Maria

How Fashion Blogger Maria Makes $10k/month From Her Blog Chicpursuit.com

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This is an interview with Maria from chicpursuit.com

Maria’s Story

Hey there! I’m Maria, the blogger behind the lifestyle blog ChicPursuit.com. I’ve been blogging for about three years now, out of which two I’ve been a full-time blogger.

My path is actually quite unconventional, because I dived into full-time blogging right after I graduated from university. I studied chemistry, but I was never very passionate about it and I didn’t see myself working in a lab for crappy pay (the salaries of scientists and lab technicians are unfortunately pretty low!).

Also, I was applying for various jobs and getting rejected left right and center, which was really infuriating because I had the grades, I knew I could do the jobs, but I wasn’t getting the offers I wanted.

I had been building my blog on the side while I was in university, and although at the time it wasn’t producing enough income for me to survive on, I saw potential in it and decided to just go for it. 

I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial, and working for myself has been a lifelong dream of mine. Even though it was scary to dive into the unknown, it paid off in the end.

On Blogging

When did you register your domain name and why did you choose this name “”?

I started my blog in January 2017 as an extension to my Instagram, which was about fashion. I chose “Chic Pursuit” as the main concept of my blog was to achieve chic and elegant lifestyle on a budget.

You host your website with which host and how many hosts have you changed and (if yes) why?

Currently, my website is hosted on Pressable, which is quite expensive at $90/month. It’s great, especially when it comes to tech support, however I’m also thinking about changing my host to something more affordable like BigScoots, which a lot of other bloggers with high traffic are using.

I’ve tried several hosts in the past, including Bluehost, Hostgator, WPX and Cloudways, but Pressable has out shined them all thanks to their excellent customer service and increased page speed. (For beginners, I recommend Bluehost as it’s the most affordable option and works perfectly if you don’t yet have high traffic.)

Who maintains your website? How many VAs (if any) do you have?

Currently, it’s just me! I do have an editor for my Youtube videos though.

Why did you choose this niche?

I haven’t actually chosen a particular niche – my blog is about anything and everything that interests me! I write about fashion, beauty, blogging/business, recipes, crafts and decor, which is very broad.

I started out as a fashion blogger as I love fashion, and later on added other topics because I noticed that they were very popular on Pinterest.

Your best social media channel(s) in terms of generating traffic and engagement?

Pinterest – hands down! Pinterest is my main source of traffic, and it currently brings in about 60% of my traffic. Google is also a great source of traffic, and it accounts for about 40% of my traffic.

Apart from that, YouTube is also great for establishing a closer relationship with my audience.

Why so many blogs fail and what one action is critical to the success of any blog?

I think the majority of blogs fail for two reasons: 1) not writing problem solving content that people are searching for and 2) expecting results too quickly.

What I mean with my first point is that too many beginner bloggers write about things that interests them, or they treat their blog as a diary.

This technique is not great for attracting an audience, because how are people supposed to find your blog? That’s why it’s so important to focus on keyword research and to find out what people are searching for on different channels, whether that’s Pinterest, Google or Youtube.

For example, instead of writing a post about your favorite beauty products, do a post titled 10 Best Selling Drugstore Products instead. (Not to be mean, but no one cares about your opinion unless you already have a large presence online!)

Another reason why a lot of bloggers quit is because they give up too quickly. Of course there are some bloggers who achieve success in the first 6 months after launching their blog, but this is NOT the norm.

It takes a while to establish your domain as an authority on Google and Pinterest – this can be 6-12 months with consistent posting, depending on your niche. After this time, everything gets easier, so I encourage bloggers to just stick it out for this period and focus on creating consistent content. The rewards will come later!

Are you satisfied with where you are now in terms of success of your blog and what are the plans for the future?

I am relatively satisfied at the moment. My goal for myself in 2020 was to reach $112,000 per year with blogging, and I’m happy to say that I’m on track to reaching this goal!

I’ve managed to pay off the majority of my student loans ($42k) and now I’m saving the money to invest into my future. However, as I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world (London), I would still need to earn a bit more to afford a mortgage in a nice neighborhood.

As for the future, my plans are to create a few blogging related courses that my audience has been asking for, and start posting more on Youtube and perhaps also on Instagram.

Recently, I’ve been blogging a lot about lifestyle related topics, and I have to admit that I miss posting fashion content and attending events that are held in London specifically for fashion bloggers. These events are great for networking and meeting other bloggers who’s content I watch on Youtube and Instagram.

I also want to start attending blogging conferences and make some new friends in the industry, because it can get quite isolating!

Do you ever plan to sell this blog and if yes, what’s the target price you have in mind?

No, I would never sell Chic Pursuit because it’s the first blog that I created and it’s also tied to me as a person.

On Analytics

Do you actively monitor your analytics?

Yes, I check my analytics at least once per day!

Was it hard to learn and why so many bloggers seem to skip it?

Analytics and data are my favorite part of blogging. My background is in chemistry and I’m quite a logical thinker, so that might explain why I enjoy it so much.

Many other bloggers that I know identify themselves more as creatives, which is probably why they don’t enjoy analytics as much.

On Email Marketing

Can you tell us about your email list size?

My email list is relatively tiny compared to the amount of traffic that I get – it’s around 3,000.

You use which ESP?

ConvertKit.

What’s your open rate and do you A/B test your emails?

My open rate is 39.91% and I don’t A/B test my emails at the moment.

How important is email marketing to your marketing effort?

Email marketing is definitely important to my marketing efforts, but it’s been on a bit of a back burner because of Coronavirus. Email is the best way for me to reach out to my subscribers about any sales that are happening and also to keep them updated about any industry trends.

