How I Built a Six-Figure Brand as a Natural Hair Blogger: An Interview with Tamara Floyd
24 Jun 2015
If you enjoy this interview and want to get a more in-depth, behind the scenes look at how Tamara built her six-figure blog, buy the “Secrets to Creating a Six-Figure Blog” program today.
When I first met Tamara Floyd of Natural Hair Rules last year, I knew I would like this popular blogger right away. Her bubbly personality made me want to get to know more about her and her journey as one of the top online personalities in the natural hair movement, with more than 635,000 followers between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Over the past year, I’ve had a chance to learn about this curly trendsetter who’s a happily married mother of two, and have been inspired by her story. Read on to find out how Tamara turned her side-hustle into a lucrative full-time business which informs and inspires women around the world to love their locks.
How did you get started on your natural hair journey?
I call myself a “Jackie” of all trades. I like to experiment with different things. I’ve had multiple businesses in my life, and actually started Natural Hair Rules (NHR) two years into my natural hair journey as a hobby, not thinking it would ever be a business.
I had gotten married and was now a wife trying to figure everything out. At the time, I was 20 and my husband was 23; we were both still in school and trying to make ends meet. I looked up one day and my life had completely changed. And I just thought to myself: “You know what? I’m going to go natural!” For the most part, I’ve always been pretty natural. It felt like cutting out the relaxers was the last piece of the puzzle.
I really had no idea what I was doing. I transitioned for like 3-5 months at the worst time of the year when it was really humid in Houston.
So your journey wasn’t this big epiphany; it was more like a gradual shift for you?
With the life changes, I wanted to see who I was when I was completely natural. Before I made the decision, I had already begun going through a stripping process. [Which included some of my relationships.]
In doing it, I never realized how much I would learn about myself.
I think a lot of people start this journey, not realizing it’s going to be life changing because we’ve been told for so long that it’s just hair. But everyone knows that it’s not just hair.
What was the idea behind starting NHR?
I was on the ground floor of the natural hair movement. I remember the first time I went to church after I did my big chop and people did a double take. But it was good because people really began to see me. I had a friend even tell me, “I didn’t realize how beautiful you are.” You can hide behind your hair. Once the hair was gone, I didn’t have anything to hide behind.
My blog started from a conversation I had with a friend of mine who one day told me she was going to start a blog. So I was like “What’s that?” I started doing my research and decided I was going to launch a blog about natural hair.
Part of it was, I was getting so many questions via text, email and phone asking me natural hair questions, I realized I needed somewhere to send people for this information. So when I started the blog, I emailed everyone in my address book and let them know about it. From there, it grew organically.
It started out as a creative outlet so I posted about once a week. At the time, I was working, going to school, and was active in church, but I wasn’t happy with how things were going with work and school. So the blog gave me a place where I could express myself.
What were some of the keys to growing your brand/blog?
When it comes to blogging, content is always king. You have to have good content that is written in a way that is easy to digest. Whatever you’re doing with your blog, it has to be consistent. I know people who get burned out. But I think some of that burnout comes from not being passionate about their content, and also getting locked in to what others tell them they should do.
I’m careful about the advice I take from people who are not in my space. The thing is, if they’re not in that space/industry, they may not be the best people to take advice from.
I know when I first started, people were saying that having such a niche site wouldn’t be profitable. And even though I’ve tried expanding on my topics to other things that I was interested in, I’m smart enough to know what people are coming to my site for.
A lot of people are writing but feel lost because they haven’t done the behind-the-scenes work to find out what keywords people are searching which will drive the most traffic. What has really helped me, is: 1) making sure that I have content that is easy to understand; 2) doing the keyword research to find out what people are searching for. When I’m planning my content for the year, I make sure to dive into my analytics and keyword research to see what’s getting the most traffic.
I also make sure to engage my audience and be where they are. Part of my success is due to the large following I have on Facebook which is at almost 600,000. My husband had enough foresight to tell me to start a Facebook page years ago. I make sure to post daily and ask my audience questions and send surveys to find out what they want to learn about. That kind of research helps you to develop your product.
How do you monetize your content?
