other Ways to Monetizing as a Blogger

However, I also make money, I think the next step down would probably be my sponsored content. So, working with brands, whether they pay me to create a blog post or video for my YouTube channel, and then affiliates, I do that.

But then I also, sell my own products, digital products.

Jillian Leslie 10:28
What kind of digital products?

Jessica Burgess 10:30
I do PDFs, digital courses, like I have a Trello training course. And they’re pretty much geared towards busy moms. If I have a digital cookbook, or I have a home management binder that helps busy moms organize.

But I’ve had, some of my audience say, “Hey, I want to do this blogging thing you’re doing.” I’m sure you’ve heard this, or maybe you’ve even said it, that when people keep asking you for something, just create it. So, you don’t have to keep repeating yourself.

So, I went ahead and created a few small blogging courses to help kind of supplement those that come to me too.

Jillian Leslie 11:04
Got it. Okay. So, the thing is, before I pressed record, I told you that I went to a conference maybe five or seven years ago, and somebody on a panel said, lifestyle is not a niche, you need to niche down.

And I wanted to challenge you to say, what are your thoughts about that?

Jessica Burgess 11:28
I love this, because just a couple of days ago, I was talking to a blogging, I guess, mentor, you could call him and I said, “You know what, I’m considered a lifestyle blogger.”

And I said, I have a lot of people that come to me and say, are lifestyle blogs dead? Can they make money because it’s so broad?

And he actually came back to me and said, “You know what, in all of my research, I found that lifestyle blogs are second on the list. They get more than 50,000 page views a month.” I think that’s what he said, if that makes sense.

Number one was food blogs, I think. So, he said, “No, I don’t believe lifestyle blogs are dead.” And so, that got me thinking.

Well, how do people focus or niche down on a certain topic or a few different topics for lifestyle blog, because, as you know, you build a blog today, people aren’t just going to start flooding to it. You’re going to have to have a target.

Know Why You Want to Start a Blog

So, what I encourage when I’m talking to other people who want to start a lifestyle blog. First, I get with them and I say, why do you want to start a lifestyle blog? Is it a hobby? Is it a creative outlet?

Do you feel like there’s just so many areas you want to touch on and you’re scared to niche down, which was me honestly. And what I do is I help them pick like two or three topics that they’ll really focus on.

So, I think that’s my secret, or the way that my lifestyle blog is still successful. Although I have the freedom to talk about whatever I want. There are two to three main niches that I talk about or share.

Jillian Leslie 13:06
And I think that when I do say to people, it’s easier having a niche because you can know your audience more intimately. You know what they’re struggling with, your audience can start to get to know you and know what to expect from you.

But I always say if you want to go write a one-off post about something else, do not feel like you can’t do that. So, let’s say you’re a food blogger, but then you’ve organized your pantry or you have a great outfit, or you went on a great vacation and you love Disney.

Like go do that because it runs you out and makes you more human for somebody who let’s say is coming to your blog. But I always say, recognize that that post might not be your money post. It might be but don’t feel like you can’t do that.

It’s not like oh, no, you must like stay in your lane.

Jessica Burgess 14:04
Yeah, 100%. And you know, what else? I always use this example, and I don’t know if it’s a good one or not. But when people come to me and they say I want to start a blog, I’ll say, “What’s your goal? Is it you have to make money to pay off a big bill in a year?”

Then you probably need to niche down specifically on a topic that’s going to have a quick SEO return or something like that.

However, if you’re someone that doesn’t have to have that, and you feel like there may be a chance that you would feel suffocated or restricted on certain topic. I always say, if somebody told me, “Jessica, you could only blog about one topic.”

I would resist that I would dread it, I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning and work on it. But since I built it to where I have that freedom to talk about whatever I want; I work on it probably a little too much. I just love doing it.

And I think when you are passionate about something and you love it, you’re naturally going to grow it and you’re going to be more successful at it. So really, I think it depends on the person, and what type of blog and what your end goals are for it.

