Background about Amanda Elliot and Windy City Cosmo
Amanda Elliot was our featured speaker at February’s Bloggers Meet Startups Event.
Windy City Cosmo is a lifestyle blog that invites you to meet entrepreneurs, taste inventive cocktails, and explore Chicago through events (with or without heels).
If you knew then what you know now you would: What was one thing you did that best prepared you for your blog?
As a new or established blogger, you feel like you are inundating people with content that no one is going to read. You feel bad that your best friends are the only ones who like your content. You want to buy them all drinks for their support, but you haven’t been paid since you started this project. You kind of feel bad producing content that 5 people in the world – and yes I mean the world read. P.S. Thank you to France, Great Britain, and Canada for reading my blog.
I don’t care if they are your friends, your neighbors, or that guy you met on Tinder for a really bad date, knowing that one person bounce-rated your blog means that maybe one day you can grow a true following. Not a #like4like campaign, but a genuine, this is good content, and I might just dig into the archives person. I am writing for you—my one genuine follower. I wish I could clone you, but it’s nice to know that you don’t bot like my posts and you actually skim-read my stories.
In all honesty, the one thing that’s prepared me is that you have to do your best even if only one person shows up. It sucks. It really does, but one day, one day, more people will show up. And they might come back, and they might comment, and they might share your content. And preparing yourself for the hurdle of not being insta-famous is the best way to prepare. Stay humble.
What are you reading or what do you recommend?
I’m reading “American Gods” and I don’t recommend it. Sometimes you have to read what you wouldn’t normally read because it’s for bookclub. I also read marketing and project management books fairly often from podcast recommendations. As for digital media consumption,I read articles that my friends at The Chicago Tribune post on Facebook or that are recommended on Pocket (get the app).
What types of blogs do you follow?
Honestly, it’s hard to keep up with other blogs not because they don’t have good content, but because I need the reminder —the newsletter, the tweet, the Facebook link. How I consume media has helped me strategize how I promote content. Like I love Instagram and Snapchat – and they are highly influential in growing brand awareness and connections – but in terms of reading blog content – I just don’t see the ROI. There is, however, an exception. Chicagoings and Once Upon a Dollhouse Chicago bloggers have a great Instagram strategy and I have seen more results since mirroring their ways and I have been reading more of their content.
How long did you contemplate starting your blog before actually starting it
Do you remember pencil grips and pencil erasers back in third grade? It was a thing to match them according to color. I realized that I was never going to be that girl and I thought that I had to be that girl to start a blog. After all, bloggers make life exciting – they are always doing something and their content sparkles. But, you have to play to your strengths. I have always loved interviewing people and going to events. I live for a good story. It takes a minute, but I know I have it in me to write a good story. I am not a graphic designer, so making things pretty – logo, design, pictures, has taken a minute. When I started my blog, I started ugly and bare bones. I was ashamed to share the link to my first post. But, I’m glad I did. You don’t start out a superstar, but if you want to be one, you have to start.
What’s playing on your iPod right now?
I never had an iPod but, what’s playing on my Tidal account is “Middle”. I’m a hopeless romantic and an amateur dancer. I love hip hop and r&b.
Your favorite mobile app?
Google Maps or Uber – I never know where I’m going and these two are like my north star.
What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating entrepreneurship?
I grew up a Girl Scout, so “be prepared” is my best advice. Have a media package ready, make connections now, gain exposure, write, be visible.
Opportunities come in various forms and when you least expect it, but you have to a) set yourself up for these opportunities and b) be ready for them when they come.
I am a procrastinator. I know this, but life is a lot easier when you set yourself up for wins. Starting today is better than thinking about it all day and starting in a vague tomorrow.
What are you working towards?
I’m working towards making goals and achieving them. Progress and not perfection. I really started blogging for a few reasons.
- I want to write a book and I need an audience
- I want to learn digital media and get a job in that field, and
- I want to know what’s going on and be part of it.