It’s been awhile since I just chatted here, so a big wave hello to you all. The New Year always seems to be the time we all feel pressured to get our act together (or, is it just me?) and that can feel a tad overwhelming in my opinion. Fitness, health, career, organizing, relationships–I mean can’t a girl enjoy a glass of wine and some first-of-the-year calmness? Anyway, I tend to avoid major resolutions and putting a bunch of pressure on myself. BUT, I do pick 1-2 areas and get things “in order” a bit. On the personal side of things, I chose to revamp my diet by kicking off another Whole30 (see how I also didn’t make some crazy fitness goal? Baby steps people). On the professional side, I decided to use January to get “it” together a bit in the administrative area. I posted about this on Instagram and got such a great response that I thought I would elaborate a bit here.
I’m going to share six tips for bloggers and small business owners that I think are simple to do but can really be game-changers. As a blogger and small business owner it’s extremely important that you’re able to respond to opportunities quickly. Whether its’s an email that comes your way, a potential client reaching out via social media, a last minute networking event, or an unexpected piece of press. I realized that when these things came my way, I was often scrambling to reply because there were things I didn’t have together. For example, I would need to update my media kit, or my bio was out of date, or darn it … I had run out of business cards (again). So, this month I decided to pick a few things to “get together” so that when opportunities came my way, I was ready for them. And, it actually already paid off! Two cool things came my way unexpected last week and I was in a great position to respond quickly–without stressing out and stopping what I was doing to update things. Woo hoo! (more…)
Blogger burn out happens to the best of us. Especially those of us who feel like blogging dinosaurs. September 8, 2008 was the first blog post I ever published here on Thoughtfully Simple. (I’ll spare you the laugh and won’t link to it!). That was over eight years ago and what feels like a lifetime of changes in the blogging world have happened since then.
Many things have changed. For example, you no longer have to understand php and css to get something up and running (don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense). Now you can get pretty blog themes pre-made … that actually look amazing! Oh and you know–there are some cool platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in the mix now. These channels help distribute your content and get new eyeballs on your site. What an amazing time for content creators!
And not to mention, there are so, so, so many blogs to read. Did you now that over two million blog posts are published every day? That’s a LOT of content. Remember back when you read like the same 5 blogs every morning? Now it’s an overflowing buffet of options.
For those that have been blogging for five years+, sometimes it can feel deflating or frustrating to keep up with all of the changes when, in the past, all you had to do was pump out killer content and connect with your readers. Now, you must figure out the best ways to capture their attention and break through the noise. You want to get more blog readers but don’t know how. Have you had those moments when you feel like a hamster on a wheel? I know that I’ve been there and have talked to so many established blogging friends who have as well.
Raise your hand if you feel like you’re doing #AllTheThings and yet somehow you still feel like you’re not doing enough. Oh boy, I know that feeling. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of trying to build your brand online, reach your audience, grow your following, research new marketing ideas, explore the newest shiny platform to come on the scene, take killer photos, do the actual work your business requires … I could keep going but you get the point. Heck, you’re living it. Social media overwhelm can derail you from growing your brand online.
Sometimes being an online entrepreneur feels like running on a hamster wheel (and I’m guessing you’d agree). I think that’s okay–for a season. But ultimately we need to get to a place where we’re confident that we’re focusing on what matters. We should be spending quality time on the things that will move the bar for our blog, brand, and business. It’s hard to really know what those things are though when we’re running on that wheel.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You feel overwhelmed by all the things you have to do daily and all the things you want to do that you can’t seem to get to.
You’re watching your peers’ businesses take off and you’re starting to feel defeated.
You’re Googling, everything. Reading everything you can, and learning a lot. You’re in a handful of Facebook groups trying to figure it all out. BUT you still not confident that you know where to start or what to focus on first.
You’re afraid if you don’t “do it all” that you’ll be hurting your chances of succeeding.
You’re tired. And beginning to feel uninspired about your business.
If you’re using social media, specifically Instagram and Pinterest, to grow your blog or business or as a key factor in building a brand, then you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about your visual imagery. And although having compelling, distinctive, and quality imagery is a big key to success on these platforms, I want to go a little deeper.
Your Instagram and Pinterest must be more than just a pretty face.
There I said it. There is more to these platforms than looks–it’s called engagement.
We’ve talked about how to increase Instagram engagement recently in response to Instagram’s new algorithm update (spoiler alert: I’m not worried about it), so I won’t get into tactics here. Engagement is what’s going to set your Instagram and Pinterest presence apart from others. Engagement is what will move the bar for your blog, brand, and business. So let’s take a moment to break down what engagement looks like on each of these platforms. (more…)
I spoke at a conference January 2014 as a tandem keynote speaker. I shared the stage and dual presented with someone really brilliant. And then, I bombed it. Like BOMBED. I was so nervous that it didn’t matter what great insights I had to share. My delivery of the content was all that the audience could focus on (and no, this wasn’t just in my mind because the post-conference survey respondents spoke loud and clear about it).
Okay, maybe DIY isn’t dead but it definitely has grown up a bit. DIYers have been at it for over a decade — crafting and creating new things, making something out of nothing, reinventing old things into new. On the blogs we read this typically shows itself in ways of fabulous party garland, a new way to display your jewelry or a sophisticated typography print just waiting for you to download. In a parallel (yet equally thriving world), a culture of garage tinkers and hackspace inhabitants have been head-down making things too. New products that solve every day problems and innovating products that have existed for centuries, giving them an upgrade. They’ve been making things; just like DIYers have been.
Despite the clear similarities between the DIY and Tinkerer communities we have (until recently) been living in different realms. In fact, I would argue each group wouldn’t have wanted to identify with the other before — as they have historically seen themselves very different from each other; one side “craft” and the other “tech.” How many DIYers attended the Maker Faire in 2009? Likewise, how many garage tinkerers opened up an Etsy shop in 2009? Exactly. Not until the past few years have these world began to merge into what we are now calling the Maker Movement. But why now? (more…)