I have never really talked about my social media journey before and after receiving a few questions recently I thought it was about time I shared how it all started and answer a few of the top questions I received– from how I started a healthy living blog to collaborating with my favorite brands.
In 2011 I graduated college and started working right away as a new graduate nurse. I primarily worked evening shifts which kept my mornings free. I usually woke up and went straight to the gym to workout or headed out for a run. After my workout I would come home, make my coffee and breakfast, and read my favorite health and fitness blogs. Instagram was just starting at this point so I didn’t find these blogs through Instagram. I found them through Google searches and Pinterest. This became a new routine for me- wakeup, workout, breakfast, read, then work! As I read through these health and fitness blogs I dreamed of having my own one day, but I never thought I would. I was just starting out as a nurse on a medical/ surgical floor and my nursing career was my priority.
I moved home a year later and started working 12 hour shifts in the ICU. I started out working night shift, as most new ICU nurses do, and after 6 months I was able to transfer to days. I was really fortunate to only have had to work 6 months on night shift. My body never really adjusted to nights. I always felt off and was constantly trying to catch up on sleep. I wasn’t eating well either, there were always parties and food at night, and it was hard for me to say no. Once I moved to days I was able to prioritize my health again. I got back into a fitness routine and started taking the time to meal prep. My long time boyfriend also moved across the country for his job, which was even more motivation for me to start putting myself first. At the time I was following Tone It Up on Instagram and started doing their You Tube workout videos at home. Since my boyfriend moved across the country I decided to take charge of my health by purchasing the Tone It Up nutrition plan and making an Instagram account (@BecksTonesItUp) to help keep myself accountable. When I created this new Instagram account, it allowed me to connect with Tone It Up girls all over the country.
After 5 months of being apart from my boyfriend, I decided to follow him to California. When I arrived to the west coast, I felt like I already had friends because I met a girls through my Tone It Up Instagram account. It was like Tinder or Bumble— but for friends! We took fitness classes together, planned healthy dinners and Bachelor viewing nights, and enjoyed lots of coffee and smoothies at our favorite spot- The Source Cafe. My boyfriend and I ended up breaking up, but I stayed in California because of the close friends I had made through Tone It Up.
Eventually I changed my Instagram handle to @BecksLivesHealthy because my account grew from Tone It Up content to a space for me to share my love for healthy recipes and workouts. I primarily shared my food, but also documented my running journey. During this phase I was training for half marathons. In early 2016 I decided it was finally time to sign up for full marathon. My friends from my gym were also marathon training, which helped push me to run faster and keep me accountable for my runs.
Fitness and health were becoming one of the most important parts of my life. I woke up every morning to go to the 5am gym class then hit the strand for a run. After falling more in love with health and fitness I decided it was time to become certified as a personal trainer. In November 2017, I become certified through NASM as a personal trainer to help others reach their health and fitness goals. A few months later, I left my job as a nurse in the ICU to pursue personal training and build a website for others to find fitness and running tips, recipes, lifestyle posts, and personal training services. It was a hard decision to leave my nursing job, but I was ready to leave the bedside and focus on helping others in a different way! I hired a website designer who put together exactly what I was looking for in a website. In June 2018 I launched BecksLivesHealthy.
In the last year or so I’ve been branching out more from my typical food posts to more fitness, lifestyle, and running posts both on Instagram and on my blog. To be honest I don’t enjoy taking food photos as much as I used to. I enjoy putting the time in creating different types of content for my followers. I still love sharing my healthy recipes, but I want to help others in a different way besides food as well!
How did you grow your following?
It just happened organically over time!! A few years ago when I branched out from Tone It Up, I started following accounts that I really loved and connecting with them in hopes they would follow me back. Over time this led to not only more followers but people who have become real life friends on Instagram. Now to this day, there are probably over 50 accounts that I reach out to and connect with daily. They give me support on my posts and I do the same on theirs. So my biggest advice to grow your following- SOCIALIZE!! Reach out to accounts that you really love. If you keep leaving supportive comments they are bound to notice and will follow back! Also, share content you are passionate about! Be authentic, be you!!! People will notice that and you’ll have more fun along the way just being yourself 🙂
How do you get brands to collaborate with you?
Once I hit 15-20k followers, brands started reaching out to collaborate. At that time it was mostly for free products instead of paid collaborations. At this point, I decided it was time to change over to a business email — brands were emailing my personal one and it was easy to miss emails from them— so I created my becksliveshealthy email to stay more organized.
For a while I primarily worked with brands for free products until they started asking for my rates or media kit. If you don’t have a media kit and you want to start working with brands I highly suggest making one- most brands will ask for one when they reach out about working together!
Now that I receive a lot more emails from brands- After I read the email and what they’re asking, I first have to ask myself, “Does this brand align with mine? Would I use this product? Will my followers benefit from it?” If the answer is yes to all of the above then I typically move forward with negotiations.
I was asked the other day if I have pitched myself to other brands. I honestly have not pitched myself to a ton of brands- maybe 1 or 2. But my advice is if you really want to work with a brand- GO FOR IT! You have nothing to loose. The worst they can say is no, and you never know in the future they might want to.
What are your best tips for starting out as a blogger?
I’m still a new blogger myself!! BecksLivesHealthy has only been live for 11 months! My goal was to create a blog to have another space besides Instagram to share my love for health and fitness. I had so many recipes saved up over the years and wanted another platform for them to be shown on. Before you start a blog- the most important thing I can recommend is figure out what you want to write about! If you already have any Instagram account, you’re probably going to be sharing similar content. Instagram is a great way to drive traffic to a blog too! Do you love to cook? Do you run marathons? Are you a personal trainer and love sharing workouts? Are you a yoga teacher? Do you enjoy traveling? Share what you are passionate about as well as what you are knowledgeable in! If you share something you truly love, you’re more likely to stick with it and keep up with your blog!!
If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out to me @becksliveshealthy! xoxo
Photos by: @jessrochowphoto