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!
This week, I am finding it hard not to reflect on being a mother with Mother’s Day coming this Sunday.
I sincerely believe that all of the blessings and transformative instances I have experienced over the past seven years can be attributed to me being a mother.
The act of having to put someone or in my case – three little someones before my own needs has taught me selflessness in a way I don’t think would have been possible without becoming a mom.
When it comes to my business, I believe I owe it all to my children. If I hadn’t had my two daughters whose ever-rising daycare costs took a healthy chunk of my salary, I may not have explored my former employer’s option for teleworking – which then lead me to thinking about building my own business.
All of the hustling, juggling, and lack of boundaries between work and motherhood were a few of the reasons why I took an extremely preliminary idea of starting my own business from concept to reality in less than one year.
Now, as a work-from-home mama, my days can be pretty crazy. Running a bustling business, wrangling a 4 year old, an almost two year old, and a seven year old – while supporting each developmentally, emotionally and academically can be exhausting.
Couple that with my business which is scaling nicely and imagine the angst and euphoria of figuring out who gets to stand-in for me while I pursue business opportunities- many of which are out-of-state. Like I said, both exhilarating and exhausting.
Thankfully, each of them are growing nicely in their own ways. They have gotten use to some of how my schedule and business impacts our home dynamic.
Every once and again, one of them will say to me: “You’re the best Mommy I ever had.” I usually say “thank you” and chuckle thinking: “I am the only Mommy you have ever had”; but I digress.
That “thank you” means so much more than they know.
I want my kids to know that I am thankful to them for forcing me to be a better person. They need to know that I was probably operating at a quarter of my greatness prior to having them.
I need them to know that when they pardon me for being imperfect – I am in return learning to be kinder and more forgiving of my own shortcomings.
The ability to see something both old and new through the eyes of a child is a gift.
Life has an unfortunate way of suppressing the aspects of the human experience that are innate to us all. Creativity, fun, laughter without abandon are just a few things I have invariably lost and regained as a result of wanting to live in the moment with my children.
I don’t say all of this to suggest that you will be a selfish, boring, non-creative person for not becoming a mother. From my perspective, I see my children as my divine counsel pushing me to be a better version of me in a very imperfect and non-linear manner.
They will never truly understand how they are doing that nor will their precious little brains understand now how much it means to me.
To all of the mothers (biological and non-biological), our one day per year is coming, but be sure to take time everyday to recognize the magnitude of all that you do. Know that even when you think you are screwing up, you are just fine.
Happy Mother’s Day to you all! Be sure, to put those little people to work on Sunday and enjoy the day!
In case you missed it, I have a show on Thursdays called: Ask Czarina Live ™ .
In the episode below, I talk about being a working mom and the struggles many of us face in juggling home and professional pursuits. I hope it is helpful!
Three years ago, I was a part of a small social media team that was covering the NY Business Expo Summit in New York City. After several hours of busily typing soundbites of some of the brightest minds in Social Media, I sauntered to the nearest lavatory where I was approached by Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D of Work Like a Mother®. She was fascinated with the speed at which I was typing and covering the event and asked me if I could help her hone her skills.
Not too long after the event we met in a Panera Bread in New York City to discuss the possibility of working with one another. As we were sharing our backgrounds and journeys as mothers, we realized we both had a passion for seeing women thrive. We spent most of our time talking about what we might be able to accomplish together someday. These lofty wishes were wrapped up in us being able to provide programs, events, and workshops that could assist women who have lost their way with a way to become relevant again through unique learning opportunities- an academy of sorts.
Some three years later, I am happy to say that academy was launched in 2015 as the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training. I came aboard as a social media and personal branding instructor. In 2016, we are collaborating in a more formal fashion to create new programming and provide the next iteration of the Work Like a Mother® Career Academy for Social Media and Job Search Training.
Our first collaboration is a program that was one of my proudest achievements for 2015- my Talent Think Social Circle Virtual Mentorship Teleclass ™. I launched this program with an idea, shoestring budget and blind faith from October through December of 2015 following the conclusion of the academy and it was a success.
Class “Usie” after my Art of Personal Branding and Social Media Workshop.
With the interest and support of Work Like a Mother®, my program has an extended lifeline and has grown into a multi-level program serving two separate needs for the women we serve:
1) Some women just want to re-enter the workforce. As such, their primary interest is in enhancing their skills and building the confidence needed to become a marketable candidate in an ever-difficult and selective job market.
2) In complete contrast to the previous example, there are women who have ideas for businesses they want to launch and need a place where they can incubate and grow those ideas into businesses. They too require some up-skilling and coaching to get there and we want to serve that need as well.
Who better to nurture women who have either of these needs than two mothers/business women that understand and empathize with their journeys. Corporate America isn’t checking for them and certainly hasn’t made much progress in ensuring the career mobility and flexibility of women, so we are tackling it in the only way we know- through education and coaching.
Work Like a Mother Open House (1.15.16)
You may be thinking what does this have to do with Human Resources?