Right now, I primarily monetize through ads because I have a good amount of traffic. But I’m working on expanding to e-books, webinars and T-shirts–some of the things my readers have asked for.
How long did it take you to get from making just enough to keep the site up, to making enough for it to be profitable?
By my fourth year, I was making a full time income–about $30,000/year. That was what I really needed to push me to take blogging seriously.
What are your thoughts about the natural hair movement? Do you think it’s a trend or is it here to stay?
What made the natural hair movement so popular, was the fact that people were looking for resources–not just products–to show them how to care for their natural hair. Most African American women didn’t grow up knowing how to take care of their natural hair.
We’ve been told for so long what the world considers beautiful. And most of the time it’s not how we’re born. In addition to that, we didn’t have products that supported our natural texture. I think women’s eyes were opened [to the beauty of their own hair] and they wanted to learn more about how to keep it healthy. I definitely don’t think it’s just a trend. Even the movement towards more natural and organic foods points to everyone looking for healthier alternatives for their bodies.
Would you say this movement is happening just in the U.S. or is it global?
I know from my audience that it is a definitely an international movement. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten questions from different countries in Africa or the U.K. I have readers from all around the world who have the same concerns about how to take care of their natural hair.
What would you say is/was your greatest fear and how have you conquered it?
One of my biggest fears was that I didn’t feel that being a blogger was a career. It took me awhile to fight that. It was an internal thing–not anything anyone said to me. Even today, my parents know we’re doing well financially, but they have no idea what I really do. And my husband has always been supportive of everything I do.
I went to school and studied Biology and figured it was a path to a career where I would always have job security, but I was struggling in my classes because I didn’t really have a passion for it. So [I figured] starting my PR firm was a more appropriate career choice. Anyone who knows about trying to drum up business in that industry knows it can be time consuming. I felt like I didn’t have the energy to do it. I always had to prove myself even though I thought my resume and my experience would do the talking for me.
The biggest shift happened when Ronnie and Lamar Tyler of Black and Married With Kids, offered me a free ticket to attend a blogging conference in Atlanta. I didn’t have the money to go. But I figured that if they saw enough in me and my blog to invest in me, I needed to figure out a way to get there.
I had a come-to-Jesus moment with myself and looked at all my expenses. I decided to put together a sponsorship package to cover those costs. I was determined that I was going to get to the conference. So I got over my fears and reached out to a few potential sponsors–many of whom said “no.” But I kept going until I got a “yes” from some of the brands I had built relationships with.
My experience at the conference inspired me to ramp up my business. I also made some great connections in Atlanta and was referred for some freelance opportunities that helped tide me over while I figured out ways to monetize the blog.
When I stopped looking at blogging as a hobby and more as a business, that’s when I began to see a difference. I think so many people get into blogging not knowing how to make it into a business.
How do you set goals for your business?
When the site first started making money, I decided that I wanted to be a six-figure blogger. I feel like God has blessed me with the will and the know-how to reach my goals. I’ve had instances where I set a goal and within a few months, I’d achieved it.
Every month I make sure to review my profit and loss [statement]. At the point where I saw my revenue grow by 40% within a year, I knew I needed to invest back into the business. Being a mother, I wanted my life back. I didn’t want to live at the computer all day, every day. It didn’t make sense as an entrepreneur.
I started looking into hiring contributors, a social media manager and a personal assistant so that I could focus more on the higher level stuff like planning the content, producing the newsletter, as well as getting more products out there.
Everyone should have weekly and monthly goals. I have a minimum monthly goal of $7000-8000 but I’m constantly pushing myself to exceed that.
What role does faith play in your business?
Faith helps push me to that next level and reminds me that everything is possible.
For whatever reason, we put ourselves in a box. So I remember being on a webinar with Ronnie and Lamar and hearing them talk about how they made their first million blogging. And that was God speaking to me like, “Who told you you could only make $100,000? Don’t put limits on me.” And that was a great reminder for me to think beyond my own limitations.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I’m scared every day. I know people see me being a mother, wife and business woman, and being successful at those things. Thankfully, God has really blessed me. And even though I’ve been blogging for 6 or 7 years now, I still have those days where I’m scared to press publish. I still have those days where I’m scared about whether this blogging thing is really going to work.
