Three Lessons I Have Learned From Five Years of Blogging

Three Lessons I Have Learned From  Five Years of Blogging

September 13th will mark the 5 year anniversary of The Aristocracy of HR. I certainly never set out to become a blogger, so reaching this milestone is pretty darn special. There were quite a few people who gave me a chance and supported from the very beginning. I’ll give them a shout out next week as well as address how I stumbled upon blogging; but for the purpose of this post I want to explore what I have learned over the past five years.

The first lesson is: Honor your writing process.

Don’t get me wrong consistency is a huge factor in achieving and maintaining traffic to your blog, but you want to know what is even more damaging than consistency- forced content. I have never been able to write under duress. Like a true artist, I need the spirits to move me or something to inspire me to write. Luckily, I have been inspired on more weeks than not these past five years. However, there have been a few weeks in which nothing I thought to type was worth your time.

I often had this aching feeling like I needed to put something out for the sake of not losing readers. I used to sit in a bit of my own purgatory, until one day I learned to honor my writing process. I write what inspires me. The only other writing I know how to do is to introduce a product, service or event which is a bit more technical. Outside of that, I am not a content calendar gal. It just isn’t helpful given the way I write.

If there is anything that I have learned, it is that you will churn out the worst content – if you don’t recognize what kind of writer you are and honor it. Planning a content calendar may help some organize their thoughts – while others may be more free-spirited like me. Do what works for you.

The second lesson is: Write what you know.

I’m not sure how many blogs I’ve read over the years, but I am certain it’s in the thousands. That said, there is nothing worse than reading something that seems forced or isn’t based in fact. There is of course satire, but I am talking about the group of folks who are professionals, experts, gurus, ninjas in their own right yet, their story and/or style of writing leaves much to be desired.

Part of how you succeed as a blogger is to write what you know. The things that are like second nature to you, but still a mystery for the right audience is where the magic happens. I’m not saying pick easy topics to write about all the time, but do yourself and your readers a favor by knowing what you are talking about. Lack of acumen can plague even the best writing. It’s kind of like an unwanted zit – it’s grossly noticeable, unnecessary and bothersome.

Lesson three is: Be humble.

When I started blogging in the HR niche, there were a lot of cliques and elitist personalities in abundance. I’ve since learned that many of the other blogging niches suffer from the same problem. Many of the bloggers who were prolific five years ago have either fallen off the blogging scene and faded into obscurity. Some have moved on to other endeavors. Yet there are still a few plugging along like me. You never know where your next opportunity is coming from. Treat new bloggers the same as you would a blogger with thousands of followers or readers. That newbie blogger with a rather scant reader base and social media following can sky rocket to notoriety in the blink of an eye. Focus on being better at your craft, but never count a lesser-known blogger out.

I believe one of my keys to success with The Aristocracy of HR is that I am humble and welcome connecting with my readers and followers whether online and offline. It may seem as though this would be simple for most bloggers to follow through with; but I have seen many let the pomp and circumstance of blogging success get to their heads. Don’t let that be you.

There are so many other lessons I have learned in five years. There are far too many to share in a mere blog post. When I got clear about how I wanted to celebrate this occasion I realized the best way to do so is to give my time and ear to those thinking of dabbling in blogging and/or those who are bloggers but need a fresh perspective to continue.

As such, I am holding a free Q & A call on September 13th to answer questions about blogging, business, and how becoming a blogger has transformed my career and life.

If this is you, register for my call below. Conversely, if you know someone who could benefit from this call, please feel free to share the call information.

 

 

Stay tuned here as there will be many more celebrations of my 5 year Blogiversary and announcements in the coming weeks!

 

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A Little Bit of Faith

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 5 of 31- A Little Bit of Faith

When I took the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship, it was not a decision I made overnight. I literally spent a year and a half trying to find someone in my circle of trust to talk me out of this gnawing urge I had to break free of the corporate shackles. Ever time I spoke to someone about my plan or what I was going through at work, they would say: “it’s time to go, Janine.” I must have heard over ten or more times from mentors and colleagues, “you are looking a for a right time to do this and it will never come”.

I’d like to think I am a spiritual woman. I believe in the power of choice and decisions, but I cannot deny the concept of fate. This idea that everyone has a path that is already paved for them is both wild and mysterious. For over a year, whether I read a scripture, my horoscope or spoke to someone- it seemed there were signs everywhere leading me out of my day job and into my business. I’d read my horoscope and it would tell me have faith. I would speak to someone and they would reassure me that things would be fine when I take this leap. Initially, I intended to stay in my job until June of 2015- I had a whole plan in place and I expected it would work. When I verbalized this to colleagues and friends- they said you’re not going to make it. After being out on maternity leave, I revised my plan to December. Again the message was- you won’t make it to December.

