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The Inspiring Journey of Chas from Chas’ Crazy Creations
Written by: Carolyn Young
Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.
Published on November 30, 2023
Updated on December 13, 2023
Welcome to a captivating journey with Chas, the vibrant spirit behind Chas’ Crazy Creations! In this interview, we delve into the world of a true renaissance woman whose life and website are a kaleidoscope of creativity and resilience. Chas isn’t just about DIY projects; she’s a symphony of repurposing, upcycling, crafting, and so much more. Her website is a treasure trove for those who cherish teaching, learning, sharing, and building a nurturing community.
Are you a fan of seasonal decor, thrifty finds, or transforming the old into awe-inspiring new? Chas’ Crazy Creations is your go-to haven. But there’s more to Chas than meets the eye. As a breast cancer survivor and a warrior through two hip surgeries, she brings a wealth of wisdom and encouragement. From chemical-free cleaning tips to stress-reduction strategies and easy recipes, Chas shares her life lessons with open arms.
Whether you’re an aspiring blogger, a DIY enthusiast, or someone looking for a dash of inspiration in your daily routine, this interview with Chas is a beacon of knowledge and motivation. So, buckle up and prepare to be inspired, educated, and above all, welcomed into the family of Chas’ Crazy Creations. Let’s dive in!
Inception and Journey Origins
SBS – How did it all start, and what is the story behind your business?
Chas – I’ve always loved to create things and have always done that myself. Then, I did it with my kids. At one point, I ran across a website called Hometalk, where anyone can contribute information. So, I was learning from it and I started posting tutorials. Through that, I got flown out to New York City to their headquarters and met with Hometalk, and they hired me to do Facebook Lives for them. I did those once a week, leading to just video content creation for them.
At some point, I think the light bulb went on, and I said, “You know, I should maybe be doing this for myself.” So, I then started up my blog and my YouTube channel. My full-time job at the time was being a dance director, and I was about 25 years into directing a dance program when I tore a labrum in my hip and needed surgery. I had to take a little break from teaching while I was getting that done. Also, a month after that, I got diagnosed with breast cancer, and then I found out my other hip had to be done. So in one year…
SBS – Thank God you’re looking good. I hope that everything is okay now. Can you tell me what motivated you since you were in the dance for so long? Because entrepreneurship is an entirely different thing.
Chas – Yeah, thank you. Yes, I’m healthy. Everything’s great. I’m able to dance again. Cancer is gone.
Initially, this was just a way to earn a side income. I had my full-time job. I loved what I did. I was thinking that someday, when I won’t dance or teach as much anymore, it would be something I could lean on for a revenue stream.
I’ve always loved teaching. This was my way to put the projects I made out there, share something with the world, and build that community. So I enjoyed that part very much too. It’s a bonus that you can make money doing something you love, right?
Then, of course, when all that health stuff happened, I made the choice to retire from dance because I realized it was too hard on my body. I needed to be nicer to it if I wanted my next set of hips to last, and I didn’t want cancer to come back.
At that point, I just jumped into my DIY website full-time and met a ton of other bloggers who do the same thing I do. I was teaching them about blogging through all of this. They said, “Chas, you are a teacher, and you need to embrace this teaching aspect that you have. You should start coaching bloggers on how to blog and make a living through blogging and video creation.”
So, even though this awful thing happened to me, my world pivoted in a way I never would have expected. Now I have my DIY website, I’m coaching bloggers and loving every minute of it!
Early Challenges and Transitions
SBS – Tell me what difficulties you faced in the first stages of your business and how you overcame them. Also, when you decided to do blogging full-time, did you open a company right away?
Chas – Oh, yeah, these are all good questions. First, when I started the website, my engineer husband said, “You could just follow a YouTube video and start up your website.” So I did. You know, I really shouldn’t have done that. I should have hired somebody to help me get the website started correctly because I think the tutorial I followed was outdated. I didn’t even start with a square foundation, so finding that would have been helpful.
I knew enough business stuff that I needed an email list. I knew some things like that, but there were pieces I didn’t know, like what optimizing images or writing for search engines was. I just started writing blog posts. As you get a year in or so, you start learning and think, “Oh, gosh, how are people going to find you? What are you doing?”