Jillian Leslie 15:11
I like that advice. One thing you shared is that you went through some difficulty in your personal life. And you were able to step back from your blog, and it was still making you money. And how did you then do that?

Let’s start with how many hours would you say you work on your blog now, a week? And when you step back, how many hours were you working that? And how did you keep it going?

Making Passive Income as a Blogger

Jessica Burgess 15:39
Okay, that’s a great question. So, the beautiful thing about blogging. With my blogs, especially, it has the ads on it. So, those operate in the background whether you’re physically on your computer or not.

When we went through a really hard time, it was immediate, we had some health issues with our son, we were in the hospital a lot. Before all of that happen, I was probably working on my blog 30 hours a week.

25, 30 hours a week, very casually, but with a little bit of seriousness. Then when my son started getting sick, and we had some other personal issues going on, I stepped back completely.

And what that looked like was I wasn’t creating new blog posts, maybe one every three months, something like that. And I would get on social media make a post every now and then. But I wasn’t mentally there.

And so, after things started coming around, and we started feeling a little bit normal again, I really started hustling, I hate using that word, but working harder getting back at it.

And again, it’s because I enjoy it. I don’t believe everybody has to work this much. But I work on my blog right now, eight to 10 hours a day. Now, I will step back from that.

I also created a theme day system in our life where there are days where I don’t work at all. So, on Mondays, I don’t work, we spend a lot of time with the kids, we go on an adventure and do things.

So, when I say I may work eight to 10 hours a day, it may just be working after the kids went to bed, or when my husband’s watching movie that I don’t want to watch. But I didn’t work at all Monday.

So, when I stepped back from it, the ads generated, I didn’t really work with brands or anything like that I had affiliate income coming in. So, my income was cut. Because I wasn’t actively working on it.

But it still paid the bills, which is a beautiful, beautiful thing when you’re going through really hard time. And the last thing you want to think about is the bills.

Stepping Back as a Blogger

Jillian Leslie 17:46
Absolutely. How many months did you step back?

Intro 17:49
Oh, it was about three years.

Jillian Leslie 17:52

Jessica Burgess 17:52
Yeah. So, looking back at that you will see activity. I was present but not as present as I could have been or as I am now. And I want to say what some may be thinking, “Well did it hurt your blog at all?”

And yes, and no, because if I would have actively been working on it, I’d probably be, quote unquote, “bigger,” maybe more pageviews. I’d have more content up.

But at the same time, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, realizing what’s important during that time.

And being able to log back into my blog, when things start getting back to normal. It was such a blessing that it was still there. And that I could just kind of pick up where I left off.

Jillian Leslie 18:32
Did going through this crisis, change the content you were creating. Did you post about what you were going through? How did it pivot you?

Jessica Burgess 18:46
It didn’t really change the content I was sharing. As a lifestyle blog, I did incorporate some of it. There’s a lot of stuff. And then you can even see it on my YouTube channel. There are days where I talked about my faith, sometimes in my lifestyle blog.

And there were just days that I truly felt God calling me to just share part of our story because I felt, not that I necessarily owed it to anyone to explain why I was missing. But I felt like it made me relate to them more.

And if they were going through a hard time to know that I’m not just a face on Instagram or on a blog that lives this perfect life because sometimes that’s all people see on social media.

So, to be able to connect with my readers during that I did share a little bit. Some of it, it’s still to this day it’s like a wound it’s still sensitive to talk about. So, I don’t necessarily go into a lot of detail but I did share that.

And when I did share that personal journey and when I do share that personal journey with people the messages that come in, “Thank you so much I needed that today.”

Or, it’s so nice to hear that, not necessarily that you’re struggling but that you’re not perfect like sometimes we portray online.

Jillian Leslie 20:00
Well, I’m glad, though, that your son is better.

Jessica Burgess 20:03
Thank you.

Jillian Leslie 20:03
And that you’ve gotten to the other side of this.

Jessica Burgess 20:07
Thank you. It’s not over. But when you compare things to the way they used to be, combining his health along with the other problems and issues that were going on. You wonder how you make it through it. But it makes you stronger.

