On Monday I published a blog post stating my case for “Why Writers Must Be Entrepreneurs.” The next day a See Jane Write member very honestly shared this: “I saw the post about writers being entrepreneurs, but I just don’t know how to get started.”
And for this particular woman it is crucial that she get started because she recently quit a soul-draining job to pursue her dreams.
I realized that I needed to design a clear path to help give some guidance for this crazy, but beautiful journey called entrepreneurship, a path that you could follow whether you’d left your day job or not.
As a writer and blogger you need three things to become an entrepreneur: your platform, your people, and your product.
How do I juggle building both my business and my personal brand?
For over a year I’ve struggled with this question and would discuss it with anyone who’d listen.
Everyone I asked agreed that I did indeed need to build my personal brand. But when I’d ask how I was to create consistent content for and properly promote both I was met with shoulder shrugs.
You see, I do A LOT. In addition to being the founder of See Jane Write, I’m a full-time teacher and a part-time freelance writer. And save for the occasional intern and event volunteers (and my incredibly supportive husband), the See Jane Write team is made of me, myself, and I. So how can I find time to build two brands on top of all of that?!
Then some conversations with a few friends got me thinking. “You are Jane,” they said.
I never thought about it that way. See Jane Write started as a writing group for women that eventually became an award-winning membership organization and business. I don’t see myself as Jane. The women who rock with me are all Jane.
“But you built this. See Jane Write, as it is now, wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without you,” they insisted.
And that’s when I began to realize that See Jane Write is my personal brand, or at least it could be if I got personal.
And so after more than 12 months of mulling this over I made a decision to treat the See Jane Write brand as my personal brand, to share more personal stories of trials and triumphs on the See Jane Write blog, and to give my followers a behind-the-scenes look into my professional and personal life on the @seejavaciawrite channels on all social platforms including Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. I made a decision to get real while also remaining relevant.
We had a packed house Saturday at the See Jane Write workshop, How to Build Buzz.
During this free workshop I shared with attendees the story of how I’ve grown See Jane Write from a small women’s writing group and BlogSpot blog to an award-winning business.
It all started on March 24, 2011 when I gathered with a group of about 14 women at a local Mexican restaurant. Most of these women I had never met before, but these women and I all had one thing in common — we all loved to write. And I’d gathered them there that evening to ask them what they wanted and needed from a women’s writing group. This meeting would be the first See Jane Write event.
Two months later See Jane Write hosted a workshop on Twitter that drew 40 women.
Two months after that we hosted a panel discussion that drew 75 women.
See Jane Write was in full swing!
Eventually I started to get quite a bit of attention because of See Jane Write and even started winning awards. In 2012 I received the SMART Award from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, an award given to local women who are doing innovative things in business, education, or the arts. In 2015 I was named one of the city’s Top 40 Under 40 by the Birmingham Business Journal and just this year Southern Living magazine included me on its list of Innovators Changing the South, a list that included the likes of the iconic Dolly Parton and actress Reese Witherspoon.
After this recognition people started to ask me my secret. They wanted to how I was getting so much attention for myself and my brand. And I told them, “I know how to make a scene!” In other words, I got really good at self-promotion.
If you’re still stuck in the mindset that self-promotion is somehow dirty or wrong, read this.
Go on! I’ll wait…
Now here are the seven ways I build buzz and make a scene!
I have three speaking engagements over the next two weeks. (More info on those below.) Though I’m getting paid for two of these gigs, I didn’t really accept any of these offers to speak for the money.
Speaking at conferences, meetings and other events is a great way to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Speaking engagements are a great way to build buzz about your blog, book, or personal brand.
If you want to delve into public speaking, but you’re not quite sure how, here are a few tips to get you started:
Yesterday I got so many Facebook notifications my phone nearly died.
Yesterday Southern Living magazine released its list of Innovators Changing the South, a list that included people like Reese Witherspoon, Dolly Parton, and Brene Brown. A list that also included — ME!
Thanks to the work I do through See Jane Write, I made the list. I jumped up and down and skipped through my house until I was out of breath. And I think I typed the words “Thank you” 200 times as congratulatory messages from friends came pouring through on Facebook and through texts.
Now I know you might be wondering, “How did Javacia make it onto a list that includes famous people?” And I should be mad at you for being such a hater, but instead I’m going to let you in on a secret.