Krista Robertson is the blogger behind the popular New York City blog, Covering the Bases. She started this blog for fun in 2013 under three pillars of creative expression: working hard, dressing well and traveling often. Since then, she has built a loyal audience and worked with some of the most reputable brands in fashion and beauty.
Tune in to hear her blogging journey, what took her to her popularity, and how she built a blogging business all around her 9-5 job.
This episode is for you if you are:
A new or aspiring blogger and want to know how to stand out.
Looking for perspective on building something around a 9-5 job.
Wanting to know how to keep moving forward even when no one is reading.
Podcast with Krista Robertson
Transcript of the Episode
Leah Gervais: Hey visionaries! Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision Show. I’m your host, Leah and I’m very excited to have Krista Robertson with us today. She is the blogger behind the popular New York City blog, Covering the Bases. She started her blog for fun in 2013 under three pillars of creative expression, working hard, dressing well, and traveling often. Since then, she has built a loyal audience and were just some of the most reputable brands in the fashion and beauty industries. She’s a graduate of the University of Kentucky and lives on the west side of Manhattan with her fiance. Thanks for being here Krista.
Krista Robertson: Thanks for having me. This is so fun. That was also a beautiful introduction, so thank you so much.
Leah Gervais: You are so welcome. You deserve it. So, you have built your business… it’s a business, you know, I think more than a blog, from the ground up and I, having followed you, know that you did this all around your nine to five job and my platform is all about side hustling and making money on your nine to five. So I’d love to hear, actually first when you started it, did you have this vision for, did you know it was going to grow so much? Like what was in your mind then?
Krista Robertson: No, I had no idea. So back when I originally started, it was in college, so it was 2012, I rebranded when I came to New York, in 2013. So, I just kind of stay that as like the new start date. But I started either 2011 or 2012, I was a junior in college and I was working at like a local boutique in Lexington where I went to school and one of my friends, I was posting pictures of like things we would get in. I’m putting together outfits for the boutique and one of my friends was like, you should start a blog because this is when blogs were just starting to become like kind of more popular, mainstream with like the help of Pinterest and whatnot. Instagram was around but it wasn’t obviously anything like huge. I think people are just using it to like edit photos. So I was like, okay, like why not? I originally started it because I had just broken up with my boyfriend in college and I just had some extra free time. This was before I turned 21. so all that free time eventually went away, as one does. But I started it just for fun and it kind of like picked up momentum. That kind of like inspired me to keep it going. But I had really no idea that it was going to become, you know, an actual business. I just became incorporated last year. It’s like, it’s crazy. But I had, I had no expectation for it and I think that’s probably what helped make it so successful. Not that I’m like super successful, but it just made more successful because I didn’t start it with the goal or intent of like making money and becoming, you know, like this big influencer. I started to it just because I was passionate about it. I just wanted to an outlet to post my photos that outlook of like flat lays on the floor. I’ve recently gone back to my old blog, I was like looking at old posts and I was like, why did I post that?
Leah Gervais: Yeah, right. Awesome. Well so, I feel like a lot of times when I ask people about something they started, whether it’s a business or any sort of, you know, transformation at all, it actually doesn’t even have to be business related, they often talk about how like sort of those beginning months or sometimes even years were the hardest part because they weren’t making any money. No one really cared. No one was reading. But do you feel like you didn’t really go through that at first because you didn’t really have the expectation or do you feel like you had to keep yourself motivated to some extent?
Krista Robertson: I definitely don’t feel like I was worried about that at all because when I started, I don’t even really think that you could make money off the blogs. I know reward sell, which is the advertiser I’m with now as to how I generate commission through links… they had just, just started that they maybe had only a handful of brands. So, I wasn’t aware that you can make money off a blog for the first couple a years. Um, and then I just didn’t have any pressure on it because it wasn’t like a lucrative income. It was literally just, and this is what I kind of enjoy and admire about bloggers from my era of timeframe, is we started blogging just to do it as a creative outlet into, you know, just have the space for us versus I feel like a lot of people nowadays started to say, okay, I see what they’re doing. I want to make money, I’m going to make this a legitimate business, which is great. I just think back in our day, we didn’t plan on that and there wasn’t like this huge group of bloggers yet. So you couldn’t really compare numbers, or views, or you didn’t really know what was successful and what wasn’t. Because blogs we’re still so new in a sense. I think people were just kind of transitioning from Tumblr to like blogger at the time when I started.
So it wasn’t like I was deeming myself unsuccessful. I think if I started a blog today, it would be much harder because you know, everything is focused around numbers and a lot of numbers are so public in terms of Instagram following and likes and engagement and there’s so much information that you can pull publicly, that at the time when we started, we were just doing it to do it and that’s kind of how I’ve always viewed it. Up until I would say, like the second year I was in New York, so like 2014, 2015 is when I started to actually make legitimate money from it. And I was like, okay, like this could be a real thing. I felt that at that time I had already had so many people following along and already had this like strong audience and core of readers that I didn’t want to give up on them. So I just continued doing it and started making it better and focusing more on their wants and needs versus me just kind of spewing whatever to the Internet and hoping they’ll listen.
Leah Gervais: Right, right. So, I hear you that things are so public now and things can be kind of vicious. So how do deal with that? How do you deal with the saturation of it and has it ever been hard for you or are there any things that you do to make sure it doesn’t get to you too much? What’s that look like from the inside?
Krista Robertson: It’s been many years of trying figure that out. So there’s a lot of different ways that this industry can kind of eat you up and spit you out. The first I noticed was the people that you’re surrounding yourself with, like other influencers or bloggers. There are people out there who just aren’t nice and are not kind and are not looking out for your best interest while they’re using you for one thing or copying you for another. That was kind of the first taste of the bad industry, that competitiveness. So it definitely a hard year or so because I had a really strong core of blogger friends and it was great because having that group of people, it’s like you could talk to about everything and because you’re going through the same thing, you can share your experiences. But I realized that through sharing that it became more competitive and kind of mean spirited and natured. So, those friendships dissolved, the best ones stayed. I would say my best friend in the industry is Caitlin, southern curls and pearls @cmcoving, and what we have, we’ve just based off of a true friendship. We’ve both dealt with stuff externally outside of our friendship and we talk about it. And so having somebody who understands is great and that’s like a thing where, you know, this is a bad, but there can be a positive out of it. Finding that one person who is true, and kind of sticking with them and being loyal and being trustworthy and having that reciprocated.
Another end of it is… I don’t know what it is about the Internet, it’s obviously everywhere on the internet, but there are people who are out there just to hurt your feelings, like trolls. I’m really lucky that none of the comments really come directly towards my platform. I don’t have a ton of mean comments on Youtube, on my blog, on Instagram. I’m very thankful for that because I know a lot of people do have enough balls to comment on like my friends and they’ll say mean things to their face. I’m lucky enough to have a respectful group where they don’t do that and I’ll maybe get like, not a mean, but like a rude message every couple months. And I talk to them about it, and we figure it out. Up until I would say a couple months ago, I was reading this website, which is just a blogger bashing website and it was affecting me so much. I had a form on there and people would say stuff and at first I always told myself that was constructive criticism and I wanted to tell people were saying being truthful about it and I would take what they’re saying and try to adjust. But over time I realized they were just saying it out of mean spirit and not constructively. It just, it really, really hurt me. So I would read these comments and I would be so sad for like a week and I’m a very, very emotional person. I let my emotions seep into every part of my soul. So when I got that way, I would just stop blogging, I would just stop posting because I’m like, the whole world hates me, you know, obviously took the stream. But I feel like it’s such a sensitive subject to a lot of people because the people, even I’ve even had family members say, well, you put yourself out online, your opening yourself up to me and comments, but I don’t think anybody should be ever be okay or allow mean comments.
As bloggers, when we fight back or we say, anything to combat that, to defend ourselves, we also get backlash saying, Oh, you shouldn’t do that, or you should just go. But it’s like if somebody were to come to you and you know, call you a bad word, or if you’re at work and people are talking badly about you, you’re able to confront them, I don’t know why I’m not allowed to. But what I stopped doing is I stopped reading the website and it was hard because it’s like you always know in the back of your mind that it’s there and you really want to see it. But I just, I knew from my emotional stability and for where I am in my life right now, I just, I physically cannot read it because it would just kind of ruin everything for me. So, I told myself, it’s like I would go to that website and I would just get hurt by it. So I was like, why am I doing that? If issues are coming to me then I’ll address them and figure them out. I don’t need to go searching for hurt.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I don’t remember if I read this or if I heard her talk about it, but I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rachel Hollis, but she talks about how like when she first started writing books on Amazon, she said it’s been 10 years and she still hasn’t read her own reviews because like, they would just tear her up so much and people on the Internet when they don’t have any accountability or transparency will say horrible things that they would never say offline. That really stuck with me because I don’t know, it’s hard when you live in a public space to not know how to deal with that. But on a more positive note, I do think like from what I’ve seen of your blog, you have built such a loyal following. People do really love you so much and do you have any, you know, ways that you think you’ve really done that or any tips for people that are trying to grow a platform on how they can really find like a community within it? Not just sort of publicizing what they’re doing but bringing people together?
