This is an interview with Cath from The Content Bug.
Hey, Cath. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hey guys! I’m Cathrin (or Cath) the owner of TheContentBug.com. I usually say that I’m here to help you follow your passion by growing your audience online. But it’s so much more than that.
I use my blog, YouTube channel, and overall brand to help educate bloggers on all things digital marketing like Pinterest, SEO, making money online, and more.
I am a full-time creator and freelancer. So while I’m not creating content for you guys, I’m working with my clients to help them grow on Pinterest or their blogs in general!
When did you realize you want to make a change in your life and why did you choose blogging?
It came out of the blue actually.
I was pretty unhappy for a long time. I’m talking years. But I had no idea.
It wasn’t until one night that it hit me like a brick wall that I hated just about everything in my life and I just knew that there had to be more. I was waking up every morning dreading the day and I didn’t want that life for myself.
So I thought about what I would need to change to make myself happier. And one of those things was my job. I wasn’t passionate about it and I felt like I was just going to work every day because I had to make money to get by. Not because I actually enjoyed it.
I had thought about starting a blog for awhile. And I actually had created a few free websites in the past only to delete them because I wasn’t committed.
So that night I finally decided to pull the plug and just do the darn thing. I bought a domain, paid for my website hosting, and never looked back.
How did you come up with the idea for TheContentBug?
At the time, I was working in the digital marketing industry. And I knew that there were a lot of bloggers that just didn’t understand things such as SEO because it’s made out to be this mysterious thing that only professionals can do. But that’s just not the case!
So I set out to talk about all things digital marketing to help bloggers master the online world. And the main topic that I wanted to talk about was content. Hence, TheContentBug!
When I first started blogging, I mainly shared my knowledge from what I learned in the digital marketing industry. But now, I talk about my own blogging experiences and how I was able to achieve the results that I’ve achieved.
What challenges did you have to overcome to make your first money online?
Oh boy. So many!
I once got asked if I would consider my entrepreneurial journey easy because from the outside, it might look easy. Especially when you hear that just 1 year after buying my domain I was able to leave my full-time job to work for myself. But it’s probably not the way that you would think.
Most bloggers look to make money in areas like ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts. But after months of making pennies a day on ads, I knew that it would take me a lifetime to achieve the things that I wanted to achieve.
So I got started with freelancing and working with clients. But that was just the beginning of my money making troubles.
My first year as a full-time business owner, I struggled big time. I lost clients, went months without work, and relied on my paid products and affiliate marketing to keep me afloat.
I thought that once I was working for myself that everything would be smooth sailing.
You see those bloggers on Pinterest saying how they make $25,000 a month. And I thought that was going to be me! But I had to learn the hard way that making money online isn’t always easy.
How did you earn your first $100 blogging?
It was actually just 2 months after starting my blog that I made my first $100. I decided to write guest blog posts for a local business owner and they paid me for my writing and for some blog consulting work.
At the time, I couldn’t believe that someone was paying me for my work! And I had no idea how to set my prices. So I charged $40 for a blog post and only $25 for an hour consultation.
Looking back, I could have charged more. But I was just happy to be making money from my blog.
Read also: Discover 6 Secrets to Start Earning Through Your Blog Fast
How many page views does TheContentBug get per month and from what sources?
Most people are pretty surprised when they find out that I average around 13,000 pageviews a month. But the majority of the traffic comes from Pinterest and my second source of traffic is Google!
Read also: How Caroline Used Affiliate Marketing and Pinterest to Grow a $100K Parenting Blog
When did you begin paying attention to Pinterest?
Very early on. When I launched my blog, I did a lot of research and just about every blogger was talking about Pinterest.
So I did my research and got to work! At the time, I had a personal Pinterest account that I started back in high school. So I had a lot of work to do to get it to accurately reflect my brand and help my blog grow.
What was the turning point to growing your Pinterest account and bringing traffic to your blog?
Out of all the aspects of growing my blog, this seemed to be the easiest. Pinterest came naturally to me. So it didn’t take long for me to see results!
But I will say, that once I narrowed down on the topics that I was sharing on Pinterest, I began to see quicker results within my own pins.
At first, the majority of my boards revolved around digital marketing and the topics that I shared on my blog. But I still had a recipes board and a wedding ideas board.
And I had to realize that there was no point in me sharing anything related to those 2 things. If they weren’t something that I talked about on my blog, then I shouldn’t share it on my Pinterest account.
This helped to position me as an expert in one thing in Pinterest’s eyes and it really did help me to grow on the platform.
Read also: How I Grew My Pinterest Traffic by 778% in 2 Months
How are you currently earning from your blog?
