January 18, 2023

This month, I am celebrating 10 years since I launched my little blog. Since then, it’s
been quite the journey and a life of experiences I never could have dreamed.

How it all started...
On January 19th, 10 years ago, I launched a blog called Jenn's Trends in Social Media Management.

There was no strategy. There were no goals. I had no idea what I was doing. But I started a blog.

It was on a free WordPress site and theme. I started publishing randomly and frequently. It was fun, and honestly it was just a hobby. But it started to gain momentum. I started making amazing connections with people around the world.

I remember "going" to Social Media Marketing World back in 2013. My blog launched in January. SMMW was in March. It was a BIG conference and super expensive for me. So I didn't go to the actual conference but I hung out at the hotel (it was here in San Diego where I live) and intentionally met up with people, struck up conversations, joined group chats in the bar, and more. I met some of the most influential people in the industry.

And that was when I KNEW, I knew I wanted to be a speaker. I knew this was the direction my life would go. I didn't know how it would happen, but I the fire was lit inside me.

And then, about 3 months after that, I fell in love with this "little" app called Instagram. I loved it but wanted to know how to use it for business. And back then, in 2013, there were not a lot of helpful resources. So, I started blogging about it. I tested things. I hypothesized strategies. I found accounts doing things well. I kept blogging about it.

And I started ranking on Google. A lot. Not just first page results, but first listing results.

That's when things started to change. I migrated my blog to my own domain. I started getting strategic with a posting schedule. Friends started inviting me onto their Google+ shows to talk IG. I started getting invited onto podcasts - I still joke that I was a podcast whore and pretty much said yes to anyone that invited me lol. But it worked. My audience grew. Exponentially.

And then I slowly started getting requests to speak. I spoke at Social Media Day San Diego and then at SMMW15. Two years after crashing the party, I was standing on the stage at SMMW (while pregnant too lol) and doing what I knew I was meant to do.

But that was just the start!

It’s been an amazing 10 years!
I can't possibly break down everything that's happened over the last 10 years into one simple list.

My business has witnessed me go through a ton of life experiences - having a baby, getting divorced, being a full time single mom, homeschooling during covid, sending my kid off to school, and so much more!

It's been a roller coaster but I think my business is better for it and I know I'm better for everything my business has helped me accomplish.

  • Published 5 books - most of which have become best sellers
  • Self-published 3 books
  • Was a Top 10 Social Media Blog for multiple years
  • Been published (and even had the cover) in multiple industry magazines
  • Interviewed for TV and radio as an Instagram expert
  • Featured in (and written for) some of the biggest online publications (Inc.,
    Entrepreneur, Yahoo Finance, and more)
  • Been a guest on well over 50 podcasts
  • Hosted and taught on over 100 virtual trainings and webinars
  • Launched two membership programs
  • Launched two online courses
  • Spoken at dozens of in-person conferences
  • Traveled to multiple countries to speak and educate audiences
  • Helped thousands of brands and businesses find success on Instagram

But it’s so much more than just that list

What I’m most grateful for over the last 10 years is the people. I have made the most amazing connections with people around the world.

I have friends that are now like family whom I never would have met without this online world connecting us.

People over the years and around the world have helped me build this business, they've given me microphones and stages, they've helped me welcome my daughter to the world, they've toured me around their cities, they've held space for me through my divorce, they've offered support and advice, and so much more.

While this video doesn’t capture it all, it is certainly a lot of highlights of wonderful people over the last 10 years: 

And I’ve learned a lot this last decade
Again, way too much to distill into a single blog post, but here are some of the business lessons I learned in the last 10 years:

  • It legit takes a village. To raise a kid, to run a business, to survive. You can’t do it alone and thinking you can or should is just… no. Stop doing that. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find the people who can do the tasks you don’t like (or shouldn’t be doing) and who do them well. You may have to start small, but get help when you can.
  • Surround yourself with smart people. If you’re the smartest person in the room/on your team/among your friends – you’re doing it wrong. Find others in your industry who you can lean on. Create a mastermind. Join a networking group. Hire a coach. Do what you can to surround yourself with others who have expertise in other areas and whom you can learn from.
  • Help other people. You don’t have to give everything away, you don’t have to go
    broke doing everything for free, and you don’t have to kill yourself working for
    others for free. But you do need to help other people. People in your industry,
    friends, someone just starting their business who has a question. You reap what you sow and when you genuinely create a space where you help others, your business will thrive.
  • Eventually, you absolutely need a strategy. Can you wing it and roll with it? For a while, maybe. But if your business is going to grow – you need to know what
    you’re growing into. Once you know that, then you can start looking at a strategy to get there. Set goals, chunk those down into easy to do tasks, and get at it.
  • You’re going to have to invest in your business at some point. When you’re
    starting out, you might not have much to invest. You might hire a college kid to
    do your photos for free or build your website for free. Cool. But at some point,
    you need to level up. Set aside funds every year to invest back into your business – technology, marketing, assets, whatever you need.
  • Have a freaking point of view on your industry. I’ve been saying this from day
    one. If you’ve met me, you know I’m slightly opinionated and like to share those
    opinions lol. But you won’t stand out if you’re simply regurgitating what everyone else is saying. This doesn’t mean you have to rude or obnoxious. You can be the most polite Canadian and still have an opinion. Having that perspective, thought process, and ability to voice your opinion is what will set you apart in a very crowded and noisy space. That is how you grow your brand successfully.
  • It’s going to get tough. And then better. And then tough again. Running a business of any kind is hard. My business has gone through a few “bumps” along the way. To succeed, you have to be prepared to pivot. If you’re holding on too hard to the “only” way to success, then you’ll drive off the cliff and never recover. Understand that your business will evolve and adapt and it may not be the way you intended. But if you trust the universe and follow along, it might just be the best dang experience ever.
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