From Blog to Empire: An Interview with Ariel Meadow Stallings

Updated Oct 12 2015

arielOver on the Skimlinks blog, they just published an interview they did with me about growing your blog, monetization, content management, and the future of the Empire. Here's a taste:

At what point did you decide to monetize and what was that journey like?

Offbeat Bride was monetized after six months, initially with direct-sold sponsored posts. In 2009, I started doing affiliate posts curating collections of weird wedding shoes, at first feeling kind of sheepish — my readership tends towards the more DIY end of the spectrum, and I worried that doing posts dedicated to shoe shopping would feel overly commercialized. Instead, readers immediately loved the posts, and I've done them almost weekly ever since. Although a significant portion of Offbeat Bride's revenue is now based on affiliate partnerships, the vast majority of the site's profit remains direct sold ads — sponsored posts, banners, and listings in our wedding vendor directory. I assumed that Offbeat Families and Offbeat Home would have similar businesses models, but they're completely different…

What do people need to know about doing this full time?
I love my job hard, but oh my god you need to have some major personal boundaries to be a self-employed blogger. It's too easy to work 60 hours a week in your pajamas, never leaving your house and getting sucked into the vortex of online drama. For me, finding a good coworking space was crucial. Two days a week, I work outside at a Seattle coworking space called Office Nomads, and it's the only way being self-employed and working online has felt sustainable. It's critically important for me to get outside the house and be working around other people.

To read the full post, click here: From Blog to Empire: An Interview with Ariel Meadow Stallings

  1. Super interesting! I wonder if you would blog sometime about your experience with coworking spaces and communities? It seems to me like places near where I live think about it more as a sort of shared office rental than as a working community. If I transitioned to work as a freelancer, some kind of community would be really important to me. So: Curious!

    • The sense of community totally depends on the coworking space — Office Nomads definitely cultivates it (way more than I need to participate in, even) but other coworking spaces don't prioritize the social component at all.

      That said, even if I didn't like some of my semi-coworkers, I'd still place high value on having a reason to get dressed and leave the house. It matters.

  2. ooh did i hear a hint of a possible sometime in the future in a faraway place slightest mention of an offbeathome forum?

    • It's been on the table for a long time and was going to happen this month, but got bumped by some unfun stuff.

  3. Great interview! You mentionned how having a good lawyer can be important… Being a lawyer myself I'm a bit curious. What kind of legal problems does a blog faces the most?

    • Incorporation paperwork, terms of service & privacy policies, advertiser contracts, and copyright issues.

  4. I love that you mention the shoe posts specifically. Being post wedding (and post commitment ceremony to my other partner) I tend to just skip through Offbeat Bride and read it as if it were Offbeat Fashion. Instead of looking at prom dresses that might come in white, I'm looking at wedding dresses and wondering what they might look like dyed purple, or if that wedding shrug would work with some costume of mine, etc. The shoe posts and the sponsored clothes sites are pretty much the only things I still read regularly. I love the shoes – even if my favorites are ones I can never afford.

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