What is your side-Gig? What made you decide to do a side-Gig? How long have you been doing it?
A Dream Is A Wish Our Blog Makes, is a lifestyle blog about Experiencing the Magic of Disney in our Everyday Lives. We started this venture on March 2, 2018. We can be exact with the date because we had arranged to meet for coffee in order to get to know each other better after carpooling our boys to sports for the last several months.
We sat down and saw that we were each wearing Disneyland t-shirts that were collectibles from years back. A spark was ignited, and we immediately started talking about our love of Disney and all the positive ways it has brought magic into our daily lives. We realized we had a unique blend of experiences that were also complementary. At first, we joked that we should create a blog since the two of us were the go-to people for our family, friends, and acquaintances when planning a trip to the Disneyland Resort or wanting to bring Disney into their home. A couple of lattes later, we decided we should go for it.
On some scrap paper, we started to scribble out our business plan. Cristina had the inside Disney knowledge and connections from her Disney College program days and her thirteen-year career at the Disneyland Resort in management positions such as Hotels, Main Entrance, Guest Relations, Attractions, and Special Events. Gina had the Marketing, Branding, and Strategic Planning experience along with Graphic and Web Design background, which she worked for corporations, universities, non-profits, and small businesses- with a focus on helping women who were just getting started on a new career.
On July 17, 2019, the website was launched. It had taken us a year and four months to get it imagined, designed, and built. It was a long process, but we love what we have created.
What did you study in college? How did this inform your career path and/or your side-Gig?
Our backgrounds have given us the perfect combination of knowledge and skills needed for the venture we have created. Between the two of us, we are capable of producing every aspect that is required to make the kind of blog and brand we imagineered.
Cristina brings that special Disney magic with her. She earned her degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and participated in both the Disney World and Disneyland College programs. She went on to have a thirteen year career at the Disneyland Resort, holding management positions in Hotels, Main Entrance, Guest Relations, Attractions, such as the opening manager of the Haunted Mansion Holiday and FastPass throughout the Resort, and Special Events, which include the movie premieres for Pirates of the Caribbean and Miley Cyrus’s 16th Birthday, to name a few. She also has social media production and design experience from managing Social Media for her family's winery.
Gina brings the vision, design, and strategic planning. She started her career in Cosmetology then went straight into the fashion industry working with designers, photographers, and beauty industry corporations creating and planning seasonal looks. Eventually, she went back to school for design, specializing in branding, graphic, and web design. She started her own consulting business as a Marketing and Branding Specialist, helping corporations, universities, non-profits, and small businesses achieve success by making their mark in their industry. She is also a writer for YA historical fiction and fantasy and now the blog.
What is the best part about doing a side-Gig?
The best part of our blog is being able to work together. We both feel very fortunate to be able to do this job with a person who is just as passionate and feels the same way about the magic of Disney as we do. It has been a joy for us to brainstorm as kindred spirits and know that together, we become even bigger dreamers. We also feel there is no reason to say no to any of our ideas.
Our philosophy is that we should try it first then learn from our attempts and successes. Our partnership has provided a positive and creative outlet, which has created an overall fantastic experience. We have only just started, but we both know we want the same things for our future. Having a partnership that offers that level of support has been lovely.
What was the hardest part about starting a side-Gig? How would you advise others to address this?
The hours of work it takes to get those fantastic ideas off the ground. There are never enough hours in the day, or in our case, at night. In the months leading up to our launch, we were texting way past midnight to get our launch list completed. We were often the last person we said goodnight to, and the first we would say good morning to. And surprisingly, we were able to do it with a smile, a good sense of humor, and that coffee that brought us together.
The best advice we can give is to research and organize as much as you can, then lay out a structured plan with deadlines. The deadlines are very important if you are serious about getting the dream to become a reality. We were able to stay on track by breaking up the entire project into sections, which makes the process as a whole less daunting. We then created lists within those sections and divided them up between us- whistling while we worked.
Many times, we ran into issues or a steep learning curve that threatened the schedule. That being said, we did not see that as a defeat but as a learning experience to get a real understanding of what it will take. We have found that kind of knowledge is key in creating a better product, gaining a work-life balance, and strategizing going forward. We have given ourselves the freedom to readjust and try again, which has allowed for all upcoming ‘next times’ to be more productive and on time.
How have you leveraged social media and the web to grow your side-Gig?
Our entire business is centered around the web and social media. It is the very medium in which we work. For us, the question of leveraging physical products, classes, and presence is the tricky part and one we hope to achieve one day for the business.
Many people start a side-Gig to reach financial freedom. Is doing a side-Gig profitable?: The blog is something we hope to gain financial freedom with, but we also know it takes time. Researching how others make a profit and how long it took to reach such success has given us a realistic timeframe to work with and strategize over. We have a clear understanding of the steps that need to happen before we can start becoming profitable. This October will mark us being up and running for three months.
Our social media followers are increasing steadily, we are gaining new email subscribers with every post, and we have been approved for ad and affiliate marketing programs within our first month to start earning. For us, we, of course, would like it to be faster, but our priorities are about quality, consistency, and long-lasting. We would rather be slow to grow if that means our venture will blossom into something strong, lasting, and truly magical.
How do you balance your side-Gig with your personal life (family, vacations, leisure-time, etc.)?
This has been the one component we have struggled with the most and are still learning how to balance. In fact, at the end of this month, we have our calendars marked for a discussion to see where we are and how our personal lives are doing while trying to make the goals we set for ourselves. Family is our top priority, and we agreed at the very beginning that it would not take a backseat to this venture.
Unfortunately, it has on several occasions. The way we have managed it so far is by taking turns with the workload. For us, this is not ideal, and we want both of us to have the same amount of time with family every month. We will say, a surprising and charming effect of this process has come about with our kids. They are now joining us when we are creating posts. They are all older and have very busy lives, so it has been great discovering a new way they want to spend time together.
Going forward, we will continue to work on achieving that balance, even if that means cutting back our number of posts, rearrange the type of posts based on the length of time it takes to produce, or divide tasks such as one writes and the other builds the page online. The most important thing, in the end, is our mutual agreement that the unbalance is not going to make us give up on this dream, and this dream is not going to make us disappear from our families. We are determined to strike that magical balance.
What is your goal in the next 5-10 years?
Our goals for the next 5-10 years is to be up and running and profitable. We would love to have a product line, classes, and be influencers for Disney on some level. We know it sounds simplistic, but this entire venture was started to create a job for ourselves that allowed flexibility around our families about something we love to experience with our families. If we can achieve that, then we can call it a success.
You can reach both Christina and Gina at: