Happy One Year Anniversary to Oh My Mermaid!

*Update: Later rebranded to Tea With Carmen

Well it’s officially been 365 days since I launched this blog. I’d planned and planned and one year ago today I launched with the full roster of social media accounts to connect people with this blog and share what was happening with this project.

It’s been an awesome year and totally surpassed all my expectations. I mean, I’m not totallhy sure what I expected. I guess, of course, I figured there was a potential audience for this project but I didn’t know if I’d actually live up to that potential.

Today, not only do I feel like I’m reaching a wider and wider audience with this project but I’ve been given opportunities I never expected that have lead to the launch of my Social Media Business – Seashell Social Media – just last month and an Etsy shop – Seashell and Mermaid – this month!

I never expected that my work with this project could lead to so many blessings and opportunities so I’m here today to say THANK YOU to my readers and share a few of my accomplishments from the last year.

Crunching the Numbers

73 Posts
85 Comments
481 Likes
54,900 Words

3, 606 Visitors
7, 657 Views
Whoa! I kinda secretly thought I’d get just, like, pity reads from friends and family. I’m so grateful to every single one of ya’ll who has been reading and always returning to the blow!

Instagram – 500 followers

Twitter – 175 followers

Facebook Page – 62 Followers

WordPress – 111 Followers

Working on the social media for this project helped me learn a lot and continues to be my sort of playground and experiment in what works and what doesn’t so I can grow with my social media business. I’m sorta my own guinea pig client!

Social Media Management Website: https://www.seashellsocialmedia.com/

Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/seashellandmermaid

Thank you everyone for your continued support! I hope to keep creating even better content in the coming year!

What do you want to see here at Oh My mermaid? =)

-Carmen

2018 In Review

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on Oh My Mermaid for a year now. Originally I started developing this project back in January and the 1st post went live January 16th 2018. I posted 3 things that day because I felt the need to get a bit of content on to the website. I didn’t want to welcome internet wanderers to an empty house, after all, when I finally started inviting people over.

I finally launched – as in, started telling people the blog was a thing and building my social media presence – on February 5th.

Since then this project has grown and grown! This year I’ve posted 64 posts here – this will be number 65. Those 64 totalled 50,084 words.

Sometimes blogging can feel like talking in to a void… you take time to create these carefully crafted pieces and share parts of yourself, and you put them out there hoping someone hears it, sees it, reads it… you hope that you have a purpose.

Oh My Mermaid has attracted 6, 615 views from 2,936 visitors. As blogs go, I have room to grow but I could do a lot worse!

I’m so grateful to the 103 people following me on wordpress, 57 people who have liked my facebook page, 163 people who have joined the journey on twitter and the 415 people who are there for me on Instagram. Ya’ll, all of ya’ll, are really what make this project have life.

You have read, commented, and shared with me all year long and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about my relationship. It’s been an amazing place to share the happiness and joy that has come in to my life since starting to date Maggie and Tom alongside my marriage to Ben. Being able to write about the journey has allowed me to process my own developing relationships and I’ve been so happy to share how our lives are changing and developing.

I shared my very first trip to Pride Toronto with Maggie by my side. I also shared Ben and I’s trip to Blue Mountain, Ontario as I started dabbling in a bit of travel writing.

Don’t worry, we are all planning 2019 trips that I can’t wait to share with you!

I’ve even been able to use this as a place to share my ongoing struggles with fitness and weight loss.

Really, it’s been a lot of #realtalk and 2019 is going to bring even more with a new flare for beauty blogging – something I never thought I’d do! I’m so excited to share some beauty realness with you!

I’ve also been able to share about my developing work-from-home lifestyle with teaching remotely and an increasing desire to follow my entrepreneurial spirit wherever it may lead me.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a little preview of what’s coming in 2019! ūüėČ

In summary, 2018 has been a great year and this project continues to grow. I’m so humbled and grateful to have followers along with me on this journey and I’m so excited to see where 2019 takes this project and our little mermaid minded community! ‚̧

Thank you 2018,

Carmen

PS. Haven’t caught up with me yet? Find me here:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

And as always, right here on wordpress!

What’s your Personal Brand

One of the biggest mindset shifts that has helped me successfully make a living by essentially freelancing services that I’m interested in providing is thinking of myself as managing a personal brand.

In this mindset, any service I provide – anything I do in exchange for money – is part of the brand. ¬†My teaching, my writing, this blog, and my social media services are all products offered by this brand. ¬†It’s personal to me and exists in direct relation to who I am as a person but it’s a unique section of my life.

There are a few reasons why I think this mindset is important for others with a similar work style or similar work situation. ¬†Let’s look at those reasons now.

Working from Home but not Working When Home

Okay, that’s a bit confusing but let me explain. ¬†I work from home. ¬†In my family, we make jokes about how I never leave the house and might easily be mistaken for a captive of my family rather than a member of it because they all go out into the world but I spend endless hours in one room of the house. ¬†The jokes are like a thinly veiled coping mechanism for what we all know is an odd reality. I don’t leave the house often. ¬†Sometimes I get so stir crazy I have to leave for the sake of leaving without any actual mission other than getting fresh air.

So how do I know I’m done with work? Honestly, the entering and exiting of physical spaces is something that we often take for granted in our lives. We enter our workspaces and know we are at work, we exit them and can start thinking about our personal lives again. ¬†I’ve done a decent job of making my office my physical workspace and letting what happens in the office stay there when I leave it BUT it’s always¬†right¬†there, calling to me when something could use my attention. ¬†Why wait until tomorrow morning when I could just go grab my laptop and attend to it right now? ¬†Thinking of your work as existing under the umbrella of a personal brand helps to add one more layer of separation between your personal life and your professional one even when the two cohabitate in one physical space.

Not only have I left my office but I’ve mentally left the headspace of the brand and so whatever needs to happen will have to wait for me to get back in the office and back in that headspace.

Your Brand can Turn Down a Project

It’s really hard to turn down work when you’re a freelancer working from home. ¬†You figure there’s always a way to shuffle your calendar around and make time for¬†one more project¬†because security is so elusive. ¬†Work is work and money is money, right?

Sure. But if you’re so busy taking every opportunity that comes along you may end up with a set of projects that don’t fit or make sense together. ¬†This seems pretty benign on the surface but can actually become quite problematic for your overall productivity. ¬†If your projects don’t make sense together then they can start to battle each other for your time and switching projects will become a big interruption to your workflow.

For me, working on Oh My Mermaid and working on Playful Greetings social media work really well together because a lot of the organization can happen from one single platform so time spent on one can easily coexist with time spent on the other.

Thinking of new projects as coming in under your personal brand gives you a buffer between them and you that will allow you to reject them without feeling guilty

You can say to yourself and the potential project, “I’m sorry, that project/job/contract doesn’t work with my current portfolio so I wouldn’t be able to fit it into my schedule or do a good job of it without hurting my other projects.”

When the reason you’re saying no is that it doesn’t work for “the brand” rather than because you just don’t feel like saying yes there’s a lot less guilt and obligation.

It’s also easier to ask for an Opportunity¬†

Just like it’s easier to say no because it isn’t personal, it’s also easier to ask for an opportunity because just like when you turn something down, rejection isn’t personal. ¬†When you feel like it’s just you, as a person and a freelancer, saying to a company that you’d like the opportunity to work with them then when they say no they’ve rejected¬†you.¬†And that sucks. Nobody wants to feel like that.

But when you apply feeling that you’d like to add that opportunity to your personal brand portfolio and you get the rejection it’s easier to just move on, work on your existing projects and look for the next opportunity that might be an even better match for you and your brand.

A Personal Brand is Something you can feel Proud of

One of the biggest struggles I notice as an independent freelancer is that there is a lot less positive feedback than I might have access to in a regular old brick and mortar job. ¬†As a student for most of my life and in the various regular jobs I’ve had I’ve always appreciated the positive and negative feedback that lets me know what’s going well and what isn’t.

