Interview with Catherine “Cat” Alford – Founder of Budget Blonde

Interview with Catherine AlfordTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a kid, wrote silly stories, made a family newspaper, and always had something to write on in the car or when my mom ran errands. I never thought I’d own my own business, but it turns out that blogging and writing for other blogs is the perfect job for me.

Like many online entrepreneurs, my business came organically without a specific “launch.” As I worked to develop my blog, it began to attract advertisers. It was very slow at first, and I used to only receive 1 e-mail from advertisers every month or two. Now, I field e-mails every day, and in the last three months, I’ve made a full time income from my website after only making pocket change for several years.

What did you do before launching your own business?

I went to school and got a bachelors and masters degree in U.S. history. I worked as a museum educator and as a historian/park ranger for the National Park Service. Right now, I work in academia and work on my website at the same time. However, in January, I am making a switch to be a full time blogger.

How did you fund your business?

I funded my business from my own personal savings. The best thing about having a blog for a business is the relatively low start up costs. A domain name, some hosting, and a programmer you can have on call are really the only main expenses. Although I spend a lot more now on business expenses than I did then, anyone can create a really nice, professional looking blog for around $200.00 in the beginning.

How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?

I spend about 25 hours a week on my business at home and 40 hours a week at my day job.

How would you rate your success?

I feel really successful because I am happy with what I do every day. I might not have the biggest, most popular blog in the world, but I absolutely love my readers with every fiber of my being, and it pays the bills now too! ☺ I can only go up from here, and I am loving every minute of it.

What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?

Staying motivated. Sometimes, I have great weeks where I get a good advertising deal, press coverage, and a freelance writing contract all within days of each other. Other weeks, it could be crickets. What I do to combat those moments when times are slow is put sticky notes all over my desk with motivational quotes and good things that have happened to my business. It reminds me that you never know what’s right around the corner or who is going to e-mail you next.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Good old-fashioned hard work is still the best thing you can do for your business. Anyone who is successful is putting in tons of extra hours, waking up early to get work in, and making sacrifices to see their business become a success. Nothing worthwhile comes easily.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband! I could literally write or work on the blog for several hours straight without realizing that hours have passed by. He’s usually the one that forces me to leave the house, have dinner with friends, and in general, act like a normal human!

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