Brilliant Business Moms with Beth Anne Schwamberger

5 Reasons Why you Should Support Small Business this Christmas.  When you support small business you support: Innovation Opportunity Families Our Economy Giving Back, and so much more.  Read more at brilliantbusinessmoms.com

As I sat at home, my little boy playing on the floor close by, preparing to record this podcast episode, so many reasons came to mind for why small businesses matter.  There are a million reasons - like the little girl who gets to take music lessons or the parents who are able to put food on the table.  There's the teenager who goes to college because his parents took a risk.  They got out of their dead-end jobs, worked their buns off, and created something from scratch.  There's the mom who teaches her kids every single day that you can create the world you want to live in.  There are a million personal stories for why small business matters.  Then, there's the bigger picture that shows what all of these small businesses mean as a whole.

Tune into the podcast to hear my take on why small business matters, plus a special announcement!

When You Support Small Business You Support:

  1. Innovation – Small businesses focus on solving problems and creating products that aren’t always driven by popular trends or sales forecasts. There are so many unique products created by makers and artisans every day - individuals who are set on making the world a better place.
  2. Opportunity – On a recent episode of Shark Tank, Daymond John said, “Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate equalizer.” There is opportunity for everyone when it comes to innovation, hustling and getting your products into stores and the hands of customers. Being an entrepreneur is hard, grueling work. It's that way for everyone. The playing field is equal and it’s all about the level of determination and work that you bring to the equation.
  3. Families – When you buy from a small business, often you’re supporting a family. You’re the reason a mom is able to be at home with her children, or that a family is able to pay their mortgage or send children to college.  You’re supporting individuals with a high level of ethics, who treat their employees like family.
  4. The US Economy - Many small businesses have products that are handmade by their owners right here in the U.S. Rather than buy plastic junk from China and factories where the working conditions are unknown, you can support quality products, eco-friendly materials, and families paying their workers fair wages.
  5. Paying it Forward - Small businesses give back.  Research indicates that over 90 percent of small business owners contribute to their communities through volunteering, in-kind contributions, and cash donations. When you support small businesses, you’re helping to pay it forward.

 Discover some great small businesses that you can support this Christmas.

Pin this graphic so you can spread the word and encourage others to SHOP SMALL this year.

5 Reasons to Shop Small this Holiday Season.  Supporting small businesses is a vote for families, the economy, innovation, opportunity, and giving back.  We hope we'll see you on Small Business Saturday!

Direct download: Episode2058_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Learn how one viral Pin saved Melissa Will's blog.  @EmpressofDirt   After learning all that she could about Pinterest and crafting many viral posts since, Melissa now earns a full-time income blogging.  Hear her story on the podcast and grab the shownotes to put all of her best advice into action.  Have you ever watched in amazement as a Facebook post, Tweet, or Pin goes viral? If you’re anything like me, you immediately think about the factors that led to its virality. Was the content incredibly moving? Did it solve a huge problem? What made this post stand out among all others? How can you harness some of that virality for your own business?

Melissa Will of EmpressofDirt.net is one of those lucky (and skilled!) creators of a viral post. She was literally telling her blog readers goodbye with a round-up of her best content, when to her amazement, her post went viral on Pinterest. As Melissa shares, “I thought my website was under a robot attack!” Since that time, Melissa has learned all she can about harnessing the power of Pinterest to grow her blog.

Hold on to your seat, because this episode has enough tips on Pinterest to make you dizzy! Don’t let that overwhelm you, though. Take things one step at a time, and maybe you’ll have a story to share just like Melissa’s a year from now!

On the Podcast

01:54 – From Online Business to Blogger
08:22- Taking Advice from Others
09:07 – The Turning Point
11:08 – They’re Coming…Now What?
13:35 – Pinterest Tips + Best Practices
19:37 – How to Show up in the SmartFeed
21:19 – Pinterest SEO
26:04 – Hashtags are Over
27:28 – Best Sources for Pinterest Advice
28:16 – How to Craft Your Pinterest Routine
32:16 – The Power of a Round-Up Post
38:11 – Income Breakdown + Adsense Advice
43:47 – Hilarious Mom Moment (I know I’ve been there before!)

From Online Business to Blogger

No, that title isn’t a typo. Melissa actually started an online shop in the year 2000 – when online shops were few and far between. It was only after many years with a shop that she decided to grow her blog into a full-time profession.

Melissa’s entrepreneurial journey began when she was pregnant with her youngest daughter. She was very ill during the pregnancy and had serious complications during childbirth. She hadn’t recovered enough during maternity leave to return to work, so Melissa resigned from her job.

Melissa took up quilt-making and start hand-dying her own fabrics for her quilts. She loved fabric-dyeing so much that she needed a reason to justify all the fabric she was creating.

Her husband showed her how to use html, and they set up an online fabric shop for her. Social media didn’t exist at the time, but people found her via search engines.

Melissa received her first order just a few days after opening her online shop.

She received letters from potential customers saying that they wanted to purchase from her, but they didn’t quite trust the whole process of ordering items online. Melissa solved this problem by creating a front page for her shop that featured a journal of her life as a stay-at-home mom running an online business. Essentially, Melissa created a blog before anyone had even given the thing a name!

Melissa’s business quickly grew into wholesale orders, craft shows, and teaching fabric-dying. She was a mom by day, and a fabric-dyer and entrepreneur by night.

Melissa offers this insight:
“When you’re home with little kids, you really need to have something that’s all your own where you feel valued and creative in it, and you can really spread your wings.”

Melissa eventually became burned out from all the demands of her fabric business, and eventually she put her shop on hiatus. She continued as a hobby blogger and would read success stories about people earning their living through blogging, but she couldn’t figure out how to make it happen for herself.

Taking Advice from Others

After years of blogging with very little results, Melissa knew she had to stop doing the same old thing and let other people advise her.

She took a blogging course from Corbett Barr. (He’s one of our favorite guys over at Fizzle!) Then she got her own domain, hosting, and found an email service provider.  (Our pointers on where to grab these)

The Turning Point

In July of 2012, after taking Corbett’s course, things did pick up for Melissa’s blog. She had several hundred visitors per day, but that wasn’t enough to earn an income.

At Christmas-time in 2012, Melissa decided to say goodbye to her blog and move on to something that would provide a steady income.

She bid farewell to her readers with a summary of her best projects from the year. Melissa made her very first collage pin showing each project and put it on Pinterest. (At this point, Melissa hardly ever used the platform!) She emailed all of her subscribers and linked to her Farewell post.

