This episode is really light and fun! I wanted to share with you some of the stories and moments from the early part of my days as a blogger that you don’t know. From starting as a family blog to learning how to make money without ads and sponsorships, there have been some really great (and funny!) moments along the journey. I am letting you in on some of the behind-the-scenes, funny, interesting, and inspiring stories. I look back and see how I evolved as a writer, as a blogger, and as a person, and never in a million years did I think my blog would bring so much light to the topic of minimalism and simple living. But here we are now, and I love every moment of it!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
What the early days of her blog looked liked. (Did you know it was originally called The Casazza Family Blog?)
How she learned to make money from her blog without using ads or sponsorships.
Her transition from starting as an inspiring blog to a more tactile, actionable one.
What brought her to hire her first assistant and how that has helped her business grow.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and I know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hey friends! Oh my gosh, I am so looking forward to this episode. It’s gonna be so fun!
I had this idea when I was getting questions doing a really fun Instagram Live Q &A. I just can’t wait!
I put a list together of funny things and interesting things about the early days of my blogging journey. I came up with 13 things you probably didn’t know about the early days of my blog. This will be super fun!
Okay. The first thing is it actually started in 2011 as a family newsletter. It was called The Casazza Family Blog. It looked terrible. It had a really generic background on it of blue sky and grass. It was just meant to keep family up-to-date on our life. I had just had Leland and I felt like things were just getting really crazy. I’ve got two babies now. I’m noticing that I’m busier than I used to be. I think it would be a good writing outlet (because I’ve always been a writer) to have a place to update everybody and have a family newsletter instead of sending out emails.
So, that’s actually how this whole thing started, which I think is hilarious.
I remember writing the blog posts about when Leland was born, having a picture of his little feet in black and white, writing about the birth and updating everyone on how he was doing.
And side note, also fun fact. We actually used to spell Leland’s name with two “e’s” and then we changed it after he was a year old, to just one “e.” Who does that? I remember it was like “Leeland Cade’s Birth.” And it’s just so funny and so ridiculous. It was just so funny. But, that’s how it started.
A second fun fact is that after that I started really get the “blogging bug.” I’ve always been a writer and I found that I was able to write somewhere. It was a really great outlet for me. After the kids would go to bed, I started writing about my thoughts and feelings, what I was learning about marriage and motherhood and all these different things. And The Casazza Family Blog just felt, I don’t know, it didn’t feel like it fit anymore, especially because in my mind it was a newsletter for family members. And so, I came up with a name, The Purposeful Housewife, and it turned into that later.
A third fun fact is that it was hosted on Blogspot. I don’t know if you guys remember Blogspot. It was owned by Google. I don’t even know if it still exists or if people are still using it, but it was the place to be back in the day.
My website was thepurposefulhousewife.blogspot.com because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get my own URL. I didn’t know anything. So, it was hosted on Blogspot. It was super beta and it’s so funny. I used the generic backgrounds and themes and a barely readable font. And I thought I was so amazing and so cool.
I was blogging all of these things that I was learning about and I remember that time as a time where I was so in love with blogging. It was a fun time, but I did not realize how little I knew.
Next fact is I once spent two weeks trying to figure out how to get my own URL and that is basically “Blogging 101.” It is so incredibly straightforward. It’s hilarious that I spent weeks trying to figure that out. And I remember I didn’t even end up figuring it out. It stayed the .blogspot.com for a long time because I couldn’t figure it out.
Next thing is it used to have music on it. So, you would go to my blog and it’s an instrumental version of, I don’t know, some One Republic, like Happy Song, used to play and you would be listening to music while you read about what I was learning as a wife that month. About the day that I figured out that if I was feeling really down and stuck, that if I just packed the kids up, wore my baby and went to the park, it would turn into a really good day.
And I wrote about how I liked being outside. How I found that if we would just get out of the house, the day would get better. All of these super basic things that I was learning as a new mom. You would be listening to music, and it was just hilarious.
The sixth thing is that my blog actually used to read kind of like a devotional. It wasn’t very practical. It was very deep and really devotional-based. And now it’s way more tactical, practical tips, action-oriented things.
I have thought about this a lot. Why did it change? Why was it so different back then? I realize it changed because that’s just where my writing naturally took me as time went on.
When you do something over and over and over again, when you’re writing all these different times week after week for years, you change. You learn things. You adapt and you become a certain type of writer. That’s naturally how I evolved as a writer, as a blogger, as a person.
I also realize that that’s the type of person that I am. I’m a really blunt, logical, practical person. If somebody comes to me with a problem, I listen. I’m there and I’m really empathetic. I’ll often cry for my friend and they’re not even crying yet. I am a good friend and I can listen. Then I get like, “Okay, what are we going to do about this?”
I’ve had so many times in my life where I’ll be like, “You know what? I’m just really not happy with the way things are going right now. I’m going to change my entire life.” And I will do it. I’m passionate about taking action in my own life and helping other people actually do something about their problems and take action.