Working in isolation, as I talked about earlier, feedback can sometimes be seriously lacking.  It made me feel like I was lost in space having no idea if I was going the right direction or what was going on.

Thinking of my work as a personal brand somehow makes it a bit more tangible. ¬†I start finding ways I can measure performance. ¬†Income, of course, but also through social stats, leads, and projects. ¬†I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished with Oh My Mermaid and the other projects I’ve taken on. ¬†That’s something that reduces the sensation of being lost in space.

So overall there’s a lot of good reasons to start thinking of yourself as managing a personal brand to create an extra mental layer between your work and you as a person. ¬†It’s better for your mental health and self-worth to feel that it’s still a job, at the end of the day and you do get to be off duty even if that just means going to a different room in your house.

Working for yourself versus working alone

Just because you don’t work¬†for¬†anybody else doesn’t mean you can’t work¬†with¬†somebody else.

That’s one of the hardest attitude shifts to overcome when seeking success on projects that we own. ¬†At least for me. I get so excited about owning a project and all of the potential it has, and I take pride in working for myself. Especially when the project is walking away from the 9-5 grind and not really just leading a project, but owning my ability to be productive and profitable. ¬†I don’t want to work for anybody else as an employee but I have to separate what it means to work for someone and what it means to work with them.

There are a lot of ways that you can work with others while still working for yourself and from home. I myself am starting just starting to explore what this means and what works for me.

I know that I value the feeling of connection. ¬†Even if we’re just helping each other out in little ways – being generous with “likes” and comments, taking time to share, etc. there’s so much value in making connections.

Then there’s larger projects and affiliations. I’m interested in how these types of profitable partnerships work and can be worked into my current workflow.

A few ways that I know of already to work for yourself without working alone:

If you’re work is largely based on social media reach out to others and exchange engagement (likes, comments, shares)

Doing this works wonders in a few ways. It gets you reading and engaging with what others are doing. There’s no underestimating the value of paying attention to what else is happening around your digital world. However, it’s easy to forget. ¬†We get so busy creating our content, and scheduling, and promoting ourselves that we forget to notice we aren’t the only ones.

Co-Create a Post, a Video, a Series of posts & videos, etc.

When you’re out there engaging with what others are doing maybe you’ll notice someone who would compliment your knowledge and content. Maybe you’ll see a way to work together – go ahead and propose ways that the two of you can create something together and then share it with both your audiences – effectively exchanging introductions.

Find the people who are dedicated to helping you

On sites like Pinterest and Twitter you’ll find lots of groups; boards or accounts that are dedicated to promoting blog content. Personally, I’ve found several dedicated to sharing content created by women and had some success being shared or retweeted by them.

This is kind of a win in that you just need to join the group board or include the appropriate @ or # in your tweet and voila! You’re promoted! It doesn’t have to require that you do a whole lot in exchange.

Be a Gracious Guest

Look for opportunities to guest post on other blogs and websites and benefit from their audience seeing your name.

This is another way to get out there that I am currently investigating. I share these on-going thought processes because putting it out there that I want to know more about this myself puts the pressure on for me to go find the answers, live the dream, and share more with you guys.

One thing I do know is that depending on both your status (knowledge, follower base, the place where you are a guest, etc) there are opportunities that are paid, as well as opportunities that are not.

Opportunities that are not paid may be beneficial, especially when you’re starting out, but if and when you feel confident that you don’t need to share your work for free: don’t.

Once you draw that boundary, keep it, and put your time and energy in to opportunities that meet your criteria as fully as you meet theirs.

Be Open Minded

In the world of work from home, work online, work for yourself dream building the key is always to stay open minded. ¬†Especially while working online, your platform is ever changing. ¬†Embrace changes and opportunities or methods you hadn’t previously thought about.

That’s all for now!

What’s your favourite way to work with people without losing that boss babe feeling?