“There is no guidebook and the “industry” is always changing, but I feel lucky that I’ve been able to figure out a way to not only turn this silly little hobby into a real business, but also connect with so many amazing women around the country.”
I had the pleasure to interview Lauren Nolan of Lakeshore Lady. Lauren was invited to cook one of her recipes on The Today Show with Savannah Guthrie. Her Instagram Channel, Lake Shore Lady has become successful enough for her to quit her day job. Lauren has been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of her all time favorite companies: Whole Foods, Corepower Yoga, Macy’s, and more!
After studying musical theatre and pursuing an acting career, I found myself extremely unhappy in New York City and decided to make the move to Chicago. I moved into a small but lovely studio apartment on Lake Shore Drive… and thus, Lake Shore Lady was born! Reading blogs had become a huge source of inspiration for me, so I thought I’d try channeling my creative energy into one of my own. Turns out, these were two of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I knew absolutely nothing about photography, SEO, or even social media when I first started, but I absolutely loved learning more, meeting other bloggers in the city and feeling like I had control over something in my life again. There is no guidebook and the “industry” is always changing, but I feel lucky that I’ve been able to figure out a way to not only turn this silly little hobby into a real business, but also connect with so many amazing women around the country.
It’s not particularly funny, but my segment on The Today Show was definitely my most interesting moment! At that point, I had been taking Lake Shore Lady seriously, but I hadn’t experienced anything near that kind of validation from it before. But beyond that, it was such a full circle moment considering the original career I was pursuing when I lived in New York. I had auditioned countless times for commercials and TV shows… and yet here I was, invited to be on national TV for the little blog I started all on my own! Such a wild moment! Ever since then, I’ve felt very certain that this is worth pursing and I am on the right track.
Yes! I try to regularly use my platform to bring awareness to organizations that are doing good in the world or working to help a cause that I feel strongly about. This month in particular, I launched a special Lake Shore Lady tank top in collaboration with a local company called Able Apparel. 50% of each tank sale will be donated to New Moms, an organization helping young mothers break the cycle of poverty.
Figure out what is important to you. Don’t start a blog to make money quickly or become “insta-famous.” It might be a slower climb than you anticipated, but having an authentic voice and creating content that people can connect to is so much more lasting and rewarding.
Can I list a few names?! Caroline, Kate, Kaitlin and Danielle. These 4 women have been in my life for over 12 years (one of them even longer!), and while we are all close, each one of them brings something different to the table. As we’ve grown into adulthood together, we’ve learned that we might not all be in the same phase of life, and friendships ebb and flow depending on what’s going on in each of our lives, but at the end of the day, we will always be there for each other. They are real life examples of what women supporting women actually looks like, and I’m beyond grateful for their friendship and support.
Right now, I am working on an informative post about collagen with Vital Proteins, some fun Chicago content for summer, new healthy recipes, and an exciting trip to Helsinki, Finland!
· Sponsored Posts — Creating content for brands makes up the bulk of my income. It’s also my favorite way to make money! Figuring out how to combine what the brand is looking for with your own voice is challenging and exciting. Plus, I love it when I can get my readers/followers excited about brands that I love!
· Commission — Join affiliate networks! I am able to make money when I share clothing or home goods that I love when I link them through RewardStyle (or @liketoknow.it!). If you don’t cover style, there are a ton of other networks you can join, too!
· Ads — If you are solely on Instagram, this doesn’t really apply to you — but if you run a blog, there are a bunch of networks that can put ads on your website (Mediavine is my favorite). This allows you to make some extra income without doing much of anything, besides posting content regularly and getting people to your blog.
· Events — Hosting events with your followers can definitely be lucrative. You might get asked to host an event on behalf of a brand, but you could also sell tickets to an event of your own, too!
· Sell something tangible — Whether it’s a product, an eBook, a template, a preset filter for Instagram… you can get creative here!
Mindy Kaling! I’ve loved her since back in her years on The Office and have followed her career ever since. I love that she is a writer, producer, actress, author — and she’s done it all while embracing what makes her different from other women traditionally thriving in the entertainment industry. Her positivity and sense of humor always make me smile, and I would completely and utterly fangirl if I ever met her in person.
Originally published at medium.com