Company Spotlight: Confessions of the Professions
Featured Company: Confessions of the Professions
What is Confessions of the Professions?
Confessions of the Professions is a website dedicated to understanding life in the workplace, jobs, and careers. We all go to work everyday, spend at least, if not more, than 40 hours there. We hang around these people who, although we think of as strangers, are technically our family. We spend more time with them than our actual family. During our time on the job, we show up, do our job, and we are either indifferent to it, love it or we hate our jobs. For many people, the sole motivation is money, but for others, they actually enjoy what they do.
Whether they love or hate your job, Confessions of the Professions is a place for people to come and share their knowledge of their experience in the workplace or just rant about a customer, co-worker, or a boss.
Why did you start Confessions of the Professions?
My fascination began in college when I attended a Leadership program that specialized in Emotional Intelligence. While the course was for a year and required about 35 hours, I was invited to the leadership workshop for 3 years in a row during my time at that college, completing over 100 hours in understanding Emotional Intelligence, learning many different aspects of leadership each time. This helped me begin to understand my own purpose. I wanted to help others figure out what they wanted to do with their lives, help them understand their own purpose, and more specifically, how they could make a living doing it. I am fascinated by careers, jobs, and the workplace. It is where we spend the majority of our adult lifetime.
I am interested in passion and drive: what motivates people to do what they want to do in life and why are they driven to do it. Why are there some people who pursue and achieve their goals in the career or job they want, yet there are plenty of others, more so, that settle for mundane jobs in which they aren't necessarily unhappy, but they aren't happy, either. There are also plenty of people who simply show up to work for their paycheck, while there are many others who, although they love the paycheck, they would do their jobs for free.
Being a psychology major, wanting to help people discover their passions, desires, goals, and motivate them to achieve those goals, I began Confessions of the Professions. I never went further with my psychology degree, but I ended up getting back into my long lost love, which I turned my back on in my pursuit of psychology, and that was programming, which ultimately led me to web development and design, where I was able to find a job I love, though I had to work several other jobs to get to the place that I would finally call my career.
I think Confessions of the Professions does have a purpose for everyone as there is always something to learn and take away from reading any article on Confessions of the Professions. I eventually hope to use the information from Confessions of the Professions for some thesis when I eventually decide to pursue a Masters Degree.
Who runs Confessions of the Professions and how old is it?
The person who runs Confessions of the Professions behind the scenes is Matthew Gates, but it is the contributors who actually keep it running and keep it interesting. Contributors mostly include freelance writers wanting to display their work, marketing departments who are looking to expand beyond their own blogs, and marketing agencies who work with their own clients that look to publish on websites and extend their audience reach. Take a look at all of our contributors in the Author section.
We are in our fourth year of existence. This is kind of an incredible deal considering I have lost interest in Confessions of the Professions a few times, yet I still keep it going. Who keeps me motivated and interested in it? People keep contributing and talking about it which keeps me motivated to keep it going. That is the wonderful community that Confessions of the Professions has created. I am the only one who technically runs it behind the scenes, however, I could not keep it going if people weren't constantly contributing their own knowledge and information to the website. I remember a few times, I gave up, did not want to look at it or login, but then I would log into check the email account for Confessions of the Professions, and would see that people care about this website and love it just as much as I know I do, and that keeps me motivated to keep it going, for them, and for myself.
Is Confessions of the Professions really your company?
It is not technically a company, but it sure seems like it is, as I am kept busy reading, writing, and processing articles. Not just my own, but the articles of others who submit them. It has certainly become a part-time job, and though I probably used to spend over 20 hours a week on it, I try to spend no more than an hour or two a day working on Confessions of the Professions. I definitely wish I got paid to do the things I do, but Confessions of the Professions is still just my hobby. While I do make some money from the ads and text advertisements, they mostly just pay the hosting and VPS server costs. I had made the decision early on to put the website on a VPS knowing that it would probably gain in popularity, and even if it did not, I still enjoyed keeping it running. No regrets for doing that, as the little extra cost has totally been worth it.
What I get out of it though is a lot of useful knowledge and information, sometimes even before society even knows about it, and I have spoken to so many amazing people from all over the world.
How did you get people interested in contributing confessions to Confessions of the Professions?
