Flavia Andrews provides clever home organization systems and ideas, as well as time management techniques to help frazzled women find balance in their lives.
Revenue of $1,500/mo
Email list size of 3,300
Founded in 2015
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
I’m Flavia Andrews and I received a BS degree in Industrial Engineering in my native country, Colombia, and moved to the US at the age of 25. After several years working in the construction industry, I decided to open my own graphic design and event styling business. Having a business I could call my own, was -and still is- surreal to me. I have my own mini-plant where I manufacture goods and control all the processes.
I started the business when online marketplaces were taking off, and I was able to use that as leverage to grow my business in less than 2 years. This led me to start my first blog in order to promote my products and interact with customers at a much personal level.
Blogging took a turn for me when my work started being recognized by the media, and I was hired as a writer/contributor for the popular eHow. Later on, Neat House. Sweet Home™ would be founded.
I created Neat House. Sweet Home™ to promote and provide clever home organization systems and ideas, as well as time management techniques to help frazzled women find balance in their lives.
Our primary audience is 25-45 years old women, most of the moms of young children. They look for daily inspiration for quick and practical solutions to everyday hiccups and setbacks at home. Our main goal is to help them get organized in their homes, while setting new habits and routines that will also bring order to their minds.
I dedicated the first two years to write content and build an audience. Even though I started to monetize since the very first day I published my post, my revenue was only, literally, cents a day! With time and effort, I built a good list of subscribers who kept coming for more. I was also lucky to have a great amount of organic traffic daily.
My total of income in 2015, my first year blogging, was $176 (for the entire year!). In 2016 I made $4,000. This year, my monthly average income is $1,500.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
Before my son was born, I seemed to have our household under control, as well as a good routine in place to work on the books for our family business. It’s no lie when they say having a child changes your life. All of a sudden, hundreds of things to- do, slipped my mind and I felt like I was constantly putting out fires.
The idea of writing Neat House. Sweet Home™ dawned on me when my son started to attend preschool. I realized that if I did not start an organization system for all those first drawings he proudly brought home, I was going to lose my mind watching them pile up quickly on my kitchen counter.
At the same time, I was running my own graphic design and events business and I was struggling to keep up with work and homemaking while raising a preschooler. Developing time management techniques was a priority for me.
To stay organized and manage my time better, I started creating lists and templates for everything I did. It was easy for me to create them thanks to my expertise in graphic design.
Two of my first blog posts featured a free printable to-do list with daily goal-setting, and a free printable Weekly Meals Planner. To my surprise, they became viral and were shared over and over again. Right there, I started to build an audience of moms like me, frazzled and desperate to have some order in their homes, and life.
In my first few years working in the engineering field, I went from marketing director to quality control engineer, to logistics manager. I was always involved in creating methods and systems to improve processes and increase productivity.
With my blog, I want to help women optimize the difficult and often underestimated process of homemaking. Just like in a complex organization or factory, when you remove resources that do not generate value, you see great results.
Each day, I teach myself and other women how to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, and other resources, to improve the most important areas of our lives: personal growth, homemaking, and parenting. I am currently writing my first book: ‘The Essential Guide to Home Organization’ which is a thorough step-by-step guide to get homes decluttered and organized without the overwhelm.
I am also working on a printable planner for bloggers, where they can jot down ideas, set goals, keep track of their work, and record their stats, in order to stay focused on the task on hand. Blogging can be overwhelming and chaotic if you don’t know how to plan and utilize the resources we have available. This planner will be packed with templates to help bloggers manage their time and – most importantly- succeed. The Neat Blog Planner™ will launch on December of 2017.
I have had a fair year. I had a goal to duplicate my monthly earnings in 2017, and I triplicated them, so I consider myself on track. The biggest drawback for me, is time management. I have yet to convince myself that blogging is like any other job, I need to report daily and put in the hours in order to see results.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
I am currently earning money through affiliate marketing, sponsored content, ads, and direct sales of my products and services.
