#FierceFriday Interview with Lifestyle Blogger Nikki
Meet Lifestyle Blogger Nikki
#FierceFriday is a weekly feature on Everything’s Coming Up Rosie (ecurosie) – celebrating all the incredibly inspiring and kick-ass women out there! With that, I am excited to share this week’s interview with lifestyle blogger Nikki.
Click here to read the other #FierceFriday Interviews!
I met Nikki Frank – Hamilton through her weekly link up party. I started reading and commenting on her blog posts and thoroughly enjoyed her sense of humour, her photography skills and her positive outlook on life. But most of all, I am inspired by her desire for bloggers to work together. She is the one that encouraged me to start this weekly series. If it wasn’t for her nudging me and letting me know that it was something that she was looking forward to reading, I am not sure if I would have taken the leap to start the #FierceFriday series. So, thank you, Nikki!
In this week’s interview, here are some of the highlights: she shares her biggest blogging failure, living with an autoimmune disease, her belief on bloggers working together and not competing with each other and also her proudest moment with “VIEW FROM IN HERE.”
Let’s get started!
Share Your Story Nikki
Hi Nikki, please tell us a little about yourself. And what are some of your interests outside of blogging?
You know this is so hard to answer. I am a Girl, yes, I said Girl. Woman sounds way too old to me, and I refuse to be old! I try to stay young at heart, but use the wisdom I have learned during my centuries here on Earth. I do fail at times, my kids think I am the corniest person ever. Don’t tell them, but I think they take after their mother. My daughter is 16 and my son 24. They are both pretty incredible human beings and we have learned to be better people through parenting them. Although sometimes I wonder who ever thought I was grown up enough to be their parent! LOL
Bruce, my adorable husband, is 5 years younger than me. <I know, I scored, right?> But in reality, he was lucky that I slowed down enough so that he could catch me. This year we celebrated our 17th anniversary, what an achievement that is! I think he had to work harder than me, I’m kinda hard to be married to!
Besides blogging I work in the food industry and have for the last 30+ years. I started really young and I’ve been unable to get away from it! I love food and I love parties. Is there a better job than being paid to go to celebrations? Everyone is always happy!
Recently I opened the Make Lemonade Shop. A store for hand-painted, hand-crafted pillowcases. Life had been throwing us a lot of lemons, bushels, buckets, truckloads. So we decided that if life was going to throw us a whole lotta lemons we were going to make a whole lotta lemonade. It’s been a blast!
How did you discover the blogging world and what made you decide to start a blog of your own?
I started blogging in 2009, but I have no idea what got into me. I had to call people to even find out if there was a free blogging site. I didn’t read blogs. I didn’t know bloggers. But I wanted to write. Seriously funny, eh?
So I set up a Blogspot blog and I wrote. But no one came. LOL Seriously! For more than 3 years I wrote to myself, for myself. I had no idea that there was this huge community out there. People like me, boy was I clueless! Three years into blogging I met someone who told me that I needed a WordPress site, so I hired someone to set it up, bought a domain name and off I was. Still clueless, but I had my own site!
What types of topics do you post and how often do you blog?
My blog is about how I see things. My view. I tend to think very differently than most people, so I decided to share it. I write about blogging mainly about forming a community (I know, you’d never guess that after reading the answer to question #2!), I like to write about recipes, gardening, decor, and I post a series called “Stunning Shots.” I love to take pictures of flowers, close-ups. Flowers are so fascinating, and you can see so much detail up close. It’s amazing.
I host 2 different linkups a week, so I also try to post 2 articles a week and then the Stunning Shots series. So I like to publish 5 times a week, but only 2 will be true posts. Life gets crazy around here sometimes, so it doesn’t always happen, but that’s the goal.
With so many bloggers nowadays, how have you learned to stand out?
It’s funny, especially since I blogged to myself for 3 years, but I stand out because I promote community on my blog. One of my linkups is for any type of post, I read, comment and share each one on multiple social media platforms, I really work to create a friendship with other bloggers who link up. (In fact, I believe that’s how we met.)
