1-1-11 – Eleven Things You Don’t Know About Me

Photo Credit http://morguefile.com/creative/nasirkhan

It’s a New Year!!  A New Challenge!!  I’ve got New Goals!!  How about you?  I’m excited about 2011.

Please excuse this brief commercial interruption…

Yesterday Michele Scism and I recorded a quick teleseminar about the Ultimate Blog Challenge.  If you’re considering participating or just signed up, check it out: http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=16804020

It’s a challenge to post 31 times in 31 days and just for signing up we’ll send you all sorts of resources and goodies including a free ebook, 7 Ways to Get Your Blog in Motion, free daily blogging ideas during the challenge, free teleseminars to help you start a blog or get more visibility for you blog, and more.  Plus, it’s just fun!

Now, back to my regularly scheduled blog post…

Since it’s 1-1-11 I thought I’d share 11 things you probably don’t know about me (yet).

  • I’ve spent most of my life in Alaska. I was born in a fishing town, then moved to western Alaska when I was 4 where I lived 13 years before my family moved back to the fishing town I was born in.  I moved away when I got married at 18.  Then managed to convince my husband to give Alaska a chance so I’m back in Alaska again.
  • I’ve never lived in an igloo, but I have built a few good snow caves in my time.  I don’t actually know anyone who’s lived in an igloo.  The coldest weather I’ve been in is 103 degrees below zero windchill (not real temperature).  Real temperature probably 40 degrees below zero.  School got canceled at 70 below windchill when I was a kid.  That’s really, really cold.  And the radio used to play announcements reminding kids not to touch the power lines on the telephone polls because the snow would drift that high.
  • I’ve been in a vehicle driven on a frozen river. The Kuskokwim river freezes in the winter it’s a well-driven ice road to the surrounding villages.  Really.
  • I’ve been online almost as long as I can remember. My father was in management for a phone/cellular/internet company when I was a kid.  My family had an internet connection in 1987 but I wasn’t really allowed online until a few years later when I was 8 or 9.  So I remember when Google wasn’t around and Lycos, AltaVista and WebCrawler were the “cool” search engines.  When internet speed was 28.8 and I thought that was fast.  Alaska’s one of the most “connected” states per capita and by households.  Now if only we had roads everywhere…
  • My husband used to be a pastor. He’s got degrees in Biblical studies.  We stepped away from it when we left the church that we’d both grown up in.
  • I homeschool my three kiddos. I’ve got 5th, 3rd, and 1st grade this year.  Most days I absolutely love it.
  • We have a pet Russian tortoise. The kids wanted a pet.  We compromised on a tortoise after looking at lizards and spiders.  I can’t handle anything that requires live food.  We also have a slightly snooty but lovable black and white cat named Whiskers.  I had a Siamese as a kid and would love another one, but we wanted to rescue a cat and he was the one the kids wanted at the shelter.
  • I love Science Fiction and political thriller novels (Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, Daniel Silva, Robert Ludlum are some of my favorite authors).
  • I’m terribly uncoordinated but did gymnastics as a kid. It was one of those overcoming my fears challenges for myself.  I wasn’t great at it, but it was fun.
  • I was an entrepreneurial kid. I babysat, tutored other students in math and science, taught young children to play the piano, and designed websites while I was in high school.  I also worked two part time jobs (barista and waitress).  I like being busy.
  • About 10 years ago I sat on my floor crying, holding a crying toddler.  We had almost no food in the house and no money.  That’s when I made the decision to consciously build a business that could help support us.  I had been doing website design and working as a virtual assistant online for a little while but more as a hobby than a real business.  That was my turning point.  There’s a lot more to the story that I’ll share, someday.  But years later here I am.  My business brings in a dependable income and we’ve never been in a situation without food since.

I blog because I want to help others who are working hard to create online businesses to support themselves and their families.

I know what it’s like to not be sure how you’ll buy food for the next day or to try to figure out whether to pay the electric bill or the phone bill because you can’t pay both. I know what it’s like to try to build a business without knowing where to start or how to market it, or even what business to go into.

And I know that with a lot of determination it is possible to build an online business that changes life for you and your family.  Because I’ve done it.

I’d never tell you it’s easy.  I’d never tell you it happens overnight.  But what I can do is give you hope. It’s possible.  And I can help you with the technical and marketing side of things like how to get your website online, how to get out there in social media and market yourself, how to get a blog going, how to set your products or services up for sale on your website, and all those little roadblocks that can get in your way as you’re building your businesses online.

So if you’re new to my blog, or new to business online, or could just use a little of that hope and guidance, consider this your invitation to stick around and learn from me, and grow with me.  I’d be honored to be a small part of your online business journey.

Spread the Love


  1. Michelle, what a fabulous blog post. All heart and makes me feel more connected to you. Talk about transparency.

    Happy, happy new year, to fabulous you.!!!!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. One of my goals is to be a little more willing to get personal this year on my blog so I’m happy to connect more. :)

  2. Great Post Michelle! Totally enjoyed reading it! Sounds like God put a wonderful plan in your lap that morning on the kitchen floor! Thanks for sharing- http://www.KnDino.com

    1. Yes. Gave me a big “why” to motivate me.

  3. Very interesting! And kudos to you for your entrepreneurial spirit & your online success.

    I, too, am excited about 2011!


