“Call Me CEO” is your master-class on innovation, creativity, leadership, and finding YOUR perfect balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a content creator or influencer? In this episode, Camille welcomes Erica Ligenza, the blogger of Coming Up Roses, the host of the THRIVE Podcast, the author of Caffeinate Your Soul: 52 Monday Mantras, and the creator of the BossPitch course. With a decade worth of experience, Erica established her own brand from just having her blog in 2013 to creating her own podcast, course, and book giving influencers tips to be successful in their craft.

I like how I have all of these different buckets because that’s very much my personality. So, I will never be someone that takes only one of my buckets and runs with it. I always plan on having them all there at the same time, my blog, my podcast, my course.

— Erica Ligenza

Erica gives insight into the process that she went from posting on her blog just as a creative hobby to the transitions she’s made during the ongoing evolution of her personal brand. She shares advice on how to monetize your content through the use of different platforms and how to negotiate for partnerships and pricing. She shares how she was able to diversify her brand and how motherhood has affected her financial goals as a content creator. 

You have to be able to say to someone like, “Hey. This is who I am.” What I would say is even more important than that is, “This is who my audience is. This is why they are similar and in alignment with who you’re trying to target with your product, with your service, with your messaging.

—Erica Ligenza

At the end of the day, it’s about finding your own niche and connecting with your audience and other brands. Erica’s experience will definitely help aspiring influencers. And so, if you’re interested in content creation, tune into this episode to learn about some of the best tools and practices influencers do to become a successful content creator. 

Start thinking outside of the box with what you can do and what sets you apart that isn’t just dependent on an algorithm that we have zero control over and that changes literally every single day.

—Erica Ligenza


Interested in becoming a virtual assistant? Enroll in the 60 Days to VA Course: https://camillewalker.co/60-days-to-va-master-course

Access the 5-day email sequence to help you discover your purpose: www.callmeceopodcast.com

Check out Erica’s Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Caffeinate-Your-Soul-Monday-Mantras/dp/1643075195

Connect with Erica:

Follow Erica on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ericaligenza

Follow Erica’s podcast on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrive.podcast/

Access her website at: https://cominguprosestheblog.com/

Connect with Camille Walker:

Follow Camille on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/CamilleWalker.co

Follow Call Me CEO on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/callmeceopodcast


Are you someone who is a phenomenal photographer or you're a great editor or whatever and your work is clearly more than just a snap on an iPhone? Okay. Well then that makes you stand out.



So, you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business, sharing your voice? How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We'll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.


CAMILLE [0:35]

Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO. And today, I am so thrilled to have my guest with me here today, Erica Gwynn, who is the author of Caffeinate Your Soul: 52 Monday Mantras. She is the blogger of Coming Up Roses and also has the THRIVE Podcast, which I was recently a guest on and it was such a pleasure. I am so thrilled that we're speaking again here today. Thank you for coming to this show, Erica.

ERICA [1:01]

Yay! Thank you so much for having me. It's like chatting with my friend.

CAMILLE [1:05]

Yeah. We were just saying. We're like, "Oh, we should do this more." It's like this is really fun for us. Now, Erica and I originally met although we didn’t know it at a Disney event a couple of years ago. And I think she and I both and I'm speaking for us together, we have a lot in common. We like to be involved in a lot of things. We also are moms and have been in the influencer world for a while.

So, we're going to talk about how she got started in that and then also how that developed into building a brand as a blogger as well as working with businesses. So, I think that this conversation can be really interesting for those who are thinking about becoming content creators and then also who are brands listening and thinking, "Okay. What are the best tools and ideas for working with influencers?" So, let's get going into that. Erica, can you talk to me a little bit about how you became a content creator/blogger and then developed more of a brand yourself?

ERICA [1:59]

Sure. Well, I became a blogger back before the whole term influencer was really a thing, before influencer marketing was a thing. We're like the OG people. I started my blog because I wanted to creative outlet and there were people on the Internet going, "Oh, you could document your thoughts online and you could have this thing." And I didn’t even know you could own your own website at that point because it was so long ago.

So, I started a blog literally because I wanted a creative hobby while I was in college. And at the time, I had been writing for an on-campus fashion magazine. Long story short, did not like the editing process. It was too unedited and just not as professional as I was hoping for and I got the vibe that my work was turning into something basically unrecognizable by the time it went to print. And that just felt really disingenuous and not fun. And it was taking away my love of writing and my own sense of creativity.

