INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK: BUSY BEING SHASHA | LEARN HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MONETIZE YOUR BLOG
And the INFLUENCER/TRAVELER of the month is...shasha
Busy Being Shasha is a lifestyle blogger who uses her platform to encourage women to get out and explore whether it's through food, travel, or lifestyle. She is also the co-creator of Comp Camp, a supportive community for content creators who are eager to learn and collaborate. If you would like to join Comp Camp or hear about her favorite restaurants in Dallas, keep reading.
Can you tell me a little bit about Comp Camp?
Comp Camp was created out of the desire to create a supportive community for content creators. When I first started blogging, I felt that it was so hard to navigate the blogosphere. I’d attended workshops in an effort to network and to meet other bloggers, but at times I still didn’t feel comfortable asking certain questions about how to get sponsored posts, or how to pitch. Plus, many bloggers are unwilling to give inside information, which is understandable but can be difficult when you’re new.
I really wanted to create a community where bloggers felt like they could get questions answered and have unbiased support. One of the bloggers that I looked up to when I first started was Ginger at the Ginger Marie Blog. I met her at a blogging event and we ended up becoming best friends and partnered to create Comp Camp. Sure, I could give people my experience and tips as a blogger but I feel like we could add so much more value by partnering up and providing two perspectives.
Who is it for?
Comp Camp is inclusive of all bloggers. Whether you’ve just started blogging, are a seasoned vet, or if you’re thinking about starting a blog there’s something there for everyone.
What will influencers learn?
Our workshops focus on a variety of topics. Influencers learn blogging topics ranging from how to create an effective pitch, how to find PR contacts, and how to successfully monetize their blogs.
Can you tell me a little more about the Comp Camp Community on Facebook?
The Comp Camp Community on Facebook is where we share PR contacts, success stories, opportunities, answer questions, and discuss various blogging topics. The community is only open to members who have attended an in-person workshop.
Tell me about your blog? When was it created? Who is it for…and why did you decide to start blogging?
Oh gosh, Busy Being Shasha was a totally different blog when it first started lol. In 2014 while pursuing my degree, I was tasked with creating a blog as part of a social media project. I went into the assignment thinking that I’d get nothing out of it. After publishing my third blog post for the class, I really started to enjoy it. I decided to keep the blog active and instead chose to use it as a portfolio for potential employers. Due to my class schedule an entire year went by and I really hadn’t done anything with it. In November 2015, I switched platforms, went through a rebrand, and got serious about publishing consistent content.
How do you believe your blog has helped your readers/following?
Busy Being Shasha really serves as a platform to motivate my readers to get out and explore whether it’s through food, travel, or lifestyle. It’s for the everyday woman that can easily get caught up in her daily busy routine. I definitely think that my blog has inspired my readers and I love when I hear feedback when someone says that they went to a restaurant based off my recommendation or traveled to a new destination.
What kind of blogger would you describe yourself as? Lifestyle? Travel? Food?
I’m ALL OF THE ABOVE! When I first started my blog it was mainly aimed at food and travel. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t want people to assume that I’m a girl who simply travels and eats all the time. There’s so much more to my life, so lifestyle is an important component. I really want people to get a good sense of who I am, and that you don’t have to be some picture perfect person on Instagram.
You’re basically a superhero! You have a full-time job, are successfully managing your side hustle (a.k.a your blog), and you seem to have a great support system (husband, family, friends). Any tips on how to balance an 8-5 with your 5-9, and manage to spend time with friends and loved ones?
Thanks for the compliment. Managing a side-hustle with other responsibilities is definitely difficult. I wouldn't say it’s impossible to find perfect balance but one thing that has helped me tremendously is learning to say NO, and becoming ok with saying it. It’s so important to have realistic expectations and to set boundaries and to stick to them.
As far as family and friends, I try to make a conscious effort to be Shatia and schedule time accordingly. Many people on Instagram only know who Shasha is- the girl that goes on all these incredible adventures, and eats everything; but my family knows Shatia. My goal is that in 2018, people will be able to see more of Shatia. I keep a calendar with me and write everything down whether it's family events or blogging stuff. After a certain time at night, I stop answering calls, looking at my phone, and take time for myself.
What’s been the hardest part about blogging? How have you overcome that challenge?
