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I’m so happy to have Lorraine Ladish, blogger and author, talk to us about her work and life as a Mom, freelancer and full-time blogger.
Thank you Lorraine for your openness with us and for your time. I appreciate it very much and I wish you continued success.
Lorraine is a very talented and very busy woman. She began blogging back in 2006 when this medium was still new.
She started hobby blogging and later blogging for money.
Now, Lorraine makes a full-time living working her passions thru her blog at VivaFifty.com
She is a blogger, author of multiple books, Yoga instructor, freelancer, Mom, wife and businesses owner.
As you can read below, Lorraine was a single Mom and on Welfare before becoming a business owner.
She has given us a lot of insightful self-empowerment advice in this Q&A. My favorite quote when I asked her for advice for new bloggers and online entrepreneurs is this one:
“To arm themselves with grit. In any arena, I don’t think it’s always the most talented that succeed. It’s those that keep on going no matter what”
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Here is her discussion with me.
Photo credit: Lorraine C Ladish, VivaFifty.com
1.Tell me about your story. How did you get into blogging and digital media.
I started blogging in 2006 just for me, without really knowing why and certainly not knowing what I was doing.
I had moved from Spain to Florida in 2004 and a friend from Spain, knowing I’m a writer, told me she thought I should blog. I felt it could be a cool way to show snippets of my life here for my friends back home.
Eventually, the recession came around in 2008 and I lost all my print writing and translating gigs. I also divorced. I found myself a single mom of two young kids, 4 and 7.
We were on welfare because I had no savings, very little income. I was 45. Not the best age, or time, to get a job, especially when you’ve always freelanced.
A young business man I met in a dance studio saw on Facebook that I was a writer and asked whether I could write for him. He said he needed “SEO-friendly” blog posts for his couponing site.
I had NO idea what SEO was, so I googled it and learned on my own. I only got paid $12 per blog, but at least I was making money writing.
I’d written for the Spanish edition of the Palm Beach Post for four years and had made lots of contacts.
Someone alerted me that About.com (which has since rebranded to DotDash.com) which then belonged to the NYT, was looking for a writer and editor in Spanish for the Latina Mom section.
The application process involved learning lots of SEO, some HTML and best practices for writing and publishing online. During the one-month application process I thought that if I didn’t get the gig, at least I’d learn a lot! I got the gig.
Shortly afterwards I realized that I didn’t have to find a job. I just had to keep writing, but instead of doing it for print, I could take my skills online. Eventually I was editor in chief of a website for Latina Moms, Mamiverse.com, for a couple of years.
When I turned 50, six years ago, I launched my own website, VivaFifty.com and never looked back. All these years, since early 2010 to now, I’ve made a living full-time online. I still do. I can’t complain.
2. What advice do you have for new bloggers or side hustlers wanting to start their own niche blogs or write books.
To arm themselves with grit. In any arena, I don’t think it’s always the most talented that succeed.
It’s those that keep on going no matter what. You do what it takes day in, day out, when you feel like it and when you don’t, when you’re on top of the world, and when you question why you’re doing it in the first place.
I don’t spend a lot of time interacting in forums and such. I put blinders on, try to keep up with the latest algorithm changes on Google or any given social media platform, and simply run my business and create content day in day out.
It used to be written words only, now it’s also photos, and pins for Pinterest, and videos for YouTube.
I take breaks and rests here and there, but I never give up. Whether people see it online or not, I’m always doing the work, I’m always doing what it takes to bring in that money while doing something I’m passionate about.
It’s not easy, I know it seems impossible to find the time. But I found it even when my kids were little and I used to write my books sitting in a play yard with them in the living room. It’s not for the faint of heart.
3. What lessons have you learned from blogging. Will you do anything different.
I don’t think I’d do anything different. It’s been quite a good ride so far. A lot has changed since I first started blogging, but I do my best to keep up with the ever-changing and fast-paced digital landscape.
I’ve always freelanced, way before the Internet, before faxes and before cell phones. If I was able to make that work way back then, imagine what I’m capable of now with all this technology. Sometimes I forget it wasn’t always this way.