So, I was like, "You know what? I'm going to start something that is entirely my own that I have control over or I call the shots." And that's what I did. So, I started my blog back in 2013. And at the time, it was really just inspirational content with the occasional fashion piece. So, it was really nothing extraordinary, but I fell in love with it. So, I kept doing it. I went from posting one time a week to three times a week, started increasing what kinds of topics I was sharing, so it became inspiration and then fashion and beauty.

And then, as I started learning about the business behind it, I started dabbling in sharing that information as well and eventually monetized it. Fast forward to about to graduate college and was at the point where I thought, "You know what? I feel like if I had full-time time, I could make a full-time income." So, I ended up going straight into doing this as my full-time job after graduation and taking the plunge. I guess it paid off because here we are seven years alter and I'm still doing it. So, thank God that worked out. Yeah.

And then, after that, I ended up creating my course BossPitch to teach other content creators how to do the same sort of thing. And then, came the podcast and two years after that came my book. So, it's just been this ongoing evolution of personal brand I guess and just this really fun journey that I feel really fortunate to be on.

CAMILLE [4:23]

That is such a fun and very similar experience to mine. However, we started our blogs almost at the exact same time, but I was already doing the mom thing. Yeah. But what I'm curious about is when you were first monetizing, what was it where you crossed over and you're like, "Oh, I can make money from this?" What was it? Were you working with a brand? Were you selling ad space in your side bar? What was it that gave you that first nudge?

ERICA [4:51]

I think it was initial brand partnerships. So, I remember I think one of my first partnerships was for a free dress and $50. And I remember thinking like, "Holy crap. I just hit the lottery. Someone wants to send me clothes and $50. What?" And mind you, that's not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things at all when it comes to brand deals today. You could absolutely get more than that.

But at the time, I didn't know any better and I thought, "Wow. Someone wants to pay me to talk about their product. This is the coolest thing ever." So, that was definitely my foray into it because I think a lot of that is just what I started building upon then was brand partnerships. At the time, I was using a lot of the different blogging networks out there and just applying for any opportunity under the sun in the hopes of getting something.

CAMILLE [5:42]

Okay. Let's name drop here. So, are you talking like TapInfluence, IZEA?

ERICA [5:46]


CAMILLE [5:47]

Those are two of my favorites.

ERICA [5:49]

Clever Girls Network. At the time, I was in it used to be called HerCampus, but now I think it's called InfluenceHer Collective. What are others? Like Weave Media. I couldn’t even tell you all of them now because I couldn't tell you the last time I've logged into any of them. But those were the bread and butter back then and you'd get $250 dollars here or there and that was the bulk of your work.

So, you could see how if you don't raise your rates and figure out a different strategy there's a cap to that because how much work can you take on at $200 a post? But at least at the time, for a college student, I was like, "This is the coolest part-time job ever." And yeah, it really just was what wet my feet or wet my whistle into, oh my gosh, you could make money doing this.

CAMILLE [6:35]

Yeah. Those little pockets of hundreds of dollars here and there, it's not a lot. However, I think when it first began, that was as good as it got. That was like, "Yes, I can write and create and get this money in." Tell me about the transition from going from perhaps going to those agencies and negotiating that way and then creating a media kit or negotiations of your own. What was that transition like for you?

ERICA [7:00]

So, it really came I think when I realized, "Okay. There's a cap here and why is there a cap here?" Because eventually as I was growing and my platforms were growing and my relationships were building, you start putting two and two together that when someone reaches out to you directly personally inviting you to a campaign or creating that one-on-one direct relationship with you, you realize you make a lot more money that way. And then, you start thinking, "Well, why do you make a lot more money that way because it's still the same content and it's still me?"

And I basically put two and two together that the middle man gets a very big cut when you are working through a network like that. So, it's convenient in the sense of all of the campaign information is right there in front of your face. It's all organized in one place. You have one point of contact. It's pretty cut and dry. However, you're giving up sometimes half of what you could be giving up because they are getting that cut themselves to be the middle man.

And I was like, "You know what? I don't need a middle man. I am organized. I can maintain my own communications with people and I would rather much have that money in my pocket. Thank you kindly." So, yeah. It was that realization of I hadn't realized how much money that middle man was getting. And as soon as I realized how much money I was leaving on the table working with them, I was like, "Oh my God. Never again. I will take it all into my own hands and do it all myself if that means that that money is going to me instead of someone who created the portal in the first place." So, yeah, that was really it for me.