The other linkup is a Social Media Blast. I feel that we, as bloggers, should be working together. Brands like us to have large social media followings, so why aren’t we working together to grow our platforms? We can learn so much from each other, let’s do it!
I also have a VIP Lounge on the site. Anyone who subscribes to the blog has access. I share my best tips on creating community, branding your blog, making images fast and easy. All kinds of stuff. My subscribers get the flowers and bonbons. The best I have to offer. And I’m also doing a giveaway, to subscribers only, 4 times a year. Subscribers deserve my best, and this helps to build a community around the blog!
And last, but not least I run a Blog Group on Facebook with my partner in crime, Mary Kalpos. We’re really excited that the group will experience its first Anniversary in November. We are a tribe of bloggers from all niches that support each other and help each other grow.
I guess the thing that makes View From Here stand out is my view on creating community and building up others, bloggers and non-bloggers alike.
What’s your best tip for balancing being a wife, mom and a blogger’s life? How do you do it?
The one thing I am NOT is a juggler. I do wear a lot of hats, I admit to the above: wife, mom, and blogger. I also work outside the home, own the Make Lemonade Shop, and work hard to be an advocate for my kids, and their health. Most days I do ok, but I find myself falling behind. I figure out what’s truly important. If my husband or children need me, then the blog can wait. I’m truthful with my blog community, they know when things are rough and they are hugely supportive.
I have learned to prioritize the most important things, breathe deep, pray more, relax and be open. This helps more than I can say. And I guess most of all I’ve learned to let things go and refuse to get old and crotchety. I guess that’s a few tips, not one! Oops!
Can you name some of your favourite bloggers and explain why they are your favourites?
The first blogger that I became a fan-girl for was Regina at http://byregina.com/ This girl is smart, fearless, smart, genuine, smart. LOL Seriously. When I was thinking about quitting the blog I scraped together the money to take her course Zero to Blog to Profit. I learned so much. Not only about blogging but about myself. Since then she has become a mentor and I couldn’t love her more.
Second, Tamera from http://tamaracamerablog.com/ I learned how to craft a great blog comment from her. She is the queen of great comments. And stunning photos, and of creating community. I just love her. And she too is fearless.
Third, every single blogger in my Tribe, the #WAYWOW Group. They teach me things each day, they are my friends, they are willing to try new things, hungry to learn and grow. I would love to sit down with each of them for a cup of coffee or spend a weekend with them. Laughing and learning, they are the best!
It took a couple of years for doctors to diagnose you with an autoimmune disease induced by stress. How has this impacted your family and your blog?
I have Antiphospholipid Syndrome. It’s an Autoimmune disease. The symptoms are similar to those with MS. I had a stroke almost 4 years ago,and we spent the next 3 years visiting specialist after specialist trying to figure it out. The doctors suspected everything from Infectious Diseases, Heart issues, ALS, MS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme Disease, Mastoiditis, and much more. It was a crazy time. And scary.
It has impacted my family hugely. I’ve spent more than a year, out of the last 4, on bedrest, lost half of the vision in one eye, I cannot walk very long, my legs are affected most. I get tired, but I can’t sleep. And although I won’t admit to it, I believe I get a wee bit grumpy about it.
My life completely changed, I had a very physical life before and now I cannot work a full or even part time job. The hardest thing is mourning yourself, I will never be who I was, and I really liked that girl. I am letting go of that more and learning to figure out who I am now, so I can really like her too.
The blog has to take a backseat when I’m on bedrest, it’s just not possible for me to blog, it’s hard to hold up my head when I’m that ill and I get vertigo. I’ve learned that when I’ve done too much I run a temperature, my sign to slow down and rest. Being able to see the warning signs and resting helps a lot.
What has been your proudest moment with “VIEW FROM IN HERE”?
So many of them. Just hitting publish for the first time was probably the proudest moment. Then my first affiliate sale. Helping others learn more about Auto-Immune Disease, Mental Illness, and Addiction is really great moments too. But the proudest moment was starting the #WAYWOW Group, it has been a blessing. I’m so lucky to have found my Tribe.
