Many of my clients are in non-traditional careers. They’ve given up the 9-5 (or 9-8 as the case may be) for consulting or portfolio careers where they leverage their greatest strengths to deliver a menu of services to their ideal clients. They make their own hours. They define their suite of services. They set their rates. And yet what I often hear from them are the following questions:
Am I really an expert?
Is this a business?
Coming from a personal leadership perspective, my answer is often, "You can be and it can be, if that’s what you want. It’s your choice."
One way I’ve wrestled with these questions in my own business is by creating my blog. Unlike more typical blogs of the Mommy, Tech or Travel variety, I’m not using ads, sponsorships, or connections with influencers (though if Oprah felt inclined to pick up one of my recent posts about her, A Thank You To My First Mentor, that would be lovely. There’s still time, Oprah!). The blog started as a way to compliment all the work I was doing—and truly as a marketing tool, but has grown to be so much more for both the business and for me personally.
Here are 5 ways my blog contributes to both my personal and professional bottom line:
1. Make a bigger impact
My number one priority with the blog has always been and will always be—deliver value. Give people the tools and inspiration to think in a new way, pull themselves out of tough situations, and make choices in their lives. Not everyone has the time or money to experience 1:1 coaching and that’s why I love having the opportunity to give so much away for free. And when I hear from strangers that an article touched them or that they were able to build confidence to give up on stories that have been holding them back—I’m lit up.
2. Creative flow time
When I first started writing, I used to hold two 3-hour time blocks per week for my writing time. With my busier practice and number of corporate workshops in the mix, I’ve brought that down to one time per week. And something remarkable happened. I long for that time throughout the week. I feel both staunchly protective of it and grateful for every moment I’m living it. It’s my time to put my pieces back together—to go inward, to be quiet, and to recharge. I need it to make all the other parts of my life make sense—so in essence, it’s the glue that keeps both the business and me intact.
3. Visibility for the business
The not so age-old tenants I learned as a digital marketer before becoming a coach have held true. With a consistent weekly cadence of content and a brand personality all my own, new clients and influencers in the field have started to pay attention to what I have to say. I’m in the conversation—even if it sometimes (to me) appears to be on the fringes. When a new potential client comes to me, they’ve often read a blog post or two, and our starting point is a level of familiarity I would have never expected. I explain very little about what I do. I’ve already explained it for the past 80 weeks in a row, so we’re aligned on what I can offer from moment one.
4. New content for my coaching and programs
My articles have become my coaching curriculum! As most coaches know, when you start out, you’re hungry for a framework, worksheets and content to help move your clients along. I felt what was out there and available did not speak to my clients or me. I dance the line between snark and hope. I practice rebellious optimism. So, slow and steady I continue to build this need into my content plans. My wheels are always turning on how I can continue to best serve my clients with new exercises and thought starters that speak to their specific needs. And a content schedule is born.
5. The first draft of the book
I was that 22-year-old who in an interview for a Publicity Assistant role answered the question, "How are your writing skills?" with "I’ve got a book in me!" For years I cringed thinking about that moment, but now it cracks me up. I did, and I do! The blog has brought me closer to that book than I ever thought I would be. In the next couple of years, I will surely mine the blog for the first pieces of the book that I will construct as a labor of love, most likely while crying in a coffee shop which is what it looks like when I’m writing my most popular personal posts.
While it’s not perfect or bringing down the Squarespace servers with it’s over the top traffic numbers—my blog (which is also my newsletter, LinkedIn and Medium presence) is delivering on my business goals and helping me parse through my life goals. If you’re a consultant looking to expand, or an entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or business—it could be just the thing to help you build your audience and explore what they need and want, while defining your business and building your brand as an expert in your field. Remember, you define what success looks like for you. Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes starting small and building slowly can be exactly what you need to develop your voice, find YOUR people and have fun in the process. As always, thanks for being my people. Your readership and ongoing support means the world to me.