How did a prior school teacher, school counselor, and university professor end up being a full-time blogger?
Dr. Tawna Schmidt
Hi, I’m Tawna, the face and writer behind ‘it started with a blog.’
I am a mom to two grown boys, a Grammy to two little angels, and a happy wife of 32 years.
I can honestly tell you that I never would have guessed starting a blog would have been in my future, although I have been called a ‘free spirit’ many times by my family and friends!
Over the years I have been a teacher (elementary, middle school, and high school), school counselor, college and career consultant, university administrator and instructor, realtor, real estate appraiser, and commercial insurance representative (all before I started a blog.)
Oh, and I was also a top Senior Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, earning my first car in 8 months (the red Pontiac Grand Am at that time), and the prestigious, well-known pink Cadillac as a “Super Achiever Director’ within 18 months of starting my business.
I am sharing my journey with you because I want you to know it is possible for YOU to take control of your future!
The hardest part of starting a business (and your blog) is actually getting started.
The next hardest part is knowing what to do after you make the commitment to start. (Which is why I created a step-by-step plan to make it simple for you to start your own blog!)
Mary Kay Cosmetics was My First Venture into Self-Employment
I had been teaching school for a couple of years and a friend approached me about trying Mary Kay skincare products as a customer.
I was currently staying home with our boys and working on my master’s degree before they started Kindergarten, and as soon as I tried the products I became intrigued with the business model. It was soon thereafter that I jumped into the business opportunity.
I started setting high goals as my business quickly grew.
Here are a few major milestones:
My first Mary Kay Seminar in Dallas, TX where I set my goal to drive a pink Cadillac.
Picking up my first car with Mary Kay Cosmetics only 8 months after starting the business made me a believer in self-employment.
Earning the prestigious pink Cadillac felt like nothing I had ever achieved on a professional level.
It didn’t take me very long to learn three key concepts for growing a successful business:
- The customer is always right (make things right with them if they aren’t happy.)
- The more you help others, the more you help yourself (growing your personal business.)
- Keeping your focus on taking small steps, one at a time, creates success tenfold to aiming for big steps or trying to skip steps in a process. (You can’t hurry success but you can control it.)
I have Launched Four Successful Businesses from the Ground Up
Each was in a completely different niche and with a completely different client base.
However, they all had one thing in common.
They were strategically chosen so I could tailor the job around the lifestyle I desired at that time in my life, aka my family.
Some of the businesses were built on the side while I was working full-time as an educator and then carried on as a second job.
Others I completed the training or preparation while I was working, and then transitioned to gave up my education position to transition to full-time and create full flexibility in my schedule.
However, I need to be clear here.
This did not mean I worked fewer hours.
Building a Business from the Ground Up is Anything but Easy
The flexibility gave me options to work around my family’s schedule, but it did not decrease the number of hours I worked.
It meant I worked a non-traditional schedule and I slept a lot less since I was with my family during their waking hours, and I worked late nights, early mornings, and sometimes in-between.
While each of these businesses was in different markets, they all had something in common. They started with a blog, aka – they each had a website so people could find me online.
A snapshot with my boys during the days of being a real estate appraiser. The youngest one loved to go to my appointments and hold the tape measure while I measured the exterior of the home! Even when I was working it was great to be able to stay connected with my family.
I started my real estate appraiser business knowing not one thing about real estate. However, I knew I was a good student and I was willing to learn. I grew it to a nationwide business and for the first 3 years, it doubled in revenue each year. By the end of the second year, I operated 90% on referrals from current clients.
What these businesses had in common: I was able to sell my services in person
While I had an online presence with my Mary Kay Cosmetics business, appraisal business, and real estate business, I did minimal to create my business website for each.
Mary Kay offered an option for all consultants to have a company website. It was a simple template that populated all my business information after I filled in a form with the details I wanted to show on my website (name, phone number, etc.)
The blog posts on my website were populated for me as well, offering general information on makeup applications, new products, etc.
I had a similar setup for my appraisal business, using the template offered by my appraisal software company.
And for my real estate business, the same.
My brokering company offered a personal company website that featured my picture, name, and contact information at the top of each page showing all the area houses for sale. General real estate articles (aka – blog posts), were populated onto the site. Each realtor in the company had the same website with the exception of who was featured at the top of the page as ‘the’ realtor to contact.
It was so simple!
Fill in the blanks on the template and an instant website was created for me!
I didn’t even have to maintain it because that was part of the package. Once again, they added industry news articles that doubled as blog posts, and it looked like I had written them!
