Anika's DIY Life

Anika Gandhi, Founder

Cypress, CA
Anika at the workbench. Anika's DIY Life logo.
A love of creating

For most people, putting together furniture at home leads to frustration, maybe some tears, and then a call to the handyman. But not for Anika Gandhi.

“I was putting together some furniture for my daughter’s room, and realized it was fun to kind of take these pre-made items apart and give them a makeover,” says Anika. She wasn’t terribly excited by the run-of-the-mill furniture from large retailers, so it was exciting to breathe new life into these items with a coat of spray paint and some sprucing up.

It was around that time that Anika found the world of blogs. This opened her eyes up to the many creators who were making their own DIY projects and showing them off online. They inspired her to start making more of her own creations — so she convinced her husband to buy her some power tools for her birthday. Soon enough, she was building her own table and chairs for her daughter’s room. Plus, Anika and her family were in-between moves and Anika had stepped away from her engineering job temporarily, giving her time that she was eager to fill up with activities.

“It kind of snowballed from there,” says Anika. In 2016, Anika decided to upload her woodworking projects online at Anika’s DIY Life. Soon she was getting feedback from writers of other DIY blogs, which built up her confidence and eventually drew thousands of readers to her site each month.

The early encouragement convinced her to stick with the blog — and she gave herself a year to see if this site could actually go somewhere and become a business, or if it was time to go back to full-time work. The latter wasn’t too appealing to Anika, which motivated her to develop a monetization strategy.

Anika hard at work.
Ads lend a helping hand

Anika’s peers in the DIY blogging community told her about AdSense. She set it up herself fairly easily and was shocked to hit her first $100 payout in just a couple of months.

She wasn’t just starting to make money — she was also realizing her work inspired others to get creative and build up the confidence needed to take on their own DIY projects. A few of her projects really took off on Facebook and Pinterest, which gave her site’s traffic a boost.

Now Anika had confirmation: her blog could be a lasting business and the sort of flexible full-time work she’d been looking for so she could also be there for her family. Now that her feet were planted squarely in the online publishing world, it was time to think bigger about her site.

“Eventually I hit the threshold to qualify for Raptive,” says Anika, referring to the Google Certified Publishing Partner that offers full-service ads management. Alongside some brand sponsorships and affiliates, ads came to make up about 40% of Anika’s growing revenue.

“I am always dialing in SEO and social media marketing strategies,” says Anika. “Now I see a 20% YoY growth in ad revenue. This helps me invest in better experiences for my readers, knowing I have the funds to cover it.”

Anika taking a break from a project.
Anika does it herself (with some help)

Running a site isn’t easy — but luckily, Anika’s steady income allowed her to hire contractors who could take some of the weight off her shoulders while also earning their own income.

“We now have six contractors who help with the site,” says Anika. “I love that I'm able to hire people and give them the means to support their families. Plus, it’s given me some flexibility, where I can take myself out of the equation for certain site tasks, particularly with back-end site management — and instead focus my efforts on devising creative DIY projects.”

That flexibility is key. Because instead of going into work, Anika managed to replace her six-figure engineering salary in just a couple years thanks to her site’s ad revenue. Now she gets to avoid long commutes and instead spends more time at home with her family, getting to be a hands-on mom.

Family has been a driving force behind the entire endeavor. “None of this would have been possible without my husband, who encouraged me to start this,” says Anika. “He doesn’t create anything for the website — he’d probably cut off his finger if he ever picked up a power tool — but he’s been my biggest supporter the whole way, which I’m so grateful for.”

“Now I see a 20% YoY growth in ad revenue. This helps me invest in better experiences for my readers, knowing I have the funds to cover it.”
Building up her brand

With stable, passive income thanks to ads, Anika is excited to see what the future holds for her website. She’s ready to expand it into a larger brand and move beyond just DIY projects into more general home and lifestyle content. To kick off those efforts, she recently acquired a second site. She also wants to build an educational hub with courses that will give beginners the necessary resources to build their own furniture or take on DIY projects at home.

As Anika grows the site, she loves that ads give her the freedom to experiment and create content to her liking — not some outside sponsor’s demands. “An ad-supported business model helps me focus on generating income and enables me to be extremely picky with my brand and affiliate partnerships,” says Anika. “I get to spend my time doing what I love most: creating, inspiring and empowering readers.”

Anika uses her own journey into DIY as a core source of inspiration for others. “I grew up in India and before I started using power tools and building projects, I had never touched a power tool and had zero exposure to DIY,” she says. “My goal for the website is to show the audience that if I can do it, they can do it. It’s to encapsulate my journey and inspire everyone to embark on their own journey.”

“I’m most proud of the emails I get from readers, showing off projects that they say wouldn’t have been possible without my tutorials,” said Anika. “It just melts my heart to know I’ve built a place where people feel inspired and empowered to create. The first step is always the same: you just have to get started.”

About the Publisher

Anika is an electrical engineer turned entrepreneur that helps people build their dream DIY projects.
Anika headshot.