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Conversations with Lorraine C. Ladish

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorraine C. Ladish.

Hi Lorraine, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m 59 years old and I’ve been self-employed since the age of 19. I’ve always worked with words: translating them (I’m bilingual in English and Spanish), editing them, interpreting them, and writing them. My journey as a communicator started when I published my first book about my eating disorder and mental health challenges.

I did that when I was 30 years old and was living in Spain. 17 other books ensued. In the meantime, I married, had two babies at 37 and 40, and at 41 I moved with my family to the U.S. I started over as a journalist, writing for the Palm Beach Post and I continued writing and publishing books. In 2006 I started a blog but I had no idea what I was doing.

In 2008 I lost it all: I was a single unemployed midlife mother on welfare. I got lots of help from kind people and that made me feel I owed them to show them their trust in me was warranted. Social media was just starting and a young entrepreneur asked me whether I could write blog posts for his business at $15 a pop. They had to be SEO friendly and I had no clue what that meant, but I made it my business to figure it out.

A couple of years later some of the connections I made as a journalist got back to me offering me leads as a bilingual digital editor and writer. I got a gig with the now-defunct about.com which then belonged to the New York Times. The application involved learning HTML, how to design and set up a website, SEO, and all the rest of it. From there I became the editor-in-chief of a Hispanic site and later a Latina mom site, both as a contractor.

When I turned 50 I asked myself what I could do that was my endeavor and that would be profitable and something I was passionate about. I launched VivaFifty.com, a bilingual website for women over 50. I was feeling better than ever: I had met and married the love of my life, built a blended family, and was in the best shape I had been in my life physically, emotionally, and mentally.

The site was profitable in year one. I will soon turn 60 and it will be 10 years since I launched the site. I’ve adapted to the changing landscape of social media and I have a presence on every platform that is relevant today. Our revenue grows and we (my husband is also my business partner), evolve and adapt and keep on going.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No worthwhile road is smooth. As a lifelong freelancer and entrepreneur, I know this is a rollercoaster that you simply need to want to be on so badly that you won’t quit. For me, it’s always been the strong dislike of having a job that has kept me doing my thing. Struggles: late payments from clients (I have one right now that’s owed me money for four months and counting), no payments, algorithm changes, cash flow, you name it. But as someone who has worked for themselves forever, I know this is a marathon.

I also know that it’s an ebb and flow and that if I can ride out the ebbs, then I can take full advantage of the times when work is flowing. I am the most creative when work is slow, because I know I’m only as good as my last gig. This is not for everyone. Some people need the security (false security in my mind) of a job. But for me the endless possibility of working for myself keeps me going. And also, if I can make a living as a digital content creator at nearly 60 anyone can.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Aside from creating content across social media channels and my website I’m also a fitness instructor (from the age of 21) and I became a certified yoga instructor at 55. I did the 500-hour certification instead of just the 200-hour one because I started realizing how little I knew about a practice that I started in my teens with a yoga book by Richard Hittleman.

I feel those who work with me come back with more projects because I am prompt, professional, underpromise and overdeliver. In this day and age showing up at all when you said you would is quite the accomplishment. I find this a bit sad but it works in my favor.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I have no idea where the influencer or content creation industry is going. I feel that I’m not alone in this but not everyone will admit it. I remember I initially paid attention to the 2020 forecasters who said that due to the pandemic, work would be canceled, payments stopped, and several other pessimistic predictions.

Initially, I panicked because 2008 was the year of the Great Recession and I lost it all back then. I wondered whether this would be a repeat of that. It wasn’t. 2020 was my best year in business, and it’s only improved. I am always on my toes, reading about and listening to industry news to stay abreast of the latest changes. I try always to be aware of the fact that the only thing that is certain in life is change.

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Image Credits
Phillippe Diederich

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