I am so excited to announce the first episode of a new series here on I AM MY Imagination titled “Study the Solopreneur.” I’m even happier to introduce Cori Ramos (pronounced Rahmos) as my first guest. Cori is the creator of the popular work from home site “Not Now Mom’s Busy.” While it stands as a go-to source for work from home enthusiasts (especially moms), she’s developed her skills over the years to become what I would call a kick-ass designer.
These days, Cori is a professional web designer, social media manager, blogging coach/mentor, and stock image creator. She is the author of the books How to Become an Expert Blogger and Blog Like a Boss In No Time and How to Survive Your First Year as a Blogger.
Her new websites, corinaramos.net and poshstockimages.com offer a wealth of resources for bloggers and solopreneurs to elevate their business models using the tools, lessons and guidance Cori has to offer from the hard work she’s put in over the years.
She happens to be a good friend of mine. We met several years ago through the blogging community and hit it off right away. I’m proud to know her, but I’m even more grateful for everything I’ve learned from her.
I think you’ll easily relate to Cori. Her story is probably similar to yours in that she needed to start her own business working from home. And since she’s open about the challenges she faced when she began her journey to become a successful solopreneur, I have no doubt you’ll find the courage to make your own dreams come true.
I interviewed Cori this month, so I’m going to go provide the highlights from our talk. “D” (that’s me) is asking the questions – and “C” (Cori) is answering.
Later on, you can check out the video of our discussion – which I know you’ll find inspiring (and hopefully entertaining).
So without further ado (is that an overused phrase or what?), meet Cori!
Study the Solopreneur – Interview with Cori Ramos from Corinaramos.net
First Line of Business – Not Now Mom’s Busy
D – Cori, tell us a little about yourself. I know you worked in the corporate sector for many years and made the tough decision to start your own business working from home.
What did you do? What made you leave?
C – I was working for a telecommunications company. I was their sales administrative/coach leader. I was in charge of 25 service reps, but as the sales manager, I managed the whole call center – which was about 102 reps at the time. I was also in charge of the incentives and marketing packages – but on the other side, I was responsible for coaching my service reps and making sure they were doing what they had to do with each call.
It was stressful, but I loved it. I considered it my forever job. I started out as a service rep, went on to management – and I wanted to go even higher.
However, it was taking a toll on my family life. My kids were suffering from it.
My daughter made a comment about how I’m never home. So I knew then that I had to do something. I kept thinking what do I do? I needed to move onto another job, but I wasn’t sure what.I knew something had to give. Either my career or family life would suffer. Hands down, my family comes first, but my job didn't promote that. It was more 'work comes first.' #workfromhome #becomeafreelancer #blogging #ihatemyjob @coriramsClick To Tweet
So the day I quit, it was on a whim. I just decided to walk out. I knew that I couldn’t be there anymore. It was affecting my family…and it was affecting me and my health.
D – How did you decide to create Not Now Mom’s Busy?
C – I started looking for things to do. I came across a website to do things from home. To make money from home. The more I learned about it, the more I realized it was something I wanted to do.
For me, it was the best of both worlds because I could be at home with my kids and I still work. I wanted to learn and work and help people.
So when I started working from home, I started looking at things I could do, but at the same time, I was also helping my friends, family, and co-workers who wanted the same thing. We were working six days a week and never home with our families, so I was sharing what I was finding with them.
Eventually, I came across a blog about starting a blog and making money. But at that time it was just about posting ads and affiliate marketing and stuff. I still wanted to help, so I just started putting the work from home jobs I found (since I kept a lot of notes and bookmarks) on a website and started sharing it from there.
The next thing I knew, I started getting traction from it.
D – Tell us about some of the challenges you encountered.
C – Those first couple of years were kinda rough. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no blogging experience whatsoever. I didn’t even know what WordPress was. It was really hard to get the learning going since I was so focused on the money aspect of things (since I had to make a living).Little did I know that to make money, you really had to know your stuff. So I stayed up late, read online & just soaked up everything I could to start making money with my blog if that's what I wanted to do. #learnnewskillsClick To Tweet
That’s when I learned how to engage with bloggers and follow the advice the top bloggers were sharing. I always tell people that when you read a blog post and you get that information, you’ve gotta use it.
You have to apply what you’ve learned.
It took me a long time to really get it. There were times I wanted to quit and throw in the towel.
But I just kept going. I had to buckle down and really learn and get my mindset in the journey I was on. It was easy – it IS easy to blog, but it’s work. The hard part is putting the time in and getting out there and socializing with other bloggers and your audience.
D – And did you have any previous skills when you started?
C – Not at all! The only thing I took with me is whatever I learned in corporate America – which was marketing, sales and customer service. But those things can be applied in running a blogging business because you need to reach your audience and you need the sales.
When I was working on Not Now Mom’s Busy, I was using a theme – but other people were using the same one. I wanted to customize it but I didn’t know how. I also didn’t have the money to pay anyone. So it was either I learn how to do it or stick with the same theme that other bloggers were using.
I wanted to be different and have a unique approach. For someone to say “hey, this one looks kind of different” and to have that attention drawn to my website.
So, as scared as I was of CSS and HTML, I started looking online for help videos and did my first customization on font style. I was so over the moon that I did it that I thought “ok, if I can do that, I can learn some more stuff from there.”
I kept reading and watching videos on how to customize a theme to look how I wanted it to look. I kept at it and improved, even through the challenges. There were times I’d be up in front of the computer late at night crying “I can’t get this to work.” But I’d put in three years by that point and I wasn’t going to give up.
Evolving to Corinaramos.net
D – So through all of this, you learned new skills, applied them to your business, connected with and helped other bloggers and this led to the creation of your new business model. Tell us about that. What prompted the evolution?