Within 12 hours Melissa says she was getting message in her inbox from people she didn’t know, along with new subscriptions to her newsletter.

When she looked at her site stats, she thought that it might be under a robot attack because of the drastic increase in visitors!

Melissa said it was like her site suddenly came to life!

The Collage Post Cover that went Viral on Pinterest and Saved Melissa's Blog.  Click on the photo to check out the blog post.
The Collage Post Cover that went Viral on Pinterest and Saved Melissa's Blog. Click on the photo to check out the blog post.

They’re Coming…..Now What?

Instead of saying goodbye, Melissa spent 2013 trying to make the best use of her new-found traffic. In addition to focusing on Pinterest (which we’ll cover in great detail next!) there are five other things Melissa did to grow her blog.

  1. She focused on making her site better so that people who stumbled upon her via Pinterest would want to stay.
  2. She created an e-book - Melissa followed Pat Flynn’s advice and created an e-book based on all the projects in that Farewell Round-up Post. (Melissa makes it clear that all of the content in her e-book is readily available for free on her site, but people like the convenience of an e-book)
  3. She used Hometalk.com – You can share any projects you’ve made there and link back to your site. It’s a great way to get new visitors.
  4. She created a Blog Tribe – Melissa reached out to a blogger she didn’t know but admired and started a blog tribe with her. She and other gardening bloggers have joined together to help promote each other.
  5. Social Media – Melissa didn’t just focus on Pinterest, but got more involved in many social media channels, and learned the best practices of each platform she used, so she could harness its power to its full potential.

Pinterest Tips and Best Practices

There are 3 Basic Goals for Pinterest

  1. Get Repins
  2. Get Followers
  3. Get Clickthroughs

Once someone clicks through to your site, you’d like them to take off their coats and stay a while. Again, this relates back to great content and an easy-to-navigate site.

Melissa tells us that keeping up with the changes on Pinterest is a must, because their algorithm will always favor those pins and Pinners that follow the current best practices.

Current Best Practices for Pinterest

  • Crisp, well-composed images
  • Set up your profile properly with a nice image of yourself, great description about what you do, and a verified website URL
  • Become a trusted pinner by choosing to pin only content that links back to the original source. (Pinterest’s guideline is to make sure your pin links to something helpful.)

How to Show Up in the Smart Feed

  • Enable Rich Pins on your site  (Here’s an overview on enabling rich pins.  It looks rather complicated and you may need the help of a developer.)
  • Rich pins are, essentially, a validation system to show that your pin goes back to the original site.
  • Create engaging boards that tell a story.
  • Use titles for your boards that have relevant keywords so you’ll be found when someone searches for that topic
  • Link your board to the correct category on Pinterest (again this makes it easier to be found)
  • Change up your board covers every so often so your profile page has a new appearance
  • Push seasonal boards to the top of your profile
  • Keep your account active by adding pins to all of your boards at least every couple of weeks.  (As Melissa says, “there are rewards in the feed for those who stay active and play nice.”)

Pinterest SEO

There are 3 places where your keywords for each pin should be found.

  1. Pin descriptions – These are a huge opportunity to show up in the feed. Write in an engaging and natural style, but make sure relevant keywords are included
  2. The file name of your Pin - The search tool uses that file name to index it, so your image should be titled and saved with those important keywords included.  (This is true of any image on your site or in your Etsy shop – more on Etsy SEO here.)
  3. The URL that the image is linked to

All 3 of these places to include the correct keywords will stack up together to make your pin more visible.

Another huge factor for relevancy?

Higher engagement via more re-pins, hearts, and comments make your pin more visible in Pinterest’s new SmartFeed

How to Ensure Excellent Pins Every Time

So, you’ve figured out how to craft excellent pins, but what happens when others pin content directly from your site? I mean, it’s great, right?! But how can you take full advantage of this opportunity?

  • Use the Pin-It Button to make pinning your content easy for your readers
  • Images that are taller than they are wide often do better (aspect ratio of 2:3 or 4:5)
  • Include at least one longer image within each blog post along with the other image choices
  • Fill in alt tags for images on your site. Pin-It buttons pull the pin’s description from that alt description.
  • Note that most pinners will not compose their own description for your image, so you need to do the groundwork for them by creating an engaging, keyword-rich description via the alt-tag
  • Hashtags are now strongly discouraged on Pinterest
  • The only exception to the hashtag rule is when you’re doing a sponsored post and you’re required to include #spon or #Ad to indicate that it’s a sponsored pin.
Another successful Pin by Melissa.  This one pin alone has been re-pinned over 4,000 times!  Note the beautiful photo, helpful and compelling text, and great description of the pin.  Click the photo to view this pin on Pinterest.
Another successful Pin by Melissa. This one pin alone has been re-pinned over 4,000 times! Note the beautiful photo, helpful and compelling text, and great description of the pin. Click the photo to view this pin on Pinterest.

Hashtags are Over

  • The old advice was to use two hashtags in each pin description
  • With the new promoted pins that are surfacing, Pinterest’s guidelines indicate that one hashtag is ok, but any more than that appears spammy and will not be approved for promotion
  • More than one hashtag will actually demote the pin in the SmartFeed

The Best Sources for Pinterest Advice

The Pinterest Blog
The Oh So Pinteresting Podcast with Cynthia Sanchez
The Social Media Marketing Podcast

How to Craft Your Pinterest Routine

Melissa admits to spending only 10 minutes per day on Pinterest despite benefiting from hundreds of thousands of visitors via the site each month.

How is this possible? Melissa crafts each blog post with Pinterest in mind, and by optimizing the post and images, Pinterest does the rest of the work for her, in a way.

When she develops a new blog post idea, she creates it with sharing in mind.  She writes out a storyboard of all the images she’d like to have in the post – including ones that would do well on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Twitter

Melissa has worked to build up her image library. She always has a camera with her. Whenever she finds something beautiful, that tells a story, would make a great background, she just snaps a picture.

She snaps a close-up, far-away, and small video clips.  Over time, Melissa has a huge library to pull from and can blog about any topic at any time with all of her original images.

As Melissa says, “At some point if you get a book offer or want to write an e-book, you’ve got a huge amount of new content that you can share.”

Just one example of how Melissa uses her photo arsenal to create excellent blog post cover photos and collages every time.
Just one example of how Melissa uses her photo arsenal to create excellent blog post cover photos and collages every time.

The Power of a Round-Up Post

Melissa tells us that every single one of her most popular pins has been a collage.

Over the course of a year, Melissa will write many posts that each have a uniting theme to them. Then she takes the individual posts and writes a round-up post with a collage. “They always do well,” Melissa admits.

In addition to using collages on her round-up posts, Melissa makes a collage for various menu pages on her site. For example, if you check out her Garden Ideas Section, there’s not just a list of all her posts on the topic, but a Pinnable collage with images from some of the posts. These Menu Page Collages bring lots of traffic to her site, and from those menu pages, her new visitors explore lots of content.

Melissa shares this valuable stat: Visitors stay 4-5 minutes when they arrive at her site via a menu page versus just 1-2 minutes when arriving from a typical blog post pin.  (Wow! Clearly Menu Page Collages are powerful stuff!)

Income Breakdown Plus Adsense Advice

Adsense – this is Melissa’s largest source of income
Amazon Affiliate links
E-books – Melissa has several e-books for sale on her site. She doesn’t push them or sell hard, but they continue to sell well every year
Sidebar Ads from Sponsors
Sponsored Posts – This is rare, as Melissa says yes to only 1 in 100 requests she receives

Adsense Advice

Have you heard that Adsense is only for Amateurs? Melissa is living proof that Adsense can pay off for experienced bloggers in a big way.

  • Set up targeted ads by filling in descriptions on what your site is about, who your audience is, and where on your site the ads will appear.
  • Use mobile-responsive ads. (Non mobile-responsive ads will cut off versus fit nicely on the screen, and over 50% of Melissa’s traffic is mobile.)
  • Place one square ad in the upper 3rd of every blog post
  • Use the plug-in, Quick Adsense. (It allows Melissa to place the ad exactly where she wants it to fall within the blog post, typically under the first image.)

Melissa’s Hilarious Mom Moment

This one had Sarah and I both cracking up! It reminded us so much of the harried, distracted mompreneur stage that we’re in at the moment. Can you relate?

Stay in Touch with Melissa!

EmpressofDirt.Net
And of course, you know you want to follow her on Pinterest!

Direct download: Episode205720Melissa20Will_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm EST

Learn from New Mom Entrepreneur Laura Smith of IHeartPlanners.com.  Laura makes a living designing and selling planners, planner kits, and blogging.  Hear her great tips on product photos, staying focused, and email newsletters.

Have you ever looked at someone else's success and wondered, "How did they do that?  What's their secret?"  On this episode, Laura shares some of the best advice I've heard on how to be successful.

It's both much easier and much more difficult than you'd think.

Success involves clear goals, planning, and unshakeable focus.

Tackle those 3 things, and you're well on your way.  Listen to Laura's best advice.  Seriously, it could be a game-changer for you.

P.S.  Learn how to get great product photos too!  Seriously, Laura spills some secrets we've never heard before!

P.S.S. Did we mention that Laura is a fellow Pittsburgher?  That alone, is reason enough to tune in :)

On the Podcast

01:17 - From Electrical Engineer to Entrepreneur
03:52 - The Importance of Being Focused
05:29 - Great Product Photos (4 Tips)
09:26 - How to Use Stock Photos
12:12 - 3 Ways to Get More Done
14:11 - 2 Ways to Grow
17:09 - Using an E-Course to Add Subscribers
19:35 - Email Newsletters – What to Include
22:17 - Revenue
26:14 - Business + Baby: How Life Looks Different
28:52 - The Key to Getting Things Done as a New Mom
31:22 - 3 Tools that Keep Laura Organized
37:23 - One Simple Step that You can Take Today to Get More Done

From Electrical Engineer to Entrepreneur

Laura has a degree in electrical engineering and worked as an engineer for six years. What made her quit such a stable job to start life as an entrepreneur?

For years she read blogs on how to start a business online. She didn’t have the confidence or courage to try it, but she enjoyed learning all she could about the process.  In 2012, she decided it was time to stop letting “fear for no reason” hold her back.

One year later, she quit her engineering job to grow her business full-time.

Thankfully, with her husband’s income, Laura was able to quit her job before her business was earning its own full-time salary. She was blessed to be able to focus on growing the business before they had children.

The Importance of Being Focused

Laura has always loved planners, but she didn’t have the confidence early on to recognize that she could build a business around them.

A few months into blogging, Laura realized that her passion was organizing, and people were relating to those posts on her site. She re-branded her site from SuperSweetLife to IHeartPlanners and has narrowed her business focus around this one topic.

“If you try to pursue too many things, it’s just really hard to become very good at any of them and really turn it into something profitable.”

I Heart Planners by Mompreneur Laura Smith.  Listen to her best business advice on the Brilliant Business Moms podcast.

Great Product Photos (4 Tips)

As Laura says, “Photos are absolutely key and very difficult!”

Her strategy:

  1. Take a LOT of photos. Try out different props and backgrounds to see what works.
  2. Use natural light (even if it’s two degrees in Pittsburgh in January!)
  3. Go through all your photos and pick the layout that works the best. Repeat that layout for your other products to save time.
  4. Use a professional photographer for those products that are key to the success of your business.

Laura found a product photographer in a Facebook group, and she ships her Sweet Life Planner to the photographer internationally each year. The photographer then creates the perfect set-up and takes far better photos than Laura could do on her own.

This plan wouldn’t work if Laura hired a photographer for all of her product photos, but since she does this just once a year, the time delay and expense is worth the end result.

The Sweet Life Planner
The Sweet Life Planner

How to Use Stock Photos

Laura employs another unique product photo strategy:  She uses stock photos!

Here’s how it works:

  • Laura buys stock photos for $15 from KateMaxShop on Etsy
  • The photos are made to have blank space so that you can insert your product digitally.
  • The shop has photos that match Laura’s style closely, so it saves her time compared to hunting around on huge stock photo sites.
  • Your product photos will also look more cohesive if all of your stock photos are from one photographer.
  • Kate Maxwell has a video tutorial that teaches how to add shadows to your product using PhotoShop so that the end result is a seamless, natural photo.
  • Laura knows that the same set-up at her house would take her hours to create and still wouldn’t look as good, so buying great stock photos is the perfect solution.
How to Use Stock Photos for your Product Photography - a podcast interview with Laura Smith of IHeartPlanners
An example of a great stock photo Laura uses from Kate Maxwell- isn't it gorgeous?!

