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Goodbye 2014! 3-Part Reflections: Starting with 6 Reasons I Blog

I was tempted to use a mirro #selfie picture as a not-so-subtle play on “reflection”, but decided on a less cheesy route. You’re welcome. (Photo cred: http://splitshire.com/focus/)
Ready for the new year? Whether or not you are, it’s coming. I do “micro-reflections” at the end of each day about what I did well, what I could improve on, what’s on tap for tomorrow/ next week, etc. As it’s the end of the year, it’s time for a more “macro-reflection”.

Recently, I’ve been asked more than a few times why I blog, and asked to capture what was accomplished this past year and what I’m looking forward to next year. So for this macro-reflection post, I’m going to write a three-part series. Part 1 (today) will be…

Why do I blog?

First, it’s a challenge.

Writing was not a strong point for me growing up, and not one I enjoyed doing. However, I think it was largely about context. I didn’t find anything I was writing about compelling to me in school. 

Now, I write about startups and entrepreneurship with a sprinkling of leadership and psychology. I’ve already started writing about Finance (another weak point), and soon, I’ll be adding some technical posts to my repertoire. Each post has fed my passion in entrepreneurship.

Blogging has been a challenge for me to not only keep writing and improving my writing skills, but it’s been a great driver for me to continually read and learn.

Secondly, blogging plays a role in BRANDING.

As I said in my personal story, I realize that I’m a representation of many people who have influenced me either directly or indirectly. Blogging allows me to continually build and refine what my name means and who I am – my personal branding.

Even looking at my LinkedIn profile, my Facebook profile, or my resume, it’s largely a static image of myself till the next time I update it which can be infrequent. However, with a blog, I can give better context as to who I am as supplemental to a LinkedIn profile or resume.

Others can read a few of my posts and quickly see where my passions lay, what motivates me, etc. I try to keep my writing authentic to who I am, so I hope my personality comes through the words.

Thirdly, blogging introduces me to many others with a similar passion.

I got a chance to meet ​Tricia Whitlock, ​Editor of ​Hypepotamus, one of Atlanta’s major tech-blogs. I reached out because I enjoy the content she and her team provides not just from a quality standpoint, but also for the breadth and frequency. A key to their writing has been reaching out to others either for interviews or to showcase what new startups are up to. It’s been a great way for the publication’s staff to meet others, stay in tune with the startup scene locally and regionally, and continue to pump out fresh, relevant content.​ I'm seeing how Hypepotamus can become one of, if not THE, premier startup news aggregator here in the Southeast.

When I was blogging for Body Boss, we reached out to strength coaches to guest post with us. This situated us as a connector to coaches. But also, it gave us an opportunity to connect with those outside Body Boss, and we could connect coaches everywhere to one another. It became a powerful marketing tool for networking, inbound marketing, outbound marketing (newsletters), etc.

Fourth, blogging can inspire, motivate, and teach others.

I’ve met so many people who have stumbled on my site. They ask me questions about starting up their own ideas. Or, I’ve met others who have taken some of my lessons and applied them to their current startups which has helped them avoid pitfalls.

At the end of the day, it’s great to see others taking some of my experience and applying it to their own lives. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be entrepreneurial. I think the lessons and skills learned through entrepreneurship are highly adaptable and applicable to, yes, the large corporate jobs. Everything from customer discovery to rapid prototyping to user experience has been hugely beneficial in even consulting projects.

And then, blogging is therapeutic.

My mind can be a bit… frenetic. It runs 200 mph with ideas and questions that used to just marinate in my head. It kept me up at night or didn’t let me fall asleep in the first place. Conversations with friends would go in a million directions.

By writing, I have a release valve for me to share these questions and ideas. I can hone in on specific ideas or go full-bore with a multi-part series like this one. Plus, it gives me a way to share questions and ideas others have shared with me, too, and discuss with others.

And finally, it’s a challenge.

No, that’s no typo. I’m repeating it because this is the major reason for me to continue writing, much like why I love entrepreneurship. It’s the rush taking on the challenge and to compete against myself and in some ways, against others – me writing consistently where others might have faded away.

Blogging has forced me to be more comfortable with myself and push new ways of learning and expression… to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

Up through undergrad, my personality tests would tell you I’m an introvert and my close friends would tell you how I was… more quiet and reserved. Since then, I’ve rewired my brain a bit aiming to be a better leader and more charismatic. Blogging has been a great catalyst of the change for me.

For example, blogging has forced me to be consistent in my actions and purposeful and comfortable knowing that my writing will NOT resonate with everyone. It took me a little while to get over that. Much like building a business, you have your target market you’re catering to. Respect those outside of your target market, but know that not everyone will appreciate who you are or what you’re doing/ selling.

So that’s why I blog…

It’s exciting when I run into people I haven’t seen in a while who tell me they’ve kept up-to-date on me through my blog, Entrepreneurial Ninja. They talk to me about how some post really resonated with them at their job, or how hilarious my story of the 4AM break-in was. That’s fun.

I'm on the Atlanta Tech Blog's list! Scroll down alphabetically 42 spots as of 12/24!
As I’m sitting here, too, I’m grinning ear-to-ear because my blog was shared with Atlanta Tech Blogs who now have my blog as part of their feed. That’s incredibly flattering and exciting. Heck, some of you may have stumbled on this article from Atlanta Tech Blogs. (Thanks for stopping in.)

I’ve always wanted to be not just a leader of a company, but a leader of an industry, a community. To do that, I need to be a thought leader. David Cummings is a prime example of an extraordinary blogger, and has really cemented his leadership and influence on startups, especially those in Atlanta. With more consistency and longevity, I might actually get there, too.

Of course, I need to also get a good startup success… tune in for Part 2 next week.

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