This post was a long time coming, as I get SO many messages regarding this topic. So I finally sat down to organize my whole story into a blog post, to shed some light on my personal journey. This isn’t a guide to success, or a one size fits all story. But hopefully it will answer your questions, and give you some insight and inspiration on just what I did to become a full time blogger!
Read more to learn my story!
How I started Blogging
From the beginning, I’ve always had an online presence. I started on creative writing forums when I was 13, determined to become a book writer. My online life continued to art sites, where I wrote poetry, prose and books, shared my digital art and drawings, and began experimenting with photography. I also had been teaching myself web design, coding, and graphics design since age 14.
Some of you might know I was a ballet dancer all my young life, from age 3 – 19. I quit before joining a professional company in NY because I realized I had too many passion to only spend my life in one genre of art. I took to my photography as the creative outlet I needed to replace the part of me that was always invested in dance. But this time, I had gained some popularity for my digital art and photography, winning some art awards and publishing some poetry books. I’ve sort of dabbled in most art forms, taking after my dad who is an abstract painter by profession, among other things.
From learning classical guitar to cinematography, film photography and art history, I’ve done the college thing (and it wasn’t my idea of a good use of time). After one year of college (I was able to skip the required classes as my dad was director of the art school), I “dropped out” because I already had an up and coming photography business going. I was shooting with wedding photographers and doing fashion, model portfolio work, and senior photos with my own company. It was my full time job, but that didn’t stop me from investing time into my creative outlets of writing and fashion photography.
I would discover new models and creative direct fashion campaigns and films, which led me to working with local boutiques and brands for Lookbooks and editorials. I did this for a few years, when I started to dabble in modeling the products myself. I started my blog Ready Gypset Go in 2013, as a first step into fashion blogging. At the time, it was the era where I think bloggers had the most luck, because it was all new and fun for brands to collaborate. My blog took off in only a couple years, getting roughly 30,000 followers and 18,000 blog views monthly. It was also the era of boho and that was my thing, so it worked.
Within a couple years, Josh and I took Ready Gypset Go to the next level by deciding to buy a vintage airstream and renovate it ourselves on a shoestring budget. We stayed in Ohio (where we started), for 6 months riding out winter and slowly fixing up the Airstream (named Flo). But it was taking too long and we needed to be on the road and exploring for the blog. So (after a few cross-country road trips in our jeep) we hitched up and hit the road. Everything went wrong. Our truck broke down several times, and the original vintage furniture in the Airstream fell apart from travel. We crash landed in Arizona where we thought we’d call home base. While there for almost a year, we finished almost the full renovation of Flo, and left our last remaining place to call home for full time life on the road. This was fall 2015, and I started the concept of Blogger Campaigns. I created a plan for a specific trip and vibe, and made it public for brands to buy in to. It was so successful that we made more in one month than ever before. It was enough to cover some time traveling and to finish up some more Airstream renovations. But it was a lot of Lookbooks and content to shoot, and I got deathly sick at one point and had to push through during horrible weather to finish the work on time.
We did the road trip life for about a year, hopping from place to place, gliding down the California coast from the PNW to SoCal. It was an amazing, life changing experience that taught me so much, and made me so strong. But that’s another story. We eventually settled down in SoCal to relax after being literally homeless for so long, and based ourselves there (yes, still living out of our cute little Airstream!). I worked on the blog full time, and also depended on my Closet Sales to get us through the slow months.
Around the time when Instagram was a plentiful source of work for me, they implemented the Algorithm. Life certainly changed at that point, as it did for so many others. What was a free space to share my work and creations, and reach my loyal audience I’d built over the years, I could focus solely on the creative aspect of shooting and connecting with brands. But it became a whole different beast. These days we all know the story, so I don’t need to delve into that. But it changed they way I worked, the way one could be a blogger, and they way one had to start blogging if they’re new. It was a huge setback and we had to learn much more than what we expected, and it’s become a full time job of its own just to manage the business aspect of running an IG account. It goes so much deeper than what one might assume from a surface level of seeing bloggers. Over the past couple years I’d also taken on various interns and an assistant, which helped greatly with the workload.
I don’t think there is a straight up answer for how to be successful in blogging. It’s more about who you are and what you’re doing, and doing it at the right time. And, of course, expanding your knowledge of the business side of it. It’s not just another hobby, it’s an actual job that people typically hire professionals with a background of knowledge for. What I’ve discovered is, if you want to play, you have to first know the rules of the game. You have to be a business professional, or learn to be one. It’s more work than play, and more stress than fun. I’m not going to give you some sort of illusion to believe in. Because I’m not rich, I don’t have it all figured out, and I still have a lot to learn.
I learned as I went, which everyone does to and extent, because I had to when it all changed. But in the beginning, I certainly did not know what all I’d be doing years down the road, to keep the dream alive. It’s kind of a marathon, and you have to have endurance for each challenge and hurdle that comes at you.
Thanks to my background in all things artsy and creative, and having taught myself necessary things at a super young age, I was lucky to be prepared to do what was needed to fill all the jobs. Along with my husband Josh, who handles shooting the photography and video with me, the tech and web development, and being my partner, we cover all the jobs.
So where am I at now?
It’s grown so much that we are at capacity, and will soon be taking on a team to allow the blog to keep growing, and so we can delegate some of the workload. What allows me to keep blogging full time is how I connect with brands weekly, and take on monthly sponsored work, from Instagram posts to blog posts, etc. We also make a good chunk of our income by taking on campaign work with brands. I take the role of creative director/stylist/model/editor, and Josh shoots the photography/videography for such brands national and international, which takes place every season throughout the fashion calendar. You can now see our campaign work in the Portfolio on the blog!
I hope this gave you a better idea of how my life went in this direction. I came from very little, being broke 99% of the time and having next to no clothes to style, to becoming fully stocked in free products to run the blog, to then developing and growing to where I make my living off my blog and Instagram. All it took was creativity, a developed set of skills, and good content that I put out there since the beginning. And tons of determination, and not listening to those people who didn’t believe in me.
And, if you are reading this now, you’ll see that our brand has gone through yet another rebirth as Jetset Lust! As I’ve grown and my style & life goals have changed, I never wanted any part of what I do to be kept from growing with me. Times change and one must evolve. The blog shed it’s boho niche this past year, and now we step away completely from what we branded as the “Gypset” road trip lifestyle, to a more world traveling jet-set life. A little more luxe, a little more cultured. The new name came to me one day and I knew it was the accurate title for our new chapter. Combining our wanderlust with the yearning to jet-set across the globe, we bring you Jetset Lust.
Follow our upcoming travels, and discover what we do and how we do it! You can subscribe to get updates directly to your inbox!