We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Fogle and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sarah, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
A couple of years after I started the blog, I was in business school and unsure if I would truly step out on my own to work for myself full time. My entrepreneurship professor took an interest in my then “side hustle” and loaned me a book he liked: Little Bets by Peter Sims. It told a series of stories about taking chances. Over and over. Failing a little, adapting, succeeding a little, and what “overnight success” really looks like behind the scenes. How comedians totally bomb at small clubs on purpose in preparation for their new comedy special to get the timing and punchlines just right. How Pixar began making computers (unsuccessfully), then pivoting to CGI for commercials, then short films and Toy Story. It’s not hard to see the overall point, but I found it really compelling and a reflection of what I experienced with my blog. If you’re looking at any given day, a post I wrote might totally fail. But little by little, I found a way to share my knowledge. I found a community and a way to help the folks looking for the same kinds of DIY answers I needed at one point. One sponsor became multiple and helped me make enough money to support myself as a business. I think I would have found my way regardless, but the book gave me extra confidence that I should keep going (and when you run a business solo, having just a little bit of a boost can make all the difference in the world!).

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I began blogging a little over a decade ago as a way to update friends and family on the latest developments with my fixer upper. I love storytelling and quickly became obsessed with the before and after process (especially power tools). My budget (or lack thereof) played a large role in getting started since I couldn’t afford to hire out home repair jobs. As I learned, I wrote down what I did in the hopes it would help someone else in the same phase of life as me (mistakes I made, products I used that worked, what didn’t, etc.). I love the challenge of learning how to do things I didn’t know how to do last week/month/year! I think (hope) my authenticity and willingness to share the grit behind the scenes — not just the inspirational Instagram-worthy highlights — is what allows strangers to connect with my projects.

But it’s not just enthusiasm that gets the job done; there is a LOT more than meets the eye as a content creator. Lots of data, analysis, contract negotiations, networking, editing, and marketing. And as social media platforms go in and out of style, each account has its own way to reach a new audience. It can be extremely stressful; if you’re working on a sponsored project, you feel an obligation to be professional and represent them well; if you’re working on a passion project, you experience lots of highs and lows as you share things in real time and don’t yet know the outcome.

Whenever I feel burnt out, I try to re-focus on what makes me feel “passionately curious” (a lovely phrase I like from Einstein). I like making a mess and learning from the mistakes and successes equally. I LOVE demo. The messages I get when someone tells me one of my projects gave them the confidence to give woodworking or power tools a try makes my day!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My answers are mostly pre-pandemic (we had a baby about 8 months in and have immunocompromised family members, so our lives mostly consist of staying at home and food delivery these days, even if a friend comes to visit). But in “the before times,” I think most of it would be spent eating and drinking at my favorite spots and then walking it off until the next meal. We’d visit the Botanical Gardens, Park Tavern and Piedmont Park, Antico for pizza, Sweet Hut Bakery, First Watch for breakfast/brunch, and probably a comedy show at The Punchline. There was a Mexican buffet place I loved off of South Cobb Drive. We’d probably also do some walking along the Beltline and Ponce City Market and have dinner at 9 Mile Station. And my partner loves the steaks and cocktails at 5Church. This is quite the full week (literally).

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family. Singling out one person would be WAY too hard, but each person in my life has helped me achieve success in one way or another. My grandfather taught me enthusiasm for tinkering. My parents spent weekends helping me paint and remove wallpaper. My dad taught me patience and that done is better than perfect. When I met my partner, he started learning how my business worked and lended a helping hand to make our projects bigger and better than ever before; it allowed me to expand to making YouTube videos on top of my written content. When we became parents, extended family stepped in to help me with extra childcare so I could meet sponsor deadlines. Without the love and support from my family, I would be totally lost.

Website: https://www.uglyducklinghouse.com

Instagram: instagram.com/uglyducklingDIY

Twitter: twitter.com/uglyducklingDIY

Facebook: Facebook.com/UglyDucklingHouse

Youtube: YouTube.com/UglyDucklingHouse

Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@uglyducklingDIY

Image Credits
Sarah Fogle | Ugly Duckling House

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