Welcome to the eighth in our “Women In Biz All Around WordPress” feature that will run the 1st Sunday of every month. It’s a new series where we spotlight amazing women and the ways in which they have used WordPress to spread their message, sell their products, or provide valuable services.
The hope is to inspire other midlife women to build their online businesses and find what we’re all looking for; financial freedom, a lifestyle they love, and excitement they may have been missing! All of these women are current or former clients of mine who have inspired me over the years and I think they will inspire you as well.
This month, I have a special treat for you!
Esther Zimmer is one of the kindest women I know. She’s a truth-teller & has a way of putting into words what we all feel sometimes as either the grown women in our mirrors or the little girls in our hearts.
She doesn’t send newsletters, no way, not Esther. She sends love letters and that’s exactly what they are. Each month, I look forward to what amounts to an email from a much-loved friend on the other side of the pond.
Let me introduce to you, Esther Zimmer!
Tell us a little bit about you
I’m an Australian living in London with my American husband, David. Some say this makes my life complicated, I say it makes it interesting. I’m childless by choice, worked in corporate communications for over 20 years, as a personal stylist for three and almost seven years ago I started my self-directed recovery from disordered eating because I was tired of feeling like I was constantly at war with my body and food, and feeling alone and ashamed. I’d lived that way for almost 30 years.
Through my recovery, I wrote a far more powerful story for myself and I consider this to be one of my greatest achievements. Today I don’t diet and I love my body, but I’m still a work-in-progress; I fall over, I get back up, I’m constantly becoming and evolving and growing and I love that so much.
I recently spent a year on an incredible cycling adventure. David and I rode our bicycles from Turkey to Thailand (with the occasional plane, train, and automobile ride thrown in) and without an iota of cycle touring experience between us. It was one of the best things we’ve ever done!
Since May of 2019 I’ve been back in London, a city I was hoping I wouldn’t return to, at least not to live. However, here I am, so I’m treating my return as an opportunity to have a do-over, to live the London life I didn’t truly give myself permission to live my first 17 years here. I believe life is a precious gift and we must embrace the moment we’re in.
So, right now I’m looking at my life and figuring out exactly what my do-over looks like, whilst writing my first book – a travel memoir – consulting part-time and creating a gorgeous vision for the next iteration of my business. My best moments in life are the ones spent with the people I love.
What made you first decide to build a blog or website? How long have you had your site?
I first started blogging in the summer of 2013 when I left a corporate career in communications to do what many people dream about: I launched my own business – as a personal stylist. My intention was to use that blog as a way to showcase my own personal style and styling skills. However, I soon discovered I wasn’t that interested in writing about style from that perspective and in the years I worked in the fashion industry I also became acutely aware of how destructive it is – to people and the planet – styling no longer felt like a fulfilling vocation. At the end of 2016, I closed my consultancy and thus, my blog. My business no longer aligned to my personal values and walking away from everything I’d created was one of the bravest – and best – choices I’ve ever made.
Since then I’ve been writing under my own name at estherzimmer.com because what I did learn from my first foray into blogging is that the writing I share publicly – as opposed to the words I write in my journal – help me figure out what I truly believe in and what’s important to me; it’s also been a great way to achieve closure on certain chapters of my life and at times, to make sense of the world. It’s also led me to connect with some fabulous people!
I’ve not been particularly prolific since I started writing under my own name as I’ve been travelling a lot, and maybe I never will be, but 2020 is the year I’m going to get back to writing consistently because I’ll actually be in one place! I have several series planned because I love to write that way – to create a body of work – rather than a random assortment of articles. I’m not sure why that works better for me, but I’ve decided I’m going to focus more on the things that feel good in my writing and my work from now on. Also, I’ll be using it as a way to showcase my writing when I start looking for an editor and later, a publisher for my book.
What is your niche?
My audience is typically women 45 and older who want to make the rest of their lives, the best of their lives. Women who know they’re not meant to be just one thing; they know they can love camping under the stars and city breaks in five-star hotels, they know they can paint their nails, wear stylish clothes and climb mountains. Women who refuse to choose between all the different, precious pieces of who they are.
