Name: Crystal Adkins
Location: Pineville, West Virginia
Topics of Interest: Web Development, Graphic Design
For the latest installment in our series of Tuts+ community stories, we’re taking you to the small town of Pineville in rural West Virginia, to hear how Crystal Adkins turned a personal blog into a full-time business.
When Crystal Adkins and her husband bought a mobile home in early 2011, she had no idea that it would lead to a successful web business.
The aim at the time was simply to become debt-free. They paid cash on an older mobile home, and planned to remodel it. But when Crystal searched online for mobile home remodeling ideas, she found nothing much available.
Of course, there were a few articles and a blog or two but nothing compared to what site-built homes had. That single search changed my life.
Crystal figured that if she was looking for ideas, so were others, and so she decided to start her own blog that focused on mobile home remodeling and decorating ideas.
There was just one problem:
I didn’t understand how websites worked, what a link or a domain was, or what ‘url’ even meant, so I had a lot to learn!
Nevertheless, she started a blog called Mobile Home Living, and looked around online for help on how to design it and make it work.
Crystal says that Tuts+ was one of the first websites she found in 2011. She used the tutorials she found here, and on other sites, to learn how to use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign proficiently.
Crystal also learned several coding languages, as well as search engine optimization, marketing, and WordPress.
Without online resources such as Tuts+ I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success I have, and I’m very thankful for them.
When asked about the best skill she’s learnt, Crystal replies:
I’d have to say coding. Learning the basics of HTML, CSS, and PHP has allowed me to improve my website drastically.
Today, Crystal says, Mobile Home Living is the #1 resource for manufactured home remodeling and decorating ideas. It receives over half a million page views per month, and in 2013 she was able to quit her job to focus on the site full-time.
She has also gained a few clients who have hired her to create graphics and write articles relating to the manufactured home and home improvement niche.
But it doesn’t stop there. Crystal is currently working on a remodeling and decor book for manufactured homeowners that should be published in late 2016. She also plans to expand the Mobile Home Living brand into a helpful how-to video series and a printed magazine.
So what tips does Crystal have for people who are just starting their career?
If I can do this, anyone can! It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how old you are, or how much formal education you have – if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can succeed.
Crystal’s website is Mobile Home Living, and you can reach her via email at email@example.com.