So, I think as I matured and got deeper into motherhood and deeper into writing, this is what I evolved into. It is really interesting to think about things like that.
Number seven is the pictures on my blog were actually stolen and illegal because that’s how clueless I was. So, you’re not allowed to just Google “pictures of a sad woman” and then save the image to your computer and use it in a blog post. That’s illegal. You don’t have the rights to do that. You have to get the photos from a location that says “it’s okay to take our photos and use them on your website,” where the copyrights allow for that. And I did not know about that. So, for a long, long time the pictures on my tiny little blog were illegal and nobody really noticed because nobody was watching me.
But I do remember one day I had a blog post that was a really reflective blog post about an older couple that I had a conversation with. It was about marriage and I had googled “picture of an old couple” and there was a really beautiful picture of an old man kissing the forehead of his elderly wife. It was really sweet and I used the photo on that blog post and that blog post gained some traction.
It was actually my first blog post ever that went somewhere in the internet. It didn’t go viral or anything, but it got to more than five people and that was a big deal for me. It got to hundreds of people and people were passing it around. They really liked it. And I remember getting an email in my inbox that day that was like, “Hey, you need to take this photo down. You don’t have the rights to use it. It’s mine.” And I freaked out! So, fact number seven, my pictures used to be illegally stolen because that’s how clueless I was.
Do you feel like you are barely getting through your days friend? Does motherhood feel more like a hurricane of chaos that you are just surviving rather than the awesome, joy-filled season that you want it to be?
Well, motherhood is hard. I am not going to lie to you about that. While it is servitude and giving to your family from yourself, it doesn’t have to be something that we are waiting to be over. Something that we are counting down the minutes till naptime, or bedtime, or waiting for the next day to start. If you are wanting to sort through the clutter in your mind, your heart, your home calendar, your health, routines, and relationships, I created Unburdened just for you!
It is a guide that will help you go from drowning in the sea of stress and overwhelm, to owning your time and living the best version of your motherhood. So you can live abundantly while intentionally focusing on those who matter most.
Unburdened is the overwhelmed beginner’s guide to a simpler motherhood.
In Unburdened, I will walk you through how to stop over-complicating, procrastinating, and just start making positive changes now. How to declutter, just a little bit – not super deep into it, because you can’t handle that when you are this overwhelmed – but a surface declutter that will get you real results in your house so you can clean up less.
How to declutter toxic relationships in your life and set some good boundaries. How to simplify cleaning, get healthy and feel better – finally!
How to simplify your calendar. How to start owning your time and not just managing it as life happens to you.
How to stop just setting goals and letting them sit there. Start actually defining where you want to go and getting there through reverse engineering and goal-setting.
How to create a cleaning routine that works for you and your life.
This course is a mini-course. It is small. It is straightforward. But it is everything for the mom who feels like she needs a total overhaul, but is too overwhelmed to start.
It will help you simplify the things that have you stuck and leave survival mode behind for good.
Is this resonating with you? Sound like you? Does this sound like something that would really help you right now? Go to bit.ly/getunburdened.
I really poured my heart into this little course. I created it for the mom who is really wanting to simplify, declutter, and pursue a life of less, but she is so burdened and overwhelmed with the mess of life. It’s not just her house. She wants to simplify at the surface of all the different things in her life so she can focus on her family more. So then she can focus more on really, truly purging her entire house.
If this sounds like you, I encourage you to check it out. You are probably the person I created it for. I want you in there. I want it to help you.
Check it out. bit.ly/getunburdened.
Number eight. I freaked out so bad the first time someone recognized me in public. So, you can kind of tell that these are getting different as my blogging journey progressed. I remember at this point I had figured out how to have my own URL and it was thepurposefulhousewife.com. My blog was there and I was blogging really regularly but it was still nothing. Hardly anybody was watching my stuff, reading my stuff. I remember I went to Kaiser, through our insurance, and I was waiting to take one of our kids to the doctor and this woman came up to me as the nurse was calling me back and she was like, “I just have to tell you I love your blog.”
I literally stood there like an idiot and just stared straight ahead. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked. I was embarrassed. I was taken aback and I just didn’t even know. I just stood there and I think I muttered something like “thanks,” like super blunt. It was really awkward. Then I went into the doctor’s office. Later, that same woman sent me a message and she was like, “I am the one who said “hi” to you at the doctor. I hope I didn’t freak you out. I hope I wasn’t rude; you seemed really taken aback. I’m really sorry and I just love your stuff so much.”
We actually ended up forming a friendship and we joke about it all the time. So, Jeanette, if you’re listening – that was really awkward and I’ve never been that awkward in my entire life. It just shocked me and I freaked out. I went home and was hyperventilating to Brian. “Somebody recognized me. I didn’t know this was going to happen. Oh my gosh.”