The hardest part of blogging for me is being consistent. At times, I get into funks where I don’t know what to write, and sometimes my to-do list can feel overwhelming. Instead of tackling it, sometimes I make the decision to do NOTHING lol. Being consistent is difficult but it’s the key to having a successful blog. I’d say the second hardest part of blogging is finding balance. There are times when I really want to be Shatia and sit at home on my couch and chill, but I have obligations to be Shasha. I’d say the best way to overcome these challenges is to stay organized and schedule everything, even during your free time or days when you’re taking a day off from the blog or social media.
What advice would you give to newbies trying to start his/her blog? Tell me the good, the bad, and the hot mess.
As far as newbie advice, I’d say it’s important to know your why. Write down the reasons why you want to start a blog and constantly remind yourself of that. The good part is that you will have incredible opportunities to meet amazing people and potentially collaborate with brands. The bad is that your blog will become your child and you’re going to make a lot of sacrifices that you probably didn’t realize. The hot mess is that blogging can be unnecessarily competitive.
How do you deal with writer’s block…or what you referred in one of your blog post as blog burnout?
Whenever I get into a blogging funk, I ask my readers or followers about which topics I should write about. I also keep a list on my laptop of blog topics that happen to pop into my mind. So when I’m in a funk, I can refer back to the list and see if anything sticks out.
You’re always collaborating with brands/influencers on Instagram. What is some advice you would give to a novice influencer/blogger who is trying to get their first sponsorship, ad feature or collaboration? Do you think the number of followers matters? Do you think brands are unwilling to work with you, if your following is low? If so, what are some ways influencers can boost their engagement?
Really good question and thanks for the kind words. Working with brands takes a lot of hustle. Never wait for a brand to reach out to you. If there’s a brand you want to work with, hit them up. If they say no, keep it moving. Sure followers are important, but I think engagement and quality content is key. Never feel that the amount of followers you have determines your worth. I always tell new bloggers to focus on smaller brands when starting out. That’s something I also do now.
A lot of times smaller brands need the promo more than bigger brands and are more willing to work with you. Just don’t be afraid to reach out. You can boost your engagement by joining different engagement groups and asking your followers questions in your caption. Giveaways are another good way to boost your following, but posting consistently also helps a lot! You can’t expect to grow your following if your only posting once a week. Be sure to do what feels right for your brand.
You’re always posting mouth watering food pics on your Instagram. Tell me, what are you Top 3 favorite restaurants (or dishes) in Dallas?
LOL, this is such a tough question that I get asked a lot.
1. Tricky Fish….LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!
2. As far as a dish, the Big Bird at Root’s Chicken Shack at Legacy Hall
3. Mesa Grapevine. The food is phenomenal and Beyonce eats there whenever she’s in town so….
In your opinion, who has the best Happy Hour in Dallas?
I’m not a big drinker…but I think Top Knot has one of the best happy hours, and it’s available on weekends. Definitely order the burger.
If you can share your secret, how are you always in the know about new restaurant openings and soft launches in the area? Asking for a friend.
Lol, a lot of times it’s because I’m on a media list, where PR pros basically invite influencers to come check out the restaurant. Or sometimes, I simply reach out and ask to come try the menu.
Before we conclude our interview, you know I have to ask one or two travel-related questions. So here it goes. If you have a 9-5, you most likely have about 10 days of PTO. How can someone with a full-time job still find time to travel when they have limited time off from work?
Use holidays to your advantage! When I worked for a financial institution, I’d always take quick trips on 3 day weekends. I really avoid traveling during major holidays (flights are too expensive) but I love traveling on days that people tend to forget like Columbus Day, President’s Day etc. I love to leave on Saturday mornings (red eye) and return on a Monday or Tues so I can take minimal days off from work. The key is to plan short trips while taking the time to create an itinerary so you can do the things you want to do.
You always seem to stay at really nice hotels. What sites do you use to book hotels? Any secret tips you can share?
I love using Hotel Tonight, Expedia, and Booking.com. A lot of times my travel is comped or I receive media rates so I don’t use those sites as much. Also Groupon is really great and I’ve used that for a few stays.
Out of all the places you’ve traveled this year, which destination was your favorite? Explain.
Although Cabo received a ton of bad press in the media, I loved it. There were tons of fun things to do and it’s pretty cheap aside from transportation. However, Cancun is my absolute favorite place to travel to.
how can my readers reach you?
If you would like to be the next Traveler of the Week (or Influencer of the Week...I'm interested in lifestyle bloggers, too), please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.