Blogging Manifesto | Why, What, and For Whom Do I Blog?

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blogging manifesto | lovettejam

Blogging manifesto

I have kept a tiny little space in cyberspace for quite a while now — more than a decade, to be honest. I started blogging in my teenage years, and my blog has taken different forms and has moved from different platforms.

Lately, though, I somehow feel lost. I’m stuck, and I’m trying to figure out which direction this tiny space is headed. Will this be a professional portfolio or an extension of my silly, weird, slightly neurotic self? Will it have a business-like approach or should I just stick with a more personal touch? What’s my brand? What’s my message? How do I effectively deliver my message?

Each question opens to even more questions, and I get more confused than ever.  Then I realized, there are more important questions — why, what, and for whom do I blog?

 

Why do I write?

I often hear about writing as a creative outlet. Most writers write to preserve memories, document feelings, or express their deepest thoughts.

But for me, I write because it’s part of how I process and learn things. I write to organize my otherwise cluttered thoughts. I write things down so I can untangle them, process accordingly, and move forward. Writing serves as my pause phase when I try to figure out my next step.

Yes, in the long run, it helps me preserve memories, document feelings, and perhaps express my deepest thoughts. But more importantly, it helps me in dealing with the now to get me to where I want to be in the future.

 

What do I blog about?

I remember during the Multiply and Friendster era, I wrote a lot. I freely shared my thoughts, dreams, feelings, and other random stuff I find on the Internet. I wrote in English, in Filipino, or in Bisaya. I express however I like. I wrote stories, essays, and even attempted a little poetry. I wrote about a word I learned, a conversation with a friend, a photo of a cute piggy. Completely random. No theme, no branding, no direction.

As one can possibly imagine, a huge chunk of it was purely rubbish and admittedly embarrassing (Yes, I was fluent in j3J3-sp3ak! Haha!).  I deleted most of those gag-worthy posts, but there may be some remnant of teenage angst and/or drama buried deep in this blog. (Note to self: Skim through the blog and delete or hide posts as needed).

Eventually, the scope of the blog widened and included some academic articles, speeches, presentations, etc.

 

For whom do I blog?

Come to think of it, I write for my own benefit. I learn things faster when I write them down. Plus I am able to preserve memories and document events that I may have difficulty remembering a few years from now.

I am also able to track my own personal growth in terms of how I use words to express. Yes, I cringe at most of my old posts, but hey, let’s be a little more forgiving of the young, passionate blogger that I was. Haha!

I still view blogging as a diary / personal journal of sorts, but I am now aware that this tiny little space can be read by anyone with Internet access. And everything I put in here is my digital footprint. Even though I barely have any readers (if there are any, at all), I need to leave a positive trail and leave a message of personal growth, of hope, happiness, and love to whoever may be on the same learning path that I am in who will someday stumble upon this little blog.

 

Where is this blog headed?

It’s kind of funny how I started writing this post a little confused, and now as I end this, I have gained a little clarity. This is exactly what I meant when I said I write to process things. 😉

Anyhow, I have decided that this tiny space on the Internet shall remain as an extension of myself. I shall continue to write about new things I learn, my thoughts, adventures, and whatever else I feel like writing about. I shall continue to share stories of hope, happiness, love, and life in general, without worrying so much about branding or shares or clicks or tweets.

And whenever I find myself out of words, I will just review this post and remember Why, What, and For Whom Do I Blog.

Planner Nerd | Free Printable Finance Tracker

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I am a self-confessed notebook geek, to-do list junkie, or maybe borderline planner nerd. It’s how I push myself to be productive and accountable. It just gives a different sense of accomplishment every time I happily tick off some items off my list. Plus, I’m old school. So apologies to my environmentalist friends, but I can’t go purely paperless. I tried working on apps though, but I failed. I still like good ol’ trusty paper better than the screens of gadgets.

Anyways, one of my major goals for this year is to have my finances on track — you know, income, savings, investments, and expenses. I’d like to have an honest-to-goodness look at the state of my finances. What better way to do that than to properly list down my cash inflow and outflow, right? So this year, this beautiful A5-sized fauxdori Macata Travelers Notebook purchased at CN Paper Crafts will be dedicated for my personal finance tracker.

 

DIY Planner Inserts

More important than the attractive exterior of every planner is of course what is actually inside it. I found a number of budget planners / finance management printables online, but none actually that perfectly suits my needs. The solution is pretty clear: design my own. Links to the downloadable pdf files of the finance tracker can be found below this post. Read on to have a sneak peek and know how to use the pages.

