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TGIF: Getting from Where I Was Then to Where I am Now

I’ve had a really good week.

It all started with the launch of my new websites, and the release of the #WOWfactor Toolkit. I am so thrilled with the feedback I’ve received so far — thank you for all of your thoughtful comments.

And while every tweet, comment, email and message has been so meaningful, sometimes the most valuable responses you get are still the ones that come from your parents. I am so lucky to have the support of my family with every new endeavour I take on. Getting an email from my Dad telling me how impressed and proud he is really helped set the tone for my week. The same goes for my Mom and Stepmom.

Over the phone the other night, my Mom started talking about the path my career has taken since graduating exactly five years ago. Hearing her describe the different challenges I’ve faced and summarize the obstacles I’ve overcome really helped me appreciate where I am now. And it also allowed me to see exactly how every challenge and every decision along the way has led me here.

I am so grateful for all of it; especially for all of the people — clients, employers, co-workers, interviewees — I’ve met and worked with along the way. You’ve all had a hand in shaping my career. So thank you!

Here’s a closer look at what’s been happening over the last few days:

Highlights This Week

What I’m Writing:

I write (and talk) a lot about sharing your brand story as a small biz owner, and making it meaningful for your audience. So I figured it was about time I share my own. In my latest for The Huffington Post, “Don’t Ask for a Raise, Go Get it as an Entrepreneur,” I take it back to my first entrepreneurial experience selling 10 pears for a dollar in my hometown. What was your first memory of being an entrepreneur? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

My husband and I enjoyed a mini getaway with some friends at the cottage last weekend, and as always, there were a lot of interesting conversations (shared over a pitcher of sangria, of course). One recurrent topic was the traditional 9-to-5 working structure, and how it just doesn’t work for us. The conversation inspired this week’s post for The Reply: “Millennials Want More Out of Work.”

What I’m Reading:

I really enjoyed this perspective on retirement savings over at White Collar Freedom. The author addresses the obstacle stopping many young people from seriously planning for retirement: it’s too far away to care. But what if instead of picturing retirement at age 65, we bring this timeline forward 30 years? Here’s a glimpse:

“[I]n 10-12 years, it is not impossible to generate income from your investments that will cover your expenses.

And that is financial independence. If you put more effort in these 10-12 years, income from your investments will be more than your expenses.

That’s financial freedom.”

What I’ve Learned:

I was invited to present the #WOWfactor Toolkit to a group of local small business owners in Newmarket this week. It was interesting to share the toolkit with a group of people across many different industries. I challenged the group to really think about their brand story in a different light, and share their responses aloud. The response was so exciting — people were walking away with new ideas for how to approach their social media marketing. And this is what the toolkit is all about! It was great to get some live feedback on the toolkit, and see how easily it can be applied across many different industries.

What I’ve experimented with:

The last couple of weeks have been pretty intense, as Chris and I prepared to launch my new websites. I’ve been wanting to give Web of Words its own home for a while now, I just didn’t know exactly how to go about separating it from CharlotteOttaway.com, while still making sure the two sites ebb and flow (like they do in real life). But I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out. Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut, and this felt like the right time to give Web of Words the room it needs to really grow into the business I imagine it becoming. To bigger and better things ahead!

How has your week been? Any big plans for the weekend ahead? Don’t forget to share your first entrepreneurial experience with me in the comments below. 


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.