I started monetizing my blog since the very first day I published my first post. I had no experience in the area, but I knew of bloggers making money through Google AdSense and I jumped in and placed a few codes on my pages myself.
Easier said than done. If you don’t have enough traffic, the revenue through Google AdSense is minimal. In my first year blogging, I made a whooping total of $176, 50% of that income was through Google AdSense.
By the end of 2015 I landed my first sponsored campaign through Social Fabric, a network that connects social media influencers with brands. This gave me a boost of confidence, so I started creating more content which brought me more monthly traffic.
Once I reached 60K monthly pageviews, I was able to apply to an ad network that taylor made and implemented ad codes for my site, giving me a better RPM (revenue per thousand impressions). My earnings through ad impressions triplicated in the first 6 months.
I also created content that I could tie to products that I could sell (directly or via affiliate sales) to my readers. My earnings through affiliate marketing and sales of my own products increased in 2016, and I have triplicated that in 2017.
Today, my blogging earnings average $1,500 per month. I am amazed how I am able to have this income (90% of it passive) while I dedicate my time to create new products that will bring even more income in the long term.
Posting regularly is key. Google algorithms search for fresh, hot off-the-press content. By posting regularly, you are giving your potential readers the chance to find your content. The more you publish, the better chances you have to appear -organically- in search results.
If you are passionate about something, coming up with content is not hard. The hard part is to convince yourself that what you have to say matters. It’s easy to think that hundreds of bloggers have posted about the same topic well before you. But the truth is, there will always be one person out there interested in reading what you have to say, after all, your perspective is unique.
I learned the hard way. Whenever I have let the guard down, I have seen my traffic drop drastically and I have to remind myself that my content is not gonna please everybody, but if it pleases one person, it will be well worth the effort.
In two words: Keep. Writing. Time will pass after all.
What are some strategies you have used for building up the traffic?
I received initial traffic by promoting a free printable resource. Once I saw how this was a great way to attract readers, I created several more printables designed along the same lines, that complemented each other.
How have you grown your email list?
I decided to make one of those printables a sign up incentive and, to this date, it’s my best performing lead magnet to capture email addresses. In order to do this, I moved my then small list to ConvertKit, a leading email marketing platform for bloggers.
With Convertkit I have been able to capture three times more email addresses than I did before, thanks to all the automation tools they offer. I have also been able to A/B test newsletters, a great way to measure email opening rates. As of today I have an email list of 3,000+ subscribers.
I send a newsletter every time I publish a new article on the blog. Since ConvertKit allows me create different subscription forms tailored to each type of reader, I don’t necessarily send the email to all of my subscribers. It is important to me to send relevant content to my readers, so if a reader is only interested in home organization, and time management, I do not send them a newsletter containing blogging tips.
How you write great content that performs well?
My best content comes from my daily grind. Since my main focus is homemaking and time management at home, I face all kind of challenging situations daily.
A perfect example would be this: I have been struggling to teach my 7-year-old boy how to use his time constructively. I decided to create a weekly schedule on a magnetic board to teach him that sometimes we have to compromise, we can’t do it all.
This is a tutorial that I know my readers will enjoy and it will not only spark creativity, but hopefully it will also help other mothers that are facing the same situation in their homes.'In two words: Keep. Writing. Time will pass after all.'Click To Tweet
When it comes to SEO, copywriting, grammar, and even storytelling, I trust my good old friend Google. A quick search of terms and topics I am looking to write about, yields an infinite amount of ideas. I look at the number of results and try to pick the terms that yield the least amount of results.
Your blogging success lies on writing compelling and well structured content. I have put a lot of time into learning about SEO. Every other blogger will tell you that they use the YOAST plugin, which is an excellent tool geared to help you build optimized content that will perform well. YOAST is very straightforward, it gives a complete analysis of the post, and tells you if your SEO is in red, yellow, or green. I do not publish one single article without having a green light on SEO.
