How Are Those Goals Going?
No need to get hung up on the calendar and January 1 as an arbitrary date. Has the house settled down? Any "CEO Day" for yourself yet? How about (more realistically!) a "CEO Hour" for yourself! #reality!
Still Working on Goals?
Same! They've been percolating in my brain, with some ongoing that just work to keep me moving forward. Time to start writing them and get a bit more intentional.
I've noted a variety of goal setting ideas and philosophies the past month. Check these other blog posts here and here. I've been leaning into Jon Acuff's approach to goal setting after catching a video workshop at the start of the month and I've been binge listening to his audiobooks (he reads them - totally love when an author reads their own book!). I've finished Start and am listening to Finish now. I'm looking forward to listening to Soundtracks, but I think his latest All It Takes Is A Goal will be my next Audible monthly read.
Simplicity Is Crucial
Life move fast and Time is short. For me to deal with goals, they have to be fairly limited in number and focused or they lose me. I'm moving forward with a scaled back version of what Jon suggests. I'll note his basic process below.
Tracking and Motivating
So, how do you keep these brilliant ideas in mind? I've seen a number of ways in a Facebook group of Jon's.
Don't Get Too Uptight
I've heard the 2nd Friday in January is known as Quitter's Day! Two weeks into the random start date of January 1, folks give up and move on. (I generalize both start and quit days in my world) Two weeks.
As I read Jon's books, Perfectionism is often to blame for quitting goals. I can definitely see that. Whenever you fall off the wagon, lose that commitment, lose that streak of days, folks are done - game over! - why bother. I get it. That's easy. But I'm a stubborn cuss.
I like to think of each new day as a brand new slate - opportunity - adventure. Had a daily goal? Try again tomorrow! Missed a week? Get going and just START.
Maybe Scale Back
I caught a few ideas in Jon's book FInish.
Perfectionism Is Killer
As soon as we miss a day or a streak, we stop. Maybe give yourself the gift of Grace and Time. Don't aim for perfect. Aim for doing. Aim for simply moving forward. Tomorrow's a new day. We've got this.
I'd be honored to be part of helping you achieve your goals! If you're looking to start a project or business but don't feel you have all the skills, don't let that stop you - partner with others! Things are going well - maybe even too well - and you could use a hand? I'd be thrilled to help you succeed! Let's Chat!
How Is 2024 Looking?
How were your holidays? Any downtime to do that reflecting and business planning or goal setting? Me neither! LOL!
Best of Intentions
Oh, I had every intention to get it done! But Life. Family at home. Not as quiet as I hoped or anticipated. Things needing done. Distractions. Diversions. Life.
Any Time Is A Good Time!
Don't let the calendar stop you! I'm sure not! I discovered another amazing podcast resource to share - Jon Acuff's All It Takes Is A Goal. You don't want to miss it! The guy is positive energy and inspiring. I love his podcast format - just chatting with friends and down to earth real. He does a 30-second version of his podcast to start - seriously - just the key take away. Boom! Done! Orrrrrr - stick around for about 20 minutes for the full details. Such a simple formula!
Turns out as I was listening to earlier podcast episodes, he's been promoting New Year Resolutions since the beginning of December. The idea is to take the time to test out your goals, get into a rhythm with them. (when is a good time to work out in your schedule?)
Ready for A Challenge?
Jon has a Fail-Proof Resolutions Challenge going on for a limited time. The live version was January 3-5 (yes, ended today), but you can still sign up to get all the goods to watch for free by Monday, January 8th! Not sure about that timing? He has a VIP package option for lifetime access to the videos. He's also breaking up the material on his podcast over the course of 6 weeks. I'm totally in for that! I was taking notes from his January 1 release, the first in the series. Jon offers many books for sale and they're available on Libby as audio books for free (connected with your library) - amazing! He also has a couple of very affordable courses. Do stop by his website to sign up for his newsletter and see what he has going on!
January 1 is such a completely arbitrary point. Start TODAY! Who cares! We're making our own rules here!
Have any big goals you're aiming for? Love to hear about them - Let's Chat! (business inquiry not necessary - seriously - let's simply chat)
Bringing History to Life
A local nonprofit, Pioneers' Cemetery Association, decided they'd like to run a series of short biographies of some of their interred. The organization serves as caretaker of a collection of historic cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places known as Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. Naturally, the short bits of information in Word were wholly insufficient for these pioneers. Canva and some artistic creativity to the rescue! Peruse some of the biographies on their website to learn about territorial Arizona! This campaign was also promoted on their socials (Facebook and Instagram) and through their email newsletter.