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What’s in the finance tracker?

There are two files at the bottom of this post. One is specifically for January; the other is for the rest of the year. The difference is the bill tracker or recurring expenses section, which will only appear in the first booklet (January).

The contents of the tracker are as follows:

Cover page

cover page | finance tracker | lovettejam

It keeps everything look clean and properly labeled. I use this page as a divider for each month of the year, and I label each month using stickers.

 

Financial Goals

financial goals - finance tracker - lovettejam

When is comes to achieving financial freedom, sometimes the most difficult thing to do is simply getting started. The best way to start is clearly setting your financial goals. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true.

Remember to have S.M.A.R.T. goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time- bound. Thus, on the first table, there is a column for timeframe and status.

There is also space allocated to describe goals in terms of income, expenses, savings, and investments.

 

Recurring Expenses

recurring expenses - finance tracker - lovettejam

The next spread is the bill tracker. Admittedly, I easily get lost in bills and forget due dates. It is important for me to keep a record of recurring expenses. I list down my annual and monthly dues then simply mark the boxes every time payment is completed.

 

Income Tracker

income tracker - finance tracker - lovettejam

For freelancers who work on a number of projects, i.e., with numerous income streams the income tracker is important. A careful analysis of this page will help me figure out which areas can be adjusted to maximize income.

 

Savings and Investments Tracker

savings investments - finance tracker - lovettejam

This is the section for wealth building. For my financial tracker, I have identified some areas I intend to focus on:

  • Emergency Fund – This is the rainy day fund. This will be my source of money in cases of emergency such as illnesses, layoff / resignation from jobs, repair and maintenance of computers, etc. Ideally, the emergency fund should be about 3-6 months’ worth of income.
  • Travel Fund – This is my mad money, something I spend when I travel to de-stress and detoxify.
  • Liabilities – I have annual dues for insurances, life plans, etc. To make it more bearable and easy on the pocket, I can save up on a monthly basis. For example, for an insurance with an annual payment of Php 20,000, an amount of Php 1,666.67 can be alloted on a monthly basis.
  • Retirement Fund, Housing Fund  – These are my big goals for this year. So yes, working on that.
  • Stocks and Mutual Funds – It is also important to have some amount allotted to build up my financial portfolio.

The table below is the tracker if I have successfully saved up fo each of those goals. It might be helpful to keep the savings account separate from the bank account used for expenses.

 

Expenses Tracker

expenses - finance tracker - lovettejam

This is quite straightforward. It’s a record of everything I pay for. And I mean EVERYTHING, which explains why I had three pages of expenses tracker. Not that I reallllly spend too much. :p

 

Monthly Summary

monthly summary - finance tracker - lovettejam

At the end of each month, there’s a monthly summary sheet. This is to keep track of where we are on our goals at the beginning  the month. Notes will be for achievements unlocked and/or lessons learned and/or areas to work on.

 

There you have it — a finance tracker for the planner nerd. 🙂

 

Some important notes

  • For a full year, you would need to print one set of tracker for January and eleven (11) copies of the Feb-Dec file.
  • This is for A5 size only.
  • The files are in .pdf format to preserve formatting. If you need the .docx file you can edit, leave a comment below or shoot me a message.
  • This can be printed using A4 paper. Please see instructions on printing below.

 

How to Print the Finance Tracker

The easiest way to print an A5 book is to set your printer to “booklet” format. Like this:

how to print - financial tracker - lovettejam
I just print on A4 size paper and just fold it in half, and it’s ready to use. Easy-peasy, right?

 

How to Assemble the Planner

I printed one copy for January and eleven of Feb-Dec. I carefully glued the sheets together and bound them into two separate notebooks using a specialty board.

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I then wrapped the notebook with an A4 sized plastic envelope, which I use to store trinkets such as post-its, stickers, and receipts.
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Download your finance tracker here:

  1. for January
  2. for February to December

 

Career Opportunities in Digital Media

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career opportunities in digital media | lovettejam

It’s always a heartwarming and exciting experience to be able to speak before young people.  Last November 7, I was invited to be one of the resource speakers for a Seminar on E-commerce and Internet Marketing at MSU- College of Business Administration in Mindanao State University – Main Campus in Marawi City. The theme of the said seminar was “Enhancing Entrepreneurial Skills through E-Commerce and Internet Marketing.”

ecommerce and internet marketing seminar

I talked about digital media and the career opportunities it offers. I also touched on how to kickstart a digital career and tackled a bit about personal branding.

