Tell me what the “A” on the map represents?
The middle of nowhere?
The middle of cold… frozen… nowhere?
What if I told you it represents one of the most amazing, successful, inspiring business success stories on the web? Would you believe me?
Now what if I told you this business didn’t even exist two years ago and never even started out as an idea for a business at all?
The “A” on the map is Delta Junction, Alaska, population 1000. It is the home Ana White - a stay-at-home mom with a hobby that has grown into one of the most impressive integration success stories I’ve heard. Casey Hibbard chronicles all of the details for Social Media Examiner; I’m just going to give you the highlights along with my two-cents.
Ana is a young woman that knows a thing or two about construction. She and her husband built their own house, and she has built many of the furnishings within herself. Two years ago, Ana didn’t even know what a blog was – but on a whim, decided to start one and share her passion for woodworking.
With her young toddler in tow, Ana set-about blogging her latest projects. She posted ideas, project suggestions, design plans, pictures, and updates. She answered questions and offered words of encouragement to other women looking to try these woodworking projects themselves. She blogged about shelves, storage cabinets, dining tables, and so on – 400+ posts in her first year alone.
Her blog hit 1-million page views in just three months, and than drew more than 1-million page views in every month that followed. While friends and family encouraged her to monetize the traffic she was gaining, she passed on the idea of making a quick buck and continued to share her passion… freely.
She added a Facebook fan page that now boasts over 50,000 fans! What is perhaps most inspiring is that she places no limits on that Facebook account – allowing her fans to exchange their own ideas, contribute content, and answer each others questions. In a word, she allowed the account to be what it was intended to be – social! She doesn’t hide her fans from viewers, and she doesn’t try to “push” content down their throats.
The integrated fan page helped promote even more traffic to her blog, and by year two – Ana’s impressive network and high-volume traffic drew the attention of marquee advertisers like Lowe’s and other retailers looking to reach women.
Her design plans have been featured in magazines like Women’s Day, and Popular Woodworking. She’s been offered a chance to contribute designs to HGTV.com, and now has a book deal with Random House.
"Free" has a payday providing enough money to support her family.
And, get this… recently Ana discovered an interesting change in her site’s traffic stats. What’s the number one referrer of traffic to her site?
Not Google. Not Facebook. Not direct traffic.
Just three months after showing up as a referring site on Pinterest, the new kid on the social media block is sending over 6,000 unique visitors to her site each day… dominating her traffic.
To this day I meet with advertisers and talk with media companies that can’t seem to get their heads around this thing called the “web”. They either believe they know everything, or concede they know nothing… and both have enjoyed about the same level of success as a result.
These same folks have been debating the merits of digital for at least the past 10-years or more, and still somehow find comfort in their same worn out excuses.
Yet, here is a stay-at-home mom armed with nothing more than a passion and a blog that successfully (and unknowingly) launched an integration strategy and monetized it in less than 2-years!
In the words of Al Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”