A Change of Perspective, a Change of Heart: Why I’m Back and a Better Blogger for It
::stretches, yawns:: Good Monday morning! I hope you had a tranquil weekend. I did. In fact, I found myself pondering some of the mysteries of our modern age. Like, another September 11 anniversary just came and went. Are we ever going to find Osama bin Laden? And, what will be the popular Halloween costume this year? I’m hearing Chilean coal miner bandied about. I’d look super cute in a hardhat and overalls.
How about you? Are you revelling in the final days of this Indian summer? Soaking up the sun before it’s time to store the barbecue? What? It’s June, you say? Talk about a power nap.
Last time you saw me here was September of last year. Since then I’ve been living the fast and loose life of a freelance SEO blogger, copywriter and social media consultant. Well, guess what. I’m back! And while your first assumption must be that my freelance work dried up and I’ve returned, head down, tail between my legs, that’s honestly not the case.
It’s actually that I discovered that the life of a work-from-home writer didn’t suit me. At this stage in my life, after an inventory of my professional strengths, weaknesses and priorities, it became clear that I thrive in the structured and supportive setting of a collaborative office environment. Once I came to that realization, the office where I wanted to work was clear to me, if only they’d have me back. As it turns out, they missed me here, too!
Now here’s the thing. Although it might look like, nine months later, I’ve ended up exactly where I left off, the truth is there’s a new woman standing before you. There’s been a good deal of professional growth since last September. My understanding of SEO and social media has developed through real-world practice and close-up experience. By changing my perspective, I learned a lot about this complex, gritty craft we call Internet marketing.
1. Getting my hands dirty
After nearly 3 years at Bruce Clay, Inc., I thought I’d seen it all. I’d been to a dozen search marketing conferences, interviewed more than 100 top-of-field experts, and read and written at length about the Internet marketing industry. Drawn to the bright lights and late nights of New York City, I decided I’d give contracting and consultancy a go from my Brooklyn bedroom. I became immersed in writing website content, and it soon became clear that what I thought would be a simple transition from agency to freelance was truly a different game altogether.
What that means as a blogger at Bruce Clay, Inc. is that my knowledge of real-life, technical Internet marketing has gone from largely theoretical to unmistakably practical. I’ve got stories from the real world I never had before. I can speak confidently where before I felt timid or uncertain.
2. Tearing down the wall
By comparison, I discovered that agency life can be isolating. My responsibilities for client content work came with the safety net of a team of SEO consultants and project managers that kept me from receiving much direct feedback from clients. If a problem did arise, of course, I’d be informed through the designated channels, and I got approvals and thanks through these communication pathways as well. But by in large, I rarely heard an enthusiastic response, be it positive or negative, about the work I did.
When I became my one-woman consulting show, I knew exactly how my clients felt about my work and the results it was garnering. I had to answer to them for all my successes and failures. The pressure of accountability was a reality check that’s made me a better writer and creator.
3. Becoming the SMB
There’s nothing quite like walking a mile in a man’s shoes to teach you about his challenges and goals. As a freelance writer and consultant, I suddenly became boss of my own little business endeavor. My livelihood depended on the success of my business. Any shortcomings meant a direct hit to my lifestyle and security. In other words, the stakes got a lot higher.
I can relate to small business owners in a way I never could before, with the understanding that my family, home and emotional sanity rely on the work that gets done. There’s really no way to impress that information other than to live it. I now apply my skills and services with a previously unknown zeal, excited that the work I provide can amount to significant improvements in people’s businesses, and in turn, their happiness.
It’s good to be back.