Here’s my presentation on the Opportunities in Digital Media.

Should you have questions or clarifications about the presentation, please feel free to ask via the comment section below. 🙂

My sincerest thanks to Prof. Richard Celeste, MBM, REB, the Chairman of Marketing Department of MSU – Marawi City and the rest of the organizers for the invitation. 🙂
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Opportunities in Digital Media

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Is there money in digital media?

As part of the celebration of Iligan Business Month 2015, I was invited to be one of the speakers for an info-session last October 16, 2015.

iligan chamber - lovettejam

The Info-Session

The event was organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation of Iligan, Inc. (Iligan Chamber) in partnership with Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc.

Here are some photos from the event:

 

This was attended by business owners, young professionals, and students.  I talked about Opportunities in Digital Media and discussed career options and business opportunities in digital media as well as some notes on personal branding.

Here’s the presentation:

If you need more information, please feel free to comment below.

 

Social Media Tourism: Using Social Media for Destination Marketing

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 I recently had the opportunity to talk about using social media as a tool for destination marketing. I was invited to speak before Hotel and Restaurant Management students of St. Michael’s College in Iligan City as part of the College of HRM’s 1st Training Caravan Week.

Here’s what I shared with the young minds:

 

Thank you, Mr. Michael Cristuta for the invitation. 🙂

Careers in Digital Media

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careers in digital media | lovettejam

It was one thing I never thought I would get to enjoy in a million years.

I have always had a serious case of stage fright. But over the recent years, I have embraced every opportunity to talk before young people, and I admittedly — though a little surprisingly — got to enjoy it.

Late last year, I was invited to speak before the students of the College of Business Administration in Mindanao State University – Main Campus in Marawi City about the “Careers in Digital Media.”

Here’s what I shared with the young people:

Ten Years, Four Lessons: A Message to Fresh Graduates

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Note: An ad-libbed version of this message was delivered during the 45th Pre-Commencement and Recognition Ceremonies of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy in MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology last April 5, 2015.

Ten years. I can’t believe it’s been ten long years. I could still remember when I received my degree in BS Biology (Zoology). I was sitting there during the commencement exercises ten years ago. I was then an eager fresh graduate, willing to rush through life. I thought I had figured it all out – 4 years of med school, a year of post-graduate internship, another year to review and pass the Physician Licensure Exam, then specialize in Pediatrics. That was supposedly my path to success.

For as long as I can remember, I had always had a consistent answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I have always wanted to be a doctor. Lovette Jam Prada Jacosalem, M.D. There’s a nice ring to it, yes? So, why not?

But if someone told me ten years ago that I would quit med school a year into it, be a corporate slave and then work through online jobs, start a small business, and earn a degree in Masters in Business Management, I would have laughed and maybe snorted in disbelief. Like a hardworking horse with blinders on, I have always set my eyes on the road ahead and worked as hard as I possibly could. Ten years ago, I was certain I would be a successful doctor.

But apparently, life isn’t always how we envisioned it to be. Sometimes, reality hits us right between our eyes. What we thought would make us happy and successful could turn out to be something that brings much pain and suffering. While pain and suffering may make success sweeter, sometimes, we wake up one day and we just know in our heart of hearts that it wasn’t meant to be. That it’s time to walk away.

I may have deviated from the life path set by my 20-year-old self. But I learned some things along the way. And I think today is an opportune time to share them with you.

First, I learned that we define our own success. Success should be defined in personal terms. We learned in economics that scarcity has value. But value of what? for whom? and how much? That’s the side of the equation we don’t usually focus on, but we must. We need to define what success means to us and determine what truly is of value for us. Because the moment we let go of other people’s definitions of success and value, real clarity begins.

As a serial entrepreneur and bestselling author, Rick Smith, puts it, “Make certain you are on the right journey. It’s about living where your unique passions and strengths intersect. It’s about not trying to force ourselves into roles that were never meant for us, or slaving toward a prize we will ultimately discover is worth very little. It’s about the meaning and value derived from intentionality, from being in control of your life’s own direction.”

When we define success in our own terms, the journey and the destination becomes a little clearer and success becomes achievable.

And when we do reach success, we need to keep our feet on the ground. That’s lesson #2. While it’s good to take pride in what we do, to celebrate our successes, and to pat our backs for a job well done once in a while, it’s not okay to rub your success on other people’s faces. Remember to be humble. Let’s keep our feet firmly planted on the ground and have a grateful heart. Let’s acknowledge the blessings we have received and will receive.

