Alexandra Nikolajev (@LexNiko), Blogger behind Imalittle.com formally worked in Digital Advertising at Google and now works in a similar role at Amazon. In Alex’s Q&A, she talks about how blogging has helped her bring more value to her 9-5. She also has some great advice for those that are thinking about leaving their careers to blog full time.
Alexandra Mae Nikolajev
Astrological Sign: VIRGO BABY!
Tell us a bit about your career and how long you’ve been doing what you do?
I have been blogging for five years and also work full-time in digital advertising. Both roles are extremely complementary so I feel so fortunate that I get to do them together. I started in digital advertising with a smaller Canada-based company and quickly built my way in the industry to working with Google and I currently work with Amazon. I feel insanely lucky to have had the work experiences that I’ve had – my daily work impacts my blog and vice versa, so it’s been so exciting to see the two worlds growing closer and closer together and I love how influencers are making waves in the digital advertising and marketing world!
Tell us about Imalittle.com
imalittle.com is a fashion and lifestyle blog where I share everyday outfits, my travel diaries and fitness tips. There’s also some food recipes and fun peppered in there with my podcast, the Little Likes Podcast, where I chat about everything pop culture (ok, mostly reality TV that I LOVE), interview fun guests and answer listener advice questions. It’s been so lovely to see how my career as a blogger has evolved and the best part has been growing with social media and actually getting to engage and interact with my readers on a more frequent basis.
When did you start blogging and why did you start?
I actually got in to blogging because I was bored in my job at the time and was looking for something new to keep me busy. This was before the days of Pinterest and I originally used my blog as a space to house images and links that I found online and wanted to access easily. Because of my work in digital advertising, I quickly got in to the analytics side of my page and started looking at my metrics. I realized that the outfit posts got the most hits so I decided to start posting my own outfits and saw my pageviews jump – that’s when I realized it was time to take the blog to the next level and began sharing about my life and my fashion.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
I went to UWO and studied Media, Information and Technoculture and then did a post graduate in Public Relations and a Masters of Business at the University of Waterloo. So I had a lot of schooling!
Has your role as a blogger/influencer helped you be more effective at your career? Has it hindered you in any way?
My role as a blogger has absolutely helped me with my career. As I mentioned above, there has been a serious development with digital advertisers seeing value in working with bloggers/influencers. Because of this recent growth in brands wanting to work with influencers, I have been able to bring more value to my 9-5 because I have been in the bloggers shoes. From discussing realistic rates to developing influencer programs, I think I bring a unique stance for both our clients and bloggers/influencers and am able to lead strategic discussions that are for the benefit of everyone involved. The one downside of this is that there can be a conflict of interest when my company wants to work with bloggers or brands and I am not able to partner with them as an influencer. Sometimes it’s tough, creatively, when you really want to be a part of a project as a blogger and it’s just not realistic from a work standpoint – you spend all this energy working on your personal brand and have to turn away opportunities because it conflicts with your everyday. The balance is definitely there you just need to understand that there will be times when sacrifices need to be made on both sides.
What advice would you give to someone interested in blogging as a side hustle?
Even though you want to have your blog as a side hustle, you need to treat it like any business or start-up. When you’re building your business, that is your brand – it is a representation of you. Even though you only do it part-time you still need to be as professional, punctual and creative as any other full-time blogger (and sometimes more so because you don’t have the time to network and make connections in the same way they can) so the content you create and the way you care about your work needs to come through that much stronger.
What would you say to someone thinking of blogging full time?
I would say that if you feel you are getting to a point where you are burning the candle at both ends, that you’re no longer getting the same joy out of balancing both careers and you’ve built your brand to a place where you feel financially confident that you will have solid business growth then you should go for it! So many people think what bloggers/influencers do is easy because it looks beautiful and often times glamourous. They don’t see the behind the scenes emails, the hours that go in to content creation and the sacrifices that we make to curate that effortless Instagram feed or style the perfect look but that’s what makes those who stand out great at what they do and if you have the drive and passion to get there or stay there then I would encourage you to at least try.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I just want to say thank you for giving me the chance to share my story, offer some advice and hopefully inspire those who are starting out, debating their next move or just curious a little more insight in to the world of blogging as a side hustle!
No, thank you Alex!
Collage designed by Quinnie Mason