Catriona Smart is the Co-Founder of Halo PR Group and blogger behind CocoAndCowe.com. Catriona’s story is unique in that she started off as a full time blogger and it lead to her founding her own PR company.  In Catriona’s Q&A, she shares that being a blogger not only helped her career, but it actually made it and has led to all of the opportunities that have come her way.

Name: Catriona Smart

Astrological Sign: leo with a little ‘l’

Tell us a bit about your career and how long you have been doing what you do?

I started my blog nine years ago after a few years in the fashion industry. I created a website based on tips, tricks, design, style, travel and advice. While creating content I also created events for my readers to attend which moved me into doing bigger events for corporate clients like Remy Martin, and Four Seasons and creating digital marketing campaigns for companies like Cointreau. Since the event side started growing and I loved working on social media strategy, an opportunity came up to take on a partner and create a full agency and that is where Halo was born.

Tell us about CocoAndCowe.com:

I have a lifestyle blog that started full of whimsy but has grown to be a source of uplifting yet relevant and thought-provoking content.

When did you start blogging and why did you start?

I started blogging in 2008 after writing movie reviews for an entertainment site. I didn’t realize how much I missed writing since I had left university and the prospect that I could not only make money but also that I could create an online community to share information was beyond exciting to me.

Did you go to school? If yes, what did you study?

I went to University of Toronto with a major in Political Science and a minor in Gender Studies.

Has your role as a blogger/influencer helped you be more effective at your career? Has it hindered you in any way?

I would say being a blogger/influencer has made my career. I’ve always looked at my blog as a business so navigating the ups and downs and understanding the technology along with understanding the scope and power of social media early on has led me to all of the opportunities that have come my way.

What advice would you give to someone interested in blogging as a side hustle?

Start! I talk to a lot of people about blogging and a lot of those conversations start with ‘I want to start’ or ‘I’m thinking of starting’ and they have amazing ideas. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many people I end up having the exact same conversation with months or years later. If you never start, you’ll never know.

And, of course, consistency is key.

What would you say to someone thinking of blogging full-time?

Have a plan. From the outside it looks as though blogging or being an ‘influencer’ is so simple, but monetizing and profiting is such a fine balance and without a clear plan it is hard to make it sustainable. The marketplace is ever evolving and relatively new so understanding the peaks and valleys (which quarters companies spend, which they don’t) will help you navigate how you will not just get by on a sponsored post here and there, but rather how you will make a burgeoning small business that you are in control of.

Thanks for all of these gems Catriona!

TorontoShay xo

Collage designed by Quinnie Mason

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