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

#MondayMotivation My Fave Fitness accounts on Instagram

This Monday I thought I’d share a little of my #MondayMotivation with you.  I’ve written before about how instagram specifically can play a big role in fitness and fitness motivation.  It’s a less interrupted feed than facebook, plus we “follow” more than we friend.  Above all, it’s so visual and can help us see our own goals when we see everyone else crushing theirs.  

Here’s a few of my fave accounts from my feed

@AnnaVictoria

Anna Victoria is the main personal trainer type that I follow. I prefer accounts that I guess at least seeeeeeem less like the ultimate interaction with them is for you to buy what they sell.  Obvi it would be ideal for Anna if you’d like her content so much you buy her products BUT the reason I’ve followed her for so long (and even bought some of her products) is that she is the QUEEN of #realtalk about body positivity. Her fit body is her business – her body is the ultimate ad for why you should pay to know her workouts – but she still shows us the rolls, the changes, the things that bug her.  She practices the kind of body positivity she preaches and I love it! 

@thefitwaywithashley 

If there’s an overall vibe for an insta account…thefitwaywithashley is perpetually cheerful. She always smiles and her captions are full of real talk and honesty about how this fitness journey goes.  She shares about having “good body image days” and also douting if she should post a certain photo because of that pressure we all feel to only share the things we feel amazing in and nothing where we think our imperfections show. Plus all her workout photos are a great reminder to get your butt to the gym, on to the matt, wherever it needs to be for you to get your sweat on! 

@Fatgirlfedup

There are SO many reasons to love this account and about 1 million other people agree.  This account follows Lexi’s journey and 312 pound weight loss, achieved with diet and exercise, over two years. She also gets real about the less photogenic side like loose skin and skin removal surgery.  She provides so much motivation by sharing her story and makes you feel like if she could wake up and start this journey 300 pounds ago, you can too!  

@robinmolyneaux__

I love that Robin’s account showcases a little bit of everything. She’s stylish, she’s funny, she’s real and she’s fit.  We’ve messaged back and forth in the past and she’s the sweetest, most encouraging soul.  I love that there’s so much support out there in the instagram fitness community and Robin is a real life example of how awesome that can be! 

@losinggravity

Okay at this point is it a surprise that I’m sharing another AMAZING account full of #realtalk? It shouldn’t be.

I love the story of a big girl getting it together and sharing her fitness success. Especially when the bio is clear that these results are from diet and exercise. From where I’m at (ahem, way bigger than I want to be) these are the stories I admire because these are the stories I’m trying to write for myself with each healthy meal and every work out. Plus there’s a lot more to it than “I didn’t have abs and now I do” or “this dress didn’t fit and now it does”.  Changing our bodies can have a lot of side effects and losinggravity is here with the honesty about it all.

@inked beauty.getsfit

I love this account because as of literally today hers is a body that shows progress (She posts great before and afters) but she still looks real. Gorgeous. Fit. Strong. and REAL. I get so discouraged when alllll the”fit girls” I see look the same and as amazing as they look, as happy as I am for their success, as much as they should keep chasing their goals… it makes me feel hopeless because I am SO far from being THERE with them.

This account though is so much realness and honesty it’s amazing.  Plus she is some pretty legit fashion and tattoo #goals so it’s not just the same content over and over! 

@bodyposipanda 

No list of my fave instagram accounts could ever be complete without this one.  In the midst of my insta-scrolling and fitness motivation bodyposipanda is the voice of self love and body positivity! She’s here to remind us all that we don’t have to change a thing about our bodies and we can celelbrate and love our bodies even when we know they don’t fit in a certain box (or size!) Seriously, she’ll make you smile every damn day! 

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.

Blogging and Social media: You’re there but Why?

I am still learning on my entrepreneurial journey.  The blog is launched, posts are becoming more regular, my social media presence is growing and in every week there are lessons learned.

I share these lessons as I learn them to become the resource I crave and build my identity within this industry.  I’ve talked before about following good advice and where to start.  Today I want to talk a little about being valuable versus being accessible.

The thing is that when we start blogging, or really when we start any online project we might secretly dream of overnight fame.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we woke up and tens of thousands of people had “liked” and “followed” us?

Sure, it’d be nice but not realistic in the least.

After all, what makes people follow you?  If you read the how-to guides floating around for Instagram right now the biggest thing most of them say is be consistent.  It’s good advice but it’s leaving something out.  Be valuable. 

You can post all day long, on a consistent schedule but what are you posting? You want to be consistently valuable as much as you are consistent with anything.

The online world will demand your accessibility – people will message or comment at all hours, they’ll forget about normal family schedules and just see you as totally available to them.  There’s a lot you can do too, to foster your relationships and availability is the easy part.

The true art is in being out there and giving people content that they actually want.

Carmen

 

 

 

 

 

How to Find Followers and Be Loved by Everyone

 

Everyone’s working hard and we want to be noticed and appreciated – we want to see our hard work pay off!  We see success in rising stats and so the key question becomes: How do I get followers? How do I become popular?!

