Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Top 10 Reasons to Lose Weight as a Businesswoman

Hi all. As most of you know, I have been on a personal journey for the last six months. It's a journey that isn't yet quite over, but getting close. When I started this journey I weighed 210 pounds. When it ends I will weigh 130 pounds.

Why? Why Did I Decide to Lose Weight as a Middle-Aged Businesswoman?

1. I did it for charity.

I love I love everything about it, the mission, the people, the marketing, the message, everything. I was sold from day one. I wanted to help, but I needed a gimmick. I thought, "Losing weight would be a great gimmick!" So I started.

2. I did it because I'm viciously a good way of course!

I love winning. I hate losing. My workplace initiated a "Biggest Loser" content. I didn't initially want to enter, because I knew if I did, I HAD TO WIN and, I did. 'Nuff said.

3. I did it because society discriminates against fat people.

I couldn't change society. But I could change myself. I hate that store clerks in Macy's and even members of my own family treated me as "invisible" because I was fat. But you know what, I wasn't ever going to change them and their shallow-mindedness. What I could change was myself and then write blog posts like this one.

4. I did it because I wanted people to take me seriously.

Everybody says they want to lose weight, but almost no one ever does it. I wanted to be the exception. If you say you are going to lose 80 pounds, and you follow through, no one will ever doubt you again. If they do, they're really dumb.

5. I did it because I wanted to play with my kids.

I have three kids, ages 19, 15 and 11. My 19-year-old is in college know. She is the only one who remembers me when I was at a healthy weight. My kids are active. My kids pay sports (something I never did and was never encouraged to do as a child). I want to hike, bike, kayak and cross-country ski with them before they are too old and don't have time for me any more.

6. I did this because I want to walk into Forever 21 and buy something to wear.

Let's face it. Clothes just don't look good on fat people. Everything, regardless of how tailored it might be, looks like a frickin' caftan. I was tired of not having a waist line. I wanted to wear belts again!

7. I didn't want to get diabetes.

I have diabetes coming at me from both sides of my family. I don't want to die like Liz Taylor, a beautiful woman who exhibited no self control in her life and died with one foot missing.

8. I didn't want someone to have to dive into the rubble to rescue me after an earthquake. I wanted to be the rescuer.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, aka, "The Ring of Fire." Earthquakes and volcanoes are a fact of life here. I didn't want to be a liability in an emergency situation. I wanted to be an asset. I wanted to be capable of working many hours, sifting through rubble to save someone's life....and if it was me buried under the rubble, I wanted to be the one with the strength to last until someone rescued me.

9.  I wanted to look good presenting at MozCon.

I admit it. Presenting at Mozcon has been a dream of mine ever since I first attended Mozcon in 2012. I want to look as sexy as Nathalie Nahai!  Okay, maybe my dream of presenting at Mozcon may come true, but I doubt that I'll ever look as good as Nathalie. Hey, a girl can dream!

10. I wanted my integrity and work ethic to be unquestionable.

Unfortunately, along with discriminating again fat people, society also deems them lazy and less worthy of being promoted. People know how hard losing weight is. Whether it's right or not, they attach a value to it. I know that after I've lost 80 pounds, no one will ever question my sense of dedication or work ethic again.

Frankly, if that's all that it took to shut them up about that, it was worth it.

That's really it in a nutshell. Nothing really earth-shattering here, right? All that being said, I want to say something very important. I was very happy being fat. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wish small-minded people would bother to look beyond what's just skin deep.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Will 2014 Be the Year I Can No Longer Call Myself an SEO?

Current Job Title: SEO Strategist???

As of right now, the sign on my door at work reads: Dana Tan, SEO Strategist. I've always liked the way it sounded. Until this year, I felt it was an accurate reflection of exactly what I do every day. Then, this happened:

SEOMoz is now There is a Better Way to Do Marketing
SEOMoz rebrands as a company to Moz
When the largest community of SEOs in the world takes "SEO" out of its name, that's well, remarkable to say the least.

For me, it's maybe something that's forcing me to come full circle. You see...

I started out on the Internet as a Marketer

Back in 2004, I was a member of a site that had a similar business model to InBoxDollars. People joined and were incentivized to try offers and services from a wide array of advertisers. One day, I got an email from the site owner saying the Website was for sale. I bought it for $500. I didn't know anything. I didn't even know what HTML was. But I was fascinated. What followed were many 19-hour days as I taught myself how to Webmaster a site, basic coding skills, everything. In those days, there weren't big communities of people doing what I did. It was a lot of trial and error...and there were a lot of errors. But, in those first three years, miraculously, I actually made a lot of money. More money than I had ever made in previous career as a classical musician, which, I realize, probably isn't saying much!

So after 3 solid years of email marketing my ass off, and getting pretty good at it, I owned three sites with total membership over 17,000 people from 28 different countries. Then, because I knew nothing about being a Webmaster, I fell vulnerable to a sheister hosting company. Out of the blue, my hosting company sold all of its assets to some other host and my entire database, all my customers, my site designs, my scripts, everything...were gone. It happened overnight. Instantly, I had nothing. Painful lesson learned.

One thing I had gained during all of that time were some pretty decent technical skills and the ability to successfully market a Website online. I went online to a tiny local job board and began looking for jobs. Miraculously, there was a job posted. A company located within two miles of where I lived was looking for a Web marketer with SEO experience. I totally talked my way into the job. It was 2008, it paid $23,000, about 1/5 of what I had been making running my own business...but I took it. 

I voraciously began learning on the job. I remember going to my boss with a confession. I told her I was an Excel moron and I wanted to learn how better use Excel. Turns out the entire marketing team of 15 people was filled with people equally as ignorant in the ways of Excel so she taught us all....One good thing about making only $23,000 a year is you can freely admit you don't know something!

In 2009 Full Sail University Became the First Accredited Institution to Offer a Master's Degree in Internet Marketing

Full Sail University Internet Marketing Master's Degree Program

I enrolled. In a very challenging 1-year accelerated degree program, I was part of the second group of students to graduate with a Master of Science degree in Internet Marketing. Out of the 12 courses offered as part of the curriculum, only one was on SEO. Other topics covered included Branding, Reputation Management, Paid Search marketing and more. 

So you see, I really was being trained as an Internet Marketer...not so much an "SEO." But if you are an Internet Marketer, you know that this label is almost worse than being called an SEO because there is a profound misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what "Internet Marketing" actually is.

Most People Think Internet Marketing is Multi-Level Marketing

I can't tell you how much MLMs rub me the wrong way. Maybe I had a traumatic experience with an Amway salesperson at some point in my past, but that crap just turns my stomach. I don't want to talk to anyone who does it, I don't want to do it and I certainly don't want to be associated with MLM in any way. No offense to those of you who do it, it's just not my thing. Unfortunately, whenever I told normal people that I was an Internet Marketer, they thought that meant I was into Ponzi schemes and Internet Ripoff "get rich quick" schemes. No matter what I said seemed to change their view of Internet Marketing to be anything but Yanik Silver-back-in-the-day-type "Internet Marketing Secrets " rubbish. Although I have to hand it to Yanik, he's managed to transition from semi-shady to legit Internet Marketer in a good sense, so definite hat tip to that! 

Being Called an SEO Seemed Way More Reputable then Being Called an "Internet Marketer"

After I graduated from Full Sail, my boss wanted to give me a raise and a new title. She let me pick the title. After some thought and consulting with a bunch of classmates and colleagues, I settled on "Brand Manager & SEO Strategist." No long after being promoted, I was hired away by one of my former company's competitors purely for my skills as an SEO. Consequently, "Brand Manager" was dropped and "SEO Strategist" became the new title, one a retain to this day...but maybe not for much longer.

Does "SEO Strategist" Really Reflect What I Do Every Day...Any More?

As an in-house SEO and part of a very small marketing team of 4, I wear a lot of hats. I manage Paid Search, I write content, I build links, I write press releases, transcribe YouTube videos, I monitor brand mentions and social media, I create ads, write a lot of tags, I track everything like a maniac in Google Analytics and I am constantly chasing down technical problems with an ancient (and I do mean ancient...1996!!!) Web platform via Google Webmaster tools and Screaming Frog. SEO seems to me to now really be all of that. Like, it's impossible to do anything competently as an SEO without doing this broad spectrum of tasks. The only things other than link building & content creation that seem to fall into "pure SEO" is keyword research and rank tracking. But these last two things really only comprise about 20% of my day.

Yeah, it's sounds an awful lot like I do "Internet Marketing" doesn't it?

So here' my question to all of you SEOs, former SEOs, SEMs, Marketing Managers, Webmasters and Internet Marketers our there. What is the best, most descriptive title for someone who does what we do? Here are my ideas:

  • Search Marketing Strategist
  • Internet Marketing Technologist
  • Search Marketing Director
  • Internet Marketing Director
  • Web Marketing Strategist
  • Web Marketing Director
  • Online Marketing Strategist

Do you have a cool, descriptive title that does an excellent job of encompassing what it is you actually do? I want to know what it is. Please share it in the comments!