Hi! My name is Geeves and I’m the founder and head writer at Real Girl Review, https://realgirlreview.com/ a motivational travel, lifestyle and review blog for people who want to be inspired to live life.
On my blog, you’ll find stories and tips that are not only helpful and informative but also, fun, uplifting, and most of all… real, which is what Real Girl Review is all about.
I know what you’re thinking… another know it all influencer, another blog telling us what to do, just what we need.
Hey, I get it! Influencers and bloggers often get a bad rap for contaminating feeds (and brains) with their photoshopped images of perfection and often unrealistic takes on what life ought to be. It’s a shame that so many people are convinced by the standards set by people who can’t keep up with them themselves.
But, before you put me in the same category, you should know, I’m not your typical “influencer”. Although, once upon a time, I wanted to be, until I realized the negative connotation associated with that word.
As you’ll notice by looking at my social media feed or blog, my style is more like that undercover journalist who wears cute clothes and goes undercover to fun places, writing real reviews that spark curiosity and excitement.
All I want to influence is your smile, not every decision you’ll ever make from having a baby to becoming vegan. Who am I to preach what’s right for you?
The reality is, life is everything but perfect no matter what they have you believing on social media. That’s what Real Girl Review aims to reveal through the voice of real girls everywhere, including my own.
You can call me “smile influencer” instead.
Every now and then I encounter a hilarious experience that I just have to share. This is where Real Girl Review’s motto, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, comes into play. We don’t leave out a story just because it’s not selling a brand right. We just don’t promote the brand. This is what sets Real Girl Review apart. We don’t bash businesses, we only write about the ones we think are worth checking out.
I also never review things I haven’t experienced myself. Not to mention, I never do a paid collaboration with a brand that I haven’t tried and loved myself beforehand.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
Just recently, I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of kicking Lupus’ butt. I’m happy to say that I’m in remission. It’s been a long journey to get to this point. Living with a chronic illness, I’ve had to adjust my lifestyle, work and living conditions around my health which can be difficult sometimes, what I imagine having a baby to be like.
As easy as it would be to dwell on the negative aspects of my reality, I decided to shift my focus to sharing the positive things in my life instead.
I always knew that I wanted to be a source of inspiration rather than envy. Instead of trying to cover up what I was going through, I decided to use my Lupus and travel adventures https://www.realgirlreview.com/category/travel-adventures/ as a way to remind people that they too could live their best lives without having to achieve perfection to do so.
But, as everyone knows, the internet can be both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing when it’s convenient and helpful, connecting you to a world you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. It’s a curse when it’s a toxic environment, leading us to doubt ourselves to the point of damaging our self-esteem.
After being in a negative social media atmosphere for a few years, I realized how toxic the environment was that led people I knew to literally kill themselves. I thought to myself, “how can this online world be so influential that people are driven to take such harmful measures?”
I knew that there had to be a friendlier social media, a safe space where people felt welcomed, not ridiculed or criticized. My followers knew too…
I would keep getting the same questions like, “Do you have a blog?” or “When are we going to see you on your own TV show” (stay tuned) Before I knew it, I was launching Real Girl Review.
But, it didn’t dawn on me that this could be more than the occasional online post until I heard people’s personal stories. I was surprised by the amount of positive comments I received from followers who found it refreshing to finally see content from someone who was “real” and “authentic” and not afraid to embrace the good and the bad.
It touched me to hear that my journey positively impacted their lives and inspired them to live their own. To me, I was just a girl sharing stories. To them, it was much more than that. Many said I was giving them a new purpose and motivating them to live their own life.
I even received comments from people who were depressed, saying that I made their day and gave them a reason to live, which was shocking to hear. I began to realize that my stories and motivation had the ability to reach so many more people.
The challenges the business/market is facing
COVID-19 is definitely a big challenge that has threatened my business everyday since its inception. Between travel restrictions and job market security, there’s so much uncertainty in the world right now. It’s amazing just how much one thing can have a trickle down effect.
There aren’t as many people are traveling as they used to. Being that it’s my job to inspire people to travel and my business is only relevant if people are searching for places to travel and things to do, it’s a concern.
Prior to the pandemic, my business as a travel blogger focused on international destinations where I reviewed hotels, restaurants and experiences.
I’ve had to adapt to weather slow times by constantly producing content and adapting to seasonal, location specific or trending topics.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
When the pandemic first arose, I was scheduled for 3 international press trips which were all subsequently canceled after lockdown fell into place. As a result, a lot of businesses were in jeopardy of closing, even online ones.
Rather than shutting mine down because I couldn’t focus on global destinations anymore, I merely pivoted my focus to US based travel instead and then, further narrowed it down to New England once travel restrictions became even more stringent.
I now put a larger focus on local, family owned, and small businesses in New England. Surprisingly, this has actually increased traffic to my website, resulting in more brand collaborations and opening up a brand new niche for me!
My business could have been permanently affected by the global pandemic but, once I realized the new revenue streams this opportunity afforded me, I didn’t look back. I have found many more opportunities in my own backyard of New England than I ever thought to capitalize on before.
Advice to others about business
Anytime I tell someone that I’m a travel blogger, their eyes light up and they act as if I hit the job lottery. Little do they know, it’s not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a 24/7 life.
There are no weekends in my business. If I’m going out to a restaurant with friends, I use it as an opportunity to take pictures and review the place later on social media or my blog. There are opportunities everywhere I look whether I’m traveling or having a relaxing day near home.
For those who want to try to pursue the blogging world, I’d say that if you’re going to commit, commit 100%. Be absolutely certain that you actually enjoy producing content and not just every now and then but on a regular basis. Sometimes, I post 5x/day on social media. That’s what the job requires to be relevant and get in front of as many people as possible.
Despite what many influencers will brag about online, being an influencer or blogger online is not as glamorous as it seems. There’s so much involved that goes on behind the scenes that people aren’t privy to. It’s also not a get rich quick scheme despite what constant online sales courses will tell you.
It can be (and most of the time is) very time consuming. Make sure you have the time to dedicate.
Another piece of advice I’d offer is to be weary accepting every brand deal that comes along. It can be very tempting especially when you’re starting out but, make sure the brand’s values align with your own brands’ values, style and audience.
If you were inspired by my story and can relate, I’d love to hear from you!
Always keep it real,
Where you can find me:
My blog: www.realgirlreview.com