Everyone is born with a purpose in life. It's just a matter of unlocking that potential. I realized as a child my God-given talent was writing. I was put here to make a difference through my effortless ability to inspire others by stringing a few words together. The influence behind written words can leave a permanent footprint long after the pen holder has left their physical state.
As a pre-teen, I aspired to be an author and travel journalist. I was on track to turn my dream into reality until that rebellious teen inside took over.
Encompassed by recklessness and empowered by false invincibility, I found myself with a toddler and newborn at just 19 years old.
My present situation was as scripted for most teen mothers. I was a high school dropout with 2 kids, not even making ends meet. After many failures and restarts, my husband and I finally found the opportunities we needed in Kingman, Az.
While we were able to provide the basics for our little family, we remained stagnant as your typical teen parents.
As one endless day blended into another as a stay-at-home mother, I found myself sitting on the floor reading through long-forgotten notebooks. As I flipped through the pages of stories and poems I wrote so many years ago, I suddenly remembered how much I loved writing. Not just that, but it was something I was good at naturally.
Sadness and self-doubt quickly replaced the nostalgia as my mind wandered to the dream I had lost.
Who would take a dropout teen mom seriously? Although I had accepted the fact my fate was to be another statistic, thoughts of "what ifs" crept in.
On a whim, I submitted a poem on an online website. To my amazement, it was published a few days later.
I made a whopping 10 cents!
But, I couldn't have been happier. After discussing it with my husband, I had his full support to write as a hobby in between changing diapers and stepping on Legos.
That was, until a random woman left a comment on my poem.
Taking a few seconds out of her day to leave a kind word gave me a glimmer of confidence and sparked a friendship. She took me under her wing and introduced me to the vast world of online writing.
My initial goal was to make enough money to buy a box of diapers each month to release some weight off my husband's shoulders. While my expectations were low, I significantly underestimated where my leap of faith would take me.
I landed some freelance journalist positions for online publications in Kingman, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, while contributing to multiple books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Eventually, I became a contributor to CBS Local, a CNN iReporter, and built a solid online portfolio.
By the time I was barely the legal drinking age, I co-owned a series of lifestyle websites with over 30 contributing writers.
My little hobby quickly manifested into a career as my family grew by 2 more.
I woke up every morning with inspiration and creativity racing through my veins. I got to make money doing what I loved while staying home to raise my children.
Life couldn't be any more perfect; however, I reached a fork in the road.
As my success and reputation grew, so did my interest in SEO, algorithms, and the endless potential of the internet. I dived headfirst into the digital marketing and business world, learning everything I could to make up for the fact I didn't have the education or chronological age as my competitors.
My journalism and book publishing were put on the back burner as I went full steam ahead into online marketing. I loved it because I could use words to manipulate search engines and entice customers to help SMBs beat the odds.
As the daughter of a former small business owner, I know the sacrifices, hard work, and stress that go into following the American Dream. Every sale is food on the table and a roof over a family's heads.
My happiness came from knowing I was making a difference, one family at a time.
Without even realizing how quickly it was happening, I had landed positions with multiple top 5 marketing companies in the U.S., provided content for big-name brands, and had clients across the world. I was recognized for my abilities in SEO and brand development by many online publications.
For 15 years, I've dedicated my career to helping other businesses succeed. Although I've accomplished more than I ever thought possible, there was a casualty to my success.
My passion for writing.
I took the core of my existence and turned it into something I loathed.
I no longer loved what I was doing because the bigger the fish, the less personal the relationships. The people and families behind the backbone of our country, become lost in the sea with large marketing firms. Eventually, it comes down to that dollar sign. I woke up every day, dreading turning on my computer.
The pressures of deadlines, ROIs, and continual stress killed my passion and creativity.
So this is it.
This is my announcement.
After 15 years, I'm out of marketing and website development. The days of algorithms, link building, and marketing funnels are over.
Peace out SEMPO world!
It's time to get back to doing what I was destined to do.
Today, I'm taking my marketing hat off to simply be a freelance writer and journalist. Who knows, maybe I will even publish another book.
Every day, we are one decision away from determining our future. I can't wait to see what awaits me on the journey ahead.