Every Business Has a Compelling Beginning

One of the first questions I ask of my content marketing clients is how they decided to start their own business. However, it’s interesting that I never really asked myself that question.

Arbonne’s Energy Fizz Sticks helped me break my dependency on soda and simple carbs. Now they’re a part of my everyday routine.

I just turned 37 on Dec. 26, and now I truly understand why it’s flattering when clerks and bouncers ask for my ID. You see, just 10 years ago I was washing my face with Dr. Bronner’s and smearing some coconut oil on afterward and calling it a skincare routine. I was eating loads of carbs and dairy and drinking beer and soda and wondering why I was so bloated all the time. My body was basically in constant pain but I was really good at ignoring it because I was practicing yoga regularly and my job as a newspaper editor was demanding.

“I’m doing the best I can,” I would constantly tell myself.

Holding Yourself Accountable

And when I got pregnant, everything got so much worse. Food allergies became so bad that I would start having auto-immune responses like hives and swelling of the joints. My eyes felt like they were either constantly itching or were under so much pressure they would pop. And my visits to the doctor became increasingly close together as I started to manifest respiratory and sinus issues.

“I’m doing the best I can,” was still my mantra, but it started to feel less and less true.

At the same time, my sister Kara started her own business with Arbonne, a network marketing company that focuses on clean body and skincare, as well as nutrition. I would try products here and there, not making any real commitment because who really trusts MLM companies at first? Not this journalist.

A Path To Healing and Health

Picking up a hula hoop changed my life. Setting it on fire changed everything.

However, after discovering the root of the issue — an allergy to wheat and several different grains as well as thyroiditis — I realized that it was time to admit that I could do better, not only for my body but for my son. I realized that my health issues had started to affect my mental health, and it was increasingly hard to pull myself out of depression, so I basically gave up on a lot of things.

But little by little, I started to change things. The first thing to change was getting back into physical shape, and for that, I can thank the hula hoop. After having my son in 2011, I lost a taste for regular exercise. But when I discovered hula hooping in early 2014, it motivated me because it was fun and beneficial. When serotonin was almost nowhere to be found, I’d get a good rush of it from picking up my hula hoop and sweating through several songs. It became my first healthy obsession, and one I transformed into a performance art career when I co-founded FemPyre in 2017.

Life With Arbonne Skincare and Nutrition

The next piece of the puzzle was figuring out how to deal with the neverending cycle of breakouts caused by a really minimal skincare routine. That’s when I truly discovered how nutrition and skincare work hand in hand. Thanks to Arbonne’s RE-9 line of anti-aging formulas and their clean-and-green vegan protein powder blends, I was able to cut carbs, calories, and gross additives while giving my skin the nutrition it needs inside and out. The results were enough to make me want to share these incredible products as an independent consultant — a feat for a writer and editor who researches things to death.

Today, I’m 37 and I feel 27 (until I hang out with 27-year-olds and then I realize that my tastes and bedtimes definitely make me 37). I can’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t made the small, sustainable changes that got me where I am today.

If you’re interested to see what Arbonne can do for you, check out our products and then shoot me a note! I can’t wait for you to feel 10 years younger, too!

Clarity > Complexity

As is often the case when writing about ourselves or something we’re passionate about, our tendency is to reach for eloquence and sophistication to better convey our own feelings. Unfortunately, this means that we sometimes overextend ourselves.

That’s where my motto of “clarity over complexity” comes in. It is inspired by one of the first real-life journalism lessons I received from my copyediting professor, Dr. Douglas Starr, and reinforced as a fledgling editorial assistant at The Dallas Morning News.

It’s simple: Write the same way that you speak.

When we speak, rarely do we use long parenthetical statements, complicated punctuation, and grandiose vocabulary. When we speak, we often do so to conserve energy and to get our point across. When we write, we should do the same, except the energy we are conserving is that of the reader, though the point we wish to get across may be the same.

Why is it important?

In a world where our ability to get information across is no longer limited by print pages and column inches, the need to be concise is more important than ever.

Readers — especially those that are potential customers — need to understand what you offer within the first five seconds of landing on your site. The average time on site for users across industries is about two minutes and 17 seconds according to Brafton, a content marketing firm. Of those people who land on your site, more than half leave almost immediately.

So how do you connect with readers or potential clients and customers if they’re just looking for an excuse to bail and move on?

The solution is authenticity.

You have to write how you speak. You have to be honest — not only with your readers, but also with yourself.

Would you use the word “elucidate” in your everyday conversations? Then why are you using it on your marketing materials, your website, or in your correspondence when “shed light on” would suffice? If you don’t speak with complex sentence structure, why write that way? And if you’re not confident with some forms of punctuation, why risk using them incorrectly just to appear differently?

It’s your story, after all.

Genuinely connecting with readers draws them in, and your story allows them to connect with you and your brand. That may seem obvious, but what’s your average bounce rate and time on site? How many of the people who find your site through SEO actually convert to a sale?

Interested in learning more? Besides custom copywriting and copyediting services, I can also help you refine your brand presence through coaching.

Contact me here.

For a Writer, I’m Terrible at Journaling

It’s kind of sad, actually, that I love notebooks.

They’re either full of hastily scribbled notes that I took down while interviewing a client, or they’re full of to-do lists and random facts. Sometimes there’s a doodle from my son, Cooper, of a dragon or a dog. Depends on the day whether it’s the former or the latter.

But never have I been able to keep up with a diary or a journal. In fact, it was a half-used journal that made me want to become a writer. 

I went to Texas A&M University in College Station because I had worked at a veterinary clinic for my junior and senior years of high school and knew, without a doubt, that I had what it took to be a veterinarian.

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t)

I dropped Organic Chemistry on my first go-round at the start of my sophomore year at A&M, becuase there was no way I was going to pass. When I re-took it that spring semester, I got a D. No one gets into veterinary school at A&M with a D on their transcript. At least without getting a Masters first. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Or money. Have you seen what graduate school costs? It’s nuts.

So I did what every girl who has seen Thelma And Louise would do and I rode out west in my classic convertible, killed a guy,  robbed a store, and drove off a cliff with my best friend.

OK, none of that is true, but I did take a month-long break and hit the road for a bit, keeping a Moleskine of observations and a list of the state parks I enjoyed. I took along a few books and fell in love with stories, and thought that maybe that’s what I could do. 

I’ll never forget what my mother said when I came back to my parents’ home in Conroe to break the news of my changing majors from biomedical science to journalism:

“I always knew you’d be a writer.”

Her words sucked the air right out of my lungs. All I could think about was why she waited to tell me that now, right as I was reviewing my coursework with my advisor and trying to work with all of my biology and chemistry credits and not before I took Organic Chemistry. Twice.

Since then, she’s been my biggest supporter. When I got my first column published in The Dallas Morning News, she celebrated. A lifelong reader with a curious mind, my mother has always been the first to like, share, and brag on my work. She’s an incredible woman and my daily inspiration.

But she could really stand to work on her timing.