40th Anniversary Special
The series is capped off with a more extensive blog post commemorating Thomas Hayden, a local legend instrumental in mapping early Phoenix, AZ and plotting the grave locations of the interred. This post includes a slideshow and features a group photo captioned with the assistance of one of the organization's founders.
It Was An Honor and Pleasure
I was thrilled to be part of this project to add some interest and publicity for the organization. This little nonprofit is an all-volunteer group of dedicated history buffs. Some have gone so far as to train themselves in proper cleaning, care, and restoration of historic grave markers.
Do you have a nonprofit near and dear to your heart? I specialize in bringing an extra lift in marketing for these organizations. If I can be of assistance on your next project, Let's Chat!
Serve Your Community
Service is important to me and my family. It always has been. I've been blessed to have married a military man (retired Air Force) who also strongly believes in service. It's a good baseline for our family.
Many Ways to Serve
Being relatively new to a freelance/entrepreneurial lifestyle, I'm thrilled to see many in the editing committee also value service, or at least giving, in their approach to content marketing. Giving generously and graciously builds relationships. That's what it's all about. Relationships. People. Connecting.
An annual tradition for us is to volunteer with Wreaths Across America. We donate wreaths to be placed on graves at a local National Memorial Cemetery. We also spend time volunteering to place wreaths on the graves of our heroes. Check the organization's website to find a cemetery near you! You can also request wreaths be placed at cemeteries far from you where family members may be interred.
This annual tradition reminds us of a big "reason for the season" - service. Honoring the stories of those who came before us. Stories are important. The Wreaths Across America organization asks volunteers to pause a moment when placing a wreath and say the name. There is strong power in names. They say there are actually two deaths: when we leave our bodies and when our names are no longer said. That's powerful.
Proud of Stories
I'm honored to be a part of sharing the stories of others! I do so by (proof)Reading, (copy)Writing, and Engaging the world we share. I've been firmly grounded in the importance of stories in the nonprofit organizations I've been drawn to.
My family and I hope you have a lovely holiday season and even a bit of down time from your daily routine! Sprinkle in a bit of service when you can. It brings joy and light to others, and you feel amazing. Serve yourself as well. Self-care is critical. Breathe. Enjoy the space.
How will you be spending your holiday? May you treasure the memories made!
I look forward to working with you in the coming year. Here's to an amazing 2024! Let's Chat!
Have you begun to set those goals yet to transition to the new year? I haven't had an official session yet, but this is definitely rumbling on a simmer in my brain. There are as many ways and suggestions of how to do this as you can imagine. I'll touch on just a few here that I'm gravitating toward.
Year in Review
Before we can look ahead, it's useful to review what's been. I appreciated a post from Austin Church on LinkedIn (link to his website) describing his December Zero process, and it may resonate with you as well. "Make a list of your loose ends, open projects, and any heartburn...Define the next step for each" to end the year well.
MAP Out Your Editing Business
SD/PEN (San Diego Professional Editors Network) had a great blog post that could easily be appropriate as we head into a new year. This is from a course at UCSD Extension where students create a MAP (Marketing Action Plan) as their final assignment. A number of task heading ideas are noted. The author recommends creating a new MAP every 90 days to make forward progress in passive and active marketing.
Melanie Padgett Powers notes in podcast episode #174 five questions to wrap up your year. You definitely want to listen to ALL of the podcast, but she lists the questions on her show notes. This is a combination year in review and goal setting.
Work/Life Balance + Income Goals
As expected, Jennifer Goforth Gregory has some amazing suggestions in two different posts - work/life balance and income. Refer to her great blog posts for details, but here is a short list to get you thinking:
I hope some of these ideas resonate with you! Each offers a different approach or way to look at your upcoming business year. Austin and Melanie's ideas are great for some reflection as you prepare to set new goals with Jennifer and SD/PEN's ideas.
Are you a goal setter or prefer come-what-may? Have you found any great year transition questions? Do you reflect and goal set in a single session or take your time to give each their due? I look forward to hearing your approach!
If I may be of assistance to help your vision come to life, Let's Chat!
My passion is chatting strategy to bring your project and vision to life. I offer a number of services to fill in your skillset to make your dream a reality. Let's Read, Write, and Engage for your target audience!
