Almost immediately, Chaya started planning her next steps and trying to figure out how to turn her concept into something bigger. In addition to the blog, she started offering online classes on car topics, which led to more classes and speaking engagements. She also launched a career as a freelance writer, landing bylines in publications like Real Simple and Shondaland.
All of that came in handy when she got laid off from her job in April 2020 and decided to scale up her efforts. Mechanic Shop Femme is now her full-time gig. Chaya explains how she managed to build a following and unite a diverse range of interests under the umbrella of her website.
Show your whole self
From day one, Chaya was open about who she was, from the name of her site to posts about her wife. “It was important to me that I could show up as my full self,” she says. She also recognized that her unique point of view is an attraction. “There’s lots of places where you can learn about cars, but none quite from my perspective,” she points out. “Cars are what draws people to me. And they learned that I was queer and obviously saw that I was fat and where I come from, and they would stick around for the full meal. Because that’s what was interesting.”
Showing that she’s part of the LGBTQ+ community also helps build trust among an audience that may feel intimidated by or excluded from car-centric settings. “I want to make sure that the people who come to my platform know that they’re not just there to learn about cars, that the space I created is not just something where they’re an afterthought, but that they’re welcome.”
Venture outside your niche
One piece of advice Chaya often heard was to focus on one topic. “While that might be great advice for some people, that’s not necessarily good advice for everybody,” she says. On the blog, Chaya weaves in a queer or body-positivity angle on everything from fashion to travel in addition to her car content. Exploring different topics helps attract different and new readers, and it keeps her from burning out on car talk.