As soon as I sat down with Alicia, it was like picking up where I left off with an old friend. Her sincerity and personality shone through every drop of advice she gave on what it's like to run her brand. As well, her lively candidness about her day-to-day worklife gave us an honest view into the world of a blogger.
Glamourous? It is pretty amazing, but it doesn't come without continuous hard work and mindfulness on how to best represent oneself. Below, you will get to know Alicia and how she has developed her personal brand into what it is today.
1. What work did you conduct before becoming a full time blogger? How did you leap into it?
- I was working for a local clothing company as a stylist and online marketing specialist. I started their social media presence from scratch and absolutely loved the challenge. I soon had people reaching out to me, asking about social, and it pushed me to take a big risk and leave my 9-5 for freelance social media work. I managed many social media accounts, including a lot of local business, which meant that I had to wear many hats and go beyond social strategy into some PR and event management.
Leap: What ended up happening with social after 4 years, is that I was looking for a change and some focus. I had a moment when contracts were ending and saw another opportunity with my blogging world. Since I hadn’t gone for it full time, I wanted to try it out. It took a bit of soul searching. I had to change the mentality of being behind the scenes ‘voice of a brand’ to the only face of the brand. And it’s definitely not a recognized career path. I feel like people in my life had JUST finally understood my social media work and I was having to explain to them that I a now exploring a career in blogging. There’s definitely many people who don’t understand what I do. I often describe it as having my own online magazine.
2. What’s a typical day like for you?
- Still a lot of computer time. It’s a neat world because it’s always different. Every day is different. Every week there’s at least 1 photo shoot. Sometimes its product or outfit photos (done in studio or on location). There’s a lot of writing and a ton of emails. It’s cool that sometimes my job is to sometimes go shopping. There’s a lot of brainstorming too ie. Talking with fellow bloggers. I do a lot of research for personal branding (Youtube, etc.). When you’re a one-woman-show you have to get creative.
3. Do you wake up with the rest of the world?
- I wake up at 6:30-7am, which is the beginning of my quiet time, until 9am. No interruptions and between 5-6:30pm is also a favourite time.
4. When you began blogging, what were a few key actions you took to separate yourself from the rest in your niche?
- That’s always going to be a struggle. I still have days where it feels so saturated where there’s so many people with personal brands right now. You know, I think it’s just about believing in what I’m putting out there. Being genuine and authentic is all you really can do. I’m always checking in with myself and asking “is this me?”. While working with other companies, it was different. Now being the face of my personal brand, it’s a shift. The approach is different as I have complete control over it. I don’t need to filter as much for myself as opposed to social for another company.
5. What are your thoughts on bloggers and other brands who buy their followers to ‘get their foot in the door’?
- I guess because I don’t buy followers, to me, having a high number without engagement means nothing. If brands are going to be okay with it, that’s fine, but I always take comfort during a campaign, that I can properly track engagement. I’d rather have a genuine conversation with my community! Buying followers just doesn’t seem very truthful to me.
6. How do you plan out your objectives (and financial) for the next 3, 6, 12 months?
- I make monthly financial targets. I do have yearly targets too. It’s to keep me on track and accountable. I’m goal oriented and it’s nice to have something to be aiming for. Bigger goals are sometimes not related to money. For example, going to New York fashion week is a goal. In this industry, most things are last minute and I have to be really flexible and be able to run with things quite easily. It’s great because if things are quiet, I have time to be pitching myself and searching for that income. And if things come along, then it’s extra money. It’s good to be goal oriented to see how I’ve reached my financial goals at the end of the month. It keeps me organized and I can then say “okay, this month sucked. Or it was awesome.” (she laughs)
7. You collaborate with other local bloggers and brands quite a bit. How has this helped your business grow?
- I think collaborating is always helpful because again, the larger you make your audience the better. It’s interesting collaborating with fellow bloggers as I find it helps. One day I would love to run things into an online magazine. I would love that. It’s a long-term pipe dream. And then, I could have a team and not watch online videos by myself, but brainstorm with a group. This is why collaborating is great because with my fellow bloggers, I can brainstorm on ideas and trends in our industry, which is only going to help everyone.