the lively show: pet rescues + starting an art-based business with kim vargo


Today I have a fun new episode of The Lively Show for you chalk full of actionable advice for starting your own business as an artist and adopting or rescuing a pet.

My guest today is Kim Vargo of Yellow Brick Home and The Pet Shop (her pet portrait business). She’s sharing about her unexpected journey to becoming a successful artist (over 700 custom paintings sold!) and pet rescue advocate.

If you have been confused about how to start a new blog or business, or if you are interested in learning more about pet rescue, this show is for you!




  • How Kim got started in blogging and began selling her first pet portraits.
  • How Kim wisely transitioned from her day job to her business full-time.
  • How she balances business marketing and other content on her blog without overwhelming her readers.
  • Kim’s pet rescue advice.
  • Kim’s top three things it takes to become a successful artist.
  • Why reaching out to people offline is important.
  • How Kim got the energy and drive to work on her business while juggling a full-time job.
  • What Kim would tell someone just starting out on this journey.




SociaBulls – Chicago Pitt Bull Walk

Social Triggers Podcast

Smart Passive Income Podcast

The Power of Full Engagement

Getting Things Done






Want more? Check out past Lively Show episodes here.


PS – Who would you like to hear on the show? Please leave a comment recommending someone (or a specific topic) that you would love to hear more about.

Thank you so much!

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  1. Hi Jess! I’m absolutely loving your podcast. I recently started a food blog, so it’s been very helpful for me in that process so far. As to your question about who we’d like to hear on the show, my answer is: food bloggers! Any successful food blogger would be great, but here are some specific examples: Joy the Baker, Deb of Smitten Kitchen, Kate of Cookie and Kate, Heidi of Foodiecrush, Jessica of How Sweet It Is, Jeanine of Love & Lemons, Melissa of The Fauxmartha, Ashley of Not Without Salt. ALSO, it’d be great to hear from couples who do successful food blogs together, like these ones: A Couple Cooks, Food Loves Writing, Minimalist Baker (ESPECIALLY these guys), Pinch of Yum, and Sprouted Kitchen.

    I hope this helps – keep up the great work! I look forward to Thursday mornings to listen to your show.

    1. Jess Lively

      Hi Sara, thank you for all of these recommendations! I don’t know if you’ve listened to the second podcast, but I interview Jessica Murnane who has a food blog called

      It might be a fun listen for you. But I also have my eye on one of the bloggers you mentioned! I haven’t gotten a solid yes on being on the show yet… but I’m working on it! Also, I am excited to look into the other blogs you mentioned, as well. : )

      1. Thanks Jess – yes, I did listen to that one, and I enjoyed it very much! So good luck with getting those “yes” answers; I’d love to hear more. It would also be fun to hear from small artisinal food producers, such as Liddabit Sweets or Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I also LOVED the one about budgeting because I’m a financial and budgeting nerd. 🙂

          1. Lillian

            I look forward to Thursdays 5pm Kenyan Time when I will find a podcast reminder in my mailbox. I am not much of an animal lover but I enjoyed learning about pitbulls. I resonated with Kim’s advice (and your titbits) and it has added a lot of intention to how I run my blog and other facets of my life. I agree with Sara of Cakes over Steak, it would be great to hear from Lindsay and Bjork of Pinch of Yum. They have a great food blog and their story has totally inspired me.

          2. Jess Lively

            That is so cool, Lillian!! Kenyan time?! Whoa. : ) What an honor.

            Thank you for seconding Sara’s guest recommendation, too! Now she’s at the top of my list!

            PS- How warm is it in Kenya right now? I’m sick of these chilly temps in Chicago…

          3. Lillian

            Kenya is awesome all-year round. But we heading into the rainy season. So I never leave the house without an bag big enough to accommodate an umbrella. I am actually envious of your weather. I have got no idea where I can snag myself a bunch of tulips!

          4. Jess Lively

            Hah! I never thought someone living in a warm place like Kenya would wish they lived through the frigid winters… but you’re right, tulips are a nice bonus!

  2. stef

    I love these podcasts so much. We’re in winter hours at our shop right now, so Tuesday & Wednesday is our “weekend”. Your site is my first stop on Thursday morning and it’s a great start to the day.

    While I’ve gotten great nuggets of advice from every one of these creative entrepreneurs, I’d love to hear from a female working in a traditionally male dominated environment – engineering, science, military? I definitely struggle with how to assert my knowledge and protect my business in a 99.9% male environment.

    1. Jess Lively

      Thank you, Stef! That is a great topic and one that I am definitely going to add to the future topics list!! : )

  3. Heather

    Thanks for the great show with Kim today! I loved hearing her story and how passionate she is about pet rescue! There are so many lovable pets out there needing a great home!

  4. Change of Art

    Thanks again for another fun and interesting podcast! I love that there are useful tips scattered throughout your conversations – and that you bring them out so that they’re memorable.

    It’s also fun to hear the voices behind the blogs we’ve followed for so long.

    1. Jess Lively

      That is so great to hear, Beth! Thank you for sharing. : ) PS – your pic is so cute!

  5. Aly

    I’d really love the podcast and have listened to every single one!!! You’re doing a great job. I’d love to hear more from people doing humanitarian/charity/non profit work in the world like Ashley Lemieux from the shine project as an example. Its what I feel my purpose is in life and I loved here more about how to get started/how to be successful. Theres this girl Katie Davis who’s book I just bought and haven’t started yet but she gave up all her belongings and moved to uganda at 18 to help children. She started her own foundation and has adopted 14 kids.

    I’d also love to hear from more people like you. Motivators and self help experts…people who have made great changes in there life to become happier, whole people.

    And on a completely random note I think Naomi Davis from Love Taza would be awesome

    Really proud of the work you’re doing:) xoxo

    1. Jess Lively

      That is so great to hear, Aly! I’m glad you’ve like the show. : )

      Also, thank you for the recommendations! You are the second person to suggest Ashley, and I have a feeling I’ll be seeing if she’s up for it in the next month or two. ; )

      And I have a feeling you are going to like this week’s guest based on your other recommendations.

      I’ll keep your thoughts in mind for episodes to come, thanks again!

  6. Yay! I’m glad you are enjoying them and getting this powerful message. Yes, great things can take time. : )

    Have a great day, Erica!

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