I started Frugal Beautiful in January of 2011. At the time, I was navigating the cold, stark waters of life in a new part of the country (A.K.A. not sunny southern California) and trying to catch my breath from the realization that I didn’t want my Ph.D. and the master’s degree I was working on was totally crushing my spirit. Oh, did I mention, I was totally broke and living from paycheck to paycheck, salivating over the shoes and beauty products I wanted but couldn’t dream of buying. My monthly budget was $800 I couldn’t imagine getting through it, much less, learning how to live on that amount of money.
This blog was originally intended to be a “grad student’s guide to champagne, no, beer taste, on a water budget.” I was going to talk about city living, budgeting and frugality as I struggled to make it in a new city on $800 a month (anyone who can make it on $800 a month who also loves fashion, tell me your secret!) I wanted to talk about money even though I had none- that was it, pure and simple. I wasn’t looked to be challenged or provoked, I just wanted to talk about money.
Enter a swift career change, the dream to become a problogger, adopting a pug, raising $2,600 for charity: water, several blogging conferences and a new passion for running & I’d have to say that blogging changed my life.
One of the coolest moments of my life, was while I was still in Chicago. I was working a job I hated and I knew that if I could just make this blogging thing work, I could quit my downtown job that was slowly crushing my soul (and making me pennies a month). When I finally realized I could quit my job to blog full time while I finished school, I cried.
After I cried, I got dressed, went to that job, put in my two weeks notice and then marched over to Tiffany & Co. I bought a $150 necklace with money I made from blogging & social media consulting and it was like two dreams at once…quitting a job I didn’t like and finally being able to afford something frivolous I did like- not bad for a frugality blogger who previously had only two pennies to rub together!
At that moment, I was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, but this time, I did more than window shop and eat a croissant. It was surreal how it all came together and a blog could help me achieve my other goals and dreams.
Granted, it was pretty awesome marching into Tiffany & Co. and making that impulse buy after putting in my two weeks- but what was even better was hopping online and celebrating with my other blogger friends. See, the best part of having a blog is the community to support and challenge you. Since that time, I don’t just reach out to my blogger friends for blogging stuff- but my blog friends have supported my fundraisers, my struggles and have promoted my biggest projects. The network that blogging creates is truly priceless. My community continues to inspire and challenge me online and offline.
Preparing for a half marathon is exciting when you start- then you hit a dip in enthusiasm and energy and it’s like slogging through mental mud trying to keep up the routine. I can’t tell you how many times I had a quick question about gear, technique or had to vent about a random ache or pain. When my Nike+ syncs to Twitter, the encouraging tweets always keep me going- even when I had a totally craptastic 1 mile run, hearing from the greater running community makes me feel connected and I keep going.
People all over are doing amazing things with their blogs- Nathan Agin of NonStopAwesomeness.me uses his blog to teach others about mindfulness & health, but it’s also a sounding board for his no-strings-attached nomadic lifestyle. The blog is a platform for him to explore the world and a teaching tool. Sarah K. Peck of ItStartsWith.com just used her blog to raise $29,000 for charity: water and swim from Alcatraz. They tell stories, but they transform and grow their own the more they blog.
There are a million marketing gurus out there who will spew advice at you about SEO, social media tricks and traffic boosting techniques without ever diving into the real soul of blogging. Your blog should help you tell your story, but it should help you evolve your story. While we start a blog singularly to talk about our path to wellness, paying off debt or learning to live frugally, that can’t be the whole story- your blog isn’t just a traffic generator and you are not just a robot. You and your blog needs a soul and they need to be connecting, redefining one another.
If your blog isn’t helping you discover your passions and achieve your passions, I have to ask- what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to begin delving deep into who you are and who you want to be?
I never thought I’d make it through grad school, sanity intact. I never, ever saw myself as a runner. I wouldn’t have fathomed that I could raise thousands of dollars for charity and run races using my blog. I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me that I would launch my very first (eek!) product- Rockstar Blogging in just two weeks and run my first half marathon for charity in just a few months. I would have totally laughed, yet, here I am.
Your blog should help you discover your passion, connect you to your ideal community and then, earn the recognition and cash to help fund that passion. If you don’t have the answers, keep looking and ask lots of questions until you do.
I feel so blessed that in under two years I’m earning money from my blog and I get free products coming to my door to fuel my love for fashion and beauty, but also supports my newfound love for running. I absolutely love running my giveaway site and the many happy winners it’s created. I’m in awe that when I run my first half marathons, I’ll have blogger friends there by my side that I met on Twitter. It’s amazing to me that I already have roomies to all my upcoming conferences with bloggers I met online that become real life friends.