CAMILLE [8:30]

Yeah. And I think that there's a time where that transition happens where you'll start to get pitches from the campaign people who know you directly and they'll say, "Well, hey, what about this?" And you've outgrown that space and you say, "No, no, no." And then, they realize. They're like, "Oh, they must be moving on to that next level where it is those direct invitations to campaigns."

So, for someone who is maybe in that beginning stage or is looking to get into working with brands that they want to without that middle person, I know you wrote the BossPitch. So, let's talk about that. What are key ingredients or steps to take to get to that happy negotiation spot and get into a situation where you can make the bigger bucks?

ERICA [9:11]

Sure. Yes. So, BossPitch is a course that I created that essentially walks people from the very beginning stage of, "Okay. What kind of content should you even be creating that's worth being sponsored in the first place?" all the way through to how to figure out which brands you should be or could be partnering with, what to say to them, how to find their contact information, how to pitch them professionally and appropriately, how to follow up with them, how to really just build that relationship, how to negotiate so that you are landing repeat work. So, really so, so, so much comes down to relationship building and knowing your worth and being able to effectively communicate that with the right people.

So, first things first, right off the bat, you have to know what you bring to the table that's different from everyone else that's a mother that's on Instagram right now. So, you have to be able to say to someone like, "Hey. This is who I am." What I would say is even more important than that is, "This is who my audience is. This is why they are similar and in alignment with who you're trying to target with your product, with your service, with your messaging."

And connect those dots for them because that's what they really care about. They're marketers. They're looking at it going, "Okay. I see Camille's audience. Why should I hire Camille to create content about me for her audience?" It's because your audience has to be in alignment with what they're looking for in their audience. So, really being able to tell them like, "Here's the alignment I see here and why."

Bonus points if there's a really good personal story that you can tell them like a product you've been using for years or your first introduction to a specific industry or just something that was really meaningful to you and your story and your family because I think we all know when we see something on Instagram that feels a little bit less than authentic and people really like seeing something that feels real and something that is real. So, being able to turn that into something that you're sharing with a brand is I think basically step one before you're even thinking about dollars or anything like that, really being able to build off of the, "This is who I am. This is who my audience is. This is why this is a good match" and going from there to make sure it's a good mutual fit.

CAMILLE [11:25]

Do you think that it's hard right now for people to make partnerships for blog posts more than it is for social media like Instagram and TikTok and everything else? Yeah.

ERICA [11:36]

Yes, which is a huge bummer to me because my blog is my bread and butter and I'm just someone that just so strongly believes in the long-term value of that evergreen content with the ongoing potential on Google Search or on Pinterest, that long-term ROI and I'm telling people that all the time. They end up paying more for content that lives 24 hours on a news feed and then you just get lost in the algorithm abyss.

And I think a lot of times you're met with marketers who don't actually necessarily fully understand the industry, the market, the algorithms. We're doing this every single day. We know how these algorithms work. We freak out the second some statistics seem like we're off from our norm. So, we are eating and breathing and sleeping this stuff. And then, you have some marketers who it might not be the entirety of their job. Influencer marketing might just be another thing on their to-do list and they're not as in it as we are.

So, I think it really helps too to be able to strategically explain to brands like, "Listen. What are your goals?" Let me give you some recommendations based on your goals with what platforms and what types of content I can and should create that will actually help you hit your goals and not just be trendy because you think that everyone should be on TikTok right now for example or whatever the case might be.

CAMILLE [12:57]

Yeah. I really think that that has been a difficult transition where there was more attention given to blogs that really do go on and can create continued growth like you said to help reach those goals and actual key word research and all of that stuff. And so, I think that has for some of us who have been around longer and maybe didn't dive into Instagram full, at least that's how it was for me.

Instagram wasn't my whole world when it came out. I was more focused on my blog. And so, a part of that, I'm like, "Oh, man. I guess I should have gotten in there more at the beginning." But meanwhile Instagram, it doesn't belong to you where a website it does and those links live on forever. And so, that has been a bit of a push and pull I think for me looking at that because I'm like, "Don't you get it? This is better than you know. Get on my website." Yeah.

ERICA [13:52]

And I also think it's frustrating because we're not paid to be consultants. So, it's like as much as I want to be able to educate everyone and their mother and scream it from the rooftops why one's important over the other, I also had to catch myself at one point because I was spending so much time on these nice long thorough thought-out emails telling people how to do their job better. And I was like, "You know what? They went to school. They have an education. They have an employer who could and should be maybe training them or focusing on professional development, so why am I sitting here on my dime telling them how to be better at their job?" I'm sure you could probably agree with me that's a frustrating part of the space when you're dealing with people who necessarily aren't on the same page or reading from the same guide book as to how the heck this whole industry works, really figure it out as you go field, and hope you find some good fits along the way.