Sometimes, people say, how did you do it, you just say, “I didn’t have a choice.” And you don’t, you go through it and do the best that you can. And what’s so beautiful is that our faith through it all.

And looking back, we know exactly why everything happened, why it did, because it brought us to the place that we’re at now. And it’s just something that we can’t even imagine being any different.

Jillian Leslie 20:47
Wow, wow. Again, I think that your attitude is infectious. And that even though people might be coming to you for your recipes, or your organization, there’s something so, real authentic, sweet, relatable.

Jessica Burgess 21:05
Yeah, and that’s something that I enjoy, I always like seeing people’s realness, too. And, and, just naturally, when you make a friend, it’s like those authentic people you can be real with.

And so, I want to provide a place online for others too because there’s just nothing. Like you said, they may be coming for a hamburger recipe on my blog, but they may read somewhere else on there that I went through something similar, and I can relate.

And just knowing that you can relate to somebody, when you’re going through a hard time can be just enough to get you through to the next day. And I want to be that for someone.

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Jillian Leslie 22:39
Let’s talk about then the nuts and bolts. So, for Mediavine today, I think it’s something like you need 50,000 sessions. So, it was good. You got in early you were able to start making that money.

How did you drive traffic to your blog? And how do you do it today?

Jessica Burgess 23:03
Back then I focused on what was already working. I’m a big believer in quit trying to be everywhere to quit trying to make things work that aren’t working. If you have time, and you want to experiment, go for it.

But why not utilize what’s working and maximize that potential. So, at that time, it was Pinterest for me. Pinterest was doing well it was a little easier, quote unquote easier to have your content seen on there. But there were still strategies.

Driving Blog Traffic with Pinterest and SEO

And there were still things that caught people’s attention, whether it was the headlines and the keywords or the pretty images. So, back then that was my biggest traffic driver. And honestly, it still is today.

But SEO is creeping up on that I’ve become very motivated in the last couple of years to work on SEO, and I’m starting to see that pay off. And there is nothing cooler than seeing your content show up on Google search results.

So, that’s how I’m getting traffic today, with those two platforms majorly. There’s some content there, pageviews that come through on social media.

But again, I see a lot of people focusing on one social media platform, and then I’ll see them post in blogging groups, “Oh, no, it went away. It got hacked overnight and all my stuff’s gone.”

And I don’t want that. I want to be able to own my blog and own my email list and own my content. So, I don’t wake up one day and go, “My business life is over.”

Jillian Leslie 24:23
I think that is great advice. Okay, so Pinterest and Google and you’re leaning into SEO like a lot of people who, we all relied on Pinterest, and it was relatively easy to get traction.

And I think that Pinterest is pivoting. I think the platform’s become more populated with pins and content. It’s more competitive. And I think leaning into SEO is a fantastic strategy again so that not all your eggs are in one basket.

Now for social media, how do you think about Instagram and you said you have a YouTube channel and Facebook, how does that all fit in to your strategy?

Jessica Burgess 25:04
I am definitely no expert when it comes to social media, and my social media platforms have been around since I started, in 2011. And so, from what I’ve seen, I’ve seen new pages on Facebook start, and I’ve seen new accounts on Instagram start.

And it’s like, they blow up because they’re fresh, and they’re new, and they’re focused on it. I honestly feel like my social media outlets or platforms are kind of stagnant. To be honest, I want to be real and transparent.

But again, if I focused on Facebook a lot more or as much as I do with SEO and Pinterest, would it be better? Absolutely. It’s like anything in life, when you make it a priority, and you focus on it. It can only improve usually.

So, my strategy for those is maybe not the right strategy. But as a lifestyle blogger, I share my lifestyle content. Last night I was showing, I was showing my followers how to cook my easy dinner of steak bites, and I burnt my hair and the gas stove.

And you know what? I shared it because I hope somebody can relate to that. But do I get a return on investment from sharing stories on my Instagram and me burning my hair? No.

