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Have you ever wondered if you could have a side gig as a skincare blogger? Could you make money at it? Would you like it?
Christina Diferdinando, DNP, RN-BC, has done just that. While she’s had an amazing career from everything as an ER nurse to a nurse providing project management, digital strategy, and quality improvement, her full-time job now is as the director of product operations at the Digital Innovation Group within a large healthcare organization. She currently partners with leaders to uncover and understand their most significant pain points and opportunities to inform what digital solutions they build and to inform new features for their current solutions.
But her side gig, which is eponymously named, is Christina DiFerdinando. While blogging as a skincare specialist, she used her name as her brand if she chose to expand or pivot her niche.
She took time to answer our questions. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Why did you decide to start blogging about skincare? When did you start it, and how did you go about it?
I’ve always been interested in owning my own business, but I was looking for a digital way to earn passive income. I wanted to avoid the overhead of investing and testing in a physical product business. I also enjoyed the flexibility to travel—one that didn’t require me to be at home fulfilling orders, managing inventory, etc.
I Googled different ways to earn passive income and found that blogging could be very profitable within a few years if done correctly.
I started to learn more about the blogging business and how to generate passive income via affiliate marketing and ad revenue.
This began with selecting a niche that wasn’t too competitive—e.g., focusing on a sub-niche within a broader niche to get more traffic and prove authority/expertise to Google–by doing some keyword research and analysis, determining what topic I could write at least 100+ articles and a niche that I wanted to grow/establish myself in.
I took a few courses to help me learn how to start a blogging business, develop my blogging strategy, and view this as a business rather than a side hobby.
These courses taught me about SEO, how to create a topical mapping (e.g., a plan to support your transactional posts—for example, money-making posts) with informational posts (which build authority and traffic), and which keywords to go after.
Right now, I’m learning more about writing sales copy and getting backlinks to help improve my domain authority to increase my post rankings by Google—to rank as one of the top three search listings on Google when searching for a specific keyword.
I love learning, testing to see what works, looking at my data to see how I can improve my posts, finding keywords to drive more traffic to my site, and seeing my business grow.
My future goal is to have the option to do this full-time, as well as generate enough revenue to feed back into my business to hire 1 or 2 writers to help my business grow.
I’ve always been passionate and interested in learning about skincare products. What works and why? Is there any evidence to support marketing claims? Which ones will work best for my skin?
I’ve always struggled with acne and hyperpigmentation. While I was growing up, my family did not have the monetary means to see a dermatologist. So, I was reliant on trying various drugstore products to try to have clean skin. When I tried one product, it destroyed my skin, and I had to do a lot of research and testing to repair my skin barrier.
On another note, I was born in South Korea but was adopted when I was one year old. I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania in a predominately white neighborhood where few, if any, people looked like me.
Growing up, I hated being different and struggled with my ethnic identity. Even though I had a group of friends, I often felt alone, like an outsider who never really fit in.
I largely ignored my Korean heritage until I stumbled on Korean skin care. Learning more about their beauty philosophies, routines, and products was a gateway to exploring my Korean culture further and starting to accept/be proud of my Korean heritage.
I am now studying Korean. I have a tutor and took my first trip to Korea this year. I now have plans to visit every year moving forward.
So, my passion for skin care and helping others, my Korean heritage, and my drive to start a passive digital business all aligned with creating a skincare blogging business.
What kinds of topics do you cover? Why do you think it’s important to cover this kind of care? Do you interact with your readers?
My blog content helps you to create a simple skincare routine that targets your unique skin.
Within my posts, I’ll share skincare routines for different skin types and concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, aging, sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, etc. I then infuse evidence/research to support my recommendations.
I’ll also provide product recommendations based on my experience and review the ingredient labels. I will also analyze customer feedback to give readers non-biased information to help them determine what products are worth trying and how to incorporate them into their routine.
Sharing this information with individuals is important since cutting through all the marketing hype makes it hard to determine if products are worth purchasing.
Also, with social media like TikTok, it can take time to find trustworthy information.
Since I’ve struggled with my skin, I’ve learned a lot over the years through my own experiences, including staying up-to-date with the latest trends, as well as always diving into the literature to debunk or validate claims.
If I were looking for this information, others would find it helpful.
The caring aspect of nursing still sticks with me. I love helping others and enabling individuals to make the best decisions based on the right information.
Did you have previous entrepreneurial experience? Or did you learn on the go? Did it take a lot of time or money to establish your business? How do you make money from this business?
I’ve tried side hustles like Amazon FBA, and my husband and I started our own fitness company providing home workouts during COVID, but I’ve been learning on the go.
I spend a lot of time learning, testing, and figuring out which strategy will bring me the most value.
In each of my businesses, I’ve been able to earn a profit, which has been enough to cover the courses and the money I invested into each one—leaving a few thousand more to either invest in something new or pay for a few international trips.
Even though I’m no longer running my FBA and fitness business, I found the experience and knowledge invaluable.
I started my blogging business in October 2022, and I’ve had a little affiliate revenue come in, but I’m still early in my journey. It usually takes a few years to see all your work pay off, which is hard to do when you dedicate so much time and effort to your business.
What did you enjoy most about your side gig?
What I enjoy most is learning how to create and implement the best business strategy to see if it works. It’s so rewarding to see positive results and gain knowledge/skillsets you never thought you’d have.
For me, it’s proving that I’m smart and capable enough that if I put my mind to it and constantly learn, grow, and tweak it, I can one day be my own boss and validate that my decisions and work were successful. It’s helping me be more confident and prove my value/self-worth to myself.
What are some of the challenges?
Blogging is a long-term play. It takes several years to see the fruits of your labor. Also, you question yourself if you’re making the right decisions. Unlike working with a team that can help validate or address any questions you have, it’s up to you to research and make those decisions on your own. So, you always have this little voice asking, “Did I choose the right niche? Am I focusing on the right content to write? Is this bringing value to my readers? etc.”
It also takes a lot of dedication and time. Since I work full-time, I work on my blog after work, early in the mornings, and on the weekends. Balancing my life, work, and business can be challenging.
What are the most significant rewards of having your side gig?
I’m learning and growing, and I hope it results in my ability to have more work-life balance, manage my schedule, and be my own boss one day. That possibility is exciting, and I am opening myself up to other professional opportunities that might come my way.
I hope that one day, I’ll collaborate with a few Korean skincare brands and use my business to help connect me more to my Korean culture and heritage.
What would you say to someone considering blogging about skincare or another topic?
It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re willing to work, are open to learning, and want a passive business/income, go for it. It doesn’t mean it was a waste if it doesn’t work out.
You can apply what you’ve learned to your next venture. There is no such thing as failing because you always learn something valuable from that experience that you can leverage and apply in the future.
I recommend researching courses and learning about blogging as a business, SEO, and affiliate marketing as much as possible.
Be sure to avoid the “get rich quick schemes” like the ones that read, “I made $60,000 per month within my first three months of blogging.” They never work and are a waste of your time.”
Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box. Latest posts by Michele Wojciechowski (see all)