I will always say that you need multiple income streams and that you can’t just rely on your ads for income. So I have worked hard to build out the ways that I make money.
Right now, I make most of my money from my Pinterest clients and blog coaching clients. But I also have my paid courses, ebook, productivity guide & planner, ads, and affiliate marketing.
In the future, I’m hoping that I can move away from working one-on-one so I can make a much large impact. But I’m extremely grateful for the clients I have at the moment.
Also check out: Master Blogger Bundle: the course bundle for bloggers you’ve been looking for
How did you become a Pinterest manager?
When I first transitioned into freelance work, I was a content writer. So I would write blog posts and create resources for other people.
But after a couple of months, I started to dread writing blog posts. My clients didn’t respect me or my work. And most of the time they would try to tell me how to do something when they weren’t the expert in.
And since I wanted to make blogging my career with TheContentBug, I didn’t want to ever get to the point where I hated writing blog posts for my own audience. So I took some time off from working with clients and I created my course The Blog Biz Bundle and my ebook The Blog Hustler.
At the time, it made me pretty good money. But it wasn’t enough to pay the bills so I knew that I had to go back to working with clients for a least a little bit longer.
I didn’t want to go back to working with content writing clients. So I forced myself to think about what service I could offer to clients that I was good at AND I enjoyed doing. And that was Pinterest.
I had built my Pinterest account up to reach over 1 million average monthly viewers and I was getting over 100 clicks a day to my site. And that’s all I needed to prove to people that I knew what I was talking about and that I could provide results, so I became a Pinterest Manager.
When did you create your first digital product and how did it go?
This is a pretty funny story actually.
A few weeks before I left my full-time job to work for myself, I launched my first paid course. Or I should say that I tried to.
I so desperately wanted to make money with my blog and everyone was talking about online courses. So I thought that would be a good move! But it wasn’t.
I had no idea what I was doing and when it launched no one signed up for it. I thought I failed and I was embarrassed for even trying.
But then, I landed my first BIG freelance client that let my leave my job. So it all worked out in the long run. And because of that experience, I learned a lot about what not to do when I launched my next course a few months later.
What are the elements of a real blogging business?
Simply put… money is the most important element.
If you want to work full-time as a blogger and really consider your blog a business, then the money needs to be there. And it’s okay if it takes awhile for the money to come.
My first year, I barely made any money. My second year, I still was struggling to make enough money to get by. And now that I’m in my 3rd year, I finally feel like I’m at a point where I can call my blog a real business because I have the dollars to back me up.
But I say this with caution. I don’t want all the beginner bloggers out there to think that they need to be making money to be a “real blogger”. Because that’s not what I’m saying!
I’m saying that if you want to become a full-time blogger, you need to shift your mindset from ‘I’m just doing this for fun, it’s a passion project, I write whatever I want to write and post whatever I want to post’ to ‘This is a business and I need to treat it like a business’. But if you just want to blog for fun, then by all means DO IT!
Having a passion and an underlying reason why you are blogging is what’s going to make you successful. And before you know it, you’ll have a real blogging business that’s got the income to back you up.
How can new bloggers overcome self-doubt?
Stop worry about what other people think.
It’s so much easier said than done, I know. But one of the things that holds most people back from even starting a blog is that they are worried what other people will think.
And I’ve been there. I was that person.
When I started my blog, I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my now fiancé, but boyfriend at the time. I was SOOOO worried that people would think I was weird or that I was wasting my time. Or that my dreams were too big.
I imagined people saying ‘Who does she think she is starting a blog? That’s never going to work.’
But here’s the thing. If you have a dream, no one else is going to chase that dream for you. You have to do the darn thing.
The people that are meant to be in your life will support you and encourage you in your blogging journey. And the people that judge you and tell you that you’re crazy, well maybe they shouldn’t be in your life in the first place!
So stop doubting yourself, stop worrying about other people, and think about your future self and the life that you could create for yourself if you just launched that one blog post or shared that Instagram photo.
Have you invested in any blogging courses?
Yes I have! About 6 months after starting my blog I purchased my first course for $500. At the time, I hadn’t made any money with my blog so this was a big investment. But I was committed to my dream. So I put my money down and took the course.
And let me just say, it was one of the best things that I did for my blogging business. It’s where I learned to be really productive, how to set goals that would push my blog (and myself) forward, and how to create a real business. That course truly did change the direction of my blog.
Then a year later I ended up paying $50 (a much smaller price) for a course all about creating and launching an online course.