I began Confessions of the Professions with at least a dozen already-written articles by myself. These were mostly my own stories, as I have held quite a few jobs, from security officer to orientation leader to liquor store clerk, and many others in between. However, over the years, from listening to friends and family complain about their own jobs and their days at work, I was able to write even more material about their lives. Sometimes, I wrote anonymously and other times, their first names were mentioned as the contributing authors.
Good things that happen at work or bad things that happen at work, everyone always has a story to tell! Where is this written down and captured? When your husband or your wife comes home to complain about his or her day, you give them the ear and moral support, but that is as far as it goes. They wake up the next day and they rinse and repeat the day all over again. I think many people realized that Confessions of the Professions could be a place for them to come rant or just share their stories, and even remain anonymous doing it.
How are there so many different topics about everything on Confessions of the Professions?
I knew I could never write everything myself about every job or career, so I opened Confessions of the Professions for all to submit their own stories and instead of just being my blog, or my website, it became The People's Website. It became your website.
This was probably the best decision I made. In the beginning, I turned to Craigslist and Fiverr to solicit people to just confess their professions: tell me what you do for a living, tell me what you love or hate about your job, tell me why. Tell me about your boss, your co-workers, and you at your job. What is it you do? Why do you keep going? Is it really worth the money? It evolved to become more than just "confessions" and the articles started coming, as companies and individuals were submitting those, they were confessing: "What is the best Office Chair", "How to Utilize Space in the Office", "What are the best plants for your office?", etc.
I then expanded and found MyBlogGuest, where I started to apply for articles. I kept a record of everything I have ever published from MBG complete with statistics, and I had about a 40% acceptance rate, which is exactly what I wanted, as I did not want to be accepted by everyone, giving me the opportunity to mix it up with a lot of different types of articles from all over. Nowadays, I normally get a 99% acceptance rate from MBG, though I don't apply for articles anymore, as we have built the empire that is Confessions of the Professions.
Who is contributing to Confessions of the Professions?
I get a half a dozen to a dozen emails a week with infographics or articles from freelancers or companies, including O.C. Tanner, University of Chicago, Ohio University, University of Cincinatti, University of Florida, University of Southern California, and many other big name corporations or colleges that want to share their knowledge, many more specifically from the individual departments themselves, primarily the Business, Science, and Psychology departments from different universities.
I'm not sure if the companies themselves submit the articles, but plenty of them find agents who do marketing for them, who use Confessions of the Professions as a basis and foundation for sharing information. There are also many marketing directors and outreach programs that business use to help spread unique content around the Internet to many different websites who accept guest contributors, and Confessions of the Professions just happened to end up on their list of sources.
I also write plenty of articles myself, as I love to write about all kinds of things, mostly focused on work, but I also write about plenty of other experiences, like when I went to my first Comic Con, especially for those times where I am in a dry spell of not receiving any submissions that week.
Although Confessions of the Professions is all written in English, it is read around the world with the majority of visitors coming from United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and India.
Who is reading Confessions of the Professions?
We cannot see their faces directly so we can only assume that we have amazing intelligent readers, especially because many of them actually email me personally or are tweeting our articles. From the data we collect, however, we'd guess that we are about average of 50/50 on male and female visitors (Quantcast has stated: 49% male and 51% female, and Google Analytics has stated 53% male and 47% female). Plenty of our readers either have jobs, and are freelancers or entrepreneurs, seeking to expand their knowledge. We have also seen college students referencing our articles and our articles have been used by people for presentations in their businesses. Caucasian is probably our largest reader base, though we are certainly excited to see Latino, African-American, Asian, and even readers from India. The primary age group reading Confessions of the Professions is between 25 - 45 years old. Over half of our readers are college-educated. People are still mostly reading from their desktop computers, but mobile is just as popular.
How do you process the confessions?
I personally read and optimize every confession that passes through the website, making sure that it will be interesting for the readers, and for search engines to pick up. I try to ensure uniqueness on Confessions of the Professions, so duplicate content, curated content, or spun content is often not accepted, as it serves no purpose. Why publish an article that has already been published? I also try to come up with a sub-headline if none is available, and choose a featured image, and a secondary image. I have found that by adding the two images, it definitely increases traffic. Occasionally, I find that I do have to fix grammar or spelling mistakes. I also have some contributors who do not technically meet the article requirements, so I try to help them out by adding a few more sentences or paragraphs, if necessary. I have never received a complaint from doing that.
