From Niche-Search to Tribe-Find

It’s the last day of 2016 and like most people, I’m contemplating the past 365 days of my life.

 

2015 Recap

I began 2016 as an injured personal trainer. 2015 had been a good year for me. I’d taught over 30 people how to safely swing a kettlebell while wrangling five children, two dogs, and fostering puppies. I also volunteered at my kids’ school and occasionally worked the lunch program. Even though I wasn’t reeling in Personal Training Clients, I had plenty – of everything – to keep me busy.

2015 ended with me getting into coding, building websites, and taking time off my feet as Plantar Fasciitis made walking excruciating at times.

 

2016 – The Downfall

2016 has been different. I’ve taught fewer people to safely swing a kettlebell – as far as I can tell anyway. I ran a free “learn to swing” on Instagram and Facebook in June and the response was pathetic.

I had a handful of new clients come and go while one long time client has stuck with me for two and half years now. I’ve gifted and borrowed kettlebells to my friends and I’ve encouraged other women to just do something to get moving.

I’ve done lots of free consults for various people who’ve kindly valued my opinion. I love doing that because I love talking about fitness!

 

Then I Started Writing

In February, someone encouraged me to check out Elance/Upwork for freelance work. He was thinking I was going to try to get online personal training clients. However my first Upwork job was a paid contract to write an article on running during pregnancy. Ah! I felt like I had hit the jackpot! Sure, I only made $30 minus Upwork fees, but I got paid to write about something I loved!

It felt amazing!

Since then, I’ve had many other writing contracts through Upwork. Most you won’t see when you view my Upwork profile because I’ve had several repeat clients. One of my clients has paid me for 62 articles. Each of those articles has been over 1000 words.

It took me a while, but I made the transition from calling myself a Personal Trainer to a Writer. True, I am both. And I prefer to write about fitness than anything else.

Right now, I’m undecided whether I’ll renew my PT certification this February. I have a feeling it would take some studying and some money on my part to get in my Continuing Education Credits on time. I can do it…but do I want to?

 

“Find Your Niche!”

At one point, I was trying to break into the online fitness industry. In any online business, you’re encouraged to “find your niche!” So I looked for my niche.

I wrote articles targeted at Moms who wanted to workout at home.

I wrote Facebook statuses to encourage women to love their bodies.

Why?

Because I am a Mom who also needs to learn to love her body and I work out at home! I wrote for myself, hoping that other women who find my message and resonate with it.

Eventually, I burnt myself out. I was putting a tonne of pressure on myself to make an income as an online fitness trainer and it wasn’t happening.

And yet…at the same time…I was making money – not a lot, but some – as a freelance writer.

And you know what they tell Writers…

 

“Find Your Tribe!”

I hadn’t had much luck as a Fit Pro on Twitter so I shut down my Twitter account and started a new one. As a Writer. I wasn’t out looking for work or clients. I was looking for fellow writers. Writers like myself who were giving this writing gig a go.

And man, Twitter delivered! I have found nearly 200 writer friends on Twitter in the last three months and let me tell you, I like them better than any of the Fit Friends I’d had. (That’s a bit of an exaggeration, so if you happened to be one of my Fit Friends on Twitter, please know that YOU are the exception.)

Writers on Twitter are supportive. They’re interactive, they reply to tweets, and they retweet your tweets to help you celebrate your successes. And by golly, they should be writing back to you, right? Words are their life!

Thank You, Twitter Friends!

I jumped into NaNoWriMo for the first time this November. On September 30th, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I had some help preparing in October and without that help, I wouldn’t have survived 30 days of writing 1667 words a day.

I got onto Twitter and used the hashtag #nanowrimo and #amwriting and before long, other NaNo victims popped up in my newsfeed. We were making our way through the grind of NaNo together and their encouragement was amazing! Fit Pro’s could learn something from NaNo writers.

We slogged our way through thirty days of writing in November and fell into December, tired, exhausted, but feeling like we had conquered the world. We celebrated our successes, whether or not we made it to 50,000 words. We had written more words in the month of November than we would have without NaNoWriMo.

So Thank You, Twitter #amwriting friends! You helped a sad, depressed Fitness Trainer find her new passion. With your encouragement and love, I know that 2017 will be a great year.

If I have New Years Resolution, it is to support you as you have supported me!

 

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