When we look for new Market Experts, Business.com keeps a few things in mind—professional background, social following and published content, to name a few—but among the most important, we look for the entrepreneur or business leader that has "the fire."
December's Market Expert of the Month, Sarah Landrum, definitely has the fire. She's passionate about what she writes and helping others further their careers, and that's well worth its weight in gold.
Below is our exclusive interview with our go-getting Market Expert of the Month!
Want to become a Market Expert? Learn more and apply now.
1. In three sentences or less, tell us “your story” as an entrepreneur.
I was unhappy.
I quit my job, made a switch, and started doing what I loved on the side (writing).
I became happy, and decided to share that journey with others and help them do the same.
2. In three sentences or less, tell us about your business.
Punched Clocks is not your traditional career blog. Yes, I share job search and career advice, but the focus is on being happy and healthy in your career -- and in your life.
3. What inspired you to start your blog?
Like many others, I was miserable in my job. I was working my butt off and while I was achieving great things, I never felt that I could be happy. There’s a big misconception that if you work long and hard enough, you’ll be successful, and then you can finally be happy. But that’s all wrong. Happiness comes first. I was able to realize that, and wanted to help others do the same.
Related Article: You’re Not an Entrepreneur (Yet), and That’s Okay
4. What is the most rewarding (and the most challenging) part of what you do?
I think the hardest thing about being a writer is the ability to think creatively. I’m a pretty creative person, but there’s so much about work these days that impedes creative thinking. The rules, the expectations, the critical nature of writing. It doesn’t encourage artistry. Breaking free from this way of thinking to embrace your inner creative can be hard, but is so important if you want your writing to stand out.
The most rewarding, on the other hand, is when you have one of those big ideas and it gets recognized. Seeing your writing published somewhere is thrilling, no matter how many times it happens. And having someone reach out because they’re interested in what you have to say, or because your advice helped them, that’s an incredible feeling.
5. Which current marketing trends do you see as “the future”?
Obviously, SEO is huge, and it’s not getting any smaller. It will evolve, though. Google is already displaying more than just pages in your results, and images and videos are becoming more important to rank. As Google starts to provide answers to queries, sites need to provide more than just content to make the cut.
6. What do you believe makes for successful marketing?
Knowing your audience. There are a lot of other factors involved, but you can never be successful unless you know and cater to your audience, and build relationships with them.
7. If you had to give the former you a few words of advice, what would they be?
JUST DO IT! When I started my journey as a writer, I was afraid I wouldn’t make it. I was afraid I didn’t have what it takes, and that nobody would want to read what little old me had to say. At first, I was afraid to pitch sites for fear of rejection. I really limited myself with that fear.
If I could go back, I’d tell myself to not be afraid and to just do it -- whatever it is. If an opportunity scares you, you better take it.
8. How has your experience in the Business.com Market Expert Program benefitted your business and career?
In so many ways! Obviously, my writing is exposed to a lot of readers on Business.com, which also sends traffic to Punched Clocks. But the opportunity has been much bigger for me, personally. I’ve really grown as a writer from being part of such an awesome network. I learn a lot from the other writers, and of course my lovely editor, Shayna, but also have the opportunity to explore new and exciting topics and share what I learn with a great audience.
9. Which entrepreneur do you look up to, and why?
It’s cheesy, but my dad. I was just a kid when he had the idea to start his own Commercial Real Estate Firm. I remember thinking he was crazy, asking him why he would leave such a “good” job. (I didn’t quite understand entrepreneurship at the time.)
He had to jump through a lot of hurdles, but soon after he told us his dream, he and three other partners started ROCK. I got to see the company, and my dad, grow and flourish. I learned a lot in the process that has carried over into my own journey.
In addition to the many other business lessons, he taught me the importance of having strong values (the reason he left that “good” job and part of the inspiration behind ROCK’s name) and above all, being happy. That’s really stuck with me. (So has my dad! He and my mom are my biggest supporters and the ones I always go to when I need advice.)
Related Article: The Top 10 Qualities That Define An Entrepreneur
10. What’s your favorite motivational quote?
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - It’s not your typical “motivational” quote, and I don’t even know who said it, but I love it. Nothing -- and no one -- can determine your success but you. That’s so important to remember, especially when facing a setback. If you want something, go get it.