CAMILLE [14:47]

Let's talk about pricing a little bit with sponsored packages for social media and blog posts. How do you put your numbers together? Because this is something I get asked about a lot is who sets the fee first and then also how is that negotiated? What has been your experience with that?

ERICA [15:03]

So, technically in the world of negotiating, there's this rule that whoever speaks first loses. I do not necessarily think that that is the case because when you have something like this, it's like we don't necessarily have endless negotiating potential simply because there has to be some sort of standard that you're holding yourself to. Because if you're telling one person one day that you're a $1,000 and then the next day, you're like, "Oh, I think I can get $5,000 for the same thing from this next person, you don't know the relationship between those two people." If they talk and get wind of that, then you've just lost all credibility as an honest person because you're swindling people.

So, I think that there's a gray space of wiggle room so to speak where you have your base rates. You build off of that. And then, you build off of that a little bit more with some negotiable wiggle room that might be what fluctuates depending on the full scope of the contract. So, you'll hear it said a $100 for every $10,000 followers. That’s BS. That is so miniscule because that does not take into account all of the time that it takes to build a reputable and real platform with real people to create content for free. So, that's your absolute bare minimum. Your rate should absolutely be no less than that regardless.

And then, it's just this big jigsaw puzzle of piecing together. Okay. Now, depending on the scope that they're giving you, how much time do you think that's going to take to create? Because if it's one static post on your Instagram feed for example that is probably going to take less time to create than a 5-minute video that requires editing and maybe even a professional videographer. There's the time differential there. And then, you want to take into account cost of materials or cost of anyone that maybe you're hiring to work with to help you bring something to life.

You have to take into account things like exclusivity if a brand is telling you, you can't work with any of their partners on a dedicated list for a specific period of time. You have to take into account content usage rights if someone wants to use your content and either whitelist that on social media, meaning they're putting money behind that to boost it where it appears like it's coming from your account, but is actually a paid for ad for them or just they might want to buy your content to use in their own marketing. They might want to put it on their website or in an email blast to their subscribers even on a billboard or on product packaging.

There's so much wiggle room with all of that because there just is. That all varies. Each one of those things has a different price tag associated with it and it can change with the amount of time that someone is working with you or the actual medium that it's on whether it's digital, whether it's in print, all of that. So, unfortunately, there's not one set formula. There's always a little bit of wiggle room that comes with that. Yeah.

I don't think you have to be the last one to speak up. I think that there's an easy way to get around that, whatever they're asking for, you could say, "Well, my rates for that sort of package starts at X." And then, you can ask, "Can you let me know the full scope of this partnership? Is there exclusivity involved? Are there content usage rights involved? Happy to provide them an updated quote from there that's more accurate based on the exact scope of work that you're looking for."

So, something like that is I think an easy way to give them something to see if you're even in the same ballpark. Give them a range. You could be like, "It starts at this. So, if you can't even hit that number, it's not going to work right now." But then, you're also not boxing yourself into one specific number where they can then throw that into a contract along with a bunch of other legal jargon in the hopes that you miss it, which they do a lot unfortunately.

CAMILLE [18:55]

All the time, all the time.

ERICA [18:55]

So, it gives you that wiggle room where if they come back and they're like, "Actually, we want extra things and we want exclusivity and we want it done in two days," you could be like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, buddy. That actually costs more." And it doesn't feel as much. It doesn't feel like you're going back on your word or it's this crazy jump because you could say, "Well, hey. I said it starts at that." And there are obviously other factors that influence a rate, so that's how I approach it.

CAMILLE [19:22]

Yeah. That's really good advice. What would you say your favorite partnerships have been? Can you think of a couple where you're like, "This was awesome" and then, why? What made them so good?

ERICA [19:32]

You and I both know, I don't know if we're actually allowed to say this, but Disney doesn't pay us to go on those trips or anything. So, I think what is so magical about them besides the fact that it's Disney and Disney is magical is you're just treated so well and so respectfully when you work with the Disney team. And I really think that there's something to be said for that.

