Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Rademacher.
Hi Ashley, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started my blog, Swift, in 2016. Originally, it started as a way to differentiate myself from other personal trainers in the Austin area. I knew that I had to do something different to be able to compete with these more established professionals. Writing had always been a passion of mine, so I started more posts–not just on fitness, nutrition, etc., but on wellness, healthy living, and more. I found that the majority of my clients weren’t just interested in a workout, but wanted a whole lifestyle change. I wanted the blog to reflect that.
Over time, it just organically expanded and I started writing on even more topics and I was starting to take on brand partnerships and different collaborations. I loved what I did with personal training, but in 2019, I had to make the decision to either cut back on personal training hours or cut back on blogging. I decided that since writing had always been important to me, that I would take the leap of faith and give blogging my full time attention. When 2020 hit, I had big plans for expansion and where I saw the blog going. COVID derailed that temporarily in March and I immediately got very scared that I had made the wrong decision. However, over the course of 2020, I felt that Swift’s message–creating the life you want–really resonated with people as they were adjusting to a “new normal.” So, surprisingly, 2020 has been an incredible year and I’ve been able to really grow.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Absolutely not! There’s a lot of time and effort that goes into blogging. I think that a large majority of people have a misconception that the bloggers or influencers that they see are simply taking selfies or talking into their phones for Instagram. While that may be what some do, I can honestly say that I spend 90% of my time off social media/Instagram and work on back end content for my blog. We are constantly writing, editing, taking/editing photos, sourcing new content, upgrading SEO, making graphics, pitching new partnerships as well as continued relationships with established brands… it really is a lot! Swift had the same struggles that I think a lot of small businesses have. As an entrepreneur, you have to be dedicated. You have to enjoy the grind. You have to want to put everything that you have into your business.
Success doesn’t come easily and when it seems like you’re going nowhere, you have to have the resolve to not quit. When the pandemic started in March, huge contracts that I had for SXSW were cancelled when the festival was, and I saw a very large part of my planned income completely evaporate. It was devastating. It was also incredibly stressful to not know what the future holds and how long this might go on for. It’s a humbling experience to have to roll up your sleeves and not quit and be willing to put in the long days. It’s not uncommon that I spend 12+ hours at my laptop each day–and often on weekends.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Swift is a healthy living and lifestyle blog. It’s meant to be a resource for those who are wanting to make a lifestyle change. This is not to say that I think that there is one specific way to live–as evidenced by the wide variety of topics that we cover–but more for anyone looking to improve upon their life. For some, that’s focusing on self-care and working on body positivity. For others, that’s starting a skincare routine that just makes them feel good. I find that too often many online sites, bloggers, even lifestyle magazines, tend to skew their messaging towards one “right” way to live, whether that be the “best” workout or advocating through recipes that all meals should be low-fat, low-carb, or Whole30. Sure, those things are great, but healthy living is going to look different to every single person and I think it’s important to recognize that we are all in a different place in our journey through life. I want Swift to feel inclusive, personal, and a place where you can ask questions or come for non-judgmental advice. Everyone is absolutely welcome here.
Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
While I know that not every part of Swift touches every single reader, I hope that you find an article that resonates with you and you feel connected to our community. That it’s important to recognize that we are all different and we all want to do what we think is best for our bodies and our life.