The one thing that really struck me as I thought about the past five years we have been members of ActiveRain and that is how fast time flies!! It seems like just a few short months but it has really been 5 years.
We joined ActiveRain on June 25, 2007. I wrote my very first post about how excited I was about sharing referrals with members, making friends and paying it forward. Wow! I have come a long way from the first post I wrote;). You can see your progress by going back to your first post- see how far you have come and how much you have learned.
What are the reasons that we joined ActiveRain back in the day? The time that I was posting, there were very few members. There was no ActiveRain guide, no ActiveRain University, no RainCamps, no Trainings.. it was learn as you go mostly. That was a blessing though because it incentivized me to reach out to other members. I sought out advice and asked questions like how to add a photo that did not stick to my words:). Those members who I reached out to became very good off line friends as well.
Loneliness online also drove me to find a friendlier real estate community online than the forums I was a member of. Since I knew that I needed links to our websites I joined forums to get the link back to our site but in return tried to help in the forums by actually answering questions. That was not met with the warmest of welcomes. Many of these forums contained a lot of infighting and putting each other down. It was a super turn off. Each morning when I walked to my computer I would tell myself, "you are only doing this for the SEO so pay no mind to the agents hating on other agents."
Blogging on my outside blog was like living in a cave back in 2007. It was not as easy to get any type of two way interaction going with anyone. In those days, comments were very scarce on blogs that were all alone and not part of a network.
One day I read a comment from a poster on a forum that ActiveRain was a great link to get and that it was free. I visited the site but was not very impressed in the beginning. I also was not accustomed to the format of the site. So I did not join right away.
I lived in Hawaii for five years when I was younger. Every couple of years or so I would Google Hawaii terms to see what is going on these days in Hawaii. Out of all the places I have traveled and lived, Hawaii has been my favorite home. Well, can you guess who showed up on the SERPS for Hawaiian local information?
It was Sally Cheeseman. I began to read and follow her blog. I read the comments that other members were making on her blog to see if they were kind or nasty. I saw one little fight going on between someone not being happy with something Sally had done with her "Positive Attitude for the Weary Soul" group that she founded. It was kids play compared to some of what I had witnessed in other forums. Mostly it felt like Sally had a lot of support from the members on ActiveRain. I was very impressed with her hyper-local posts.
So we joined ActiveRain.
Then I discovered the point system quite by accident. That was all it took to get me hooked. Dangle that carrot in front of me and I will jump through hoops to get it. The genius of ActiveRain was and is the point system. It created for me a momentum and desire to do my best. I did not see the point system as something to write crap with and take advantage of but rather, I looked at the point system as a way to motivate me to write well enough to get featured. In those days, you got a lot more points for getting featured. In five years we have been awarded with 250 featured posts.
We worked hard during a slow real estate period here in our market. This was the same time that the market went bust. In this latter part of 2007- over 9,000 Realtors® left the market. We survived by listing and negotiating short sales at that time in the market. You can read what the Florida Short Sale Market was like then here. We went from one or two listings to over 50- 70 listings in just a few short months. I have to contribute most of those to blogging on ActiveRain in the beginning phases of short sales here. We wrote over 250 short sale posts and the listings came. Now the market has contracted and inventory is very short. We don't have more than 20 listings these days and that includes contingent listings. There are very few listings in our market right now.
Members ask me all the time if you can really make money blogging and working on SEO. Yes, you can. If we can do it, anyone else can do it too. You just need to be blogging about the right topics and in the right niches. Paying it forward helping members on ActiveRain was our way of saying, 'Thank You' to ActiveRain. Consistancy is the key.
Transparency was a piece of connecting that I totally embraced. This led to some very great moments in the rain from moral support, prayers and solidifying relationships not just with members but with consumers also.
While I love to share the great sales we have closed as a result of blogging and networking on ActiveRain by far my greatest memory in the five years that we have participated was when a post I wrote about the domestic violence I went through in a previous marriage saved the life of a young girl. Here is the post that I wrote. It was a hard post to write but I knew in my heart I was moved to write it. Here is the post with her email about how she was going to take her own life until she read my post.
Every week for 5 years I have written 10 posts per week until this past couple of months where I have been in too much pain physically to do so. When we first joined, I made 20 to 30 comments a day developing relationships with members. And I used to reply to each comment another member left for me on our blog. I can no longer do that, physically or time-wise. By taking massive action we were able to achieve becoming the top bloggers on ActiveRain. We have 2381 subscribers to our blog today.
So five years later we can say that ActiveRain has directly benefited us with:
- Helping to Achieve Top listers in 2008, 2009, 2010
- Closed Business valued at over $250,000 annual in some of the years
- Successful SEO consulting and coaching practice
- A new start-up company with someone I met on ActiveRain
- ActiveRain RainCamp Keynote Speaker
- Speaking engagements around the country
- 1,353,484 points on AR
- 2531 posts written
- 2381 Subscribers
- 250 featured posts
- 56,712 comments received
- 35,379 comments left
- Great friends and referral agents
- Lots of Google Juice!
- and more...
So here is to the next 5 years on ActiveRain!