Episode 17: On Being an Equestrian Influencer, Authenticity & Work/Life Integration with Raquel Lynn of Horses & Heels and Stable Style (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 17: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Horses & Heels and Stable Style Founder Raquel Lynn. You'll learn ...
Watch Raquel Lynn's Interview on YouTube
Or listen to the audio only version
About Raquel Lynn
Raquel lives in an equestrian community just outside the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles with her Paint mare, Fira in her backyard. When she’s not riding through the hills, she’s sharing barn tours on Stable Style or posting inspiration on Horses & Heels.
Raquel Lynn created her dream job one blog post at a time on her website, Horses & Heels. With a knack for interior decorating, beautiful photographs and inventive recipes, Raquel has garnered thousands of fans over the years.
Horsesandheels.com’s Stable Style category grew so popular Raquel launched a sister website, stablestyle.net focusing on barn tours and tack rooms. Stable Style draws an international audience of horse lovers eager to peruse barns ranging from quaint two-stall stables to luxury equestrian estates.
Raquel Lynn Interview Excerpt
Carly: Tell us about your heart horse. I follow all your adventures on social media and I love watching where you ride and what you're up to with her.
Raquel: Fira is a registered Paint. She's five years old and she came to me from Texas a little over two years ago. It was a long search to find her. I'm always bonding with her. One of the things we're doing right now is I'm teaching her tricks. I do lots of rides with friends and we are very social. Fira is a big part of my life.
Carly: Mango has made a couple appearances as we've been talking today. I'd love to I'd love to hear more about Mango.
Raquel: She's sleeping right here on the pillow behind me. Mango will be eight in December. I've had her since she was a baby. She came with me from Ohio and has been with me through many, many moves. She's basically my sidekick. If I'm in my office, she's in her little teepee at my feet. She goes everywhere with me because California is so dog friendly.
Carly: I wanted to move into the informational part of the of the interview and I'd really like to hear you describe Horses & Heels and Stable Style and what people can find on your very popular equestrian blogs.
Raquel: Horses & Heels is basically my lifestyle blog. It involves everything from cowboy boots to recipes to home decor finds and DIYs. I do try and rotate my subjects and my content to make sure that I have a broad range of topics.
I have a second blog called Stable Style. It's all about barns from cute little two stall barns to the luxury stables. I do mix in home decor and lifestyle topics because they are popular.
Carly: Did you ever expect able to be able to support yourself through your blogging and your creative endeavors? It's a dream job!
Raquel: I always hoped. It's been very challenging because when I first started out I was living in Ohio and the cost of living is not very high there. I've gone from Ohio to Los Angeles where it's very, very expensive. I feel like I keep getting raises, but those raises get taken away from me by rent or just cost-of-living living in an expensive area, but it is nice that I get to be able to wake up every day and get to pick when I work. Sometimes I'll go for a morning ride. Sometimes I go for an afternoon ride. Sometimes I go for an evening ride. Sometimes I start work at noon. Sometimes I work until 10:00 p.m.. Sometimes I work at 6:00 a.m.. The flexibility is amazing.
They talk about work/life balance, but if you work for yourself work/life balance is just something that people talk about. It sounds like a really nice idea, but it's more like work/life integration. It's how you integrate your daily work into your life. It's not always balanced at all because I do more than an eight-hour day on most days and I'm okay with that.
Carly: You love the work. That's what makes the difference. I think as a small business owner and living your dream job you do work more than you would at a traditional job, but I think you're creating something better for the world because you're all in. I love that analogy of work/life integration because you insert things like go out and be with the horses then it's back to the desk.
Carly: You are considered an equestrian influencer and like I said earlier I've been a fan of Horses & Heels and now Stable Style for as long as I can remember. I've always been inspired by your recommendations. What does being an equestrian influencer mean to you?
Raquel: That's a tough question because I feel like when I started it was just everyone was a blogger and now you have bloggers and you have influencers. They're two totally different things. It's funny because I don't really consider myself to be an influencer. I'm just a horse girl who has a blog, but I think how you get to that point is you just be you. Don't try and be anybody else. I think if you share or talk about things that you like and that you love then people will you know. I think it's important to be authentic, modest, and humble about those things, too.
