226 Leaving Your Job and Pursuing Your Passion – with Serena Appiah

By Leslie Samuel | Interviews

Aug 05

Who: Serena Appiah
Blog: Thrift Diving

What would you do if you lost your job?

For some, this means finding a new job. For Serena, it meant pursuing her passion.

List as Serena shares her journey as well as give tips for working with brands and getting lots of engagement on Facebook.

Listen to This Episode

Inside This Episode

When Serena Appiah lost her job, she didn't freak out in fear. Instead, she was excited.

Why? Because she was going to be able to spend some more time focusing on her passion – growing her blog that inspires people all over the world to decorate, improve, and maintain their homes on a DIY budget. Serena wrote about her experience of losing her job on her blog.

226_Serena-Appiah_PinterestShe's a creative at heart and thrives when she can make something beautiful out of something ugly – something that her day job wasn't allowing her to do.

While she was forced to leave her job earlier than she had planned, she did have somewhat of a foundation to build on.

In the episode, Serena shares:

  • The feelings she had when leaving her job.
  • How she was able to get “scrappy” and make things work.
  • How a few months after leaving her job, she matched the income her job was providing.
  • How she was able to work with brands to make money.
  • Strategies for getting brands to work with you.
  • How to get creative when approaching brands.
  • How she grew her Facebook page likes from 5,000 to over 23,000 since January.
  • The importance of video on Facebook.
  • The type of video that works very well on Facebook.
  • Much, much, more…

Here are some more details on the major tips Serena shares.

How to work with brands

If you want to get the attention of brands, there are a few things that you want to make sure to do:

  • Create high quality content. When you reach out to brands, you want to demonstrate to them that you mean business. In order to do that, you can't skimp on quality. That way when you contact them, they will know that you mean business.
  • Have a great idea. The last thing you want to do is approach a brand and expect them to tell you want they want. Come up with something creative and make the pitch.
  • Send links to your best videos, blog posts, etc. Remember the first tip? Now it's time to prove it. When you pitch your great idea, include links to other great things you've done.
  • Don't be afraid to hear no. It's a part of doing business. Hey, if there aren't any challenges, you probably aren't pushing hard enough.

The result: You get brands who want to work with you and will pay you for what you do. Here's an example from Serena's #saveyourjammies campaign she did for a brand she works with:

How to grow your Facebook page

As mentioned above, Serena grew her page from around 5,000 likes in January to over 23,000 likes today. How did she do it? Here are her best tips:

  • Use Facebook native video. This means creating videos and uploading them directly to Facebook. Facebook is going strong on video and now is the best time to ride this wave.
  • Keep your videos moving. Serena makes sure to change angles/camera shots every 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Use the call to action button. This new feature allows you to set specific links that you want people to be directed to. She links this call to action button to her squeeze page to collect email addresses. The result is that she went from around 5 signups/day to 15-20 signups/day.
  • Post consistently. Serena went from posting 8 times/day to 4 times/day and has seen that the most important thing is to be consistent.
  • Mix your content with trending content. She does this by using Buzz Sumo and the “Pages to watch” feature on Facebook to find content in her niche that's already proven to do well. That's the content she shares.
  • Add a little extra “something” in your paragraphs. She takes the time to put a genuine thought into everything she posts, so that it's not just regurgitated content, but something a little more personal.
  • Be open and honest. People appreciate people who are real. Be that person for your audience.

Here's an example of a top performing video she posted on Facebook that resulted in a LOT of likes to her page. I linked to it instead of simply embedding it so that you can see the way she engages with her audience on there.

I walked away from this interview with some practical tips that I'm going to implement in my business and I know that you will too.

So go ahead, listen and enjoy.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Buzzsumo – A great place to find trending content in your niche.

Infographic

226_Serena-Appiah_Infographic_1

Strategies to Get Brands to Work with You

226_Serena-Appiah_Infographic_2

Transcript

Some people just love being able to read along with interviews, or they might just prefer to skip the audio completely and just read through the transcript. Hey, if that’s what floats your boat, it is all good. Here’s the transcript just for you. 🙂

Click here to download transcript.