A random question – cats or dogs?
Dogs, definitely. I’ve always had one, until now. We lost our Boxer, Rosie, a few years ago. She was more like a child to us, one with fur and a tail. We were all devastated. It was unexpected and we still feel her loss. One day we will get a new Boxer, they are the best dogs. So happy, all the time. I love that.
What was your greatest blogging failure and what did you learn from that?
The first 3 years! <giggle> But I learned from those years. I learned what NOT to do. And how NOT to do it! Mostly I’ve learned to search for what I don’t know, I am a Geek about learning. Back then I can honestly say I was ignorant, thank goodness Google and I are best friends now!
What 3 blogging tips would you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone reading this blog)?
Be YOU. Most important thing. Find your voice. This is one of the hardest things. I write a post and then edit, edit, edit, read it out loud, edit, edit, read out loud again. My post has to sound like we are chatting, hanging out, besties. If not, more editing. I want you to know who I am. If you can’t figure that out you won’t come back.
Get Out Of Your Own Way. This is the hardest thing. We all love our blogs. They are our babies. But when the Baby is stopping you from seeing things objectively, you have to realize that your blog is not a baby, it’s a tool. A tool used to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Your blog is NOT you. It’s not a BABY. When you can step out of your own way and truly break your blog down into parts to see what works and what doesn’t then you are truly ready to grow. (This is what I learned in the class I took from Regina, and it’s the best thing I ever let myself do.)
Find your ideal reader. Until you do this there is no getting ahead, growing community, making money. This takes time, but it is the hugest thing. In fact, in the VIP Lounge, I have a 4 part series called Branding your Blog. It’s so much more than colors and themes, so much more. It’s free for subscribers and it can change how you look at blogging, forever and for the better.
You’re big on supporting other bloggers and have weekly linkups #WayWow and #SocialMediaBlast. How did you come up with the idea and why do you feel it’s important to support one another?
Oops! Sorry, talked about that above. I think that we can learn so much from each other. Every time I read a blog post I learn so much, so many creative ideas start flowing. I love that. We as bloggers should be working together, it’s not a competition. There is a huge world out there on the internet, enough for all of us to have more than we know what to do with. There are 3,455,262,590 internet users in the world. Think you need to compete? Heck no. What you need is a community around your blog. That’s where our energies should lie. In creating community, not in creating a divide.
I am a firm believer in Karma. What you give out you get back. What you focus on grows. If I focus on supporting you, then I will be supported. If I focus on competing with you, I will have more competition. Your choice, what do you want from your life and blog. Community or Competition? I think you know my answer.
What does the future hold for “VIEW FROM IN HERE”?
Right now I am working on a fall/winter set of pillowcases for the Make Lemonade Shop. With that will come more decor posts. There will always be blogging posts, there is so much out there to write about, we are a pretty interesting bunch!
I am working on affiliate marketing also, adding Brands to my lineup with products I love and believe in. Perhaps one day an ebook on how to grow a community, I’ve been asked to write one, but I think I have enough irons in the fire at this point. And as we discussed I am not a great juggler.
Last but not least, where can we find “VIEW FROM IN HERE”? I’m sure many of my readers will want to continue following your journey.
Ha! I’m kind of all over! But here are the platforms I concentrate on most.
Rosie, thank you so much for the honor of being part of your #FierceFriday Series. I love the topic and I love finding out about other bloggers. I’m nosy like that! I like to find out how others live, how they blog, what they love. And I always find inspiration in these articles. I was so touched and honored to be asked. Perhaps I should list this as one of the things I’m most proud of. Cause I am. Huge hugs, Nikki
Living life better; physically, mentally, emotionally and aesthetically. Life can always be better. Coffee lover, addicted to Monday morning Angry Birds competition, wife, mother, decorating aficionado, enjoys being inventive in the kitchen but hate to clean up the mess. Gluten-free.Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Autoimmune Disease survivor and thriver. Living life to the fullest in the Midwest.
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