  4. MIchelle, I’ve always been drawn to you since I joined the October Blogging Challenge that you and Michele did such a great job on and appreciate getting to know even more about you. You’re an inspiration and I love reading your blogs! :) Here’s to an AWESOME year!

    1. Thanks, Dani. Michele and I have had a blast with the challenges. :) Happy we connected.

  5. What an awesome post, Michelle! Great idea. I feel more connected with you after reading this. Thank God for the day of tears on the kitchen floor! Everything is a blessing even when we don’t feel like it is. If it wasn’t for that day, I may not have had the pleasure of working with you or getting to meet you.

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. Didn’t seem like it at that moment but good things come out of tough times if we hang in there.

  6. Hey Girl – What a wonderful post. I have been blessed to spend this year building our friendship but this post reminded me that there is always more the learn. You have taught me so much this year – Thanks, Michelel

    1. And you’ve pulled me out of my comfort zone. If only you could have heard the internal dialogue when you told me we were going to do a teleseminar back in August…

  7. these are really interesting facts about you :)

  8. I remember those early Internet days! I first went online in 1987, Compuserve (which I knew about in 1984) using a 300-bps modem, a horrible command-line interface, and phone lines so noisy I was lucky to get ten minutes before being thrown off. I used it so seldom I had to relearn it all every tie. It was not pleasant and I gave up after a few months. Next went online in 1994, with AOL, and haven’t looked back. Now I pretty much live on line, and you keep my business running from 5000 miles away. It still amazes me.

    It’s been wonderful to see you getting stronger and stronger in your business and creating your own following over the years. Reading the above, I could see you, like Scarlet O’Hara, vowing to succeed in the face of poverty. And I’m sure you will keep growing your business and not have to revisit that dark tie.

    When we first connected, you were still in Alaska the first time. Does that mean we’ve been working together even longer than I thought?

    –Shel Horowitz, http://GreenAndProfitable.com

    1. Yes, it was so slow! Can you imagine Netflix or YouTube existing back then? I can’t wait to see what it’s like in 10 more years.

      I had to call my dad to see when we got online and when we were trying to figure it out our reference points where when he bought his “laptop” computer that was around $10,000 and as thick as a big city yellow pages (I’ve got to get him to send me a picture of that – it reminds me of the answering machine you described owning in one of your posts a while back), when cellular service came to our town, and when my younger brother was born. It’s crazy how far technology has come.

      Had to check PayPal to see for sure. I started working for you in December 2000. :) We’ve moved back and forth a few times between Alaska and the states. You hired me shortly before the moment above and it’s one of the things that gave me the confidence to start building a business. And over the years I’ve learned so much from working with you and working on your sites. Got a compliment about copy the other day and told them whatever I’d learned was by osmosis from posting yours over the years. So, thank you! Glad you took a chance on me.

      1. Oh, so you were already 20. I’d thought it was a year or so earlier.It’s been a really nice partnership most of the tie, and I’m very glad to have helped you get on your feet. And that you have absorbed as much of the content I’ve passed on,makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

  9. Michelle,

    I am so glad that you stepped away from the hobby. I have been a huge fan of yours for almost 3 years now. (I need to clean the in box out) Because of you, I have stepped out of my box and have moved forward in a world that was so unknown to me.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks, Ria. <3 I'm glad we connected.

  10. Thank you for sharing pieces of you with us – It is interesting to know where a blogger comes from as well as where they are planning to go. You got into the internet way earlier than I did – It wasn’t until 93 and I was in college that I first got to dial in … and I’ve been hooked ever since!

    I really liked this post – and I look forward to reading more.

    1. I’m so glad we’ve moved forward from dial up! LOL I remember the joke that used to go around that you spent too much time online if you could call your dial up number from your phone and make all the modem sounds to fool the system into trying to connect you to the internet. :)

  11. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Terri Zwierzynski, Ria Wallace and others. Ria Wallace said: 1-1-11 – Eleven Things You Don't Know About Me – http://bit.ly/gRB5og (via @MichelleShaeffr) […]

  12. LOVE reading these sorts of posts and getting to know you aside from the web wonder you are.

    Now, I’ve always wanted to ask you this but keep forgetting. How on earth do you find time to homeschool, do the house and do your business?

    1. Ah, there’s the million dollar question! Well it probably helps that I type somewhere around 100wpm. ;)

      Seriously though, a lot of scheduling and routines, and not a lot of wasted time. I block time out for each separate responsibility and make sure I’ve got accountability for the important things. For homeschooling one reason we’ve chosen to work through a charter school program is so that I’ve got a teacher on call for backup and to keep us on track. I know I have to report in and chart progress. I also choose our curriculum very intentionally, taking into consideration learning styles, teaching time/interaction required, prep time required, etc. And then we stick with what works for us. Education is so important. When I have to make a choice, education and business do come in above the dishes… LOL

      But one thing that’s been really helpful in addition to scheduling and accountability, is getting organized. Everything in it’s place so no wasted time searching for stuff. I do still lose my coffee cup once in a while, but following the scent I can usually find it again. (Kidding.)

      I’m going to be chatting with Kathy Santini about it next week for an hour or so – http://ow.ly/3xhIc

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