peeking under the hood

So, the other day I ran into a woman who had recently moved back to town after some years away.  When she last lived here, I had been freelancing and writing books full-time.

“What are you up to,” she asked.

“Oh, just parenting and work,” I answer.

“So what is work now?” She followed-up.

This is always a question that overwhelms me or makes me feel awkward.  I know the answer to it but how do I describe what I do succinctly because, seriously, what I am up to kinda looks this:  I write stuff I care about in blog posts, columns, and books, I facilitate workshops and retreats for women and girls on authenticity, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and body image, I teach at one of the local universities, I help run a non-profit.

It is all just so clunky.  What I want is some awesome job title like instigator, but that’s not quite it either.  And so, instead, I just awkwardly say something along the lines of, “Oh, I am teaching and writing” and leave it at that.

When I shared that answer with someone else recently, she wanted to know more about how it all worked.  Do I make money from  my blog, how often do I do speaking gigs, do I write all my blog content, etc., etc.  While her curiosity surprised me, it made me realize that some people might be curious about how self-employment or unusual employment works so I thought I’d take a minute to answer a few of those questions here.

Do I write all my blog content?  Yes, I write everything- all my blog content, columns, online articles elsewhere.  The only time this isn’t true is if a post is specifically identified as a guest post or a Q&A with someone.  And a note here:  lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to guest post on my blog.  I am a bit of a purist (or possessive, call it what you want) and my guest posts only come if I have a relationship with the person and know what they are about, etc., and know that it is a match for the folks who read my blog.  If your first contact with me is asking if you can guest post, it’s probably not a good fit.

Does your blog generate revenue?  No.  I reckon if someone decides to hop over to a bookstore and buy Beautiful You or Hijas Americanas then my blog indirectly resulted in revenue but the blog itself generates no income.  It’s just a place for my own voice to be expressed without any other lens filtering it.

Why do I regularly blog  when I don’t make money from blogging?  Blogging Monday through Friday is a big commitment but it is one that keeps me writing almost daily, allows me to process experiences regularly, and keeps me connected with community (I love comments!) and those are important things to me so I blog regularly, even if there is no obvious financial reward as there are so many other personal, professional rewards.  I don’t know if I’ll always be able to post most Mondays thru Fridays but for now I can and, because it is fulfilling to me, I am in whole heart.

Are you on the speaking circuit?  Yes.  I LOVE being in community with people over a shared issue or idea and speaking allows me to visit different communities and discuss important issues– everything from diversity and the importance of our individual stories to media literacy and body image– and learn even more.  This fall, I already have 4 speaking events booked that will touch on how mothers can positively influence their daughters’ body image, how company employees should bring their whole selves to work and share their stories, and what growing up Latina is like.  I am usually willing to do a couple events a month and my busiest months are September and October because of Hispanic Heritage Month and Love Your Body Day and then February and March because of Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Women’s History Month.

Do you have any employees?  Not directly.  I do have an incredible web guy who lives in Colorado who periodically helps me with my techie stuff like updating my website or setting up a newsletter sign up box, but I don’t have an assistant or anything like that.  It is just me, pounding away at the keyboard.  Oh, and I am working with an agent to try to sell a book proposal (I represented myself for both Hijas Americanas and Beautiful You).  So, yes, it is me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook (please talk to me there so I am not lonely) which is why sometimes I am on those sites a lot and other times, not so much (for example, I try to take the weekends off).  Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have an intern or assistant but, for now, it’s me and that’s good.  I can’t do as much or move as fast as I would like, but I am happy with what I am doing and impatient for more and that’s probably a good thing.

How do you run your daily personal or professional life?  What are your blogging parameters?  What other questions do you have about how my business world operates?

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2 responses to “peeking under the hood”

  1. Ann Becker-Schutte


    For those of us doing less traditional paths, the one-sentence description can be tricky, can’t it? I only blog twice a week, which is up from once a week. My blog is not a source of revenue, either. I write it as a resource for my patients and the online community. Thanks for sharing a bit of your process.


  2. KCLAnderson (Karen)

    Thanks for this…I often feel stymied by similar questions. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to try and make money with my blog and I think it was a great decision for me, but I get the impression that people can’t understand why I’d do it “for free.” My blog is one of the most important “things” in my life…in some ways I credit it for saving my life.

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