If you haven't had the pleasure of being introduced to fashion and beauty blogger Marina De Giovanni of Not a Model, you're in for a real treat.
I first came across Marina when I saw a viral blog post written by Blog Tyrant about how a fashion blogger went from 0 to 17, 800 e-mail subscribers in 6 weeks.
I was like, "who is this girl, and what in the world did she do to achieve this?!"
Turns out Marina used giveaways and a specific launch formula to engage her audience and quickly grow her following. Marina also differentiated herself by doing youtube videos featuring different ways to wear outfits.
I was incredibly impressed with her strategy and became a loyal follower of her blog ever since.
Marina, previously an Event Manager from from Sydney, Australia now inspires young women all over the world that "you do not need to be a model to look and feel like you've just stepped off the runway, you just need a killer wardrobe and some lipstick", is her famous quote.
Seeing these type of blogger success stories is what keeps everyone motivated and inspired to grow their own blog and audience. Full-time blogging takes hard work, perseverance, and patience, and Marina seems to have found the secret formula to creating a successful blog.
Soon after launching Not a Model, and having her readers continuously reach out for blogging advice and tips, Marina had an epiphany to start Fashion Pro Blogger, in which she actually teaches fashion bloggers the secrets to all of her success.
Marina was kind enough to do a Q&A session with us to go into more detail about how she started her blog, her best advice for new bloggers, and the BIGGEST mistake that all bloggers make when they are first starting out.
Who inspired you to start Not a Model?
"I was inspired to find a way to escape the 9-5 by Tim Ferriss, NYT best selling author of The 4 Hour Work Week.
Before becoming a blogger I was an Event Manager. I had the job every girl in her twenties dreams of, you basically get given anything from few hundred thousand to a couple of million dollars to entertain clients and top tier management of major companies - think 6-star resorts, private shows with Hollywood celebs and dining in the Palaces of Kings and Queens.
But eventually you get over the lifestyle; the never-ending travel, sleepless nights and being tied to the 9-5 life. I was unhealthy, unhappy and burnt out.
The 4 Hour Work Week made me I realize that I didn’t want to be an Event Manager for the rest of my life. I realized that I wanted to do my own thing, to be creative and make a living on my own terms. So I saved up a bunch of money and went to travel and live in Europe for the summer to recharge and work out what I wanted to do with my life.
While lazing on the beach everyday, I started reading fashion magazines and I came across an article about fashion bloggers making money online. I kind of really just glanced over the first article I read, but then I came across another… and another… and another, and I thought ‘there must be more to this fashion blogging thing’! And that’s the moment when the Not a Model journey started."
How would you describe your style in your own words.
"When I started blogging I realized that I don’t really have a “set style” so to speak. What I wear really depends on my mood and how I want the world to perceive me. But if I had to pick a word, I’d say chic. That word pops up so much; no matter what I wear people always tell me I look chic.
Sometimes I’ll push the limits and go with a Carrie Bradshaw vibe – I recently got my hands on that Dior newspaper dress - and other days I’ll opt for an effortless Kate Moss or Gwyneth Paltrow look. I’ll ALWAYS keep my look feminine though, even if I’m wearing a white tee and boyfriend jeans I’ll throw in some heels or a lace bralette."
Do you think Aussies have a particular style that sets them apart from the world?
"I think each city in Australia has a specific and unique style. I’m from Sydney the style is very laid back and effortless - lots of black, white, grey and beige and also loose fitting pieces as well as denim, we have a huge denim culture here. I see a lot of similarities between Sydney and Los Angeles street style too."
What made you start Fashion Pro Blogger and the 48 hour course?
"A big chunk of my audience at Notamodel.tv seemed interested in learning about blogging and online business. I would get emails from my followers asking questions about blogging and I was always happy to answer their questions and they were always so grateful. A few of them even went to my website and found my PO Box address and sent me thank you gifts.
