Digital Product Design with Christin Cieslarski

christin cieslarski

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This week, it is my treat to introduce you all to Christin Cieslarski. She runs the blog My Homier Home, out of her home in Indiana, where she’s been blogging for almost six years with two little kiddos under two and a half years old! She is going to share with us how she grows her business through the magic of digital products!

Digital Product Design

Christin has some great ideas to share with us on how to collab with other bloggers. She has turned her love of helping others into a unique way of growing her blog one digital product bundle at a time!

Listen in as she shares with us all about her:

  • Big move from Illinois to Indiana
  • Blog organization using Trello
  • Adding her first digital product

In this episode, we cover:

  • How Christin got started with digital products
  • Tips on how to use collaborations to grow
  • How her digital bundle works

Links and resources mentioned during this episode:

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Complete Transcript of this Episode

Welcome back to the podcast. This week, it is my treat to introduce you all to Ms. Kristen Sislarski. She runs the blog My Home, your home out of her home in Indiana, where she’s been vlogging for almost six years with two little kiddos under two and a half years old. Oh, my goodness. Kristen, welcome to the podcast.

Thanks. I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for having me on.

I’m so glad you’re here finally. We’ve had to schedule and schedule, and we’re finally here together. I’m so glad. Christin, tell us a little bit about your blogging journey.

So, yeah, I started back in February of 2017. It was one of those things where I had been doing a blog for fun before that under a different name, and I decided it should describe what I want to do more. And I’ve always been I actually went to school to be an architectural engineer and then switched over to be a high school math teacher. And I kind of missed that creativity piece from being in the problem-solving math world. So I started the blog as a way to kind of document. We moved states from Chicago to a suburb of Indianapolis, and it was overwhelming to triple your square footage and not know what you were doing. And so I basically documented a lot of my room makeovers. If you scroll far enough back. It’s quite a treat to see what exactly it was in the beginning. But we’ve come a long way in the last six years. And now I’m very focused on how to use I have a system I created called the Confident Method. And that is actually the step-by-step path I take to rescue all the rooms in my home one at a time. So that’s kind of where we landed.

I absolutely love that. Rescue the rooms. Christin to the rescue. The and so your blog is a blend of DIY and home decor, is that correct?

Yes. And actually I like to call a DIY decorating because it is do it yourself decorating. It’s do it yourself projects, a little bit of do it yourself organizing. Kind of a one man show.

Yes. And so what is your favorite part of blogging, Kristen?

I’m funny because I like all the stuff everyone else doesn’t, being in the math world for such a long time. The other good thing I was great at in school as far as classes go with English. So I really like writing and blog posts and kind of systematic step-by-step processes and sharing what I’ve learned. So I would say that’s probably my favorite part is being able to share the AHA moments I’ve had to save people time and energy and trying to figure it out themselves.

Got you. And so what are some things that you’ve learned as you have grown the blog over the last six years?

Oh my gosh, so many things. The biggest thing that I like to focus on is organization. Kind of getting your ideas, your workflows down. I think that has been a game changer for me. I use trello a lot for my organizational. I have templates and things that I have on there, but I love making sure you walk in. I’m a total scatter brain. So when I walk in somewhere and I’m like, what am I going to do here? I can go to my notes and trello what ideas I had in the past for room projects, what posts I wanted to write in different areas. So kind of like my all encompassing external brain to keep everything organized. And since there’s just so many moving parts to blogging and content creation and.

All that of it, there is a lot to it. How often do you post and how do you stay organized like that?

So I was up to two posts a week before I had my last baby. And then I swear I thought I was going to be Wonder Woman and come back after eight weeks and be amazing and all this stuff. And six months later, here I am trying to get back in the groove of everything. But I would say I try to post about once a week. I send an email to my email list every week regardless of new post, to either highlight old posts or just an update on what’s going on over here and kind of keep relevant in the audience space.

I love that you see the value in an email list. A lot of people don’t have one yet. When did you decide to add an email list to your business and how has that changed your business?

Actually, that was one of the first things that I had been working towards in the blogging space. I’m sure you’ve heard of Elite Blogging Academy with Ruth Zoo. That was like one of the first things I ever learned in one of her courses. And so I think that I’ve been working to get to this big number email list forever and it took me forever, but I’m finally at a place where I feel really good and I get connections with people. But it is so invaluable because you’re forever a part of their like everyone checks their email every day. Like I don’t always check Instagram every day or I don’t always search my favorite blogs every day, but at least if I go to my email, I know that I’m connected with the people I want to be connected with. And so to stay relevant in there has really it’s driven my traffic a lot. I have a lot of organic traffic just from email list people and it’s your fans, your loyalty that’s there for you. So I think it’s invaluable in so many places.

