Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Monique Solomon jumping into risky business

Published:Monday | May 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Monique Solomon, after years in marketing, decided to take a risk on a career that many might not have considered lucrative in Jamaica - blogging.

For years, Solomon had pursued blogging as a hobby and in 2007 she started out as a fashion blogger with FashionOverStyle.net. She wanted to be a platform for local designers to showcase their talent and share their visions. It lasted for a few years but she had a technical glitch that prematurely cost her that blog.

"It was a good run, the blog got too big for the server it was on at the time, and I lost everything when trying to move servers myself since I wasn't as technically savvy then as I am now," she told Flair.

She took a break and then rebranded as Irie Diva at IrieDiva.com in 2010, after having her daughter. Soon she found herself blogging less about fashion and more about lifestyle, her life, being a mother, weight loss, and Jamaica's social scene on occasion. Solomon has made waves through her blog, interviewing local talents like Keneea Linton and Tifa, and international celebrities like Randy Fenoli and Vivica A. Fox.

 

BLOGGING HOBBY

 

While trying to focus on her career in marketing she kept going back and forth with blogging. Solomon knew she was in love with it but kept it as a hobby, convinced that it just would be too difficult to gain an income out of it outside of the United States. This was despite her making a few hundred US dollars here and there. The blogging and writing bug was a part of her and she could no longer silence her thoughts and jumped right in.

Making the decision to quit her job in marketing was scary. She did not only have herself to think about but also her daughter. But it was also the thought of her daughter that helped her decide to move forward on this path that she loved, as terrifying as it was.

"I truly love to blog so walking away wasn't an option. I would never ever encourage my daughter to stay on a career path she didn't enjoy. I want her to follow her dreams and live passionately, and so I thought it was time I took my own advice and lead by example," she admitted.

It was not an easy transition, and since leaving the corporate world, she had been on three job interviews, thinking that she had lost her mind pursuing such a dream. However, she turned down one job offer because the truth is she knew that she had to live beyond her fear. She is well aware that blogging blogging is not a get-rich scheme and it could and would start out slow. Solomon started to block out the negativity, those of others and her own. She had friends who asked her why she did not build the blog before completely walking away from her nine-to-five, but for her it was time. It was all or nothing and part of her knew that she maybe would not pursue it wholeheartedly if she clung to her job.

Solomon did not stop at blogging for herself but she also wanted to help newcomers because there is a difference between the hobby and actually doing it professionally. She thus started BlogwithMo.com where she shares information about blogging, and where people can book one-on-one consultations and workshops for her to help to get them started in this field. The ride has been extremely fulfilling, especially with the connections she has made with individuals who were the 2013 versions of herself wanting to blog full-time but undecided as to how.

"Knowing that I am empowering those who want to live this kind of lifestyle definitely gives a different kind of value to what I do online. When my students and Facebook group members come to me with their wins I feel like it's my win too," she admits.

 

LESSONS LEARNT

 

While she walked away from corporate world she does admit that there are lessons that she learnt in her previous fields that have made her successful where she is now. Working closely with successful business owners she observed and learnt the skill of negotiation, something that helps her with her students and prospective clients. Also, it was a previous boss that helped her hone her storytelling skills. She also motivated her with her entrepreneurial growth.

"I think I am lucky to have been able to work so closely with successful entrepreneurs, and now know the value of having mentors and plan to be the same to my group members and students, as I grow my own business," she tells Flair

Solomon does not plan to live her life behind the computer screen. While blogging affords her the liberty to explore so that she can share with her readers, she also wants to interact with them physically, and sees public speaking in her future.

If she could just share one advice with future entrepreneurs and bloggers it is to get a mentor, do the research as to what will be required to be successful in that field and work hard. The naysayers will come but there is no room for self-doubt.