One factor that can not be underestimated when producing content, is creating great graphics and images for all posts. With powerful marketing platforms like Pinterest and Facebook, your blog posts need to have at least one image to convey your message.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer (although it helps if you blog recipes or DIY projects) to have great photography on your blog. There is an infinite amount of websites where you can buy stock photography, and many others where you can download free photography to use in your posts. The key is to choose an image that will entice people to click and share.
Three things my best performing posts have in common: unique photography with alt text using the focus keywords, tutorials or lists with numbered items, and a free -or paid- product that my reader can purchase or download directly without leaving my site.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
If I could start over, I would dedicate all my time and focus all of my efforts in creating a good amount of content first. In my first year blogging, I was too hung up on the little details such as adding widgets to my sidebar, applying to affiliates programs, placing banners, and watching my social media numbers.
I kind of missed the point. First, you create content and everything else will start falling into place. Your content will lead you to look for resources (affiliate links) that you can promote with total transparency. Later on, you can place those special widgets and banners along the side of your content, in order to have a cohesive relation between your content and the products you want to promote.
First, you create good content that you can share on social media and if it’s good enough, and people can relate with you and your blog, your follow will slowly but steadily grow. Patience is key. I did not have patience in my first year. I got over it.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The first book I read on blogging was How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul, by Ruth Soukup. It gave me the foundation to think of my blog as a business. I didn’t see the potential that was hiding beneath what I thought was just my humble opinion put into a blog post. This book opened my eyes, and showed me that behind every blog, there’s an entrepreneur.
Another great decision I made was to join the Elite Blog Academy which is – by far- the best investment I’ve made in my blogging journey. In a world where blogging has become popular, you need to have a formal education that will give you that much needed competitive advantage. Elite Blog Academy has an structured curriculum that helped me focus on one thing at a time.
I admit I am obsessive and a perfectionist, especially when it comes to the little details. I spend hours creating the best possible photography, graphics, and printables. I spend hours reading my drafts, making sure I am using the right words to convey the right message. I spend infinite hours creating one product or tutorial. Some will consider it a weakness, and yes, it might work against me sometimes but not always.
My work has been featured on several other blogs. I have worked with brands that have used my content and pictures to promote their products on Facebook Ads. This has translated into a great amount of traffic sent my way, and I believe that it has a lot to do with the great thought, heart and sweat I put into each post.
A little luck, yes. I have been lucky too! For some reason Google algorithms like some of my content and I have quite a few articles ranking #1 in search. When I go back to those articles, to see what did I do right for it to rank well, I still can’t figure it out. There is not a perfect formula. I believe is just the combination of good keywords, well structured content, and social shares.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
In blogging, just like almost everything in life, you need to see the big picture. It is important to set goals and focus on them, hence my idea of creating a blogger’s planner.'Start by creating great content, great content brings traffic, and traffic brings income. There’s no other way around it.'Click To Tweet
Aside from setting goals, I like to set standards. This is such an important part of business, and life! I set my levels of quality, and stay focused on meeting those levels every single post, every single time. If it doesn’t meet my standards, it does not get published. I set my bar pretty high, but I am OK with that.
I like to do backwards planning to achieve my goals. Basically, you take your goal and start deconstructing it down to all the steps you need to take to get there. So, if my goal is to publish a guide for home organization, I need to have a portfolio of organization projects developed with tried and true systems, as well as good pictures. Then, I can use them as a reference when writing my story. That’s what I do every day, and each day, I am one step closer to reaching my goal.
If I have to point out one mistake I see that newbie bloggers often make, it would have to be ‘being impatient’. I can understand how you want to have a successful and profitable blog, and it’s quite difficult to take your mind off income and traffic stats. But time will pass anyway, so spend it wisely.
My advice to those who want to start a blog is simple: Start by creating great content, great content brings traffic, and traffic brings income. There’s no other way around it.
Where can we go to learn more?