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Two months into the new year and I’m still reflecting over 2018 in order to better inform a promising 2019. It was quite the end to an eventful, eye-opening year for me, which got me thinking about how to deal with the unexpected. Without fail, the beginning of the year is a season of resolutions, new beginnings and perceived blank slates. While many people roll their eyes at what can be (or at least appear to be) contrived and cliché self-promises, I believe in the spirit of this season. It provides an amazing opportunity for self-reflection, which I don’t think we engage in enough. We shouldn’t berate others or even ourselves for needing such a blatant reminder to check in. Just as we shouldn’t box it into a single day or month. It’s ongoing process, but some people need a clear starting point.

What I started to reflect on is my career. I took a backseat last year in an effort to rediscover my motivation and direction. It’s easy to lose sight of my personal “why,” which my industry labels as my “brand” or “identity.” This is especially the case as a social media personality and blogger — although I do branch outside of these roles as well, which is what much of last year focused on. I stepped back not because I was retreating, but because I care so much about what I’m sharing with the world that I needed to take the time to reevaluate how and why I was doing it.

Now, I can go on and on about my personal insights from last year and my goals for this year, but in thinking about all of that I decided that I wanted to address something a little more practical but often overlooked: Our digital presence.

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Virtually everyone has one these days — even those who don’t think they do. Beyond the career possibilities that come with social media and blogs, such a presence has been a boon for marginalized voices, creating communities and sharing pieces of ourselves that we’ve always wanted to, but never had the proper platform to. A “digital me” matters for these important and fundamental reasons in addition to more strategic and profitable ones.

But if you’re just utilizing social media — be it Instagram, Facebook or Twitter — have you ever thought about how this newfound space for sharing and caring can be erased at the push of a single button? That we don’t actually own these platforms? It’s a scary thought when you think about what social media has been able to propel, educate and change in the world and in others.

That’s where a website comes in. You own your website. It’s yours. Period.

We often overlook the “blog” as it were, if I stick with my own use for this tool. With our ever shortening attention spans and need for instant gratification, social media has become the end all be all for entrepreneurial influencers. Yet whether it’s a decrease in traffic or too much extra work, there should be no excuse when it comes to owning a URL. You never know when something might be taken away from you, so you should be prepared.

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I also attended a digital conference a few years back and the one thing that stuck with me was this sentiment: The blog is the carpet that ties the whole room together. At the end of the day, it’s a one-stop destination that brings all of your platforms together, creating something truly meaningful and, for some, professional.

I’ve had my website for over four years now and although I might write on it sporadically these days, I’m so grateful I have it. Not only because I own it, but because it’s a space that allows me to really dive deeply into topics that matter to me like mental health, well-being, travel and so much more. And for those influencers and aspiring influencers reading this, it’s hugely desirable from a brand perspective.

By owning my own website, I’m also able to have an even more direct link to my audience, believe it or not. That’s an even stronger sentiment for those who utilize mailing lists. And as someone who loves aesthetic, I have complete control over the look and feel of my brand. In fact, my .CA is completely custom thanks to Greg Washington.

You know what I didn’t know and am suddenly so grateful for as well? That I’m proudly Canadian online. I never really thought about it when I chose to go with a .CA, but I’ve always been so unbelievably grateful that I call Canada my home. From the diversity of Toronto to the beauty of our coasts and everything in between, it’s hard not to be. So it was a natural choice to make. But until recently, I didn’t know that CIRA was a non-profit.

“Proceeds from every .CA sold are reinvested directly into the Canadian Internet community through the Community Investment Program,” a promise direct from the organization itself. How incredible is that? And just in case you were wondering, .com domains do not do this. So now that I’ve convinced you to be a smart digital entrepreneur and get a website if you don’t already have one, get a .CA (or make the switch). In addition to practical needs such as security, availability and even national user preference, why not support an organization designed to give back.

Talk about starting off your new year on the right foot! And with all of this in mind, including New Year resolutions, you can be sure to see more content on my blog this year. So stay tuned!

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