So, even if a brand doesn't have millions of advertising dollars, at least if you can show up and meet people with mutual respect and go all out to make it known that you care about the relationship as much as they do. Because if you think about it, it's Disney World. If they wanted to, could be a bunch of pretentious pricks to all of us and literally say, "Well, we're Disney. So, bow down." And chances are, everyone would bow down and be like, "You're Disney. I'll do whatever you want me to do." But they don't. It's the kindest group of people. They are so respectful and it's truly the best.

So, it's like I think that really takes that above and beyond because you're humbled of the fact that Disney is treating you like you're a big deal and you're like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. You're the big deal here." I think something like that just really stated enough like how valued something like that is in the grand scheme of things. And actually, come to think of it probably a lot of my favorite partnerships, that is the underlying theme. Not necessarily a matter of a number on a paycheck at the end of the day, but it's truly feeling like a valued partner and a valued part of their marketing plan like they're not just using you to get to your Instagram audience or something like that. Because Lord knows we've all been there where someone doesn't actually care about building a relationship with you. They're just like, "Tell me how many impressions you're going to bring me and I don't really care about the rest." It just feels so impersonal and a means to an end, so yeah.

CAMILLE [21:25]

Yeah. I agree. And one thing I really like about Disney as well is that they invest in their creators. They want to educate and support their creators which I think is really unique. I think that is really rare where they've brought in experts from Facebook and Instagram and taught us about how to better engage with our audiences or here are the new creators creating on TikTok and this is what's happening with that. I don't know. I think that there's just really unique experiences that they can bring in and, of course, they're Disney, so they have access to a lot of things that other companies don't. But underlying with all of that, if you're a company that's listening and you're thinking, "How could I really create that experience, I'm not Disney?" I would just say imagine how you can treat that influencer like a person that you care about. Period. It's that relationship just like you said and that really does show through. So, I appreciate you saying that.

ERICA [22:24]

For people who are not Disney, there's been times where we've just gotten like a random box in the mail and it just had something with a note about my daughter or something fun for the family. And it's like obviously not everybody has the budget to do big press boxes or gifting or anything like that, but it really was just a caring note to show that someone cared.

I've had people that just have shot me a text or an email, no sort of gifting or strings attached or anything in there where someone was just checking in and asking something personal showing that they actually care about me as a partner and collaborator and know a little bit about me the same way that I try to reach out to brands and ask if I know anything about them, I want to know about it too. I want to know how it's been at their job or if they just got married or if they just had a kid or whatever the case might be. So, it's just taking it one step further in an actual relationship where it's not just transactional and it's not just, "Okay. You do this. I do this. Sign it off. Great." But it's really building on something that has the potential to be more than that.

CAMILLE [23:30]

What would you suggest for someone who is listening on the other side of things and is really struggling right now with Instagram and lower engagement and feeling burnt out and whatever they're doing isn't working? What would you say to that person?

ERICA [23:43]

You're not alone. I think that a lot of us if not all of us are in that same boat. If you're feeling burned out, take a step back. Instagram is not life. There's way more to life and there's way more to content creation. It's not the only platform out there and your eggs should not be all in that basket anyway. So, it's okay to take a step back. Take a breather. Reassess, re-strategize. The world will not end if you do not post on your Instagram tomorrow. It's okay, so that right off the bat.

I think it's really important to know where you shine outside of numbers only. And I say that because especially now and maybe you've seen this too since we've started around the same time like so many people are now on Instagram or wanting to be an influencer. It's like this magical term and unfortunately, I think with that, the dark side of it is there's people cheating their way to the top. There are people buying fake followers or fake engagement because they think that that's what brands want. So, brands are making it just about numbers. People are responding to that and maybe not doing it the most ethically to also make it all about numbers. So, I think if you just remove that entirely and you can speak to why you shine without numbers even being a thing, then that is really valuable because there's always going to be someone who has a better engagement rate than you, more followers than you, whatever.

But if you can speak to something unique like a unique relationship that you have with your audience, you know that they are in your emails or in your DMs. You have proof of influence. That's something that's huge. Take screenshots every time a follower tells you, "Hey. I bought this because you recommended it and I loved it. Thank you so much for recommending it." Screenshot that. Start a folder on your computer that's literally titled Influence and just throw those things in there every single time someone is showing you that you impacted something that they did because not everybody has that.

So, someone might have a 5% engagement rate, but are they real people or are they bots? Because if they're not real people, then they don't have those receipts that you do about people actually taking action because of them. So, maybe it's the actual quality of the content that you're creating. Instagram, even though now it's going more video, it started off as a photo sharing platform and it was really great for photographers or aspiring artists or whatever. So, are you someone who is a phenomenal photographer or you're a great editor or whatever and your work is clearly more than just a quick snap on an iPhone? Okay. Well then that makes you stand out. That's a really good thing.