And that’s kind of when I had an epiphany, that most bloggers who have had success keep their blogging “secrets” so to speak very much close to their chest and it can be very hard for new bloggers to get help and advice. I actually experienced this with my first blog, I emailed a few other bloggers asking questions and never heard back, it was pretty disappointing.
So my goal in creating content for bloggers was really to provide both actionable information that they can use right away to help shortcut their success. But also to provide an online networking community where bloggers can get their questions answered and get all the support that they need.
Blogging can be lonely especially when you get stuck, sometimes it can just feel like you have no one to turn to for advice or help. So what I’m most proud of is having been able to provide that support network for fashion and lifestyle bloggers that previously just wasn’t there."
What do you enjoy more- fashion blogging or creating courses and why?
"I really enjoy both. Fashion blogging is where I started and it’s what I truly love doing.
Creating content about the topic of what you do on a day-to-day basis isn’t always the easiest thing to do, because sometimes what you know and what seems obvious to you, isn’t always obvious to others but I love to teach and it’s so fulfilling to be able to watch the success of some of my students."
Whats your favorite social media platform and why?
"Snapchat! I love it because it’s so real and I’m able to share the raw, unedited version of my life with my audience. I’m a “what you see is what you get” kinda girl so Snapchat has really helped me connect with my audience a lot deeper than any other social network.
Why I love it most is because unlike other social networks, Snapchat works much like the way we communicate with each other in real life.
If I’m having a conversation with my bestie, out to dinner with my family or, like most recently, having a birthday party, my audience is there with me - in real time. And just like in real life, after the conversation or party ends, those “moments” disappear. Snapchat mimics that psychology and behavior."
What's the best advice you could give to new bloggers?
"The advice I give to new bloggers all the time is actually a quote I came across from Tony Robbins which is, 'If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want, and copy what they do, and you’ll achieve the same results.' And this is actually advice I live by myself. I have that quote up on the wall in my house so I’m reminded of it every day.
Often when we venture into something new the first time we often overcomplicate things. So if I’m starting a new project for example, I won’t start by just trying to figure it all out on my own, I’ll always seek out the advice of others. And that could be networking and attending events or it could just be reading books by successful people who have achieved the results that you want to. Or just follow other bloggers on social media and try to study what they do. And that’s not always easy because you often get the “filtered” version of peoples life on social media, but it can be a good place to start.
It’s a bit like cooking, once you know the recipe it’s easy. So the best advice I can give to new bloggers is to try to “model” what others have done before you."
What’s the biggest mistake that fashion bloggers make?
"One of the biggest mistakes I see fashion bloggers make is getting overwhelmed. And this was something I really experienced when I first started blogging as well. I thought that to be successful I needed to do and learn EVERYTHING. So I tried to teach myself SEO and HTML coding and Photoshop and video editing and on and on and on.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with learning new skills, but at the beginning trying to teach yourself all of these new things is just going to leave you feeling overwhelmed and demotivated.
As a new blogger you need to see “quick wins” and progress, that’s what will keep you moving forward. You don’t want to get “stuck” trying to overcomplicate things.
So the best approach is to just pick ONE thing and stick with that. So just try to pick one thing and focus on being the best at that. So if you’re a good writer then focus on that, if you’re a good photographer then focus on that. But don’t get caught up trying to do to many things at once."
What is your dream brand or company to collaborate with?
"There isn’t one brand in particular - my dream is actually to be able to start my own clothing brand. When I started Not a Model I set out with the goal to work with global brands, and within my first year of blogging I worked with Maybelline, John Frieda and also worked with local boutiques in Sydney that stocked international high-end brands which helped me get on the radar of brands I love such as Missoni, Tibi and By Malene Birger."
What has been your most memorable blogging moment thus far?
"I’d have to say when I was making enough money to quit my 9-5 job and blog full-time. It was such a relief when all that hard work of balancing my job and trying to grow my blogging business had finally paid off and I was able to work for myself doing what I love (and get more that 4 hours of sleep a night!)
That moment was really a key turning point in my blogging life that I always look back on."