When I first offered Unravelling online in January 2009 I had no idea that I was also creating a creative business that would still be supporting me to this day. I’d only been in Bath a few months, and even though the move had been the right thing to do, I had no proper income, a stalled photography business that I’d just set free (read: closed the doors when I realised I wasn’t cut out for it, personality-wise) and a growing panic that I wouldn’t be able to support myself.
After my love died in 2005 I’d been unable to work and had had to live off credit cards; by the time I felt ready to write again, most of my journalism contacts were out of date. Those years were fraught, as I searched for ways to support myself with the skills I had; there were many job interviews that I was either over- or under-qualified for. I didn’t blog about most of this at the time because, frankly, i was embarrassed. I was (and still am) a single woman in my thirties, and to be in such a mess felt shameful; writing about grief and my emotions was so much easier than sharing about how I couldn’t pay my electricity bill.
I’ve no doubt mentioned how blogging saved me many times here over the years, but it’s so true; I found community, i found my voice again and i refound my camera. My years as a journalist were good to me, but there was always something missing; blogging not only gave me a way to combine my words and images together, but i found a reason to dig deeper with my words; I didn’t want to write about fashion and “lifestyle” anymore — I wanted to write about what really mattered to me, and as it turned out, my life was about to unravel and help me find out what that was.
Bereavement brought many gifts into my life; that that would even be possible still blows my mind. There was a lot of healing that needed to be done, and by leaving first my love gifted me with the chance to heal and remake my world — and to truly find my place in it (even writing that still makes me teary). I often have moments when i sit on my sofa wondering how it managed to come together so marvellously, because none of this was planned — far from it, in fact. What would have happened if i hadn’t found that first blog and fallen down the rabbit hole? Or I hadn’t taught that first evening class in Bristol? Or Jo hadn’t suggested I share the course online because she couldn’t make it to class on Tuesday nights? (thank you, Jo x)
E-courses and online biz is all the rage these days, but when I started I didn’t know what i was doing and had to figure it out as i went along. Over time I discovered more and more biz and marketing blogs, online gurus and mavens who sold their wisdom in courses and books. Some of the information was useful and seemed quite intuitive…
But not all of it felt right to me.
The reason I’m sharing all this today is to tell you about a live call* I’m taking part in on Monday June 6th with some really excellent people — Fabeku Fatunmise, Alexandra Franzen, Chris Zydel, and Lisa Baldwin. It’s called Transcendent Sales and we’ll be chewing the fat about how to promote your stuff online without the ick. (and we’re not selling anything — it’s just a conversation we wanted to have and put out there. You can join us on the call or download the recording if it’s of interest to you :)
Because my biggest learning curve has been figuring out how to let people know what i’m doing in a way that feels right to me. When I wised up to the fact that YES I have a business and it’s okay to help it grow, I started paying attention to what the “experts” were suggesting I do (cue lots of panic and comparing myself and feeling inadequate). Anything to do with marketing and promotion always looked so sleazy and yuck to me, so I’ve learned to just take the bits that make sense to me, discard the rest and trust that by sharing my knickers online, aka being honest and authentic and as real as i can be, the people that I can most help, and who’ll truly dig what I’m doing, will find me.
So that’s what I’ll be chatting about in Monday’s call — i hope you can join us!
* I’ve never done a live call before, so it should be interesting ;)