I have to totally agree. It’s just your own little piece of the internet. I mean, it’s still internet, but it’s yours and it’s not going to come and go with the fads. It’s been there forever and it’s still going to be there. So Kristen, how do you know what to say in your email? Do you have that template or how do you work that?

I think the more you do it, the more you get used to your tone of voice. So I like to use a lot of the, you know, use their name, the tags and things like that. But a lot of times, like to get right to the point, I always have a button after I tell my little blurb of a story of what they can expect and then the button for a call to action and always a PS in case people scroll to the bottom. I had a lot of feedback from my audience over time that has said short and sweet, we like those we can get to the point and actually be able to go dive into your blog post or go where they want that way.

Got you. So what are some other ways that you have grown readership of your blog and I think collaboration with others?

Yeah, I would say that is probably the biggest game changer. A couple of years ago I joined KariAnne from Thistlewood Farms, her mastermind group. And that was the amount of friendships you created just by everyone having the same like we’re all trying to go down the same path, but even though it’s different, it’s like minded people. And I think the hardest part about entrepreneurialship or working at home is you’re by yourself. And so to have almost like in essence coworkers to help kind of drive your messaging and build audience together and community and I have people that I meet with from that group even still every week. And we will sit and we’ll talk and chat and it’s just a handful of us and we’ll talk shop and it’s really a nice it’s almost like water cooler talk or we have lunch together, but it’s a standard meeting every week and I think building the relationships is a complete game changer.

I agree. I have to agree 100% wholeheartedly. I love KariAnne. I will link her podcast episode below in case you’ve never met her. But Kristin, you have another little thing that you’ve created personally that is key to collaborating with others. Tell us a little bit about your bundle.

Yeah, so it was actually a challenge from Korean last year and I had this idea and she’s like, I don’t know anyone doing that and I think that would be a really great idea. So I came up with it’s called the Holidays at Home Bundle and it is a collection of digital products that is everything you need to get ready for the holidays. So it is four categories. We have holiday planning, holiday decorating, holiday hosting, and holiday DIY and crafts. And it takes a lot of our blog community that has these digital products or wants to reach a bigger community. And we all come together and we put our products all together that are usually anywhere from ten dollars to forty dollars, fifty dollars, and combine them all together for $49 so that we all can kind of give a collaborative community to share audience, but also lift each other up and kind of get the holidays kicked off in a festive team vibe.

How did you come up with something so genius? I’m so excited to be a part of that this year and I will put a link in the show notes below where you can find out more about it. But how did you come up with the idea of not only to put together like the separate categories so that it wasn’t all a bunch of the exact same thing and then just to charge for it? And what has been your response from the public for all of those things?

Well, Digital Products is, I think the most underutilized space in our niche in this home decor kind of DIY space. Everyone has so much amazing knowledge and things that I know I have my little zone of genius and then a lot of other people have just amazing ideas and I’ve learned so much from others over the years, I’ve taken a gazillion courses and mostly just to kind of pick people’s brains and to get in and make my life easier. And I thought that the holidays is usually a stressful time for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be. If we get a little head start, if we kind of take everybody’s zone of genius and put it together into one group, we can have all kinds of celebrate with everybody. Hey, let’s get ready ahead of time so we can enjoy the holidays too. Because I found that when I was a kid, it was great, everything was done for you. You just showed up and you got to open your gifts and eat the good food, but when you’re the main prepper for your family and to create all the memories and all that stuff, it’s like, whoa, who knew all this was going on behind the scenes? And I think we shouldn’t have to sacrifice the fun. Let’s learn from each other and get ahead of the game. And so it was kind of an organic idea. It was one of those you’re talking to some people and you’re going back and forth and it kind of just came out of the woodwork. So it was definitely amazing. I love it. It’s the second year we’re going to do this and it gets better and better every year. Last year we had ten contributors, this year we have 27. And I’m learning so much already from these amazing bloggers in our niche. So it’s pretty cool.

I love that I can hear the excitement in your voice. You’re just full of excitement, so I know it’s a passion for you and it’s paying off. So it was received really well last year and so you almost tripled it this year. And so I think that the value is even bigger this year because you have tripled the contributions. Tell us a little bit about give us like a little sneak peek behind the scenes of what are some things you can expect in the bundle.