Krista Robertson: Yeah. I’ve always had the mentality of being 100% me. This is just me, I’m not wearing makeup, my hair’s dirty from workout. I thought that there are so many people online that, you know, to each their own have similar looks, had different looks and there’s so many people that you can look up to and you know, have as an aspirational view. I just wanted to be one of the few who’s just like, this is me and I’m okay with being me. I want you to be okay with you being too. So I want to say in 2014 I stopped wearing makeup every day because my now fiance, was like I like you a lot better without makeup. And I was like, great.
So the first couple of weeks, and this is something I always, always remember the first couple of weeks I stopped wearing makeup and I would look in the mirror and I was like, oh, like who is this? Like what’s going on? I almost had like face dysmorphia because I was so used to seeing my face covered up and concealed that when I saw it naturally I was like gross. But it’s because you’re so used to one thing that when you actually see yourself as another, it takes time getting used to. Now when I see myself in the mirror, like my face I’m like, hey, what’s up girl? And it’s like when I see makeup, it only gets better. So I was like, okay, this is awesome. And that’s kind of how I view blogging. If you can, you know, show off your true self and I can start showing people and my readers that this is what a normal person looks like, this is what is considered normal, like, especially with, you know, my body type, I am not like extra, extra small type girl. I you know, have flaws. I have a pooch and I’m okay with that and I’m okay with showing that off because I want to remind people that that’s okay and it’s normal. We’re all normal. So I’m trying that little piece of normalcy in a world that I feel like it’s just very filtered. I don’t use any filters on Instagram stories. I rarely wear makeup, during the week. And I just want to be that authentic self with you. And so I think that’s how I was able to kind of have a following and people who trust in me and I hope to just kind of be a breath of fresh air to the people who follow me. So that’s what I think helps people stay around and if they don’t like it, you know, I tell them, okay, that’s fine. Go off and do whatever else. I’m here to just, be.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, I think that that’s such great advice. I think authenticity is like forever a good game plan because you can’t really, it’s not trendy like it will always just be you. So there’s really no way you can go wrong doing it. And by the way, you have been helping me grow my lashes out for my wedding. I’ve been reading your posts and I bought all the stuff that you recommended, so, I definitely feel that. And then the next question I want to ask you is about how you did so much of this around your nine to five job and like what tips you have for managing that very hectic schedule and what really goes into it that most people don’t know. I didn’t really build a blog that I built the business that is now my full time business around my nine to five job. Even looking back on that last year, I can’t even believe I did it. So I love just hearing what your tips are. People that have really done something successful around it. What’s it like and how’d you do it and what suggestions do you have?
Krista Robertson: So I get this question a lot. People are like, how are you doing this and working? What’s funny is I never really noticed that I downplayed it until Andrew, my fiance said something and he was like, why do you do that? And I was like, do what? He was like, you say that, oh, you know, it’s just whatever, you just get it done. He’s like, but you work so much harder and you need to give yourself credit for that. And I was like, yeah, yeah, you’re right. So, you wake up in the morning and I’d probably finish up a blog post, publish it, go to work, during lunch, check emails, like when I can just have downtime, you know, shoot off a few things and then come home. This was always the hardest part is like after work I couldn’t really, I mean I could make plans, but it was very hard because if I made plans either with friends or if I do a workout class or to do an event after work that takes in, that eats up my time into actually writing a post or publishing on Instagram or you know, doing stories or editing a video.