3 Ways to Get More Done

  1. Plan out your week.  Laura believes you can’t over-plan! Even though she rarely gets through everything on her list, she’s confident that she gets much more done than if she hadn’t planned her week at all.
  2. Close out of email and turn off notifications. Those are just distracting you from your real work.
  3. Follow Kat Lee’s advice of the CEO, Manager, and Worker Bee Hats. Once the CEO and Manager have decided your overall goals and tasks to complete, you need to get into Worker Bee mode and just sit down and get it done.

2 Ways to Grow

Laura feels for those of you who are still in the early stages of growing a business! She remembers when her site had only 5 pageviews a day. (1 from her husband, 1 from her mom, 1 from her best friend, and only 2 new visitors!)

The momentum is really slow in the beginning, but be persistent and eventually you’ll see positive results from your effort.

Laura focuses on 2 Key Strategies for Growth

  1. Get every visitor to sign up for her email list. (Laura sends out an email newsletter every single week without fail to stay in touch with her audience.)
  2. Focus on Pinterest for social media growth. (Laura gets the biggest bang for her buck on Pinterest, so she invests her time there versus other social media channels.)
Growing a Business from Planners with Laura Smith of I Heart Planners.  Hear her great product photography advice, advice on staying organized, and more on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast.
Laura's baby girl, Savannah. How adorable is she?!

Using an E-Course to Add Subscribers

Laura has a killer email opt-in for her subscribers:  Get Organized Once and for All E-Course.

Here’s how it works:

  • She set up an auto-responder sequence in MadMiMi (but you can do this for other email service providers as well)
  • The E-course is divided into 6 lessons, and they’re automatically sent one week apart.
  • Each lesson has one main graphic and a short text.
  • The lesson includes simple steps that anyone can take.
  • Laura focuses on helping others to change their lives, and she knows this can happen by taking small, do-able steps.
  • After each lesson, she asks her subscribers to write back and tell her how they did with the action points.
  • Laura asks all of her subscribers to respond to the initial email and tell her what they need help with.
  • Either Laura or her assistant responds to every single email.

“It’s really important for them to know that a real person is listening and cares.”

Email Newsletters – What to Include

  • Keep it Simple
  • Laura writes a new blog post once a week.
  • Her post goes out on Thursday mornings, and the email newsletter goes out on Friday mornings.
  • She writes a summary of the blog post in the email with a link to learn more.
  • If there’s a second post that week, she’ll feature that as well.
  • Below the main body of the email, she’ll include a couple of small photo links to products in her shop.
  • Although the product photos don’t get a lot of clicks or sales, she continues to remind her subscribers of the great products she has to offer.
  • When she launches something big like the Sweet Life Planner, she sends out a special email to get her subscribers’ attention.
  • Laura reminds us that it’s important not to get too caught up in the stats. It may seem like things aren’t working, even if in the long-term, they really are.

“Focus on connecting with people and helping them and the rest really does come naturally if that’s the focus of your newsletter.”

Revenue Breakdown

Surprisingly enough, Laura’s smallest revenue stream in terms of true profit comes from her Etsy shop. Once she adds in the cost of materials and shipping, the Etsy shop brings in much less revenue than the digital product she sells on her own site: The Sweet Life Planner.

Laura earns some income from ads on her blog or affiliate sales.

Physical products, like those in her Etsy shop are more time-consuming and difficult to keep in stock or handle logistics. However, Laura enjoys the creative process of making a physical process.

The blog, digital sales on the blog, and her Etsy shop all complement each other well, and Laura likes having her eggs in a couple of different baskets.

I Heart Planners New Mom Entrepreneur Laura Smith with baby Savannah

Business + Baby: How Life Looks Different

Many things have changed since Laura’s sweet baby girl Savannah has arrived. Here’s how Laura has adapted to life as a mom entrepreneur:

  • She focuses on getting more digital product sales versus physical products. This way, she doesn’t have to rely as much on items that have a fast turn-around or are more time-intensive.
  • She prepared as much as she possibly could before-hand and worked hard to get things done ahead of time.
  • She’s brought on more help and is ok with decreasing her personal profits right now. Laura doesn’t want to go crazy trying to do it all. She loves having the privilege of working with her daughter right beside her.
  • Her structured work day is gone, and it’s all blended into one these days. It’s a little tough on someone who’s a natural planner, but Laura wouldn’t trade her new life for anything.

“I just think it’s a huge, huge blessing that I get to work with my daughter sitting right beside me.”

The Key to Getting Things Done as a New Mom

Prioritize like CRAZY!

There are things that absolutely have to get done, Laura says, and that’s what she focuses on each day.

“The worst thing to do is to work on something that’s less important just because it’s there and seems fun rather than work on the things that really need to get done.”

(We couldn’t agree more. First things need to come first.)

What life looks like as a mom entrepreneur.  How to blend motherhood, work, and priorities to be successful.   I Heart Planners by Laura Smith.  Hear her story on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast

3 Tools that Keep Laura Organized

  1. A Physical Planner – Laura believes in the power of writing things out
  2. Outright.com – Outright automatically links to her Etsy shop and business credit card. It makes accounting quick, easy, and automatic. (Laura let us know that Outright won’t link to Shopify so she’ll outgrow it at some point.)
  3. ShipStation – If you have multiple Etsy shops, ShipStation can help you to see everything all in one place. In addition, you can set it up to automatically send emails based on the products your customers purchased. For example, Laura has a tutorial video for applying labels and a different one for decals. ShipStation sends the relevant directions automatically. ShipStation can also remember the weight of your products and enter them automatically.

One Simple Step You can Take Today to Get More Done

Go on a Media Fast so you can really FOCUS.

Laura took the Life is Messy BootCamp by Mayi Carles, and realized how much time she spent reading blogs and consuming new information. Although learning new things can be good, it can also paralyze you from making any progress on your own.

Take a break from learning new things until you’ve implemented some of what you’ve learned. We often use learning as a tool for procrastination. It’s easier to read about a strategy versus doing the hard work to put something into place for yourself.

Focus on taking action for a while.

(We couldn’t agree more! Learning is great, but it’s more important to set goals, make a plan, and stick to the plan. The content will still be there waiting for you when you’re ready for the next step.)

Stay in Touch with Laura!

IHeartPlanners.com
Etsy: IHeartPlanners
Pinterest:  IHeartPlanners
Instagram:  IHeartPlanners

What did you take away from Laura's episode?  Will you try a new method to get great product photos?  Will you focus on the important tasks first and eliminate distractions?

