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Last Updated on March 29, 2021 by Daniella
Welcome to the Entrepreneur Stories series where I interview inspiring online creators and business owners.
Today’s interview is with Baylee from Up At An Angle. Baylee walks us through how she created her blog and coaching business to fight the shame and stress she saw people suffering with around her when it came to money.
Let’s learn more about her mission and how creating a business like this with empathy is important.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business(s):
Hi Daniella! My name is Baylee, I’m from Long Beach, California, where I run my small business Up at an Angle. Up at an Angle is a platform where people can come to learn more about personal finance at their own pace and share their experiences with money.
For me, personal finance is about progress- not perfection. The name “Up at an Angle” came to me one day when I was looking at a graph of the U.S. stock market, dating back to the 1920’s. On this graph, from a zoomed-out, eagle-eyed view, all of the major financial crises of the past 100 years looked like tiny hiccups on a line that otherwise trudged up incessantly.
I realized that just like with the stock market, when we’re in the thick of things, progress can feel impossible. We feel that we’re at a standstill, if not sliding back down the hill altogether. But more often than not, when we look back with a greater perspective, we’re able to see how the trend still slants upward in the direction of progress. Even if it’s at an angle!
What made you want to start your blog upatanangle.com?
I initially started my blog as a simple Instagram page under the same name. Silly as it sounds, Up at an Angle was initially nothing more than a meme page to vent about all of the silly ideas I came across in both the personal finance world and the world of banking, where I worked at the time. I felt like anywhere people went for help with their finances, they were being bombarded with ideas and “rules” to shame them. Instead of looking at spending holistically, they were shamed for buying lattes. Instead of talking about the power that savings can have in your life, they were lectured about interest rates. And instead of discussing debt as the liability that it is, they were sold it as a product.
I had to start Up at an Angle because I couldn’t stand to see the hurt, confusion, and shame that these ideas caused. As the page grew, people asked me so many questions that I realized there was a huge need for a blog that looked at money through a different lense.
What were some online platforms/resources you used to get started?
I must have been one of the earlier adaptors to Reddit, because I was no older than 15 (in 2012) when I was Googling:
“Saving for college reddit”
“Is debt bad reddit”
“What’s an emergency fund reddit”
Reddit is still my #1 tool for both creating AND consuming content, no matter which side hustle I’m working on. When it comes to personal finance, you can get a lifetime’s-worth of advice on subreddits like r/PersonalFinance, r/FinancialIndependence, and r/EatCheapandHealthy. As far as building my business goes, I relentlessly browse subreddits like r/JustStart (about building websites), r/EtsySellers, and r/Entrepreneur.
Instagram is a close second for my most valued (loved?) platform. Although I don’t learn as much on Instagram, the camaraderie and support of other side hustlers has definitely kept me going at times that I would’ve given up.
There aren’t many people I know who’ve started their own business, so having a virtual support network is invaluable to me!
What are some of your favorite tools and systems that help you in your day to day work?
Canva! Canva helps me break down any concept I want to talk about into an easily-digestible format. Plus, I’m the farthest thing from an artist, so I really don’t know what I’d do without it!
I’m also terrible at using WordPress, so I use Wix for my website. I’ve heard that a lot of tech people hate it, but I love being in control of all aspects of the business and the drag-and-drop format of Wix helps me do that.
What inspires you the most in your work and creation?
People! I know it might sound like a silly answer, but I love talking to people and getting to know them. Everyone has a unique story and vision for their life, and when I get to talk to them about their money I get a glimpse into what that is. What I LOVE about my business is that I actually feel like I’m helping people get closer to it- no matter what it is. It’s very surprising what goes into people’s money decisions and setbacks, but I always tell people that that’s why it’s called PERSONAL finance.
As a sidepreneur, we are all multihyphenates struggling to balance our time and energy. Do you have any tips for how you are able to stay balanced and sane?
Last year, my full time job was really what kept me accountable to my side hustle. I knew exactly which days I’d be at home to work on it and which days I couldn’t. After leaving that job, I’ll be the first to admit that my schedule went all over the place. I’d find unanswered emails that were over two weeks old in my inbox, something that would’ve killed me while I was working full time.
The best tool I’ve implemented in the last few months is a paper calendar. Not the kind you have on the wall, where you have to strain your wrist to actually use it. But a big book I bought off of Amazon for around $10. At this point, it functions almost like a journal, where I can see which tasks I’ve completed and which are stretching on longer than they need to.
What are the main income streams you’ve built up in your business(s) (or are working on building)?
My biggest source of income from Up at an Angle is one-on-one financial coaching. I call, Skype, or even just text/dm a client about their particular money questions, help them explore the topic/find a solution, and then follow up with them to check their progress and update them with any other resources I can provide. I’m hoping that my next biggest source of income will be a money journal for people to go through at their own pace. Besides those, of course, I also maintain my blog, which can be a source of affiliate income from ads in the future.
