We earn commissions if you shop through the links below. Read more

The Blossoming Journey of Blogger Stacy Ling

Written by:

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.

The Blossoming Journey of Blogger Stacy Ling

In a world where career paths are often linear and predictable, Stacy Ling‘s story stands out as a beacon of inspiration and creativity. Stacy, a master gardener with a vibrant spirit, has transformed her passion for gardening and home decor into a flourishing online presence through her blog, Bricks ‘n Blooms. But her journey wasn’t always rooted in the soil; it began in the structured world of law.

In this enlightening interview, we delve into the captivating transition from Stacy’s career in law to becoming a full-time blogger and entrepreneur. She opens up about the challenges she faced while starting Bricks ‘n Blooms, and how she turned these obstacles into stepping stones for success. Stacy shares the secrets of balancing the artistic nuances of gardening with the meticulousness of running a successful business.

Join us as we explore the colorful world of Stacy Ling, where every turn is a story of resilience, creativity, and the unyielding power of following one’s passion.

Embracing Gardening as a Passion

SBS – Since you are a master gardener, how did you start a blog and share your passion with others?

Stacy – I have always tried to help my friends with gardening through the years. I have kids who are now in college, but way back in the day, when I was going to playgroups and PTA things, I would just chat with my friends and neighbors. They would always say things like, “I don’t know how you do it,” “I kill everything,” “I don’t know how to do this,” or “Your gardens are so pretty, but I don’t have the time to do this.” I helped them achieve that level of green in their life in an easy-care, low-maintenance way.

Starting the blog, actually, was something that I had always wanted to do. But the opportunity really presented itself when my oldest daughter left for college (I have three daughters, and she was the first to go). I was facing this life path and wondered, “What will I do now?” I didn’t really recognize it at the time, but looking back on her senior year, I almost felt a little lost. I felt a little melancholy, like things were changing, and I knew they were.

I had seen a bunch of influencers on Instagram and other places, and I just said to my husband one night, “I’m just going to do this.” I started researching online, on Pinterest, and searching Google for how to start a blog. I self-started the whole journey just like that.

You can just do it! You can do and share something you love and feel passionate about like I do about growing plants and flowers. It’s such a rewarding thing that it’s hard not to feel fulfilled and happy when you’re enjoying what you’re doing.

From Law to Blooms

SBS – How did you transition from practicing law to becoming a professional blogger and gardening expert? Did you have any education or experience in gardening, or was it something natural to you?

Stacy – Oh, yeah! Way back when I was in law school, my husband and I lived in this cute little condo. We had no property at all. But one of my neighbors had a townhome, and it was amazing what she did with what little property she had. She made these cute little cottage gardens. I just thought it was the coolest thing.

My upbringing was not around plants and flowers. My mother wasn’t really into gardening. My brother dabbled a little bit. So, I don’t really know where the passion sparked, but my neighbor truly inspired me, and I just started asking her questions. I actually started growing a few houseplants indoors there, and they died. I killed all the plants.

Then I decided that I was gonna try to grow flowers outside. We had this little strip just outside our front door, and my friend said, “Why don’t you try growing impatiens?” They’re easy-care and good for shade. With that, I had success, which just started taking on a life of its own — because I had that one small success. I felt like I could do anything!

After growing that, I started expanding to other areas outside of our condo that I could get my hands on. My neighbors let me do stuff. Then, I convinced my husband to move to our former family home, which had half an acre. I just went wild there; I just started doing more and more and more.

I was working after law school. I passed a bar. I worked for the Tax Court of New Jersey for Honorable Roger M. Kahn and then for Deloitte & Touche. While I was working for Deloitte & Touche, we started our family, and it just became too much.

My husband’s an architect, so he’s a professional as well. The two of us struggled with who would stay home with my oldest. Then, when the second one came along, we just made the decision that I would stay home. I wanted to stay home; it was my choice, so I did that.

However, I had no tech experience at all. I was never interested in computers or tech. Maybe I played Nintendo or Atari way back in the day for fun, but I was never into coding or anything like that. It’s kind of crazy how I started working on websites. As a mom, I always volunteered my time (like we do). I worked for the PTO, the local baseball/softball organization, and our high school volleyball team. I was working on the website there and doing registration. That is what kickstarted my knowledge of working on the back end of something.

So, having that basic knowledge of working a website was the ground level for me learning how to start my blog because I wasn’t afraid of it.

At that time, I was ripping my hair out doing all this volunteer work, and my husband said, “Stacy, just do this as a job. Put your time into something where we’re making money.” But really, having that volunteer experience and learning other skills I didn’t learn in law school helped me prepare for my life as a blogger.

SBS – But did you miss being a lawyer, or do you now miss being one?

Stacy – Not at all. But I do use that background all the time, like when I’m working with brands or reading my own contracts, so it definitely helps to have that background.

Early Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles

SBS – What were the first challenges that you faced?

