The $8k a Month Curly Hair Blog


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Delilah Orpi

Ever thought about turning your expertise in an everyday subject or topic into an online business?

For Delilah Orpi, her expertise was on taking care of her curly hair — and starting as a side hustle, she turned that into an

online business earning around $8k a month at HolisticEnchilada.com.

Delilah has some interesting strategies she used to grow her audience, build her email list, diversify her income streams — all of which can be applied to a topic of your choosing.

Tune in to The Side Hustle Show interview to learn:

  • why Delilah started blogging about curly hair
  • how she’s grown her traffic and email list
  • the multiple income streams she’s created from the site

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Why Delilah Started Holistic Enchilada

Back in 2017, Delilah said she had been teaching full-time for a couple of years and was starting to dread the long, tiring days.

“Getting up early and being with the kids all day long is really draining, then I would come home to my daughter. I have always wanted to have my own business and work for myself,” Delilah told me.

Delilah had previously run an Etsy shop and dabbled in some other things, but she really wanted a more passive income stream.

She saw an ad on Facebook for “How to start a blog”, and that got Delilah thinking.

Some of the things people were always coming to her for advice on were clean living, organic lifestyle choices, and curly hair.

That was what inspired Delilah to start her blog HolisticEnchilada.com – to answer the questions people have about these topics.

She started out with the idea to blog mostly about an organic lifestyle, but one of her early posts called “How I take care of my curly hair” went viral on Pinterest.

Delilah decided to write a few more posts on curly hair to see what if she could repeat that success and said they all did well.

This was enough to make her switch her focus from lifestyle content to blogging about curly hair.

Driving Traffic With Pinterest

After seeing a post go viral on Pinterest, Delilah decided to focus her early efforts on Pinterest to drive more traffic to her blog.

She had taken a Pinterest course the year before, so she knew how the platform worked and how to create pins.

Delilah decided to run Pinterest ads for all of her curly hair posts with a budget of $1/day to increase the exposure of her pins.

This drove enough traffic to her site to see an increase in affiliate sales that more than covered the $1/day ad spend so she left it to run for months.

Pinterest Optimization Tips

Delilah said it’s important to be aware that Pinterest is always changing its algorithm. What works well right now can often change.

That said, Delilah is getting around 1.9m monthly views to her pins on her Pinterest account, so she’s mastered the platform.

She shared some tips for what’s working well:

Niching Down

What’s worked best for her overall is niching down her boards to be very specific.

For example, she has boards for the Curly Girl Method, curly hair tips, a fine curly hair board, and so on.

Delilah said she would then make multiple pins for each of her posts and pin them to all the different boards.

As she published new posts, she would add the pins to her $1/day campaign to give them a boost in Pinterest’s algorithm.

Video and Idea Pins

Video and Idea pins are two of the newer formats of pins Pinterest has released. It’s still early days in terms of how well they’re performing but Delilah has her VA creating these.

Using Tools and a Virtual Assistant

Delilah creates the main pin that she includes on her blog post herself. Her virtual assistant then creates more pins and schedules or posts them to all of her boards.

She is using TailWind, a tool that automatically schedules pins and repins to automate pinning. Grow.me, a WordPress social plugin, makes it easier to share, save, and group content across social media platforms.

Driving Traffic With SEO and Email Subscribers

In 2019, Delilah decided to take her blog seriously and knew she needed to figure out how to drive organic traffic.

She took a course called StupidSimpleSEO and went through the course quickly applying everything she learned.

“It made a dramatic difference within a couple of months to my traffic,” Delilah told me

Delilah also started focusing on increasing her email subscribers and went from 150 subscribers to 10,000+ in 2019.

She also took a course called Email on Autopilot, and created a care guide for curly hair which she used as an opt-in on her site.

Delilah said she didn’t use any pop-ups. Instead, she would link to her care guide in her content 2-3 times per post as a call to action.

Keyword Research

Delilah uses Ahrefs to find keywords to write about. She signs up once a year for a trial, as Ahrefs is pretty costly at $100/mo, and does all of her keyword research for the year.

She looks at competitors and what keywords their ranking for, as well as typing in keywords and seeing what Ahrefs produces.

Delilah said she usually targets keywords with a search volume of around 1,000 searches a month and a difficulty of 50 or lower according to Ahrefs.

In addition to these “SEO posts”, Delilah also writes content around questions her audience asks her.

Content Strategy

Delilah’s main content strategy when she started out was writing “Top 10” or “Best of” posts. This type of content was best for affiliate sales as she could link to shampoos and other curly hair products.

Delilah told me the posts that did the best were anything to do with “affordable” or “organic” products, such as skincare and makeup.

But the curly hair topics were much less saturated, so she was able to drive more traffic to these topics.

One particular topic called the “Curly girl method” was particularly underserved at the time and did very well for Delilah, although it’s become a lot more popular now.

