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Interview with Carleen Coulter – ProBlogger.com Small Victories Series

Posted By Lara Kulpa 14th of June 2010 Pro Blogger Interviews 0 Comments

_wp-content_uploads_2008_09_n728640378_1497.jpgToday we have another ‘Small Victories’ interviwe with blogger Carleen Coulter, of Beauty and Fashion Tech.

These small victories interviews are with members of ProBlogger.com and are all about highlighting some of the small wins that real bloggers have – our hope is that they’ll inspire other bloggers at similar stages to not only celebrate the ‘big wins’ and those that have already gone pro – but to focus upon the smaller things that take us forward as bloggers.

Transcription of Interview with Carleen Coulter

For those of you who prefer to read than listen – here’s a transcription of the video by The Transcription People.

Lara: Hi everybody, this is Lara Kulpa from ProBlogger.com and as part of our new series on small victories I have with me today Carleen Coulter. Hi Carleen.

Carleen: Hi. How are you?

Lara: I’m wonderful. How are you?

Carleen: I am doing very well.

Lara: Good. So how about you give our listeners a little bit of a background?

Carleen: Okay. My name is Carleen Coulter. I’m the author of multiple blogs but my primary one is beautyandfashiontech, the words beauty and fashion followed by T-E-C-H .com.

Lara: Okay.

Carleen: I also have a blog, girl gloss and run some affiliate sites and I also run a little non profit blog for my dog.

Lara: Oh.

Carleen: Yeah, he doesn’t try to make any money.

Lara: So …

Carleen: Oh, go ahead.

Lara: No, no, no, you go, go ahead.

Carleen: I basically started blogging, I’d say it was about three and a half, four years ago now. Kind of did it on a whim. I just one day started reading some other blogs and said, hey, I’d kind of like to try that and started doing it. I’m actually an attorney by profession.

Lara: Oh, wow, nice. Very nice.

Carleen: So it’s … yeah, you know, it makes for a nice combination. I kind of like writing about things that aren’t legal topics from time to time.

Lara: I can’t blame you there.

Carleen: Yeah. The legal stuff gets kind of dry.

Lara: Yeah. So when you put your … put in your application to be featured in the series, what was the small victory that you were talking about?

Carleen: Well actually I had kind of a small victory and then more of a medium victory. The small victory was when I first started doing this, my, my now husband, he was then my boyfriend, was really kind of teasing me about it. He, you know, he would go, “So you’re writing about makeup, you think you’re going to make some money from this.” Because I told him, well, you know, I’d kind of like to make a little money, extra money on the side.

Lara: Right.

Carleen: And, you know, he said, “You’re never going to make money on that. You’re falling for some make money online thing.” And I said, “Well, you know, I’ll try and see what happens.” So after maybe, I don’t know, a month or two, you know, I start showing him, “Oh, here, look. I’m at least making, you know, a buck a day on AdSense.” He’s like, “That’s not money. That doesn’t count.” And so I think I was about three months in and two things happened. First, I got my first AdSense cheque. So I actually, you know, made enough to get to that hundred dollar mark.

Lara: Absolutely.

Carleen: And then I also sold a $1500 ad contract for a six month ad contract.

Lara: Wow.

Carleen: And so he comes home and, you know, I proudly show him this $1500 and that pretty much shut him up after that. And he simply said, “Yeah, you can do more of this.”

Lara: Yeah, sure, absolutely. That’s awesome.

Carleen: Yeah. So that was … that was the small victory. The medium victory was really from there it kept growing and … when I first … I was … I’m originally from Nebraska and I moved out to Illinois to be with my husband and I took a cut in pay. I lost a part-time teaching job that was extra income from that and the cost of living out here is kind of ridiculous.

Lara: Yeah.

Carleen: So, yeah, I moved out here, I really kind of needed extra money and was looking to replace my teaching income and what happened was by about the one year mark I had done that. So that’s kind of my medium victory is that, you know, things grew. I replaced all that lost income, actually increased it quite a bit and in the end last year my husband was laid off of his job and that actually probably saved us. I mean …

Lara: Wow.

