Article by Wendy McCance
In February 2012, I began a simple blog on the free version of WordPress. I had never read a blog post before, but was going through a difficult time in my life and decided to get my thoughts out. A blog was the way I chose to express my feelings. What made me decide to blog as a means to express myself, I’m not sure. I can only say that it was the beginning of a whole new life.
I was determined to figure out WordPress without any help. I had little experience using a computer and it took me more than two weeks working day and night to get my site set up. It was a great way to focus my energy and by the time I began writing posts, I already felt I had reached a small level of success. I was in my 40’s, had no knowledge of what blogs were like, hell I didn’t even read one blog before beginning my own. I was in a transition period where I needed to jump completely out of my comfort zone and explore the unknown. That included writing posts without knowing what was out there and what typical methods were used to create something decent.
I think my early achievements were made on the basis of having no preconceived ideas. There was no one in my head telling me the proper way to maintain a blog. To this day, I find that if I shut out all of the advice and follow my gut, I end up staying true to myself and success follows easily.
A year after I began my blog, I quit my job as a real estate agent and launched a full time career as a writer. I knew writing was what I wanted to do and I felt I had already wasted too many years on jobs I wasn’t passionate about. It was time for me to feel like a kid again where the possibilities are endless and if you have a dream, you can make it come true.
As I built my career as a writer, I tried out other ways to enhance my income. I used the blog as a vehicle for product reviews, sponsored posts and I opened an Amazon store. I never did straight advertisements because I felt it took away from the feel of the blog. Unless I could integrate the information into the blog in a way that made sense, I wasn’t interested.
The first big aha moment came in the fall of 2013. I connected with a woman who had a PR firm and hired me to write website content for a client of hers. The woman who hired me was well-known in the community and had access to many freelance writers. I was dumbfounded that she reached out to me, so I got bold and asked her why I was the person she decided to hire. Her answer set me on a path that to this day changed my life and my income. She said the reason she chose me was because I understood social media. It was the combination of my writing skills along with my social media knowledge that made me such a desirable choice. She went on to say that she didn’t know any writers personally who had that combination of skills. I had learned about social media as I began building my blog. I connected to several platforms and began to link back to my blog. I did such a good job of saturating the web that I am incredibly easy to find in search results.
I took the information the PR woman mentioned to me and revamped the way I prospected for business. Offering writing and social media services changed everything. I suddenly had offers to maintain social media accounts, speak at a college on social media, teach individuals as well as groups of people how to use social media and why it is such an important skill to have. I was also still getting offers to write press releases, sell sheets, website content and so on. The best part about understanding social media is the way it has helped me get in front of some people and some companies that I desperately wanted to work for. Now I handle the social media accounts for a well-known local newspaper, a multi-state furniture store, a high-end cleaning company and so on…
Things have been rapidly changing this year and I am excited to see where this next chapter will take me. I have gotten bolder when it comes to what I want to pursue. I have always loved music and wished more than anything that I could be in a band. The problem is I can’t sing at all and I don’t play an instrument. I realized that to go after this dream, maybe I could be a lyricist. I began writing songs and then reached out to the owner of a recording studio to help me out.
It’s crazy how it happened, but I was looking at local recording studios deciding who to call just to see if I could ask some questions. I wanted to make sure I understood the path I needed to take as a songwriter. I found a studio that just seemed right. I happened to look at their social media platforms just to get a better idea of what the vibe was at the studio. They had a Facebook page and Twitter account, but not much was happening on the sites. I hatched a plan that worked out better than I could have imagined it would.
I contacted the owner and asked if he would be willing to do a trade. I would provide the studio with social media maintenance if I could ask some questions about writing songs. The owner thought it was a good trade and I went out to meet him. What he offered me surpassed anything I could have wished for.
I am now handling his Facebook and Twitter account. I am also interviewing some of the musicians that record at the studio. I am thrilled to have an entire new avenue to follow. In return for helping with social media, I get to have some of the songs I wrote recorded. Music is being put to the song and we have a singer picked out to come in and sing the song. This has truly become an incredible experience all thanks to reaching out and finding a way to connect.
While I have been exploring some new avenues in writing, my husband has been working as a web developer and will soon be joining me full-time. We now have a killer combination of skills to offer. As a team, we will provide all writing services, social media management and training, we will be able to offer newsletters, advertisements, contests and promotional services to companies looking to expand their reach online. We will also be building websites, redesigning sites that need a little bit of tweaking and offering SEO services.
I am currently working on a book about social media. I have a lot of information that has served my clients well that I would like to share. After doing some research, I found out that the type of book I am developing isn’t available on the market. Now all I need is a publisher and I’ll be all set to go. By the way, if any publisher is interested, give me a call.
Who would have thought that starting a blog would change my entire life. I now do what I love most and have the freedom to make decisions about who I work with, what I do and when I do it that I never had before. My income is up to me. I will never have to worry again about someone else deciding how much I will make each year. The potential to grow my business is unlimited. With perseverance and a strong work ethic, I can grow as big as I desire.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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