Can You Be a Successful Lifestyle Blogger | MiloTree.com

Strategies for Building a Following on Social Media

However, my followers, my lifestyle blog followers, tell me, thank you so much for sharing. Not because you show me that, you’re not perfect. So, I develop a following I guess, of entertainment, honestly of my random stories and my accidents that I share.

So, I develop a following. And being real and showing that, I honestly think too that people follow me and know when I say something or share about a product that they know it’s going to be from the heart and they know it’s going to be truthful.

I’m not just sharing it because a brand paid me to share it because I think they can smell it. And they can see it from a mile away if you’re being inauthentic. And I never ever want that.

Jillian Leslie 26:57
I love that. Now, when you’re working with brands, I meant to ask you this. Are you reaching out to brands or brands reaching out to you? Are you going through a company that connects brands to creators? How are you doing that?

Jessica Burgess 27:14
All of the above, however, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and one of my weaknesses is pitching and selling myself. I am good at it, I will say that, I will credit myself for that.

I’m good at pitching brands, because a lot of times I will get a deal with them. But I can’t stand doing it. I don’t like sitting there telling them what I’m good at and what I can do for them. So, I tend to put it on the back burner.

So, I’m actually actively looking for someone to help me with that. A virtual assistant. But I also will apply to platforms. It’s not Hologic anymore. It’s Muse I believe is what it’s called. And then there’s Activa.

There are other brand networks is what I call them that I will apply for jobs. And I’ll get some of those occasionally, and sometimes I have brands reach out to me directly. So, it’s kind of a mixed bag.

Jillian Leslie 28:12
So, are they predominantly food? Like what verticals? Because I know you got a mattress.

Jessica Burgess 28:19
Yeah. So, this is another thing I like about lifestyle blogging. When I talked to dedicated food bloggers, can they get a sponsored post for a mattress? Absolutely.

Would it look a little weird with the mattress company kind of go, “That’s not going to fit in. So, we’ll pass her.” But me I needed a mattress really bad. So, it worked out that I had a lifestyle blog that could naturally fit that in.

Sponsored Content is Easier as a Lifestyle Blogger

So, it’s mainly products, not food. And I think it’s because there are so many food bloggers out there that they can go to. And that’s better for the brand. And I get that. I do get some food.

I’ll bring in sponsorships, but it’s usually tied in with entertaining or busy mom life and being able to make a quick dinner. But a lot of times, oh my gosh, I’ve done eyeglasses and then of course the mattress.

Or styling a party using some products that a brand may have. So, it’s really a good variety of products that I think I can act as a lifestyle blog as a catch all to those brands wanting to work with someone that’s not solely focused on one niche.

So, it does have its trade-offs. But if you’re a food blogger and you have a food brand, wanting to work with someone, that’s a pro for them as well.

Jillian Leslie 29:36
Absolutely. Now let’s talk about email. And do you have a list? Are you emailing your list what is your strategy? How do you get email addresses?

Jessica Burgess 29:48
Okay. So, I started in the beginning, collecting email addresses.

Jillian Leslie 29:53
Good job by the way because usually that’s people’s biggest regret.

Jessica Burgess 29:58
Well, thank you. I appreciate that. However, I’m a chronic emailed dumper. So, what I do is I go in like every two weeks and just toss them if they haven’t engaged with me, and I don’t know if that’s the right thing or not.

The Importance of Building an Email List

But I’m an organizer, and I don’t like junk. And I’m not a packrat. So, I don’t want anybody taking up space that I’m paying for. Because I’m also very minimalist minded when it comes to finances. So, I purge my list often if they’re not actively engaging.

So, with that said, I think the reason why my list probably isn’t as big. It’s hanging around 5000. And that’s low for somebody that’s been blogging since 2011.

Jillian Leslie 30:39
Yeah, but if it’s an engaged list, that’s what you want.

Jessica Burgess 30:43
You’re so right. And my engagement is good, it is over what I hear so many people say it should be. But in the beginning, my lead magnet, the opt-in for people to get when they join my list was a party planning checklist.