When you go from making no money to some money, you kind of look around like, “Who’s going to come take this money?” [laughs] But God revealed to me that, “If you built this business, what makes you think you couldn’t build another one?” Once you know how to make money as an entrepreneur, you’ll continue to always make money as an entrepreneur.
It’s important to remember that when it comes to an emotion like fear, it’s like peeling back an onion. You peel back one layer only to realize there’s another layer to overcome.
When I [start experiencing fear], I have to go to my quiet place and accept, re-evaluate, and ask God what the root is so I can move forward and not let fear stop me from what He needs me to do.
You can find Tamara at www.naturalhairrules.com and www.tamarafloyd.com.
Photography: Kirby Mack Photography and Point & Click Photography
Can you relate to Tamara’s journey? What has been your greatest challenge as an entrepreneur or in your career?
NEW! If you enjoyed this interview and want to get a behind the scenes look at how Tamara built her six-figure blog, buy the “Secrets to Creating a Six-Figure Blog” program today!
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Tam•a•ra! This blessed me. You have no idea how timely this is, I mean almost down to the letter and exact experiences. Thank you for being so candid and Julian, thank you for capturing this. Stories like this confirm that I can do anything.
Love this interview with Tamara! I’ve always looked to her blog as an inspiration so this pushes me even further to take my blog seriously as business. Great advice and tips as always…now let me mosey on over to register for this course! lol
I always come to your blog to feed my soul and this time is no different. I figure if I continue to read about people in positions I hope to be in that sooner or later my time will come.b that’s was such a great interview and great information shared. I love Tamara , she has such a great personality.
Mimi, I’m so glad we can feed your soul! That’s definitely one of the goals of this site. And yes…keep surrounding yourself with positive messages, people, situations and your time will absolutely come. Tamara is awesome!
AMAZING interview! Tamara is so inspiring! I’m stepping back into the blogging world, and I’m terrified & excited at the same time.
Rashida, welcome back to the blogging world! What made you decide to leave? And what will you be writing about on your new site?
Great article. I am at the beginning stages of a blog I have long wanted to do. Tamara’s story has really inspired me. I am constantly searching free resources on getting the most out of my blog. Did you use any in particular?
Tomashia, thanks for stopping by. So glad you enjoyed the interview and that it inspired you. There are tons of free resources on the web for getting the most out of your blog. I’ll be posting more content on building your blog and your brand in the future. But you can also check out some of my favorites: jeffbullas.com, socialmediaexaminer.com, and Hubspot.com’s blog. We’d love to have you join us for our upcoming virtual event on building a six-figure blog/brand–the link for registration is at the top of this page. All the best!
The part about fear being like an onion. Wow!
Such a great interview. Thanks for sharing your journey. I’m taking the limits off me right now!
Yes ma’am…get rid of those limits! We’re glad you enjoyed the interview 🙂
Yaaaassss!!! Toni! I’m so happy to hear it!
Very Inspiring!!! I need to step my game up.
That’s the great thing about learning about other entrepreneurs, Jay. It really pushes you to become better yourself. #Dothedarnthing
Thank you for interviewing Tamara, you asked some great questions and her answers were on point. I enjoy your platform of blogs it enlightens and inspires me.
Since I’m an entrepreneur myself it helps me to keep pushing when I read about other entrepreneurs success!
I’m a Hair Transformation Specialist and I would love the opportunity to speak with you about my business and my new venture I just started called “Saving Our Strands Hair Movement”. My contact is 240-481-2180, thanking you in advance.
Sonya, thanks so much for stopping by and for reaching out. I’m so glad Bold & Fearless is inspiring you and look forward to learning more about your movement. Keep pushing towards your dreams! There’s nothing more powerful than the commitment to your vision.
Thank you, Jay! Believe me if I can do it, you can, too!
I really enjoyed your interview. I always love to hear other entrepreneurs story, it inspires me to keep pushing & that my breakthrough will come.