Stacy – I started my blog in December of 2018. By July 2020, I could only take myself so far. I felt like I was spinning my wheels. I wasn’t growing. I was struggling to get seen on Instagram and other social media channels. Then, an influencer that I follow started this blogging mastermind. That changed my life because she taught me things I could never have taught myself. It helped me grow because I listened to what she advised and put that into practice.

Balancing Act: Creativity, Business, and Blogging

SBS – How do you balance that creative side of gardening and home decor and also having to run your business and a blog?

Stacy – It’s so much work. I’ve been a solo woman for so long and just started getting a team together. My friend comes over and helps me do things in person, like some administrative stuff. I do have an amazing tech guy, Mike. He helps me do everything on the backend. If I have issues or trouble, I can call him, and he’s really great support for keeping me going because there are so many things with tech that I don’t know. I know enough to get by, but there’s so much that I don’t know. Having somebody on your team who can help you, even if it’s just somebody that you hire when you need them, is just invaluable.

Audience Engagement Strategies: Past vs. Present

SBS – What strategies are you using right now to engage and grow your audience? Can you tell me how it was when you started and how it is now? Does it have any difference?

Stacy – I have always been on some socials because I wanted to be one step ahead of my kids. I wanted to be FBI with them, so I knew what was going on and they could be on the platform safely. That’s where I started gaining knowledge.

But when I started the blog, I decided that I wasn’t going to overwhelm myself and try to do everything all at once. I started with one platform at a time so I could learn it, set the business up, and try to start growing it. Now, I’m at a point where I’m on all platforms, and I’m constantly sharing.

Each platform performs differently at different times. It’s almost hard to predict, but my business model has always focused more on the ones that seem to be doing well. I’m still doing all the other socials, but maybe not as much. I’ll give you an example.

Two years ago, Pinterest was big. It was driving a lot of traffic, so I was devoting a lot of time to making pins and pinning. Then, when they changed their algorithm and weren’t paying creators anymore, I backed off that and started focusing on TikTok because I started growing a lot there. When I started growing a lot on TikTok, it started growing my Instagram.

SBS – Are you using email marketing or LinkedIn to grow your clients?

Stacy – I do social media, but also, every time I publish a post, I always push it out on email. Updating a post means I’m completely revamping it to include more information, fresh photos, and things like that, and I sent it via email because, even though my audience may have seen it a year ago, it’s usually evergreen content (about growing shade-tolerant plants, for example). Also, new people follow me all the time, and they probably haven’t seen it.

I’m also updating the post in such a way that the people who saw it before will see it with a fresh perspective, or I do a fresh take with new photos and maybe different plants, or something like that. Having an email strategy is very important because they will click over to your blog. There are some very faithful readers that want to hear from you.

Content Creation: Then and Now

SBS – How much did your content creation change from when you started the blog, and how is it now? You just said you are constantly updating your old content, but how does creating new things differ?

Stacy – Yes, I’m trying to put a heavier focus on updating old content because I have so much of it that needs to be updated. A few years ago, it was more about getting more content out there. Even how I write blogs now is completely different from how I did it three years ago. I go back and think, why didn’t I say this? Or the ideas were there, but maybe I feel like I didn’t execute them well. So, I’ll completely revamp it and try to present it in a new way that is a little more digestible, understandable, and relatable.

I still create new content, and I do it because I don’t like not creating new content, but I’m very focused on updating the old stuff.

Monetizing Strategies and Revenue Streams

SBS – Can you share some insights on how you monetize your blog and how you diversify your revenue streams?

Stacy – The best way to monetize your blog is getting in with an ad network. I’m with Mediavine, and I love them. They’re fantastic. I was not with an ad network before Mediavine, so the blog itself was not really making an income until I joined them about two years ago.

I was also doing, and still do, brand work through which I also make money. I get paid through some social networks, but that landscape has changed a lot over the last year or two. Like I said before, Pinterest was paying pretty well to do pins, and then they closed that program.

It’s just like other socials — you almost can’t rely on them because they come and go with their programs of paying creators. So, I don’t really rely on that. Now, the bulk of the money that I make comes from ad revenue. You just have to drive traffic to the blog so that you can grow it and get into ads.

SBS – Is it through some affiliate links or Google Ads?

Stacy – Oh yeah, I do have affiliate income. I do earn money from links. For me, it’s anything that’s in my niche. I do a little bit better with garden supplies, tools, and things like that, but not as much with home decor and stuff. I think it’s because my audience is more into gardening. They like my home decor content, but I don’t think they’re following me for that.

I personally feel like, if you’re in a niche, it’s important to be on brand and drill down if you’re going to sell things through affiliate links. That’s why people will trust you and want to know what you use.

The Power of Networking and Collaboration

SBS – Why do you think networking and collaboration are important for your business to grow and create new important business or strategic partnerships?

Stacy – I think collaborating, particularly with other bloggers, was great because I got to meet and work with people. We built a lot of backlinks to each other over the years. Through networking, you can gather your own personal little tribes and learn things from each other that you might not have learned on your own. There’s enough room for everybody, and we can all share information to help each other. It doesn’t need to be this competitive atmosphere where it’s like, “I know this, and I’m not going to tell anybody.”

