Guest post by Shana Glickfield, regular guest contributor to Women Grow Business and Founder of DC Concierge. Effective just recently, Shana’s company directs the online community for NextGenWeb, the blog of USTelecom (a broadband association). Shana guides both locals and tourists around Washington, DC, through her blog, DCConcierge.com and can be reached at www.twitter.com/dcconcierge.
From expert hobbyist to entrepreneur
Washington, DC, is a city of transition. From the musical chairs workforce, to the downtown migration to the suburbs and back, to being the internship capital of the country. People in DC are constantly coming and going. And with that, people often struggle a bit to acclimate to their new, local surroundings. Where is the best Thai food in the neighborhood? -least expensive dry cleaners? -place to impress my girlfriends visiting from L.A.? -quiet restaurant to entertain my uncle who is hard of hearing? All questions that only a local expert can answer.
And I did, over and over and over.
And so I began to publish these exchanges on a blog.
Writing quietly from my living room in my spare time, I watched the traffic to my website grow. My first true moment of I-might-be-on-to-something-here was when I was contacted only six months after I began the site by a Washington Post reporter seeking an expert opinion on where to get a feel for the character of DC (my answer – a protest on the National Mall).
As traffic and mainstream media attention continued to grow, so did my encouragement to develop my website …
…which I did this past summer with a professional redesign and the addition of an interactive metro map.
I have spent the last few months exploring the opportunities to grow the site even further, but now into a business and officially incorporating. Thanks to my involvement with numerous and various networking groups involving tech, entrepreneurship, and tourism (not all in one), I have gained invaluable feedback and inspiration on my next steps.
My three takeaways so far:
- Starting a blog on a specific topic is an excellent way to position yourself as an expert;
- Be patient with growth of traffic and attention;
- Ask contacts from varying and diverse backgrounds for input on your endeavor and be open to their feedback.
I just took the symbolic step of incorporating and will begin transitioning my project from a pastime to a profession. I look forward to sharing my journey here at Women Grow Business as I navigate through and further establish my first business.
1. Solutions Are Power and a great, diverse series on business plans (for newly launched or soon to start businesses).
2. Jenny McCune at Third Age on converting a hobby to a new business.