So there’s a lot of the favorite things I have are the planning thing. I’m a planner through and through, so a lot of the planning stuff is amazing. But there’s so much about when we get together with family and you want to create this memory, we all have that view in our head of what the memories are that we’ve had as kids, and it takes a lot of time and effort to make those a reality. And I think that some of the biggest parts of the bundle that are going to be a big hit are the entertaining stuff. The craft that you can do to up level a lot of your decorating and bring your family together that you can gift. And all kinds of literally chock full of amazing ideas to just make this holiday better than any other holiday and to continue just learning and growing to see what other people are doing. When I was a kid, I would always love to go to open houses and just see what’s going on in people’s houses. It’s like the same thing for people’s brains. Like, what are you doing for the holidays? How are you having it set up? And what fun memories can I start creating with my family? So, a couple of really good ones. We have some good tablescapes for fall. We have some really beautiful printables that people are introducing there. There’s going to be a fondue party hosting one. There is the bow-making one. I’m very excited that you have submitted in there. Have you ever seen anyone do like knots. And I’m always like, I don’t know, I need someone to show me. And so I’m really excited about the Bow tutorials that way too, but it’s toughful. There’s a baking planner. I could go on and on, but it’s going to be epic.

I’m so excited. And listen, if you’re listening and this sounds super thrilling to you, I will have a link below that you can check it all out. But Kristen, let me ask you, aside from the monetization of this bundle that you’ve put together, what are some other things it has done to benefit your business?

So I think the relationship building, like I mentioned earlier, it’s unbelievable when you start to create lasting relationships with people and how it’s not a competition against so much as everybody rise together kind of a thing. And I think having the group together, that so, for instance, we are putting together for this bundle like prizes, so fun things that we can help each other. There’s going to be a most helpful contributor prize. There’s going to be the most creative promo, the most festive promo, just a lot of really fun things to help build our team vibe. And I think the relationships that is the true measure of success is not to step on everyone on the way up, but to kind of bring everybody with you and grow together.

That’s awesome. I know, I’m excited. I’m excited because it’s not all like just brand new bloggers. Like this is a heavy-lifting team of bloggers that are on here. And so that’s exciting. So Kristen, tell us back at the very beginning when you just started this blogging journey and you were moving from Chicago to the Indiana area, what would you tell yourself looking back?

Oh, man, I would probably tell myself to create groups of friends in this niche faster, like invest in being a part of communities and kind of creating all these things. And then secondarily, I think that the digital product space is something I wish I had gotten started way before. And there’s just so much value in taking even just like little things and bringing a little monetization for your own, but also to help others and kind of grow you. I think it’s the most untapped. And if I could go back, I would have started way before I did. And now if you were to ask me people, digital products is kind of my expertise, I guess you would say. And I really think that that is something that I like the bundle for because it actually motivated a lot of people to, okay, I was going to create this thing. I’ll create it for the bundle or I’ll have it. And that’s not typically how bundles go, but I wanted to open this up as a way for motivation or to help each other. And since I know a lot about the digital product creation and how to set it all up, tech-wise and everything, I knew I could help some people kind of push themselves to take their zone of genius and get it out to the world as they should, because they’re brilliant.

That is awesome. And you’re so right. I mean, there are so many people who let that little tech aspect really hold them back. And even if they know they could figure it out, they just don’t want to take the time to sit down and hammer it out. But if they have someone cheerleading them along and saying, you can do it, just fill out this form, make it like this, plug it in here and actually help them market it, they’re ready to go. That’s super awesome. I know that that helped me, Kristen, personally, to be able to participate in this. My Bow tutorials were out there, but they weren’t together, they weren’t polished, and to be able to put it together in an ebook, that was my first one. So I just really appreciate what you’re doing for all the people in all the places, and I am so glad you were here with us.

Yes. And I’m always looking for more contributors, more people to bring to our group so people can always reach out with any ideas, and I’d be happy to help.

Tell us where we can reach out to you.

So you’ll find me a lot on Instagram at myhomierhome. You can always email me at christin@myhomierhome.com. But, yeah, Instagram is my hangout spot, so any DMs, I will answer all the time.

I love it. Well, thank you so much, Christin, for being a guest here on the podcast today. You were amazing, and I will talk to you soon.

Yes. Thanks so much.

Bye.

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