Kiss My Biz

There it was again — the inevitable *smack* of a newspaper on my dining table.

Every time a certain family member came to visit, they flopped a newspaper down on my table. More specifically, it was the classifieds section, usually with a few jobs circled. They were often generic office jobs — this family member had given up on me finding a job with my PR degree, assumed I was desperate, and insisted I should take any “go-nowhere” job as long as it would pay the bills.

The “when are you going to get a ‘real job’?” conversations had dwindled from shouting and lectures to near-silent nudging. But I did what I always did. When they left my apartment, I threw out said newspaper and never gave it, or those circled job ads, a second thought.

Why? I already had a job. A fledgling business actually.

Silencing the Soloprenuer’s Critics

Not everyone understands the decision to go into small business or become a solopreneur. My family member was one such person. They had old school views — you take a normal stable job, you stay loyal to your employer, and your employer will stay loyal to you (we all know what a joke that is in this day and age though).

It wasn’t as if I couldn’t get a job. I’d been in a marketing position for a while, then had a fairly cushy nonprofit PR job handling everything from fundraising to event planning, with a nice office and fairly large team working under me. But I left because I despised the politics of it all. I wasn’t happy. And even early in my career, I knew I didn’t want to build a life around something that didn’t make me happy. 

So I left. (I actually went back part-time for a little while after some begging when my replacement turned out to have lied to get the job and had to be let go almost right away. But I set the terms. And I focused primarily on my own business.)

I went from working with a major international nonprofit to running a small music PR firm. I worked with regional indie artists — a group I passionately supported.

But look. Indie musicians aren’t known for having a lot of spare cash to throw around on consultants. So that family member’s concerns were understandable, to a point.

That’s why I didn’t operate as a typical music PR rep though. I didn’t focus almost exclusively on publicity as far too many competitors did. I taught indies to embrace the business side of their art in a much broader sense. Where most indies at the time were still focused on landing a label, I focused on artists who, like me, cared more about doing their own things, forging their own paths, and making a financial success of it.

Most people didn’t get that. It was still fairly early in the days of iTunes. Indies were just starting to see how they could not only survive, but thrive, without labels. But I saw that potential. My clients saw that potential. And we took chances while others sat back waiting to see what would happen. 

Folks in my life weren’t necessarily discouraging all the time. But they were hardly supportive either. This was never clearer than when I got the “real job” lectures and watched yet another set of job ads get plopped on my table.

But eventually that all stopped.

I shut up my biggest critic.


I showed them the money. Literally. 

One day this same family member came to visit. They were upset, and had wanted to leave where they were currently living, to leave their partner. But they felt trapped because, while they could afford the monthly rent somewhere, it would take them months to save up for the deposit required for a move.

They didn’t want anything. They didn’t ask for anything. They were just frustrated and venting.

So I walked to my bedroom. I opened a little fireproof lock-box where I stored important documents. And then I handed this person $1000 in cash (I used to keep a few thousand in cash for emergencies). I told them they could move whenever they wanted, and they could pay me back whenever they could. No rush.

I never got another “get a real job” lecture. I never saw another job ad from them. 

I’m not the type of person to talk about income, or to name-drop clients, especially with family. So there they were assuming I was struggling or barely scraping by, and I was not only making more than I was at my previous cushy job, but more than they were after 20+ years being a good little loyal employee — the path they wanted me to follow.

Sometimes that’s the only way to silence the naysayers. You have to prove yourself. Admittedly, there’s something quite rewarding about doing that quietly, then casually shoving it in their faces.

This is what Kiss My Biz is all about.

You don’t need the kind of bullshit your critics spew. But I want you to know you aren’t the only one who decided to follow their passions in building a business and who had to deal with this kind of crap or a lack of support.

I want you to know you can turn just about any interest area into a lucrative business if you learn the fundamentals and take it seriously. 

I want you to know you can build a career around something you love, no “back up plans” needed.

