Carley Knobloch grew up in Toronto, where, as a high school student in the early 1990s, she naturally gravitated to new publishing software such as QuarkXPress and coding techniques. She wasn’t a typical gadget-obsessed technology geek — it was just one of many things she did.
Knobloch’s broad range of skills and inclinations have always centered on people and communication. So it seems only fitting that she is the founder and CEO of Digitwirl, a website that produces weekly videos to help women integrate technology into their lives. Knobloch is broadening her message on eHow Tech, with a focus on the personal and professional benefits of social media.
In the late 1990s, Knobloch moved to Los Angeles, where she got married and worked as a graphic designer for film and television production companies. Then came the kids — son Spencer, who is now 10, and daughter Annie, who is 7 — and Knobloch’s career took a different course.
How Did You Become an Entrepreneur?
I came to it gradually. … I was working for big corporations, and at some point, I went out on my own and became a freelance designer and creative consultant. Then I went and had a couple babies and reinvented myself as a life coach. I was working with women nationally and locally on managing their lives, how to be great moms and also stay true to what’s important to you. It all just snowballed. I started a blog, and it became a newsletter. That all gave birth to Digitwirl (in December 2010) … suddenly I was a Web TV producer and running a larger venture. My dad is a serial entrepreneur. I guess just by osmosis I picked up the fun and the risk and the demeanor you have to have to endure the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. I saw that women like me would really benefit from having this information presented in this way, so I just jumped in and got started.
Have You Noticed That People Want to Hear What You Have to Say?
Yeah. I really have always been that girl that people come to, not only for solutions in their technical life, but also their personal life. So life coaching seemed very natural to me.
When I became a life coach, I chose this specialty to work with moms … and a lot of women were coming to me for entrepreneurial advice. I kept saying ‘I’m not a business coach, I’m not a business coach.’ … There were plenty of ebusiness coaches I knew personally that were in the marketplace and I kept referring people to them.
But I realized that certain people want to hear it from you. That what you’re doing resonates with them. Of course you need to not falsely advertise yourself and your skill set, but I realized personally that I didn’t need to be referring people out. I had a lot to say and a lot to offer in that arena, and people wanted to hear it from me.
But I really did have this hang-up about, ‘Well I’m not a business person and I don’t have enough to really help people in the business arena, I’m just going to stick with what I’ve been trained to do.’ … It really was the first time where I was like I have a lot of things to say in this arena, people want to hear it from me, I shouldn’t shy from offering my help and services just because I didn’t go to school for it. I think a lot of people have that hang-up — ‘Well, I’m not trained, there is someone better qualified so I’m not going to volunteer my services.’
What’s the Outline of ‘Socially Connected’?
It’s essentially for people who are interested in understanding the online world, especially social media … people who want to build a brand and online social bond, both personal and professional. Everything from [the] broad strokes of building your online presence and how to connect on different platforms and all the way down to the granular. Why you would want to start a food blog if you’re passionate about cooking, and how to get an audience to it. How to synch up your Twitter feed to your blogosphere. Just starting with basic building blocks and connecting it all together.
What Role Does Social Media Play in Your Professional and Personal Lives?
Professionally, it’s a great way for me to build an audience of like-minded people. … Twitter is the megaphone where you can broadcast quick thoughts and quick information. It’s a great way to drive traffic to our website. Facebook is really where we engage more with our community. People can ask us questions, and we can ask them questions and really start a dialogue. LinkedIn is really just my resume on steroids.
Personally, it’s been great for me. I’ve built a lot of friendships with women I’ve never met who have helped me, and I’ve been able to help them. … I do have a lot of people who follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and they feel like they are keeping in touch. Just like we all do on Facebook — we’re not really in touch, but we are keeping tabs.
Do the Personal and Professional Online Lives Ever Merge?
My personal and professional lives are very blurred. My kids are in my show, and they are watching me publish my blog and edit video, and we are talking constantly about the tools I am using. I seek various organizations, and I communicate with those people online and I’ve often seen them offline. The whole concept of my show [Digitwirl] is how I manage my own family and work lives with the technology I am sourcing and sharing with my audience.
What’s the Common Thread Between Your Interests and Abilities?
My passion, I think, really is to educate. I’ve always been an educator, just naturally. … I speak at women’s entrepreneurial groups on everything from Internet videos to list building and email marketing. Pretty much anything anyone asks me to speak about. I just really enjoy sharing what I know, whether it’s with a girlfriend or in a national newsletter or syndicated Web series. I also just love technology. People might wrongfully think I’m super organized and totally together. I need all of these resources just as much as anyone in my audience. I’m just a hopeless mess most of the time when it comes to keeping my life in order. This is a 100 percent organic pursuit of resources that can help me, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share them when I find them.