I’ve attended all but one of the annual BlogPaws conferences (darn chemo ruined my perfect record), and this year’s was a remarkable experience. They’re all wonderful, of course, but this was the first year I got to speak.
That’s me. Speaking.
I need a haircut.
Anyway, it was an absolute pleasure to chat about authenticity in blogging. I truly believe that the key to long-term success is being completely, wholly true to YOU with your blog. In a cluttered online environment, discerning readers can pick out who’s being honest and forthright versus those bloggers who are just shilling. That isn’t to say you can’t earn money on your blog; you can and absolutely should–as long as you’re doing it authentically.
On that note, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m nearing completion on my passion project, an eBook on being an authentic blogger. There are some design issues that still need to be ironed out (in other words, I suck at design and am seeking help) before it can be released, but… stay tuned!
Recently, I was combing through the January 2014 issue of Real Simple. I love this magazine. It feeds my obsession with cleanliness and organization.
Anyway, there was a piece about balance (I didn’t save the mag, so I’m sorry I can’t cite the author). Several contributors gave their definition of balance.
My overwhelming takeaway?
Balance means something different to everyone, and the important thing is to figure out your definition and aim for that. And – gasp! – it doesn’t necessarily mean putting in the exact same amount of effort with your kids as you do at work while maintaining a well-stocked, alphabetized pantry and a closet full of perfectly-tailored clothes.
I don’t know my definition yet – it has something to do with feeling professionally fulfilled while having plenty of time to walk and train with my dogs and hang out with friends and family – but I’m working on it.
So, does a work/life balance really exist?
You just have to figure out what it is for you then work toward that.
I’m finally home after a whirlwind trip to Chicago with pit stops in Indianapolis and Houston. There’s always so much to do to catch up after time away, but I wanted to recap a few trends I spotted at the Total Pet Expo. (Note: These are from the business/editorial side. If you’d like to read about trends in pet products, check out my recap on OMD!)
- The pet industry is huge. It’s growing. It’s long been touted as “recession proof,” which may not be true. Everyone I spoke with said orders were down at this show. One reason? Nerves over the possibility of a government shutdown, for one. Plus, there wasn’t much new at this show. (It’s smaller than other shows, which could be the reason for that.) Regardless, a conversation I had with a woman in line for coffee captured it. She said, “People sure are grumpy this time around.”
- Editorial is highly valued. Obviously this is reassuring to me as a writer. But it’s also interesting from a business perspective. Brands strongly desire editorial coverage, which means that managers are looking to publications to stay on top of trends. This drives home just how important it is for writers and editors to stay on top of what’s new and hot. A fun challenge! I accept! 🙂
- Pet industry professionals are nice. That may seem irrelevant at first glance, but we all want to work with people we like, right? From friendly and helpful PR reps to the knowledgeable sales reps to the product designers, everyone comes from a shared passion – pets – and it’s evident in their work.
If you’re in the pet industry, do you see these signs in your day-to-day? If you’re in another industry, what can you take from these trends?
I knew I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. Well, a writer or a paleontologist.
Had I been a paleontologist, my office would’ve looked like this.
I know how lucky I am that I get to do what I love every single day. Even though I love my job, I don’t love all of my projects. Sometimes, the work can become tedious, and I often feel uninspired. The way I’ve learned to stay motivated, though, is to add a little of my loves to every work day. In other words, I craft my time around my passions.
For instance, I’m obsessed with my dogs. I love the little buggers, so I launched a dog blog as a fun side project. Then I landed a guest post with a popular dog magazine and assignments from animal publications like Petside.com.
I’m also passionate about living an eco-conscious lifestyle, so I’ve tried to target publications that share my beliefs. Bonus: I landed a gig as the pet expert for an eco-friendly website!
Even though none of those are make-me-rich projects, they’re soul enriching. Cheesy? Maybe. But it’s true.
How can you infuse your passion into your work? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- If your passion is totally unrelated to your day job – you love knitting sweaters for turtles but you work as a corporate accountant – launch a blog and use your lunch hour to write posts.
- Find an interest-specific activity on Meetup.com or join a forum.
- Create a Facebook page that revolves around your passion. Not only will you meet like-minded people, you’ll also discover tons of sites and resources that you were probably too busy to locate on your own.
If all else fails, use a picture of the cutest turtle wearing your chicest sweater as your screen saver. Everyone needs a little passion in their work day, no matter how you weave it into your routine!
Image: Kurt Thomas Hunt