However, because my list is relatively tiny at the moment (and I don’t offer that many products), it doesn’t drive a huge amount of my revenue – maybe 10-15%.

On Productivity & Systems

Tell us about your system of work. How do you stay focussed and productive despite life happening all around you?

My best tip would be to separate home and work. At the moment, I work from a home office, but before Coronavirus hit I was renting an office in central London. It was amazing for productivity as well as my mental health – it was nice to meet new people and not be by yourself the whole day!

Another tip that I have is to batch your work. What this means is that you essentially do a similar task for a prolonged period, whether that’s one day or one week. For example, if I’m writing new blog posts, I will spend one day doing keyword research, 1-2 weeks writing new blog posts (I aim to do 3-5 per day), 1-2 days creating Pinterest images and one day creating SEO optimized Pinterest descriptions for all the blog posts. I then schedule them out for the next few months.

This way, it’s easier to produce a lot of content in a relatively short amount of time, and it takes less brain power because you’re not multi-tasking throughout the day. At the moment, I’m already creating content for Christmas and it’s July! This frees up my time later on in the year, so if I want to spend my time filming Youtube videos or creating new products, I can do that without worrying about blog posts.

Do you have a separate room, some favorite cafe where you love to work?

Yes, like I mentioned, I’m currently working from a home office, but usually I would go to an actual coworking office where I have a private desk. I don’t know when I’m going to return to an office (because of Corona), but hopefully it will be sometime this year.

On Monetization

When did you make your first $ online?

It’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure I had my first sponsored post a few months after deciding that I was going to start an Instagram account. (At this time, I didn’t have a blog yet, and I was paid $50 for an Instagram post with gifted products.)

When did you hit the $1000 per month target?

It took a while for me to hit this target. I had been on Instagram for 1-2 years before starting my blog, and even though I earned some money there, it was never consistent. I hit my first $1,000/month in September 2017 with Instagram sponsorships, and that’s when I decided to pursue blogging full-time.

However, my income didn’t stay at that level. It took about 6 more months for me to reach $1,000/month again, this time with income from my blog. After that it grew to $3,000/month in about 3 months, and that’s where it stayed for about a year.

What is your present monthly income from this blog?

At the moment, I make about $10,000/month. My best month was around $15,000 a few months ago, but that’s not the average.

On Tools & Resources

What is your favorite theme?

I use Divi on my blog, but I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it. It’s great for creating your own landing pages and sales pages, but sometimes the edits get messed up for no reason. There’s been so many times that an element on my sales page all of a sudden doesn’t look like what it’s meant to, even though I’ve not made any changes to it.

What are your favorite plugins?

I don’t really have many plugins that I couldn’t live without, perhaps because the Divi allows you to customize your website very freely.

The only one that I can think about is Updraft, which creates automatic backups of your website. It has saved me so many times when I’ve accidentally messed up something, or that one time when my host deleted my entire website and all of its data (yes, that really happened! Do NOT use Hostgator!!).

Are you satisfied with your site speed and how do you check it?

Up until recently, I’ve been satisfied with my page-speed, however a few months ago it dropped for some reason. I don’t really know why, but it went from 40 to 12 on Google PSI, even though I haven’t changed anything on the back-end. This is also why I’m considering changing my host.

It’s one of those issues that I should get checked out but I’m not technical at all, so I’ve been putting it off.

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Advice for Starters

Your best advice for starters who want to change their life by starting their blogs?

My advice is to just start your blog now – you can refine your craft later! 

I also always encourage people to think about monetization straight from the get go, and think about it again before writing a blog post. Every single one of your blog posts should have a purpose and a way of monetizing it even before you write it (that is, if your goal is to make money with your blog!).

That may mean writing blog posts that are centered around an affiliate product to encourage sales, plugging your own product or writing about a popular topic that is almost guaranteed to get a lot of traffic and ad revenue.

I also recommend to get serious about Pinterest marketing straight from the get go. Pinterest and Google are the best sources of traffic for bloggers and Pinterest often works way faster than Google.

It’s well known that ranking a new blog on Google is going to take a long time (at least 6 months, if not more), so while you’re waiting for Google to do it’s magic, it’s best to start establishing a presence on Pinterest and gaining traffic that way. (If you’re interested, I have a free 4 part Youtube series where I go over exactly hot to do that!)

 If you could start all over, what will you tell your 20 year old self?

Go to more parties and make more friends! Also, apply to business school instead of chemistry, it’s way easier. And start paying your student loans asap, the interest hits hard.

On Myths in Blogging

What is the worst advice you see being dispensed in your field?

There’s a common conception that blogging is easy and that success happens overnight. 

Yes, blogging is easy ONCE when you’ve done the hard work, but success in this field (nor any other field) doesn’t come overnight. You need to do the work first and learn the tricks of the trade firsthand (and do lots of mistakes while you’re at it!). 

So many online gurus sell the dream of making money from your laptop, how hard it really is?  

Like I mentioned, it’s easy once you know what you’re doing. It can be difficult to get started and very frustrating when you think you’re doing everything right, but you’re still not getting the results you want.

Consistency is key. I always recommend sticking to blogging for at least a year and posting at least once per week – so many beginner bloggers give up before this time, which is why they don’t see any results.

Once you have traffic and all of your systems are in place, it’s pretty easy. Also, you dictate how much you want to work. If you want to take your income to the next level, you’ll need to keep working and producing more products or blog posts at a pace that’s comfortable for you.

However, if you are happy earning what you earn, you can live the 4 hour work week dream that Tim Ferris promised. 

Did you find the interview useful?

If yes, share the love with your friends or anyone who may shorten their learning curve by gaining value out of it.