Ann Smarty of MyBlogGuest.com joins us today to share her business journey of 6 years. Ann’s platform connects guest bloggers to blog owners for them to exchange free traffic and exposure through high-quality content.
What drove you to start your own business? What was the turning point?
I got pregnant and fired. It was a planned pregnancy but the first one, so I didn’t expect it to affect me so much. During the first two months of pregnancy I was emotionally and physically devastated and when my bosses found out the pregnancy was the reason, I was politely asked to leave…
I left. The next day my company was born and I never looked back. That was a huge push for me, so looking back, I am even thankful. The full story of me starting a company while being pregnant is here.
Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
My inspiration is personal growth and challenge. Even when I was employed I would always seek new tasks, always try doing something new.
What are your goals for your business?
The huge thing about my platform is that it connects people and I’ve seen some great case studies and unions that grew out of MyBlogGuest
I want to see more people looking for authentic connections using MyBlogGuest. I want to our members to see past the “seo” and “marketing” aims and start looking at MyBlogGuest as connection building platform.
What would you do differently next time around?
Next time I would like everything to be better planned. I don’t want to rush with my new projects like I did with my first one, when everything happened in a day. My first startup is huge but still lacks organization. It’s clumsy because it’s growing without much planning behind it.
What difficulties and challenges have you had to overcome and how did you keep going?
Time was my biggest issue. Imagine being a new mom and a new business owner all at the same time. I had all these little tricks I came up with while moving forward: I learned to work while my daughter was asleep. Then, when she slept much less and started crawling, I learned to work while holding her leg or sitting next to her on the carpet. I was working at night and got little sleep.
My husband has given me amazing support. Ultimately, when my business started growing, he took over supporting our daughter. He was my biggest motivation!
What legacy would you like your business to leave to the world and your family/friends?
Hard question… I want it to be the place to connect. I have never planned anything else for it. I hope it will keep connecting people…
What support did you seek out and what difference has that made to your business?
I am proud to say that I was able to finance my business myself at the very beginning (through my services) and I kept rejecting funding offers ever after. I am not saying I am against third-party funding in general. But that project was really personal – I wanted to be the single owner.
How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
I don’t plan too much. I prefer to enjoy what I am doing now. I have plans for other projects but not MyBlogGuest.
First and foremost MyBlogGuest is a community. It’s the community that keeps motivating me. Their feedback and appreciation keep me moving daily. I don’t need anything else except people saying we are doing something right.
What has been one big success that you have achieved in your business?
The team I have built. I was lucky to meet people who really care about what we are all doing. There’s nothing more inspiring to me, as a business owner, than seeing our team members working over night and supporting each other. They are awesome and they love our site as much as I do.
What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business?
You can’t do it all by yourself.
I did manage to be the only one for a couple of years after my daughter was born. Then at some point I realized I had to start relying on others to grow my business versus just maintaining it. This is when I had Sana join me as a partner. And that was one of my best decisions. Having her support I felt much more inspired.
What are your top 3 tips for someone who would like to start a business now?
- Believe in yourself. I did lack that, I guess; otherwise I would have started earlier. But this is very important: having trust in what you do. You will always have competitors and if you manage to be successful, enemies, but nothing will beat you while you have sincere trust in what you are doing.
- Be always patient. Expecting fast income is the first mistake to make. It’s very de-motivational. Make sure you understand that’s not going to be easy or fast.
- Be inspired. Inspiration is my strongest motivation. I cannot do anything until I am inspired. I have various sources of inspiration (coffee, nature, etc.), but that’s very personal: Find your own!
What are 3 books, websites or resources that you would recommend to other business owners?
- Manifest Connect – the multi-author self-improvement blog I co-author as well. I think we manage to turn it into a great collection of productivity and motivation tips.
- Small Biz Trends: A magazine for small business owners by small business owners. Find daily news and useful tips there.
- Social Media Examiner: A very in-depth resource of social media marketing tips geared towards business owners.
How can people connect with you on social media? I am on Twitter as @seosmarty (our business Twitter profile is @myblogguest) and on Facebook as annsmarty (our business is on Facebook as myblogguest) Web address: http://myblogguest.com/