Carleen: My income at that point covered the mortgage and we got by okay. And, fortunately, he’s re-employed now.

Lara: Right. That’s fantastic. You know, a lot of people talk about how they think that everybody is trying to get into the blogging thing and the making money online thing because of the way the economy is of course in the United States and things are getting rough around here and we’ve been battling this whole thing for a couple of years now and it’s really nice to hear that within such a relatively short period of time, if you look at the grand scheme of things, I mean, a year, but that’s not asking a lot, to be able to put in the effort for a year’s time. And …

Carleen: Yeah, you know, yeah, I think it … the key is putting in the effort.

Lara: Right.

Carleen: I mean, it’s definitely work.

Lara: Oh, yeah, absolutely. It’s … there’s nothing … Darren recently had a post about how unsexy it is and …

Carleen: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.

Lara: Yeah. You know, there’s nothing … there’s nothing out there saying that this is one of those like set it and forget it kind of Ronco rotisserie things, you have to really put in the effort, and that’s fantastic. So let me ask you this, being a member of ProBlogger.com and coming to the site and everything, what are some things that you think have helped you along the way?

Carleen: Well, first off, I have to say that ProBlogger, ProBlogger.net, the actual blog, was instrumental from the get go for me. When I first started blogging and started realising, oh, I could actually make some money from this, I think I read every single thing on there. I mean, yeah, I mean, Darren was like … he was a God to me. I was like, “Wow, this is just amazing. It’s a great site.”

Lara: Yep.

Carleen: So when ProBlogger.com the forum and everything started, I immediately wanted to be part of that. And I think it’s a very useful place, especially … I think it’s particularly probably good for new bloggers and then there’s some established bloggers in there who are quite active.

Lara: Yep.

Carleen: So it’s a nice mix of people. You get new people in there with fresh ideas and questions. I mean, I’ve learnt from people’s questions.

Lara: Yeah.

Carleen: You know, people ask questions that I never thought of and I thought, okay, that’s interesting. And then I also learnt from the answers.

Lara: Right.

Carleen: And then, like I said, there’s experienced people in there too who bring their own wealth of knowledge.

Lara: Right, right. One of the things that I hear a lot from people, now that we’ve been sending out the weekly newsletters and kind of pointing people in certain directions each week, one of the responses I keep getting is that people are feeling almost like wallflower-ish. You know, they go in there and they’re kind of like, you know, “There’s so many people with such great information I feel like I have nothing to add,” you know. To which my answer is always, “Well, you know, your learning process can be somebody else’s learning process as well,” which kind of goes along with what you just said.

Carleen: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I mean, I can’t, I can’t say how many times I’ve seen somebody either in, in the ProBlogger forum or another forum ask a question where I just … it might be a very basic question and it’s something I’ve never thought of before.

Lara: Right.

Carleen: And I get something out of that and I say, hey, I really learned something from that. Also you can’t … you can’t discount the, just the social interactions and getting to know people.

Lara: Right.

Carleen: I’m always one that’s always loved forums because I’m just pretty social and, you know, if you’re kind of a wallflower you really can, you know, get to know people just by going in forums, asking a few questions, throwing in your thoughts and, you know, don’t worry about being new or maybe not having been blogging that long or anything. You know, I think everybody has something valid to add.

Lara: Fantastic. Well, Carleen, thank you so much for talking to us today. And go ahead and tell everybody what your URL is again.

Carleen: The primary site is beautyandfashiontech.com. The first part is easy, beauty and fashion T-E-C-H .com.

Lara: Okay, great. Well thanks so much and we’ll see you in the forums.

Carleen: Yeah, thank you for having me.

Lara: Absolutely. Bye bye.

Carleen: Bye.

  1. Very inspiring story. I would like to hear more about different strategies for converting traffic into income. Obviously Carleen – made it work for her early on, which is hard to do. Besides Adsense – what other avenues worked and what steps were taken in that direction?

