Our featured blogger is Chacoy Aguayo of the inspirational blog Living in La La Land. Chacoy is a busy single mom who loves spending time with her tween son. She juggles her time as a full-time student, and full-time blogger while supporting important causes.
How did you start blogging? I started blogging in 2009 as a way to keep out-of-state family and friends in my and my son’s lives. It’s an amazing feeling when someone other than family is reading your blog, and leaves a comment about how the “story” that you’re telling has helped or made another person feel as though they aren’t alone.
What do you believe helps to differentiate your blog from others? I often get asked what my “niche” is, and I honestly don’t feel that I fit into one. I write about things that I love, my family, my life, things that have molded me and my family into who we are and sometimes I am lucky enough to share some amazing product reviews.
Tell us about your audience and what kind of content and information they are looking for. I recently took a poll to see what my readers wanted to see more or less of, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of men took the survey. So I would say that my readers are a mix of women in the mid 20s to 50s as well as men in their 30s and 40s. It’s absolutely humbling to see so many ages, ethnicities and sexes reading what I have to share.
How do brands work with you to reach your audience? At first I didn’t see how brands were able to connect with their audience through a blog. It wasn’t until I did my first review, and realized how much I loved that product. I wanted to share my positive experience with other parents who could potentially benefit from the information that I provided. I believe that brands sometimes see how my family and I live our daily lives, and reach out to me because they feel that their product would be a good fit for our busy lives. I am completely flattered when a company/brand reaches out to me to review their product.
Do you ever refuse to review products that you don’t use or believe in? Yes, and no. Sometimes I haven’t tried the product that I’m being asked to review, but agree to review it because I think it will be amazing for my family. Unfortunately some products are not what I expected. While I may need to email the brand or agency with negative feedback, or provide a not so great review I am happy knowing that my honest feedback may help someone else who may be curious about the product. I also will never agree to review a product that doesn’t fit my lifestyle. For instance, my son is older so I would never agree to review a car seat or baby products.
Do you support any particular non-profit organization or cause through your blog? In my life I have experienced some amazing and not so amazing things that have impacted my family. It is because of these experiences I want to help to raise awareness for causes that may not often receive the attention that I feel that they should. There are three organizations which I support including: The March of Dimes, Survival Mode Parent and Relay for Life.
My son is a preemie. He was born at 28 weeks, and weighed 2 pounds, 4.5 ounces. When I first started searching for information about preemies there wean’t a lot of information available. Then I came across the March of Dimes, which is a great organization whose mission is to help moms have full-term pregnancies and research the problems that threaten the health of babies. We host walks, runs and fundraisers in my town to help.
I also love Survival Mode Parent, a website that helps to match people who need help while their child is in the hospital to volunteers who are willing to provide that help. The volunteers can do a variety of different things to help out these parents, from running errands, or helping with groceries and basic needs. It’s unfathomable how much help you need when your child is in the hospital, so it’s great to have these amazing volunteers to help with the basics.
Another organization that I love to support is Relay for Life. Having been diagnosed with cancer made me want to help those who are also going through it by helping to provide support and encouragement.
I like to remind people that while you may not be personally impacted, you can still reach out to help. Sometimes someone just needs to know that they’re not alone.
What advice do you have for a Latina who is thinking about starting a blog but may now know where to begin? I am no expert in starting a blog, but I do have some advice. Before you start, make sure that this is something that you really want to do. Talk to your family and ask them if this is something that could work for you and for them. Make sure that you’re in it, not just do it for a week, disappear for a few months and then come back and expect to see a successful blog. Do your research. There are a lot of sites out there that can help you to start a blog.
Once you’ve decided that it’s something for you and your family, then you should start by selecting a name for your blog,
blogging platform, “niche” (don’t start a DIY blog if you aren’t going to any DIY projects often, don’t start a cooking blog if you’re only going to share a recipe once a month) and how much time and money you’re willing to invest. My most important advice for starting a blog is to write about what makes you happy. You don’t want to have a blog that you’re not happy to go to every day! If you’re consistent and write about what you love, the rest will follow.
What can you tell them about maintaining a balance between home and work? This is always difficult for anyone with a blog whether you’ve been doing it for a long time or are just starting out. You have to make sure that you’re not over extending yourself with your blog. Don’t make a commitment that is going to pit your family against your blog. Try to keep a schedule about when you’ll blog, maybe when the family is asleep, kids are at school, etc. as not to interfere with your home life. Keep a blogging calendar. This calendar should contain when posts are due, when you published a post, when reviews are due etc. This helps me to not only see what I have done, have to do but also makes me be accountable because it is “on the schedule”. Also another thing that helps is to write some of my posts in advance and have them pre-scheduled. Blogging doesn’t have to be hard or become a hardship on you or your family but it can be if your don’t carve out time for each.
Do you have Twitter, Facebook or other social media contact information that you would like to share?
If you weren’t a full-time blogger, what other field could you see yourself working in? I’m actually a full-time student, work a part-time job, keep busy as a single mom, and blog full-time, and I just started another part-time job. So I would say that if I wasn’t blogging I would be going to school and working.
Tell us about three people that you admire and why. There are three people that I admire including: my mom, my dad and my grandma.
My mom: She is such a great mom, wife, nana, sister and best friend. No matter what, my mom is always there for my siblings and I as well as her three grandchildren. She is open, kind, forgiving and beautiful inside and out.
My dad: He is hardworking, a great dad, loving husband, papa, brother and best friend. He too is always there to support me and my siblings and his grandchildren. Her is strong, caring and the best dad and daughter/grandson could ask for.
My grandma: She was such a strong woman who stood up for what she believed in no matter how controversial. She was beautiful inside and out. She never spoke bad/ill about anyone and always had a kind word for everyone. She never drove a car and still somehow managed to see the world. She is missed everyday!
What is your favorite life or business quote? I have a couple of these. First, “Treat others the way that you want to be treated”. It pains me to see people treat others badly. And secondly, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff”. This is so true, why sweat the stuff that isn’t important and that you can’t change.
Can you share what is the most important business habit that you have? To be honest, polite, quick to respond, and just be myself!
What is the most important lesson about blogging you learned this year? That I don’t always have to write about what I think everyone else wants to read, that I can write about things that I want to tell people about my life, my family etc.