SBS – When you say networking, are you going to fairs or seminars, or do you contact those people directly through Instagram or other channels? Do you think that is important if you want to connect with people who have the same beliefs, or does it just come naturally?

Stacy – It’s important to go to them or at least connect with other bloggers in person because you build relationships and learn things from people; you just don’t get that from being online.

When I started the blog and started connecting with people, we were unfortunately hit with the pandemic. There wasn’t any in-person contact or anything, but we made it work. We all tried to meet up on Zoom calls and stuff like that. But then, as the conferences started happening again, I went to a few. I’ve been to a retreat where I taught a class.

In the last two years, I’ve tried to go to one a year. I feel like that’s a good way to meet brands in person because, a lot of times, brands will be there as well. That’s also great for learning things about your business that maybe you didn’t know and just connecting with people.

Constant Creativity

SBS – How do you always create new or fresh content?

Stacy – Especially with gardening, I write a lot about a lot of things that are happening in the garden. So, if I’ve got dahlias that are blooming amazingly, I’m talking about them. Maybe I’ll write a post about it or talk about something else related to it just because I have a lot of content on it right now.

Another example is growing a flower garden. There are different kinds of flowers you can grow in them. This year, I started a potager garden that blends your kitchen with flowers (cooking with flowers). I talked a lot about what I was growing in there — and that could look different every year. So, even though it’s the same content, it’s not because gardening is never the same.

Work-Life Balance in the Home Workspace

SBS – How do you balance your work and personal life (and parenthood) since you work at home? What is your routine that helps you to balance that?

Stacy – I think this is still evolving because last year, I was also working for my husband and helping him with his business. I’m still doing it, but I’m not focusing on it as much because I just don’t have as much time. But I do still help him. As for the family, my kids are a little older, and they’re not home, which makes it a little bit easier. I do have two demanding dogs, though, that want to eat all day long. So I have to make it difficult. But, if I need to be working on something where I need to be left alone, I’ll come into this room, and no one will bother me.

I do a lot of time blocking for myself, though it’s not official. When some people time block, they schedule that from eight to 10, they’ll be doing one thing, or from 10 to one, another thing. I kind of work that way because in the mornings, when I get up, I have my system: I get my coffee, I start looking at my analytics, I publish my posts, and push it out on socials, like Instagram. I won’t spend more than half an hour on that, but I do have my day somewhat time-blocked.

Advice for Aspiring Online Entrepreneurs

SBS – What advice would you give to someone looking to turn their passion into an online business? What’s something you’d maybe like to have known when you started?

Stacy – I would say to start wherever you are. Start, and don’t hold yourself back trying to figure out a name or trying to do something because you’ll wind up working yourself up and won’t start it.

Future Plans for Bricks ‘n Blooms

SBS – What are your future plans for Bricks ‘n Blooms, and how do you plan to evolve the brand even more?

Stacy – I have another book in the works. My first book (The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden) is being published through Harvest House on February 6. I am lining up my second book. I just signed a contract for that. I think it’ll come out in 2025. I’m enjoying being an author. It’s fun! I enjoy writing. Maybe that’s partly because I went to law school, learned a lot, and did a lot of reading and writing. I definitely want to do more of that in the future. And I would really like to grow more of my video content, focusing a little more on YouTube.

Key Advantages in the Journey to Success

SBS – What do you think is the most beneficial thing about being a content creator and a successful business owner that you are today?

Stacy – I am a very goal-oriented person. I know we have a new year coming up, and everyone is always talking about setting a new year’s resolution. I have never been that way. For me, it’s always been a goal. I had a goal to go to law school. I had a goal to graduate. At one point, I had a goal to become healthy, and I wound up running a marathon.

Just to give you a little backstory, when I was 35, both my parents had colon cancer, and I took that very seriously. I knew I needed to make life changes, so I said to myself, “You’re gonna get healthy.” That included going to the gym, and I started watching what I ate because a lot of that is diet. I remember being at the gym, and I saw my girlfriend running on a treadmill. I said, “I’m gonna do that. I want to do that.”

Every time I got on that treadmill, I started bumping up the speed a little bit more and picking up my own. Eventually, I started running. When I started running, I said, “Well, if I can run one mile, I can run two. If I can run two miles, I can run three.” Before you know it, I was running a marathon.

The blog has been the same way. I started this journey and said to myself, “Okay, you started a blog, and you started all these socials. Now let’s start a YouTube channel.” So, two years ago, I started a YouTube channel and started growing it. Then, it turned into a book.

SBS – I think people can learn from you and see that you are the kind of person who doesn’t look back and doesn’t have regrets. The key is to try, even if you don’t succeed.

Stacy – You miss all the shots you don’t take, right? That’s a great quote, and I think it’s a good thing to live by. If you don’t at least try, if you get in your head and say you don’t know how to do this or that, you’ll never get started.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Blossoming Journey of Blogger Stacy Ling