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Stacey Ferguson: Building Your Personal Brand

By Beth Braverman

Nov. 14, 2016
Stacey Reguson, the co-founder and chief curator of the Blogalicious
Stacey Ferguson, the co-founder and chief curator of the Blogalicious

Stacey Ferguson is co-founder and chief curator of the Blogalicious influencer network, conference, and online community. A former lawyer, Ferguson launched the conference in 2009, growing the network to more than 1,000 bloggers whom she connects with marketers like Disney and Dove. Ferguson, a former lawyer, now runs Blogalicious full-time and tours the country speaking to would-be entrepreneurs about how to grow their businesses and build their personal brand.

Were you nervous about launching a business in 2009 when the economy was in such bad shape?

If we had thought about that, we probably wouldn’t have done it. But it was a perfect storm that ended up working out for us. People were getting laid off and downsized and looking for other revenue streams. They started to realize that they might be able to create a business online. They could create a blog and write about things and then monetize it.

At the same time, the big brands were looking for economical ways to reach their audience that didn’t involve expensive advertising purchases on television or magazines.

Plus, we got the best hotel deal we’ve ever gotten for the conference because they were desperate for the business.

You waited four years to quit your job as a lawyer to focus on Blogalicious full-time. How did you know when it was the right time to make the move?

I have always had an itch to do something outside of law, because I did have a creative side. I tested out several businesses on the side. I did event planning; I had a line of aprons for moms. This was the one that got traction and showed me the potential for a real business that I could grow.

I tell everyone to treat your day job as your first investor. It allows you to put money aside, so that if and when you take that leap, you have some savings to fall back on, which is always a smart thing.

What else did you do to prepare for the transition away from your full-time job?

I talked to my husband a lot. He was my support system, and he had this expectation that I was going to be a lawyer, maybe a partner one day, and we’d have a certain stability and quality of life. We spent years talking about ‘OK, I want to do this, here’s how it would work, here’s what we’d have to sacrifice.’

You have three children, too, so how do you find work-life balance?

There is no balance; it doesn’t exist. What I try to do is be fully present in that moment whatever I’m doing. A big part of why I wanted to do this was to have more flexibility to be home for them when they got home from school, to be able to volunteer there. I have also built a great team to help me at work, so that I can have that uninterrupted time with my family.

In addition to your work with Blogalicious, you serve as an advisor to local entrepreneurs who aren’t in the blogging space. Can you talk about why it’s important for even non-bloggers to be focused on their online brand?

Whether you’re a mechanic or a cupcake maker, you have to have an online component to your business because that’s how you generate credibility. People support business that they trust and that they believe in.

What are the biggest mistakes you see new business owners making?

Jumping into business without doing any market research is a big mistake that leads to challenges that could have mostly been prevented. Taking the time on the front end to explore and research an idea or a consumer base will save you time, money and frustration in the long run. Also, not having a niche or unique selling proposition trips new business owners up every time. What makes your business or product or service different?

What’s next for Blogalicious?

Great question, and something I consider weekly. Without giving too much away, we’re exploring creative ways to meet our community where they are throughout the course of their day. It will involve content, of course, and technology.

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