I wish there was a simple answer like follow steps 1-3 and BOOM! You’ll reach your wildest dreams! But in a world dictated by algorithms and with everyone being careful and thoughtful about what and who they follow or subscribe to, it’s a little tricker than 1, 2, 3.

I post my tips and lessons as I learn them – I don’t have mind blowing numbers to show off as reasons you should listen to me.  What I have is a genuine experience that I’m sharing as it happens (Imagine, the original purpose of a blog!)

So here are my tips and strategies for finding followers and being loved by everyone.  Maybe when I’m famous I’ll rewrite this post and let you know if it works 😉

You have to collaborate to be successful, but you do have to participate. 

You see, creating great content is only part of the battle.  You don’t have to collaborate and share credit but you do have to interact with others.  How do you expect people to find and appreciate your content if you’re simply posting it and waiting for the big rush of applause and appreciation?  When they say you have to put yourself out there it isn’t about putting your content out there – it’s actually putting you out there and making connections.

Go find, like, follow and comment others who might be interested in your work. Find your audience and invite them in to see what you’re doing.  (And show a little love for them – you know how hard the grind is, after all!)
Pro tip: Do this on multiple platforms! Running a wordpress blog? Go like and comment on other blog posts.  Working on upping your instagram game? You know what to do – double tap and show some love! Looking to be the next twitter superstar? Twitter is a giant conversation platform – don’t just talk to yourself 😉

How much do you love it when you connect to someone, or to a company because they make you feel like a person instead of a customer?  When you are waiting for people to stumble across your content and appreciate it you’re thinking of them as customers or follower stats – not people.  In a fast-moving society where we often feel kind of lost in the masses, we have come to value personal connections.  So provide that!  Provide what you crave!

Support doesn’t cost you anything!

All the practical reasons aside – going out and giving those likes, follows and comments doesn’t cost you anything! Okay, so actually finding people who belong to your target audience and connecting with meaningful comments does take time. But you can work that into your workflow.  It’s actually an enjoyable part of my day so I use seeking and connecting with others who might like my work as a way to break up the heavier lifting.  If I am stuck in my writing I can work my social media a bit. If I am dizzy from the research I can find some new people to follow.  Work the different social media platforms you want to grow on into your daily workflow and watch how much making the first move helps you grow!

Just remember… Don’t be an asshole! Don’t start getting spammy and desperate leaving lazy comments that are just emoji’s or one word like “Great”. It doesn’t feel personal or thoughtful.  You want to invite people to connect with you so it’s worth being a decent member of the online community in the process!

Open your mind – what’s the vision when you say working for yourself is the dream?

So here’s the thing – a lot of people say they want to work for themselves but everyone has a different vision of what that means.  For me, it means the freedom to work from anywhere (usually from home), and to be fluid and ever changing in what I do.  I can control the content I produce and in the vision where I create my own line of products they are my design and I can change up the style as I feel like it.

So as you go seeking an audience don’t forget to look inwards and keep a clear vision of what you want.  It’s easy to get so caught up being someone who will attract followers and likes that you lose sight of who you are and what you want to be doing.

Carmen

How a Virtual Community is Fuelling Success in Real Life

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Shoutout to the insta-community around Anna Victoria, her programs, and fitness in general.  When I downloaded Anna Victoria’s FBG guides and read that she recommended followers of the program start up an instagram account I could never have imagined how key that piece would actually be.

I just did it for fun – I love social media and didn’t want to post my “before” or progress pictures on my personal account so it made sense to start a fitness account.

The community of people supporting each others fitness journey’s on instagram is unreal. Not just around Anna Victoria and her programs but in general with hashtags like #fitfam.

While I am currently following Anna Victoria’s Body Love app I am also paying attention to more general health-oriented hashtags and am blown away every day by the way people use this platform to connect with and support others in all stages of the fitness journey.

I think a big part of it is how visual fitness can be for us. As much as we tout body love and non-scale victories like enjoying your healthy diet and reaching new personal bests at the gym… we all still like to see our work pay off in a slimmer waistline or more pronounced muscles.  No matter why we may have started our fitness journey and where we are mentally with it, whether we’re dependent on visual changes or just count them as one of the many reasons we enjoy fitness… there’s no avoiding how visual fitness is.

Instagram supports that side of it while connecting you with a whole world of people who cheer on your visual victories but remind you that they aren’t everything. It’s the best of both worlds. Fellow instagram fitness lovers have left comments reminding me when I needed it that a cheat meal is okay, and that inner strength and growth is just as important as bodily strength and weight loss. They’ve told me to be proud when I change the number on the scale, but more proud when I change my lifestyle. It’s been important to have their support and I do think of them when I am tempted to make food decisions I know I’ll regret.

So if you don’t have the support network you need in real life, this is one of the few areas where relying on the online community can actually be super worthwhile!

If you want, start by finding my fitness dedicated insta – fitish.kitten =)

Carmen