The images help with visualization of what is going on in the article or at least gives your eyes some room to breathe from all the text. I also write a little segment for Quick Glimpse, which is a summary of the confession, usually broken down into the main points of four or five bullet points. While it may keep people on the website for less time, as most people who use the Quick Glimpse feature usually remain on the page for less than 2 minutes, I would rather know they left the website having gotten some main points from an article, than to have ignored the entire article completely. By taking the little extra time to do this, the website has become even more popular.
How do you have so many confessions for Confessions of the Professions?
Other people's articles always take priority over mine unless it is important that I get my own article out, but everyone else keeps submitting many articles throughout the year. Many times, I see new names, but there are plenty of people who keep returning, loving the website just as much as I do.
I keep getting ideas and writing about everything. These articles are often evergreen, which means I can publish them tomorrow, a week from now, or even next year, and they will still be relevant. I only publish a few dozen confessions of my own every year, but I very rarely ever stop writing, as I just see something and need to write it down. Soon as an idea pops into my head, I write it down, submit it to Confessions of the Professions, and expand on it. Sometimes I will take individual ideas or concepts from one idea, and turn it into several more spans of articles, with new ideas presented. It helps to keep an abundance of articles ready to go.
Publishing other people's articles as a priority over mine gives me a chance to write more interesting confessions. For those times when no one submits anything for a week or two, I turn to my own "stash" of confessions and start publishing them. It is rare that no one submits anything, but rarely do I ever have that problem of having nothing to publish.
What is the difference between a job and a career?
Such an interesting question! We could talk about it for hours and many might agree or even disagree with me. Some might use the terms, job and career, interchangeably, while others might say they are not the same thing! If we were to try and classify it for basic understanding: a job is something you do for a paycheck to make money, hopefully for the short-term, though many people spend their lives in jobs. A career is something you enjoy doing and is usually a lifelong ambition and pursuit. For example, Mark Zuckerberg goes to his job (a place) everyday and pursues his career (his position is not just that of a CEO, but he still is a software engineer/web developer, etc.) at Facebook. He is technically a technophile who has used the technology of Facebook, the technology he created, to change the world. He wakes up everyday with a new set of challenges that he seems to enjoy facing. You could say that Zuckerberg is well-established in a career he loves.
We noticed that you have an erotica section, called Dirty Confessions, on Confessions of the Professions, what is that all about?
Honestly? Sex sells. And whether you are a prostitute or a porn star, that is still a job. To some, it is even their careers. People have been caught having sex on the job. People also meet their spouses and partners on the job and develop romance on the job. Why filter that out? In the beginning, some companies were deterred and refused to publish on our website because we have an erotica section. Erotica is not technically porn. There are no nude photos on Confessions of the Professions, as we are, or at least try to be a mostly family-friendly website. However, we believe that there should be no censorship when it comes to jobs, careers, and the workplace. People tell us their confessions, we publish as is! It also helps to drive even more traffic. The erotica section tends to be most popular with our female visitors and continues to drive traffic to our website. People may have discovered the erotic stories, but they keep coming back for the additional information they find.
Does Confessions of the Professions have competition?
We are not really competing with anyone, as sites like About.com, LinkedIn.com, Medium.com are much more popular and have published similar articles to ours. Rather than compete, we just try to create a sense of community and understanding with our visitors. We want our visitors to know that they aren't alone if they had a bad day at work, or are dealing with a tough boss, or if they had an amazing day, and got a raise, or a promotion, we want to hear about it! We love good days at work! Our purpose for this website, of publishing your rant on our website, is to make sure that people know about it. If you had a bad day, the world should know! If you had a great day, the world should know! If you worked for a job that you will never work for again, why not warn people about working there? That is our duty to help each other out when it comes to the workplace.
Why do you say "We" when representing Confessions of the Professions?
When I say "we", I want to say it implies me, but I try to speak for all of the contributors of Confessions of the Professions. I want to be the voice for people who know the meaning of this website and have become loyal fans. Confessions of the Professions is for everyone who has ever worked a day in their life. They are instantly a part of the club just by going to work. Even if they don't go to work, we consider stay-at-home mothers and fathers, who are still technically working, but for free, a part of the "work club".
When do you normally publish confessions?
Confessions are published one to two articles per day, Monday through Friday, between 9 AM and 12 PM EST, with holidays and weekends off, which follows a business work week, and ensures there are plenty of articles for Confessions of the Professions.
