Meet the Team: A Q&A with Our Content Developer
Name: Teryn O’Brien
What you do at MAM: Content Development (AKA lots and lots of writing/editing), Photography
Three words that describe you:
Passionate. Strong. Creative.
What was your very first job? My very first “real” job was working at a small children’s boutique as a cashier at 16 years of age. I watched the owner work hard every day to make her business succeed, and it was the first lesson I had in what it took to be a small business owner.
What’s your favorite thing to do when not working? Hiking and adventuring to places I’ve never seen. Creating things. Doing yoga.
When did you know you were going to go into writing?
I started writing my first chapter book when I was 10 years old, and I got 36 typed pages in before I ran out of steam. In high school, I actually loved doing writing exercises, learning grammar rules, reading good books, and learning to shape a story. I instinctively knew it was going to be important to my life someday. Years later, I make most of my living through writing and editing.
Who inspires you the most in your career?
There have been many incredible women small business owners/entrepreneurs that have really inspired me in my own entrepreneurial path—too many to name here. But I will never forget each woman who believed in me and helped me realize my own tenacity and talent. If it weren’t for them, I would still be sitting in a cubicle somewhere afraid to spread my wings.
What is one of the challenges about running/being part of a small business?
If I’m honest, I didn’t know how much fear and anxiety I would have to face when I first started out being a small business owner/entrepreneur. There are so many mental challenges. In my experience, the biggest thing you have to fight is your own mind telling you that you’re not enough or that you won’t succeed. But I’ve learned fear is only a feeling, and it doesn’t have to control you. Fear is the catalyst to helping you achieve goals you would’ve never thought possible long ago. Fear pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is when you start feeling fully alive as a human being. It’s all about learning to make fear your ally, your friend.
What is one encouraging thing you want to tell other small businesses?
Creating something like a business is such a rewarding experience—and I have so much respect for small business owners who have made it work for the long term. You are stronger than you know. You face the world with a courage that many people take for granted or would never have the guts to try themselves. Being a small business owner is in certain people’s DNA, and you can’t help but walk off the beaten path and offer something unique to yourself to the world at large. You are truly serving the world through your small business, so never doubt the fact that your small business is making a difference in the world.
What do you think small businesses should know about writing/content development?
Your story as a business and as an individual matters to consumers. More and more people are becoming wary and distrustful of ads, but people will never get tired of stories and meaningful content that really serves them. They want to know that you are a human being, and they are curious about your own struggles, goals, and failures. They so appreciate your willingness to offer content that is meaningful and helpful to them as a customer. Creating content that inspires, uplifts, educates, and challenges them will guarantee that a person will remember you and your business.
Also, grammar and good writing are so important. You may not think that those things matter (aren’t we past all that?)—but a well written, edited website, blog post, etc., will speak volumes about your professionalism in ways you don’t realize. There is so much poor writing out there on the Internet! Quality communication does matter and will set you apart as a small business.