Louise Harnby is an amazing resource for authors and editors alike. She's been in publishing over 30 years. I first discovered her earlier this year starting my business, looking for resources for marketing. I knew it was going to take lessons in marketing to take my entrepreneur's spirit where I wanted to go. It was all well and good to learn rules about proofreading (that I'd been doing for 15 years already), but content marketing would be how to connect with customers.
Content Marketing Is for Everyone
According to MailChimp, an Email Marketing Service (EMS), Content Marketing is a strategy to "attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant...media." I like to think of it as a way to simply be real and engage with your audience or future customers. Louise offers a number of resources through her website, including a Resource Library, courses, books, podcast episodes, blog, and newsletter. Her Resource Library takes topics that interest both authors and editors and rounds up multiple resources on each topic. (ah, the benefit of over 30 years' experience!)
Content Marketing for Editors
I highly recommend her course "Marketing Toolbox for Editors" which includes a pdf copy of her comprehensive book, Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business, or you can purchase it on Amazon. Her course, "Emotional Marketing that Gets Editors Work," truly resonates with my style. "Branding for Business Growth" has amazing worksheets to help you identify your "angel" and "monster" client as you identify your niche. While Louise markets her content to editors, the information is truly applicable to most freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Louise Harnby is An Amazing Resource
I highly recommend following Louise on her socials. Check out her many blog posts going back for years with relevant content. All of her books are included in courses or available on their own on Amazon. I've listened to nearly all of her podcasts with Denise Cowle.
While Louise is an amazing resource, I've been blessed to find many. I'll be happy to share them with you so we can all learn together and grow our businesses.
What resources have you discovered that you recommend? If I can be of assistance to your business plans, Let's Chat!
Podcasts for Education and Connections
I adore podcasts. That's likely clear as this is my third and likely far from final post about amazing podcast discoveries. I "binge" listen to podcasts when I make a new discovery. Podcasts make it easy to listen on my daily walks or during chores. While listening, I learn a ton from these talented folks sharing their own experiences or interviewing others. I also pore through show notes to connect with the podcaster and guests by signing up for their newsletters, checking out websites, and connecting on LinkedIn and Facebook.
My latest favorite podcasts are Deliberate Freelancer by Melanie Padgett Powers and The Content Byte by Lynne Testoni and Rachel Smith. Both of these podcasts focus on the life and improvement of all types of freelancers, although they tend to particularly focus on content writing. Even if you're not a writer, there is a lot to learn from all of these ladies. All of them have a fun, no-nonsense approach to their material and businesses.
Melanie will periodically stop to review her quarterly wins, challenges, and goals. I learn from these by gathering ideas of ways to improve my own business. She'll interview industry leaders that are way beyond my income level, but they all offer ways to improve your business. Dream UP, right? The focus topics are relatable to many freelancers, from SEO on websites to email and social media strategies. A particularly practical recent episode was an interview with Brian Hall with ways to easily optimize your website with a lot of great resources available through his website.
The Content Byte
I'm just beginning to work my way through these episodes. My first episode was an interview with Bernadette Schwerdt, a leader in the copywriting industry. So many great ideas here, and she has her own podcast! Another very practical episode was about social media with Anfernee Chansamooth. These ladies held a Summit in September which has received nothing but rave reviews for the talented folks brought together as speakers. They're considering holding another event, but it's too soon after the last to be sure. This was held virtually as well, making it high on my future conferences to attend!
Have you found any inspiring podcasts or mentors? Love to hear who you follow! I'm always interested in building my network while learning from others.
Have a project you're considering? Let's Chat about specifics or we can collaborate on a Pick My Brain session!
What IS the Two-Minute Rule?
David Allen, author of Getting Things Done (published 2015), is credited with the Two-Minute Rule concept: "If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it's defined." James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (published 2018), focuses the concept on creating habits: "When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do." Mr. Clear focuses on beating procrastination with the two-minute rule in this article.
So How Does the Two-Minute Rule Work?
Literally - 2 minutes - pick a project, any project, and break it into its smallest components to simply get the ball moving forward. As Mr. Allen and Mr. Clear note, this can be applied to tasks, habits, and beating procrastination at a minimum. This is the best way to get started or create forward momentum.
NaNoWriMo - Perfect Two-Minute Rule Habit!
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began in 1999 and became a nonprofit in 2006. The goal: write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. The crux is essentially create a daily writing habit. Write something. Anything! You can start with simply two-minutes each day - see where you end up. The program has expanded to many schools and includes prep during September and October along with "Now What" in January and February to learn more about the publishing process.