On the surface, probably not anything. Let’s dive a little deeper though. When I worked in HR, I recognized that people could skip along all day creating policies and procedures without any care or concern for how it impacts the workforce. We were keeping the organization compliant and that is necessary. However, I often wondered if things would be different if Human Resources could function in a truly altruistic manner. My HR buddy, Dave Ryan shared something rather profound in a recent blog post. The post titled: “A Utopian Workplace”drove home an important consideration which is: “it is hard for HR to create a utopian society in the way everyone expects when society has yet to right certain human wrongs. I have to agree and I believe one of the things we have screwed up left and right is how women are regarded and treated in the workplace. More disturbingly is how women who choose to become mothers are often displaced and forgotten. While my collaboration has really nothing to do with HR directly, indirectly Hilary and I are attempting to triage the ills of society from the outside-in-with the hope that these women can thrive and succeed in the way that is most meaningful for them.
If you are interested in learning more about our programs, go to: http://worklikeamother.com/Mentorship.html. In addition, if you are interested in featuring us on your blog, publication, podcast etc. to discuss our work we would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you.
Here’s a little more insight on Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.d and Work Like a Mother® worth knowing:
Dr. Hilary S. Berger, Ed.D. is the founder of Work Like a Mother® and is a Career Counselor and Board Certified Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor who earned her Doctoral Degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College. With office locations in Fairfield County Connecticut, Dr. Berger has pioneered a solution oriented career counseling system designed exclusively for educated mothers at home raising their families. She has counseled women in transition both in university settings and in private practice for over twenty years. Work Like a Mother®, a thriving and dynamic community for mothers, is a one stop shop for mothers rebuilding their professional relevance and marketability during and after their parenting years.
A few month’s ago, I was searching for articles on female entrepreneurship. I needed statistics and facts around this topic. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to find this Entrepreneur article called: The fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in America. This article not only summarized the state of entrepreneurship for females, but it highlighted a statistic- even I was not aware of. The statistic was: The number of African-American owned businesses grew 322% since 1997. So, while entrepreneurship by females in general grew 74% from 1997 to 2015, black women blew that statistic away.
Image of Biddy Mason Courtesy of Wikipedia
I believe there are many reasons for this rapid increase in female entrepreneurs and even more so for black women taking this leap.
In this episode I will share the following:
What I believe is contributing to the rise in females becoming entrepreneurs in general.
What factors may be contributing to the rise of the businesses owned by African-American Women?
What does this mean for the future of work?
Great statistics, but is there room for improvement?
If Entrepreneur can put this topic on blast, so can I. We are going to explore all sides of female entrepreneurship this week.
To get your palate wet for this week’s discussion, check out these articles for more insights:
I’m calling out all mompreneurs, womeneurs, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, boss ladies, and even aspiring female entrepreneurs to join me on Thursday at 11pm EST/10pm CST/8pm PST for “Ask Czarina Live”.
Good News! I promised you that I would be posting the replays of “Ask Czarina Live” to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel for those of you not ready to take the Periscope plunge. Fortunately, I have been enlightened that an app named Katch.me exists. Katch.me saves all of my Periscope episodes so I can share and download my episodes. If you’re on Katch, you can check out “Ask Czarina” replays there. Otherwise, I am happy to announce that my replay from last week is up on “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel.
As usual it will be fun, fresh, and insightful. I look forward to seeing you there.
Want more? Click here to watch the latest “Ask Czarina” episode. Subscribe to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel to be notified when new episodes are published.
Good Morning HR Aristocrats! Are you mourning the end of the summer like I am? We are on the heels of fall and I have lots of new content across all of my channels to share. This week, I decided to take a bit of a break here, but wanted you to know about new content I have elsewhere. If you’re looking for some good reads and wondering where the “CzarinaofHR” is- you can find me in these places:
Synopsis: The post is about knowing when it is time to delegate work or outsource some of it- so you can be a more effective entrepreneur. I regularly contribute at Womeneur. Please check them out for some great content from some of the top women professionals and entrepreneurs.
Synopsis: Did you know that women-owned business has grown 74% since 1997? Women are taking entrepreneurship by storm and I find it not only fascinating; but an enduring trend. Just Haves.com is a lifestyle blog founded by Justine Santaniello, Lifestyle and Trend Expert. Look for more from me on her blog this fall and check out her blog for more great content. Also, join Justine on Wednesday night at 8pm for her #JustHaves Twitter Chat. Great topics, Lots of fun.
Synopsis: Where there is a union, there is often a culture of mediocrity. When you have employees with a sense of entitlement and management that is too fearful to ensure that union members play by the same rules as their non-union counterparts- it can be disastrous. If you’ve worked in a union environment and want a fresh perspective- take a peek.
Synopsis: I will be featuring my business this evening on “Black Biz Scope”. What is #blackbizscope? It is a community that promotes and supports black-owned businesses. They do this by allowing black business owners to present their businesses during 5-10 minute slots on Periscope. To be introduced to some great businesses and owners, tune in every Friday from 10-11am EST and 6:00-7:45pm EST. I will be on tonight at 7:45 EST to present my business: Talent Think Innovations, LLC. If you are on Periscope, follow me at: @CzarinaofHR.
To round out my list of endeavors this week, I have a new Ask Czarina up on “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube. Have you subscribed yet? If not, subscribe now to get regular updates on future “Ask Czarina” shows. You can find my latest here.
Summer is over…practically, but there’s lots to be excited about as we slip into colder weather. Thanks for reading and supporting me. I appreciate every eye that graces this page.
Here is one of my favorite summer songs and I quote it in my latest “Ask Czarina”. Have a great weekend!