On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting Ruth Crilly, ex-model and genius behind A Model Recommends. She created the website while modelling to recommend the skin care, diet, and beauty products she came across and had a deep enthusiasm for. Since then, her website has blown up, she has over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube and she’s done tonnes of exciting work, including being the co-founder and spokesmodel for Colab (you may have seen her face on the beautiful bottles). Aside from being super busy, she’s also lovely and has the clearest skin I’ve ever seen – so naturally I had to get her beauty secrets and will be posting those soon . . . don’t worry.
In any case, I wanted to pick her brain on lots of things. One of those was creating a space on the internet that replaced her full-time job. Here’s what she had to say about it all . . .
Did you start the website as a companion to the modelling or did you always think it would be a full-time thing?
I mean modelling was only ever supposed to be a short-lived thing, I was doing law and then I left to do modelling for a couple of years and I thought I’d always go back and do something else, but then it just took off and it seemed stupid to stop when it was doing well. At the time I thought, it’s not something I could come back to because there’s definitely a time limit on it. It just kind of went on and on and on and I kept working. It wasn’t really until I started my website that things were slowing down naturally anyway because I was turning thirty then and, you know, there is a shelf life. You’re starting to slow down, you’re not going to be getting jobs when there are sixteen-year-olds going for the same jobs.
Do you have any tips for succeeding in the blogging world?
Posting your content regularly is really important, people when they go back sort of want to know what they’re getting and when they’re getting it. I used to have posts all lined up and if something came up that was more reactive and I wanted to post it, I’d shift things around but now it’s just so crazy trying to fit everything in that I tend to be doing it on a wing and a prayer the day before. I go through phases, on a good week by the time I get to the end of the week I’ll have scheduled everything for the next week, but some weeks I’ll have just managed nothing. It just depends. I’ve been on lots of press trips and things as well, so it’s a bit manic to get things done.
How did you grow your following?
I think being engaged with followers, and having conversations is good. It’s tempting to be quite stubborn, and when people say “I don’t like it when you do that,” ignore them. Listen to people, and if a lot of people are saying one thing, or they want to see a certain thing, or they don’t like a certain thing that you’re doing, you need to change. A lot of people are quite quick to write off those opinions, but you’ve got to remember they’re real people with intelligent real opinions, and I’m constantly on the look out for constructive criticism. Sometimes it’s hard to take, but it’s an important part of it. If it’s just a hobby then, why would you want to deal with negativity? But if you’re doing it on a bigger scale then it’s really important to have your feelers out and know the lay of the land.
How do you juggle your hectic schedule with your home life, especially having just had a baby?
I’m really bad at this. I end up doing work, last night it was half eleven and then the baby woke up and I had to get up at six. I used to be quite good at having the separation, but not so much anymore just out of necessity really. I think that if you are able to, just stop work, schedule your social media throughout the night and just stop working at six or seven, whatever the time is that you set. Be quite vigilant about that. For four years I did seventy or eighty hours a week continuously, probably more than that because I would lie in bed drafting things.
So do you think it’s better to treat your website or blog like a second job if you’re passionate about it?
Well, every waking hour I was working, but people say that like it’s a bad thing and I’m not sure that it is. Sometimes I sit there and I think “Okay so I’m not working, I should be relaxing.” If I thought about what I really want to do, I really want to go and play around with my beauty products and make notes on them, I mean that’s what I really love doing. So actually, maybe it’s not such a bad thing if you want to work all the time. I think if you don’t like it and it stresses you out then that’s different, but if you’re enjoying it then why not?
Do you have any favorite apps?
At the moment, my favorite app is the Must Cam App. It ties into the baby monitor so I can see the baby when I’m travelling if she’s in her cot. It’s pretty good but it gets obsessive. It’s the cheapest baby monitor in the world. My other most used app is probably Instagram, it’s obsessive.
What was the hardest part of your career and how did you overcome it?
Having been a model for so many years, and then the website was really taking off and having to make that decision to spend the majority of my time on the website and not modelling. Turning down castings was quite scary when that’s been your livelihood for so long. It was great because it meant I put all of my time into the website, and luckily I could because it was going well, but yeah – that was quite a life changing decision. That’s what I’d done for all of my adult life. So, it wasn’t a hard decision to make but it was quite scary because the bread and butter work, that was paying for everything I was paying for, was over. You really have to make the other thing work if you’re giving up your main job.
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