Many budding authors start the editing process in November and seek assistance with editing and proofreading with the new year. Some instead use the writing opportunity to simply make a habit of journaling. All it takes is the Two-Minute Rule to get started!
Maybe your Two-Minutes are adding up to getting your business venture started and you need a hand brainstorming or with the pieces in process - Let's Chat!
Whether it's NaNoWriMo for you or you're simply ready for another set of eyes on your written words, I'd be honored to assist you - Let's Chat!
What IS Project Management
The Association for Project Management defines it as "the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters."
Do I NEED Projects Managed?
Maybe! "It depends" is the best answer. Where are your strengths and weaknesses to achieve what you're after? What can you do vs what do you need a hand with? You may be a BIG thinker, an idea person, but need a hand with the nitty-gritty details to help your vision come to life. Everyone has their special talents. I wouldn't call myself an idea generator, but I'm amazing at process analysis of most ideas and can see the steps needed to achieve a goal or vision. I'm also a whiz with details which can bore some folks to tears.
Let's Bring Your Vision to Life
I would be happy to work on filling in gaps you may have in your project plans. We can work on single-issue items or more extended, ongoing projects. Maybe you need some strategy input - someone to bounce ideas off of. I offer a variety of services based on years of nonprofit work and my own personal training, anything from proofreading/editing to writing to website development and even event management.
Thanks for asking! I recently assisted Pioneers' Cemetery Association with their marketing and donation drive plans to improve a gravesite of a local historic legend, Jacob Waltz, the Lost Dutchman (video). Such projects require meetings to gather thoughts of a group together, delineate roles of team members, and do the things that I may add to the team.
Bet That's Expensive!
Not necessarily. Let's review your budget and what services you may need. I recently learned of a great project pricing strategy from a friend of mine, Brooke Shovelin, that makes sense for longer term projects, be it project or event management, newsletter creation (let's review frequency and extent of creativity needed), website or blog post editing, or regular proofreading of projects you develop. Everyone (including proofreaders!) need an extra set of eyes. Happy to be yours!
What project do you have in mind? Are you stepping up your content marketing and need a hand? Need a hand with the tech side to make your dream a reality? Let's Chat!
What Is Content Marketing?
Let's start with a frame of reference - some definitions.
From the Content Marketing Institute:
"Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Instead of pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve issues in their work (B2B content) or personal lives (B2C content)."
From a leading email provider, MailChimp:
"Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell."
Sounds amazing, right?
But What IS Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a philosophy - a plan - a strategy for your business. Ways you would deliver "content" in your content marketing:
What's the Point?
The point of content marketing as opposed to traditional advertising is to build relationships. Folks are far more inclined to use your services or purchase your product if they like and trust you and feel they know you as their friend next door. Content marketing is relationship building by adding value and providing service.
Is It Quick To Do?
Heavens no. Sorry. Content marketing is definitely not a quick fix philosophy. Relationships require long and steady nurturing. Chat with your customers or intended audience. Offer peeks into your life. Let your customer get to know you and you listen/get to know them. So many of us have developed friendships purely online with others and have never met in person! Video calls or "live" sessions can provide a close facsimile to "meeting" someone.
In listening to multiple content marketers, I consistently hear for every one "sales" email pitch you send, you should send at least double that amount (preferably more) shouldn't have a thing to do with sales. Instead, provide useful information and ways to solve your customer's problem. Also, simply be relatable and a person on the other side of the screen!
Is It Cheaper Than Advertising?
Statistics indicate YES! According to NYT Licensing and Zerys, traditional ads can cost as much as 62% more than your content marketing efforts. Is content marketing free or cheap? There's typically some cost to it, but you can get away with pretty inexpensive!
Build Those Relationships!
The biggest - and best - reason for content marketing as your PR strategy is to build relationships and get to know your customer! Build your "avatar" or "image" of your ideal client. Keep that frame of reference in your head or think of an actual customer of yours. Communicate as if you're chatting with that one person or writing a letter.
Show Up Regularly!
The best way to gain trust is by regularly showing up, even when it's hard and your time is limited.
Do you do content marketing? What's your current favorite technique? What are you stretching to add to your marketing plan?
I have a website; I'm blogging (aiming for increased times); I'm on social media (aiming for more frequent sharing/commenting); and I'm preparing to launch a newsletter!
I'd love to brainstorm ideas with you about your business! I may be able to assist you, or sometimes it simply helps to talk to someone fresh. Happy to kick some ideas around - Let's Chat!