Girl Boss Series: Tracie Stoll {Blogger + Artist}

Tracie Stoll is a wife, mom and has a passion for creating new things. On her blog she is constantly sharing ways to inspire her readers to be clever in their own home. Since 2010 Tracie has been sharing DIY projects, crafting, remodeling and decorating along with some easy tasty recipes…all on a mindful budget. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton where she studied visual art and communications. Tracie has been featured on popular sites such as Country Living, CNN living, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Huffington Post, Apartment Therapy, Seventeen and Design Sponge. You can find her on Etsy as well selling handpainted watercolors and gifts.

I'm a graduate of the University of Dayton class of 1995. I met the love of my life my sophomore year and we are happily married 22 years now with 18 year old twins who are also UD Flyers (it is in our blood;) My husband Bill was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and when we graduated I was fortunate enough to land my very first job in marketing at a company in Louisville. He is a third-generation road paver and sole owner of his company that dates back to 1964. We have made Louisville our home and have loved raising our family here in Kentucky.

I stayed in Marketing for a few years until I moved onto my 2nd job working for a home builder. This was where I found my love for design and projecting. I loved helping people put their new home together and the whole process.

It was always our goal, as a family, for me to be able to stay at home with our kids, should we be so blessed to have any. So in 1999, I became pregnant with not one but two babies! We were having twins! In January of 2000, I began my third and most important job to date….being a momma to our son and daughter. It was my dream job. Fortunately for us, Bill was able to carry the load for our finances and even though at times money was tight, it was totally and completely worth it to us. We knew this about each other, way before marriage. It was both of our goals for me to stay home. I would urge any young couple to know this about each other before entering marriage. It will make your life easier in the long run to be on the same page.

As the kids got older, there was more time for me to explore my passions. I started to think what I could do that would allow me to be home when my kids were home---but yet have something that was all mine. Blogging was the answer for me. I could put to good use my degree in public relations, my minor in art…and make it all my own. I started my blog in October of 2010. Blogland was new and fresh, and everyone in the blogging community was so welcoming. It was a whole new platform for sharing information..and I loved it. My first post drew in lots of comments and folks starting to share (before Pinterest, or Facebook….) Folks would email the links and then they would just visit my blog page weekly to see what I was up to. I blogged 5 days a week in the beginning…content was fresh and new. I have been to Good Housekeeping headquarters, featuring in national magazines online and print, worked with brands like Lowes, True Value, Martha Stewart….it has been a great ride.

I do not post quite as much anymore, mostly because my old content is what draws people in, and the market is really saturated. I have turned back to art, which has always been a passion for me. My watercolors bring me joy, and I started selling them in my Etsy shop.

I think if I could give any advice to fellow “girl bosses” it would be follow your joy as much as you can—while making some money too! Not every job will be your passion; some jobs are just going to pay the bills. Try as much as you can to move in the direction where your talents lie. For me, working for a home builder really helped me find my talent and passions. Do something that makes you happy, makes a difference, and makes you money.

I wrote this blog post back in 2012 and it still holds true today...

Here are some tips if you are thinking about jumping into the world of blogging….

  1.    Find something that you are really passionate about. It should be something that would interest others too. Everyone has something to share. What would that be for you?
  2.    Really think though your blog name. Once you pick it…that is it! There is no going back. When I thought of Cleverly Inspired it really encompasses everything about my blog. Inspiring others to be clever in their own home.
  3.    Buy your blog name (your domain). It will cost you about $40 per year…but it secures your blogs name on  the web. Make is easy for people to find you….so that they keep coming back. I went through Go Daddy for purchase and hosting.
  4.    Post good material. Period. I post about 3 to 4 times a week. Before I write a post I think “is this really blog worthy?” Is it worth someone taking those 2 minutes out of their day to read? Don’t just post something just to post something. Good material will keep people coming back to see what you are writing about.
  5.    Be picture perfect. I can’t stress this one enough. Good, well lit, interesting, thought out photographs are the key to any good blog. If you don’t like taking and editing pictures…you may want to try and hone those skills a bit. They will draw the reader in every time and keep them coming back. On my blog, I am definitely “picture heavy” –I don’t write a post until I have plopped my pictures in first. My writing is completely dictated by the photos. You don’t need a fancy camera…just take the time to learn a bit about tricks to great photos.
  6.    Don’t blog to get rich. I didn’t realize there was any money to be made by blogging. I blogged for about a year before I was approached by an ad affiliate program. They were interested in placing some ads on my blog. I researched it and found out that it would fit in nice with what I talk about on my blog and I went for it. Now I make anywhere from $300 to $900 per month. I work with companies such as The Clever Girls Collective and Social Spark to provide sponsored post that fit into my readership. I think of it like this….a blog is a bit like a magazine…and with every few pages of content you will have an ad. Same goes for the blogging world. Everyone works hard…and deserves a paycheck….be patient though. It takes time.
  7.    Be you. Simple as that. Don’t try to copy or intimidate. You do YOU the best…
  8.    Get out there and meet up with your blogging communities. Network with other blogs that have similar material and readership. Use your rush party skills…online! The best way to reach out is to offer to do guest post on other blogs..and join up to link parties that allow you to showcase what you do. Little by little your blog name gets out there.
  9.    Use social media. It is free and it is the easiest way to pass around great blogs and ideas. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are all favorites of mine!
  10. Create a schedule for yourself. When you start a new adventure…sometimes it becomes all consuming. Take time for photo edits and writing…but also take time for other things in your life. Don’t let it be the only thing you do…or you will burn out.

Hope to catch up with you on my favorite social channels, Pinterest(@cleveryinspire), Instagram(@cleverlyinspired) and Twitter(@cleverlyinspire).

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