How It Begins – An Odyssey of Distraction (thank you, Sloane Crosley)

My Workspace

{The true story of one writer’s desperate attempt to stay on task and get one, just one, 30 minute block of writing done without succumbing to the magnetic pull of YouTube videos, HuffPo articles, emails from friends, and other assorted Internet butterflies known as distraction.}

So.

You show up to the page to do your 30 minutes of daily creative writing, coffee in hand.

You’re feeling proud of yourself for making the commitment to write for yourself, outside of the copywriting projects you do for clients and the weekly blog posts and email newsletters you write to market your business.

For many weeks you’ve let your own writing practice slip by the wayside, crowded out by “work writing” and other priorities, so this feels good, it feels right, it feels “meant to be.”

Because you want to feel inspired to write for yourself every day, you’ve decided to take up the practice you read about in Dani Shapiro’s memoir, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life – reading from a favorite author’s work for 10 minutes each morning to get yourself primed to write, to feel eager to get to the page. 

This is working pretty well, except sometimes the 10 minutes turns into an hour, or, like the recent Sunday when you spent practically all morning lounging in bed with half a dozen books, close to 4 solid hours.

But this day you stick to the 10 minutes. You dip into the work of a much-loved writer, get your 10 minute inspiration fix, then go directly to the page and write. Good for you!

Your 30 minutes of writing done, you’re feeling pretty good about the discipline you just exercised. You congratulate yourself for not getting waylaid by the wicked pull of the internet.

This is a minor miracle, because right about 15 minutes in, you need to research a book title you want to mention in the essay you’re working on. So you open your browser and navigate to Google. Book title found. Good. Book title added to essay. Ok.

However.

As a result the inspiration fix you dipped into this morning, Sloane Crosley’s essay collection I Was Told There’d Be Cake, you now find yourself wildly curious to know more about her, right this very instant.  Your fingers go twitchy over the keyboard as you think, “I’ll just Google her and leave the results page up in the background, then get right back to my writing, then once I’m done with my 30 minutes, I’ll read through the results.”

And holy of holies, you do go back to your writing and finish your 30 minutes, without getting lead down the garden path of distraction.

Score!!

You feel enormously proud of yourself for this one small thing, because there are many days when one brief dip in the Internet pool leads you far, far astray from the work at hand, not to return for hours. And sometimes never to return at all.

Next on your to-do list for this day: write a blog post.

But wait, you’ve got those Google search results about Sloane Crosley to read through. You decide you’ll give yourself half an hour to read a few interviews, half an hour, 30 very short minutes, then get back right back to work on that blog post.

So you read one interview, then another, then another after that.  One of the interviews you read links out to something that’s supposed to show her writing space. Oh my God, you want to see it so badly!

So you click on that.  But the link is dead and there is no image of her work space.  Huh. So you Google “Sloane Crosley work space.” (Is this a form of light stalking, you wonder? Or a perfectly natural form of mild curiosity about someone whose breathtaking writing skills you happen to admire?)

Somehow in this search you find a video of the time Crosley appeared on Craig Ferguson’s show (how you ended up on YouTube, you have no idea).  Because you adore Craig Ferguson and you love this writer’s work, you watch the interview. This’ll just take 3:36 minutes, after all.

Then you remember living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the second time, in 2006, when you were still in your politico days and working on the Attorney General’s race, which is when you “discovered” Craig Ferguson and his hilarious show for the first time. As you’re watching the interview with Crosley, you see down the side of the page more videos of Craig interviewing famous, accomplished, beautiful women. 

Crosley too is beautiful, and you think she must live a charmed life – a life you’ve fantasized about, if you’re honest – that of a successful New York creative, living in a lovely large apartment somewhere on the upper West Side, maybe in the low-80’s off Amsterdam or Columbus, where one room is devoted to your writing space and outfitted with floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves, full to the brim with books and a nice view of the Park.

But let’s not tell anyone about that. That’s not for public consumption.  

Anyway, Sloane – what a great name, you think. She’s young, beautiful, and successful, a well-respected writer leading the New York literary life.  Aaah, how nice that must be.

You finally drag yourself away from YouTube and read a couple of print interviews with Crosley. You try again to find an image of her writing space, but, alas, no luck there.

