Desiree Miller started her blog after a couple of her girlfriends launched their own web site. She figured if they did it, she could too. Working in television news at the time, things weren’t looking too secure with the industry, so she needed a plan B. She wasn’t sure how she’d make money doing it, but writing came to her pretty easily, so why not try it?
Desiree convinced a friend to barter out her services to help with the tech side, while she helped her with her content. She learned quickly that if something took her longer than 15 minutes to figure out how to do, it was better to swap services with others. Producing videos comes naturally to her, so she shares a lot of video content on her site – which also helps her stand out from the crowd. It is also something that she can offer to others who help her out along the way, showing them how to make their own videos.
Desiree’s blog has evolved through the years, from the first one she launched strictly for a business she’d created, to a new blog that was started as therapy of sorts during a tough time in her life. Now, she mostly focus on travel and family fun and can’t believe the opportunities that come her way through her web sites.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be a writer of some sort. I started writing my own plays while I was still in elementary school. By high school, I set my goals to being a television news reporter, which I did for many years (and actually still do on a freelance basis).
What was the best piece of advice you were given as a blogger?
Be authentic. Share your personal story because nobody else out there can offer that. If something isn’t good, say so. If it’s great, tell us what makes it great. Your readers trust you to be honest with them, and quite often, in my case, will spend thousands of dollars on a vacation that I say was incredible. I don’t ever want to hear later that they took my recommendations and regretted it.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in launching and marketing your blog?
Tech, tech, tech. I stink at tech. I can write all day and night, but will take ten times too long to figure out what is a simple tech problem to others. That’s why I have a handy ‘tech angel’ pal who I call on when I need help. And she can call on me when she’s struggling to write a post.
How would you describe your brand’s style? Who are your major style influences (individuals or brands)?
My brand’s style is inspirational. I share my life and it isn’t always perfect, but you know my heart is good and always trying to make things better. Oprah is a major style influence in terms of personality—she puts it out there and hopes others learn from her mistakes. That’s also my approach. In terms of a brand, I’d say I like to duplicate a bit of Disney. They sell happiness and hope. Guess that’s a bit of what I’m offering, too.
How do you unplug at the end of the workday or the workweek?
I don’t. Not really. I know I should, and will put the phone down when I need to be present for my family, but I’m rarely really unplugged. Even when I don’t have wifi, I’m snapping photos and taking notes about things I want to remember later.
What is your perfect Saturday?
My perfect Saturday depends on where I am. I really love to be on the coast, and if I’m being honest, floating on a raft in the ocean with the sun on my shoulders and a drink with some coconut rum in it is about as perfect as it gets. However, it’s even better if I can hear my kids laughing in the background, playing football in the surf, or snorkeling around me. They just can’t be whining. I have no patience for that.
What tools/apps do you use on a daily basis that you can’t live without?
Magisto. It’s the easiest video-editing app ever. I can produce high quality videos straight from my phone in seconds and then share it all over social media. Brands love it because they’re not waiting for days to see my review and I love it because nothing stinks more than a big to-do list that I have to deal with later—and editing video would take hours, if not days, before I started using this app.
What’s your favorite thing about your work space?
My favorite thing about my work space is that it can be anywhere. Because it’s all virtual, I can work from anywhere while I’m traveling—as long as I have my laptop or smart phone and can access wifi. That’s so freeing—to be able to take trips to Cabo, or Paris, or anywhere in between, and not have to technically take a day off from ‘work’…as long as I can keep checking messages and post about where I am in the world.
Name a woman (or women) past or present that you admire or look up to.
I admire Maya Angelou. What she could do with words impresses me to no end. I also admire Tina Fey because she’s so funny. I wish I had her sharp-wit and humor.
If you were given 3 more hours per day – what would you do with them?
I’d probably sleep an extra hour, finally exercise like I’m supposed to, and work on the novel that I wrote years ago and never published.
What 3 pieces of advice would you offer to other bloggers?
Don’t jump at every opportunity you see—some things won’t be a fit for your blog, so don’t force it.
Know your worth. Stop posting about products and services for free. Your blog is a form of advertising, so if you’re asked to promote something, ask them what they’re willing to give you for your work. Absolutely write all about it if it’s something you love, or of value to your readers, but if it’s something you should be paid to share, get paid.
Don’t make your blog only about sponsored posts or paid ops. Nobody wants to read a magazine that’s all advertisements. Make sure you keep the heart in your blog and balance it out with the paid posts.