As we’re moving on to the holidays, I recently took a moment to look back at the first half of 2017.
I must say, it has been an overwhelming half year for me. Main reason for this is that I (finally) started my own full-time content marketing business this year, after many years of side-hustling. Although I loved my previous job(s) working as an employee, I am still so glad I turned to full-time freelancing and I haven’t regretted it for one minute.
I started my side-hustle as a copywriter and content marketer in 2008 and called it Maybellene Communications. Being a huge Chuck Berry fan, I thought it was cool to name my business after a Chuck Berry song (‘Maybellene’ from 1955). The song is based on a blues progression and is considered as one of the first rock ‘n’ roll songs. Rolling Stone Magazine commented that “Rock & roll guitar starts here”.
A handful of simple chords and guitar solos was all Chuck Berry needed to give the music scene of that time a kick in the ass. His motto? Simplicity and rhythm. Exactly what good communication should have. And exactly what Maybellene Communications was aiming at.
Although it suited me well for years, that name doesn’t really do it for me anymore. Turning a full-time freelancer, I decided to rename my business Maddelein Marketing. Consider it as a fresh, new start. With the previous name, people didn’t really know whether they were dealing with a group of people or just one guy. I think Maddelein Marketing is more upfront. What you see is what you get.
Yes, Maddelein Marketing is a one-man band and for the time being I like to keep it that way. However, I do like to collaborate with other companies and freelancers and take on larger, long-time projects.
One of the cool things about being your own boss is that you can decide for yourself which events you want to attend. So, I decided to give WebTomorrow in Ghent (Belgium) a try. If you don’t know this event, it’s all about digital innovation and marketing. I thought it was a nice way to get away from my desk for a day or two, learn new things and meet new people. And so I did.
One of the things that struck me was the breadth of the topics discussed there. You had industry mogols like Naveen Jain, founder of Moon Express, who urged his listeners to dream big and aim for the moon, and you had speakers who were completely fulminating against badly designed web forms.
Funny in a way, but on the other hand it makes perfect sense. If you’re in a business – any business – you need to have both in order: the high-level stuff (mission, vision, strategy) as well as the daily to do lists.
For me, if my business has any mission, it’s to make B2B and technology companies more successful at what they do, by helping them present themselves better to the market, get more long-term customers, and build meaningful relationships with their customers. I admit, this might sound a little bombastic, but I really think content marketing can help companies achieve that.
As for the practical stuff, I still feel like I’m moving into a new house. I still need to unbox all my belongings, give them a place in the many rooms I have, and start decorating the place. But although it’s still a bit of a mess after these first few months, this house feels like a home already. This could be the start of something beautiful.