881
8 min 11 sec

Beer Blogger Crafts Side Hustle from Craft Beer

An Austin transplant begins writing about the city’s many craft breweries, and it quickly becomes more than a hobby. She now earns a third of her income from the project.
Beer Blog Niche Ideas Social Media

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What It's About

A Texas transplant finds a way to get paid tossing back the best beer the Lone Star State has to offer.

Business Model
Blog
Skills Required
Communication & Content Writing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Caitlin says that you should dive headfirst into your niche. When she started getting serious about marketing her beer blog, she read all the books and articles she could get her hands on. She listened to all the beer podcasts, went to Brewer 5ks, and even volunteered at beer festivals. In short, she put in the work to become an influencer and expert in beer, and now it's really paid off!

Fun Fact

The iconic Texas beer brand, Lone Star, was so popular during the 1970s and 1980s that the beer was served at a Texas-themed party thrown by the Kennedys. Their Manhattan party took place in Bloomingdales and little, old Lone Star was there to refresh the crowd.

Notes from Chris

Episode 881
By day, Caitlin Johnson works for a small eCommerce startup, and by night she’s working on her blog, Big World Small Girl. The blog showcases her favorite places in her new city and beyond. She’s happiest exploring new neighborhoods, meeting passionate people, and relaxing on porches with a cold beer in hand.

But let's go back a bit...

From an early age, Caitlin was an avid reader. Books carried her away on adventures to faraway places in her mind. They allowed this small girl to explore the big world around her from the comfort of her home. Later in life, this love of books would inspire her to write about her own adventures.

When she reached the legal drinking age, Caitlin enjoyed taking day trips to wineries and breweries around her home in Virginia. She would then write about her experiences on her blog. Her first blog was simply a means of creative expression and a way for her to share her passion. But in addition to honing her writing skills, Caitlin was also learning HTML, SEO, and other foundational internet skills which would also soon prove to be instrumental.

At the age of twenty-three, Caitlin took a month-long, solo trip to Puerto Rico. That trip inspired a new blog and a new brand: Big World, Small Girl. And now that she’d had a small taste of this big world, she decided it was time to see more. She took several long exploratory weekend trips to different cities around the country in search of a new home before discovering Austin, Texas. With a young, hip population, huge craft beer community and renowned live music venues, it was the perfect match.

Whether by good planning or good fortune, Caitlin’s new home turned out to be a great choice for what would soon be her side hustle. According to the Nielsen Company, adults in Austin read and contribute to blogs more than those in any other U.S. metropolitan area.

In addition to her love of the live music scene, Caitlin also loves craft beer. But more than just the delicious, refreshing taste, she loves the stories behind the breweries, the brands, and the people.

She also appreciates the impact they have on the community and neighborhood that supports them. There are 32 breweries in Austin—and aside from the people who write for local publications, there weren’t any bloggers or influencers focusing solely on craft beer! So she decided to fill that role.

With a goal to become Austin’s premier craft beer guru, Caitlin poured herself into all things beer related—from publications to podcasts, soaking up all the knowledge she could. She also started writing about them, sharing her discoveries and crafting the blog’s content to be more associated with both Austin and beer.

And then she started looking for sponsorships: companies that would pay her to promote their brands. Among others, she signed up Jameson Whiskey, Wheatley Vodka, and Dogfish Head Brewery. Her largest sponsorship pays $1,000/month, and in total, they make up a third of her income.

It’s also brought her an incredible range of experiences, from going to private concerts on Willie Nelson's ranch, to taking a road trip through Texas to visit 51 breweries.

Coming up next: more travel! She works remotely for her day job, giving her the flexibility to work from the road. Naturally, she’s planning her trips around the craft breweries of the world.

 
 
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Big World Small Girl: Learn more about this Austin, TX-based beer blogger over on Caitlin's website!
  • WordPress: Caitlin used WordPress to set up her blog, and here you can learn how to install your own WordPress site in 5 minutes

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Don't expect to start making money from Instagram or blogging overnight. Be authentic, be real, and be CONSISTENT. That's how you'll be successful."
—Caitlin Johnson #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau