Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Preiser.
Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I have always been a fan of using social media to post about things that I am doing, places that I go, learning about new places to try, and getting the opinions of others. Further, I have always seemed to be the person that my friends, coworkers, and others have gone to for advice on places to try, things to do, help planning trips and more. I also LOVE to take photos. Funny thing is, I actually used to take pictures of everything as a child – my parents bought me a camera when I was around six years old and I would stage so many different things and go through so much film! I even took pictures of food before that was really a thing. You should see my camera roll now, people think I take a lot of pictures, but I barely post what I actually take. Plus, I love to write. Growing up, I used to think that perhaps I would want to become an author, and then as time went on, I thought maybe a food critic for a magazine, but I have some food restrictions so it didn’t seem plausible. I feel like all of these different things really added up to me naturally becoming a blogger or social media “influencer.”
Well, back in early 2016, I considered the opportunity of joining a national blog, but it just didn’t seem like the right time for me, so I held off. Then, in 2017 I reached out to the owner of the company again and decided it was the right time. I loved that this company was all about bringing women in specific cities together as well as introducing them to local and national companies. The difference between this blog compared to many other lifestyle blogs out there is not only was it a blog and social media content, but I also had to plan monthly networking events for women all over Central Florida. It was a lot of work, but I really learned what it meant to be a blogger and social media influencer. I worked with so many amazing national brands, such as Cirque Du Soleil, Disney On Ice, Busch Gardens, bartaco, iFly, Southeastern Grocers and more, as well as so many local businesses, such as restaurants, salons, spas, stores, photographers, and MLM consultants.
However, at the end of 2019, I decided it was my time to branch off on my own. I loved seeing so many familiar and new faces attend my events each month, and I loved continuing building relationships with all of these local and national companies, but I felt that the events were becoming too much with me also working full-time as a teacher and taking classes. So I held my very last networking event in December of 2019, gave my farewell on the blog and started my own blog and social media sites called “The Orlando Millennial” – which has been hard to build back up to what I had, especially since the pandemic hit almost immediately after I started, but I have been very fortunate to continue with many relationships that I forged with my last blog and start new influencing opportunities. I’m very excited to see what the future holds now that we are beginning to return to some normalcy and hope to continue bringing the same kind of posts that my followers loved over the years on my last blog and social media to The Orlando Millennial. It may be a different name, but it is still me, and I think that is what my followers have always liked about it. I try to be as authentic as I can be.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There have been struggles for sure! Starting my own blog after having been part of a national organization that set so much up for me has been a learning curve. Luckily I met some wonderful local bloggers that answered my many questions in the beginning of starting over and it helped me a lot when trying to get everything set up. I’m still learning every day what works and what doesn’t work, since again, I am not working with a national company anymore so that backing isn’t there. Plus, we’ve been in a pandemic for over a year so my usual posts about all of my outings didn’t happen because I wasn’t going out.
I am also a teacher and this has been a rough year, not just for me but for all teachers. I hadn’t been used to sitting in front of a computer screen all day for many years, so I was just mentally drained and then I went back in person towards the end, so I was hybrid teaching. This made it difficult to want to put too much time and effort into my blog because the last thing I wanted to do was look at a screen for more time. I found that finding something that really sparked interest in me would then make me want to post, and this helped beat those struggles.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
So again, I am a blogger and content creator for The Orlando Millennial. It is a lifestyle blog where I post basically anything I really want to post about. I mainly utilize Instagram as my mode of communication to my followers, but I do have Facebook and Twitter as well. I post about places that I visit, whether it is food-related or just fun-related. I post about upcoming events in Central Florida and often in Tampa too. I try to post about things that I find enjoyable, excitable, or interesting that I think others may find enjoyable, excitable or interesting too.
My most recent addition to my blog that I am most proud of is my “Support Local Businesses” and “Support Small Businesses” sections of my blog. Due to the pandemic, I found that I was constantly trying to support small and local businesses, especially since our area was hit so hard. Starting these sections on my blog has really made me feel good about what I post and helping support these businesses. When people tell me that they were excited to learn about the business or that they decided to try them out because of my post, it really makes me feel like what I am doing is helping someone, even if in a small way.
As for what sets me apart from others, I find that many local bloggers are moms, aspire to only blog about Disney, or maybe do blogging full time. I think blogging full-time would be amazing, I love seeing what so many of them do and accomplish, but I just don’t think that is for me. I think the fact that I am a teacher gives me a different angle and other things to talk about. The fact that I don’t have kids gives me a different perspective. I am a Millennial that doesn’t have kids and tries to show what there is to do around the area or things to enjoy even as a 30-something. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with either; I just think that it is great that we can all offer different things and I think that is my “thing.”
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
The truth is, I was super shy. Like literally, I would hide behind my mom and send my little sister to ask questions for me – SHY. But I always loved to take photos, write, try interesting foods, and travel. I grew up in Virginia, near the beach, so I am a complete beach girl. I also spent any moment I could at the pool or on my bike. My parents ate out a lot growing up, so I learned to really appreciate restaurants and I never enjoyed the kid’s menu. My dad still jokes me that I once asked, “What is the shrimp of the day?” when I was just a few years old, so I think this is very telling of the fact that I am such a foodie now and love to show off the places that I eat and the things that I try. We also travelled every summer for about two weeks, visited family up north, and I would go out of the country for summer camp with cousins. My parents very much always made a point that we did not eat at chain restaurants and that we should be trying local food, immersing ourselves in local culture wherever we were, and helping others whenever we could. I think this really influenced who I am as a person today.
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