Monday, 27 February 2017

RE: Journey Back to Writting: #JHBContentCreators

 It is about 30 minutes passed midnight and I am thinking to myself where do I begin? It has been 3 years since I contribute to my blog.  It has been on my mind since the beginning of the year I have been pondering the idea of resurrecting and giving it a new face. I am sure that I don’t want to keep the angle that I was using previously when I was blogging, but one thing I am sure about is that I like inspiring, motivating and recognizing people especially women, I also love writing.  My plan is to take the two and turn them into my side hustle.

I stopped blogging because I ran out of steam, hit a writer’s blog and truth be told I was struggling to grow my audience. I woke up in January with a determination to write and I knew that it was not too late to resurrect the dream. I undertook a journey of writing my vision for this blog on paper. I wrote down what and who I will be writing about, came up with a standard letter that I will email to people I would like to profile.  When Katchie Nzama, “Thesolowonderer“ posted on Facebook that she would be holding a workshop on Content Creation,  I knew right there that God was listening, the universe was conspiring on my behalf and all I have to do was just say yes.  I just knew right there that this was God's way of saying it's time! You cannot ignore the voice inside anymore. I knew that if I wanted to succeed this time around I need to put my name out there, socialize, say yes to being a student, learn from others, network and hopefully soar this time around.

Waking on Saturday the 25th February was not easy, it was a gray gloomy rainy day, and the weather was just temperamental in Johannesburg. All I wanted to do was stay in bed, ask my son to make me some breakfast and maybe read a bit or curl up on the sofa with a blanket. I decided that my loyal warm cozy bed is not going anywhere, it will always be there for me, but an opportunity to interact with like-minded people and network I am not going to miss it. 

Katchie together with Afrihost hosted the workshop at Afrihost’s head office in Rivonia. It was a picnic setting at their rooftop, the heavens were kind enough to close the floodgates for those few hours that we assembled, discussing and sharing knowledge. The idea behind the #JHBContentCreators workshop was the coming together of young black content creators in Gauteng. How we can all help each other grow in the different industry, be it travel blogging, freelance writing, and marketing. Katchie Nzama established travel blogger shared her insights in how she travels, blogs and create content. She talked us through her journey from just traveling for fun to traveling and blogging as a career. How she has grown her brand and business, her job requires her to be on the road, even though it is fun she also has to make a living out of the traveling. She shared insights on how she runs subtle campaigns always tries to create content that is genuine and not tries to oversell the lifestyle.  She also touched on the concept that traveling is a service that she offers to her clients, she offers her time, she uses her time, data and quality pictures so she is a firm believer that the time and effort she puts in servicing her clients should equal the pay.

I met a lot of interesting people at the workshop and mostly are in the traveling and marketing industry. Young creative minds who have 9 to 5 jobs but are also entrepreneurs who want to sell their services, like me. We discussed how we can collaborate and share information and pass on work.  I met a lady by the name of Phumeza Langa who does PR/Marketing for a security company 9 to 5 but does freelance writing, she profiles dynamic women and she also sells smoothies on weekends. I got to sit next to a lady who is currently looking for a job but she is a food blogger (@BeastlyeastSA and founder of @PulysCupcake).  Apparently, she makes delicious cupcakes, (to bad she did not bring them on that day). I also met a luxury travel blogger. I spent some time in the company of the co-owner of a travel agency that puts together budget travel packages for in and around South Africa. @Travelcheapskate has the young up and coming South African in mind, she would like to see more people exploring their country. We also touched on a topic that is close to my hearts, traveling with small kids, I have promised to blog about my experience and share with her.  I interacted with a gentleman from Zimbabwe, @MeyouHello, who is also in the travel industry and currently starting a platform for the hospitality industry to sell their last minute deals, I must say as an avid traveler myself I am looking forward to the platform as I find myself having made no plans beforehand, but longing to be somewhere I have never been before. I also met a lady who blogs about sex, and also interacted with an avid writer from Namibia and also Kenya. Last but not least, can you believe that I was not the only one with a “boring” 9 to 5 job and yet an interesting travel life?  Thembi Khumalo, is an outdoor sports fanatic. She mostly does sports travel, as she says she loves anything that takes her outdoors from running to cycling and also assembling her own bike.

Enough about the interesting people I met, everyone had an interesting story to share and I took with me nuggets of wisdom from everyone who attended, wish I can share each and everyone’s story. Going back to the workshop, the aim of #JHBContentCreators is to form a community for content bloggers from different industry and a support structure, a platform for supporting each other as young content writers in an environment that is predominantly white. The aim is to help one another grow our audience but also guide each other in terms of writing, blogging and creating content as a service, and hopefully get paid for it. I must say Katchie has opened a door for us and I am grateful to be part of such an initiative.

I might have woken up thinking is this doable, can I relaunch my blog? What will make it a success this time around, what will be different?  I know one thing my blog is about women entrepreneurs, women who are not afraid to fail, women who are not afraid to give more hours or a go an extra mile to start a business or make their dreams become a reality. Women who are not afraid to start from the bottom, from the woman who is making cupcakes and selling them at work or another that selling chickens and delivering them door to door, to the woman who is closing a million rand deal, I think they all deserve to be celebrated and also their stories should be heard. Social media is a powerful tool and I am going to use it to feed your soul.

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