I had just launched The Blog Biz Bundle and my ebook, The Blog Hustler. And although they did well at launch, I made a couple hundred dollars, I wanted to learn how I could create better courses in the future. And the biggest thing I took out of that course was how to create a sales page and a launch strategy. Which are 2 very important things when you want to sell an online course.
I truly believe that you can find anything online for free.
If you want to monetize your blog, you can find several blog posts and videos on how to do it. If you want to work with brands, you can find the information you need with a simple Pinterest search.
BUT this comes at a price.
You will more likely spend hours simply searching for what you’re looking for and it will take you much, much longer to get the results that you want. Online courses are there for people who are serious. People who actually want to achieve results now and not in 5 years.
So here’s what I’ll say, if you think that buying a course is a waste of money, then it’s pretty clear to me that you aren’t serious about achieving your goals.
You are letting your excuses get in the way and if you keep that up, it will take you much longer to get where you’re going compared to someone else who started the exact same day as you.
If you want to create a real blogging business like we talked about earlier, you need to not only invest in yourself, but also your blog.
And here’s the kicker: the price you pay for an online course is money that you can write off when you’re doing your blog’s taxes.
And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check out my blog post about how to manage your blog’s finances and taxes. You can thank me later.
What’s your morning routine like?
It’s pretty simple. I take care of my dog, empty the dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen, then I’ll tidy up the living room before I sit down on the couch to meditate, read, and journal. Then I’ll head to the gym.
I don’t meditate, read, and journal every morning. Sometimes I only read. And other times I’ll only journal. It just depends on what I’m feeling like that morning.
But one thing I have to do is just sit in silence for at least 10 minutes in the morning to get good with me. If I just jump into the day and look at my emails or start work, I don’t feel balanced and centered.
So while the world is still quiet, I like to take time to myself.
And also, working out is huge. Not only does it wake up my body but it helps me to be the best version of myself during the work day.
I notice when I don’t work out in the morning I’m not as focused and productive at work. I’m tired and a bit lazy. So every day I try to move my body in some way. Whether that’s lifting weights, doing at Sarah’s Day HIIT workout, or taking my dog for a walk.
How do you theme your days for maximum productivity?
Ohhhh. Theming my days is sooooo so important to my success. Let me tell you.
If you don’t know what it means to theme your days, I’ll explain. There are certain categories of work that you need to get done every week. For me, that’s client work, video content, writing content, product development, and big picture stuff.
Yes there is marketing, automation, accounting, and all that super fun stuff. But they all find their way into the other categories I listed.
So I take those 5 categories and I give them a day. Monday is for client work. Tuesday is for shooting and editing videos. Wednesday is for writing blog posts, emails, etc. You get the picture.
But here’s why this strategy is so so good if you’re not only looking to be more productive but also grow your blog.
When you jump from task to task, you tend to waste your time. Your mind has to catch up and switch gears into thinking about something completely different. So it’s much easier to go from similar task to similar task. Your mind doesn’t have to transition as much and you can get more done. Trust me on this one.
But the other reason why I love theming my days and why I think you should really try it, is because we tend to get into a rut where we only do the things needed to maintain our blogs.
We write blog posts, shoot Instagram photos, respond to emails and comments. And that’s it. Then we wonder why our blogs aren’t growing and why we aren’t making any money.
Well the problem is, you aren’t taking the time to work on things that are ACTUALLY going to move your blog forward. So when you have a whole day to work on product development, guess what?! You can create a product in less than 2 months. Maybe even a month.
And before you know it, you have a real blogging business.
So to loop back to the question, theming my days has helped me to become ridiculously productive. But it’s also helped me to grow my blog without really even thinking about it.
What’s next for you and TheContentBug?
Ohhh I’m so excited for 2019. I had some big goals for 2018. And although I launched 4 paid products, there was more that I wanted to get done. So I took the first quarter of this year to really focus on my content and my YouTube channel because I’m really trying to grow that bad boy.
But now I’m back to working on some big things. Currently, I’m working to get my ebook on Amazon which is a bigger project than I thought it would be. But I’m also writing a second book that I’m hoping to launch in the next few months.
The Blog Hustler was all about growing your blog and creating a plan to grow your blog. And this one is going to be about changing your life and taking back control to create a life you’ll love. I’m really excited about it!
So make sure you follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss anything!
And I just want to say a special thank you to Lidiya for inviting me to be featured on Let’s Reach Success and share my story and tips with you guys. I live for this stuff. It’s something I’m truly passionate about and I’m grateful that this is what I get to do every day with my own blog.
So thanks again for having me! And I’ll hopefully see you again online sometime soon 🙂 Bye guys.