Today I celebrate my one year blogoversary with Business 2 Community. I’m pretty pumped about it!
You see, a year ago, I was basically stuck. My last full-time teaching position had ended in 2009, and with education being in the state it’s in, I knew it was going to be difficult to find another one — especially because I’m certified in English (like a million other people). I wasn’t completely sure that I even wanted to teach anymore in current conditions, but I just wasn’t sure what I did want to do. I was growing tired of sitting idle in my parents’ house. Most of my time and energy had been going into working on my second NaNoWriMo novel, but by mid-January, even that was coming to a standstill.
One day I was browsing through job listings on Craigslist, looking for anything in the Philadelphia area that I might be able to do. My search was pretty un-targeted. Why Philadelphia? My neck of the Central Pennsylvanian woods isn’t really booming with jobs. I have friends and family in the Philly area and like it there. More on that later.
In the writing/editing posts, there was an internship listed for a blog — B2CMarketingInsider (now known as Business 2 Community). The ad said I could build a writing portfolio and they would provide guidance. I could take the writing as far as I wanted it to go. A little voice in my head told me that this was exactly what I needed, especially as I was already an avid blogger (I celebrated my ten year blogoversary this past July — crazy!). I had writing skills, so why not see where they could take me?
I responded to the ad, had a phone call with co-founder Michael Brenner, and on January 26, 2011, I wrote my first post about the Egyptian riots. Looking through my first posts, I remember feeling so nervous about finding my voice and doing it in front of such a large audience. It’s also exciting to see how I’ve grown as a writer and a person through this experience.
The SXSW Interactive Awards gave me a regular writing topic for a while, and through that research and the social media topics I was also covering, I developed a deeper appreciation for technology and especially social media.
And then there’s my more-than-moderate obsession with music. I’ve explored that in a variety of ways, but for some reason, when I wrote about how awesome Sara Bareilles’ “Uncharted” video is, it finally connected for me: This is what I want to do with my life! I want to write and create content and work with social media. I took off with it from there and have learned so much along the way.
3 Major Job-Seeking Lessons Learned From My B2C Experience
1. Take a chance.
Writing for free was not something I’d previously considered, but boy am I glad that I did. This will be my 151st post for B2C, meaning I’ve built myself a decent writing portfolio. Not everything is a gem, but I’ve had a number of posts that seem to have done quite well. I’ve developed more pride in my work and targeted my job search beyond anything it ever was before. I’ve also come to discover that there’s a really cool tech scene going on in Philadelphia, which makes me even more eager to find work there. I want to participate in Social Media Club and attend “women in tech” and Skillshare classes like you can’t even believe! None of this would be so if I’d not taken a chance and answered that ad.
In short: challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone.
2. Treat it like a job.
Dedicate yourself. Maybe I didn’t need to take my blogging so seriously, but I did. Maybe I didn’t need to check in and say, “Hey, something came up and I don’t think I can post today,” but I did. I took it really seriously and worked hard at it. The site opened up so many opportunities and connections for me, and I developed a real sense of enthusiasm and pride in the site.
The result? Today, in what I consider to be the greatest freelance gig ever, I’m really proud to be Business 2 Community’s managing editor.
I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m an introvert. Networking events make me nervous, and yet networking online makes a nice bridge with an easier transition. B2C syndicates some of the greatest industry bloggers out there. By hanging out on the site and commenting, and especially through Twitter, I’ve gotten to know a number of them who have been instrumental in helping me along on my career-switching journey.
It will take another blog post for me to thank and acknowledge everyone who has helped me along this past year. I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t give a shout-out to B2C co-founders Brian Rice, Dan Criel, and Michael Brenner. These guys are so awesome, knowledgeable, and helpful, and I’m so grateful to them.
What are some of your favorite online communities? How have they impacted your career path?