Go For It! with Brendt Blanks
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This week, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you all Brendt Blanks, business owner and author of the blog She Gave It a Go, where she’s been blogging for about five years out of her home in Birmingham, AL that she shares with four kiddos and her hubby. With a background in family and marriage therapy, blogging wasn’t even on her radar until one church service where she heard the inspiring words “Go For It!” and her brand She Gave It a Go was born!
Go For It!
Brendt has some great ideas to share with us on how she puts her blog to work. She has turned a blogging dream into her full-time income in five short years with the help of some unique ideas and 1 you’ve probably never heard of.
Listen in as she shares with us all about her:
- Seeking out relationships with like-minded bloggers
- Working with brands on a regular basis
- Staying true to your brand and values
- Recovering from having her account hacked
In this episode, we cover:
- How Brendt came up with the name for her blog
- How she sought out blogger friends to share her journey
- Tips on working with brands for what you’re worth
- How to stay true to your purpose and stay focused
- What to do if you get hacked on social media
- How to work hard and play hard
Links and resources mentioned during this episode:
- Visit Brendt’s website, She Gave It a Go
- Connect with Brendt on Facebook and Instagram or on TikTok
- More info on the Haven Conference
- Connect with Melanie on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Liking the show? Write a review!
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Complete Transcript of this Episode
This week, I am so excited to bring you guys, Ms. Brent Blanks. She is the author and amazing creator of the blog She Gave It Ago, where she’s been blogging for at least five years in Birmingham, Alabama, with her four kids out and her husband. I cannot wait to hear all about it. Brent, welcome to the podcast.
Brendt: Thank you, Melanie. Thrilled to be here with you today.
I’m thrilled to have you. I just cannot wait to hear all the things. So start out by just telling us from the beginning how you got started blogging and how you named it. She gave it a go. I can’t wait to hear.
Brendt: Okay, so that is a wonderful question. I love talking about the journey as she Gave It a go. So I’m going to try to keep it in a concise form for you today. But it was around 2002 that I started practicing as a marriage and family therapist. That is my background, and I practiced all the way up until about five years ago. So at the time that I did end up stepping away from that as a career, I was at a local children’s hospital working on their cardiac intensive care unit with pediatric heart patients and their families. So you can imagine it was a wonderful position, but also very draining at times. And I found myself just looking for ways to almost kind of find relief in a creative way. And at the same time, my dad had been diagnosed with stage four cancer. He was going through his treatments very sick at that time. So kind of these two double whammies led me to seek out something to just be therapeutic, I guess, for my own heart and mind. And I loved I have always loved home decorating. And so I began to talk with some friends who were kind of in that blogging world, a world that I was very unfamiliar with had never read a blog who said, hey, there is a great community out there on Instagram that is a welcoming community, it’s encouraging. Why don’t you start sharing some of those things that you’re doing in your home as a creative outlet on this platform? And I was like, what? Instagram is for the young people. And so I decided I would start doing that. So I found that it began to really energize me because not only was I getting to just kind of see what others are sharing and share myself, but also I did find that community. I was finding other women who were enjoying this as a way to connect with others and they were just so happened to be making money while doing it. And it was blowing my mind, but I guess kind of that thought still exists in your mind, that you go to school, you have your degree. And my career was in marriage and family therapy, kind of where I thought I would always be. And so anyhow, it came to be pretty much that. The idea started growing. I just started growing on Instagram and started finding that this could potentially be a pathway for me. Building a brand, launching a website. She gave it a go. Came from a church service I was attending where the pastor kept going, give it a go, give it a go, over and over again. And I thought, am I the only one in the room? You just felt like it was right for you. So I’m nudging my husband, saying, I think it’s time to see if leaving my career as a marriage of family therapist could work for us. We’re going to leap out in faith. It was risky. We have four children and launch a lifestyle brand in the home decor niche. And of course we wanted to name it she Gave It A Go after that service. And we did. And so that was about five years ago, and it has just been an awesome journey ever since.
That’s so exciting. Oh my goodness. And she gave it a go. So tell us how “she went.”
Brendt: That’s a good question. It went real excitedly, I would say. So basically we kind of laugh in this world. There are those of us who start off as like an Instagramer and then start the blog, or for those who may start off in the blogging world and then come over and try some of the social media stuff. So I was definitely the one that started off in the Instagram world and pretty much started learning about brand partnerships by just creating products. And I loved it. Like, they would send me one of their home signs, like a wood sign or some type of stems, and I would sell it in her home and take pictures and share it. And so that was really fun. And then as I grew kind of on Instagram, I realized my husband helped me launch and form my website, and we did that. And so as you started adding these other platforms to your brand, you find that companies really want to start learning more about what you do and work with you, and you have a larger audience. So that’s what started happening. Then it just started going from there.
