It turns out that I am a writer. I am also a consultant, project manager, strategic planner, organizer, engineer, photographer, and dancer; but I am also a writer. Writing is the skill that is most visible, followed by photographer and dancer. The rest may be where my greater strengths live, but they are exercised for discretion for others, and subsequently relatively hidden. Among the various writing assignments I enjoy lately has been writing about houses, homes, and how we live. As I tell my clients, I’m happy to help.
Take a look at real estate. Lots of people do, even if they aren’t thinking about buying. The number of people looking at $20M mansions is far greater than the number of people who can afford them. The number of people looking at tiny houses is also far larger than the number who would actually live in one. One of my clients, Curbed.com, lets me write about some of the biggest and smallest houses. Writing about a house’s high points, possibly noting things that don’t matter in a transaction like whether a celebrity owned it, while leaving the key data to the real estate agent’s listing. I also get to write marketing remarks for real estate listings, which must professionally fit specific formats, respect the buyers, the sellers, and the agents while describing the house to a broad audience. Those two ventures helped lead to yet a third, which is 360Modern.com, where I am writing articles about Modern homes and modern home trends. There’s even a fourth that is being developed, thanks to Tygart Media, that is more targeted content customized for narrower niches. Stay tuned for more about that.
One topic, multiple perspectives. I’d like to produce four examples based on a Modern tiny house that’s targeted at a particular niche like golfers, but that would be a full day’s work. An interesting exercise, though. Hmm. But my mind digresses.
I am not a real estate professional. I do not have an agent’s license. About the only license I have is artistic license, but even there I tend to stick to non-fiction instead of fiction. People are smart. Readers are smart. I respect their intelligence. I do, however, have some credentials based on experience. I’ve been middle class, a millionaire, and then not. I’ve bought, owned, and sold several homes; and know what it’s like to be a tenant and a landlord. Thanks to Boeing’s scattered facilities and various career moves, I’ve lived in about ten different neighborhoods in and around Seattle. I’ve also walked or biked through every county from Oregon to Canada. I’m a techie, so I enjoy modern homes. I love the mountains, so I appreciate off-the-grid cabins that were built before the grid. I even considered living on a boat, and may actually do that some day.
I also don’t mind breaking rules of writing, like starting several sentences with the same word and that word being “I”. Sometimes relaying the message is more important than following the rules.
I started writing about real estate in this blog. Tiny houses are appealing solutions to many modern problems. My Triple Whammy meant almost losing my house, which I was able to keep thanks to working with the non-profit group, Parkview Services.
Getting paid to write about real estate happened by chance. Sean Keeley was the Editor for Curbed’s Seattle page. We happened to be working in a coworks. One day he was feeling overwhelmed and told me how tough it was to find writers who knew something about houses. I’ll skip the details, but I soon began lightening his load.
Welcome to the Gig Economy, where within real estate alone I have several clients. (And then there’s the consulting, planning, teaching, and speaking tasks, as well. I have a long list of bosses.)
Will Tygart, of Tygart Media, understands marketing far better than I do. He understands the value of content in social media. Will contacted me after reading some of my articles and spotting an opportunity. Writing marketing remarks for real estate agents is nothing new; it has been valued for a long time by agents who understand the value of their time. But, especially in today’s social media environment, there are more opportunities to provide the right content to the right people in a way that works for them. Will and I are working at providing that service, those services, or something similar.
As anyone on Twitter knows, media shape the message. These several hundred words will fit best as a blog post. As an email they go out as an excerpt with a link. On Facebook and most social media they are delivered as a few sentences, usually a hashtag, and a link. On Twitter, all of that must somehow fit in 140 characters (which is changing.)
Within real estate, there are similar distinctions, as the professionals and news outlets know. I’m happy to be able to write to each audience, and to be thanked by being paid. A nice combination. I’m happy to help.
One thing leads to another. Today’s world is no longer a linear progression from college to life-long career to retirement. The Gig Economy relies on the value of adaptability. Making adaptability and value visible is something others are better at, and I’m trying to learn from them. I don’t know where this new trend in my life is heading, but so far it has led from engineer to artist to consultant to writer to …? Stay tuned. I am.