I want you to know if you want it badly enough, and you’re willing to work hard enough, you can build the business you dream of.

I want you to know that you don’t have to be just like everyone (or anyone) else to be a successful solopreneur or creative professional.

And I want you to know that you can shut up your critics and doubters by exceeding their expectations (actually… screw them… you can exceed your expectations). 

So this blog is all about helping you do that, just as I’ve done for myself, and just as I’ve helped countless other artists and independent-minded business owners do over the years.

My focus here at Kiss My Biz is on what I do best — online marketing, PR, and content. 

What Kiss My Biz Will Teach You

Kiss My Biz branched off of one of my oldest blogs, I kept about 25% of those archives, covering the topics I just mentioned. And that’s what we’ll move forward talking more about. But this is going to be a little different than the kinds of marketing blogs you’re probably used to reading.

Here’s how:

  • I have precisely zero tolerance for bullshit. And a lot of marketing advice out there is complete and utter bullshit. Not only may that be called out here so you know what to avoid, but we’ll spend more time digging into what really matters — fundamentals.
  • Success doesn’t come from trying to mimic exact tactics someone else had success with. A single case study doesn’t mean the results can be replicated. Yet this is how many new business owners operate. They look for specific things they can copy. While I may share some case studies here to show you what I’ve done and how it turned out, I will always encourage you to think beyond single examples to the “why” behind the results. When you understand what’s beneath those case studies, you can come up with more relevant action plans that can work even better for you.
  • This won’t be the same regurgitated crap you find when bloggers care more about pushing quick (& temporary) results than longer-term sustainable ones. Here we’ll focus on the latter. Kiss My Biz isn’t for people looking for a quick buck only to leave their businesses behind in months to a few years. It’s for those of you who want to build long-time careers, finding ways to spend more time doing what you love, making decent incomes in the process.
  • You won’t see a lot of typical marketing buzzwords around here like “influencers” and “content marketing.” Know what much of that really is? It’s old school PR work hijacked by internet marketers, with a new name slapped on, so those folks could pretend to be experts in something “new.” We’ll talk about those things — but the real underlying fundamentals you need to do them right… to build honest reputations, promote true authority, and build real relationships rather than looking for quick links or ways to use people so you can ride their coattails.

If that sounds like your cup of tea — doing what you love, making good money, and doing both in an above-the-board, sustainable way — you’ll learn a lot here. And hopefully we’ll even learn from each other.

The Archives

You’ll notice some older content on this site. I mentioned earlier Kiss My Biz is a partial re-branding of I wouldn’t spend a lot of time in the archives right now, though you can certainly find some tips and resources to help you out. I didn’t want to wait to move forward until I’d overhauled everything published in the past, so some of that content isn’t necessarily a reflection of what you’ll read moving forward.

That said, much of that older archived content will be updated in coming months. Some will have outdated info updated. Some may be expanded. And others might be merged together into more comprehensive guides. So you’ll find a mix of that and fresh content until I’ve worked through the entire content audit. And we’ll even talk about that more moving forward — how you can run similar audits to get more out of your own existing content if you’ve been blogging or publishing in other ways for a while.

So, welcome to the new Kiss My Biz. You can read this backgrounder if you want more info on me or the blog. If you have questions you’d like me to consider answering here, or a story about pursuing your passion as a business that you think readers might enjoy hearing, contact me any time.

Jenn Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. An active digital publisher, she runs numerous websites and blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has over 20 years' experience working as a solopreneur running a 3-prong business of offering freelance writing and consulting services, running digital publications, and operating as an indie publisher of predominantly e-books.

This experience includes over 20 years working as a professional writer and editor, more than 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (specializing in areas like digital PR, online marketing, social media, and SEO), 19 years' experience as a professional blogger / online publisher (including web development), and around 17 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

At Kiss My Biz, Jenn shares stories, tips, and tools from her own adventures in solopreneurship, while aiming to help fellow solopreneurs and creative professionals succeed even where it feels against the odds.

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