Why did you choose this publishing schedule?
In the beginning, it was mostly experimental with some research to understand when was the best time to post and how much to post. Being a relatively young site, I personally wrote a lot of confessions, including many from my own friends and family who shared their stories with me. I would have an interview-like style talk with everyone and then take their confessions and write as them. Most of those confessions are from "Anonymous" contributors.
I was publishing three times a day, while sharing as much as I could and when I could. At first, I was excited to receive the 30-40 visitors a day that Confessions of the Professions was receiving. As the years went by, its popularity began to grow, and we are currently receiving anywhere from 600 - 1200 visitors a day. Usually the number depends on trends. For example, there might be a surge in the unemployment rate, which means more people are spending time online researching jobs and opportunities, and they discover this website.
Google also remains largely responsible for sending us organic traffic, but there are huge trends in their traffic as well, as they are constantly changing their algorithm which affects our own rankings in the search engine. Sometimes, no matter what you do, no matter how well you write or choose quality articles, your article ranks well or it does not, or sometimes it may also depend on what is trending: If more people are searching for a topic and your article shows up within a few pages, than people clicking on your link will cause its listing to likely rise, depending on its relevancy.
So as we grew in popularity, we actually dropped our posting schedule from 3 to 2 to 1-2 and also decide since we were a website dedicated to business, we would follow the standard work schedule of 9 AM - 6 PM. This also freed up some of my own time to pursue other side projects, such as MyPost, which is a free web page creation platform that allows you to get up your own web page on the Internet in seconds, without registering for any account at all.
We believe our publishing schedule works. Sometimes, however, being the free distribution website that we are, our queue gets backed up, meaning that many people are contributing articles, but since we only publish 1-2 confessions a day, there is a wait time for our posts to be processed, scheduled, and published. This has not really affected people contributing and driven them away. After all, with "free" comes a price and that price is a slight wait time.
Do you plan on charging to publish confessions?
We probably will not and never charge to publish a confession. While we do accept donations and that will certainly "boost" your publication date, and help keep this website running, we feel that information itself is something that should be open source and free. While there are people who certainly charge for their information, or for their more in-depth information, we are just here to get the information out there for you. We have had several contributors write some great articles, direct our visitors back to their site, where they could purchase more information, for which we do not get any referral for that, but that is as far as charging for a confession goes.
Considering that we do not charge for publication, it also means we have no budget to hire anyone to write for us, so Confessions of the Professions truly is ran by contributions, so we highly value our contributors time and unique articles.
How can I submit a confession?
There are really no restrictions on submissions except that articles must be no less than 500 words, and infographics must contain an introduction article of about 250 words.
Just about everything is accepted, so long as it is uniquely written and is not purely for advertising or self-promotion. For example, instead of advertising a company, contributors should share a piece of knowledge, information, or research your company learned, and in your Author Byline, is where you can advertise yourself or your business. Most contributors are professionals who understand SEO very well and know that this is a far more effective method of getting discovered and driving traffic.
Confessions of the Professions is for everyone who has ever worked a day in their life! Please feel free to contribute and make a new confession today!
What does the future look like for Confessions of the Professions?
The future is never certain, but we continue to accept and publish confessions all the time. For as long as people are going to work, we will always have a purpose. We will always have information to share, and I think people will always have something to rant about when it comes to their jobs. I would love to have a confession from everyone who has ever gone to work, to hear about what it is like to live in their shoes. From the time they wake up in the morning, with all intentions of going to work, so that they may receive a paycheck in order to pay their bills, until they hop into bed at night, only to repeat the same process the next day, and for most of us, it usually means a five-day series of lifetime drama with two-days break in between.
One thing that we would love to do is start doing analysis of jobs, maybe helping people get interested in jobs or careers they don't even know exists yet, or even creating those jobs or careers themselves just by simply putting an idea out there.
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- I was interested in passion and drive: what motivates people to do what they want to do in life and why are they driven to do it.
- Confessions of the Professions is my hobby. I knew I could never write everything myself about every job or career, so I opened Confessions of the Professions for all to submit their own stories and instead of just being my blog, or my website, it became The People's Website. It became your website.
- Just about everything is accepted, so long as it is uniquely written and is not purely for advertising or self-promotion.
- Confessions of the Professions is for everyone who has ever worked a day in their life! Please feel free to contribute and make a new confession today!