I've decided to sit down and write this post for a couple reasons. First of all, next week will be the 2nd anniversary of Jenn's Trends! So, this post is partially to celebrate that milestone and share the story of the last two years. But, secondly, I've been asked a number of times in the last few weeks to explain my story - how I got started, why I got started, and what keeps me going.
So, I invite you to grab that cup of coffee or hot tea, or even that glass of wine 😉 and let's settle in, get comfy, and have a nice chat!
As I mentioned, I launched my blog 2 years ago. Why? Quite literally I was looking for something to do. I'm one of those busy brains that always has to be doing something. And for some unknown reason (maybe a little hairbrained too 😉 ) I thought writing a blog would be a great idea!
I had never blogged before. And as I've mentioned before, I never considered myself a writer. Seriously. Never had any interest in it. But, yeah, why not start a blog. That sounds like a good idea...
So, here's why I chose to write about social media. I was going through the challenges of explaining the value of social media to upper management at my day job and I realized that the challenges I was going through were likely the same challenges that many businesses or business owners go through too.
I was passionate about social media marketing and knew a decent amount of information. I was overcoming getting upper management on board and explaining the process to them. All of these combined for some good topics to write about - or at least I thought so 😉
So, I sat down on the couch and started my blog. I started it on wordpress.com because I didn't want to pay for a domain or "waste" any money on something that might not turn into something. I picked out a simple free theme and added a couple pages. I wrote a couple blog posts and I was off and running.
To be completely honest, I had no strategy. No editorial calendar. No plans for topics. No long term expectations. I had no business plan.
I was scared. I was excited. I was confused. I was probably a little crazy.
But I wanted to do it. So I did.
I wasn't worried about perfection. I had little expectations for where it would go or what would result. I just did it because I knew I would enjoy it.
You see, I love to teach. I love to train, explain, and teach others. I always want to help others understand new things and so writing blog posts about social media just kinda made sense.
This is my side note advice to you: Just do it! I know it's cliche. But if you wait until your website is perfect or your social media accounts are perfect or you have more products available or something else that's holding you back, you'll regret the time time you wasted. Yes, you can be scared. Yes, you can have questions. But figure it out and just freakin doing it already!
And then something crazy happened. It kinda took off.
I started getting shares and comments and people engaging with me. Sure it was just a few people at first. But it grew quickly. More and more people. And it kept building momentum.
I was being invited to podcasts, guest post opportunities, and other ways to get more exposure.
When Social Media Marketing World was in San Diego shortly after I launched, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go meet people. I couldn't attend the actual conference so I showed up at the first night networking event at the hotel. I met up with a bunch of people and made some great connections.
I had so much fun. And I was hooked.
Things changed that night. I said to myself that, one day, I would be speaking on that stage. I knew what I wanted to do and my mission changed.
I started focusing on my branding, my business, and a real plan.
That year was really hard. It was a lot of work. A lot of struggles. A lot of learning. And a LOT of time. I was still working my day job 9 hours a day, coming home to work a few more hours on marketing, blog posts (I was writing 3 every week), and responding to social media and blog comments. I moved Jenn's Trends to a self-hosted site and upgraded my theme. Fortunately, I have a very understanding and supportive husband who encouraged me through all these challenges.
Then I was rewarded at the beginning of 2014 with the announcement from Social Media Examiner that I was one of the top 10 social media blogs of the year. It was a huge achievement! After literally one year of blogging, I went from non-existent to a legitimate top 10 blog.
I was motivated like you couldn't imagine! I ramped up my plans for 2014 and changed by business goals from just blogging to providing actual services. I had my ebook on Instagram for beginners available and started focusing on more revenue generating plans. I embraced the world of speaking and stood on stage to teach Instagram and social media. And I loved it.
I made the full fledged commitment to Instagram marketing and focusing on this as my "niche" beyond just social media marketing in general. This was, by the way, HUGE for my business. This really helped launch my business and blog into the realm of big names.
This is my other side note advice for you: Find your niche! Maybe it's a finer point in your industry or a target group or a specialty item or something else. But find your niche. The more you can focus on one small area, the more you can dominate that area. Then you grow outwards and expand from there. But you'll see much more success when you actually narrow your focus and stop trying to be everything to everyone.
The one thing that has kept me going every day, week, and month was you. My blog readers, my social media followers, and my customers. Your dedication to supporting me, reading and sharing my content, your questions, your comments, your kind words. This is what still keeps me going!
I have built my business around you and I always will.
You send me emails and ask questions and I'm happy to answer. You leave comments on the blog or social media and I love to read (and respond) to every one. I am here to help you. I enjoy it. I want to help you. And you give me the motivation, the ideas, and the content to keep going every single day.
And so, now, 2 years later, things are still growing. Things are still challenging. I'm still learning every day. I still love writing blog posts. I thoroughly enjoy your comments and questions.
Yes, things have changed. We moved from our small one bedroom apartment in the suburbs to a high rise apartment downtown. I have my own office space to focus on Jenn's Trends! I am committed to the business beyond just the blog. I've upgraded my website to a custom theme and put a focus on lead generation and business strategies, rather than just a blog.
But I'm still working my day job full time. I still write at nights and on weekends. I take client calls and meetings after work or on days off. I build strategies after work and on weekends.
I have big plans for 2015! That stage I said I would stand on at Social Media Marketing World - I'll be there this March speaking about Instagram marketing. I am honestly so excited! It's seriously a dream come true for me.
I can't believe how this business has grown and where it has gone in 2 years. The people I've met (in real life or so far only online), the opportunities that have been presented, and the way a giant world has become so easily accessible amaze me.
I don't say things to gloat or boast. I say these to prove a point. I built my entire business on the premise of social media marketing. I haven't invested in ads of any sort and I don't market anywhere but my public profiles. And I'd like to think of myself as a success story. And I believe that you can do the same thing.
I am also beyond grateful. I am humbled. I am excited. I'm still a little scared sometimes. I am a lot of things. But most importantly, I am thankful for you. Without you, I wouldn't be here today. Honestly. From reading a post to sharing a post to commenting on a post to engaging on social media to supporting me through various things to being you. Your comments, your questions, your concerns, your tips, your feedback, your contributions.
YOU are the story behind Jenn's Trends.