I write a regular, personal essay series (newsletter) called “Truth & Clues” where I share the truth about my life a woman in her 40s who’s still trying to figure out her place in the world, and the clues I’m following as I take one step forward, followed by the next. I write about things I was taught not to talk about: Ambition, fears, mental health, menstruation, menopause, money, sex…you get the idea.
I write for women like me; women who long for human stories, the ones that make us feel a little less alone. If this resonates with you, please do subscribe at estherzimmer.com!
Of all of your blog posts or pages on your site which is your favorite?
I love this question because some people seem to consider it arrogant if you claim to love your own writing! But if you don’t love it, how can you expect anyone else to? So, I have two favourites, “Leaving London: Nothing is Wasted” because I made a lot of mistakes the first 17 years I lived in London and writing such a deeply personal piece helped me to close the chapter on those mistakes and view them as lessons instead.
“The Jewels that are Buried Deep Within You” is my other favourite because journaling has been the foundation for everything I’ve created in my life. This blog post also came about after an afternoon of shopping in Hanoi when I picked up an exact version of a notebook I’d purchased six years before in London. You’ll have to read the blog post to see why that was a moment that took my breath away!What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I frequently feel like I’m a bit of an anomaly when it comes to social media. I love it (and met one of my most precious girlfriends through Instagram) but I don’t love the amount of time it takes up. I don’t hesitate to step back from using it if I feel like social media is taking time away from actually living my life. To be honest, I’ve not been active on any of my social media channels the past few months. I’m currently in the process of deciding what, how and when I’m going to use it going forward.
Also, I prefer to create a feeling of community and connection rather than having someone feeling like they’re just another face in the crowd, and this seems to be easier for me to achieve via email. I receive the most beautiful emails from my subscribers, have been offered some fabulous opportunities as a result of the personal stories I share and have met and become friends with readers from other countries, either because I’ve been visiting their part of the world, or they’ve been visiting mine.
I don’t like the word “newsletter” though, that feels so impersonal to me. I call my updates “personal essays” because that’s exactly what they are. I’m so tired of all the clichéd, everything-needs-to-be-a-lesson, self-help that’s being peddled right now. I want to know about the state of your heart, that’s what makes me feel a connection with you and if you have a business, buy from you.
Do you find WordPress easy to maneuver or do you avoid the back end like the plague?
If I apply myself I find it “reasonably easy” to manoeuvre, but I don’t enjoy figuring out the technical side of things. I often insist on doing everything myself though – because I am a closet control freak – but one of my resolutions for 2020 is to spend less time on things I don’t love, so I can spend more time on things I do. This means handing over “some” control! However, Rena is one of the best people I’ve worked with and has restored my faith in trusting others to do things they’re far better at – and more passionate about – than I am.
Is your site a business that makes money or a passion that makes your heart sing?
I’m not currently making money from my site so I guess that makes it a passion project. I’ve never been interested in advertising or doing paid or sponsored posts, however, but I do believe we get to choose what feels right for us individually. That’s just never felt right for me. Up until recently, I was selling an online course and I want to create more of those.
If you use your site for business what do you sell or what service do you provide?
I’m not selling anything right now as I’m expanding and updating the content of my first online course, which is designed to help you develop a journaling practice. I’m also in the early stages of creating two new online courses for 2020; one will guide you through “future writing”, a powerful writing practice I use in my own life. The other one is a course on how to style yourself, because what I learnt from my years as a stylist is that so many women struggle with this one thing we all have to do every damn day – get dressed – and that breaks my heart.
What is one thing you’d like people to know about you?
I care deeply about animal conservation – with a particular focus on elephant conservation – I worked as a volunteer at Elephant Nature Park (ENP) in Thailand earlier this year and I’m a UK Ambassador for ENP. Over 10 million tourists ride elephants in Thailand each year, but in order for an elephant to be tamed so it can be ridden, it literally has to have the wild beaten out of it when it’s just a baby. I recommend watching the documentary, “Love & Bananas”. Standing eye-to-eye with an elephant and feeding it bananas is a far more beautiful experience than sitting on top of one ever could be. It’s an experience that might even change your life forever.
Would you like a little more of Esther? Find her here:
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