When opportunity knocks…

Here’s the crazy thing, I never made it to December. I resigned at the end of September 2014. Even within that plan, I intended to give eight weeks because I was on a high visibility project and wanted to see my previous employer through. Due to lots of nonsense and backlash surrounding my resignation, I started to rethink my generous eight week notice, but I hung in there. I never made it to the eighth week. I happened upon an event happening in NYC surrounding the future of work and merely inquired. Next thing I knew, I was an invited attendee and I moved my last day up. Remember my initial plan of remaining one more year? It was never meant for me to make it. Shortly after putting in my resignation, I found out the day care I had my two little ones in at my previous employer was going up 30%. I also found out that they would be breaking up our team and transitioning each of us into new roles. The daycare tuition hike alone would have caused me to leave; but then I had an innocent conversation with someone connected to the daycare. This person informed me that my children were being underserved for the money I was already paying. I don’t believe I would have been told this before my resignation. The resignation became the corridor to Pandora’s Box as more and more things started to be revealed to me.

Faith over Fear

I tell you this because I was scared to death of my dreams. Being able to be home with my kids and run a business was a synergy I wanted and needed in the worst way. My journey has been fairly linear until now, because I like to have control over what happens next. I never really have control, but I have always controlled what I could. Having faith and courage to do something I couldn’t entirely envision kept me up at night and made me nervous. I conjured up the worst possible thoughts in my head about the potential for failing and the impact to my family. Even after I took the leap of faith, I spent weeks questioning my decision.

Everything happens for a reason

What I have found five months into this new journey, is the potential for failing, the hardships and sacrifices are far better risks to take than remaining in a situation where your fire is being extinguished daily. None of my fears mattered. What was missing was my faith. Some days I had more faith than others. Having just a little faith has catapulted me into a life and career that far exceeds any plans or expectations I had. I could be crazy, but it felt like my friends, family, colleagues, horoscope and everything else was speaking to me at the precise time I needed them to. All of the signs and subtle pushes were intentional messages from on high to get me where I am today. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I am thankful for the divine intervention that has guided my journey so far.

 

Czarina’s Lesson: A little bit of faith can take you a long way.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: The Distraction of Ignorance

Image Courtesy of QuotesWave.com

 

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

 

Day 3 of 31- The Distraction of Ignorance

I find most people are distracted. Distracted by their bills, worries, jobs, health problems etc. I get those distractions. It’s hard to focus on other things when you have a heavy deck of cards on the table and they have to be dealt with. What I don’t get is distraction to the point of ignorance. It’s an intentional distraction from anything and everything that truly matters. This permanent vacation many people are taking from being cognizant of the injustices experienced by others, the manipulation of circumstances and situations to advance political agendas, wars, blatant discrimination is astounding.

I wrote some articles about race relations between the end of last year and the earlier part of this year, because my heart was heavy. While my focus is generally business, HR and all things talent management, I could not sit on the sidelines and not say something about the ignorance that is so prevalent in this country. I felt I had a duty to speak up and I felt comfortable with what I wrote, because I was aware. I was aware of what was going on, the situations, the people involved. the timeline for how an entire country ended up at odds over race. So, I came here and to my LinkedIn blog and wrote about what I was seeing and offered some suggestions for how we begin to solve these race relations and civil liberty issues.

In return, I had a slew of people providing half-ass summaries of the events that took place. There were some that even had the nerve to make generalizations about blacks on my thread and had no data to back it. I’ll share some of what was said in a future post, but the point is we have become a society of distracted, opinionated simpletons that jump on and off of bandwagons surrounding critical issues -without having the decency to be knowledgeable about the issues at hand. Just today, I read a thread of a friend on Facebook where a gentleman made the comment that “all adults that are making minimum wage are worthless”. He backed this assertion by saying: “if you’re struggling with a minimum wage job, you went wrong somewhere.” I don’t have to tell you that all of those making minimum wage and otherwise pounced on him pretty well. In his mind, there is no possible way that a recession, elimination and outsourcing of jobs, or socio-economic marginalization could be variables contributing to this recent epidemic. Surely, all people surviving this way are just inept and worthless.

You can be ignorant and humble-in that you recognize and accept what you don’t know. However, when you are arrogantly making generalizations and assertions about people, cultures, situations, experiences- you are not only unrealistic but dangerous. The strength of any society is in its people being aware and participating citizens. I see a lot of people tired of the ignorance, but I see many more participating in the privilege of being distracted and ignorant.

You may wonder if I am concerned with the impression prospective clients, colleagues, or people in general have of me when I address these issues. The truth is every time I tackle a controversial issue, I am not looking for concurrence but constructive dialogue. Anyone shooting from the hip, without facts, data or a nary a personal experience related to the issue is certainly not anyone I would do business or break bread with.

 

Czarina’s Lesson:  Ignorance is bliss until you find knowledge. Investigate before you pontificate.

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