I inherited VivirLatino if you will. The Spanish (as in Spain) company that started it left and eventually so did my co-editor/owner. There was no bad blood but running a blog as a business is hard work and I never became a blogger to be in business. When I became a blogger, the term didn’t even exist. I was a frustrated young single Rican activist mother searching for others like me – other young Ricans who wanted to change the world and weren’t afraid to be on the streets or in jail to do it, young Ricans who wanted to perform poetry and date and yes raise a kid and who knew that there was something political in that,knew that at the core, the root it was all political. So what was I some 12 odd years later sitting in a boutique hotel in Washington DC with bloggers wanting to work with brands like Disney, Mcdonald’s and make money writing about the products they use with their kids and you should too?
When I began blogging I don’t even remember the word “monetizing”. I wanted to extend my reality in the hopes of making connections and conversations with others and I wanted to write. I always wanted to write and blogging first for myself and then for VivirLatino was a way for me to do it. But 2012 is not 1998, 2000, or even 2008. Non-profits don’t take the risks with their budgets the way they did in the pre and post-Obama glow. Gone are the days when I would/could make a few hundred dollars a month blogging. The other blogueras, ambitious women, mamis, activists, fashionistas, and foodies all seemed a little shocked when I told then that I was lucky if I made $50 a month.
That’s not to say I haven’t had opportunities and experiences. Because of my work on VivirLatino I have written for local and national publications, been on tv and on the radio and been given awards and scholarships. But I still couldn’t afford my small one bedroom apartment.
After attending the White House Briefing and portions of the retreat, I was more crystal clear than ever that my job, my role isn’t to be a mouthpiece for a political administration nor a brand spokes mami. But I sure am a mouthpiece for my own experiences as a struggling working single Latina mami and my vecinas and if there is one thing I can sell shamelessly is the fact that I am pretty damn valuable. I don’t begrudge anyone the right to make a buck, to feed their families, to go after their ambitions. Hell here at VivirLatino we have reviewed tech, tequila, films, and music. But that’s not the heart and it always needs to come from there.
At the LATISM Top Blogueras Retreat, I saw a wide range of types of bloggers at the Top Blogueras retreat (with the glaring exception of bloggers reppin LGBTQ gender non-conforming sites). What I took away is that yes I am different and that yes I need to be a better business person and value my skills more. Can I do that from a place of love and justice? It’s the only way I know how. I let go of some judgements as people who have been reading the site for a long time reached out to me in support. I agreed to come to the retreat but with many reservations in my heart and in my head but I left with a deeper respect for my own work.
What I took away from the experience is that I have a unique voice and I just need to get better at some business prac