Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and Her Blog is a blogger and online entrepreneur who has turned her website into a family business. What started as a whim in January 2013 has evolved into something larger than anyone could have ever imagined.
Abby and her husband Donnie work on their blog creating content and selling infoproducts bringing in up to $48,000 a month, per their income reports.
Here's what she has to say...
Tell us what you do in 2 sentences:
At Just a Girl and Her Blog we strive to help motivated women create a beautiful, thriving home, life, and business. We create posts and digital products focused on organization and productivity, home decor, and helping people grow their blogs and online businesses
At what point did you decide to quit the proverbial 9-5 and what made you ready to do so?
I had been a stay at home mom to our two boys and decided to start a blog in January of 2013 just as a hobby to keep me occupied, never intending for it to turn into an entrepreneurial venture. I quickly caught the blogging bug, though, and my site started to grow. As it grew, my husband Donnie (who is the more entrepreneurial one!), got more and more involved. When he was laid off from his job in January 2015, we decided that it was our opportunity to make this blogging thing our full time family business, and we’ve been working at it together ever since! Our full hobby-blog-to-thriving-business story is in this post.
It’s a big question - but can you give me a quick overview of how you built Just a Girl and Her Blog into the booming business that it is today?
There were a few “aha” moments that I would say took my site from a little hobby blog to a thriving, full time business. The first happened when Donnie wrote a post on my site about the system he uses to keep our family’s paperwork digitally, and it went semi-viral. We had used affiliate links to recommend both an eBook and some scanners that Donnie loves, and very quickly began to bring in a good amount of income from sales of those products. That was the first time that we realized that we could be making real money from this thing, and it totally changed the way we approached our blog and business. We wrote about how that post affected our business here.
The second “aha” moment came when we launched our first eBook, Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook. The launch taught us so much about both email marketing and the freedom that comes with creating our own products, and those two things-- email marketing and launching our own products-- have kind of become the “bread and butter” of our business to this day.
How do online products fit into your business model?
I’d say they make up about 50% of our revenue. We currently have 5 products that we sell on our site, 2 blogging products: Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook and BookBoss: Write + Launch a Profitable eBook in 90 Days or Less. And 3 organization products: Simplify: 35+ Printables to Help You Organize Your Life, The Intentional Life Planner, and The Paperless Home: How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life.
If you have a product in the works and are trying to grow your email list to get ready for your launch, we have a free course to help you do that! You can sign up for Build Your Launch List here.
What has been the best part of running your own business?
Donnie and I love being able to work on the business together and have such a flexible schedule so we can spend tons of time with our boys while still bringing in an income.
What does your course creation process look like?
We always start by setting a launch date. From there, we work backwards and decide when we’re going to email our list, when we’ll post about our topic, when we’ll do webinars, guest posts, social media series, etc. Once we have our whole launch outlined, we divide and conquer: I usually do the majority of the content creation, email writing, and social media posts, and Donnie handles the technical side of things, from creating landing pages to setting up shopping carts, editing videos, setting up marketing automation, etc.
Is there any one common hang up that you see aspiring bloggers and online entrepreneurs running into?
I think people tend to get overwhelmed! There is so much that goes into running a blog and/or launching products that people get intimidated by the process. But I think if you are willing to be consistent, show up every day, and keep getting better and better, it is totally possible to create a successful blog or online business.
What are your plans for the future?
Our next big project is to revamp our first digital product, Building a Framework, to make it even better and more helpful for people. We’re also getting ready to move into a new house, so I’m sure there will be a lot going on on the decor side of things as well!
What are you struggling with right now and how are you trying to overcome it?
Our biggest struggle recently has been time. We’ve sort of been nomads this summer as we’ve sold our house and waited for our new one to be finished, and that has had more of an effect on our work schedule than we anticipated. We realize that it’s only a phase of our life, though, and are looking forward to getting back into our more consistent routine soon!
This summer has definitely made us realize what a blessing online business can be. When you have the right systems in place, the business can run pretty much on autopilot, so you can make sales and bring in a decent income even when “life happens” and you can’t devote as much time as you’d like to.
What advice do you have for people just starting out and starting their own businesses?
Show up, be consistent, and work on getting a little bit better every day. And start growing your email list on day 1. :)