In two weeks, my very first product, Rockstar Blogging, launches. This work is my heart and soul and I’ve put everything I know about blogging into it. I firmly believe that every blogger has the potential to be a rockstar- it doesn’t matter what your topic, how big or small, how old or new- if there’s more you could be getting out of your blog, I want to help!
Learn how to get direct ads, freebies for reviews & giveaways and talk confidently to major brands to earn more with your blog!
Great Post! I was blogging for some time in a different area but never really found my groove, it was through that outlet that I discovered what I really wanted was to be blogging in the PF area and love it. While I don’t ever expect to make any money from it, I still love it. Congrats to you for finding your true calling 🙂
Thank you Catherine- I totally agree… keep looking until you find that spark and that topic that transforms your life. When I started I thought I’d just be talking about frugality, but learning about personal finance, fashion, fitness and philanthropy has changed the whole experience for me!
BTW- I totally think you could make some side hustle money with it, your blog is great!
I’m shouting “Yes!” behind my screen. I started blogging not long after you and relate to every step of your journey. Thanks for putting it all into words and sharing it here.
And keep it up, girl 🙂
Thank you Anne! I am so glad blogging has been a similarly awesome experience for you!
Shannyn, I just want to thank you for your posts. 🙂 It’s been a rough year for me, recovering from clinical depression and just going nutso about whether or not I care about university, among other things. Your blog really lights up my day. 😀 I think you are a beautiful person, inside and out.
You’re truly an inspiration to me and to others around you. This topic is something that’s close to my heart as well, and I’ve been thinking about my blog and my journey a lot lately. Without a doubt my blog and the community of readers have transformed my life, my finances and my career path. I don’t know where I’d be today without it (and you!).
It’s so sad to see other bloggers that fail and give up after only a short time. As Danny Iny says “an abandoned blog is evidence of a broken dream” because we all start a blog with a dream/goal in mind. I’m so happy to see that the platform you build has helped you fund your dreams and passions. Keep up the awesome work!
Rock on! 🙂
I would love to make my blog my full time job. I think it would be soo cool to make money and to be able to review amazing products. I signed up for your VIP. I just started by blog about 3 months ago and I really want it go somewhere. I am still figuring out all the ins and outs but my blog has been such a blessing to me (and hopefully others).
Thank you so much for this post,
Cody @Solemn Sound
Thank you for a great post. I havn’t been blogging for long but I’ve already found my voice, and blog morphing to areas of interest I didn’t know that I had. The biggest mistake a new blogger can make is to fail to connect to other bloggers. The community really does push you to keep going – much like a pace runner during a marathon I’m guessing.
Totally agree blogging does change lives! It definitely has mine!
LOVE this post! Keep inspiring yourself — you’ll never know who else you can inspire!
Your post made me so happy! Both for you and how much you’ve done in 2 years and also about the potential that we all have, blogger or not. It’s almost like your post could “If you want to change your life and you haven’t yet, you’re missing the point”. Anyone can do it and anyone can learn to be happier in life!
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I love reading this post and agree 110% (also very excited to hear about Rockstar Blogging!). Can’t wait to see what the next 2 years hold for you!
I can’t wait to see it all come together girl! 🙂
Fantastic post, Shannyn.. And you are so right on.. If you don’t find inspiriation from your blog, not only are you doing it wrong.. But you won’t last. Writing gives you a platform to share your thoughts with the world, and having that voice can shine a light on a side of yourself that you didnt even know existed. Your passion is clear in this article, and quite an inspiration..
Just what I needed to read today! It was great to hear about your successes and encouragement for the rest of us.
Thank you so much for this post. It really resonated with me and came just at the right time! I appreciated the idea that blogging is really a transformational process, and that we should be aware of its power to transform our lives if we embrace the process. It is clear that this is a passion for you, thank you for inspiring us to continue on!
I’m not a blogger but I’ve often thought about writing one. I am not that interesting tho so I’d probably just want to run some contests and giveaways. (bg)
Hi! I was just online browsing when I came across your blog. I noticed your swap with GlitzGlamBudget (whom I just adore!) so I continued reading.. I wanted to tell you how completely and totally inspirational this post is and thank you SO much for sharing! I can identify with much of what you said and can appreciate the advice. Congrats on all you’ve accomplished and def on Rockstart blogging!! xx
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