Today, more than ever, let’s remember to thank everyone who helped us out one way or another – our parents, our professors, our mentors, and our friends who helped us get through our degrees.

Third, it’s important that we never stop learning. Yes, it’s a crazy world out there. Unemployment rates are frightening. The competition is tough, yet the opportunities to learn are endless. There are many ways to better equip yourself to get ahead of the competition. Invest in yourself.  Attend trainings, seminars, and workshops. Sign up for online courses. Or maybe, go to graduate school. Enrol in a reputable school, where you can learn from thought leaders in your field, where you meet like-minded people from different industries.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect much when I enrolled in MBM. I didn’t even know what I got myself into. I just threw myself blindly into an unfamiliar territory. My background was in biology, but I plunged headfirst into the world of business. It was scary, yes, but I sure am glad I did. It was a bumpy road for me, but it was all worth it. The MBM experience was something I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

Which leads me to my final point. Life is never smooth-sailing. Grad school is no exception, especially when you have a job and other responsibilities on top of your studies. But a mantra kept me going: Let all that you do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14). Life isn’t easy. I’m pretty sure each one of us, graduates, had gazillion bouts of stress, panic attacks, and moments of self-doubt. There had been times when we’d ask, ‘what have I gotten myself into?’ or the more familiar version of ‘nganong ni-enter pa man ko?

There were times when we start to doubt ourselves and our capacity to move forward. It happened in school, and it certainly will happen more often in the real world. But I learned that whenever doubt finds its way into our hearts and minds, we just need to take a deep breath and wait it out. Breathe it all in. Love it all out. It may not automatically make everything better, but it would definitely give us enough inspiration and motivation to push forward; to move a little closer towards our dreams – for ourselves, for our families, for the community, for our future.

Let me end this talk with this message: The power of education can’t be measured unless you count its power to create a career, a life, provide for a family and most importantly, pave the way for a better tomorrow. As we soon leave the premises of MSU-IIT as graduates, we hold that power in our hands. We have been blessed to be where we are right now. May we not forget to look out for opportunities to be a blessing to others as well.

Thank you. Congratulations, and may the Almighty God bless us all.

Social Media Marketing: A Talk at the First MSU-Main E-Commerce Expo

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A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share what little I know about social media marketing to the young entrepreneurs of Mindanao State University – Main Campus in Marawi City.  It was their first ever MSU-Main E-Commerce Expo.  

Young minds at the First MSU-Main E-Commerce Expo

The expo, revolving around the theme of “Creating Relevance Through Internet Marketing,” was an all-day event with talks on e-commerce (by Mr. Lemuel Velasco) and social media marketing. The students also showcased their e-commerce websites and video ads for the campus.  

It was great to see the output of these young, creative, talented students — from coming up with products to sell online, to building the e-commerce website, to marketing their sites. If only I had these lessons when I was in college! :p 
 

Anyways, I’m sharing with you all the PowerPoint presentation I used for the one-hour talk. You can see the references at the last 2 slides if you want to delve deeper into the subject. And I hope you pick up a thing or two you can apply to your own business. 😉

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Social Media for Small Businesses from lovette jam

My sincerest gratitude to the students of Marketing 111 (Internet Marketing) and their instructor, Mr. Richard S. Celeste, for this opportunity. 🙂

Networking for Bloggers | Blogging 101.5 by Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc.

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Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. conducted a Blogging 101.5 seminar yesterday, geared toward helping those who want to start up a blog, those who have already started blogging, and to those who find the discussions interesting and helpful. The discussion went beyond the usual Blogging 101 topics (basics of blogging and how to start up a blog) to include how to properly choose your branding and unify your brand online, and how to maximize your network potential — thus the additional .5 to the typical Blogging 101.

I was one of the speakers who was given an opportunity to share knowledge during the event. Gab tackled the Basics of Blogging, and Alex discussed branding. I spoke about Networking for Bloggers. My presentation can be viewed here and is available for download. 🙂

What about you? How do you connect with other bloggers?

10 Elements of a Good Blog

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There’s no question that a great blog design is a key point to keeping visitors to your blog interested.  Yes, at the end of the day, content is definitely king, but as Danny Brown puts it, “[if content is king, then] the design is your Royal courtyard.”  And you would like to keep your courtyard attractive and appealing, right?

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to speak before bloggers and would-be bloggers for the Blogging 101 seminar hosted by Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc in celebration of Iligan Bloggers Month.  Yay! Salamat IBS! 😉

Here’s the presentation for you to view and download.  Enjoy! 😉