Footprints Remembered: Ann Smarty is a woman who is not afraid to take chances

June 25, 2015

Ann Smarty is the brand and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, founder of and co-founder of  Today we’d like to share with you some of her tips for success…and how her career is now becoming a major part of her final legacy.

1. You may lack a talent but that doesn’t mean you can’t work hard
“There’s one thing I am pretty sure about myself: I am not really talented. I hate looking stupid [and] I am extremely terrified by failure. These two combined mean that I always have to force myself to take a chance. The first big one was starting an SEO blog in English (I didn’t know either well enough): this whole thing seemed to be doomed to failure.

So, the idea of blogging in English was terrifying. I didn’t know SEO (I started a blog to learn it) and I could not write in good English. My first articles took me weeks to research and write (I still feel a bit ashamed of those :)). Anything I wrote didn’t “sound English-enough” to me. I had to constantly wonder if “English people say that” and I had to search literally every phrase I made up in Google to see if anyone else used it that way.

But I didn’t give up. The more people came to my blog to talk to me, the more confident and excited I felt. I took the chance and for the first time in my life tried “fake it till you make it” strategy to catch up faster.”

2. Turn your biggest challenge into your selling point
“My first paid blogging opportunity came after ~4 months of my blogging endeavor. I got an offer from one of the best-known marketing blogs – for 4 blog posts a week.

Now, not enough time has passed since I started blogging. My confidence in my English (and SEO) skills wasn’t high enough. It still took me days to craft a single article. And now four?

Luckily, that was a chance not to miss: I knew the world would find and remember me by being a SEJ contributor. I took the chance and found my way around: I’ll review SEO tools! Not many people were doing that then. None made it a focus. I had a great opportunity to stand out. Reviewing tools had lots of benefits for me:

No need to write a lot: I got around to writing even less that it made sense to by using lots of great screenshots and feature comparison charts. I compensated my forced lack of written text by making my articles visual: That was one of the main reasons so many people remembered me. My style was consistent (not many people knew it was not a choice!)”

3. You will never have enough time for anything new: Just do it now
I got more paid gigs than I could afford the time to accept. I was working for a US company and I was still a SEJ editor and blogger (both were my a steady sources of income). Yet, I didn’t feel I was successful. I wanted to build something by my own. I wanted to bring a site up from the ground and make it work as a well-built mechanism. I wanted to found a self-funded start-up.

At that time I was a new stay-at-home mom juggling 2 online marketing careers (Editor and Director of Media). I knew I didn’t have time for anything else. But there will never be enough of time!
I took the chance and I just did it. I started MyBlogGuest and soon the platform became so active that we got coverage in just about any huge marketing publication like Moz, Forbes and
MyBlogGuest got profitable within one year and I could quit any other thing I was doing to focus on building the community and the team to support it.

4. “To become a truly successful person, you need to leave your comfort zone often”
This is one of my favorite quotes I heard somewhere and quickly found myself citing again and again… And that’s what once encouraged me to move forward…

Ukraine was my comfort zone. My family and I had everything we needed there: We’ve settled down to raise the kid and invest the money we were earning.

Then I got an offer to move to the US to work with Jim Boykin. I had the whole family to move to another continent and the whole business to leave in Ukraine. But we decided we’d do that because otherwise we wouldn’t know what that opportunity was going to mean for us.  We are still not sure what awaits us here but we took the opportunity to give the luck one more chance!

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