Carly Heitlinger, aka The College Prepster, began blogging as a freshman at Georgetown University to fulfill a creative need after a difficult first semester.  6 years and many posts later, Carly is blogging from New York City and continues to be a relatable voice for her female followers and trendsetter for preppy fashion and accessories.  Focused on helping young women live fuller lives, Carly's honesty and enthusiasm provides positivity for her faithful readers.  Learn how Carly turned The College Prepster into one of the most influential millennial blogs and her lessons for business, branding, and successful blogging. 

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If your love for blogging is the ONLY motivation for you, you will always find success as a blogger.

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The College Prepster

What motivated you to create The College Prepster blog?  

I started blogging when I was a freshman at Georgetown.  I really struggled with my first semester and almost didn’t make it!  I was on the verge of failing a few classes and desperately needed a creative outlet.  While studying for my final exams (and very stressed!) a friend suggested that I start a blog.  The rest is history!

What have been your proudest moments since founding The College Prepster?

In a million years I would never have guessed what doors would open for me from blogging.  Almost every day I have 'pinch me' moments, but I think the one I'm most proud of is being featured in Teen Vogue!

What makes a successful blog post?  

Originality and voice.  The Internet is completely saturated with content so you have to provide content that can’t be found anywhere else.  Also, don’t write off analytics and having strategy. 

Watch Carly share what she's learned since founding The College Prepster Blog

The hardest and best thing I’ve had to learn is how to grow a brand.

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Have you ever regretted sharing a post or taken a post down?

Nope!  There have been posts that weren’t received as well as others, but you really should stand behind whatever you put on the Internet.  Even if something isn't working (for whatever reason), it will blow over insanely fast.  Content lasts forever on the Internet, but the Internet also has a short memory.  It’s like middle school drama - it’s a big deal until something else happens… which is usually immediate! 

What is your advice for making the most out of the blogging experience?  

Blog because you enjoy it.  If your love for blogging is the ONLY motivation for you, you will always find success as a blogger.  On the flip side, if your motivation is to receive free things or make money, you’ll most likely end up disappointed.

What is your dream for The College Prepster 5 years from now?  

I don’t know if blogging is a long-term career path, but it will most likely open the right doors for me.  A few things are in the works that are exciting (and scary-in-a-good-way) that will take The College Prepster and my own personal brand to new levels.

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To listen to your gut and follow through on your vision – no matter how crazy – is the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur.

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Business, Branding, & Blogging

What are your tips for being a successful entrepreneur?  

Not listening to other people.  I take that back…listen to the right people.  For me, that’s my mentor and other women who have gone through similar situations.  99% of people, however, will steer you in the wrong direction with their opinions.  Despite good intentions, even close friends and family members might not have the best advice…or even 'get' what you’re trying to do.  It’s difficult, but being able to listen to your gut and following through on your vision – no matter how crazy – is the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur.

What would you tell a young girl who is struggling to overcome perfectionism and anxiety?

Know when to ask for help.  Being a perfectionist can have some positive outcomes, but there is a line when it starts to affect your life.  Knowing when you can’t handle it on your own is key.

What have been your biggest lessons learned blogging and creating a lifestyle brand?

The hardest and best thing I’ve had to learn is how to grow a brand.  I don’t mean growing it from the ground up, but knowing when – and how – to evolve the brand.  I had a very deliberate long-term strategy in place on how I could address the things I was writing about when I graduated college.  The College Prepster is a character of myself and my life, but she grows at a slower rate than I do.  I didn’t want her to be stuck in college forever (think of television characters who are in sixth grade for seven years) but I couldn’t simply leap into talking about twenty-something issues.  She’s grown up a lot, but even to this day, there’s a steady character development going on behind the scenes.

What do you want all bSmart members to know about your story that would help them bSmart too?

Anything can happen, but it won’t happen unless you put in the time.  Stand by what you believe in and don’t be afraid to make sacrifices along the way. The payout is worth it in the end.

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Anything can happen, but it won’t happen unless you put in the time.

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Spotlight on Carly Heitlinger

Neighborhood: Upper East Side

Occupation: Blogger

University: Georgetown University

Women I Admire: Oprah, Mindy Kaling, My mom!

Favorite Quote: “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

Go-to Outfit: Cropped jeans, ballet flats, oversized tee.

Beauty Essential: Bobbi Brown Brow Shaper & Hair Touch Up

Favorite Nail Polish: Currently, Essie “Afterschool Boy Blazer.”

Can't Live Without Product: Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Signature Scent: Midnight Fleur

On My Playlist: The Begin Again soundtrack

De-Stress Technique: Walking my dog

 

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