C – Once I learned how to implement the skills I learned for my own website, I wanted to help others too. I learned and implemented tips from top bloggers and I knew I could help other bloggers as well.
My blogging journey evolved in a direction I never thought it would take me. I never imagined I would be customizing a theme – especially as afraid as I was in the beginning.
You’ve just gotta keep practicing. Just keep going. That’s what I did.
D – Well, I’ve obviously seen your work (Cori designed my website too) and I’ve always been impressed. What services do you offer on corinaramos.net?
C – Awww, thank you! I offer:
- Blog reviews
- Website content
- Social media management
- New WordPress site setup
- WP theme customization
I’ll set up a new WordPress site that includes:
- Help with domain registration
- WordPress installation and configuration
- Mobile-friendly child theme (if you don’t have one)
- Complete theme install
- Custom Fonts
- Installation of essential plugins
- Security plugins
- Search Engine Optimization
- Essential static page setup such as About Me, Contact Form
- Social Media profile configuration
- Social Media share buttons
- Up to three revisions included
I also offer social media management services that include:
- Scheduling engaging social media posts using gorgeous eye-catching graphics
- Replying to comments on your behalf
- Helping you with your Facebook groups
- Promoting your blog or business on social media
- Sharing relevant content with your followers
And I provide content creation services on the following topics:
- social media
- email marketing
- social media marketing
- affiliate marketing
- women’s health
And there’s more. I have a list of all available services on my website corinaramos.net. I’m available to answer any questions, so people can find me there and ask away.
Expanding Design Services to Include Stock Photos
D – Cori, you’ve further expanded your services to include professionally designed and customizable stock images. Tell us about your new venture, Posh Stock Images. I see that you take playful images and make them look elegant, appealing and clean (like the featured image for this post). Tell us how stock images help with branding and personalizing a business.
C – It’s all about bringing something unique.
It started with me working on images for myself and my clients. I would look at these images everywhere and while they’re gorgeous, everyone was using the same ones. I wanted something different. We have to capture a reader’s attention because most of us in the blogging niche are blogging about the same things. Whether it’s parenting tips, fashion trends or blogging tips, we’re all talking about these things, even if the message is different.I wanted to give a different spin on images and graphics. What's different about what I'm offering is that not only can a blogger use them, but so can a virtual assistant who needs to create content for their clients. #virtualassistantClick To Tweet
When VAs would sign up for stock image websites, there were some restrictions that didn’t allow the use of the photos for clients. When you have a client, your job is to make them look as good as possible.
I can’t make my client look different if I’m using the same images. That’s why I wanted to bring that out.
Posh Stock Image Examples
These are a few examples of what Cori has created, including social media templates. You can see more over at poshstockimages.com.
D – Cori, you’re self-taught with this too, right?
C – Yep. Like with everything else, I started with NO experience whatsoever. I read blog posts and a Youtube video about taking flat lays with the phone. It just went from there.
I started messing with the layouts and lighting. I even purchased professional lighting to really get into it. I learned a lot and put what I was seeing (and what people were missing) into the images. My audience consists of women bloggers and entrepreneurs, so I put these together for them.
It’s taken off from there.
Lessons Learned Throughout the Journey
D – So basically, you have the whole package as someone who wanted to become a solopreneur, build their website from the ground up, personalize it, brand it and become a mentor and coach to those who now walk the same path you did years ago. What do you want new bloggers to know?
C – I don’t take the hardships (I experienced throughout my journey) for granted. It’s so easy to run into your first roadblock (or several) and say, “I’m out!” But really, those hardships are the lessons that we learn. We stick with things and keep going forward because if we don’t learn, we’re not gonna get anywhere.
If we have that drive and that passion, then the sky is the limit. But you’ve gotta want it – and take whatever comes your way and just deal with it. Like my mom used to say:
Just suck it up and deal with it!
If you’ve got a problem, don’t just sit there and cry. Fix it.
Why You Can’t Quit
Cori and I pretty much wrapped things up after that. But I wanted to take a moment and make a small confession about our interview.
You see, we had this same conversation 5 times until we had a decent working interview!
This was meant to be a video chat using screen share software. Each time something wonky happened. Either the audio and video didn’t sync properly, or the audio itself had too much static. And right before the conversation in the video below, we had started another video chat just to lose it during a pause.
I consider myself to be technologically challenged. When it comes to gadgets, technology, and even some appliances, I somehow manage to break them or render them useless.
Why? I don’t know. It just seems to work out that way.
But like Cori was with her first website and subsequent business models, I was determined to make this work. We finished our chat and I had a decision to make. Either keep it as an mp3 and blog post – or do something unique.
I had just purchased this video animation software and hadn’t played with it yet, so I thought that I’d experiment with it using our conversation…and the result is the video you’ll watch in a moment.
The whole thing was a lesson in perseverance. Cori had to exercise patience, consistency and the acquisition of new skills in order to do the seemingly impossible – which was to create a lucrative work from home opportunity that became much bigger and far more expansive than she anticipated…
…and I had to take what was available to me and dare to do something unique myself – having NO reason to think it would work.
Animated videos are usually shorter in length. This one is longer…and done by a complete newbie.
I hope you watch it with an open mind – knowing that the lesson in both Cori’s journey and my own with this project is one that encourages you to never give up, to persevere and to just keep going.
If you want to get to know Cori, visit her websites at:
And check out her books – written to help new bloggers get their site off the ground using the right tools…along with some words of motivation.
Thanks so much for visiting – and until next time, take care.
Do you have any of your own stories about overcoming obstacles and thriving in the end? Can you relate to Cori’s story?
~ ALL images in this post are created by Cori Ramos