I started a blog post today and midway through, I decided I had REALLY gone down the wrong track. I tucked that half-completed post into my drafts and opened a new page to start again.
Blogging is comfortable and familiar to me, (I kept a blog on another site for over a decade). I’ve been formally studying marketing, however, for two years. I’ve worked with words for years as an English teacher and a published writer. I served as the assistant to the Marketing Director at my last full-time job. It’s only since my employer downsized my job last year, however, that I decided on the risk of this new direction. This year I’ve begun studying the tools of my new trade (Adobe Creative Suite, ActiveCampaign, Mail Chimp, Rainmaker, Weebly, etc). I’m learning, yes, but what can I blog about in marketing that would be helpful and informative, when I feel so new to the field myself?
So, as you do, I went Googling. “50 blog topics you can write about right now” — that seemed promising. But again, the topics boiled down to “share your expertise,” which didn’t feel helpful. Then I Googled “blog topics you can write about when you’re new to your field.”
And then I ran across a statistic that astonished me. Is it true? Assuming it is, I suddenly felt rather better:
80% of people age 45+ consider changing careers; only 6% actually do.
Yes, my former coworkers who were laid off with me have jobs again. That’s because they went right back to doing what they were doing before. I’m apparently more of a rare bird, willing to hare off in a new direction (and isn’t THAT a mixed metaphor). Just as I stopped writing a blog post that wasn’t working and opened a new page to start again, come to think of it. This page.
I started studying karate because I had been driving my daughters to lessons for years and it looked fun. I began as a white belt in my early forties. When I stood at the final black belt screening eight years later, after countless hours of sweat, practice, and discouragement, our teacher told us, “Think about all the other students in your white belt classes. Think about how few of them are here today. YOU are the ones who stuck it out.”
I was the oldest student taking that exam. But I earned my black belt, and I was mighty proud when my teacher tied it on.
It’s a risk to make a change, to throw your heart into the struggle to gain mastery in something new. That is true of established companies that want to stay relevant. That’s true of entrepreneurs who start out with nothing but hope and an idea that can change the world.
I’m breaking all sorts of rules about professional blogging here, and that’s a risk, too. I’ve admitted I’m not just out of college. This isn’t a blog post full of helpful, expert marketing advice. I haven’t carefully calibrated SEO, searched the keywords in my title, and I don’t have headers spaced every 300 words. There are no handy lists like “5 of the most important WordPress plugins” or “10 rules to remember that will make your email subject lines pop.” It’s a declaration. I’m not at the black belt stage of being a marketer, although I’m certainly past the white belt stage. The important thing is that I’m the type of person willing to change and grow and take on a whole new area of knowledge. I know I can do it.
I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.
That’s what I can give you now as a reason to listen to what I have to say.