Brands might want to use you for getting usage rights of content. So, maybe your engagement rate isn't great and maybe they don't want you to be influencing your audience with it and paying you to share it on your platforms. Maybe they'll pay you though, so that they can share it on their platforms and use it because it's this beautiful advertised ad-worthy piece of content. So, start thinking outside of the box with what you can do and what sets you apart that isn't just dependent on an algorithm that we have zero control over and that changes literally every single day.

CAMILLE [26:52]

Speaking of changing, you've swapped up or switched some of the things that you've done with writing a book, starting a podcast. Where did that come into your story and what did that look like and how did that change how you were sharing your voice?

ERICA [27:06]

Yeah. Well, I started my podcast THRIVE in October 2019 I want to say and really that came more as a personal passion project is what it felt like because I had been asked in the past, "Oh, would you consider a podcast?" And I was like, "What? I don't know anything about podcasting." But at the time, my daughter had just turned one and the first year of her life was crazy, tumultuous. Long story short, she was born two months early, had spent 73 days in the NICU, had a feeding tube for 6 months, so newborn life was not really blissful for us. It was traumatizing in a lot of ways and I was just in this ongoing period of what felt like a struggle bus. I was barely hanging in there. I was just arriving. It was not my best self.

And I think I just hit a point where I realized that as much as a lot of it did suck for lack of a better word, there were some things that I think I was holding myself back on where I maybe could have made a choice to get out of a rut and I was just not making that choice. And that was really interesting to me from analyzing my own self and that was what inspired the podcast. It was like, "You know what? What does it actually take to go from a life of simply surviving to thriving and where do we have more autonomy than we might think we do to affect change in our own lives?"

So, I started that with zero intention of monetizing it. It was really just like, "You know what? I want to be able to talk to incredible people and hear incredible stories and share that with other people if others are in the same boat as me feeling like they are stuck in a rut and maybe know somewhere deep down that they can get themselves out or maybe just want other tools or practical tips to make everyday life a little bit easier or a little bit more fun or whatever." So, yeah, that's how that started.

And then in the process, I always had wanted to write a book because that just was awesome. I've always loved writing and it was actually inspired by one of the more popular series on my blog at the time. It was called Monday Mantras and that was what I started my blog on, just inspirational kind of content. And I had been in talks with a publisher who was basically hybrid publisher and they loved the idea. And they were like, "You know what? I think that this would be a really cool book." And I had the idea to essentially take a bunch of them that I had already written, build off of that, and create what would be a years' worth of encouragement and motivation for a years' worth of Mondays, so that it was like a mix between a devotional and a coffee table book and a self-help book to be this more bite-sized or sip-sized I guess you could say book to really just help make people's Mondays more manageable and meaningful. It was just directly inspired by everything that I had been writing and doing up to that point in the blog, so it felt like a pretty very natural transition.

CAMILLE [30:16]

That’s really cool. So, when you worked with the publisher, did they publish it for you, but you have it available on Amazon? Did it hit the shelves in stores? How did you decide? Because I've heard from other people, "Don't work with the publisher. They take so much of the income." What was your experience with that?

ERICA [30:32]

So, because it's a hybrid publisher, it's a little bit different. It's not a traditional publishing route in that I didn't sign a book deal. I wasn't paid upfront for anything. I acutely had to pay myself for a lot of the costs of things, but they are handling all of that nitty gritty back-end stuff to make it come to print in real life. So, I still had an editor. They printed it all themselves. They have it at their warehouse. They handle the relationship with Amazon and all of the different retailers.

It was supposed to be in-store, but unfortunately it was released in May of 2020. So, if we can all remember, that was in the middle of the pandemic. So, yeah, unfortunately that really stunk because it meant like no in-store distribution essentially happened. So, it is available online in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, all of those places, but it never actually made it on physical shelves which is heartbreaking.

But at this point, it was almost too much of a hassle to try to fight it because they I don't think were going back in time and going, "Let's get everybody on the shelves." I think they were hit too because of the pandemic and everything. So, they basically said to me like, "If you want to reach out to local Barnes & Noble or something and try to get it on shelves, go for it." Realistically I didn't really think that that had a whole lot of potential if I didn't already have a relationship somewhere and I certainly don’t have Target's distribution phone number on my speed dial or anything to be like, "Hey. I got a book for your shelves everywhere." So, yeah, I don't necessarily think it will happen at this point, which is a bummer, but it's okay.

