How Danielle Moss Went From Blogging Part-time to Creating a Premier Women's Lifestyle Website
Danielle Moss was in her late 20s when she decided to launch The Everygirl alongside Alaina Kaczmarski. Moss didn't have her life mapped out or industry connections but she had an idea and was willing to work for it.
Today, The Everygirl is five years old and it is one of the most popular lifestyle sites for the coveted demo of millennial women. Here she shares how she did it and the lessons she learned along the way.
Don't freak if you don't have life figured out in your 20s.
TEG didn’t launch until I was 29 or 30 years old. I didn’t know what it was going to be.
I majored in sociology, I had zero plan. I moved back home from UCSB Santa Barbara to Los Angeles and was living at home at my mom’s house bouncing all over. I had a job in public relations for a few months, one in graphic design when I started my blog. I hated that job and cried in my car almost everyday. That job was not fun and I lasted four months.
Eventually I ended up doing product placement in film for a family that I used to nanny for. The couple that started started the company asked if I wanted to come work for them. I loved the job but it kind of transitioned into me working at their house after they had their third kid. I enjoyed what I was doing, but I wanted to be in the office and I didn’t want the nanny thing to be a part of my role. It felt like it was and it just wasn’t working. And at that point I had started designing a couple blogs on the side and I just decided to give it a go. I had no plan, I knew I wanted to do something creative and I was terrified of settling. The idea of not doing something that I’m excited about each day paralyzed me with fear. I had to figure something out.
Create the things you wish existed.
DM: We launched The Everygirl back in 2012 and we started the site because my business partner Alaina Kaczmarski and I wanted something that felt really relatable and attainable to girls like us. We both wanted to find our dream jobs, but we didn’t know what they were and we didn’t have anyone to help us get our foot in the door. We wanted to know how women were decorating their apartments and not their $5 million dollar mansions -- which is all you ever see in magazines -- and how real women were working their way up [the career ladder] to these really amazing positions. We wanted to teach women about finance and fashion, but have everything really targeted for real women. So [Alaina and I] teamed up and launched the site.
Collaboration leads to success.
DM: Both Alaina and I had lifestyle blogs. At the time, most blogs were on the high or low end of the spectrum (think Chanel or Forever 21, no J.Crew). People liked looking but couldn’t relate or attain it. We created something that filled a void by mixing fashion and lifestyle, with more serious issues like finance and career advice.
To get the word out, we reached out to five other bloggers and gave them a sneak peek. They were all really eager to be a part of TEG and help spread the word. When stories went live, our network of bloggers and amazing women shared it with their community. On our first day we had almost 11,000 unique visitors to the site.
At the same time, I had about 4,500 visits to my personal blog. I leveraged that traffic by posting about TEG multiple times a day.
There was a lot of promotion and support from our network. Each post to Facebook, Twitter, and other modes of sharing our content really helped. An organic feature in Forbes as one of the ‘Top 10 Websites for Millennial Women,” in 2012 also led to a nice bump in traffic.
Make your own rules.
DM: There are so many great lifestyle sites out there, but I don’t think they necessarily cover what we do, the way we do. It really comes down to relatable and attainable content.
You can come to The Everygirl and figure out your capsule wardrobe, learn why you need a 401K, get advice on relationships and plan your meals for the week. We have content that’s for everyone. Not everyone is into cooking and most people aren’t that excited about finance, but having [articles] that appeal to a wide range of interests is something we feel is important. Why? Because our hope is that you’ll go through the site and find something that you didn’t know you needed. In turn, we hope readers learn something new or get excited enough about what they read and try new things.
There's valuable finance, lifestyle and fashion sites out there, but we have everything in one place
Pursuing passion projects is important.
DM: If someone told me that they wanted my career path I’d recommend starting a blog and run. Both Alaina and I had blogs for three to five years prior to starting The Everygirl. If we had started TEG out of the blue, no one would have known who we were and no one would would have looked at our site. We wouldn’t have connected with people who added value to the site.
Here’s advice for someone who wants to start a blog:
- In the beginning, create an editorial calendar and post at least four times a week, but ideally five. If you’re new, you need to give people a reason to keep coming back.
- Have great photography and design.
- Be consistent.
Starting a blog because you want to be the next big thing isn’t really the way to go. If you start because it’s something you love and have fun with, you’ll do well. [We] created TEG because we wanted to create something for people like us, and we started our blog because it was fun. They were both passion projects that we were able to turn into businesses.
DM: Time management has been something that has been really tough to learn. A couple years ago, I got shingles because I was working so hard. I hit rock bottom and was so stressed out. I was at my computer every day until 2 a.m. I had a five minute response time for every email and you can’t live that way.
Delegation is the secret to getting things done.
DM: Hire the right people who understand your brand. Being able to hand things off to them is crucial. This keeps things running and allows us to work on long-term projects like brand partnerships, instead of getting caught up in the day to day.
Listen to team members.
DM: [My team] isn’t always on the same page [when it comes to what to cover]. It’s not that we all don’t agree, it’s that we’re looking at things differently. I’m 34 and our interns are in their early 20s. The things they’re interested differ from my own. I am phasing out of being in our target demographic so it’s really important for me to listen to what they want to see because it helps to stay on top of what’s going on.
How to snag your dream job.
DM: Both Allison and Caitlin were both the two girls who were always there from day one. They made themselves stand out. There was just nothing they wouldn’t do for the company. They really loved the brand and they understood our mission. Remain present and make sure that the person who runs the company, or the person you want to work with, knows who you are.
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