  2. Oops – I was typing too fast in the last comment. You can find me here. Sorry!

  3. Hey Lara,

    Really Great interview. Going to check T-E-C-H.Com

    Thanks for this great Interview lara.


  4. I am very glad to find out about your blog. My daughter is only 10, but she watching all these how-to videos on You Tube about make-up and the techniques for applying it.

    Maybe you can write a guest post on TheShoppingNazi.com about ways people can save money and get great value and still be fashionable.

  5. ” Carleen: So it’s … yeah, you know, it makes for a nice combination. I kind of like writing about things that aren’t legal topics from time to time. ”

    I’m sure it’s very refreshing to get out of your day to day norm of legal, and cross over into an area your very passionate about.

  6. I think it is nice when you hear of small victories, the fact you managed to sell a 6 month contract for $1500 is impressive, I still dream of even making money from my blog yet, simply because i have decided to wait another 6 months to a year before monetizing it. I had it monetized from the start but I was making next to nothing from adsense so took all ads off.

    Well done Carleen for you vistory, i suppose my vistory would be getting over 800 email subscribers from 2 competitions I ran recently, the prizes cost nothing as companies give me stuff all the time, and I expected to lose most of the subscribers once the comp had finished, but i actually retained 80% of them.

    So that was a big thing for me. My blog niche is a hard one to crack as its heavily crowded but heck i’ll keep plugging until I die.

    All the best carleen and I wish you all the success in your endevours.

  7. Nice small victory, only 3 months in the $1500 contract sounds great. From then on it only goes up, so keep it up! I’ve noticed a lot of discouraged bloggers lately, they should keep at it and not give up, but I can see how easy it is for some to drop their blog just because they don’t blog about something they love.

  8. Congrats Carleen!

    I love this series. It is true that we tend to fail at celebrating the small victories. Success is success.

  9. To me making a buck a day on adsense wouldn’t be a small victory that would be a huge victory! I think getting your first adsense check in three months is a huge accomplishment. How did you get that kind of traffic so fast?

  10. Congratulations on your blogging success. I visited your site and loved the beauty and fashion idea. Got to have that MAC nail polish.

    But I would be interested to learn how you sold your 1st ad on your blog?

  11. Hi Lara and Carleen,
    Thanks for sharing. Out of curiosity I took a peak
    at your site beautyandfashion tech. Here is a couple of things I
    noticed that you have done well to contribute to your success

    One: you have over 200 sites linking in according to Alexa.com today

    Two: you blend the google ads very nicely into the design of the site

    Three: The site homepage has a consistent style and color combination to it which indeed blends with the idea you are talking about style – your site has it!

    Note: Carleen, just as a heads up somehow in your newsletter sign up form ‘Newsletter’ reads as ‘Neswletter’ Is that my eyes or a cute marketing technique you are using to create a reader response.

    Continued Success,


  12. This interview is not up to the standard of Problogger posts. I do e-mail interviews, providing questions to the person being interviewed. I don’t use, How are you? openings and Bye at the end.

    If you’re going to continue to do this feature, please tighten it up. The post was too long and chatty. I don’t know what the women answering the questions did to have a small, then medium success. I couldn’t pick out the substance of the interview from the ah, chatty language.

    Rita blogging at The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide

  13. I love reading about empowered females and blogging. I will refer a friend to this blog post. She needs to read it. Thank you.

  14. What an inspirational interview!

    I am really impressed.

    I think Everyone can related to the ‘dissing’ and ‘discouraging’ part, where everyone says ‘let him/her have his fun’..

    and then the money starts rolling in to prove to them that this works…this whole web thing really works!


    P.S.Typo in article:

    “Today we have another ‘Small Victories’ interviwe (interview)…”

  15. I liked your blog and its theme is perfectly matching with your niche. What I liked most is that ads are beautifully blended with the content and it doesn’t look like some money making strategy. and yes I also noticed that spelling mistake in Newsletter, please correct it. rest all is great stuff.

