What is your name?
What part of the world are you located?
What is your company name, website, FB page name, twitter name and anything else you use?
I have two “odd” jobs:
1) Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine www.southernwritersmagazine.com, www.facebook.com/southernwritersmagazine, www.twitter.com/SouthrnWritrMag
2) Speaker and Writer
www.shannonmilholland.com, www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/jesusandmyorangejuice, www.twitter.com/shanmilholland, http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ShanMilholland, Networked Blogs - http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/jesus_and_my_orange_juice
Are you a SAHM/WAHM? Tell us about you (mini-bio!)
I am both a SAHM and a WAHM. I attempt to create spaces in my life where my kids feel like I stay-at-home even though I am working two jobs plus volunteering in the community. Like is a juggle but isn’t life more interesting when things fly through the air?
When did you start your blog/online/at home business?
Southern Writers Magazine – Was conceived by Susan Reichert in March, 2011 and brought to first issue in just three months. I have never heard of a magazine created so quickly. Clearly God was helping pave the way.
Speaking/Writing – I really began in earnest in late April 2010. I’m a bit stubborn and even though I’d had this dream in my heart for several years, time was required to work on lining my head up with my heart. I had to come to a place where I believed I could begin regardless of whether I failed.
How did you find yourself getting started with your business/venture?
Southern Writers Magazine – Susan Reichert asked me to coffee one day and asked me to join the team. This didn’t happen overnight though. I had invested nine months in cultivating a relationship with her and serving her in another organization prior to this. Put other’s needs first and your investment in them will pay-off.
Speaking/Writing – I had a dear friend who’s actually a bit shy dare to boldly look me in the eye and ask when I was going to stop running from God and start living out of my passion. I figured if she’s bold enough to stand up to me, I’m bold enough to begin this venture.
How did you go about seeking your information?
Southern Writers Magazine – We surveyed the market to see what other magazines for writers were out there. There were magazines teaching the technical aspects of writing but not one equipping writers to actually market and sell their books, get a contract, etc. Then we poked around to see how other magazines were formatted and sold and made sure ours was a value-added, above-the-competition proposition. The result is a stunning, informative and inspiring magazine that is propelling authors to success.
Speaking/Writing – I looked at the platform of others in this field and determined what social media they were using, how they were using it and what was most effective. Initially I just blogged but slowly I added various social media platforms to build on this.
Do you have a mentor? Yes I do-several actually. The editor of Southern Writers to start. She mentors me in networking, writing and life in general. Having a mentor is an invaluable resource. Would you consider mentoring someone who wanted to start a similar business? Absolutely!
What mistakes did you endure to figure out the right path?
I had to learn to ask for what I wanted and not just sit back and assume my audience would come to me. What I finally realized is that when you’re adding real value to someone’s life, you are marketing, you’re offering a better life.
Moments of brilliance?
When I selected the name of my blog I wanted to portray how refreshing living a life empowered by the Word of God can be. I also desired to imply I spent time developing my relationship with God every morning. The name Jesus and My Orange Juice was born and through God’s providence alone is the number one Google hit combining those words. I accidentally learned how important it is to have a unique combination of words in the title of your blog.
Advice to others that are considering an online business?
Start slow. Excellence matters. It’s more important to do one thing well than twelve things haphazardly. Be certain your online image reflects the heart of who you are. Authenticity in any venture attracts; salesmanship repels.
How do you balance mommyhood and online work?
I try to capture spaces of time that don’t detract from my kids – early morning, naptime, when they’re tired and ready to veg out for some TV time, when they are engaged playing with each other. I also have learned the importance of saying “no” to anything that’s not in line with God’s priorities for me that day. Many great opportunities come my way to which I say “no” because more important work is already at hand.
What are some of your favorite “mommy sites” to visit?
I love the practicality of Lori Fairchild’s blog – Everyday Truth. I also find Lysa TerKeurst’s blog insightful and inspiring. When I really need encouragement I run to the oasis of Encouragement Café – they are always serving up something that feeds my soul.
Are there any aspects of your business/life that aren’t covered here that you want to share?
Don’t start a business unless it is first your passion. Passion is the secret ingredient to success. Passion keeps you going when the results don’t just role in. Passion frees you to enjoy what you’re doing. Passion turns a job into an adventure.
What else can you share with us?
I started speaking and writing because I realized I found joy in the ordinary of my day – piles of laundry and miles and carpools but few women shared my enthusiasm. I wanted to give them the gift I’d been given. The gift was extended to writers through my involvement with Southern Writers Magazine. Giving away my heart to encourage others has been the most satisfying decision of my life.