Anne-Sophie, author of FightingAnorexia.com, is a blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur who I first met through Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging Apprenticeship Program. She’s popping up everywhere, including BlogWorld NY, where I’ll get to finally meet her this June!
She was kind enough to interview me about my experiences with anorexia on her site a few months ago, and I’m so excited to now be the one interviewing! In this interview, we focus on Anne-Sophie’s life as an entrepreneur, how the internet helps up heal, and what her goals are for the future.
1. What is it that you do exactly? How do you define your career today?
I am still trying to figure that out to be quite honest. I am coaching people on various different topics, but mostly related to body image. I am writing about anorexia and recovery for one blog and about personal recovery for another. At the same time, I am creating online products and I am working on creating a body image revolution course that I am hoping to get started in the summer. I like to think of myself as an entrepreneur, but in the very early stages.
2. How did you get started blogging, consulting, and podcasting?
I basically stumbled into blogging without knowing that it was such a big deal. I started a personal blog a few years ago and when I went into treatment for my eating disorder last year, I wrote about my journey. At the same time, I was taking a podcasting class by Cliff Ravenscraft, who’d been a great friend of mine for years. I had always wanted to start my own podcast and I used the time I had in the treatment facility to learn everything there was to know about it. Over time, girls started to write me and tell me how much my blog and podcast was helping them and encouraging them to fight their eating disorder.
When I went to BlogWorld LA in November last year, I realized for the first time that there were people blogging as a full-time job and I was instantly intrigued. I had dropped out of college when I went into treatment and had no idea which direction I wanted to go. I loved to write but never thought I could actually use this in order to make money.
So, I threw myself into blogging, learned a lot about the industry and searched for ways to make money while doing what I love most: helping people and writing. It was a very natural process, but I am so glad everything worked out this way. I wouldn’t want to trade a single day of the life I have now with the life I had before.
3. I’m excited that I’ll be seeing you at BlogWorld 2012 this summer in New York. You’re going to be on a panel, correct? What exactly will you be talking about?
Oh, I am super excited about seeing you too. Yes, I will be part of a panel about how to podcast to a global audience. I haven’t gotten all the information on panel yet, but we’ll talk about the way you can create a podcast even if you’re not based in the U.S. or, like me, a native English speaker. We’ll touch on the mistakes that podcasters tend to make, that hamper the ability to grow an audience in a global aspect.
I am really honored to be part of it and can’t wait for BlogWorld to start.
4. You are very open about your experiences with anorexia. How do you use the web to help you heal, personally, as well as help other women with their own body image issues?
I have to be quite honest in that I never even thought of using the web as a way to help me heal. I had no idea that there were forums and blogs about such a personal issue, which is strange because I lived so much online. When it came to my recovery, I read a lot of books, which helped me a lot. However, I soon stopped reading too much about eating disorders and started to instead look for positive body affirmations, which are all over the web. Those have helped me tremendously over the past year. At the same time, recovering so publicly gives you a great amount of accountability, at least for me. It felt good to write about my journey and know people were not only cheering for me but also expecting me, very lovingly of course, to make progress.
As far as helping others, I just think that it is important to spread hope and to show that, yes it is difficult and there are good days and bad days, but it’s so worth the struggle. When you’re anorexic, you feel incredibly lonely and think nobody understands your thoughts and feelings, which is why so many girls end up on Pro Ana sites. Showing those girls and men that they are not alone and that we share many thoughts and behaviors with each other is extremely important in their healing process. And when you can be a positive example as someone who has gained a lot of weight, stopped abusing laxatives or overexercising and still likes her body and is happier than every before, it gives them hope and inspiration. I have experienced that many girls and boys just want to share what they’re going through and they already feel better by writing it all down and when you can tell them from experience that you had the same thoughts and fears but they turned out to never come true, it gives them a bit of a relief.
5. Where do you hope to go in your own blogging career?
I am hoping that I can grow my audience and make a name for myself in the blogosphere. At the same time, I am creating more and more products and continue to do the coaching. I am just at the beginning and I have grand plans for the future. I am still learning a lot about this business on a daily basis and I still have a long way to go, but I am working hard.
Eventually, I am hoping that the part of my contribution to our monthly income will increase from selling more and more products and helping more and more people.
6. What advice do you have to new bloggers?
Don’t be intimidated by the big bloggers and be patient. It takes time to build a loyal base of readers. Yes, there are a lot of things you can learn to speed things up, but I think that having a bit of time to grow as a writer before too many people notice you is not a bad thing.