Tessa Zimmerman's Story: Teen Health Blogger
by Tessa Zimmerman
Hi, I am Tessa Zimmerman and I am a sixteen-year-old health blogger! My blog is called TeenSanity, which is dedicated to spreading the knowledge of health to teenagers struggling to find the answers.
When I was fourteen, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I became very sick from treatment and lost twenty pounds in a short period of time. I looked sickly skinny and had no energy to do anything, except read. After finishing the treatment, I wanted to maintain my slim figure, but not look so sickly and actually have energy to do things. Through lots of exploration, I found eating healthy and exercise.
I felt like I found the key to a healthy lifestyle. I felt more energized and happier than before I had been diagnosed with Lyme. I wanted to share my love of my new healthy lifestyle with the world, so that's when I started TeenSanity.
TeenSanity has been an unbelievable journey of growth and learning experiences. I've had to learn the mindset of an entrepreneur to make my blog a success. So far, my best marketing tactic has been using social media to my advantage. I learned that more likely than not, people are not going to search for my newest blog post on the internet. However, if I link the blog post to my status on Facebook, and someone sees it on their newsfeed, they more likely to click on it and share it with others.
I've also learned to connect with others who have a bigger following than I do. When Roman Price, founder of LifePulp, shares my blog on his facebook or twitter, my views go way up.
I've connected with the health beverage, Cell-nique, and now I am featured on their website. The more people I connect with, the more readers I get. For my blog, I've had to understand, who is my target market? Who am I trying to reach and what are they interested in? Teenagers are not necessarily going to search for some of the topics I cover, but if I can relate them to a teenager that's how I reach who I am targeting.
Once I wrote about almonds, not many teenagers want to read an entire blog post about almonds, I learned. However, if instead of titling my post, 'Almonds', I wrote 'Almonds Your Cure to Cleaner Skin', I would've gotten way more readers because I related it to something they are interested in; clearer skin.
Understanding my market is just one of the many lessons I've learned. Currently, I am working on turning TeenSanity into more of a business and less of a blog. To make myself smarter at business, I've been hitting the books. My favorite for my putting my business model together is Business Model Generation. I've written a business plan before, but I didn't understand it and it honestly confused me more on how my business would run. Using the method in the Business Model Generation, has helped me to understand and simplify how my business will run.
Another favorite of mine is Ryan Blair's Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain. I love how it goes between Ryan's personal stories, and business lessons. Onward by Howard Schultz taught me how a business can create a community. It actually also inspired me to create that 'community feeling' online and I hope to be able to do that some day online.
A great website, Teen Business Forum, is a wealth of knowledge for any teen entrepreneurs. I especially loved their Teen Business Summit. I learned so much in just a few short days - it was like teen entrepreneur heaven. I recommend for teen entrepreneurs that live in the United States, SCORE. SCORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed. And it's entirely free! I've taken their 'Quick-Start' workshop, which taught me all the tools to start a business.
They've also provided me with an amazing mentor, who takes me through each step of putting my business together. The best part is they did not turn me off because of my age. My biggest challenged as a teen entrepreneur is my age; people are either turned off when I say I am sixteen, or if they are the right person, they want to know more.
As a teen entrepreneur, I know the feeling of being overwhelmed with work and wanting to get everything done to put my business in motion. But there's a quote that always helps me to realize that each step I do is a step closer to my goal. It goes like this
"I may not be there yet, but I am farther than I was yesterday." ~Anonymous
Please check out my blog at http://teensanity.blogspot.com/
Follow me on twitter @TessaZimmerman