I feel technology caught up with the way I worked to begin with, lol.
4. You do a lot. Blogging, Yoga, authorships, married, a mother. How do you budget your time.
I do a lot, yes.
Last year I got my yoga teacher certification. It was a 500-hour course. And it meant I was away from home and from work a lot. I learned something very important in that year.
I worked far less than previous years and yet I made the same amount of money.
Now that I’m done with the training I realize how much time I really have!
I try to batch work. The hardest thing for me is to switch tasks. So I try to take photos on a certain day of the week, write and edit blogs a different day, and so on.
At home, the kids have chores and my husband is just as involved in the household, so I can’t complain.
I want to work on my next book, but I also know where my priorities are, so I’ve learned to park some of my projects until I have a little more mental bandwidth. My website and digital presence are what brings in the most dollars at present, so that’s where my priorities lie right now.
5. What do you think is the future of digital media, content marketing, blogging.
I don’t think anyone really knows for sure. Change is the name of the game. None of this, social media, content marketing, etc, is going away, but it will continue to evolve in ways we can’t even fathom right now.
I can’t dwell too much on it or I would freeze. The great thing about being 56 is that I already know myself pretty well, and I know I’m adaptable. So I will continue to roll with the punches and make the best of everything, no matter what direction the digital arena takes.
6. What does having freedom from a 9-5 job means to you.
So … I can’t even imagine being in an office from 9-5. Just considering this possibility gives me the chills. A friend of mine recently said to me: “you talk about jobs like they’re the worst thing ever.” And my answer was: “they are for me!” I think she was a little offended, but she’s a really good friend.
When I was very young the fact that I just didn’t want a job, didn’t want to physically have to be somewhere at a certain time until the end of the work day seemed like a flaw.
I felt weird. I tried to work at an ad agency in my twenties, and quit. The owner didn’t get it. I had no qualms about telling him I hated schedules and that’s why I had to quit. I’m smiling as I remember his face, his mouth agape.
But, the fact was that I was able to make a living from home on my own terms, translating and adapting sitcoms from English to Spanish. Later on, writing for magazines and eventually writing my own books.
However, this also comes with uncertainty, with ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Cash flow issues.
But having lived this way from around the age of 21, and used to making my own schedule all the time, imagine how hard it is for me to even consider being constrained by hours, and even a physical place.
The closest I’ve come to having jobs is when I’ve worked as an editor (as a contractor), but I did it from home and in my own time. That’s my first requirement.
So, this long-winded answer means “I just don’t know how to work any other way.” It’s a way of life for me, it’s what I know and what I’m comfortable with.
7. You are also raising great kids. Any tips on raising happy and independent children.
Oh goodness, I don’t have the answer to that. I think that as parents we do our best and then the kids will do what they will do.
My eldest, 18, moved to California after she graduated high school in Florida, where I live. She has traveled to more countries than I have ever been to already.
She’s working as a nanny and taking some photography classes in college. She saves her money to travel. In Australia she went sky-diving and bungee jumping. All I could do is say: “be careful” just because it’s a mom thing.
She has all these tattoos and I don’t like all of them. But you know what? All of this makes her happy. The tattoos and the travel, and planning her next trip.
But the reason she is happy is because I’ve told her not to let anyone -not even me- get in the way of her dreams. It’s not her responsibility to please me. It’s her responsibility to please herself. Life is too short. It’s meant to be enjoyed.
The same goes for the two other children. My stepson is 16 and my youngest daughter is 15.
She was boxing regularly (and I don’t mean kickboxing, I mean sparring and all of that), and one day she told me she wasn’t enjoying it anymore, so she quit. Who am I to tell her to keep doing something that stresses her out? Now she takes piano lessons. It’s her call.
I’m not a conventional person, so I can’t expect my kids to be conventional. Besides, it’s their life. I just gave birth to them.
Lorraine Ladish is a full-time blogger, she runs the blogs VivaFifty and the Flawed Yogini.