Reality hit when I decided to start a private business with no company template, no fill-in-the-blanks options, and no pre-written blog posts.
I remember thinking, “Do I really have to write my own blog posts?”
Life is so much more than sitting behind a desk listening to office politics and living each day for the weekend or next vacation.Dr. Tawna Schmidt
The first business was a college and career consulting business that I started in 2013. I did not know one thing about building a website, how to market my services online, or connecting with like-minded people via the internet even though I had an online presence in three prior businesses for years.
The writing was not a challenge for me, and I had years of information and experience in the field to share.
I also knew how and where to get recent research to share with my clients.
What I didn’t know was how to put all this into a blog post format and make it appear all neat and perfectly laid out on my website. I didn’t even know how to create a website to put the blog posts on once they were written!
My prior businesses had been face-to-face when I built my clientele. I ‘beat the path’ as they say, building my businesses through intense work and getting in front of people.
I knew how to work hard, follow a plan, and set personal and business goals.
What I didn’t know was how to turn this knowledge and experience into building a viable business online.
So I set out on my journey to figure out how to create passive income where I could make money without trading ‘time for dollars’ on an hour-by-hour basis.
It was a Steep Learning Curve When I Started an Online Business
Some of my logos from online businesses. My first logo was an ‘A’ for Above Excellence Educational Consulting and the ‘path’ to symbolize high school students taking the path from high school to college, trade school, etc. Then I transitioned to College and Career Matters, and eventually an online business consulting business and working on the road.
In 2013 there were far fewer resources available for an online business than there are today. Social media didn’t even know Snapchat. Instagram and Pinterest were barely a few months old.
I have seen Blab come and go (and even held some of my own Blab sessions when it seemed a promising way to connect with others), as well as the rise and excitement for the currently struggling Periscope.
My first blog shared college planning strategies, such as how to get more scholarship money, and it doubled with a local consulting business to help parents and students plan for life after high school.
I had to hire the website to be built after trying to build it myself for 3 months (literally). I recall feeling super frustrated waiting on it to be done, getting the finished product back, and wanting to tweak something, but I couldn’t because I had no idea how.
I recall one of the first questions to my web designer was, “Can you explain the difference between a post and a page?” After the conversation, I still didn’t fully get it!
I eventually turned that blog and business into a college and career planning business, minus the face-to-face consulting. I took it online with consulting nationwide via video training, webinars, and skype meetings.
By the time I made this transition, I was able to build my own website, create my own marketing plan, utilize social media, and perform all the other tasks to run a successful blog and business online.
It has been an exciting journey that I like to share because it fuels my passion to help other people create a life where their priorities are truly lived, not just spoken.
I can see now, in looking back, that my experiences were simply meant to be able to use my teaching background to help others achieve job independence.
It is absolutely possible to create or replace your current income with a blog, affording you the opportunity to work from anywhere.
From the comfort of your home, if that is snuggled deep into your favorite chair, great.
Do you want to travel and experience the wonders of the amazing world? No problem.
You love your special corner in your local coffee shop, smelling the fresh brew waft past you as you work? That is fine too!
I have spent my professional life helping others as an educator. It is where I am most comfortable and experience the greatest reward – helping others succeed.
My ‘story’ in an infographic several years after I started my first blog. This graphic was on my website About Me page.
Help a million, make a million.Dr. Tawna Schmidt
This experience, coupled with my years of blogging, plays a vital role in itstartedwithablog.com
I provide you with a direct path to fast-track your blog by cutting out the challenges and frustrations I experienced.
I leave out the fluff and shoot straight.
I give you the processes and procedures to take baby steps or strides. It is up to you how fast you start earning an income from your blog.
I make it possible for you to bypass the frustration I felt that I was not utilizing my time efficiently. I had to spend so much time learning the technical side of the blog that I felt I was not giving enough to the writing, marketing, and connecting side.
ALREADY STARTED YOUR BLOG? HOP ON BOARD TO FAST-TRACK IT FORWARD
I wish the resources available in 2013 were the same as they are today. However, if that were the case my trial and error technique of learning and teaching myself how to start a blog and move a business online (no templates included) would not be available to benefit you.
Millions of people around the globe are not only making a solid income from their blog, but millions of others are also searching online for answers. They get the answers from a blog. This could be YOUR blog!
What is your expertise so you can help them?
The internet has changed the world, and I am here to help you take full advantage of the opportunity it offers.
Enough about me. From here forward it is all about you.
Are you ready to dive deep?
Let’s do it!
You got this!