  • Sandy says:

    So glad you had Serena on. I love her videos and blog. It really comes down to: enthusiasm about what you’re doing, wanting others to learn about it and deep communication. That’s what I got from this presentation. The extra tips, about strategies and creative ideas, builds on her personality and engagement. Thank you for the podcast.

    • Awww….that a great comment, Sandy! You hit the nail on the head: for the love and enthusiasm for doing what you love. So many of us don’t love what we’re doing and get stuck in a rut. I didn’t have the guts to leave on my own when I didn’t feel ready. And thankfully, I was given that extra push to go for it! 🙂 Thanks for listening!

    • Yeah – she’s pretty cool 🙂

  • Donna says:

    Excellent info from Serena. I got a few ideas I’m going to implement right away. The submitting ideas to Brands was priceless. I’ll be adding more videos this month.

    Donna

  • Leslie, I haven’t been on your blog in a while and i’m so happy that you’re always here doing cool stuff. Great interview, very inspiring! I’m still loving my full time job BUT i do need to come here more often and get inspired to keep on developing my blog. I’ve only been posting like once a month or so! Time to pick up the pace. Don’t ever wanna be surprised like your special guest lol. She’s so right, you don’t look for opportunities when you’ve got that check coming every two weeks!

    • Hadarah, you can do it! Maybe start off with setting a goal of 1 post per week, and then build yourself up to however many you want. Consistency is key, and is hard to do when you’ve got a day job and other responsibilities. Heck–even blogging full-time I can’t crank things out like I would like to because of the kids. School starts soon, though! 🙂

      Also, no, you definitely don’t want to be surprised! Luckily, I wasn’t surprised. Things were boiling between my supervisor and me, so I was completely expecting The Big Boot to kick me out–just wasn’t expecting it SO soon, but I knew it was coming. Thankfully, I had already looked into unemployment, which helped out a few months, and I had brand relationships I could draw from to increase earnings.

      Good luck with your blog! 🙂

    • Thanks for the encouragement Serena!! One post a week sounds really intimidating for me, but you know what? you’re right. It can be done. Realistically I think I can do twice a month because of the nature of my posts. I’m gonna have to get a head of myself and focus my time. You have a lot of great ideas about Facebook too!! I’m just halfway through listening to the interview now and super impressed with what you’re doing!! So you have a blog for bloggers about blogging too? Or just thrifting crafty type audiences?

    • So I’m obviously like SUPER late in my response 😉

      Glad to see you back here. I miss you 🙂

  • Hi Leslie, Another Great Show!
    Great job Serena!
    Serena was talking about making products and doing classes.
    How about video taping your classes and then you will have products to offer later and you already did the work while having the fun you spoke off.
    I did watch Save Your Jammies – You are a funny lady!
    You both inspired me to try and leave my JOB sooner!
    Robert

    • Hey there, Robert! Awesome idea! I never thought about doing that! 🙂 Now YOU’VE inspired ME!
      Totally glad you like my Save Your Jammies video! LOL. And okay…. since you’re going to leave your job sooner, now you need to put that date on your calendar!

    • I actually think that’s a great idea. It’s always good to repurpose what you’re already doing. When I do talks, I try to record them so that I can use them later as a podcast, or even a product 🙂

  • Cool, then go with twice per month. And you may even find that once you’re on a roll, you can do more. I’ve tried to set a 3-posts-per-week schedule but each time, I fall flat because LIFE gets in the way, or a project takes more time than expected, and I end up twice per week. You can only do what you can do, right? 🙂

    Nope, I don’t have a blog for blogging about blogging! 🙂 I am just writing an ebook for DIYers that want to start a blog, but nothing I put out regularly! I’ve done some blog mentoring, too, for Social Fabric, but not personally on my own.

  • Alice Evans says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Great post. Very encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Alice

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