blogging

On Blogging, Business, and Running in the Rain

run in the rain

I woke up Monday morning determined to get in a 2-mile run before the end of the day. Rainy days and a busy schedule had kept me from pounding the pavement for a few days and I’m trying to get back into the groove of running so I can register for a few big races next year.

The elements were against me. Thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time I knew it’d be pitch black before 6 p.m. and because of a little run-in a sports car had with my rear end back in 2008, I’m terrified of running at night. But I left work on time (I’m a teacher and can technically leave at 3:06 p.m. but rarely ever do) and made it home and changed into my running gear before 4 p.m.

But there was another problem. Those same clouds that had been raining on my parade for the past few days were threatening to do so again. I considered putting on one of my favorite fitness DVDs and giving up on my run but something inside rebelled against that idea.

So I headed out the door.

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How to Be the Olivia Pope of Blogging

Photo by Artney Walker of My Pretty Brown Fit
Photo by Artney Walker of My Pretty Brown Fit

Last night the ladies of See Jane Write gathered for our first ever watch party to celebrate the return of ABC’s Scandal. We called this event See Jane Handle It and, of course, I picked out a special outfit for the occasion.

pope it up
Photos by Andrea Walker

Because Olivia Pope loves her wine and her popcorn, I knew the Wine Loft in downtown Birmingham would be the perfect place for this event and I knew the party wouldn’t be complete without delicious gourmet popcorn from Naughty But Nice, a kettle corn company based in Birmingham and owned by two awesome local women — Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner.

tanesha and tiffany

Before the show began the Janes had time to mix and mingle and learn more about Naughty But Nice. Tanesha and Tiffany were bitten by the entrepreneurship bug 20 years ago when they were just girls. Growing up in College Hills gave them direct access to Legion Field and the gridlock traffic that football games often brought. So they decided to start selling popsicles curbside, one window at a time. For their next business venture they wanted to sell a food that was as all-American as football and as nostalgic as hearing the ice cream truck. Kettle corn it was! “We hand stir and hand pop every kernel,” Tanesha said.

javacia and tanesha
With Tanesha of Naughty But Nice (& her little one on the way)// Photo by Sherri Ross of You Got Rossed

 

Last night I also led a 10-minute master class titled “How to Be the Olivia Pope of Blogging.” Here’s how to do just that:

 

scandal watch party promo

Always wear the white hat. On ABC’s Scandal wearing the white hat means being the good guy or doing the right thing. Be ethical in your blogging. Don’t steal content or post images you don’t have permission to use. Be kind to your readers and to fellow bloggers.  And strive to inspire or encourage others with every post.

But let’s also recognize that Kerry Washington looks fabulous in that white hat and in everything else she wears. So I want to encourage you to dress like a fashion blogger even if you’re not one. In the world of blogging you are your brand and you want to make sure you represent that brand well by always looking your best.  This applies to your blog too. Make sure your website is updated, easy to read and navigate, and is aesthetically pleasing. (Pro tip: When possible, be sure that your images are as wide as your posts column.)

Let your readers know it’s handled. Like Olivia Pope, be a fixer. With every post seek to solve a problem for your readers. Even if you’re a fashion blogger posting an outfit of the day, your posts are still inspiring your readers to better their wardrobes so they can have more confidence to go out and handle their days.

Gather your gladiators. We all love Olivia Pope but she couldn’t do much of what she does without crazy Quinn and Huck. Likewise, every blogger needs a tribe. You need a blogging buddy to hold you accountable to posting consistently. You need someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to help you celebrate your successes, and someone to grab some red wine with you when things go wrong.

Last night these women were my gladiators showing up early to help me set up gift bags for guests.

my gladiators
Thanks Jen, Sherri, and Andrea!

To see more pictures from See Jane Handle It: A See Jane Write Scandal Watch Party, check out the photo album on our Facebook page.

How to Turn Your Blog Into a Business

 

LBTBL horizontal

When I started See Jane Write in 2011 it was just a small women’s writing group and a simple Blogger blog. Now it is an award-winning business. In my latest e-course Lady Blogger to Boss Lady I share all my secrets as to how I’ve grown See Jane Write and used blogging to land paid freelance writing gigs and speaking engagements.

Here are the seven steps I took to turn my blog into a business.

  1. I got serious. If you want people to take you seriously as a businesswoman, you have to take yourself seriously first. This means treating your blog as if it’s your job. This means creating high quality content and being clear on your goals and vision for your blog. This means getting educated on the business side of blogging. And for the love of all that is holy, get some business cards and stop scribbling your website URL on the back of a napkin at networking events!
  2. I got focused. If you’re only blogging for fun it’s perfectly fine to write about everything under the sun. But if you’re trying to turn your blog into a business you must nail down your niche. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore all your other interests and passions. I often find clever, creative ways to tie my love for fitness into the work I do for See Jane Write. But at the end of the day it’s all about empowering women to share their stories and be the author of their own lives.
  3. I got organized. Consistency is one of the best ways to stand out in the oh-so-crowded world of blogging because being consistent is something most people simply don’t do. Create an editorial calendar and content plan and stick with it.
  4. I got connected. Social media networks are great, but if you’re going to build a business you have to build an e-mail list. Get connected with your readers and potential customers by collecting their email addresses and sending them regular, valuable information so that you can always stay top of mind.
  5. I got out there. I made a name for myself and my blog locally by hosting live events about blogging and writing. I also got featured on local media outlets, national websites, and popular blogs. And I network, network, network online and in real life.
  6. I got creative. So many bloggers think that ads and sponsored posts are the only way to make money through your blog and that’s simply not true. I started creating e-courses and offering one-on-one coaching and consulting services to start generating revenue.
  7. I got support. In addition to enrolling in online programs to help me be a better businesswoman, I also started to focus on building my tribe. It’s imperative to have a group of people who understand and support the goals you’re going after.

In my new e-course I will walk you through all seven of these steps in great detail, focusing on one step per week. Lady Blogger to Boss Lady is a seven-week course that has a value of $497, but I’m offering a beta version for only $75. Enrollment closes Sept. 21. Learn more and sign up at https://coursecraft.net/c/ladybloggertobosslady.

*This post originally appeared on Javacia.com on Sept. 14, 2015.