Well, my niche is these days, recipes organization. So, a lot of those people that join my list in the beginning, for the first five years probably were party only. So, I had some cleaning up to do and as I pivoted and transition, so did my list.

And so now, which is really fun to talk about. I currently just last week, took all the opt- in boxes off my website. And I did that for a reason, because I’m testing site speed and transitioning to another opt-in company.

But I just built my new opt-in this morning, before we got on our call. And it’s a quick start guide, it’s “5 Secrets to Getting Dinner on the Table FAST!”.

So, what I’m doing is I’m capturing those coming to my blog for recipes, because that’s the majority of the topics that they come for. So, I’m giving them what they want, and then it will transition and segment into the different areas that they’re interested in.

Jillian Leslie 31:57
Got it. Will you put up, say a poll like to segment them to say, are you interested in food, organizing, parenting, those kinds of things? So, that you can lead them down different paths.

Jessica Burgess 32:13
Absolutely. That’s the plan after my five days of emails that they’ll get, “Hey, I also talked about organization and organizing the home, if that’s something you’re interested, click here.”

It’ll take them to a page on my site, and automatically tag them and put them in an organization list. So, is it going to be more work in the forefront of things of segmenting? Sure, but eventually, it’ll all be automated.

And as you know, niching down on those topics, usually has a better engagement rate. So, I’m really looking forward to it.

Even though I have this lifestyle blog, I’ll be able to niche down and segment and target those specific topics and not bother them with topics I don’t really care about.

Jillian Leslie 32:54
Absolutely. If you think about your business right now, where are you most excited?

Jessica Burgess 33:01
Oh, my gosh, the growth, I am not someone that is jealous of seeing, quote, unquote, “bigger bloggers” out there. But in some of the groups I’m in with them, I see how much money they’re making with their pageviews.

And I look at it and go, “I am so happy for you.” I’m not there yet. But I don’t know why I couldn’t be. So, I’m really excited about looking back. I will never forget telling someone, oh, gosh, it was probably four or five years ago. I said, “I made $5,000 this month.”

And I’ll never forget looking back and saying if I could just make $5,000 a month, and there I was saying I made it. And so, I think about that now looking forward, I can’t wait to make $300,000 a month with ad revenue.

And then one day looking back going, “I did it!” So, I’m most excited. And it’s not just about money. It’s about pouring your heart into something. And for me seeing that success in dollars, makes me excited.

Again, it’s not about the money. But that’s I guess a mile marker or a goal that I look forward to know what I worked so hard on. And what I had my mind set on was accomplished. And that did it.

Making Good Money Blogging

Jillian Leslie 34:22
I would say though it can also be about the money. I think as women we go, “Oh no, it’s not about the money.” And I’m like lean into that. How awesome if you could take your family on vacation if you can send your kids to college.

If you can do those things for your family and again, like you were saying, it’s also good to be a provider as well.

Jessica Burgess 34:46
Oh my gosh, yeah. And when you make money, doing something that you love, ah, it just takes it to a whole other level. You could be going to your job or your work every single day making a ton of money.

But if you hate it and you’re miserable, the money just kind of sucks the life out of. The job will and the money doesn’t really matter. So, when you combine that with something you enjoy doing anyway, it is just an amazing feeling.

Jillian Leslie 35:14
And I think, for me, one of the things I love in my businesses, aside from the money is connecting, and being able to hopefully make a difference. Especially that has been so, front and center for me during the pandemic.

We do a coaching group every month, and I love these people in my group, and showing up for them and them showing up for me, like that has been such a saving grace, and I just see it so clearly.

So, even being able to look at you in Montana, and go like, “I’m here in Austin.” And I feel this connection to you. To me, that is like such a payoff.

Jessica Burgess 35:58
It is. It’s priceless. It really is. And as an introvert. It is still even an amazing feeling. Because people need people, I don’t care if you’re the biggest introvert on this earth. People need people.

And that’s the beautiful thing about online and online business. You can connect with people. And it can be when you want when you decide. And with who you with, who do you want to connect with? And I love technology.

