WHO SHE IS: Beth Blecherman, founder, TechMamas, author of “My Parent Plan” (& soon to join a fashion/tech-related startup!)
SUCCESS STORY: Career pivot from senior management in consulting to flexible schedule as social media entrepreneur
WORK SCHEDULE: I am either with the kids or working (I work the day and night shift!)
KIDS: 3 boys: 15 yrs & 10 yr old twins
SANITY VICE: Shoe window shopping – online(!); reading up on the 1,200 tech, business & lifestyle websites on my feed reader while on the elliptical machine; having chocolate each morning at breakfast (breakfast of champions)
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Put your family calendar online, color coded for each family member and teach your kids to use online calendars! Schedule in time for friends and exercise (take a walk with friends!)
GO-TO TECH: Smartphone, mobile WiFi device & light laptop
WORK-LIFE BALANCE? It’s cyclical. Some weeks it’s an 8, busy times it can go as low as 3. My motto is “embrace the chaos – create a daily plan with your priority list and let go of the low priority items.”
5 Questions for Beth
1. Congrats on the upcoming change! I know you’re saving details for when it’s official but you’ll be putting all your social media skills to work into the new position–a smart strategy for anyone looking to freelance. How was the journey for you?
The positive side has been all of the opportunities I had as a tech journalist, such as connecting with a fantastic group of social media entrepreneurs, going on a blogger embark on the USS Nimitz, Le Web tech conference in Paris as part of the Traveling Geeks, writing for one of my favorite tech magazines (Laptop Mag), working on campaigns and influencer programs with some of my favorite tech brands (including Microsoft, Sony, AT&T, HP, NetGear) to having exciting adventures at the Computer Electronics Show (CES in Las Vegas). Providing professional social media services has also not only kept my job skills up to date but also keeps my resume relevant and allowed me to build an extensive professional network while working at home.
But the challenge is monetization in social media. There is something to be said about getting a regular paycheck! Looking back, I think I should have started out not only with a social media plan — but also a business plan.
2. Let’s talk social. You have 28K followers on Twitter. What’s your secret?
I believe the secret for online branding is defining your niche (story), identifying the social media platforms that fit with your niche, and then creating a social media plan. I joined Twitter not only to share updates from TechMamas, but also to participate in the “conversation” — to connect with or “follow” others, and to share or “retweet” posts in my niche. Participating in social media is all about having a two-way conversation, and every social media platform has its own “language” for the conversation. It is also important for you to be a source of information in your niche so your community knows your social streams always have up-to-date and relevant posts.
3. What kind of plan should someone create for developing an overall social media presence?
Creating a social media presence is all about creating an online professional brand. So as I mentioned before, first step is to craft their professional story or niche (mine is family technology), then identify the the appropriate social media platforms for that niche. For example, along with a blog and Twitter profile, fashion professionals should look into creating a presence on Pinterest and Instagram, along with other visual social media platforms.
4. I’m asking everyone how they “work smart” as a means to foster their own work & family flexibility. Are you doing anything new or interesting along these lines?
There are so many things to think about when it comes to “work smart.” But for me, the game changer has been to understand which part of the day I am most and least productive. In the morning I can get hours of work done quickly because I am most alert, so I do my advanced work in the morning (writing articles) and try to leave the easier tasks for the afternoon (general correspondence). During the “second shift” at night, I catch up on extra online reading and social media. But I also take what I call “short social media” breaks throughout the day to keep my social channels stocked with fresh content.
5. What’s the media missing about working moms, in your opinion?
Media and some business areas may not view being a “mom” as a “professional” strength. The story missing is how moms are some of the most productive, dedicated and hard working professionals around. And just because we become a mom does not mean we can’t rock the business world as well. The biggest hurdle for moms is childcare. Even millennials prefer a flexible work day so I hope to see a future of more jobs with flexible schedules to help support professionals with families.