Today we have a special interview with Betsy Fick (previously known as Betsy Gettis) who started The Peony Project, a fantastic online community for women that love Jesus and blogging! In fact, it was one of the inspirations for the birth of Oakmoss so it's such an honor to be getting to chat with Betsy about community, creativity, and life!
Oakmoss: Hi Betsy, thank you for doing this interview! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Betsy Fick: Hi! I’m Betsy. I wear a lot of hats, but some of those include wife, blogger, photographer, and small business owner. By day, I work on the creative team at GT Church in West Lawn, PA. I love Jesus, road trips, all things fall, and Parks & Rec.
OM: What is The Peony Project? Does it have any core values?
B: The Peony Project is a community for women who love Jesus and love blogging. Our core values center around our belief in the Gospel and love for Jesus. We also believe that as bloggers, our members have a unique space of influence where they can speak truth into the lives of their readers. We love encouraging one another and inspiring one another!
OM: We love that! How did it start? Was there a lot of planning or did you jump right in?
B: The Peony Project was born out of my desire to create a common space for women to gather and share encouragement and knowledge about blogging. There wasn’t a ton of planning put into it. I had been a part of another blogging group on Facebook and observed some things that I liked and some things I didn’t care for, but ultimately, I liked the way it worked to bring bloggers together. So, I contacted a few friends and asked if they wanted in, and then wrote a blog post announcing the launch, and it’s just grown from there!
OM: What were any challenges you faced in the startup?
B: We didn’t really hit any challenges, per say, but we did quickly realize the need for more help. Luckily, we had some clear leaders in the community who were easy choices when it came to asking people to step up and lead!
OM: Are you a part of anything else aside from The Peony Project?
B: Yeah! I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now and write on my personal blog 4-6 days a week. My husband and I are also wedding and lifestyle photographers at Mountain Gap Creative. We just totally rebranded our business after getting married in August and it’s been so fun to pour our creative energies into something together!
OM: What advice would you give anyone wanting to start up a blog, online community, or online shop?
B: I’d recommend really coming up with a strong vision/brand for your business. Make sure it’s something that you can grow with and that you’re not going to be tired of in a month. Branding is so important…it’s what your target market/audience will identify you as. That’s not to say that you can’t eventually rebrand or change your name or logo, but starting with something strong will only help you as you grow!
OM: Does where you are in life/experiences affect your leadership for TPP?
B: Absolutely! As I mentioned earlier, I got married at the end of August. That hugely affected my leadership and online life! For my blog, I scheduled out about 4 weeks of posts and guest posts around the wedding and honeymoon so that I didn’t have to worry about that. When it comes to The Peony Project, I’m so fortunate to serve with a Core Team. As each of us has gone through big life transitions recently (a move, marriage, a baby), we’ve been able to step back in these seasons and then resume our leadership roles when life has settled down a bit.
OM: Describe your perfect day.
B: Oh man….well right now, my perfect day would include a road trip with my husband. Whether that means going to explore another city or just spending a day doing fun little things, like apple picking and running errands. I just love those days where we get to spend aimless time together and just enjoy one another’s company!
OM: Any books, tv shows, activities, or snacks that you're indulging in this fall?
B: Well now that fall TV is back, I’m loving catching up on all of the shows I watch, but I’m especially addicted to HGTV! I just discovered the first season of Fixer Upper on Netflix and I went through it in less than a week! I also totally love Starbucks’ new Toasted Graham latte and the gummy bears that they sell! They have these Blackberry Hibiscus gummy bears that are delicious, and my love for gummy candy is real.
OM: Do you have any words of wisdom for Oakmoss readers?
B: I think, if I have any advice, it’s that the world needs more people who follow their passion. So whatever it is that you daydream of doing, chase that! If it’s something that doesn’t pay the bills, then create time during your free time to pursue that passion! (Is that corny? Probably…but I really do think it’s true!)