In today’s plugged-in world, blogs have become accepted as some of the most current and reliable sources for news, opinions and industry-specific expertise. From the Government of Canada to The Globe and Mail, it appears that everyone knows that the future of communication is online.
But achieving credibility was a long and difficult battle. Just a few years ago, bloggers were often considered to lack the discipline, training and skills of journalists and traditional writers.
Online veterans like Rebecca Bollwitt, the Founder of Miss604.com and Co-Founder of sixty4media, remembers this time well. She began Miss604.com, a blog covering local events and news, travel, history and contests, in 2004 and has been its Publisher, Editor and Content Creator ever since.
Rebecca has been widely recognized for her accomplishments, and was named one of The Vancouver Sun’s “BC Top 100 Women of Influence,” among other honours. Miss604.com is also Vancouver’s most award-winning blog, and has partnered with some of the most prominent organizations and events in the world, including Starbucks, Pepsico, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Passion is a central theme of many entrepreneurial stories, but Rebecca credits her heart and soul more than most for fueling her business. She points out, “When you have a terrible day, are swamped with work, and can barely see the end of your “to do” list, that love and passion still drives you forward.”
Never Compromise Your Voice
It isn’t hard to see why Rebecca calls Miss604.com a passion project. She decided early on that she would stay true to herself and not compromise to the pressure of others. As she says, “I wanted to keep my own voice and maintain its narrative as my own personal outlet.”
Being genuine builds trust with customers and clients, which is a fundamental part of growing a business. And while creating a reputation for authenticity can be difficult to achieve, the results speak for themselves.
Rebecca is a frontrunner in Western Canada’s blogging community, but the community itself didn’t truly exist when she launched Miss604.com over a decade ago. Helping carve out a niche in an unestablished business space was one of the hardest obstacles she faced in proving her blog was a legitimate media outlet.
“I have been able to grow beyond the stigma that a blog is run by someone in pajamas, surrounded by cats, living in their parents’ basement, and prove that it can be a professional outlet and online publication,” she says about helping build credibility in her space.
Sometimes, real success is about overcoming adversity and supporting your peers’ growth, just as much as revenue and KPIs.
Take Advantage of Your Resources
The Founder of Miss604.com attributes Small Business BC as an established resource for information that she “needed to actually make [her] dream into [her] dream business,” as well as events like conferences and Meetups.
Rebecca also recommends sourcing outside professionals when you need to. As she good-humoredly says, if you’re not great at taxes, “make sure you get yourself a good accountant! I manage all of our finances using an online, cloud-based system but come tax time, I am very thankful that I can hire a professional.”
Keep Adapting and Evolving
Innovative business people often stress that while staying focused is important, so is evolution. This necessity is especially clear online. Rebecca admits that, “Online media itself is a constant learning environment, and keeping up with the latest social networks and tools can be a challenge.”
She emphasizes that education and self-learning were and continue to be essential to her business. She even taught herself to build websites and learn code, which was definitely not included in 1990s school curriculums.
In this fast-paced world, it’s key to innovate, adapt and keep up with the online tools and social media that are necessary to run a modern business.
Maintain a Work-Life Balance
But Rebecca still advises to maintain a work-life balance because it “will keep you pumped and rejuvenated so that you can give your business all you’ve got and keep coming back with fresh ideas.”
Entrepreneurs and business owners think outside the box, so fuel your creativity by taking healthy breaks from your business. Make time to leave the office, network in person, take advantage of tools like Hootsuite and don’t forget the power of a walk in the park.
Remember to Give Back
But while Rebecca is an entrepreneurial inspiration, she always gives back to the city she’s so passionate about by regularly leading charitable work and sponsoring events through Miss604.com.
The small business community in BC has a well-deserved reputation for being helpful, energetic and positive. Staying involved and giving back to the community and the people who support you is one of the best ways to stay committed to your customers, your clients and your work.
Get your business off the ground and growing with Small Business BC by signing up for our Ask the Expert sessions and other client services, and register for our wide range of business seminars. Be our next success story!
Image 1 photo credit: Bob Lai, www.boblai.com