Let's chat in the comments :)

~ Beth Anne

Direct download: Episode205620Laura20Smith_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

Where are your people

In Episode 49 we talked about defining your target market.  Today we are taking the next step and determining where your target market hangs out.  Where are your people?  It's great if you know who your target market is, but it doesn't do you any good if you can't find each other.  You need to know where your people are, so that you can be there and get found.

By being where your people are, you are able to get to know them.  The more you know about your people, the more you can deliver what they want, and meet their needs.  In Episode 54 Caroline Starr Rose talked about how she reads many current books to get a feel for her target market, and to help her discover what they wanted.

When you hang out where your people hang out you will find opportunities to talk about your "thing", to trade advice, and be helpful.  Maybe you could guest post where your people hang out or comment on articles.  The point is, unless you go to your people, they will never get to know you or find you.

So how can you discover where your people are? 

John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire sends out an email to everyone who signs up for his email list.  In the email he asks, "How did you find me?".  Chances are more of your people are hanging out in the same place where this person found you.  This gives you an opportunity to be more active and present in that place.

What about trade magazines and journals?  Does every knitter read a certain magazine?  You need to immerse yourself in those publications.

What about conferences?  Are your people more the Influence Conference type or the Comic Con type?  Go to those conferences.  Be where they are.

Don't neglect in person opportunities to get to know your target market in real life.  Does your target market hang out at the gym?  Maybe you need a gym membership.  Do your people go to MOPS?  Don't miss a meeting.

Which social networks do your people use the most?  If your target market is made up of photographers, chances are they are on Instagram more than Twitter.  Does your target market love to cook?  Chances are they are constantly on Pinterest searching for recipes.  Determine which social media platform your target market most often turns to, and then focus the majority of your social marketing efforts in that direction.

A fabulous tool for learning where your people hang out is through a specific Facebook search.  On BrittanysBest.com she has a great article, "The Foolproof Formula of Successful Sellers", that walks you through a Facebook Graph search to learn more about your people. 

Here's how it works.  In the Facebook search bar type in "Pages liked by people who like YOUR BUSINESS".  The results that come up represent the overlap -- the pages liked by people who also like your page.  These pages are the other pages where your people are hanging out.  The search results seem to list them in order of the most overlapping fans. 

Our top result was Amy Porterfield, so many of people who like us on Facebook also like Amy Porterfield.  That tells me that I need to get involved on Amy's site a bit more.  If my people are also hanging out with Amy, then chances are good that more of my people (the people who haven't found me yet) are also hanging out there.  I need to be reading Amy's articles and making great comments. I need to interact with her and her fans on social media.  I need to be familiar with Amy and her work.  Maybe she accepts guest posts, I need to find out.

Now, when you find out where your people are hanging out, don't hang out there in an annoying way.  Don't just leave your links everywhere without adding something of value.  Don't comment without reading the article first.   (This should be a given, right?)  Get involved in the community and be helpful.

So go out there and find out where your people are.  Let us know how it goes!

-Sarah

 

Direct download: Episode2055_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EST

How to Become a Published Author with Caroline Starr Rose.  Now the successful author of several books, Caroline Starr Rose shares her best advice for those apprentice authors who are still in the trenches.  She shares an incredible list of resources to help you grow, hone your craft, and find the right agent and editor for your book.  Click to listen the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast interview.

What if you had a great big dream? 

What if you pursued that dream -- working faithfully to hone your craft for years? What if during those years, you faced hundreds of rejections?

Would you continue?

Caroline Starr Rose answers that question with a resounding yes.  Even as those around her wondered how she could keep going, she pressed forward.  She refused to give up.  Most importantly, she accomplished her dream.

Caroline can now add published author to her list of accomplishments, and today on the podcast, she'll share her beautiful story, along with excellent advice and resource for aspiring authors who are in the trenches.

We hope you'll decide to continue on too.  As Caroline says, "you only need one yes."  Press forward towards that yes!

 

On the Podcast

01:15 - Roald Dahl, the Oregon Trail, and Caroline's Journey
04:24 – The Most Honest Thing She’s Ever Written
07:48 – What about Mr. Chapman?
09:59 – The Apprentice Stage
13:34 – Maniacal Optimism
16:54 – Why a Traditional Publisher?
19:29 – How to Get Published
22:50 – Finding an Agent
24:59 – Advice for Apprentice Authors
29:31 – Does a Web Presence Matter?
31:02 - A Day in the Life
34:34 – How Much Does an Author Make?
38:56 – Resources for Aspiring Authors
44:30 – A Funny Mom Moment + What Caroline’s Boys Think About Having an Author Mom

Roald Dahl, the Oregon Trail, and Caroline’s Journey

Although she has wanted to write for as long as she can remember, Caroline’s journey began in earnest as she was teaching the 6th grade. A few weeks before the end of the school year, her class watched a video about Roald Dahl, and he shared his daily writing tips

  • Write for 2 hrs every day whether you have something to say or not
  • Always stop at an exciting place so that it’s easier to begin your work again the next day.
  • Write your work on yellow legal pads. (Caroline does not follow this bit of advice.)

So in the summer of 1998, Caroline spent two weeks researching the Oregon Trail, earned her Ph.D. in Oregon Trailology (totally kidding!) and set out to write historical fiction.

Caroline confesses that her first novel was awful. It was a really hard process, but a great learning experience.

After that point, every summer Caroline would write, and during the school year she’d revise her work and send it off to publishers.

The Most Honest Thing

After sending off 10 manuscripts to hundreds of publishers, and 12 years of working, Caroline was finally offered a book deal for her novel, May B.

Caroline was frustrated with the distance she felt between the ideas in her head and what she was putting on the page.

She read a book called, Read this Only to Yourself: The Private Writings of Midwestern Women, 1880-1910

She was struck by the patterns that frontier women used to communicate with each other. Their language was spare and careful. Whether they were talking about something awful, mundane, or celebratory, the language was all very controlled and contained.

Lightening struck: “If I could capture this aspect of communication...if I could really mirror the voices of these women, I could tell the story most truthfully. I could access May Betterley’s life really directly, and this would be the best way to tell the story.”

For this reason, May B. is a novel written in verse. As Caroline spoke with her mother about the project early on, she shared, “I don’t really know what to call it, but it feels like the most honest thing I’ve ever written.”

May B. A Novel by author Caroline Starr Rose.  Learn more about her story on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast.

What About Mr. Chapman?

You’ll have to listen to hear Caroline’s interpretation of this new character, along with her take on May B’s coming to terms with who she is and how she sees herself.

