Casie Stewart has some loud critics. As a writer, I can sympathize with the discomfort of revealing my thoughts to the public (thankfully, many of you are awesome). I can only imagine the jump to showing the world my life.
Despite the understandable friction, that’s what Stewart made the move to do. As a result, she has become one of the most successful self-made lifestyle bloggers in Canada (and North America, I daresay). “I get to do a lot of stuff that I only ever dreamed that I would get to do,” she says happily.
We’re all probably familiar with her blog, so I decide to ask her about the other side of the coin: the tough moments that she has to fight through, the challenges, and the hard work behind the glamour.
IT’S NOT A WALK IN THE PARK
“I think the toughest things are when you have no money; essentially, I am an entrepreneur, and I’ve built up my business around my life,” she admits, briefly alluding to her time on TV show Maxed Out.
“I’m really super online, so people always think that I always have all these people around me, and we’re all like best friends. But when you’re a blogger, or you’re starting your own business by yourself, you spend a lot of time alone and at the computer,” she explains. “My life – yeah, a lot of times it is pretty glamorous and really fun, but – you spend a lot of time by yourself.”
Compounded together, these two factors make for a tough position to be in as a blossoming blogger. Last summer, Stewart had considered quitting blogging altogether. She eventually chose to stick through it, and had a string of opportunities wind up in her Inbox as a result of her hard work and consistency.
Despite these challenges, Stewart also points out that there’s always money to be made, and there are alternatives to being at home by yourself (like working at a Starbucks or a library).
HOW DO ASPIRING VLOGGERS/BLOGGERS WIN ONLINE?
“You need to do something every day that brings you closer to your goals,” Stewart advises. “When it comes to the internet, it is survival of the fittest. You gotta be the best, most consistent, you gotta stick at it…When I got home from the airport in Banff this morning, it was 4:30 and I published something on my blog about my panel today so I knew I could just get up and come here.”
I mentally calculate that she’d gotten probably four hours of sleep, and marvel at the fact she just did a panel. On four hours, I would have been passed out by this hour in the afternoon.
Instead of just attending an event or conference, Stewart advises volunteering. “That’s the easiest way to get connected to the people,” she adds. Stewart had even managed to sneak into fashion week parties and stuff like NXNE a few years ago, just to continue to network and introduce herself to people. “Just to even sit front row at a show was a dream,” she reminisces. “This year, I walked the closing show with all the celebrities.”
PERSONAL BRANDING CAN BE YOUR HUSTLE
What about organizations you work with, and associating yourself with bigger brands? Essentially, co-branding yourself with others?
“That stuff helps elevate you because you’re bringing in a whole other audience, and you’re connecting with a whole other audience,” she suggests. “If you can partner up with anyone, especially a big name, or volunteer to cover something for somebody, then do it.”
“When I got hired at MuchMusic, it wasn’t because I had experience working as a blogger, or working as a social media content or community manager – whatever buzzword you want to call it ,” she recalls. “It was because I went out, because I hustled, because I met people, I could say I worked for this organization or that organization….and I have all these connections because I went out and I sought them out. No one gave me a job and said, ‘here’s your experience’; I just went out and created it myself.”
“If you’re not acting that way, and you don’t have that passion, somebody out there does,” she warns.
Stewart had told me earlier, “If you don’t love what you do, there’s no point in doing it.” She is the perfect example of how passion is the prerequisite to success, and yet hard work is still the determining factor of it.
Thanks for showing us how to hustle, Casie!