And I love the idea that we can connect, like you said, we’re on the opposite ends of America, and we can connect and have this relationship. And I totally agree.

Jillian Leslie 36:38
I feel like we’re best friends now.

Jessica Burgess 36:40
I know.

Jillian Leslie 36:44
Here’s my question. If you had advice for somebody who wants to start on this journey, what would you say to them?

Jessica Burgess 36:55
That wants to start on the blogging journey or wants to start on the lifestyle blogging journey?

Jillian Leslie 37:00
Let’s do both.

Jessica Burgess 37:01
Okay. So, if somebody said, “I think I want to start a blog.” My first question is always, “What would it be about” And then usually they go, ah. And a lot of times they don’t really know how to answer that.

But they do know, inside, they just either have the fear of saying, “Hey, I think I could talk about this topic.” Because a lot of us are afraid to say what we’re good at. I don’t know why, but it is a thing.

How to Know What to Blog About

And so, I would say, “Well, what would you blog about?” And if they don’t know, I actually have created a workbook because again, I was constantly approached with the same thing. I want to start a blog, but I don’t know what it’d be about.

So, I created a process and put it in a workbook for people to explore topics and figure out what that is. And usually during that process, it’s either one specific niche, or it’s a lifestyle blog.

95% of the time, it’s lifestyle blog, because they found me. And they’re asking me because I have a lifestyle blog. So, it’s not because everybody wants to start a lifestyle blog. It’s just that’s who I’m talking to usually.

So, then they say, “Okay, I want to start a lifestyle blog.” I recommend, let’s nail down at least two or three main topics that you will talk about, because I think that’s important to see if there’s enough out there to talk about those topics.

And so, that’s usually my first suggestion, or my first bit of advice. And then the second and I think equally important is make sure those topics are something you’re actually excited about, or that you’re passionate about.

Because if you’re not, you could have a lot of self-resistance. And, again, kind of like what I said earlier, if you’re resistant to it or dread it, you’re probably not going to want to work on it very often.

And if you do enjoy it, you work on it more often. You talk about it to people more, which in turn is growth for your blog and your brand and your business it just kind of snowballs from there.

Building a Blog Takes Time

Jillian Leslie 38:52
Absolutely. And it’s a long road.

Jessica Burgess 38:55
Oh, yeah. It’s not you’re going to start a blog and it’d be successful in paying the bills tomorrow. But I will say, if you have that entrepreneurial spirit, and you know, you want to start something, and you think blogging may be for you.

I think blogging is an amazing thing to test out because as you know, the beginning expenses and still to this day, they’re very little and so, it’s a risk that is financially usually less than most hobbies out there.

So, I love people to take the risk and just try it out because they’re not really out a lot financially.

Jillian Leslie 39:32
I love that. Jessica, if people want to learn more about you reach out to you what is the best way?

Jessica Burgess 39:39
Oh, I would say just head to my blog at fantabulosity.com and then all of the social buttons are right there. But the good thing about my crazy long name is that when you type it into any social media platform, it’ll usually pop-up.

Jillian Leslie 39:52
I love that. Well, I have to say thank you. First of all, you’ve changed my view. I would say weirdly, we are aligned when it comes to lifestyle and have to think about it.

So, I thought that was really terrific that that has definitely come out through this conversation. And I have to just say, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Jessica Burgess 40:15
No, thank you. It’s been a dream of mine to be on your show. So, you’ve helped me check off a dream. So, thank you.

Jillian Leslie 40:23
I think Jessica made some great points about being a lifestyle blogger and that is totally possible and you can have a lot of success doing it. My biggest takeaway is that if in fact, it helps you stay in the game by writing about different topics that is worth it.

I always say the person who can continue to show up for their business will be successful. If you are getting value out of the podcast, please right this moment head to iTunes on your phone and leave the Blogger Genius five stars.

You don’t even have to write a review. I’m just trying to get to 100 ratings, that’s it. And I would be so appreciative if you would do that for me. And I will see you here again next week.

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