Jessica Shyba has captured the hearts of thousands of people across the country with her Instagram account, where she posts pictures of her son, Beau, snuggling with her dog, Theo.
So much so, that she was able to snag a book deal and start making lots of money off of her 5-year-old blog, Momma’s Gone City.
Meet Jessica. She started her blog, Momma's Gone City, five years ago when she moved with her husband and kids from the Bay Area in California to Manhattan.
She used the blog to keep up with friends and family. About three years into it, she started turning it into a business, through ads and sponsorships.
In November 2013, her family decided to adopt Theo, a part-German Shepherd, part-Shar-Pei puppy from an animal shelter in Santa Cruz, California.
Theo and her son Beau had a special bond right away. He was the baby of the family, and was sometimes left out when his two older siblings would play.
Shyba snapped this photo of Theo and Beau's first nap together. 'These two have been competing for lap time all day. I love their solution to share,' she captioned it.
Three pictures later, Shyba decided to start using the hashtag '#theoandbeau' to keep track of the photos.
The photos started getting a lot of attention on Instagram. Shyba started gaining followers like crazy. She wrote a post about it on her blog, which The Huffington Post then republished.
(The photos took off more than six months ago, but she still gets about 1,000 new followers a day. She's at about 500,000 total.)
'The story of how we rescued Theo, and adopted him from the SPCA, really touched people,' Shyba says.
Because of all the press, Shyba started getting calls from agents. She and her family decided that they would turn Theo and Beau's story into a children's book.
She had to hire someone to help her sort through all the requests. She now makes a six-figure income off the blog and the book advance.
She's also raised $US10,000 for the Santa Cruz SPCA where she got Theo. A portion of book sales will go to the shelter as well.
It's ironic, because Shyba's story has its root in Instagram, but she was hesitant to join the service at first.
Now, it's her favourite social network. 'The amount of community interaction, for me, is so much better on Instagram than it is on Twitter or Facebook.'
'It allows people to be very artistic and creative without doing a whole lot,' she says. 'It's magical.'
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