CAMILLE [32:16]

But you're an author. That's amazing.

ERICA [32:17]

Yeah. It's living its best life.

CAMILLE [32:19]

It sounds amazing. I'm going to check it out for sure. I just found out today, so otherwise I would have ordered it before. But we'll have that link in the Notes below. And I wanted to talk a little bit about the podcast. I haven't been podcasting as long as you have. Is that something where you have brought in sponsorships for that and do you feel like it was similar to getting sponsors on your blog and on Instagram or how has that been for you with that?

ERICA [32:46]

So, total transparency. I have not done many podcast ads. Also, I think a lot of people don't necessarily know that I have a podcast. So, that could totally impact things. I have found that it is pretty different especially because there's no publicly available data on podcasts. So, besides what someone can see on like Apple Podcasts with how many ratings you have or reviews you have, that might give some sort of indication of how popular a show is, but really they don't have access to data. So, unless people are very intentionally targeting podcast listeners, I don't think it's necessarily as widespread of an ask for brands.

The few times that it has been something that people have asked for, they wanted to know, "Okay. What sort of download stats do you have? Who's your audience?" But otherwise, there's actually not much more data that they can have. So, I think it's more of a niche thing depending on who the brand is and who the podcast is. And from what I've heard, I feel like I've only heard about podcasts ads myself on bigger shows where people know, "Okay. This is a really popular show. Let's put an ad here." So, yeah, I'm open to it. It's on my lists, but I'm not actively pursuing it myself at this point. So, we'll see how it unfolds.

CAMILLE [34:04]

Okay. Let's go into TikTok a little bit. Has that been something that you have gone into as far as pivoting and doing more video? Are you going into TikTok at all?

ERICA [34:15]

So, I was one of those people that downloaded TikTok in March of 2020 along with the rest of the world. And I to be completely honest downloaded it as a joke because there was no way. I was like, "I feel old on this platform." I was not downloading this thinking, "I'm going to go shake my booty and make some money with brands." Absolutely not. I was like, "This is going to be my fun personal platform that brands will never see and will never have the light of day."

So, now that it's a thing for brands to ask that, there's a part of me that's like, "Oh no. This is not my best content. Please don’t look at it." But it is super fun. I don't necessarily know if I'm pivoting too much there simply because honestly my content there has been so different or feels at least to me so different than what I've put on my other channels that if a brand asks for TikTok, I try to convince them out of it. I'm like, "Can you do Instagram Reels instead?" Because Reels is very similar obviously and at least on Instagram, I know my brand and my vibe and my audience and all of that. TikTok, I'm like, "Yikes, man. That runs the gambit for me right now like really super hit or miss." For example, did you happen to see the video that went viral about the word cheugy and Gen Z and how cheugy is a thing?

CAMILLE [35:34]

I did not hear cheugy.

ERICA [35:35]

Okay. Well, God bless because what a weird word it is. But long story short, this dude came out and made this TikTok with commentary on the word cheugy because apparently he said that Gen Z coined this term about millennials and how so much of the things that we know and love and are beloved to us are not cool. So, this video came to my attention because you'll appreciate this, the last blip in his video was saying that adults at Disney are cheugy and this is the best part, he used a picture of me at Disney World that he found on Google as the example of a cheugy adult at Disney World.

And I was like, "Oh my God." And, of course, this video went viral, so I'm like, "Great. This is my big break. I'm cheugy." So, I don't even remember what it's called. This is how TikTok not proficient I am. I made the remix thing where you're commenting back on what they're doing. I don't even remember what it's called, but I basically leaned into it myself and proved how cheugy I really am. And then, I got 200,000 views on it or something. I was like, "All right. There we go. We can make fun of me on TikTok and that works."

But that's not sponsorable at all, so stuff like that. I did gain a few from it. I did it just to be funny because I was like, "What the heck are the chances that this viral video happened to have my picture in it?" I don't even know if everybody caught it because it was so quick at the end. And I poked fun at it, but I don't know how many people registered like, "Wait. It's the same girl." So, for me, it was more so just funny because I was like, "Wow. I made it into a viral video making fun of me."

CAMILLE [37:19]

You've made it. That's as much as you can make it on TikTok in my opinion.

