The self-proclaimed queen of averages is far from average…
I chat with everyday entrepreneur, travel blogger Katie of The Katie Show Blog on how she made shizz happen for herself to achieve her quest to live a digital nomad life.
What was the moment that made you rethink it all – life, work and all that jazz – decide to start a blog?
When I started my blog, I was in a really shitty job situation with poor management and dealing with lots of office politics. I have been lucky for most of the jobs I’ve had, in that I’ve worked with amazing leaders. This was the first time where I really didn’t have that and I hated going to work every day, so, I started a blog to have something productive and creative to work on in a way that could help or be a useful resource to others.
I needed work that I could feel good about. I put in my resignation after a year, took up some full-time work at my favourite store, Nordstrom, selling clothes in the evening shifts and used my mornings and days off to create content and invest time working on my blog. I love working; I think corporate jobs can be fulfilling and never really planned to be a blogger, life just kind of led me this way. It was simply the fact that I worked under two really bad directors, and I have a lot to thank them for because if they were great bosses, I wouldn’t have The Katie Show Blog.
So the case of having bad bosses led to some good decision making – what a turn around! When did you realise your travels could become your business and start the Katie Show Blog?
I started KSB long before I realised that my travels could become a business. Originally, it was an outlet for me to share some of the hikes, snorkelling areas and local businesses I found in Hawaii (where I was living at the time). I have worked full time for most of the time I have been blogging, and Katie Show Blog was mostly a fun project on the side. It wasn’t until much later that I realised I had a little business on my hands and had the confidence to go for it.
I don’t know if there was one moment that shifted everything, it was more an ongoing growth where I’ve created new opportunities and business relationships. My blog kind of developed a life of its own, morphing organically from Hawaii travel to global travel, from hobby to business. It made me realise that I had something valuable to offer both my audience and businesses helped with that shift.
I had started following you from a few years back (stalker much?), and I thought out of all the travel Instagrammers out there, you stood out to me for the fact that your photos did not seem to be contrived or the stock-standard pose with an insert inspirational quote. What was the moment that you decided to do it the Katie McIntosh way?
Well, they definitely were at one point because I used to think I had to be like everyone else to be successful as a travel blogger. I did all the same stuff everyone else was doing and gave up my uniqueness for a chance to be ‘successful’. Then I just realized how frustrating it is as a user of Instagram to see my feed all looking the same. Everyone is playing a game of trying to beat algorithms and ‘fit in’, and it’s become a sea of vanilla – everyone looks the same, the captions sound the same, and it’s boring!
As the creator, it wasn’t enjoyable trying to fit this mould because it’s just not me. I didn’t see people like me represented as much so; I decided I would simply be me. I’ve gotten far less likes and features on Instagram than I did when I was like everyone else, but I enjoy it more and am connecting with people on an authentic level which I love.
I love that you have decided to keep it real as it can be exhausting trying to keep up with the Kardashians of the travel blogger world! How did being your authentic self-benefit your business?
Firstly, it made the creating side of things enjoyable again. It’s also allowed me to connect with people on a deeper level. People have something real and authentic to relate to. Instead of the typical one-liner quotes, now I share everything from solo travel, to body image, to confidence, growing as a woman, to empowering yourself and these are my real feelings that people can relate to or offer their own advice on. Even though less people engage with my content, the people who do are sharing their own stories with me, or thanking me for being me (which is the ultimate compliment in the world). I’ve even had a couple of people send me postcards from their travels! It’s definitely increased the quality of relationships with my friends on the Internet.
Travelling can certainly teach you some hardcore life lessons. What has been the biggest learning curve for you in the blogging business?
There have been so many, but the learning curve that made the most difference for me is to just jump in and put myself out there. There have been so many things that I have been hesitant to post because I was scared of people’s opinions, or worse – scared that nobody would react to it at all, or scared that it would be a public failure and, in the end, when I have posted these things that scare me, they’ve mostly had a great reaction with people.
For example, this week I posted a video I made of me running around the world, and I was scared to post it because I was worried about people seeing my body jiggle all over the place as I run, or scared people would think it’s stupid. In the end, my Internet friends really got behind it and supported it, even telling me how inspiring it was, and it made me wonder why I ever hesitated!
Sometimes things flop and don’t get that kind of reaction, but I just remind myself that ‘ok the worst case scenario happened and we didn’t die so oh well, let’s learn what we can and move onto the next thing.’ My mission is to inspire and empower others, and the biggest lesson I have learned is that I can’t do that while I’m hiding in my shell and not putting myself out there.
What is in the pipeline for you next – both in business and travels?
I’m currently writing a book about travelling which should come out next year, and I’m very excited about that – between the negotiations and research trips, it’s been almost 18 months in the making! That is the biggest thing I am working on at the moment. I’m also hoping 2019 will bring my first Katie Show Blog group trip so I can meet some of my Internet friends in person and have some fun travel experiences together!
Since being in the travel blogger business, what has been your highlight business partnership to date?
I’ve been lucky to have some really amazing business partnerships which have taken me to some incredible places but the most memorable to me will always be the companies that took a chance on me when I was just getting started and didn’t have as much to offer – The Real Hawaii Tours and Hawaii Adventure Diving are two that come to mind. When you are starting out and trying to create opportunities, it feels like you won the Super Bowl or something when you get that ‘yes’ email and I’ll never forget the businesses that gave me a chance in my early days.
So we know from scrolling on Instagram, not all travel is what it seems and in reality, travelling can be unglamorous as you can get! What has been the hardest with living life as a blogger?
Not having a stable income is one of the trickier elements of being a blogger, especially when you start out. It’s usually the case that you will work full time as well as do your blog work at first, which is hard. As a travel blogger, the travel days getting to and from a destination are definitely hard, particularly the long ones. They are just so tiring and take a toll on the body after a while. Like every job, there are a lot of ups and downs really.
You made yourself standout with calling yourself a former fat girl and a queen of averages – why have you marketed yourself that way?
Simply because it’s real, it’s my story, and it’s who I am. I’m the most average person in the world; if you walked past me in a shopping mall, you wouldn’t notice me at all. I’m not the super glamorous travel bloggers like the others I see – I don’t always have styled hair or winged eyeliner and I like to wear t-shirts and jeans. I market myself that way because it’s me and I figure, maybe if I stay being me, I can be a representative for others just like me. Maybe if I share my story about being the former fat girl and overcoming the years of self-hate, it might empower others to change as well if they are unhappy. If I stay being me, I’ll be able to find others out there who are similar.
Ok, I am lover of good coffee and a co-working space with a lot of creative vibes. What is your favourite co-working cafe or space that you like to set up shop in for the day?
Starbucks. Maybe it is because I started my blog in a Starbucks, so there’s a little sentimental value there, but I do love them. Aside from that, I work mostly from home and when I’m travelling its hotel rooms, airports and wherever I get a chance (and some free wi-fi).
You create content, now how about your downtime reading material – any books to recommend?
I cannot go past the “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Candide” by Voltaire.