We’ve all heard about the power of social media, and Kristin Larsen is living, breathing proof of it. As the creator of Believe In A Budget and Pinterest Presence, it actually transformed her business — and her life.
Excited to start her own blog, Larsen officially launched Believe In A Budget in January 2015, a personal finance site geared toward side hustles and making money.
“I was drawn to the personal finance community and was amazed how many different subjects people could blog about,” she says. “I always felt so inspired when looking at the different blog posts, photos, and even the comments. Everyone seemed to be friends online, and I liked the sense of community.”
The Power of Pinterest
As a novice, Larsen was learning as she went along, so her site’s growth was initially slow. But that all changed once she started using Pinterest.
“Practically overnight, my page views shot up,” Larsen says. “In one year, I went from 5,000 to over 230,000 monthly page views!”
At the same time, she expanded her blog beyond side hustles and started writing about her Pinterest experience. “It completely changed my life. After publishing a couple of blog posts about my traffic growth, I started receiving inquiries from fellow bloggers asking if they could hire me to help them with their Pinterest accounts.”
She said yes to everyone, and created a “Hire Me” page on her site. Larsen began receiving referrals and was soon inundated with work — she had more than she could handle. That enabled her to quit her day job within ten months of launching Believe In A Budget.
Growing an Online Business
Larsen focused on running her blog full-time and overseeing her Pinterest management company. She was then able to create Pinterest Presence, a self-paced course that teaches bloggers and businesses exactly how to increase their blog traffic with Pinterest. “This course has helped me expand and reach a bigger audience,” she says. “With freelancing, my time is limited each week, so creating a course was the logical next step.
Though Larsen might sound like an overnight success, expanding her business had its challenges.
“For the longest time, I really struggled with prioritizing my work,” she says. “I was on a budget and trying to do everything myself. This left me exhausted and I felt like I was working all the time. Finally, I realized that it would be more beneficial for me to outsource things that were sucking up my time and leaving me drained. There’s also a common misconception that outsourcing is expensive, which is a myth!”
Larsen was able to get help that fit her budget, and outsourcing allowed her to get expert assistance from professionals while freeing up her time to focus on other aspects of her business.
Building a Support Network
The growing pains were absolutely worth it though.
“I love getting responses from readers, whether it’s in the form of a blog comment, email, or shoutout online,” Larsen says. “I know what it’s like to be a new blogger, so if I can help someone, I will.” Larsen makes a point of responding to every reader comment and email she receives.
Wanting to take things a step further, she partnered with a fellow blogger and created Brighter Bloggers + Business Owners, a private Facebook community that is geared toward promoting positivity in the online community. “This has become an amazing platform where everyone can encourage and motivate each other to succeed,” Larsen says.
Choosing the Right Web Host
Bluehost has been crucial to Larsen’s success. “When I started out as a new blogger, I knew I needed to have a reliable website,” she says. “I was also on a budget and Bluehost had the best pricing options for my needs. Because of these reasons, I chose Bluehost when selecting my domain name and hosting of my website.”
Today, her blog receives thousands of pageviews a day, and Bluehost is still an integral part of her business. “As my traffic has increased, Bluehost has continued to provide a higher level of service I need as a blogger and business owner.”
Advice for Taking the First Step
For those who are hoping to turn their blog into a business, Larsen wants you to know that it can be done. “Running a blog and small business takes work and dedication,” she says. “There’s a difference between running a hobby blog and blogging for profit. You have to treat your blog like a business if you want to succeed.”
She advises that since it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting out, it makes a huge difference to write out your goals, prioritize them, and then make a list on how you plan to accomplish them. It’s also very helpful to find a support network. Larsen recommends reaching out to fellow bloggers if you have questions or joining a Facebook group to get support.
“My biggest tip is to just go for it,” Larsen says. “I receive a lot of emails from readers who are lacking the confidence to have their own blog. I completely understand what it’s like and have shared my own fears about blogging. If I had know two years ago that I would have been able to blog full time and make over $10,000 per month, I would have gotten started earlier!”