If you have an expertise or are good at something, you should let the world know. That’s the great thing about blogging — no matter what it is you are passionate about or want to create a business or brand around, it’s all possible with a quick WordPress install, domain name and some great content.
That’s something we’ve continually seen in the Meet the Bloggers series, and today’s blogger interview is no exception. Enjoy!
1.) Please tell us about yourself and how you got into blogging?
Hi, I’m Gina Horkey – a married millennial mama to two precocious toddlers and the founder of HorkeyHandBook.com.
I started blogging for fun way back in 2010 to chronicle my experience through the P90X fitness program. I didn’t really get that people made money blogging, and at the time I just did it for socialization and accountability.
In the spring of 2014, I did a Google search and came across freelance writing for the web. Again, I didn’t really understand that content writing was “a thing,” but quickly realized the opportunity and the fact that I could be really darn good at it.
I’m happy to say I was right! 😉
2.) What is the focus of your blog and why did you choose that niche?
At first, I started writing about “businessy” things to get a few samples live on my site to showcase as a portfolio of sorts for freelance writing.
Then I did what a lot of people do and started blogging about my journey, what I was learning, etc. I added VA (virtual assistant) services to the mix later that same year, as well as launched my first online course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
Another year or so later, I launched my second online course, 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success. I’ve been blogging about freelance writing, virtual assisting and growing an online business basically since the beginning.
It’s ever-changing and vast, so there’s a lot to cover!
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic
As I mentioned above, I have online courses (four total currently). I also do some affiliate marketing, still work with a couple of clients on a service basis and have one existing membership site, plus another in the mix.
Selling my own products and services has hands down been the most lucrative. And since I like creating, learning about sales funnels and online marketing, it’s still a good fit.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started blogging?
You know how people say, “It’s all in who you know?” Well, that’s 100% accurate.
Here’s the thing though, you don’t have to be born into a good network to succeed. I wasn’t.
And with this whole thing we like to call the internet, it’s never been easier to connect with whoever you’d like. Now, I’m not saying that you’re going to be able to get the President of the United States or Michael Jordan to reply to your direct tweet.
But I’m not saying it’s impossible either.
The big thing is being authentic. And not just taking from people, but giving in return. Actually, leading with a gift (and no, not a physical one) is the best way to go.
5.) What are three blogs that you visit almost daily?
I honestly don’t read many blogs anymore, but I am subscribed to a select few email lists, my favorites being:
- My girl Kristin Larsen from Believe in a Budget.
- My friend Kai Davis (his site having the same name).
- And I <3 Lisa Tanner’s blog posts on freelancing, while being a mother to EIGHT kiddos!
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools/services that you use with your blogging?
- Anything Google-related (i.e. Drive, Gmail, Voice, etc.) – it’s hands down my favorite (and free) suite of tools!
- Drip – affiliate link is the email service provider that I use (and have for over two years) and it’s super robust, yet lightweight. I don’t ever see myself switching!
- List Goal is an amazing (and again FREE) chrome extension to help you keep focused on and track of your email newsletter subscriber growth.
7.) What advice would you have for someone who is just starting with their first blog?
Be consistent and underestimate what you can do!
Don’t set out to blog daily or even weekly if you don’t have time to publish quality content. I.e. don’t blog just to blog, but rather to offer valuable content to your audience.
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what that should look like in the beginning (I didn’t), but do make a commitment to yourself that you’ll hit publish every ______ (fill in the blank with a doable timeframe) and honor that commitment.
And the best part is, you’ll get better by writing and publishing content on a regular basis.
8.) What’s the best advice or tip you’ve discovered about blogging since getting started?
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” (I believe Jon Acuff first said this).
Basically, it means to focus on what you’re doing and what you’re capable of doing, rather than what someone else is doing that’s two months or years or decades ahead of you. There’s room for us all (blogging as an industry has proven this) and we each have something unique to say and bring to the table – even if there are a million others talking about the same subject!
9.) If you only had $100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
Having your own domain and a self-hosted WordPress website is imperative to long-term success. I know it seems like a big investment at first, but it’s worth it if you commit to doing something with it!
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
Come check out Horkey HandBook, where we’ll help you find or become a kickass virtual assistant!
Thanks again to Gina Horkey for taking the time to share her advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.