The Apprentice Stage

Caroline wishes she had this understanding of her process 10-15 years ago, but she now realizes that for many years, she was in the apprentice stage of becoming a writer. She was still finding her way.

For many jobs, there’s a clear timeline for obtaining education, training, and finally getting hired for your first position. As an author, this just isn’t so. Many are self-taught. Who is to say how long the apprentice stage should last before a professional career results?

As Caroline worked through the apprentice stage with 2 young boys at home, she read books on the craft of writing, read writing magazines, spent time reading re-reading her childhood favorites, and time getting to know the new titles on the shelves.

As Caroline wrote picture books as well, she would lug home the 50-book library limit. After she read the stories with her boys, she would write notes in her notebook. The book had different pages for different publishers and imprints. (Imprints are little individual publishers within the larger publishing house. They each have their own style, flavor, and flair.) She became familiar with which imprints published which kinds of books.

Author Caroline Starr Rose works on a manuscript while her son looks on.  Learn how she became a published author on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast.

Maniacal Optimism

When asked how she kept going through years of rejection, Caroline points to her maniacal optimism.

She confessed that you don’t quite know if you’re pursuing something that’s a dead end, or if in the pursuit of this dream, you’re feeling so strongly that it’s something you want, and your work will only get better as you continue to try.

The years of rejection were not quite as easy for her husband to handle. She would run to the mail truck like a little girl on her birthday…every day for 12 years. He often wondered how she kept going, pressing to make sure this was what she really wanted to do.

Caroline’s attitude: “If the worse you can tell me is no? My gosh, I’ve found that “no” is not that bad.”

“What really just kept me moving was a love for the stories, a curiosity about what would happen next, and again this maniacal optimism that someday the next story, the next editor.... those would be the ones.”

(We are so glad Caroline did not give up! Let’s all muster up some maniacal optimism to keep going!)

Author Caroline Starr Rose reading with her mother as a child.  Hear hear story and learn how to become a published author on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast
Caroline reading with her mother as a child.

Why a Traditional Publisher?

We were curious to hear why Caroline continued to pursue traditional publishing through years of rejection versus self-publishing her books.

She confessed that she hopes this doesn’t sound snobby, but she always hung her hat on a traditionally published book. That was her goal.

Caroline points to the benefits of a traditionally-published book, such as the team of talented individuals who surround you to ensure that the project is a success.

Editors serve as professors, she said. They see your weaknesses – the pattern of things that you don’t do well. They find ways to work on those. They point out the things you do, in fact, do well and figure out how to develop those strengths more fully.

If it was up to Caroline to create a beautiful, cohesive novel all on her own, she doesn’t believe she could produce anything that was worth a reader’s time.

How to Get Published

  • Find an agent. (It’s still possible to get published in the children’s market without one, but it’s very rare, and very difficult.)
  • Your agent becomes your advocate and business partner. They have the contacts that you don’t have.
  • They figure out which editors would be a great fit for your book, and then submit it to the right people.
  • An agent speeds along the process of getting published. They’re already seen in the industry as someone “in the know”. They’ve earned their stripes and can put a little pressure on an editor to make a decision more quickly.
  • Once your book is sold, the very fastest it will go to print is 12 months after the sale, with 18-24 months being a far more standard timeline.
  • For picture books, an illustrator must be brought in and go through their own round of revisions, so picture books often take 3 years or more from the point of sale to printing.

Finding an Agent

  • Caroline found her first agent through the GLA Blog (Guide to Literary Agents).
  • This agent was new and hungry for more clients.
  • She had 80 agent rejections when her first agent, Michelle, took her on.
  • Caroline warns that finding an agent is NOT an extra step. An agent is ideally there for you for the life of your career as an author.  They will continue to represent your work in the future.
  • An agent has connections and clout that you simply don’t have as an aspiring author.

“You only need one yes. The no’s aren’t fun, but you really only do need one yes.”

Author Caroline Starr Rose shares her best tips on finding an agent and getting published.  Brilliant Business Moms Podcast

Advice for Apprentice Authors

What About a Web Presence?

When you’re ready to submit work, Caroline attests that it is important to have a web presence. Editors and agents will look you up.

From her experience, her own blog hasn’t helped her to get published, but it can in some cases for non-fiction writers who have a large following online.

Another reason to blog? The immediate feedback on your work that comes from blogging is wonderful, particularly after years of waiting to hear from editors and publishers!

A Day in the Life

There are no typical days for Caroline, but she shares some of the the ways she might spend her time as an author.

  • Most days start with a run or a trip to the gym.
  • With her boys in school, Caroline has a window of time each day that is all her own.
  • When the boys were young, she had to find little nooks of time. She had to be satisfied with even just 10 minutes per day during that busy time, because otherwise, she would have gotten too discouraged to keep going.
  • If Caroline has work back from her editor, that has to be tackled first because a deadline is always attached.
  • Once her work has been sent back to her editor, she’ll have a period of 2 weeks to 3 months where she must start working ahead on her next project.
  • During this time last month, she started research and drafting for her next novel.
  • In addition, she has blog posts to write and a questionnaire to fill out in preparation for her book’s launch next March.
  • She’ll also talk to her publicist for the first time this month (November), again, for a book not coming out until March.
  • Overall, Caroline says that there are always several balls to juggle at once.

How Much Does an Author Make?

Despite one boy asking Caroline if she was “as famous as Justin Bieber”, Caroline confesses that most authors are not making a killing.

For comparison purposes, she let us know that her first book sold for less than her teaching salary in New Mexico in the mid-90’s! (New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the country.)

“Unless you are highly, wildly, successful and have a number of books that come out one after the other…As far as sustaining yourself on this income, it’s not exceptionally easy.”

For Caroline, she considers herself successful if she can keep her boys in glasses and braces, and re-cover the couch. She’s done all of that plus paid for a back yard and a new bathroom.

Thankfully Caroline doesn’t have to put food on the table, and that’s hugely liberating for her. She can pursue the ideas that speak to her heart.

