*This is a repost from an interview I did for The School Of Styling Magazine! Check it out below, or over on their blog: http://www.theschoolofstyling.com/blog/2016/8/4/audrey-roloff-interview
Name: Audrey Roloff / Age: 24 / Profession: Blogger, Writer, Speaker, Barre3 Instructor / Education: Marketing and Entrepreneurship Degrees from Oregon State University / City, State: Bend, Oregon
Tell us a little bit about yourself! What do you like to do outside of your blogging, writing and work with Beating50Percent?
My name is Audrey Roloff, I am from Portland Oregon, but currently live in Bend, Oregon. I love the Pacific Northwest. I love the smell of campfire on my clothes, the taste of blackberry peach cobbler, the sound of old train horns, cuddling with my kitten Pine and the beauty of Roloff Farm’s. Outside of writing content for my blog AUJPOJ and Beating50Percent, I am a Christ-follower, a wife, a speaker, a Barre3 Instructor and a runner. I just recently launched a clothing line featuring my life mantra, “ALWAYS MORE.” My husband grew up on a reality TV show on TLC called “Little People Big World.” Our wedding was televised, and since then we play a major role in the show. We also help out with his family farm – the pumpkin business, wedding business, events, etc. I spend a lot of my time cuddling with my kitten Pine, listening to audiobooks and dreaming with my husband about our next adventure.
What was your first job(s) after college? And how did those lead to where you are now?
Throughout college, I was planning on working in the Brand Running department at Nike. When I was a senior in college, I started interviewing for jobs in Southern California. My degrees were in Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship, but I didn’t really care what job I got after college; I just wanted a gateway corporate job in SoCal, while I figured out what I actually wanted to do. At the time, I was engaged to my now husband and his career opportunities were in SoCal, so that’s why I was only applying for jobs in that area. I got a few offers, and ended up taking a job offer in Los Angeles working for Gallo Wine Company – the biggest wine and spirits distributor in the world – while my husband pursued commercial photography and videography. I worked in sales for Gallo and managed 20 accounts in the Pasadena area. We lived in West Hollywood, so I commuted to work every day, and I worked from 3:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Yes, you read that correctly…and that means I woke up at 2:00 a.m. every day. My job consisted of driving in LA traffic, sucking up to grumpy people that work night shift, physically building alcohol displays, stocking the shelves with wine and hard alcohol, getting told “no,” and wearing cheap slacks and shoes that hurt my feet. After working all night/morning, I spent my afternoon/evening working on my blog. Eventually, I reached a point where I was making sufficient money from blogging, took a leap of faith and quit the J-O-B. As miserable as my first job was, it gave me credibility, perspective and taught me what it means to grind.
Tell us a little bit about what you do now. How do you split your time between all your commitments?
Life is a bit of a whirlwind right now – many things are just starting, launching and uncertain. Jeremy and I run Beating50Percent – writing articles, posting encouragement, engaging with the community and offering challenges to help couples around the world give more to their marriage. This has become our number one priority and we hope that it will become much more than it is now. We hope to have conferences, books, curriculum, vacations and product in the future. In addition to Beating50Percent, I also write for my blog AUJPOJ where I just launched a clothing line featuring shirts and sweatshirts with my life mantra, “ALWAYS MORE,” on them. I teach Barre3 classes 5 times a week, and Jeremy and I drive up to Portland every weekend to film for the reality show. Every few weeks we participate in conferences, speaking engagements, photo shoots and other freelance jobs. Prioritizing is tough as I am what you would call a “yes woman.” But this is not something I am proud of. I am currently trying to lessen my load, so that I can focus more fully and give more wholeheartedly to these few things that I know I was made to do. Balancing commitments is tough right now because this season has been SO nuts, but I know it is only a season.
First of all, we love your voice – it’s so authentic and fresh. How did you get started with your blog? What is the hardest part about blogging?
My blog started out as a complete hobby. I liked being able to build/design a website that represented me, and being able to write my thoughts for others to read. I have ALWAYS loved writing. I have journals dating back to when I was 8 years old. When I started the blog as a freshman in college, it was just an extended and filtered version of my journal. I was a distance runner in college, so I mostly wrote about running and my faith, and how the two were connected. When I started dating/got engaged to my now-husband Jeremy, I began writing about long-distance relationships, engagement, and my wedding. After my wedding, my blog grew tremendously and I started blogging about other things – food, fashion, fitness and my faith. The tagline for AUJPOJ is “A Hodgepodge of Life.” And that is what it truly is – a lifestyle blog encompassing my perspective, stories, faith and insights. The one underlying theme throughout all of my writings is/has been my life mantra – ALWAYS MORE.
