A day of Firsts.

Good Day to You!

I’m going to start by giving you my list of Firsts for today:

First “work day” as a retiree

First time taking a blogging class

First chance to really have time for my dream

First time connecting my site to social networking

First time (or at least it feels like the first) being able to look for and really find FOCUS.

First time publishing my blog posts to my social media accounts.

I think by now you get the idea for why I chose the title for this post.

A very brief history (so that we can all move on to the important (and current) stuff:

Just about a year ago, I started this site as a blog, ran into problems with “comment spam”, had some family medical surprises, had less time in my already full 40 hour work week, and many more distractions. My reaction has been to turn the “blog” into a regular old “static” website, with pages that have content that changes very little.

Now, I’m starting out on my first week of retirement (ooh! Another first!).

Although I have been considering this my “retirement project”, it is really much more than that. Yes, I would like to make extra money to supplement my retirement income, but it turns out that being valuable to the public is equally important to me.

I am starting on my second year with WordPress.com. (I bet you thought this was another “first” also, and in a way it still is.) This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to bring my full attention to “working it all out” that I’ve had.

Today marks the beginning of my Blogging 101 class. It is a free class that you don’t need to have a WordPress site to join. They have a rotating schedule of classes that are well worth looking into and are “no pressure” in that we don’t get a grade and participation in the process is completely voluntary. You can learn more about Blogging University here.

Today’s assignment is to “introduce yourself to the community (called the commons), and to the world in a post. It is supposed to be a sort of “About Me” page. We have three questions to answer in our post, and I’m going to incorporate these questions, while encouraging you to read the About PLH page and/or the About Arth page. In this way I won’t have to duplicate the “old”, while moving into the “present”. Below, I will offer up each question in the assignment, then provide the details.

First, (again!), a word to my Facebook friends. You all know that I’m not very active on Facebook. Eventually, I may start using a “business” account for blog posts. For now, I have no method for making (or asking for) money on the site. I don’t think any Facebook rules will be violated, unless monetization starts to occur on the site. (I’ll look into this more before any attempt at making money happens.)

The only other social media I’ve tried is Google+, in which I have been even less active than Facebook.

I am not only answering the suggested questions in the day one (yep another first) instruction email, but making an attempt to openly (publicly if you will) explore and act upon the prospect of “what now” and “what next”.

Question 1:

Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?

It has never been my intent to create a personal journal. For years I have tried and failed, trying one idea or another to learn how to earn money on the internet. There have been many phases to doing this. The reasons for failing also vary, but with one or two core reasons, looking back.

My years as a customer service representative have given me valuable experience providing help for others. If a resource is needed or someone needs help navigating the tools on a government site, I’ve got that. When it comes to asking for money, or figuring out exactly what kind of help should be offered for pay, instead of just “free” help, I’m more used to being paid for customer service, data entry and so on.

The “static” link pages on my site are evolving, and will become more like a reference, indexed links pages for making the professional licensing resources on the official government sites more accessible and easily found.

I think you can tell by the way I offer to help, without asking for payment, unless the request is going to involve a pages long report or asking a question of the administrative agency on someone’s behalf, that I’m still searching for a “monetization solution”.

Even if the current site doesn’t earn extra income, I will continue to develop it for the much needed public service I feel it will provide.

I am also opening up to ideas from the public in general, to see what may be useful to others in the realm of getting support for their licensing needs.

One thing about blogging, especially if you have a business account with WordPress.com, is that you have no limits regarding the number of sites/blogs you can create under your one account. You can always explore other possibilities that may or may not be related to the current project.

Now that at last I have the time, it seems beneficial to share as I grow in this experience, using my unique point of view to help others grow in their own attempt at finding their “niche”.

Question 2:

What topics do you think you’ll write about?

Before today, I would have answered this question with “professional licensing”, and then struggled to find more “relevant” topics to list.

The truth is, I’ve never been good at writing with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in mind. It just seems so unnatural to me. It is really hard work trying to find “long tail” key words (or “tags”), and then creating an article or “post” around them.

I’m not big on “small talk” either. I’ve seen some value in sharing through social networks. It seems that “listening” and then “helping” works, however I don’t have the “gift of gab” or whatever else it takes to truly maintain that kind of “timeline”.

Of course if something “earth shattering” in the “professional licensing” realm happens, I will certainly write about it.

So, what else is there for me to write about?

People always seem to need help in establishing a business. Many business models are dependent on licensed professionals to perform the services and products they supply. Many new professionals need help finding those resources. Even non-professionals need this information.

Starting to blog, using Blogging 101 for the starting point for a new focus and publicly sharing the experience, will provide a wide variety of possible topics, all of which could be relevant to this professional licensing site, with the ending word being “Helper”.

Topics could include:

Getting your Business Online.

Will your first job require a temporary or full license?

Are you working for yourself, or someone else?

More, general topics like: What’s your niche; what’s your dream; can your dream become real?

I’m sure more topics will come to mind, but we are just getting started right now.

Learning some basics and finding focus are the topics at hand.

We are working on “Firsts” today. Many of my classmates are as well. Even more of the “public at large” are searching for the same thing, in some form. It is universal and important to starting an online business, creating your “online voice”, or whatever it is each of you are focused on to try.

Question 3:

If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

To have published something truly useful to professional licensees, regardless of the monetary value of the site.

I would like to be able to supplement my retirement income in a useful, honest and productive way that helps everyone who visits the site.

I hope to be a lot more focused than right now.

I would also like to be able to help others become focused in ways that really help them.

I would like to congratulate all of you who have managed to stay focused and read this entire post. Trying to re-define who you are in a public way is quite a challenge. I’m sure reading it is also a chore. I thank you for your effort!

The word “I” has been used a lot in this post. This is because of the “self-describing” nature of using it as an extended “about me” page.

In the future, posts will not be so focused on “me”, but on making these posts more valuable to you.

Don’t worry, “I’m” not going anywhere.

My Best to You

Arth