A note on writing from a child to author Caroline Starr Rose.  Hear her story on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast

Resources for Aspiring Authors

  • A few times a year on Twitter, you can participate in #pitchwars.
  • Agents will tweet what they’re looking for with this hashtag, and then you’ll know to whom you should submit your work.
  • Get the CWIM (Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market Guide). It costs $25-30 and is published every year by writer’s digest. It’s an enormous phone book with information on the magazine market, agents looking to represent authors, which editors work where, what they’re looking for, and guidelines to submit to an editor.
  • The CWIM will also give you an idea of the style each individual imprint looks for.
  • Read the acknowledgement section of books you love, because authors will often thank their agents and editors.
  • From there, you can write a query letter saying, “I just read your Northern Lights, and I’m writing something along a similar line. Perhaps you might be interested in it.”
  • Subscribe to the Publisher’s Weekly Children’s Bookshelf. It’s an online publication that comes directly to your inbox on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • The PWCB shares industry news about who the big authors are, what they’re doing, new books coming out, interviews with editors, news on the publishing industry, and at the bottom there is always a list of the most recent books sold to which editors with a synopsis of the book.
  • You’ll get a great sense for what topics are selling and which editors and agents are buying.
  • Again, join the SCBWI, and try to attend their annual conference if you can. You can make connections with other authors and meet with industry professionals.
Author Caroline Starr Rose's family - the men who kept her going through years of rejection.  Her biggest supporters.
Caroline's husband and two boys. Her boys certainly have a lot to say about their mom's writing!

Funny Mom Moment

Caroline’s two boys have plenty to say about her writing and what they think of having an author for a Mom. Tune in to hear her son’s criticism of her latest book!

Stay in Touch with Caroline!

CarolineStarrRose.com (check out the Writing Life section for more great advice!)
Twitter: CStarrRose
Facebook: Author Caroline Starr

 I know Sarah and I learned a ton from Caroline.  I've never seen myself as an aspiring author, but Caroline sure provides enough resources and wisdom to make me believe it's possible. 

The maniacal optimism?  That's something I'm resolving to pack with me along every journey towards an impossible dream.

~ Beth Anne

Direct download: Episode205420Caroline20Starr20Rose_mixdown20final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am EST

Kelli Miller teaches everything she knows about Twitter on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast.  Included:  How to host a Twitter Party, How to Grow Your Following, and Her Favorite Twitter Tools.

Does Twitter strike you as a place for business men and celebrities with no room for the average mom? Do you feel like the geeky girl standing in the corner while everyone else enjoys the party around you?

We’d be lying if we said we didn’t have those feelings about Twitter sometimes!

Today on the podcast, Kelli Miller gives us a Twitter Makeover so we’re ready to sparkle and work the room. She shares her best tools for using the platform and inspires us to use this powerful social network to connect with others and grow our audience.

Kelli has been blogging since 2006. With years of experience under her belt, last year she and a blogging partner, Crystal, started the #LearntoBlog weekly Google Hangouts.

They discuss anything and everything related to growing your blog such as getting more click-throughs on Pinterest, how to read Google Analytics, among many other topics. They’ve done over 70 Hangouts to date, and you can find them all at LearntoBlogHangouts.com

In addition to sharing her extensive blogging knowledge, Kelli write about products she loves, kid-friendly recipes, and all things related to life as a stay-at-home mom at 3BoysAndaDog.com

Kelli lives on the Gulf Coast with her 3 boys, her husband, and now, 3 dogs!

On the Podcast:

02:24 – Kelli’s Big Secret
03:41 – A Big Change for the Millers
05:04 – Asking for Help
06:36 – 29,000 Followers? Kelly Explains How
09:18 – Hashtag University
10:12 – Kelli’s Twitter Routine
13:11 – Twitter Parties – (What they are plus how to Rock them!)
15:41 – Partnering with Brands on Twitter
18:02 – How to Get Started with Twitter Parties
19:30 – Kelli’s Favorite Hashtag Tool
20:12 – #LearntoBlog
24:53 – Kelli’s Unconventional Tip for Taking your Blog to the Next Level
28:12 – Kelli’s Favorite Book on Blogging
29:29 – Thousands of Emails a Day?! (Kelli shares how she manages them all.)
38:12 – Her Funny Mom Moment

 

Kelli’s Big Secret

With 3 kids, two blogs, and turning out tons of new content every week, we asked Kelli how she gets it all done.

Her answer: “I don’t get it all done! Shhh! Don’t tell anybody!”

(We were cracking up because we completely agree. Sometimes on a busy week, something just has to go. You do the best you can with each day you have.)
She admitted to having a super helpful hubby and older boys who are relatively self-sufficient at 14, 12, and 8 years old. (Her 12 year-old can even cook!)

Kelli also has two assistants and several regular writers for her blog.

kelli-miller-3-boys-family-learn-to-blogThe most important guys in Kelli's life!

A Big Change for the Millers

Kelli admits to putting much of her income back into her business with blog re-designs and items for her home office.

She does do well with income from affiliate networks, ad networks, sponsored posts, and Twitter parties.

Related to her blog work, the Millers recently bought a new house, and they’re showing all of their remodeling projects on the blog. You can check out Miller Manor here.

Asking for Help

Kelli put out a post on her site saying that she was looking for writers. At this point, her writers are not paid, but benefit from the added exposure of being on Kelli’s blog, along with free products as they often write product reviews.

(What a great way to find guest contributors since they already read your blog and understand your style and focus!)

Kelli also uses a Facebook group called VA’s for Hire. If she has extra projects that are outside of the scope of her current assistants, this group is full of individuals with a wide range of skill sets.

Finally, in the newly launched, #LearntoBlog Forums, there’s an area for bloggers to post that they’re looking for help or to post that they’re looking to get hired.

29,000 Followers? Kelly Explains How

With more followers than Kmart or Dairy Queen, Kelli has certainly learned how to use Twitter to its full potential.

Here’s her advice:

  • Be authentic. Reach out to people and respond to those who reach out to you.
  • You can search on twitter for topics related to your niche. For example, Kelli might search for homeschooling and then reach out to the moms talking about homeschooling or mentioning it in their profiles.
  • Kelli also uses Justunfollow  They have a free version, and you can easily find people interested in the same topics that you are, as well as unfollow those who aren’t following you back. It makes the process of finding and connecting on Twitter much faster and easier.

kelli-miller-with-son-google-hangouts-learn-to-blog

Hashtag University

  • Do some research on Google for hashtags related to your niche.  For example, Kelli might search for homeschooling hashtags on Twitter.
  • Search for those hashtags on Twitter and strike up a conversation with those people.

“To me, Twitter’s like a party. you don’t just go to a party and sit down and expect people to come to you. You go into a party and you walk around and you introduce yourself: “Hey I’m Kelly… my boys are driving me nuts.”
(Kelli cracked us up with this one, but she’s exactly right. You have to treat Twitter like a party and figure out how to work the room and connect with others.)