Setting a Tripwire Offer and Upselling

With traffic to her blog growing, Delilah said she wanted to create products to sell to her audience.

Feedback from her audience was that they wanted something affordable. So, after some brainstorming, Delilah created a product guide for curly hair addressing the most popular questions she gets asked.

She made this her tripwire offer when someone signs up to her email list. When someone signs up, they have the opportunity to buy her product guide for $9 if they make a decision within 15 minutes.

For non-subscribers, the standalone price for her guide is $17.

Her average conversion rate is 30% on her tripwire offer. After someone purchases at the discounted rate, they are also sent an upsell offer in another email.

If a subscriber doesn’t make a purchase, they go straight into Delilah’s welcome series of emails.

Her responder series takes people through a number of emails introducing them to her blog and recommending some products, before adding them to her “forever series”.

Delilah also had a course priced at $149 for lifetime access she was marketing to her list. Delilah said it did well in the beginning, but she was getting feedback that it was too expensive.

So, she switched it to a $29/mo membership model where people can cancel at any time. She also offers a $5 discount if someone signs up within 48 hours and said it’s doing better than the lifetime option.

Setting a “Forever Series” and Email Marketing

Something Delilah learned on the Email on Autopilot course she took was to set up what’s called a “forever series” of emails.

To do this, she created an email template with an introduction to a blog post. She then went through her blog and created an email for every blog post on her site.

These emails then go out once a week and generate a steady flow of traffic to the posts on her site while keeping her subscribers engaged with weekly emails.

In addition to these emails, Delilah sends out emails to her list 2-3 times a month when she has something else to share.

She also sends a “Sunday scoop” email, which is going well. This is a weekly email where she focuses more on linking to other blogs within her niche than talking about her own content.

Tech and Tools

The tech Delilah is using to power all of this is a tool called Kartra. This is an all-in-one software that she uses to create her sales pages, send emails, handle payment processing, and more.

Delilah used to use a number of tools to handle these tasks individually, such as DeadlineFunnel, ConvertKit, and ProofFactor.

She said Kartra does everything under one roof at a much more affordable price than those tools, so it’s worth checking out if you’re managing a tech stack.

Monetizing Methods and Strategies

“I really just want to have different places that money’s coming in from,” Delilah told me about diversifying her income streams.

The different ways Delilah is monetizing her blog outside of her paid products are:

Affiliate Links

“The only way I thought I could make money at the time was through affiliate links,” Delilah told me about how she started monetizing the traffic coming to her site.

Delilah is part of the Amazon Affiliate Program and has also joined some other programs for specific products she recommends.

This was her first income stream and she made about $4,000 in her first year from affiliate commissions.

Display Ads

Delilah is using Mediavine.com, a full-service ad management company to display ads on her site.

YouTube

Delilah has a YouTube channel with 4,500 subs and growing. She became eligible for ads last year and has started earning some revenue from her video content.

Delilah was reluctant at first to break into video content. But after seeing Jennifer Marx of JenniferMaker.com post a video every day for 25 days and the rapid growth that generated, she decided to give it a try.

(Jennifer also stopped by The Side Hustle Show in early 2020, sharing how she built her site to 6-figures a month.)

After that initial burst of video content, Delilah now posts one new video a week. Her channel has also opened up opportunities to work with brands and direct viewers to affiliate links.

Going Full-Time

Going full-time with her blog wasn’t that hard of a decision for Delilah.

Delilah said she was “fed up with the classroom,” referring to her job as a teacher, and that her husband had taken a new job in another state.

After she quit her day job and was making plans to move with her husband to another state, he actually returned home. So those plans were scrapped.

Delilah’s blog was making $1,000-$2,000 at the time, so she started picking up other online work to supplement her income.

She decided that when her blog hit $4,000 a month she would drop all other work commitments and focus 100% on growing her blog.

Delilah reached that point at the beginning of 2020. As a result of spending more time on her blog, she’s seen her income grow even quicker since then.

What Would You Do Differently Starting Over?

If she had to start over again, Delilah said she would learn SEO from the beginning and start selling products earlier on.

In fact, Delilah did launch a second blog in 2019 doing exactly that. She started a blog about reading, more specifically about how teachers can help students with special needs.

She is selling some resources for teachers through her blog and also on TeachersPayTeachers. This has helped the income for that blog grow quicker than it did for HolisticEnchilada.com.

What’s Next?

“I’m really focused on growing the other blog,” Delilah told me referring to her blog selling teaching materials.

Delilah is still putting out content on HolisticEnchilada.com, but she’s switched her main focus onto her other blog.

She has also started a third site, a Cuban food blog with her husband. So, there is a lot of blogging in the future for Delilah.

Delilah’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

“Invest in education from the beginning.”

Free Bonus: Blogging Toolkit

Grab My 6-Figure Blogging Toolkit

These are the tools, resources, and plugins I use on Side Hustle Nation.

Enter your email to check out the full list now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

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