Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster is our kind of girl. Not only does she have a blog on our daily read list and a cozy New York city pied a terre, but her doggie? Yeah, you’re going to want to steal him. We chatted with Carly about inspiration, the business of blogging and important things like her go-to recipe. Read all about it below including a glimpse of her doing her thing from Cynthia Chung.
SMP: Some words you live by?
CH: Live Your Dreams
SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?
CH: I’ve wanted to be and do just about everything growing up. For a while I thought I would be a lawyer. I thought I’d be a Rockette or on Broadway. I thought about becoming a brain surgeon (until I hated my AP Chemistry class…). I even wanted to be an editor for a magazine. I started to panic a little bit in college when I realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to do, so I feel super fortunate that I stumbled into the world of blogging.
SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?
CH: Do it because you love it! If the only thing you expect to get out of blogging is the pure enjoyment of writing and publishing your own blog, you will ALWAYS be (and feel) successful!
SMP: What was the tipping point in your business that made you feel like your blog was going to thrive?
CH: My blog income was matching my actual job’s salary for about six months. In July of 2013, my blog revenue jumped to more than twice my job salary even though I was only doing blog work for about four hours a day (in the middle of the night). I knew that if I could devote more time to blogging, as well as get some actual sleep, it could really grow even more. Everything (traffic, social numbers, engagement, income, opportunities) took off at that point.
SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?
CH: “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ― Joseph Chilton Pearce
SMP: What’s a typical work day for you like?
CH: It’s all over the place! No one day is the same!
SMP: One tip for bloggers hoping to monetize their blogs?
CH: Say NO if it’s not a good brand fit. It will hurt you in the long run if you take an opportunity just for the money.
SMP: Do you have any secret talents?
CH: I used to be able to solve a Rubik’s cube… I wonder if I can still do it?
SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
CH: TAYLOR SWIFT
SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
CH: This is always a tough question. I never ever would have guessed five years ago that I would be where I am today, so I have no idea what another five years will bring!
SMP: Any guilty pleasures?
CH: Watching Dance Moms!
SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?
CH: Take things as they come, one step at a time.
SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?
CH: You have to be deliberate about creating balance. Balance doesn’t just happen; it’s a goal, something to strive for. For me, I had to really give myself permission to have a personal life. Once I felt like I “could” have a life it was a relief to be able to step away from my work. Of course, I work so much efficiently and I’m so much happier working, even though I’m not working around the clock. It’s great!
SMP: One thing you can’t live without?
CH: My Nespresso maker. I don’t know how I started my mornings before it!
SMP: What is the hardest lesson in business you’ve ever learned?
CH: You can’t be everything to everyone.
SMP: Your secret to success?
CH: Be true to yourself.
SMP: Best moment of your career so far?
CH: Being featured in Teen Vogue was really a dream come true.
SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?
CH: Relax more! Things work out just fine!
SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?
CH: My friend Julia: @juliahengel
SMP: Your go-to recipe?
CH: Brussels sprouts! A drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt before throwing into a pan on the stove.
SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
CH: I’m not the biggest drinker, but I would totally love an unlimited supply of Le Pain’s mint lemonade!
SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?
CH: I loved visiting Scotland. I wish I could have stayed there for a month!
SMP: The best job you ever had?
CH: The one I have now: blogging!
SMP: What would you tell someone who’s considering starting a blog?
CH: Give it a try, you could end up absolutely loving it. It’s free and easy to get started so nothing should really hold you back.
SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?
CH: Take your time finding your passion. Remember that it can change over time; figuring out what you don’t like will get you one step closer to finding what you do; and there’s no “right” passion.
SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?
CH: There are things that I look back on and cringe about. I’ve certainly made mistakes and could have done numerous things differently and better… but I know that each bump and misdirection lead me to where I am today and shaped who I am today. With that in mind, I wouldn’t change a thing. (For example, picking The College Prepster as a name wasn’t a great long term strategy, but that’s because I didn’t know I would be doing it long term at all. It made sense at the time for me… and maybe things wouldn’t have played out the way they played out had I never been The College Prepster!