If you read my recent feature on Lisa’s blog you’ll already know we met on a trip to Ottawa. What you don’t know is my love for Lisa and her bubbly personality was pretty instant. A lot of the time we are attracted to things in people that we are not. I’m as introverted as they come, I like to observe and am generally uncomfortable in most public situations (though I put on a great front). Lisa, on the other hand, is so outgoing yet perfectly easy to be around. She also does her homework, which I love! As soon as we landed in Ottawa she was rhyming off a list of the top ‘must try’ restaurants which was perfect for the rest of us who were hungry, tired and pretty clueless.
Lisa has recently made some fun changes in her life and continues to strive to live her best life. She’s one inspiring chica, I encourage you to check out her story and get to know Lisa below
Hey Lisa, I know you’ve been threatening a big move lately, but where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
My parents immigrated to Canada from Calcutta, India the year before I was born. We had a small two bedroom apartment at Jane & Weston in Toronto. I loved being in a multi-cultural neighbourhood and most of my friends were like me – we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but I was lucky to have lots of family around. In grade six, my parents were able to afford a small house in the suburbs and moved my sister, grandmother and I to Mississauga, Ontario where I attended an arts high school – majoring in drama, of course.
I am currently in the midst of packing and moving from Toronto (where I have lived since school ended) to Los Angeles, California where my husband has just been transferred. It’s a really exciting time in our lives right now!
We both went to U of T yet waited until school was way over to connect, what was your major?
U of T is humongous and at times overwhelming. I majored in political science and cinema studies at Woodsworth College. I was a part-time student for the first four years, working to help pay for school, while trying to figure out what I wanted to major in. For my final two years, I went full-time and finished off my Hon. BA degree. I still can’t believe I dragged school out for SIX years! Children, please don’t do that. It’s nice to get it done and over with.
Looking back at your career so far, it would seem like a natural transition to move from wedding DJ to blogger, but how hard was that transition?
I had an amazing five years as a special event and wedding DJ, but I felt like it was time to move on. I had started DJ-ing as a way to pay for school and the business just blossomed into full-time work by the time I graduated. I had never really intended to be a DJ for the rest of my life, even though the money was fantastic. By my late-20s, I started to yearn for my weekends and social life again. I was working almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and was missing out on milestone moments of my own friends getting married, family BBQs and quality time with the people who mattered. I decided I needed an exit strategy and started to explore the possibility of becoming a freelance magazine writer in women’s lifestyle, food and travel (my passions). What I ended up doing was launching my first blog which quickly gained a following and some great success.
Yes the transition was tough. I had no idea if I would even cut it as a freelance writer or if people even made money blogging. But if I had never taken this calculated risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I started out making less money and had to work my way back up again which was really hard. But you can’t stay in a job for the money and you need to go with your gut. In my last year as a DJ, I banked away as much money as possible, paid off my car and any other debts so I could have a bit of a cushion while I looked for work. My husband fully supported my decision, but there was no way we could live off just his salary. I’m a firm believer that if you’re forced to make something work – you will find a way.
I just launched, This Beautiful Day <www.thisbeautifuldayblog.com> – a lifestyle blog for smart women. It’s a bit more personal than my other site, The Hip + Urban Girl and not necessarily location-centric to Toronto (which Hug is). I try to attack the thing I am dreading the most first thing in the morning. I also batch blog and edit what comes in from our contributors, doing as much as possible in one go and scheduling it throughout the week. I also focus on my closest deadline and work from there.
It seems nowadays everyone has a blog, what are some of your tips to staying relevant and standing out?
It’s important to be authentic and get in touch with your inner voice. Always try to offer a take away or a piece of useful knowledge or advice to your readers. It can’t always be about you, you, you all the time. You can always bring the topic back to the context of how it fits into your life, but try to be generous in your storytelling. Create original content, take your own photos if you can, don’t write off a press release and don’t be afraid to share your opinion.
You seem to have created and are continuing to create the life you want to live, what advice would you give to someone who’s looking to change their path?
Have a calculated plan and don’t make any rushed or reckless decisions. Save as much money as possible and have an end date for whatever isn’t working in your life right now. I decided to quit my job a year before I actually did it because I needed to have a plan, money in the bank and time to learn and take classes in writing or in whatever your new career choice is. Do the research, find out if you can even be profitable or make a living doing what you do. What have other people in the industry done or accomplished? How do they make money doing what you want to do? If you can’t make money right away, what will you do job-wise to support your art or true passion?
What inspires you?
My husband. He is my true rock and support system in every crazy life, career and travel idea I come up with. He either talks me off the ledge or is the one taking the leap of faith with me. He inspires me because he’s the reasonable one.
Make sure to check her out on her blog and follow her journey to California HERE