Last night when I checked my Weblogs, Inc. folder in Outlook Express, there were 30-some emails from the past few hours. That's not that unusual - what was unusual was that they were all entitled "AOL" and the first one had a rumor. It was that the WIN network had been sold to AOL. There was a link in one of the more recent messages. It looked for real.
Our fearless leaders were all on an airplane, headed for the West Coast for some conference or other. Nothing unusual. But they were all out of pocket. So I waited, and wondered, and worried just a bit.
Around 1 a.m., as promised, Jason signed onto IM, and I started hitting my send-receive and refresh buttons every few minutes. Sure enough: before long, it was confirmed. $25 million was the whispered number, and the news: everything was going to stay the same, but more traffic. More money. More full-time positions.
I'm blogging for three really great blogs on the network, now, and I'm editor of Blogging Baby, what is fast becoming the best parenting web site out there. I've been having a grand time blogging TV and food on two other blogs. I'm making enough money, now, each month to pay my mortgage - and then some. I'm basically providing half my family's income through blogging.
I'm eager to step up my involvement in both the network and as the provider for my family. If all goes well, by early next year I'll be making as much money blogging as I was working half-time in a cool marketing job (hey, I have an MBA, I couldn't really expect to make my full-time salary equivalent blogging - not today, anyway). AOL gets me there faster.
Even better, some changes to the writers' contract will mean I have more ownership over the writing I'm doing for WIN - and the increased exposure through AOL, combined with said ownership, could mean book deals. More freelance jobs. Major newspapers.
I'm really excited. I've always loved writing, and I think I was born with an aptitude. Throughout my career, writing has always been there, keeping me on top. Investment banking... strategy... marketing... product development... they're all about the writing. Now I could be just writing, about things that I love to write about, of my own choice, all the time.
Not to mention, doing it from home. With my kids and comfy chair and - how cool is this - all my baking and coffee-drinking write-off-able. They're business expenses, and I'm self-employed. My client is one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world.
I'm not famous yet. But this sure is a fun way to get there. And I did it all from under a pile of my little boys. I did it all from the world of a mama.
Thanks, AOL. When I sat at a conference table in your world headquarters in Ashburn five years ago, in awe of the big-ness of you, wishing you would invest in our not-yet-bankrupt company, I never could have imagined this would be how our relationship would end up. As my senior year Comp-lit teacher used to say, my Internet lifestyle has come full circle.