  • In the same way that you’d strike up a conversation with someone at a party and exchange phone numbers, on Twitter you can follow each other.

Kelli Miller of 3 Boys and a Dog and the Learn to Blog Hangouts shares everything she knows about Twitter.  Learn how to be the life of the party, grow your audience, and grow your blog on the Brilliant Business Moms Podcast

Kelli’s Twitter Routine

  • Kelli tweets about 20 times per day, on average.
  • If she’s doing a Twitter party, it’s much more than this!
  • Some of her tweets are scheduled via HootSuite.
  • She gives her assistant a list of posts that she wants her to promote each week, then she goes in, pulls quotes from those posts, and schedules them to go out during that week.
  • Kelli uses TwitterFeed to automatically tweet from other people’s feeds.
  • You can set it up to just retweet or to pull a quote from the metadescription, and the service is free.
  • For example, Kelli sets up her Twitter feed to retweet Kraft any time they mention a new recipe. So that gets shared to her followers about twice per day.
  • She also sets up her Feed to retweet content from GrowMap – a great blogger who writes about blogging.
  • Kelli sets up her Foursquare, Instagram, and Pinterest to automatically tweet when she has activity on those sites.
  • She confesses that when she’s on vacation, between all the pictures and extra time to Tweet, she sends out hundreds per day.
  • Another great aspect of HootSuite? You can set it up to autoschedule your tweets. In this way, HootSuite will analyze your followers and choose the time to send the tweet out based on when that tweet it likely to get the most views.

Twitter Parties

Kelli says that Twitter parties are the easiest way to get people talking about your business.

Here’s how they work:

  • Find a hashtag that no one else is using.
  • Set up a specific time for the party.
  • Write a blog post about the party where attendees can RSVP via inlinkz or linky tools.
  • They should include their URL and Twitter ID to RSVP
  • As host of the Twitter party, you’ll tweet out questions throughtout the hour, and the participants respond to those questions.
  • All of the tweets should include the designated hashtag for that party
  • 98% of the time, the brand that sponsors the Twitter party will provide some giveaways, because it attracts a larger audience
  • Brands may provide gift baskets of their products, or if their items are too expensive or difficult to ship, they may provide gift cards to Amazon, Wal-mart, or Target instead.
  • As an example, when Kelli and Crystal launched the #LearntoBlog Forums, they hosted a Twitter party and offered a site critique, free consulting, and 3 month memberships to the Forums as their prizes.
  • As the chatter gets going around that topic and hashtag, the impressions for a Twitter party can be in the millions.

(One year, Kelli and Crystal scheduled a Twitter party for a baby food right in the middle of a presidential debate. They STILL had over 3.5 million impressions on their party, and their topic was trending higher than the debate was!)

How to Get Started with Twitter Parties

  • Kelli recommends signing up with MomSpark if you’d like to get started with Twitter parties.
  • You can sign up as a blogger and then apply to be a panelist when they post Twitter parties.
  • MomSpark pays $75 for a panelist.
  • After you have a track record, you can reach out to brands and mention that you’ve participated as panelist in x, y, z Twitter parties, and show them the stats on the impressions generated.
  • Participating in Twitter parties as a panelist will also help you to increase your Twitter following, which will make you more attractive to brands.

kelli-miller-mom-blogger-twitter-expert

Kelli’s Favorite Hashtag Tool

  • Hashtags.org allows you to verify whether a hashtag has been registered.
  • You can also register your new hashtag there, for example, if you’ve created a new one for a Twitter party.
  • Double check any hashtag searches by searching on Twitter itself to see what pops up.

#LearntoBlog

Every Tuesday at 10AM Central, Kelli and Crystal Host #LearntoBlog Google Hangouts. They chat for an hour and cover a topic on blogging. Often, the topics are related to what’s in the news at the time or what their followers are asking for.

If you leave Kelli a message on Google+ and let her know you want to be notified of their #LearntoBlog Hangouts, she’ll add you to her circle and you’ll be the first to know!

They’ve recently launched a paid VIP forum where they go into more depth with what they teach along with challenges to help you grow.

Kelli’s Unconventional Tip for Taking your Blog to the Next Level

At one point, Kelli’s blog required help and expertise that she didn’t have, but it wasn’t making enough money to support hiring extra staff.

Kelli came up with an unconventional solution: She went to work.

Kelli worked 4 hours per week as a VA for someone else making about $15/hour. She then hired somebody to work on her blog for 5 hours per week at $10/hour.

Kelli used this system for 6 months, and the VA she hired was able to increase her presence on other social media platforms. Her blog grew from 5,000 pageviews/month to 30,000/month. (This was several years ago, and Kelli’s numbers have grown tremendously since.)

Kelli believes this worked for a couple of reasons.

  1. She hired someone with expertise different than her own
  2. Those 5 hours were spent doing focused, productive work. (Kelli confesses that when she “works” on her blog she wastes too much time on email, social media, or reading someone else’s blog. When you hire someone else, they’re doing productive work the entire time.)

kelli-miller-twitter-party-mom-blogger

Kelli’s Favorite Book on Blogging

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income

Kelli calls Darren Rowse “the man” (we agree!) and says that whenever she feels stuck, she opens up this book, reads a few chapters, and it gets her going again.

Thousands of Emails a Day?!

5 Tips on Cutting through the Noise

  1. Delete – a LOT, particularly if they’re mass brand pitches
  2. Use Templates so you can quickly Reply/Paste to similar requests (ex. People wanting to interview her, people wanting her to promote their product, etc.)
  3. Use the Search Function, ex. Kelly searches for topics she’d like to blog about and uses those blog posts that come to her inbox as resources in round-up posts.
  4. Outlook – to keep her task list, calendar, and inbox more organized
  5. ClearContext – a tool to help you sort all of your emails quickly into projects, task lists, calendar events, and more.

(As mentioned on the podcast, I found a really detailed blog post on filtering your Gmail through Outlook.  Full disclosure:  I don't feel ready to tackle this task at the moment, but if you're up for the challenge, knock yourself out!)

kelli-miller-knows-twitter-SAHM-blogger

 

Funny Mom Moment

Kelli’s youngest had a hilarious mix-up moment. He thought his class was going to visit the Crematorium instead of the Exploreum (Science Center). (I’m glad for his sake that he was wrong!)

Where to Find Kelli

3BoysAndaDog.com
LearntoBlogHangouts.com
Twitter: @KelliBMiller

Direct download: Episode53KelliMiller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:23am EST

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