Carly: I really love that on both Horses & Heels and Stable Style is that you feature horse book authors and you make book recommendations. What do you look for in a in a book to recommend? What kind of books do you feature?
Raquel: I feature all horse books. In terms of what I'm looking for, they say not to judge a book by a cover, but I do, especially if it's a coffee table book. The imagery has to be really beautiful or it has to draw you in. Obviously, I'm an Amazon affiliate, so I recommend books on Amazon all the time. I do get commissioned when people buy those books.
One thing that people don't really talk about is the benefit of being an affiliate. You are getting a commission, but you're actually seeing what people want to buy. You're learning about your audience or you're learning about what people are shopping for. I love horse books, a lot of people do, so that's why I do the book recommendations. I love putting those lists together. There's usually some sort of theme that ties the books together.
Carly: Thank you so much for supporting horse book authors. It's so awesome to have you in our corner and thank you for always supporting my books.
Carly: Talk to us about how you got into freelance work for horse publications and which publications you've written for. I know people are going to recognize them.
Raquel: I've done a lot of work for Horse Illustrated, the Paint Horse Journal and Chrome magazine which is their members only publication. I've done stuff in the past for COWGIRL magazine. I've done a little bit for Western & English Today. I was featured in Horse & Style this summer which was really exciting. The magazine thing has always been really fun for me.
I got into it by being a blogger. I never really thought of myself as a writer when I started blogging. I've come a long way as a writer and it's something that I actually really enjoy. I was very lucky in the sense that I didn't have to pitch something. The opportunity kind of fell into my lap and they asked me to do some more. I'm actually really excited because I have a pretty big workload coming up for the Paint Horse Journal and for Chrome. I usually do the fun stuff, but they're giving me more technical topics.
Carly: You're freelance work started by you being so good people couldn't ignore you and they started coming to you! I'm always excited every time I open a magazine and I see your name at the top of an article. I wanted to say based on your comments is that you can start in one place when you take on a creative career, your own business, or your own blog and you grow through the process. You grow and you start expanding what you do. Look at you now! You're freelancing for major equestrian publications and writing technical articles. That's exciting because you're evolving and constantly learning. That's really cool.
Carly: I want to put a spotlight on your book From Passion to Profit: A Step-By-Step Guide to Niche Blogging. Tell us about your eBook.
Raquel: It's basically a beginner's guide to starting a blog and everything that you need to do to start the blog like coming up with content, setting a schedule, social media, and the power of Pinterest. I talk about affiliate networks. It goes into all of those subjects.
Carly: Obviously for people that are interested in the equestrian space, you are the perfect go-to person for how to create an a blog in this niche. You also offer the book bundled with personal coaching packages. Would you talk to us about your coaching offer and how people can work with you one-on-one?
Raquel: The nice thing about the coaching and what I tell people is you can ask me anything on the phone. I mean anything and I will give you a straight and honest answer. I've learned over the years by doing everything that I've done and it's what led me to write the eBook and offer the coaching sessions. You can Google your way through a lot and you can get a lot of good answers, but you only really get the best answers if you pay for them. The book is really good, but the coaching is a way to dig in a lot deeper. I always recommend reading the book first and then do the coaching.
Carly: You are totally correct when you say the best advice comes from advice that you pay for through a trusted resource. It's really important to have someone in your corner when you're building a business or you want to step into this world. The most successful people have their own coaches. CEOs have coaches. We all need coaches and have coaches. I think it's a wonderful thing that you're offering that service for people to learn from one of the very best on the equestrian lifestyle side of things.
Connect with Raquel Lynn
Follow Raquel on Instagram @horsesandheels_ and @stablestyle
Learn more about Raquel's book and coaching packages here:
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Thank you for tuning in to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. See you next time! I'm your host Carly Kade. Creative writing makes my spurs jingle!
About your Host and Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, Western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her — crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In the Reins, the first in Carly's series of novels inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The In the Reins equestrian romance series is available now in Audiobook, Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo.
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade