Pregnancy Question #3: Resources

I’m back from a two week blogging hiatus as I worked 12 days straight, culminating with a 4:30am office arrival on Friday and a 12 hour marathon work day. Does anyone realize I am preggers?!

More importantly (or rather disconcertingly), my work has banned personal email and social meda. Hugely painful, especially since I’m not one to go for walks or take lunches. It’d be nice to take a break from work and check out my blog or Twitter feeds, but I’m unable to access Gmail, Bloglovin, Hootsuite, Pinterest…with more sites added to the restricted list every day. I tried to listen to an NPR podcast and that was blocked too. Totally ridiculous!

Now that I’m 34 weeks and in the home stretch, I’m starting to freak out about how laissez-faire I’ve been about the baby’s arrival. We haven’t taken a single class. The carseat hasn’t been installed. And there’s still a ton of shit we need to buy.

But I have managed to read the following:

expecting better book cover

I consider Expecting Better required reading for any pregnant woman. The author, Emily Oster, is an economist and professor at my alma mater University of Chicago. During her own pregnancy, she decided to get to the bottom of what pregnant women really should and should not do. You know how medical professionals will spout out all these things you’re not supposed to do: no caffeine, no alcohol, no sushi, etc. I love how she debunks a lot of myths about what’s not safe by intelligently analyzing the research.

Here are a few of the book’s key insights:

“It can take up to 9 months to resume your normal menstrual cycle after going off the pill, but there are no long-term effects on fertility.”

“There is no good evidence that light drinking during pregnancy negatively impacts your baby. You should be comfortable with 1-2 drinks a week in the first trimester and up to 1 drink a day in the second and third trimesters.”

“Epidural is very effective pain relief. But it increases the chance of some complications for the mother. Greater use of instruments (forceps or vacuum in delivery), greater use of C-section…, greater use of Pitocin in labor, greater chance of low maternal blood pressure,…increased chance of fever during labor.”

I encourage every pregnant woman to read the book so that you can be thoroughly informed about what you can/can’t do for 9 months!

ina may childbirth

The_Business_of_Being_BornIna May’s Guide to Childbirth and The Business of Being Born documentary both advocate natural childbirth. While they’re very propaganda-ish, I wanted to be inspired as I am not one to shy away from pain. If I can run marathons with absolutely no training, I can birth my baby without pain medication!

I actually prefer to be delivered by a midwife in a pool of warm water, but Dean is absolutely against it. That’s not to say I’m going to be a martyr, but I’m only saying that my preference is the natural route. We’ll see what ultimately happens. Whatever is best for the baby.

I’m really curious what an OB has to say about The Business of Being Born because it really paints the American health care system in a very bad light. It shows OBs automatically doling out drugs to induce labor to get women out of the hospital in a hurry.

happiest baby on the blockIf I know the 5 S’s, am I all set to take care of my newborn? I read The Happiest Baby on the Block book, then rented the DVD to watch with Dean. Looks easy enough. Hope it all helps!

Now I’m turning to you. What were your favorite pregnancy resources? Books, videos, classes? Let me know. I’d love to hear your advice. Please comment here on my blog (versus Facebook) so that everyone can see.

Take a look at my previous pregnancy questions and how readers responded:

Pregnancy Question #2: Diaper Decisions

Pregnancy Question #1: Epidural vs Drug-Free

The Word of the Day is Uncomfortable

I can’t believe I still have another 8 weeks to go. This baby is kicking up a storm…which is awesome because it’s so reassuring. But my eyes have started twitching because I haven’t gotten good rest. My stomach also has rash patches which I can’t help but scratch. I’ve been using a topical steroid that the dermatologist prescribed, but that doesn’t really help. Minor annoyances.

The real problem is that I’m going into my busy period at work for the next two weeks and I don’t know how I’m going to sit through hours and hours of meetings with the baby kicking and a constant need to sit on the toilet!

Ready for some current pictures?

Here’s my baby bump. My mom took these of us in front of my parents’ house in Alameda.

bump

bump1And here is a 3D pic of the baby! I guess I misspoke in my last post. We do not know the gender of our baby. I just want it to be a boy so that’s how I refer to the baby. Doesn’t it look like a ‘he?’

What do you think by the way I’m carrying the baby and the 3D pic?

BABY 03-25-2014_8

Update: 31 Weeks and Bed Rest

I’m 31 weeks now and I’ve gained 23 pounds. Yep, I’m going in the opposite direction, because last week I had gained 25 pounds. I have no idea why I’m losing weight when I eat crappola all the time. I actually asked the Girls Scouts to please go away because I was tired of buying a box of thin mints on my commute home every day. Despite all the junk food, I also manage to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m big on sardines because they’re supposed to be good for the baby’s brain and of course I take prenatal vitamins and fish oil.

in-n-outBecause of my small size, my OB had me do an ultrasound to make sure the baby was growing properly. Turns out the baby’s growing fine, but my cervix is measuring short. So they had me do this diagnostic test called the fetal fibronectin. I tested positive which means I may or may not go into labor in the next couple weeks. Anyhow, I’m on modified bed rest and I got a doctor’s note that says, “Ms. Gacad is not to work for the next week.”

Well there’s no way I’m going to sit on the couch and watch TV, or lay in bed and stare at the walls! I got my laptop from work and have simply been working from home. Some friends think that bed rest means I’m at liberty to hang out and have lunch, but I really don’t leave the confines of my living room. In fact, I am overcompensating because I don’t want my coworkers to think I’m sitting at home twiddling my thumbs.

Since I don’t ever go out, here’s a rare picture of me being social, having dinner at Piccino’s with friends from business school. This year is my 10 year class reunion (University of Chicago Booth School of Business). I’m so sad to miss it, but that’s when my precious baby boy is due! As excited as I am for his arrival, the bun’s gotta bake for another two months. Stay in my tummy, little boy! Don’t come early!

piccinoFinally, some amazing news. After 5 weeks, my stolen Honda Civic was found about an hour drive away from San Francisco. I had to sign release papers at the San Francisco Police Department. Dean and I drove to the Mountain View Police Department to sign their release papers, then we had to pickup the car from a tow company. Lots of different steps, but my car is now back in my possession! It’s messy and they ripped the radio out, but nothing a couple hundred dollars worth of detailing and work can’t fix. Plus half a tank of gas!

Update: 30 Weeks and Radio Silence

BABY031114_8

If anyone can guess that’s an ultrasound picture of my baby’s face should go into the medical field. I should stick to banking because it completely eludes me.

I am 30 weeks along and have gained 25 pounds. I wish I had baby bump pictures to share, but I’m not photogenic even on a great day, so all the pictures Dean has taken of me look awful. I always look annoyed and uncomfortable, even though I’m upbeat. Baby is fine and growing normally, but the doctor’s office held me hostage yesterday for four hours to do some monitoring. My productivity has been crimped with all the doctors visits, so I’ve pretty much been radio silent. No blogging, no emails, no social activities. Sorry if anyone is expecting a response from me. Now you know, I’m totally preoccupied. I’m mainly focused on baby, health, work, and sorting out our new home. I hope to have some more updates soon.

As for my stolen Honda Civic, it’s still missing. At this point, it’s probably broken up into pieces. Very sad. I loved that car. Oh well…onward and upward.

Guaranteed Way to Make Money Blogging

dv-logoTo make money blogging, always remember that your blog is a business. It’s taken me a while to inculcate this into my brain, but it’s just as true for me as it is for you. I usually laughed along when people rolled their eyes and said, “Oh you’re just a blogger.” The truth is, I make more money and have more longevity than startups that have failed and were a waste of funding.

Next time someone dismisses you as just a blogger, GET MAD! I don’t see these same people making thousands of dollars a year sitting in a bar watching football or whatever interest that captivates them. Sure, maybe all of us bloggers started out blogging simply as a hobby, but there is so much untapped financial potential that we can capitalize on, it’s exciting!

Don’t sit on the sidelines while people talk about their latest startup ideas. Get in on the discussion. Your blog is a business and you are an entrepreneur. Now let’s MAKE SOME MONEY!

The key to making money blogging is to run it like a business. Learn and continue practicing how to sell and market yourself. Then go out and get customers.

Do you deliver value to your readers? Is your blog informative, educational, or entertaining? If your readers derive value from going to your site, then harness that power by monetizing. Ask readers, brands, and local businesses to SHOW YOU THE MONEY!

How do you get people to show you the money? It’s simple. You ask!

To me, making money blogging is like finding a job. We’ve all had to look for employment several times in our lives. Use the steps to finding a job as your template.

Finding a JobMake Money Blogging
Know yourself and your skillsReally understand what makes your blog unique
Create a resumePut together a media kit
NetworkNetwork
Apply for jobsCanvas for opportunities
InterviewApproach potential brands, partnerships, customers
Close the dealSHOW ME THE MONEY
Don’t get firedFollow-up with metrics; ask for continued business

 

It’s up to you to do the above legwork as I can’t say what differentiates your blog from others. But let’s walk through the steps.

Really understand what makes your blog unique

The first step in conducting a job search is to fully understand yourself. What are your interests and qualifications? Can you clearly articulate your work experience and skill set? Same thing with blogging. Who is your audience and how well do you know them? Why do readers follow your blog over others? What differentiates your blog and makes it unique? What is your expertise? What’s your value proposition?

Put together a media kit

Determine what your features and benefits are and put together a media kit. You don’t necessarily have to create a media kit, but it’s a good disciplined task for listing out what’s noteworthy about your blog. Frankly, I don’t have a media kit; I don’t need one because I have enough ammunition to succinctly craft emails to potential clients. Yet if you do it right, a media kit can be very beneficial as it’s an added layer of professionalism. I’ve heard that brands ask for them, but I work with big brands and never once have I been asked to provide a media kit.

List out the highlights, not the lowlights! This may seem obvious, but I can already see people putting together a media kit, noting that they only have 100 pageviews because that’s what you’re supposed to put in a media kit. WRONG-O! You don’t list your IQ on your resume if it’s bad. Only put good things on your media kit, whatever they may be. Spend a lot of time researching and brainstorming. Only you know what your highlights are. Mentioned in a publication? Tons of comments? Low Alexa ranking or high Google page rank? Ellen Degeneres follows you on Twitter? Brainstorm every single item you can think of and get it down on paper. Don’t sell yourself short.

Network and Canvas for opportunities

When you’re jobless, do you scan the Want Ads then call it a day? I get the sense that bloggers wait for opportunities to present themselves, whether on Sverve, BlogHer or the Sway Group. That’s fine to apply, but don’t twiddle your thumbs waiting for campaigns to come through your email. I think most of those are a waste of time.

Network with readers, bloggers, colleagues, family, friends. Look at blogs in your niche and reach out to those same sponsors. Many of my own sponsors often ask me to recommend others blogs where they can advertise. Tell everyone that you blog. Market yourself!

Approach potential brands, partnerships, and customers

Let’s say you’re a small blog and you don’t get a lot of pageviews. You have other redeeming qualities right? Even if you’re the only blogger in Small Town, USA, this is a major coup! Canvas every single business in Small Town, USA and get them to advertise on your blog. I’m already seeing the dollar signs!

What if you’re one of a gazillion bloggers in Chicago, but you’re an LGBT blogger who lives in Bucktown. Canvas LGBT-friendly businesses in that neighborhood. The possibilities are endless.

Here’s a guaranteed strategy. Make a list of all the products and services that you cannot live without. Contact the PR reps at those companies and tell them how passionate you are about their product. You are willing to write a post on your blog in exchange for product, because that’s how much you love them. No dent to their budget for a simple shout out on your blog. And you get product in return, which is just as good, especially if you love their product. It’s a win-win! Your phone will be ringing off the hook. Then after you’ve written the post, this client is now part of your media kit arsenal because they’re a satisfied customer.

The examples I mentioned above are for getting businesses to advertise on your blog, but there are many other monetization opportunities. What is your expertise? Be a consultant and charge for your time! My mom, as an example, is a financial wizard. If she could get her hands on your finances and put you on a plan, you could retire without a care in the world. I always tell her that she should be a money manager and charge for her skills.

Same thing when I look at all these blogs. So many beautiful photography, design, or writing blogs. Put a link on your site and tell people that you are available for consultation. Package up your services and market for a set price or charge by the hour. Sell an e-book or guide. We all have skills that others are willing to pay for.

Do you know how I found my virtual assistant? I was so impressed by a blogger’s posts on social media and SEO and graphics (seriously she’s a jack-of-all-trades), that I asked her to help me with small tasks. I asked to hire her. Again…untapped potential! There are so many skills out there, and I guarantee people are willing to pay for your knowledge.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

  • Learn how to sell and market yourself and your blog.
  • Impressions matter: the most important criterion for a brand in determining the credibility of your blog is your website design. Please do away with the templated Mickey Mouse designs and hire a professional graphic designer. Example: I know of a blogger who has the most beautiful blog. It should be nominated for awards, it’s that pretty. I did some sleuthing and she barely has any traffic. Yet her site looks so professional that she has a whole slew of advertisers lining her side bar.
  • If this is your business, everyone should know about it. It should be in your email signature. You should be handing out business cards like they’re going out of style.
  • The best way to make money is to ask for it.
  • Do not fear rejection. Rejection tells me that I’m in motion vs stagnation. The more rejections I collect, the more success I’ll have. Rejection is awesome.
  • Have confidence.

Follow-up with metrics; ask for continued business

Once you start monetizing, make sure to keep your clients happy by providing metrics and analysis. Collect testimonials to add to your media kit. Brainstorm additional ways to continue working with the same brands.

I’ve shared lots of advice and given specific examples on how you can start making money right now. If you found this helpful, please share or click on the Tweet button below. Otherwise, would love to hear your feedback on monetization in the comments.

Here is a link to my previous post on How I Make Money Blogging.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...