“Just start. You can talk about ‘wanting’ to do something but nothing happens to wanting. Starting is your first step. You don’t need to get fancy.”
Oh hey girl! So happy you’re here for another Feature Friday! Today we’re back with a girl boss who is doing BIG things. I saw all of the amazing work she was doing, and had to get her featured in the blog. Not only is she a self-made entrepreneur who built her business around the things she loves – blogging and social media – but she’s also a hard-working mama. I am always amazed at how mothers continue to be the best mom’s while running a successful business. This gem also is a photographer, which plays an important part in her business. I’m just obsessed with everything she is doing! It’s time to get to know her, and learn more about what she does and how she started. Grab a cup, sit back, and enjoy your Friday read! Get to know…
Hometown: Boise, Idaho
Girl Boss Status: Blog Strategist + Photographer + Mompreneur
Hi Toni! Welcome to The Boss Diary! So glad you’re here. Tell me all about how you started as a Blog Coach.
I’m a photographer and when I started my business, I knew I needed to market it online to grow but I had no clue WTF I was doing. I literally said that to myself everyday. I would blog, but no one was listening. That was 2014. At that time, I couldn’t get free classes, emails or even YouTube didn’t have much to teach me how to market myself. So, I spent 2 years randomly blogging about what I thought would work and still crickets. Then, the internet blew up with coaches and trainings and I watched every video I could to learn more. My business shifted and I started getting questions over and over from friends and strangers online who wanted to know how to get their blog and social media going. Now I coach creative business owners how to start their blogs, stay consistent and grow their following.
I see that you’re also a Brand Photographer. How long have you been doing photography?
I have been doing photography professionally since 2014. Or let’s be real, that’s when I started taking money for my photography. I have evolved and grew since then, but I have still yet to learn so much about the art. It’s an art that will never me mastered and the learning never stops. I learn something new almost every week. Whether it’s teaching myself something or a lesson from a mentor/teacher.
Starting out as a coach and finding the right clients can be a difficult process, especially in the beginning. How did you build your business into what it is today? What steps did you take to land your first client?
Well, my first clients were all friends. And in fact, for 2 years they were JUST friends. I couldn’t get myself out there and I didn’t know how to. I didn’t have a background in business or marketing so it was difficult for me to put myself out there. I started with making friends or reconnecting with old friends who had a business background or those who are knee deep in their business and latched onto every advice they gave. The best advice I received was to talk about my business nonstop. To the point of annoyance. Because if people don’t know what you do and why, how would they ever buy into your services or recommend anyone to you. So that’s what I did. I started networking with local groups and I asked all my friends if they knew of someone who needed my service. I think that if you believe in your work, and yourself, and repeat that every day, your confidence grows and you’ll notice your client list and essential your bank account will grow. That is the first step to growing as a business owner or entrepreneur.
Everyone has a purpose, and it’s so refreshing to find women who are truly living out their dreams. How would you define your own purpose?
I love helping other creative business owners bring their blogs to life. I love strategy and planning. So I married those two and I get so excited when someone wants to talk to me about blogging or social media marketing. I get as giddy as my four year old when she sees a princess. Sometimes I vomit so much information that I have to take a step back and remember that they need step one before they can get to step ten. The journey to get them to step ten is where I love putting my energy in.
Who are some of your favorite business women or entrepreneurs that you look up to?
I have so many. I love listening to Amy Porterfields podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, and Jasmine Star. They were the first women that I found online that I just had to listen to every advice they had to give. They’re the reason I am where I am today. I’ve never met them in real life, but I hope to some day and let them know what they have done for my business.
Tell me one thing that most people may not know about you.
I love writing fiction stories and in the works of writing a few. I’ve had these ideas in my head for some time now but I haven’t gotten it out onto paper, or digital paper in these days. The stories just grow in my mind and worlds were created. I imagine that most fiction writers process their stories this way.
How do you balance mom and work life? Any particular methods or schedule that you follow?
Oh my. Is there such thing as “balance”? I have set office hours where my family knows that between those times, they are not allowed to bother me if I am in my office. Then at most times, I have to play juggler and work on the road if I’m carpooling or driving kids to appointments. I love our daycare for my 4 year old, so she goes there while her older brothers are in school, 3 days per week. It has helped me really buckle down and get work done. Sometimes, I take my laptop with me and I work on the go. That’s the beauty of what I do. I can almost work from anywhere. So I take full advantage of that. I make sure when my family is home I stay focused on them, but as soon as they’re asleep or busy with other things, it’s go time.
Name one thing that your hometown city is known for that some people may not know.
Our food scene is getting so much better with local restaurants. I have adored how much is going on here. There’s so much to do in Boise, Idaho. We also celebrate ringing in the New Year with a potato drop at the capital building. There are also so many trails within 30 mins of the city that you can get outdoors, hike or bike and get in tune with nature. It’s the best of both worlds.
What would the “18-year old you,” say to you today?
I’d say go to college and get serious about it. I graduated high school in 2000 but I wasn’t serious about life, work and career. I always had the urge to learn more so I finally went back to school in 2010 and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2016.
Before you go, what is one piece of advice you would give to women out there who are mothers and want to start their own blog or business?
- Just start. You can talk about “wanting” to do something but nothing happens to wanting. Starting is your first step. You don’t need to get fancy. A website on Squarespace is $16 per month. Give up one lunch outing or 3 cups of Starbucks coffee and you can get up and running in hours. Pick a site and go for it.
- Find a mentor. Whether they be a real life person you have lunch with often or chat with over text, or follow a public figure online. Whoever you choose, find someone that will push you further, question your every move and continue to support you every step of the way. I have a handful of BFF and mentors that do just that for me. I bounce ideas off them and they tell me if I’m a genius or wasting my time. You can’t do everything alone and when you realize that, you’ll move further than your dreams.
- Failure is always an option. You learn from your mistakes, and boy I have made a few. What sets you apart from everyone else is how you choose to pick yourself back up and try again. I like to tell everyone I met this but every idea is the greatest idea ever. It’s how you choose to market that idea that will help you move forward.
- Stop comparing. I can’t say this anymore than that. Comparison is death to any entrepreneur.
- Summer activity: having lunch on the beach
- Restaurant in your neighborhood: Funky Taco
- Podcast: Amy Porterfield’s Online marketing made easy
- Lipstick: I don’t wear any
- Color: dodger blue
- Social Media App: Planoly – saved my life.
- Disney movie: The little mermaid.
- If you won $20 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with that money? Donate it but have a game show where people had to win the money for their charity of choice.
- How would you describe your best friend in 3 words? Funny, no filter (to me at least) and reliable.
- What is the last good book that you’ve read? Donald Millers, Branding
- What is the best concert that you’ve been to? I have only attended 3 concerts in my life. Not a big fan.
- Number one travel destination in the world that you would like to visit? Santorini
- Who is your current celebrity crush? Keanu Reeves, always has and will be my celebrity crush
- 3 things on your bucket list? Climb Mount Fuji, Tour Ireland bars in the country side and go to Harry Potter World.
Thank you so much Toni for joining us today, and sharing your story in my diary! So much gratitude. Ladies – be sure to follow Toni on social media – links below. Thanks for reading babes, and I’ll see you next Friday for our next feature!