TELUS is proud to connect Canadians from coast to coast to Canada’s largest and fastest mobile network, empowering luminaries like these to inspire change through technology.
Daily Hive’s Connecting Canada series features Canadians who motivate and inspire us, and keep our cities connected. From entrepreneurs to social media influencers to community leaders, we dig deep to find out how these change-makers got started, their daily success strategies, and how technology keeps them at the top of their game.
How does a blog go from a personal project to a success story?
Mike Morrison has been an influential voice in Calgary ever since he started Mike’s Bloggity Blog way back in 2006, evolving it from a personal blog into a source for the city’s latest and greatest.
When he’s not writing you’ll find him running the digital marketing conference SocialWest, or cruising around Calgary on his bike – he has even written a guide, Calgary By Bike, to offer Calgarians an overview of the city’s two-wheeled landscape.
We decided to ask him a few questions about how he made it to where he is today, and what his plans are for tomorrow and beyond.
What inspired you to start the blog, and how did you get from there to where you are now?
The blog turns 12 years old later this year, which is just incredible to me. Time is just flying by. When I started the blog, there was no such thing as social media, so really it was just a way of staying in touch with my friends and family on the east coast. I had moved to Calgary and didn’t really know anyone, so I spent my time on my blog. I used to write live-blogs of Canadian Idol just to pass the time. Oh man, that was a long time ago.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in that time, and how did you overcome them?
The blog became my full time job four years ago and it’s definitely been an adventure. Blogging is a completely new career, so a lot of it is making up the rules as you go. Like anyone who works in the creative world, it’s always a challenge to get people to pay you for your work, but I think if you have a product that you’re proud of, you can find the people who want to pay to work with you.
What would your advice be for people trying to get into the same industry?
Stop thinking about it and just do it. So many people say to me they are thinking of starting a blog, so stop thinking about it, and just start doing it. Who knows, you might not even like blogging and you’ve been wasting all this time thinking about it. But you also have to start it for the right reasons. When I started, it was because I loved writing and the idea of getting paid for it was impossible. And now that I get paid for it, I still love writing. It’s always about the writing.
What does your average workday look like, and what do you wake up looking forward to doing?
Every day is different, which is probably why I love it. Some days I’m writing the blog, other days I’m running the business of the blog. Or booking speakers for the conference, or running around putting Calgary By Bike on bookshelves. I’ve also been speaking more and more at events, which is something I really love doing it. Honestly, I love all of it, because I was able to take the things that I love about me and my personality and turn them into a career. I feel like the luckiest person on earth!
How does technology factor into what you do and what’s the one piece of tech you can’t leave home without?
Tech is pretty important, probably the most important. My whole career is my laptop and cell phone, I can never go anywhere without them.
I also love taking photos, so sometimes I leave my phone at home and just walk around my neighbourhood with my camera. There’s something so relaxing about that and you’ll often notice things that you may have walked by 100 times before.
What are 5 apps you can’t live without?
Oh man, I’m going to sound like I’m sponsored by Google (I wish), but I love so many of their apps:
- Google Photos
- Google Analytics (I’m obsessed with data)
- The AR stickers on my Google Pixel 2
- The Calm App
How do you handle your work/social life/personal health balance?
I have a horrible habit of turning all of my hobbies into my career and so far, I haven’t figured out how to turn dodgeball into a money making venture. I play every Monday night and sometimes it feels like nothing is more important. It can be silly, but it’s also great exercise and even a little cathartic.
What’s next for your career?
You can’t work in the digital space without always evolving, because there’s always something new right around the corner. I love all the directions my career is taking me. A big goal for me is to start hiring people, so we can grow the blog and SocialWest to places that just one person can’t take it.
What’s something you love about Calgary?
It’s honestly hard to pick just one. I was supposed to live here for six months and that was 12 years ago! Professionally, I love that Calgary gives everyone a shot. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, who your parents are or where you went to school. If you work hard and have good ideas, I think you’ll find success here.
As a city itself, it’s the sunniest city in Canada, what’s not to love about that!