A rockstar mom and successful entrepreneur dishes about how she juggles family, work, and self-care.
A former stay-at-home mom, Portia Smith turned her passion into her vocation through hard work and constant hustle. As a travel and lifestyle blogger, she’s built a worldwide following of travel enthusiasts. From her girls’ getaways and health tips to fashion insights and general interest pieces, this mom boss is the kind of lady who regularly reminds fellow kid-toters that life doesn’t end after birth and self-care is essential.
I was inspired by Portia’s content before we even decided to have Penellope. But there’s something about growing a tiny human which took that amazement to another level. After all, Portia’s zest for life embodies the kind of mom I want to be — one who regularly fuels her passion through her business while also spending quality time with her littles.
So in the weeks leading up to Penellope’s arrival, I asked Portia if she could meet for coffee and share a bit about how she makes the whole thing work.
If you’re curious about how to juggle a business and kids or want to know how the blogging/influencer world works — this Q&A is for you.
Q&A with Portia Smith
Mikaela: Where did you get the idea for Obsessed by Portia?
Portia: As a stay-at-home mom, I was looking for a way to contribute to the family. So I started couponing. It was a great way to stretch our budget. I followed all sorts of couponing blogs to get tips and insights.
I realized blogging was something I could do. But blogging about couponing didn’t seem like a good fit. I wanted my blog to be about something I was passionate about — my obsessions.
Even though the recommendation is to start with a niche, I didn’t. I was the total opposite. In the beginning, my blog was really broad. I talked about everything. Fitness. Fashion. Food. Travel. Kids. It wasn’t until later that I really honed in on my passion for travel.
Mikaela: It doesn’t sound like Obsessed by Portia wasn’t really a business in the beginning. When did that shift?
Portia: It took about two or three years.
Mikaela: So, as a stay-at-home mom, how were you able to dedicate the time to make Obsessed by Portia a success while still caring for your kids?
Portia: I brought my kids with me. Obviously, I didn’t bring them to adult-only events — like happy hour. But for the most part, I brought them to everything. Interviews. Networking events. Fitness classes.
I remember one of the very first exercise events I went to, I was doing yoga with a group in a park and my girls were playing on the playground right beside the class.
Mikaela: Do clients have an issue with your kids being there? Do your kids enjoy going?
Portia: I guess some clients might, but I’m a mom. I have kids. My kids are part of the package and if people want to work with me, they need to know that.
Plus, I think it’s really good for my kids to see me working. To be involved. To understand that mom’s not just looking at her phone. She’s working.
And we make it fun. Most of the places we go, the kids get a treat. They get to do fun things. And they’re exposed to so much. To travel. New foods. New people. It’s good for them. It’s good for me. It’s good for the brands I work with. It’s good all around.
Mikaela: If someone wanted to start blogging, what’s the number one thing you’d recommend?
Portia: Network. Especially in the beginning, I went to every networking event I could. And you wouldn’t believe the opportunities that came my way just by being in the right place at the right time.
I met fellow bloggers who have become friends and who I have been able to collaborate with. I’ve met brand reps who have proposed incredible opportunities. It really is all about who you know.
Mikaela: So how did you transition into this being a revenue generator? How do you make money as a blogger/influencer?
Portia: Getting paid is actually a really hot topic among bloggers and social influencers. Some bloggers are big advocates of never working for free.
But compensation can happen in a lot of ways. I get paid for some of the content I produce. That can happen in a lot of different ways, such as a flat fee or a commission on sales produced from my content. But I also get compensated in the form of experiences or products. And for me, that can be totally worth it. If my work can take my family on a trip, sometimes a comped room and flight make sense for us.
Mikaela: It feels like you have everything together, but is there something you struggle with?
Portia: Time. I never have enough time. And, I will often do what I want to do, not what I need to do. For instance, I love email. I respond to every email, message, and comment personally. But that’s really time intensive and I can get sucked into it, which leaves less time for other things I should be focusing on.
Mikaela: You don’t always take your kids with you. For example, you’ve taken some epic girlfriend getaways. What would you say to a mom or dad who felt like they can’t leave their kids?
Portia: You’ll hear women say, “I should have done this or that when I was younger, before I had kids.” But I want women and men to know it’s not too late to do those things. To travel. To learn something new. To take time for self-care.
Because I believe doing so not only makes you a better mom or dad — it sets a really good example for your kids. It shows them that life doesn’t end when babies are born. That they can be good parents and happy, well-rounded people who pursue their passions.
For instance, this last summer I hosted two different European getaways. Both were these amazing trips planned by Bio-Monte, a travel company that creates hand-tailored trips in Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi, and Sicily.
On each trip, there was a unique group of the most amazing women — some of whom were mom who had never left their kids before. And to see them spread their wings was incredible. And to talk to them after they came back and hear how fulfilled they were, how they felt they came back and were better moms than when they left — how they wanted to share travel with their kids and encourage them to explore new things.
Seriously, that’s what it’s all about. Nothing makes me happier than hearing someone say, “You inspired me to travel. To try something new.” I absolutely love that.
Learn More About Portia
On her blog, Obsessed by Portia