So you don’t, you don’t get home until eight, but you still have to eat dinner. You still have your real work job of emails that come up. But I would come home and I would, you know, edit the posts the next day, which takes a couple hours, three to four hours between editing the photos, narrowing it down, like actually physically editing them, writing the posts, linking everything, going through it again and then publishing it. It takes long time. I feel like people don’t really acknowledge that. Um, it’s, it’s a lot. And so you have to do all that. You also have to think of like the blog post itself. Is this helpful? Is this something I would want to read? Is this even interesting? Then you have to go through the rest of your emails to make sure all of your collaborations and your contacts are up to date. Make sure you’re not leaving anybody hanging. I usually wouldn’t get to bed until like one in the morning and then you just kind of wash, rinse, repeat. Then on weekends, I just didn’t really have a ton of free time to like go to brunch with my friends cause I couldn’t get drunk during the day because I needed to work. I needed to do more emails, or I need to take photos. And if I started drinking, I’m like out for like the whole day, probably the next two days too. So I couldn’t really have like a huge robust social life. I would still obviously meet my friends and you know, maybe there wasn’t a post on a Thursday because I went out on Wednesday. But Saturday, Andrew and I usually shoot for the blog. We shoot three to six looks per day and kind of get all that content in so I’m putting together outfits on Saturday, I’m doing my hair and makeup, which usually takes like two hours and then we’d go out and shoot. That takes up the full day. Now if it’s raining or if it’s windy or if it’s too cold, if it’s too hot, it’s like really, really hard to shoot. So maybe we’ll have to shoot indoors or maybe we have to location scout. And that’s one other thing is you’ll notice in like my photos, I’m always kind of around the same place or have these specific places cause I know that I only have certain hours during this day that I need to get this done. So I know the spots good. So I’ll do it here, here and here and we’ll get it done. And then, you know, I return clothes that didn’t work, I start shopping for next week, I start thinking of more ideas, I’m posting on Instagram trying to figure out, you know, what you guys want to be seeing. I film a video Sunday morning, I start editing it and then I start editing all the photos we took on Saturday on Sunday to then try and give that for the rest of the week. So it’s just so, so much. Well, there was a lot of events I’d have to say no to because of work. A lot of collaborations I just couldn’t turn around in time because I can only shoot on the weekends. Sets a full five days in between, I can’t get this out. So turnaround time was hard. There was just so much and it was, it was something that was so normal for me. So I didn’t really think a lot about it, but actually breaking it down, I’m like, oh crap. Like actually do a lot of work and I don’t get to sleep and I don’t eat that well, or I’m not working out or I’m not seeing my friends, stuff like that. Then go add traveling to that, and it just ruins everything.
Leah Gervais: Oh God. Well, what do you think through all of that and just kind of what you’ve done in general, what do you think you most learned about yourself or do you feel like this has been a personal development journey for you to, throughout this whole thing?
Krista Robertson: Yeah. I think out of everything, the one thing that I’ve really taken away the most, and this is like kind of dumb, but it’s that I’m okay with being myself because everybody struggles with self confidence, you know, issues and we’ve all been through it and I’ve come out on the other side, I’m like 99%. I’m not 100% I don’t think I’ll ever be there. But like being myself and having people accept that or appreciate that and being truthful and honest while I still might get a small percentage of hate, I get a majority of love and support. Having that is like, okay, yeah. I makes me feel better. It makes me feel that if other people can love me exactly as I am, then you know, I can love myself the same way. That’s another hard thing I think what people who maybe put on a fake persona or fake filter, is people love them for this one person that they’re portraying. And internally those people have to be like, well that’s not really me. That definitely messes with your psyche. So being able to 100% be myself online and having people support and accept that has built my confidence even more. In return, I’m helping other people do the same.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. That’s awesome advice and what an impact because any permission you can give to other people, whether they’re bloggers are not just like in day to day, that’s hugely influential. Yeah. All right. My last question for you is if you could go back, let’s do, you’ve had in your blog for what, six years? Yeah. So if you could go back to like five years, so you had just started, what would you tell yourself?
Krista Robertson: I would tell myself to post more on Instagram. There’s like this window where people were like really, really, you know, getting a ton of followers but to also like not take it too seriously. I feel like there was a period there where we were all kind of burning the midnight oil and taking this as life or death. I feel like as a community of people, at least around me, we’ve kind of gotten over that hump. We’re going back to like the old school days of blogging where it’s just like stuff that makes us happy and stuff we want to write about versus what’s gonna make us the most money or what’s going to make us the most successful. What does successful look like? How can I become that? So it’s just to not take it too seriously, not let it affect you mentally. And then to also not read mean comments online. That’s good advice. Don’t read things that are hurtful to you.
Leah Gervais: All right, well where can people find out more about you and is there anything exciting coming up you want to share?
Sure. Nothing super exciting other than the wedding. Getting married in September.
Leah Gervais: Yay! Congratulations!
Krista Robertson: Thank you. So I’m excited for that. Outside of that, not a ton. I’m kind of just taking it day by day. You can find me at coveringbases.com. You can find me on Twitter @Krista on Instagram @KristaRobertso. So the “N” was already taken. So it’s like a whole big thing. Then I’m not really on Facebook even though I have a page, but you can mainly find me on the blog and on Youtube I’m KristaRobertson13, so youtube.com\KristaRobertson13. I like posting videos because it shows a lot about who I am and you can really get a sense for my personality and for just me. I think people can resonate with that more than just a pretty photo on Instagram.
Leah Gervais: Love that. I like doing videos in New York too, but I feel like very often I almost get hit by a car.
Krista Robertson: Right. You try and be cute and it’s like New Yorkers are like “no”.
Leah Gervais: All right. Well thank you so much for sharing this with us. It was great hearing everything you’ve done. Congratulations on your success and your wedding.
You too! Thank you so much.
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