I love how you made a way to attend that conference which opened doors to your success.
Keep up the great work your doing in the natural hair community!
I’m in the hair industry and I’m a Hair Transformation Specialist, I would love the opportunity to speak with you about my new venture I recently started called Saving Our Strands Hair Movement. My contact number is 240-481-2180. Thanking you in advance.
This is a great interview and I’m gonna bookmark it to re-read later on. Thanks for sharing Tamara!
So many GREAT nuggets in here T! I’ve gone back and re-read it myself several times cuz I’m STILL taking notes 🙂
So glad I made time to read this just inspirational. Love how she connected her natural hair journey with a journey of re-discovering who she was as a person as well as those around her. Great interview Julian!
Thank you sis! I’m so glad it could inspire you.
Very good interview and love her story. I love how she said she is scared everyday. It shows she is still pushing and working hard for her goals. She doesn’t feel like she has arrived but its reason to keep going onward! Love it!
Bernetta, I totally agree. And I think that the best entrepreneurs are faced with fear every day, but choose to use it as fuel instead of as a stopping point.
Thank you, Bernetta. I really appreciate your comment. You really nailed it! I hadn’t thought about it that way and didn’t realize that it was apparent from my responses but you are exactly right. Everyday I’m pressing to do more and get out my own way and step out my comfort zone. I just know that God has so much more for me.
Yessss LOVED this and absolutely love Tamara! This was such a great interview and I can definitely relate to the “it’s hair but it’s not just hair” convo LOL as well as the majoring in biology but struggling in classes because it wasn’t your passion. So many great nuggets here, thanks so much for sharing Julian and Tamara. I wish you continue success.
Thanks sis! She was a lot of fun to interview and we’ve even talked about doing a Part II because we literally just scratched the surface.
This is very inspiring! I’m so glad I read this post!
Ooh wee, this was good! Her story is so encouraging! Love it!
Sometimes, we need that encouragement to know that even when things aren’t going as well as we’d like them to, if we keep pushing, we’ll come through on the other side so much better!
I loved her frankness! It was refreshing and honest; something we don’t normally get from Af-Am women regarding their business. Congrats Tamara! You are an inspiration to me!
I know Tanya! I really enjoyed speaking with Tamara and all the great nuggets of information she had to share. She was truly AWESOME to interview.
Thank you so much for reading! It is always my goal to be as candid as possible. We need that in the Af-Am business community.
Facebook has grown for me and I am about to tap into it more. Love this interview this shows that we all can do whatever we put our minds too
So true Kita. Facebook is one of the best tools for growing your brand if you know how to use it right.
That’s so true! Facebook and growing your audience are great but developing products and multiple streams of revenue are the best way to build a profitable business. Get it, girl! You can do it!
What an inspiring story, I just saw Lamar and Ronnie at Blogging While Brown and they definitely inspired me to take this blogging thing to the next level. Great to see another Houston gal living out her dreams!! 🙂
Ronnie and Lamar are the #truth! Awesome mentors to have. I’m sure they rocked it out at BWB. Thanks for stopping by Keitha!
Thank you, Keitha! Texas is doing big things in business and blogging. You’re in the right place believe me! I’m gonna check out your blog, too!
Loved this interview! Very inspiring story, thanks for sharing!
Thanks Nicole! It just goes to show that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Persistence is everything…
Thank you, Nicole! I appreciate you reading!
Great interview B&F y’all are bringing it consistently. Regarding Tamara I’m so proud to have seen this progression firsthand. Tamara is an amazing businesswoman and I can’t wait to see where she takes NHR in the future.
Thanks for stopping by Lamar. I appreciate your words of support! And yes, Tamara’s story is so inspiring. Definitely taking notes from both of you on how to build an empire…
Thanks Lamar!!! You know, you and Ronnie are a big part of the reason I’m here. Thanks for paving the way and showing me it was possible!
This was a great interview. I’ve admired Tamara for years now and am happy to call her one of my blogger boos! 🙂
Thanks Tara! I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Tamara is a great person and was so full of great information and advice. She was fun to interview.
Thanks, blogger boo!!! So sweet!