Can you give us a glimpse into a “day in the life” of juggling your blog work and day job?
When I worked full time, I would squeeze Up at an Angle into all of my downtime, breaks, and weekends. I had the fantastic advantage of having all of my work be virtual, which helped me dedicate a lot of time to it while still holding down a full time job.
A few months ago, I quit my full time job to focus on some other interests. Now, I typically work at my cafe job in the early morning, run errands like grocery shopping, work on Up at an Angle, and then relax. I often find myself coming back to Up at an Angle before I go to bed, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. For the first time in my life, I really feel like I’m being productive- not to mention happy- without feeling the need to constantly “push” myself through hard days. I can take things a little easier, and my body and business both thank me for it.
Do you have any tips for someone looking to get started?
One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard about business was on a podcast about self-publishing. I haven’t been able to find it since, but the writer had published several best-selling novels. She said (paraphrased), “You know what happens to a bad book? No one reads it. That’s it.” When we think of failure, I think we envision people making fun of us on Twitter and our friends and family calling each other up to talk about how “embarrassing” we are. But that rarely happens. In reality, when you write a bad book, someone reads the first two pages, puts it down, and forgets about it forever.
The reality is that people don’t always remember what you said or what you did, but they always remember how you made them feel, so do what you can with a desire to help others and you’ll be miles ahead of everyone just looking to make a quick buck.
So start imperfectly- but start. A bad job is just one more opportunity to improve yourself the next time.
Did you have a mentor and if so, can you explain that relationship and how it helped you in building your business(s)?
This is actually a funny story! When I was 16, I met a college student- Elizabeth- at Starbucks in our little hometown mall, and she took the time for at least an hour (maybe 2!) to show me how to apply to Summer ballet programs. Yep. Just out of the goodness of her heart. Remember what I said about how you make people feel?
Somehow, we remained friends on Instagram for the next (nearly) 10 years, and when I started Up at an Angle, she became one of the first people to follow and support me. She runs her own business now as a personal coach, called Modern August, and she checks in with me every few weeks to keep me on track. Honestly keeping someone like me “on track” is a nearly impossible task and she’s amazing!
For me, mentorship isn’t about giving me some secret Krabby Patty formula to running a small business. I can Google how to fix something on my site or how to learn more about marketing. Elizabeth is an amazing mentor not because she keeps me accountable to tasks– but because she keeps me accountable to myself. Everyone has some dream or purpose, and every time you have to focus on the laundry or the commute or the presentation that’s due next week, it becomes just a little bit easier to lose sight of it. A really good mentor won’t let you ignore that dream just to feel content today.
What are your favorite books, other creators, podcasts, movies, or another sort of inspiration that helped you in the past and continues to help you through your day to day work as an entrepreneur/sidepreneur?
Of course, ILiketoDabble has given me LIFE the last few months. As someone who’s always felt too “frazzled,” or “unfocused,” hearing Daniella say that it’s not only okay- but actually GOOD- to give new things as much energy as you want is a relief! I was one of those people who was always holding myself back from trying new things out of fear ,that people would think I wasn’t dedicated enough to the hobbies I’d already started. I’m super thankful for ILiketoDabble for empowering me to be myself!
Besides ILiketoDabble, I also adore the podcasts Don’t Keep Your Day Job by Cathy Heller and Lessons From a Quitter by Goli Kalkhoran. Both podcasts explore all of the highs and pitfalls of living for your purpose in life, and draw from individual experiences and wisdom to encourage you to follow your calling.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m focusing on finishing my money journal. I’ve never done anything like it before and there are a lot of moving pieces that I’m still unfamiliar with, so it feels like a monumental task! What keeps me going is the thought that maybe it can truly help transform even one person’s relationship with their money. One person is always worth it for me!
Thank you so much for sharing today, Baylee. Anything else you’d like to talk about?
Thank you, Daniella! Hmm, I think I just want to say that if anyone reading this is struggling with their money- there’s hope. Tiny changes in direction can alter your course completely!
Baylee lives in Long Beach with her boyfriend, Beny, and their two little rats, Bert and Maeve. On a sunny afternoon you can most likely find her in her studio, surrounded by personal finance books, half-finished sewing projects, and drafted designs for her next project. You can find her on her website UpAtAnAngle.com and Instagram.
More Entrepreneur Stories:
- How Jannese Built a 6 Figure Network of Side Hustles
- How Danielle Creates Passive Income as an Author, Blogger, & Podcaster
- From Kombucha Subscription Box Creator to Statistical Analyst and Blogger
- How This Former Creative Director is Running Her Own Creative Business
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Daniella is the creator and author of iliketodabble.com. When their wife Alexandra and them aren’t globetrotting or playing with their 7+ animals, they are dabbling and working towards a future of financial freedom.