We were lucky to catch up with Lorraine C. Ladish recently and have shared our conversation below.
Lorraine , thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Let’s talk about innovation. What’s the most innovative thing you’ve done in your career?
I am 58 years old and I have been self-employed all my life. In my 20’s, way before the Internet and cell phones, I managed to telecommute and freelance remotely. Back then I was adapting TV sitcoms from English to Spanish. I had to use VHS and BETA video tapes and a manual, and later an electric typewriter to do my work for the sound studio. I eventually moved away from Madrid, where the studio was, to a beach town in the South of Spain. The studio did not believe I could still work for them. I suggested they send me a box of tapes and scripts by courier, which I would pay, and then I would do the work remotely and then pack it all up in a box and courier it back. They were reluctant, but it worked out! I honestly feel like the internet was always around for me even though it didn’t become available until I was around 33 when I purchased my domain name and set up a website, which has been around since then. That was 25 years ago. How many people have had a website for that long?
Lorraine , love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I grew up in a family of writers, and my grandfather was also a painter. My mother is from the US, and my dad is from Spain. I am Spanish-American, have both nationalities and speak both languages. From a young age I have worked with words: translating them, interpreting them, writing them, editing them. I was always a communicator. At 30 I published my first book about an eating disorder that almost killed me. It was followed by 17 more. I joke that that’s how I started blogging, before the internet was around. I also worked as a journalist for a few years when I moved to Florida from Spain at 41. During the 2008 recession I lost it all: marriage, money, income. I was a single mom on welfare and could not get any kind of job because I had no experience other than in my field. Through serendipity I met people who hired me to write blogs for their websites. I had no idea about SEO, key words, tags or any of it. I learned fast, took my writing career online and never looked back. At 50 I launched my brand Viva Fifty! which is a bilingual venture to inspire women to live their best life. My business model is through sponsorships that go live on the website and my social media channels. I never expected younger people to be a great part of my audience on Instagram for example, but they are. I share mainly about my journey with wellness, health and yoga in English and Spanish to empower other people to embrace the passage of time with enthusiasm.
Any fun sales or marketing stories?
The rates for influencer marketing are definitely not set in stone, and until I started working with my manager Johanna Voss, who I’m in my sixth year with, I feel I often undersold myself and my business. I would take sponsorships at the rate they were offered at, because it still felt like good money. But as a creative I’m not great at negotiations. When I met Johanna and she negotiated an inbound request for a sponsorship she tripled the rate I would have asked for and I got the gig. That’s when I asked her to be my agent. Now I work less and make more, and have the time and energy to provide better quality work since I’m not bogged down by zoom calls and phone calls about money. I honestly thought I’d lose that first gig Johanna negotiated and boy was I wrong. I have since learned to walk away from gigs that may sound like a good deal in financial terms but that could be soul-sucking or simply a lot of trouble because the client is being unreasonable from the get-go.
Any insights you can share with us about how you built up your social media presence?
I have been on social media platforms since the era of MySpace. Then came Facebook, followed by Twitter and Instagram. I usually jump on any new social media platform if only to secure my name on it, in case it becomes relevant. I am consistent in showing up online and it’s become second nature to me to be sharing content on social media. I now make a living full-time thanks to it, and although I don’t feel my reach is staggering on each individual platform, it all adds up and I do know I have an engaged audience that is truly interested in the conversations we have online. My measure of success online is whether community is being built. I take time to engage on other people’s profiles, I answer every comment (it is at a level that is manageable) and DM and have built friendships that now span years. Social media is a tool, just like the cell phone or a camera. It’s what you do with it that makes the difference.
- Website: http://wwww.lorrainecladish.com and http://www.vivafifty.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorrainecladish/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lorrainecladish/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorrainecladish/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lorrainecladish
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LorraineCLadish