Not only did I have to take lessons, but now I had to fix everything I hadn’t done. Not everything in the world needed to be fixed, but nothing out there was doing anything for me in Google Land.
Hands down, I wish I had invested in some courses or classes earlier on. A lot of times, when we start, we’re not making any money, so we look for free options. But if you are going to be a business, you need to treat it like a business. You do need to invest in it to learn.
I wish I had done that sooner than I did. It’s fine. I learned from it, and I’ve grown from it. We learn from all of these experiences. But investing in your business to get the right tools to help you grow, I think, is essential.
SBS – About your retirement thing, was that something that you made overnight?
Chas – Yes. With the first hip, I knew what it was going to take. They replaced my hip naturally, so I don’t have any metal in it. It takes a longer recovery time when they do natural tissue replacements. It meant six to nine months of no dancing with just the first hip. I already knew that, and I’d set myself up with the business I taught at. My assistant director took over my directing job, and everybody was prepared. We weren’t prepared for me to be diagnosed with breast cancer a month later and then have to go through the treatment.
At that point, I said, “You know what? I feel like I’m being told something right now, but I’m not sure what.” It took some time for me to reflect on the right choice. Then my hip surgeons told me I was going to need the other hip done, too. They just said, “If you want these hips to last you the rest of your life, you must not be as hard on them. Now, we’re fixing them and structuring your bone correctly so that you’ll be able to dance again. But you should probably not be dancing for 40 hours.”
Unique Selling Proposition and Client Appeal
SBS – So now that you are in the business, what makes you different from others in the same niche? Why do you believe people reach out to you?
Chas – With regards to my DIY website and my coaching, what I’ve been told is that I teach in a very easy and understandable way. People don’t feel judged by me. If they don’t understand something, they feel comfortable asking me questions again, maybe even a couple of weeks later. I don’t make them feel uncomfortable. They feel very comfortable asking me things with the tutorials — no matter where they learn from. They just said I’m approachable and they can learn from me easily. I do it in a way that they feel like they can do it and accomplish it themselves.
Daily Routine and Entrepreneurial Life
SBS – As a woman entrepreneur, is there a typical day for you? And if there is, can you describe some of the activities that you do every day?
Chas – I am a time blocker. I put blocks of time on my calendar. I learned this recently, and it’s a good tip for everyone. A lot of times, we fill our calendar with our work essentials first, and we often forget to fill in time just for ourselves — whether that’s exercise, going for a walk, or having brunch or coffee with a friend. We need to remember to put some of those in our daily pattern first, block that time, and make it non-negotiable because that’s for our mental health. I try to block some of those times, make sure I’m exercising every day, and have breaks between long days of coaching.
Outside of that, Mondays are the days I shoot and edit all my video content. Tuesdays tend to be some of my big coaching days. I try to block all my coaching on those days. Wednesdays tend to be when I write all my blog posts for what’s happening in the next week or so. Thursdays are the email and social media planning days. I have Fridays blocked off, so those look like free days, even though they’re not.
I’ve learned that life throws itself at you constantly. So, if you book yourself for five full days, the monkey wrench always gets thrown in there. Sometimes, it’s the unexpected — a brand deal comes in, and they need something from you right now, or your kid gets sick, and you have to stay home with them. Something always happens. Blocking all the essentials in four days’ worth of work allows that monkey wrench to get thrown in. If that happens on Tuesday, I can move Tuesday to Friday or move some things around. If I block everything for five days straight, I’m constantly in stress mode, like, “When am I going to get that done?”
Business Structure and Organization
SBS – What business structure did you choose for yourself when you started the business?
Chas – I started with an LLC. I went to the state and got my application, which took very little time and hardly cost anything. Then I set up my business checking account and got my business credit card to avoid co-mingling any funds with our household. Especially when you start working with other brands or doing user-generated content for other companies, you just don’t want to cross funds. Because if, for some reason, something were to happen down the road (somebody says, “I burned myself on a hot glue gun” and decides to sue you), you want that to only just go away.
SBS – I agree. But are you an LLC, or did you move to another formation? Is it still working for you?
Chas – It’s still working for me because if I do hire any help, it’s contract work. I don’t have any employees yet. If I ever had employees, I would have to change the structure.
