Tara from Tara Made It

Tara is a successful blogger I first met through Twitter. We got talking about everything and nothing, and she agreed to do a Q&A with me.

Tara Made It Screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

Hi there, I’m Tara Rex from taradaramadeit.com.  Canada is my native country, I was recruited to work as an RN in a busy ER/Trauma Room in the states 10 years ago and am now an American.  I have always been artsy fartsy and have dabbled in many different artistic mediums, but always have come back to sewing and textiles.  I decided to open a sewing company and make a go of it in February 2010 and haven’t looked back.  With 2 young boys at home, this has allowed me to stay at home with them and be accessible to them, and to participate at their schools on a volunteer basis!  My sewing company, taradara, is currently being considered to be featured on the hit TV show Shark Tank on ABC.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I write about various topics.  I certainly do not have a niche {or maybe I do by not having one}.  I write about DIY, sewing, Etsy, owning a business, family activities, local events, conferences, sharing information, and whatever I think about that day.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I started blogging after I attended a creative conference a few years ago.  It was apparent to me that if I wanted to succeed with my online sewing company that I needed to have a blog.  It was the best thing I could have done for my business and for myself.

The story was basically that I saw what a lot of the other handmade businesses were doing and how they were becoming successful.  I listened to their advice and put it in to action.  I’m very active in social media and have taught myself a lot {with an abundant more to learn}, but it has a major driving force to my my success.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration never comes from one source.  It doesn’t come from a few sources.  It very well comes from whatever the universe or my boys put in front of me.  There are a lot of things I’d like to write about, however, finding time is a major factor that I struggle with daily.  I know I’m not alone with that!  What I’m saying is that there is inspiration on a daily basis and it could be from something as simple as pebbles in a shoe or yummy fabrics I’d love to get my hands on or that I’m actually working with.  I don’t look at magazines much, I poke around on Pinterest but I don’t find blogging inspiration on it, I look to more organic signs.  I’m probably not the best person to give advice on this topic because I really don’t stay on top of trends, I just really write what matters to me and that’s what comes across the most genuine and true.  That’s inspiring to me.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

I wrote about the “Power of the Written Word“.

This post took me a long time to decide to actually write it and put it out there.  It is a very ‘baring’ post.  I wanted to write for such a long time that I finally just said that I was going to do it!  It means so much to me because it’s about something I wrote about over 25 years ago.  I had forgotten about it, and when I was 36, I actually competed in a bodybuilding competition, something that I had wanted to do for so many years.  I had just had a baby via c-section, had gained 60 pounds, and wanted a way to shed the pounds.  Well, I found a way!  I competed when my second baby boy was just 7 months old and I WON 3 trophies that day.  It was truly one of the proudest days of my life.  It was something I did for ME.  For moms, this is not something we do for ourselves, so this was really a memorable moment in my life.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

I wish I did … I REALLY wish I did.  But, I don’t.

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Oh sure, of course, we all have those ones.  I have a few … ahem.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

Oh, there are many.  Jen from Tatertots and Jello.  Allison from House of Hepworths, Jo Packham from Where Women Create/Cook, and many more.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Yes…

  • 9News: I sent a press release with my Golden Globe swag bag information {TWICE}, and they contacted me.  Sent a crew out and shot a story
  • FOX31: They found me from a press release that was sent out from someone else announcing that I had won an ‘Inventor of the Year’ award in the Denver area. They did a story on how a MOM is making it happen.
  • FOX Small Business of the Day: Found me online
  • American Express Open Forum:  Their contributing writer found me on Etsy, I was on the front page when he was looking.  Right place right time.
  • Business Insider:  Same as the American Express
  • The Denver Post:  The Mile High Mamas blogger was doing an editorial in the post on ‘what mothers really want for Mother’s Day’.  She asked if I would like to be a part of it.  The Editor from the Post emailed me and asked if they could FEATURE me in their story!  They sent a photographer to my studio.
  • Mile High Mamas:  Same story as The Denver Post
  • 9News:  Mile High Mamas had a spot on the morning news featuring different Mother’s Day products and featured a few of mine.
  • Shark Tank:  I applied for the show and have made it past the application process.  Waiting to hear that I’ve made it through to the taping!  Wish me LUCK!
  • I’ve been on a few other blogs via link parties where they featured my blog post that they liked.
Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

With all of these experiences, they have ALL been great!  I have found that they have spiked traffic to my blog and my Etsy shop and then it drops back to normal.  Sales go way up and then they level out.  But with every time, I have more and more local Colorado people come up to me and say, “Hey, I’ve seen you so many times in the media lately!”.  Or they’ll email me.  I have had some increase in traffic on a steady basis, but not to the level I would like to be, that’s for sure.  It would be great to have consistency and even higher spikes.  In any case, it’s been wonderful, a true blessing.

What would you do differently this time?

I would certainly figure out how to keep you coming back!

Where can we find you online?

taradaramadeit.com

Stacey from Not Just A Housewife

Stacey is a successful DIY blogger who publishes about her projects on Not Just a Housewife.

Not Just a Housewife screenshot

Can you first introduce yourself, where you come from, and what is your background?

I  am stay at home mom with four little boys from Utah. I have always had an eye for design and I have always loved creating things. As a kid I use to save up my money for supplies for my latest project and I would sneak into my dad’s shed and use his tools. I went to school to be a physical therapist for children with disabilities because I had a niece who was born with special needs and I loved taking her to therapy and seeing how sweet the therapists were with her. While it was a nice idea, I hated the classes. If I could back I would have majored in something design related.

What are some of the topics you write about on your blog?

I talk mainly about my DIY and home decor projects. I am working on fixing up my 1938 cottage style home so I have plenty of material for that topic! But I am a mom also so I talk about activities I do with my kids, my life, gardening, and anything else I feel like that day.

How did you get started blogging? What made you want to start a blog?

I have always done projects. And I have always had people telling me I needed to share what I was doing. I would occasionally teach a small group or speak at a church function. But these opportunities were few and far between. Plus they took me out of the home and for me, the goal was to be with my kids. When I discovered blogs in 2010 I was thrilled to have found a platform in which I could share my ideas and stay in the home with my children.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Most of the time when I am doing a project in my home it is a product of problem solving. My home is small and old which means it also has some fun quirks that can be design challenges. I also get a lot of inspiration from my childhood and nature. I try to stay away from pinterest when needing new ideas. I want it to happen naturally and not have it be a copy of another person’s work. But I have found ideas in magazines on occasion.

Do you have a specific piece you have written, which you are really proud of? Can you tell us how this came together, and the story behind it?

The personal, honest posts that are sometimes the hardest to write are the ones that I get the most response from. I think that readers want you to be a real person they can relate to and not some mysterious person behind the magazine worthy shots of your always clean home. My blogging story, The dark side of blogging, and You are not “just” anything are some that not only generated a lot of comments but a ton of emails.

I once wrote a quick blog post about the Wireless Switch on a Dell computer, which became my biggest traffic driver on my blog. I called this accidental blogging success. Do you have content which you didn’t spent a lot of time on writing, but turned out to be some of your most popular posts?

I one day decided to make a mason jar wall planter. It was just for fun. It was not something on my forever long ‘to do’ list. I came up with the idea, shopped for supplies and made it all in one day. It was less than $20 and took me less than an hour to make. It went viral and has been in 2 magazines, on hundreds of websites including HGTV, and has been pinned more than any other post of mine. It is such a simple project that I was not expecting that kind of response. It was crazy. Apparently I need to do more cheap and easy projects that I think up on the fly!

Did you also have posts you spent a lot of time on, which in the end are not driving a lot of content?

Sometimes a big project will not have the big response I expect at first but over time as the project is shared on other sites and pinned it ends up getting the attention I wanted. But in the beginning it is disappointing to have worked on a room for months and not have it go crazy like you think it should I have learned to have patience.

Are there any people, or other bloggers, you see as examples or to whom you aspire to?

I read a lot of different kinds of blogs and the ones that I am drawn to the most are those who are real. The ones that when I am on their blog I feel good. Whether that means they make me laugh, I learned something new or that I just get a good feeling when I read their content. I want to walk away from a site feeling uplifted and like I got something of value from it. That is how I hope people feel when they come to my site.

Have you been featured on large blogs, media or in TV programs? If so, how did they find you?

Yes, I have been on all our local lifestyle shows several times each. And I have been in magazines like better Homes and Gardens. The TV shows contacted me after finding my site. I am lucky that the shows here in Utah are so blogger friendly. I contacted Better Homes and Gardens. I honestly did not expect to hear back from them but was thrilled when they contacted me to schedule a shoot!

Can you tell us your experience and how this has made you more successful?

I do not get paid for these features but I think they do so much for me personally as well as for my blog. I am not the type of person who would naturally want to be on TV. I did it because I promised myself when I started my blog that I would open myself to new experiences even if it meant getting out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot about myself and my confidence grew. I also have been contacted by large companies and brands because of my media coverage. So even though I was not paid for the TV gigs, I have found ways to benefit from them.

What would you do differently this time?

In regards to media? Nothing. Even the mistakes I made were valuable to me. Actually, that would apply to just about everything 🙂

Where can we find you online?

www.notjustahousewife.net