July 8th, 2009
One of the greatest things about our job as Wild Web Women is meeting passionate entrepreneurs who excel in their chosen careers while maintaining a healthy and balanced life. This month, we had the extraordinary privilege and pleasure of chatting with “Content Maven” Meryl K. Evans to learn about her passions, her career, and how she balances life and work without losing an ounce of motivation or energy.
Meryl recently quoted our very own Web Marketing Therapist, Lorrie Thomas, on the necessary traits of a successful web worker.
Read on for a healthy dose of inspiration about how Meryl found her dream job and created a distinguished and successful brand on the web.
1. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Friendly, conscientious, detailed
2. What online social media platform are you most addicted to? (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin…etc).
Twitter. Love the chats and it adds a lot of value for short bursts of text.
3. Meryl, your business delivers high-quality content to your clients. What keeps you inspired to create fresh content and what skills are the most helpful in maintaining your sharp writing edge?
I never take clients for granted, so I do what I can to deliver the best results possible. Clients may come back for more business or tell others about you. Like tennis, the best way to get better at anything is to practice the skill over and over. Of course, you make adjustments along the way with the help of a coach, online articles or a good book on the topic.
4. Please share a professional phobia or obsession….confession session!
I fear making silly mistakes in writing such as messing up a link or my fingers type “hear” when my brain correctly thinks “here.” I abhor that. I know the difference, but sometimes the fingers decide to do their own thing. I also obsess with making the editors happy and their jobs easier.
5. What is your favorite word or phrase? Why?
“W00t!” You’d think my love for words would produce a fancier word or phrase. W00t sounds positive and fun. It makes me smile when I say it or hear someone say it. I don’t hear it as often as “awesome” or “cool.”
6. In one of your blog posts earlier this year, you shared your “Six Steps to Get it Done for Home Office Workers”. What is the hardest part about working from home while your kids are out of school? What are some “tricks” you have to deal with this?
Most of my friends and colleagues look forward to summer, but not me. I have one child who has unique challenges and can’t do just anything. The first month went well thanks to the school district’s fun summer program. Alas, it’s only four weeks. I’ve been working harder to apply Love and Logic thinking and advice I’ve gotten from experts to ease up the times when the younger two (four years apart — ages 10 and 6.) are at home. The oldest is 15 and in her own world, so I rarely worry about her.
One of the boys needs to read all summer to avoid falling behind. He hates to read. I instituted a new rule, “No electronics until you’ve done 20 minutes of reading.” It was hard at first, but it worked. Love and Logic puts the responsibility on the kids rather than on the parents. When the boys start arguing and come to me, I respond “I love you too much to argue.” If you lecture them, count on tempers to flare more. The fewer words you say, the better. I separate the boys more often — it’s when they’re together the problems happen more than the boredom blues or snack attacks. They also know that when they work hard to behave and get along, they may see a reward like swimming time.
7. What do you believe successful “wild web woman” traits are?
1. Be selfish! Now that sounds selfish, but it actually helps your family and personal life. I believe that “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” When you’re in a negative mood, it spills over to those around you. Take care of yourself, women! Doing this still puts other people’s needs ahead of your own because if you aren’t happy, you’re spreading a negative virus to others.
2. Speak up. If something is on your mind, don’t internalize it or hope someone reads your mind. But it doesn’t mean you should speak your mind with an attitude. Companies hire you for your expertise. If you disagree with something, explain why rather than doing nothing. When we hear a rational explanation, it can solve a lot of problems.
Here’s one example. The principal of my kids’ school said that the school can no longer print class lists (list of kids by teacher) in the directory. Of course, parents were upset because they rely on these lists for invitations, events and such. They also like to know who is in their children’s classes. But when we asked the principal why, we learned it was out of the school’s hands and went higher up. Parents understood and no longer felt angry at the school.
3. Fire clients. Firing a client doesn’t mean you failed. It means your client’s and your goals and personalities don’t mesh. One client didn’t want web content using standard web content practices. It wanted a business plan type of content for the web site. We mutually agreed to end the relationship. If you find you dread doing the work for a client and keep putting it off — listen to that message. It may be time to move on. Worried about losing income from that client? Think about the energy you’ll have if you replace the client with two great ones where you look forward to doing the work. You add more income.
8. How do you indulge yourself (every once in a while!) to stay healthy and balanced?
Because of my job as a writer, I have an unfair advantage here. Playing computer games. I review computer games on a regular basis and this more than meets my need to have fun.
9. What are the top three most vital marketing ingredients that have helped you become the professional you are today?
A dash of blogging, a soupcon of social networking and heaping of serving high quality meals to clients.
10. Where do you find inspiration to continue growing your business?
My family. I choose to remain a one-person business, although I do work with teams in some cases. My career and success allows me to spend time with them, be there for them and live a fulfilling life.
11. When you are faced with a setback or an enormous business challenge, what do you do to keep moving forward?
Find a solution, learn from it and work on the next thing so I don’t beat myself up over it.
12. What has been your biggest achievement recently that you are proud of?
Completing my fourth annual column for Billiards Digest. It was different this time because I worked with a new editor. I appreciated that he stuck with me even though he could’ve gone with someone he knows. He also took the time to tell me that he hardly edited the article except remove one point due to space. I love it when I make the job easy on an editor.
13. What are your marketing goals for this upcoming year?
Continue with social networking and blogging. This is the best way to keep my name out there. Most of my clients come to me through referrals, so I need to stay in clients’ minds and meet new ones by connecting with them through social networking. I plan to collect new testimonials as I prefer to let the clients do the talking rather than me doing the horn tooting.
14. What is your ideal work outfit? (We work in our PJs whenever we can, what about you?)
Gym clothes so I am ready to work out without having to change. Just do it. No excuses!
15. What do you think is the most challenging part about being a female entrepreneur? How do you overcome this challenge?
Nothing really. I think being deaf encounters more challenges than being female as there are lots of females in the world but not everyone meets a deaf person. All but one client is not from Texas. A colleague in Seattle referred the Dallas client to me. Having clients far away takes away any barrier that comes with face to face meetings and puts me on even ground with everyone. Unfortunately, people judge you based on how you sound when you talk and if you asked them to repeat.
16. What is the ONE web marketing best practice that you would share with other Web Marketing Therapy readers?
Prescribe a good dose of social networking for your business.
The Wild Web Women at Web Marketing Therapy has thoroughly enjoyed learning from Meryl’s inspirational and educational responses to this interview. We look forward to meeting many more passionate entrepreneurs and building relationships with them so that we can learn and grow from each others’ success stories! Stay tuned for more Wild Web Woman Positive Role Model interviews!
Meryl K. Evans is the author of several books and has written and edited for AbsoluteWrite, ECT News Network, The Dallas Morning News, Digital Web, Gamezebo, Lockergnome, MarketingProfs, PC Today, O’Reilly, Pearson, Sams, Web Worker Daily, Wiley, and WROX.
To learn more about Meryl and her accomplishments, visit Meryl’s website.