ERICA [37:26]

For sure. And then, there were a bunch of Gen Zs like, "Cheugy's not a thing. We didn't create that." I'm like, "I don't care who created it. It's a dumb word. No one should have created it in the first place, but hey. I got my moment of fame here. So, I'm going to soak it in."

CAMILLE [37:38]

That's awesome. Well, moving forward, do you think that this BossPitch coaching, is that what you're learning more into with your next steps? Tell me what do your next steps look like? And also, this is totally a different question and direction, but how do you see motherhood changing your focus and direction and what you want to achieve in the future?

ERICA [38:03]

Whoa, big question. So, basically I am relaunching BossPitch course in the fall, which is exciting. I like how I have all of these different buckets because that's very much my personality. So, I will never be someone that takes only one of my buckets and runs with it. I always plan on having them all there at the same time, my blog, my podcast, my course. Really the only thing that's not something that's a constant there now is the book because it's already published.

So, if I'm fortunate enough to maybe land a book deal, let's put it out there in the universe, then that would be incredible. But I don't have that right now, so yeah. I'm definitely still pursuing it. I'm definitely still working on it. I actually just created a bunch of updates and a bunch of additional content for it, so that's exciting because at least it'll feel like a true relaunch of it when it happens, which is exciting to me.

And really that ties directly into how things might change with motherhood because something that I learned the hard way was the importance of having as much passive income as possible when you are a mom. And obviously something like a brand partnership is not at all passive because you're hands on the entire process, creating, publishing, promoting, just the whole nine yards. It's very much you are hands on with it if you want it to succeed. So, my long-term hope is really to make my course something that is more passive, something that traffic can just continue where students have the opportunity to enroll whenever and have that be something that effortlessly works into our family and if we end up having another one or whatever God has in store, just that it's something that's always there and always able to a piece of the puzzle regardless of how hands on I can be at any given point in time. So, we shall see.

CAMILLE [39:58]

For you as well as for me and for anyone else that's listening that there are so many opportunities to create passive income and if you can do that as a mom or anyone who is an entrepreneur, that's money. That's my goal is so that I can provide value for others and then also be present and living my life in the moment. What an awesome life.

ERICA [40:22]

Absolutely. Totally. And it's something too I think people hear passive income and think that it's a cakewalk. Once it's there and working passively, it's definitely easier, but you still have a lot of legwork that you have to put in to bring it to life in the beginning. But I think it's also cool because they say the average millionaire has seven income streams. So, I think it's just really important to have multiple income streams and to not be afraid of them being diverse because they all work together to build wealth so to speak on the back-end for you whether that's you actively doing something or whether it's making money while you sleep because hey, that sounds pretty fun.

CAMILLE [41:06]

Yeah. And if you're listening to this right now and thinking, "Holy crap. Seven streams, that's a lot" or even three, know that you're listening to two people who have been doing this for a decade. This is something that we've been building for years and years and years and there is opportunity for everyone to be doing the exact same things that we're doing. So, I want to put that little seed there to say this is possible and online influencing and content creating is not going away. I think it's really at its infancy.

ERICA [41:40]

And to point out, just in case anyone is confused, the income streams doesn't mean that every single thing that we're doing, each of those is an income stream. But there's income streams within that too. So, for our blogs, sponsored partnerships with brands is one income stream. But then, affiliate income is another income stream or having ads on your website is another income stream. So, there's income streams within one thing. It doesn't mean that you have to go and all of a sudden launch a blog and a + product and a course and whatever. You totally can. But like Camille just said, we've been doing this for ten years. So, don't feel like you need to jump into that right away. You can have one thing and have multiple income streams within that one thing too.

CAMILLE [42:23]

Yeah. I couldn't have said it better. Well, this has been so wonderful. You offer so many awesome things. I'm so glad we're friends. Please let our audience know where they can find you and learn more about you and everything that you have to offer.

ERICA [42:36]

Sure. Well, you can head to my blog which is cominguprosestheblog.com. I have all of my links to everything all on there or you can find me on Instagram @ericaligenza.

CAMILLE [42:54]

Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This has been so great. I can't wait until we get to talk again and hopefully fingers crossed, it's with Disney.

ERICA [43:00]

Oh my goodness. Could you imagine? Let's put it out there right now.

CAMILLE [43:03]

Yes. I'm sending that out to the universe.

ERICA [43:06]

Me too.

CAMILLE [43:07]

Awesome. Talk to you later, my friend. Thank you, thank you.


CAMILLE [43:10]

Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you've found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast and remember you are the boss.


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