I have known and admired writer Gretchen Roberts for a long time. Her creativity has always inspired and motivated me. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post that really resonated with my readers about how to keep your writing dream alive and kicking. And then I read how Gretchen was doing it. Her note really showed me that there are so many wonderful ways to succeed and that the only thing that limits us is our own belief. I asked her if she would mind sharing a version of that note. She agreed and here you go:

Gretchen Roberts in her own words:

From DBA as myself to founding a firm

For nine years, I’ve done business as myself. “Gretchen Roberts” was my real name and the name on the checks, contracts, and correspondence with my magazine, web, and business clients. My identity: Writer. Food & Wine Writer. Professional writer. I adopted titles to fit each situation.

This year, I did a little navel-gazing and discovered I wanted more. A business beyond “just” myself. A business that could carry on without me for a few days, that might have value should I ever want to sell or merge. A business that wouldn’t end with my death or incapacitation because I was the business.

This was no small decision. I’ve never even had a business checking account! (I know, I know. In my defense, I kept meticulous records.)

But why let a bunch of red tape like getting multiple business licenses, figuring out the state and federal tax situation, and opening a business checking account with my toddler trying to color on the bank manager’s pristine beige walls stop me from doing this thing?

This May, I opened Red Plum Communications, LLC,  a marketing communications firm focusing on online content and marketing strategy. I chose that niche because it’s a growing field and I find it incredibly interesting. (That said, my business name is deliberately more encompassing; the key to long-term success is flexibility. In ten years, who knows what will have replaced Facebook and Twitter and blogging?) I’m taking some certification courses from Hubspot, Google Analytics and Google Adwords to beef up my skills.

And, because I’ve learned over the years that I do better as a specialist than a generalist (and because Google rewards websites with specific keywords over generic words like “marketing”), I’m focusing my firm’s services on three specialty areas: Food and Beverages (because I love it), Healthcare (because I have a track record here and it’s a growing field), and Professional Services (because I have a geeky interest for law, finance, and architecture and an accounting marketing background). I’m starting as I mean to go on, which is to say from day one I’m positioning my company as an actual company and not just me, with intent to launch with a vision and hire help as soon as the workflow and finances allow. And if my employees have expertise in another area, we’ll add it.
While I’m still writing for some of my favorite magazines and websites like Cooking Light, Wine Enthusiast, and HGTV.com, I’m excited and thrilled about launching this next chapter in my writing life. At the core I’m still Gretchen Roberts, Writer. My goal with Red Plum Communications is to continue to hone that craft while mastering another one: Business Owner.

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