My Time is Money but I Hate Asking for It

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I’ve just finished up organizing and hosting the 6th annual Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference (aka FLBlogCon). Connecting with and helping thousands of bloggers over these past six years has been incredibly empowering and helping people is part of my life’s calling. (I taught as a classroom teacher for almost 20 years before diving into blogging full-time.)

Inevitably, though, as the conference day began to wrap up, several attendees stopped me and said something along the lines of, “Can I take you for coffee next week to pick your brain?” or “I need to take you to lunch because I want your opinion…” While of course I welcome free coffee and food and love talking with new friends, I just don’t have enough hours in the day to personally consult with each individual who asks. I would never get my own work done!

Time Is Money, Right?

Time is money, right? Well, the thing I hate most is having to remind people that, yes, my time is worth something. So that hour-long personal consultation you are asking for would instead bring me around $100 from my corporate clients. But asking for that type of money upfront is not within my skill set. (I get nauseous at the thought of it!) I am just not in the business of selling my time nor do I want to be.

Live Open Office Hours

One year, at the suggestion of my husband, I did open office hours, every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm, where anybody could come pick my brain about anything they wanted. Yep, I would be working at Downtown Credo and any blogger, marketer, or brand rep (anyone, really) could come get advice, tutorials, strategy sessions, tech help, or whatever they needed for free. And, yes, I always had people show up and I really enjoyed the personal interaction. Helping people with no expectation of anything in return really is the best medicine for the soul!

Alas, it wasn’t sustainable. My busy life eventually reared its ugly head and I found that I couldn’t maintain the weekly schedule of open office hours for the long term. However, the disappearing office hours didn’t stop people from continuing to ask for a personal consult and it killed me to say no as I really did enjoy it.

A Plan Begins to Form

So, I’ve spent the last few weeks since FLBlogCon talking with several trusted friends whose opinions I value greatly. We’ve been talking about different ways I can continue to help people while still respecting my time. Some of these trusted friends are marketers and business owners while others are bloggers who understand that “busy” lifestyle.

We started by analyzing what people need help with — what do I most often get asked about? It almost always falls within these four categories:

  1. How to create amazing content for the various social media platforms
  2. How to best distribute that content utilizing those platforms
  3. How to get bloggers to create content for my brand
  4. How to get brands to pay me for creating content for them on my blog

A Big Realization

So based on these four categories, my trusted team began to see how I can best continue to help people but still have the time for the things I have to do.

Guess what? It turns out that after really analyzing the four things I am asked most about, it’s not really the bloggers that need my help. There are readily available resources of bloggers helping other bloggers. Josh Murdock can help with Instagram, photography, and graphic design, while Dennis Littley can help people work with live streaming. Kim Vij is the queen of Pinterest, Lou Mongello knows more about podcasting than probably anybody in the world, and Katy Widrick can handle blog building.

Instead, my team came to the startling realization that it is with the marketing and PR end of the industry that I can be most effective. I am approached by a huge number of small business owners who need help finding and utilizing online influencers. I get questions like this all the time: “How do I know if a blogger is really good or not?” and “How can I get her to write about me?” And even the larger PR agencies have often asked for help in using social media more effectively to truly push a brand’s message. (Hint: if you are strictly automated or only tweet once a day/week, you aren’t doing it correctly.)

We determined that through my helping the PR and marketing end of the industry, I will also be helping the bloggers and online influencers by providing them better partners and brands to work with. (Bonus!) And with a database of over 1,800 bloggers active in varying niches, I can provide a powerful connection for those brands who need to find the “right fit” bloggers and online influencers.

So What’s Coming Next?

I’m not quite ready to announce the full plan yet, but it’s launching on November 1st. I’m probably more excited about this project than I have ever been about anything I’ve done before. It is something very dear to my heart because of what I’m gaining by creating it:

  1. I am going to be able to have those personal connections I crave while also providing a truly great value to those I work with.
  2. I am going to have a direct impact on helping brands reach their marketing objectives while providing bloggers an opportunity to connect with those brands.
  3. I will no longer have to tell people my “hourly rate” but can instead focus on helping them create great content and distribute that content in the most effective way.
  4. I will still have the time to do my own work.
  5. I will be building a revolutionary community of sorts that is focused on what works best within the marketing industry.

Limited Availability and Time

Obviously time is one of my driving forces in creating this; specifically my time. So, this opportunity will only be open to 20 individuals. I feel this is a manageable number for me to work with and focus on. And it will only be open to those individuals for 6 months. Yep, you read that correctly; they can only be a part of this for 6 months. Why? Because if I am going to have an impact on the rest of the industry, I will need to make sure I expand who I am working with.

So, 20 individuals for 6 months will have access to me and my knowledge and my database of over 1,800 bloggers and online influencers.

So, if you are working in marketing or public relations or are a small business owner who has to market your business or product, you will want to spend the next 6 months with me. Yep, make me a vital part of your marketing team for that period of time!

Curious?

Leading up to the November 1st launch, I’ll be writing a series of posts here on Medium. I’ll be discussing the reasons behind this new project as well as sharing tips that you as a marketer can utilize right away. I’ll also share case studies and show ways brands have gained a true ROI by working with online influencers.

Until then — may your marketing be meaningful and your time well-used!

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