U.S. Hispanics love their social media. So when blogger Monique Frausto found an opportunity to build on Hispanics and technology, she created Blogs by Latinas, an online directory of Hispanic women bloggers from around the world.
BBL was founded in 2008 to establish a place where Hispanic women bloggers could find each other and share ideas. The hub lists more than 2,000 Latina bloggers, or blogueras, who write about topics from family to fashion.
Frausto's blog CurvesandChaos.com is mainly about fashion, but from a Hispanic womans view. It also focuses on her life in Los Angeles and features a Q&A with various curvy models that she calls 5 Q's.
We turned the tables on Ms. Frausto and asked her some questions about blogging and the business she created.
HispanicBusiness: Tell us about yourself, your upbringing, how you got into writing and became so tech savvy.
Monique F: I loved my childhood! I grew up with the hardest-working parents around. They were strict with us, but they taught us to value everything in our lives. They were perfect examples of working hard to take care of your loved ones. When it comes to my love of writing, that is all of my mom's fault. From an early age, she always encouraged us to read. She would drop my brother and I off at the library for hours and we would get lost in the books. I loved the imagination and creativity that went into writing a lot of what I read.
Now on the other hand, my love for the Internet is my dad's fault. When I was a preteen, my dad bought us our first computer. I was obsessed with it. Unfortunately, it broke a few months later. My dad vowed to never buy us one again. It wasn't until I was 19 years old and in the military that I purchased a computer on my own. That's where my love for the Internet blossomed. From that day, everything has been self-taught. And I have a lot more learning to do.
CurvesandChaos.com is about Monique Frausto’s life in Los Angeles and the fashion trends she chases.
HB: Blogs are so popular, and so many average Joes have one. However, I am sure it takes a certain something to own and run a successful blog. What are some key factors?
MF: In my opinion, there are a few key factors to keep in mind if you want to own and run a successful blog. First, you should have a passion for sharing. That's really what blogging is all about. Whether it be sharing your personal stories, fashion advice, business tips, recipes, or your opinion.
Second, you should know that blogs take a lot of work and time. A lot of us have been doing this for five or more years and we've dedicated a large amount of our time and life to it.
Third, remember to stay as genuine as possible and don't forget why you started blogging in the first place. It's easy to get caught up when your blog starts getting some attention. And lastly, don't be afraid to take advice, rely on, and ask for help from other bloggers. Find a blogging community you can relate to and start making worthwhile connections. This is how I met my mentor and some of the most amazing bloggers out there.
HB: Through your BlogsbyLatinas.com and CurvesandChaos.com, do you consider yourself a small business owner?
MF: I never really thought of myself that way. When I started blogging in 2008, it definitely wasn't to make money. But, I have invested a lot of my time and have made some personal sacrifices to be able to do what I do. It is like my baby and has definitely become a passion. I even have plans for the future to expand my BlogsbyLatinas.com directory. Today, I do make money working with brands, big and small. I also just signed on with Sway Group, an agency dedicated to bloggers. And I attend conferences and networking events I guess I am a small-business owner!
Blogs By Latinas is an online directory created by Monique Frausto that allows more than 2,000 Latina bloggers, or blogueras, to find each other and share ideas.
HB: How do you come up with topics for your CurvesandChaos.com?
MF: When I'm blogging at CurvesandChaos.com, I usually blog about topics and issues that Im dealing with in real life. A lot of my inspiration comes from current fashion trends, my frustrations with shopping or the fashion world, beauty problems, personal moments, lifestyle experiences, and some product reviews. I just write about things that I think someone else could possibly relate to.
HB: I see you have advertisers on your CurvesandChaos.com. How did this come to be? Did they approach you?
MF: When it comes to advertising on my blog, I've always been very picky. It took a while to start getting approached and asked what my rates were. Today, I don't accept a lot of advertising. Instead, I'm a member of the Glam Media digital ad network. It makes advertising a lot easier and less frustrating. Or I try my luck with affiliate ads.
HB: Is blogging a competitive industry?
MF: People may not realize, but blogging can be very competitive if you let it. I know a lot of bloggers who want to be the best and only have their best interest in mind. I think that's the same in almost any industry, though. So, I just make sure to surround myself with genuine and caring people that will enrich my life. Not someone who wants to beat me at everything I do. I believe in healthy competition. Like my friend and fellow blogger Ana Flores always says, There's enough room for everyone.
HB: How has social media helped both Blogs by Latinas and CurvesandChaos.com?
MF: When I think about it, I actually see my blogs as a form of social media. They are how I get to interact and share with people online. Yes, other social media sites have been very instrumental in helping me share my content, and I get a lot of my traffic from places like Twitter and Facebook. But, I think blogs are a more personal way of getting our message out.
HB: Hispanics are partaking in social media in record numbers. Why do you think Latinos gravitate to this communication platform?
MF: Since day one, I've always said we Latinos are word of mouth people. That was just how I grew up. If you love something you tell your sister, if you hate ityou tell her too. If something works great for your cold, then I'm going to tell my aunt when she gets sick. This is just second nature. I think thats why we've caught on to social media like we have. It's a faster way to communicate and share news with people in our own families, neighborhoods, communities, and around the world.