Sarah Fogle is a professional home improvement and DIY blogger with a community of followers numbering in the millions. She’s a self-taught builder, digital marketing veteran, DIY superstar, and an overall badass who’s not afraid to roll up those sleeves and get her hands dirty.
Sarah’s is the full-time owner and curator of Ugly Duckling House, a powerhouse blog of do-it-yourself articles, video tutorials, woodworking projects, landscaping ideas, interior design tips, and more! From humble beginnings, Sarah has transformed herself and her home into a model of what to and what not to do for anyone who’s looking to improve their homes.
In 2009, young Sarah bought her first home in Atlanta, Georgia with plans to fix-up just a couple of things until she discovered her new hobby.
“Initially I started to post before and after pictures of my home improvements on Facebook. I was inspired to start Ugly Duckling House after a friend of mine started her own wedding blog and urged me to take my home renovation stories to a platform where people could follow.”
Sarah worked for a handful of companies in financial services, freelance design, marketing, and editing while she was running Ugly Duckling House on the side. She learned various aspects of digital marketing from social media, brand development, and advertising to coding and website design. As Sarah continued to improve the site while writing and recording her home renovation projects, the blog began to take off.
“It started as a hobby to keep my friends updated, I never imagined turning my DIY blog into my full-time job!”
Breaking the Stigma of the Blogging Business
Sarah applied the same dedication she felt for her home improvement blog toward her personal growth and development. She obtained her MBA from Georgia State University in 2013 and it was there when she started to realize that her “hobby” had potential.
Sarah’s peers and professors encouraged her to think like an entrepreneur, and that’s when she started to see that her side hustle could become a real business. Like many brilliant young professionals, Sarah wasn’t fully passionate about her corporate path and felt like it was the perfect time to give her passion a serious shot.
Yet, some of Sarah's friends and her ex-boyfriend were less than supportive. They just had a hard time grasping Sarah’s decision to pursue what seemed like a hobby full-time.
“When you start a blog, it’s hard for people to take you seriously. Most don’t acknowledge that you have an actual business if you’re a blogger. I’ve introduced myself and my blog to people before who walked away in the middle of our conversation once they heard what I do.”
Sarah’s 6 Expert Tips for Bloggers
- Take yourself seriously! This is a constant struggle as a blogger. For beginners, save-up and invest in attending blog conferences and influencer events with other people who are doing what you’re doing. Your friends and partners may not be able to fully grasp what you do as a blogger, but there are other people on a similar path as you who can give you the needed knowledge, support, and inspiration
- Bloggers who are further along in their careers should utilize blogging events for serious networking and business connections. Not everyone gets the blogger lifestyle and it’s so wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people who concentrate on the things that you love to do. Look for collaboration opportunities with others and share what’s working and not working
- Continue your education. The world of digital marketing is evolving, there’s always a new platform or a new algorithm. This can be super frustrating at times, but just accept it, buckle down and welcome each new frontier as an opportunity to learn and better your business
- Stay open to new opportunities. Because things are always changing, it’s hard to set rigid expectations. Stay flexible and be open to new opportunities that can take priority over your immediate plans
- Never anchor yourself to one platform. There’s a huge problem with people wanting to invest all their time in social media. The downside to these platforms is that they are owned by other people. Concentrate on creating your own website with great content and use it as the anchor point for your business
- Take a media diet if you need to. Sometimes you’re spinning in so many directions and aren’t paying attention to what is working and isn’t. Reset your brain, refocus, and play the long game. I created content 3 years ago that is paying me a paycheck today. Focus on what you’re doing today and this week. You can’t juggle all of it at once. Taking a break from everything allows you to reassess what is working so you can double down on that and forget the rest for a while
Smashing DIY Stereotypes with Xena Workwear
Similar to many women working in male-dominated industries Sarah has felt the pressure to conform her feminine style to fit a certain type often represented in the DIY community. She admits that in the past she spent a lot of time overthinking the way she dressed and looked.
"Recently, a friend and I were talking about how women shouldn’t have to feel like we need to only wear DIY uniforms consisting of a flannel shirt, heavy steel-toed boots, and messy hair tied up in a bun. Women shouldn’t have to feel like they need to look a certain way to be taken seriously. There’s no shame in being yourself and embracing femininity. Xena gives me the opportunity to go to DIY conferences and wear protective shoes that make me feel more like myself. You shouldn’t have to tone down what makes you unique.”
Sarah is framing her latest project in Xena Gravity Safety Shoes
Sarah loves that Xena is challenging the outdated norms that professional women in STEM and the trades are still being expected to follow. Sarah Fogle’s dedication to trailblazing her own path exemplifies the confident and badass spirit of women who inspire us!
By Courtney Faye Brown. Courtney shares human stories that raise awareness and help advocate for women empowerment.