And you know what’s even funnier? I still struggle with it, the public-eye thing. It freaks me out. When you start a blog, you’re not thinking that that’s going to happen. You’re just blogging. But then if it evolves and becomes something – that happens. (Side note, I probably wouldn’t have done this if I would’ve known that was going to happen because I’m so introverted.)
I’m better now. I’m used to it. It happens every week and I’m nice. I love meeting you guys and I’ll hug you, take a picture with you and it’s super fun. But oh my gosh, I freaked out so bad. It sent me careening into an introvert freak-out. So that was another fun fact.
The next one is one time I made $30 from having Google Adspend on my blog, which is like super old and ghetto. I was really excited. I took my money and I went to Barnes and Noble to buy a book about switching to WordPress and not using Blogspot anymore because that was kind of like “more legit” than Blogspot. And I wanted to be more legit, really bad. So, I went and got that book.
I studied that book. It was thicker than my dining room table. It was everything about WordPress. I studied that book like I was studying for the Bar Exam. I, like, cram-session studied that book. I learned everything about WordPress. Then I made the switch to WordPress and I hated it more than anything. It lasted less than a month. It was a huge waste of time. That’s just one of those things that happened as a blogger.
Next fun fact. I actually taught myself everything. I even taught myself how to code, which people go to school for years for that and get paid upwards of $200,000 a year to know how to do that. And I know how to do that. I taught myself how to do that because this was the days before Squarespace. Squarespace will code for you. So, I actually use Squarespace now and if you want to start a blog go with Squarespace. It’s the best.
But yeah, I taught myself how to do everything. I know everything about Pinterest. Growing your blog through Pinterest. I know everything about coding a website. I know how to edit photos and do photography for a blog. I know how to grow on any social media platform. I learned everything because I was dedicated to growing and I couldn’t afford to pay anybody.
Next fun fact. I freaked out. I was so happy. I celebrated with a cake at my house with my husband and my kids when I hit 500 followers because I thought I had “made it.” I was so excited and so proud. It was a huge goal for me. (Side note, later I went to a blog event and I realized that these other bloggers had tens of thousands of followers and I was so embarrassed that I had celebrated that. Like I just wanted to die. It was really embarrassing.)
Okay. Number 12. After that blogging event that I just mentioned, I came across an article that had featured some of the bloggers who were there and I learned that they had brought their husbands home from their jobs with the money that they made from their blogs. But it was because they put ads on their websites, they had sponsored posts, affiliate links and all that, and I really didn’t want to do that.
So, I decided then and there that day, that I was not going to stay at 500 followers. I was going to celebrate tens of thousands one day and I, too, was going to figure out a way to bring my husband home from my blog, but I was going to find a way to do it without selling out with ads and sponsorships because I felt and I still feel, (that’s why I don’t have paid sponsors for the podcast) that it dims the quality of my work, my website, and my content.
Back then this was impossible. It didn’t exist. If you wanted to make money blogging, you had to have ads and banners on your site. You had to do affiliate links and make little tiny bits of money in huge ways and that didn’t exist. There was no other way. But I was determined and I made a goal to find a way. Later my courses were born.
My site now brings in seven figures. Brian and I run the company from home together. Dreams can happen, so keep going.
Number 13. The last fun thing that I’m going to share with you about the early days of my blog journey is the first person that I ever hired was Kena. She is my assistant. I was curled up on the floor in my room after going viral.
I had over 2000 emails in my inbox and some of them were really mean and abrasive and I had never dealt with that before. I was so freaked out. I was introverting hard. I didn’t know what to do or how to get to all of them.
My Instagram was blowing up. I was so freaked out and overwhelmed.
I posted in a Facebook group for entrepreneurs. I was basically rocking back and forth in the fetal position and just posted like, “Oh my gosh, help!” And Kena was one of the many people who reached out to me.
Something just jumped out at me about her. I called her and I hired her on the spot. She got through all my emails in like two days. She promised me she would never not let an email go more than 48 hours (two business days) without answering it. And more than two years later, she still handles all my emails for me.
She’s the best customer service representative of all time. She responds to the rudest people so kindly. She is one of my biggest supporters. She’s seen me through TV appearances, virality, public humiliations, introvert freak-outs, major business triumphs, goal failing and goal reaching of all kinds. She was my first hire and I just adore her.
So, if you’re ever sending me and email, say “hi” to Kena for me.
And that is 13 things you probably didn’t know about the early days of my blog. It’s so funny to see how things can turn out from starting a family newsletter in 2011. I hope that this was fun for you guys to hear.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Did you know there is an exclusive community created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions surrounding The Purpose Show episodes? And to get you to actually take action and make positive changes on the things that you learn here? Go be a part of it. To join go to facebook.com/groups/purposefulmamas.
Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.
I am always rooting for you, friend!
See ya next time!
Hey mama! Just a quick note, this post may contain affiliate links.