Feature Friday – Meena Azzollini
I’m very excited to add a new element to my business – connecting with other entrepreneurs and featuring them. Our first guest is Meena Azzollini, B2C Web Content Writer and Content Consultant for Small Business for Meena Writes.
A little about Meena
It’s always hard talking about yourself – I am a B2C web content writer and content consultant for small businesses located in Adelaide, Australia. I live in the famous Mclaren Vale-Willunga wine growing region of Australia and am surrounded by beautiful vineyards, the ocean and beautiful people. But Australia has been home to me only for the past 8.5 years. I have lived in 3 continents with Australia being the fourth.
I love reading, painting (when I get the time), designing stuff on the computer, cooking (something deliciously special) – I am quite a foodie, and I enjoy travelling.
I am a mom to a lovely son! It’s one of my proudest moments and these days everything I do comes from that “mom” place.
Why Meena started her business
I started with feature writing seven years ago when my son was a year old. I thought that it would give me something to do while being a full-time mom and also express myself creatively – through feature articles. I took a course with Valerie Khoo, author of ‘Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business’ and also the CEO of Australian Writers Centre.
I landed with writing gigs almost immediately after the course. Which was fantastic! I started pitching in the area of natural health and therapies as these are topics that I am passionate about and love learning more about them. I also incorporate many of the practices in my own personal life – I do yoga every day and take out time to meditate. I did a course in Aromatherapy and love the way essential oils work. I am fascinated by EFT and have tried my hand at tapping and I always incorporate positive thinking in everything I do.
Writing for magazines is great. But I also started seeing a trend in digital content writing and I knew I wanted to do that. It tied up very well with my marketing and advertising background. When I was working in advertising I wrote copy for marketing collateral besides design and layout for everything. And I continued contributing with my graphic design skills and writing when I moved into an event coordinator position. Not only was I working with big corporate companies, but was also designing event collateral, writing for it and working with a bunch of energetic people creating events which were successful and fun to work at.
With that background and my love for writing, I decided to plunge into content writing. But first I decided to upskill with courses and gain all the knowledge I needed to start off. I am learning every day though…the field of digital marketing and content marketing is constantly changing and as a writer I need to adapt and adopt.
But the decision to start my business came after much deliberation. When my son started school I knew I had the time to start working so I started looking at work opportunities and went back to University to study a graduate diploma in Library and Information Management and did the relevant work experience and volunteer work. But soon realized this was not the right kind of work for me even though I love everything about libraries. Jobs were hard to come by and I was itching to be creative and contribute to this amazingly active and delirious world of online content.
And that’s how I started my business. I wanted to work for myself, help others achieve success with their content, work in fields that I love – natural health, design and marketing and because I had the experience in all of them, I decided that I will help businesses in those fields. I also wanted to be able to be there for my son and family and be a part of all his activities and so here I am with my own business.
Meena’s greatest business challenge + win
My greatest challenge has been and still is getting paying clients. Australia is just about waking up to online content and writers have to compete with the amount of work offered and what is paid. There are more opportunities in the US but I think a lot of businesses in the States prefer to work with local talent, which is fair enough.
I think the challenge is in getting clients to pay you what you are worth.
My other challenge was targeting my focus on my audience. But first I had to figure out who my audience is. While I knew who I wanted to write for I was afraid I would lose a lot of work if I didn’t accept work from everywhere.
How did you overcome the challenge: I learnt about Buyer Personas through Hubspot and Rita Morales introduced me to the concept of dream clients. I downloaded her free worksheets and she personally helped me with my focus and how to identify my clients.
This helped me find my niche, re-design my website, work out the services I would offer and here I am.
To get clients who pay. I market myself through social media with posts, updates and more. I create my own visuals and images for social media too, which gives me the opportunity to create a visual with the direction I want to take. Guest posting has helped a lot and also reaching out to influencers. And of course, through my blog posts, which is a great marketing tool and adds value to my authority on the topics I write about and also provides value to my readers.
I also cold call and have contacted editors and clients I have worked with in the past and a lot of work is generated from there. Talking to my local community and giving out my business cards has also helped with getting queries and work.
It also helps to reach out to peers, other writers and freelancers and learn from them.
Every day is a marketing day, every conversation is a marketing opportunity and getting the word out is important.
My greatest business win is when my work gets appreciated! That’s always a win for me – as appreciation for my work means the client is happy and a happy client is always good.
Meena’s favorite book
I am such a voracious reader that it’s hard for me to point out to any one book.
I am a big Harry Potter fan and just finished “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child“. One of my favourite books for content writing though is “Content Rules” by Ann Hadley and C.C. Chapman. Ann Hadley also runs Marketing Profs which has a lot of information and courses for content and writing.
I also like “Letting Go of the Words” by Janice Redish which is about writing content for the web.
And a little fun
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would go everywhere then – visit my family overseas and spend time with all the wonderful people I know – A world trip would be fantastic!!
If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it? Ha – responsibility doesn’t even enter the conversation. At least not in the beginning when you win. I have no idea what I would do with a million but I would share it I know that just to help everyone out a bit. I have been very lucky to have wonderful and helpful friends and family in my life and it would be great to help them out.