Monday, 9 September 2013

My Monday Pause - Having a go at blogging as a business

Slightly different tack today guys. As I mentioned in a previous post I've been blogging on Fluffy Candy for a full week now and, as far as first weeks go, it's been fantastic.

So each Monday, around lunchtime, I'm going to be doing a sort of self development, my journey post called My Monday Pause. Hopefully with a bit of advice relevant for you and also a bit of reflection on my journey as a blogger.

Starting Over

The one thing that has been really apparent this very first week is how much I've missed writing. Like REALLY missed writing.

When I was a kid all I wanted to do was be a journalist, every subject I took at school was media related, every A-Level, even my degree was in journalism. However, whether a mixture of lack of money (Living in London was SO expensive) or just the wrong timing it seemed like it was never meant to be.

Looking back now I'm sort of glad this happened, it's utterly frustrating to think that if I could have pushed on a little bit more I would have had it happen however, the path that I took not only led me to meet Mr Candy but also gave me some EXTREMELY valuable skills.

Moving To The Dark Side

I got into sales. Yep, I'm a sales person. It seemed when I first went for it like easy money and there were SO many jobs available too (there's a good reason for that! It's bloody hard!)

My first foray was at a teeny weeny office in Finchley, London, selling adverts in some magazines. This was literally the sketchiest office in the world. There was one computer between 5 people and people had made up their own names to sell ads. I wasn't there for very long (they kept forgetting to pay me) and in that time I sold adverts to Nokia and John Frieda and also got a bottle of Frangelico for coming in early and doing the vacuuming(!)

After having done my degree I assumed if I went and worked in sales at a magazine, which was an easyish job to get, that one day I would magically side step into being a journalist or writer. This is not the case. In fact it made it IMPOSSIBLE because whenever I applied for anything the advert sales side of things was deemed more valuable than my writing. 

Because at the end of the day, as much a writers and editors wax lyrical about informing consumers and business, the prizes and prestige that come along with an amazingly written piece. Magazines, TV, newspapers, websites are all businesses. More often than not the bottom line comes first even if you want the content to be key.

The Wrong Kind Of Cow
After my short stint at the strangest magazine publisher ever I then spent the next few years flitting between being a top performer at an ailing local newspaper and then dabbling into the world of b2b publishing (namely in the public sector).

I loved both jobs and hated them equally all at once. I loved being able to sell based on features and suggest features to the editorial guys. 

I hated the features coming out badly, editorial saying one thing and then doing another and then the occasional advertiser bashing that came out. 

Explaining to Mr Smith the butcher why his advert promoting British Beef is next to a 1,000 word rant about the evils of eating meat was never a fun job.

One of the worst instances of this was when I ran an advert for a local beef supplier (I sense a theme here?) who was appearing at a local food festival and thus had bought space in our official guide for the day. 

This supplier had a particular breed of cow that he specialised in. I got our art department to make up the advert and source all the pictures. Sent him the copy to proof which I got no reply from. 

In our contracts (something which I would never do myself!) was a clause that when sent it was deemed as "accepted" unless they got in contact. As deadline drew closer the guy didn't get in touch and so the ad ran as was.

On the Monday, after the food festival, I got a screaming call saying that I had ruined his business, he was laughed at by all the other butchers and I had made him the laughing stock of the local area.

All because the picture of the cow the art department had sourced had the horns pointing the wrong way.


What's This Got To Do With Blogging?

Good question. The main theme from all of these events (though I'd label them incidents personally!) was a slightly incomplete feeling. I always felt I was either in the right place but doing the wrong thing or being creative and being able to express myself but in the totally wrong subject area (There is only so much excitement I can give about police pension plans....)

I had the skills but I needed an outlet that brings them all together.... and here I am a quarter life crisis, one Blogger and Twitter account and eight days later.

This is the beginning of something I've wanted to do for a long time. Having had the jobs I've done, the people I've met and the skills I've picked up along the way, these have taken to me to this point now and the question is where to go next.

I have a plan in mind and what I "envision" I'd like to be. The question is now simply getting there.

Just by reading this post and making a comment below you'll be helping me so much towards this dream. And the great thing is, success breed success! 

What I learn along the way I hope to be able to pass on to others in my position. As things develop and evolve I want to able to not only make an opportunity for myself but for others as well, whether it be advice on approaching potential advertisers, finding your own "voice" down to plain and simple supportive advice. 

If you have any questions, comments or what to learn a bit more please drop me a line either in the comments below or through my Contact Page. I'm really hot on my emails and will email you back pretty much straightaway!

Till Next Time