SBS – How do you hire people that help you? What qualities do you look for?
Chas – I often look for recommendations from my peers. If they’ve used them and they like them, then that’s usually where I start. Many of the people I have found were through word of mouth from my peers and colleagues. There are also Facebook groups out there. My ad agency, Raptive, has a Facebook group. You can put prompts in there and ask other people if they know of a good VA, a video editor, or things like that, and get recommendations.
I would set up an interview with those people, go through a list of questions, and ask for references and examples of their work. I’ve hired a few people, and it’s flopped miserably; it didn’t work out. A part of it is the learning experience and knowing that it might take a few people before you find the right one.
SBS – How did you find your first customers, and how is it different now?
Chas – You can gain your clients and customers through just search engines, but I find that if you can find a platform that can help generate traffic to you, it gives you more chances. For example, when working with Hometalk, I became an official blogger through their Blogger Traffic Program. If you provide them with three tutorials on their website, they give you one direct feature over to your website. By doing that, I would get an influx of traffic that day, which, in turn, helped with ad revenue, which was great in affiliate marketing but also helped me with followers and subscribers. People would sign up, and I would see an influx of sign-ups at that point.
I also find that word of mouth helps — like some social media platforms and YouTube. They can relate to you if you show yourself, introduce yourself, and you seem likable. If they like what you do, they want to become a customer, a follower, and a subscriber. Down the road, these are your purchasers, too. If you ever sell products, classes, courses, or swag (shirts and different things), they’re your superfans. Collecting those people is great through any of the platforms.
I also am a huge fan of email marketing. One of the things I like to do is offer them something for free. It’s an email series that sends them through the automation of several of my top posts. Maybe they want five ways to be a smarter homeowner or the best of Christmas DIYs or whatever it is. They’ll sign up for it, and it will take them through my Best of email automation. By the end of that automation, they just become regular subscribers who will get my email once a week. Hopefully, by the end of that, they will become lifelong subscribers if I’ve done it well enough.
So, rather than just grabbing the free PDF and running, I’ve offered them several weeks of good-quality content, and they see its value. They have fallen in love with what I do and want to do it themselves or want to see what I’m up to. Again, you’re building trust and relationships.
SBS – Regarding email campaigns, do you do it yourself?
Chas – I do. I’ve used different email services over the years. I’m currently with Flodesk, but I set up the emails myself. It’s about realizing what the pain point is, what the problem you’re going to solve for them is, getting them to sign up, and then solving that problem through that email course. Maybe they came to see a Christmas craft. I want to set up the automation so they can sign up to get five awesome Christmas crafts.
You can look at your Google Analytics and see why people are coming to you and build that automation or workflow from what they’re coming to you for. My website has anything from cleaning and organizing to crafts so that I can have a different thing for each client. I can have one overall thing, but I can also get something specific for each one of those clients so that it speaks to them. I gain more clients that way because I’m targeting exactly what they’re looking for.
Future Vision and Entrepreneurial Insights
SBS – How do you see yourself five years from now, and what kind of advice would you give entrepreneurs just starting their journey? I am interested to hear how you see yourself in the future, especially with everything that you’ve been through.
Chas – Yeah. Healthy. And then hopefully just continued growth. I just want to keep growing and meeting new people. I would love to be able to travel and meet some of the followers someday. I already do it a bit through coaching and conferences I’ve been speaking at.
I would like small retreats where people can come in and craft together and build. I love getting together and talking and hearing people’s stories. For me, it’s not just about sharing; I like building that community too. Building on that idea and building those personal connections — I thrive on that. Or the challenges thrown at me. I love that, too. When they say, “Hey, what can you do with coffee filters?” I reply, “That’s a good challenge. Let me see what I can do with that.” That’s my goal — to keep building the community and keep growing.
For all the people starting, I would say it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t think you’ll just start this and instantly make all the money and see instant growth. It is a long challenge, and it takes time. So have patience, be good to yourself, and treat it like a business. Treat your time and everything like a business. Set hours on it. But keep your personal life. Don’t destroy your personal life for your business. Also, invest in yourself and your business.
SBS – These are all good bits of advice, especially for people who are just starting. People should put their well-being first, and then everything else will follow.
The Inspiring Journey of Chas from Chas’ Crazy Creations
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