And boy, has it gone. So, Brendt, tell us about these brand partnerships. So obviously, at first you were telling me that you were trading products, and then how has that evolved, and what is that doing for you and your family?
Brendt: So it has evolved in that you kind of go from that idea of maybe you’re learning the ropes. I don’t like to use the word smart audience because I think we all can know that really, no matter what your numbers are, you still have an audience and brands want to work with you. But I think I was still learning what this business was. But as I have learned and grown, I guess, on the business aspect, I’ve learned that you are worth your time, your expertise, your talents, and that your audience, you’ve grown that audience, and they have grown to know you and have a relationship with you. So therefore, it turns into something that becomes marketable, and you can start being compensated more so than just your products. And brands have marketing budgets that are big and nice, and so that starts to grow and provide for your family in ways that have been great for us.
So tell us a little bit about your workflow. How did you wake up when you started this and know what to do each day?
Brendt: Gosh, that is so good because, okay, I’ve just gotten back from Haven, and so when you talk about workflow, I’m like on fire for that right now because I think you kind of like, go through the year and you think what you’re doing is a good workflow, but then you go to something like Haven. And I know you’ve talked about that on this podcast, but, basically, it is a conference for bloggers where you can go and learn a lot of great new skills or be reminded a lot of times you are reminded of the things you know that will work and you put them back into practice. And so I think there was both of those things. But I think with the workflow, it is good practices. You have got to be flexible with your workflow. I think today I have already changed out my schedule three or four different times, and it’s only 11:00. But you just keep your task. You keep your task. I do daily tasks, and then I have a monthly calendar where I’m going to put out brand partnerships, maybe things that are recurring every month on that calendar and then a day to day. So I do think it’s good practices, but it’s also flexibility.
And so how often do you blog?
Brendt: Until recently I was trying to blog about four times a week. And then after I guess learning some of the latest over from just some consultant discussions I’ve had, as well as even just at Haven, I am thinking about slowing that down a little bit and doing more like one or two times a week on the blog.
Got you. And so are you going back and doing anything to old post along the way?
Brendt: Yes. Talk about being reminded of good practices. That was something that I think I had just kind of put aside. That can be so. I mean, you’ve already got the content and it can just be one of those things that takes all of 15 or 20 minutes to do. I’ve already done one since being back from Haven and updated it and wow, that was simple compared to creating a blog post from Square.
Yeah, I agree. It’s always the basics that kind of sometimes we need to be reminded of.
Brendt: It is.
So when it comes to Instagram, how exactly do you feel like, what can you attribute to your growth and how did you know what to do? How do you grow on Instagram?
Brendt: I feel like that’s like the million dollar question in 2022. But I think that you can get really caught up at the beginning if you are just starting your brand on Instagram, of wanting fast growth, quick results, and so you can turn to maybe gaining non-authentic followers or audience, but it is worth steady, consistent growth through those who want to be there with you. And I do think with the growth kind of going back to what I had mentioned earlier, you’ve got to find a community. And I tell the people who I mentor that there are people that want to be on your team. There are people that want to support what you’re doing. And so it is essential to just reach out. It’s okay. They’re women, men just like you that are trying to do this thing too. And they would love to meet you and they would love to form groups. So if you were to hop over onto my direct messages on Instagram, would see probably ten different groups. And some of those I’ve had for five years, six years since being on Instagram. And we just share in each other’s posts. Hey, if you have time, thank you so much. And it’s such a wonderful community. You want to build those support systems. And I’ll say this too, it is the type of practice, I believe that is worthy to share your knowledge, your skills, your ideas, your takeaways. It’s always worth it because there is room for everybody. Share your knowledge, and help other people pull along because we were all there at one point.
That’s exactly right. So would you attribute your growth on Instagram more to like real stories, carousels, or consistency? What would you say?
Brendt: Probably well, lately I have felt like that is more of a mystery. I know that we’re being told videos, reels, and all of this is what’s most desirable right now. I was watching the head of Instagram today and he said, I promise we’re still going to honor Photos, but the majority is still saying video is what they’re looking for. But I would say growth was really fast, maybe a year in. But then I think it’s that consistency. Melanie I do. I think it’s being clear about your message, what your brand is about and sticking to it because it is easy to get off course sometimes, especially when you have brands reaching out to you and saying, do you want to partner on this? And if you’re not sending that clear message to your audience about what you’re about, it can confuse them and it can confuse any future people who want to join your community. So, yeah, consistency and being clear and.
That encouragement, that’s a great reminder. Just staying true to your brand and yourself and your values and all of the things are the reasons that people follow you in the first place. So just make sure that everything’s in alignment. And so that means getting it in alignment from the get-go, I guess.
Brendt: Absolutely, yes. Having those pillars in place.
So, Brent, something super unfortunate happened with your account not too long ago and I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about it.
Brendt: Yes. So I was one of the lucky ones that had their Instagram account hacked. It was also my Facebook account and it was a very unsettling and pretty much scary moment. It’s probably the worst thing that you can happen to like if you’re a content creator. And so, you know, kind of mixing in this idea of community. I had so many people that were kind enough to reach out in those moments of, hey, here’s something that I know worked for somebody else, or I had a good friend, Jessica, to who we talked on the phone and she helped me out. And believe it or not, it was an unusual time frame to get it back so quickly, but it was only gone for about four days. And I know that sounds like, well, gosh, that was nothing. And I know for a lot of people it is nothing, but it was quite unnerving.
Yeah, I bet. And so did you at that point determine that you were going to make a backup plan or what did you decide to do?
Brendt: Yeah, we were already starting to try to do that. That was advice that was given to us. There are several if you hop on Pinterest, and there are several reliable articles on what to do if your account is hacked. So you can always check there. You can always email me or **** me if this happens to you because I know you are like, sorting through how to get through it. But, yeah, we had start to consider what it may look like if it was gone for a long time. For sure.
You always had your blog.
Brendt: That is the truth. And that is one thing that I was telling our mentor group at Haven and they were like, we know what you’re about to say. You’ve got to have your own website and an email list. And I said it’s true because in fact, speaking of that, I’m glad you mentioned that because I did send out a blast email to my subscribers. It just said, this is what’s happened and just hang on tight, we’re going to try to get this resolved. But yes, that’s exactly right. You have those two things. People can nobody can take away those from you. Yeah.
Well, that’s awesome. I’m so glad you’re back.
Brendt: Yes, me too. Thank you.
So, Brent yes. What motivates you?
Brendt: That’s a great question. Motivation. Well, I’m going to answer it like this. I enjoy working hard. And there is a saying that my grandfather said to my husband and I, angel, we got married and he said, you always need to work hard and you always need to play hard. And so we have tried to do that throughout our marriage and with our children and our work. But I do enjoy I’m not lazy, I don’t like sitting around. But a friend said to me that even in people who work hard, you still want to have your margins in place. And so the motivation is to work hard, work smart, but leave plenty of room for that white space on your calendar. So have serendipitous moments with your children, with your husband. Don’t be so busy and with your head down that, you can’t look up around you.
Brendt, if you were starting over and you were just starting to think about getting this going and you just heard the sermon and you’re ready to go, give it a go. What advice would you give your sweet little self back at the beginning?
Brendt: It is going to be hard work. This is not for the faint of heart. You will love your business and your brand more than anybody else. So saddle up, get ready. Yeah, it’s hard, but it will pay off. And I would say to myself, you are about to love this wild and crazy ride. It is fabulous. You’re going to meet so many people along the way. You’re going to have relationships with brands that you love along the way, opportunities and stay true to yourself. I think I would make sure to say that because you can be tempted to veer off of again, kind of going back to the idea of what you’re about, who you are, and what your brand is about. Keep that focus zoned and remind yourself and have accountability. Don’t lose sight of it.
How do you get accountability?
Brendt: I have some really close friends that I do think it’s important. Kind of like we were saying earlier on Instagram, but maybe even a tighter knit group of those who share your values, share your dreams, those that have vision of big dreams, too, and text each other. I love the boxer app. We will communicate via sending each other boxes and checking on each other.
I love it. I love it. Brent, you have given us and all the listeners so much to think about when it comes to starting a business, building a brand, staying true. Where can we find more of you?
Brendt: Thank you. It’s been a joy. So my website, is She Gave It a Go.com I’m over on Instagram and Pinterest and now TikTok. That’s a new one, but all under. She gave it a go. Perfect.
Well, I appreciate you so much for being here and I hope you have a great day.
Brendt: Thank you, Melanie. You too.