  16. Really enjoyed this. Very encouraging for those of us (like myself!) who have been blogging for less than a year.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. No matter how the interview going or something wrong with the transcriction. It’s doesn’t a matter. It’s just a nice interview.

    For me, everybody have a right to move on.. Improving him/herself.. Take an action and holding small, medium even big Victories.. Let’s move on! Yeah..

  18. Shut the front door! I know Carleen, so when I saw this come to my inbox I was stoked to see her on Problogger! Congrats on your small victory…and certainly a big one being profiled here Carleen!


  19. @Rita – This is a recorded interview, for a podcast. Darren and I have done many interviews that were solely via email, but we wanted to do something different for these, by offering the podcast.

    The transcription is simply a literal transcription of the podcast. We offer both up so that people can choose to listen OR read.

  20. Good to know that you run a blog for your dog. Many don’t do such things. Darren was like a God for Carleen. But not only for Carleen. Darren is the God of Blogosphere.I really mean it. Only because of people like Darren many bloggers have become confident of taking blogging as a regular source of income and it has the changed the lives of many.

  21. Thanks for the comments everyone! Something I find in blogging is that you can look at something 100 times and never notice a typo! I have fixed the spelling of “newsletter.”

    A couple of people asked how I made the first ad sale and how I got traffic quickly. The first sale was mainly a result of being in the right place at the right time. They contacted me after I wrote on an item related their services. Later sales have been made through contracts with various networks, and I am a Glam Media publisher. I also independently sell ads but do not tend to go out seeking those sales. Aside from ads, I earn a fair amount from affiliate sales. I like to try to stay diversified.

    My traffic grew quickly, in part from a lot of promotion through various social media platforms at a time when some of those were relatively new or not as well used as they are now. I also networked with other bloggers quite a bit, took part in guest posting, and joined blog carnivals (which are not as effective these days). That all led to quality link backs, which led to very good search engine traffic outside of the social media referrers. I also don’t go out of my way to write for keywords, but I do pay attention to them.

    If I could pick one best practice for building traffic, it would be to network with other bloggers. Those contacts often lead to various opportunities for collaboration and are also personally satisfying.

  22. suggestions for the interviewer:

    1. don’t snigger and laugh at loud during the interview… sorry but it’s annoying

    2. dont go yeah, or uh huuh, keep silent mostly as the person answers,

    3. have your follow up question ready always

    4. balance the audio levels so interviewer and interviewee are at same level

    imo sometimes podcasters just need to learn from normal broadcast radio by listening to pro interviewers technique.

  23. I’m liking these interviews, as there are small victories that make me want to carry on blogging and take it seriously.

    A lot of people are probably going to be inspired by these interviews, but maybe some follow up posts would be helpful to find out some specifics of how they got there or is this the point of finding your own blogging journey…probably answered my own question there! lol!

  24. Interesting! But it would be better to explain the marketing strategies implemented by Carleen.

    Setting up a blog is easy. Marketing is the most difficult part.

  25. Hi Lara and Carleen
    Another great story about small victories and in Carleen’s case, it lead to a bigger victory.

    It is really good to read how people’s blog started out and they stepping stones to how they became bigger blogs.

    I enjoyed listening to this as clearly you were both enjoying the conversation :)

  26. Congrats on your feature Carleen! Isn’t it fun to finally prove that the work you do IS worth the time? Especially when the hubby takes notice ;)

  27. Carleen thanks for the good information. I am just starting on my http://saygeek.blogspot.com and I totally can see the value in small victories at this point. It seems like a very daunting task to become a pro blogger but I feel I have a passion for helping people and I hope someday like you it will turn into something on a much larger scale.

  28. I would like to hear more about different strategies for converting traffic into income. Obviously Carleen – made it work for her early on, which is hard to do. Besides Adsense – what other avenues worked and what steps were taken in that direction?

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