In the beginning, the hardest part about blogging is learning all the crazy confusing software and coding. I had such a clear vision for what I wanted my blog to look like, but getting there was like climbing Mount Everest. I spent hours on YouTube University teaching myself how to use WordPress, Mailchimp, Bluehost, Affiliate programs, advertising, plugins, etc. Once I quit the J-O-B and began working for myself, I hired a web designer and developer to hand all this craziness. Now, I would say that the hardest part about blogging is desperately wanting to share what you believe in and stand for, but not being able to do that anymore without intense backlash. Internet trolls suck. It’s really tough to read some of the cruel, hateful and mean things that people say about me or about what I write. I have to constantly remind myself that responding to them is not the answer. Even though everything in me wants to fight back, I am reminded that Jesus spoke the loudest through his silence. When he suffered, he did not inflict suffering; when he was hated and mocked, he did not lash back.
What tips can you give for other bloggers who want to have an authentic, beautiful feed like yours?
Thank you for saying that I have an authentic, beautiful feed! Sometimes I look at other bloggers doing bigger and better things and I belittle my own. Comparison is the thief of joy. Part of making a living off of blogging means that you have to follow what other bloggers are doing, and how the industry is changing. It’s hard to find the balance between staying on top of the current trend, while still protecting your uniqueness. Whenever I got advice from other bloggers, they would always tell me that I needed to pick niche that was more specific, to just blog about running or just blog about relationships or just blog about fashion. But that’s just not me – I am a hodgepodge. So I embraced the eclectic randomness of my blog and took it on as a strength. If you want to have a blog that succeeds, you have to set yourself apart. The best way to do that is to be fully and completely YOU. Being you is the most unique thing you can be.
Beating50Percent is such a beautiful idea. How did it come to be? What is your dream vision of what it will be like in 5 years?
During our five month engagement, we were bombarded with remarks from people who rolled their eyes and spouted sarcastic “good luck” remarks at our future promise.
“Honey you don’t even know the man you are marrying at 23… he will be a completely different man at 30.”
“Boy, prepare to lose your freedom…”
We were shocked at the negative comments regarding marriage and even more shocked at our culture’s obsession with lust over love and sex over intimacy. Our mission in life, and on this blog, is to do and be all things that cultivate covenant marriages. We aim to give more than 50% effort into our marriage. To live a life Beating50Percent is our mission. This mission was inspired in part by a photo that we saw in an old antique shop of an elderly couple holding each other close. Under the photo it read, “Back in our day, when something broke, you fixed it instead of throwing it away.” We are stubbornly confident that there are still people in pursuit of covenant marriages: marriages that are undividedly devoted, completely committed, persistently selfless, value-centered, joy-filled and love-based.
Our mission is to inspire covenant marriages to beat average, to encourage husbands and wives to give more than 50% to their spouse, and to revive marriages that are indispensable – marked by fixing instead of throwing away. Beating50Percent is about having better than average marriages, and giving more than 50% to your spouse. The hope is that our readers, viewers, and listeners would be relentlessly compelled to give more, serve more, learn more, play more, seek more and love more – always more.
In the future, we hope to host marriage camps and conferences at Roloff Farms, create webinars and online courses, write books, and offer podcasts and YouTube interviews with married couples who are living out what it means to be Beating50Percent. Ultimately, we hope to inspire transformation in marriages around the world.
Do you have any tips for learning how to separate work and play? Do you and Jeremy have advice for other small businesses owners whose lives and work overlap?
Oh gosh…. I wish we were better at this so I could offer useful advice. However, I would say that the one thing that really helps us is taking a day to rest. And I don’t mean just a day off to sleep in and do whatever you want. I’m talking about an intentional day of rest. Jeremy and I made it our New Year’s Resolution this year to practice taking a Sabbath once a week. So far we have failed to do this many weeks, but the weeks that we have prioritized setting aside a day to rest have been vital. For us, a day of rest is a day to stop working, stop striving, stop wanting things and stop checking off our to-do lists. We aren’t robots. We can’t work, run errands, reply to e-mails and scroll through social media, keep up with the news, and people please 24/7. On our day of rest, we turn off our phones, shut off our computers and praise God for what we have, for life itself, and spend time with each other, our community, and the Lord, undistracted by the demands of this world.
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