Next, you find yourself on the Salon website, where you read a piece Crosley wrote about the Girl Scouts called Your blood turns green: Why the right can’t derail the Girl Scouts.  Edifying. Entertaining. Informative.

Then, after reading just.one.more. interview with Crosley in New York Magazine, you see a piece in the sidebar of said magazine called Six Reasons Chris Christie Is Probably Guilty, by Jonathan Chait, which you must read this instant, because you’ve been riveted by the story of the lane closures in Fort Lee, NJ known as “Bridgegate” ever since Rachel Maddow first starting reporting on it in the fall of 2013.

When you read the line, “It’s not that partisan enemies are ginning up accusations,” you laugh and think, “Ha ha, ‘ginning up’ – what a good old-timey phrase, I’ll have to find a way to work it into a piece of writing soon.” 

Somehow from here, you end up on the GQ website where you read an interview with Bill Hader of SNL.  You love Bill Hader.  

Then you remember one of your favorite SNL sketches with Hader, Tony Ruins Puppet Class,” so you Google that up and watch it.

And in this way, 2 ½ hours pass. Hours that seem like minutes. Hours which you will never get back.

But no matter, you got your 30 minutes of writing done, and that is a victory.

Good for you.

Overwhelm, Despair, Self-Doubt & Other Fun Adventures on the Road to Success

take risks, dream big

As a former ad agency employee and current copywriter for hire, it’s no surprise that Mad Men was one of my favorite shows. (Although in my ad agency days, unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – it wasn’t customary to have a fully stocked bar in the office, or cocktails in the middle of the day.)

So when the season finale aired a few weeks ago, I watched with great joy as my favorite characters’ stories got wrapped up neatly, along with a twinge of overwrought mourning that the whole shebang was coming to an end.

The day after the final episode (and who am I kidding, for days to come), I found myself reading more, more and still more about Mad Men, and especially its creator, Matthew Weiner.

And I happened upon this article in which Weiner discusses his rocky and challenge-filled road to success with honesty and transparency.

In the piece, excerpted from a book called Getting There: A Book of Mentors and published on Fast Company, Weiner talks about how artists “frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces.” This can lead to discouragement for those of us trying to create something meaningful, he says, because all we see is the finished product, and compare our work to that.

He goes on to say “I always swore to myself that I would not hide my brushstrokes.”

Shortly after reading that piece, I read Melissa Cassera’s blog post, “Don’t hide your brushstrokes,” where she talks about Weiner’s article and the application of its ideas to business.

I love what Melissa says here:

“By glossing over all of the ‘unsexy’ points of your journey — all the brushstrokes — you’re doing a disservice to your fans, clients, customers, everyone in your business audience, and quite honestly, everyone you meet.

By pretending that it’s all ‘easy’ and ‘perfect’ and ‘drama free,’ you’re missing an opportunity to actually HELP somebody.”

At the end of the post she asks:

“What’s the toughest, unsexiest moment you can remember from your business / career history? Share your ‘brushstroke moment’ and what you learned. Feel free to do it in the comments below. Or, better yet, share it with your own community.”

And that inspired me to write about one of my own “brushstroke” moments here.

I previously shared this story with my email subscribers, but it felt too personal to talk about on the blog. But what the heck? Melissa’s post changed my mind.

(By the by, this is one of many, many “brushstroke moments” I’ve had in the last 2-3 years of taking my copywriting business from a side hustle to my full-time source of income. And I’m still having them.  Weekly. There’s enough to fill a book I tell ya, but today we’ll start with just the one. :))

Here’s the story I recently shared with my email subscribers:

So, did I ever tell you that right around this same time last year, I was so exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed that I almost considered giving up on the idea that it was possible to have a satisfying, happiness-inducing, lucrative business doing work I love, for clients I love?

No?

Well, let me give you a little bit of the skinny here.

In May of 2014 I was working a long-term corporate freelance writing gig for a big organization, one that offered a lot of nice perks, but also imposed many stress-inducing deadlines, and required me to work on site in an environment that made me wildly unhappy (my breath gets shallow just thinking about it).

I was also running my copywriting and web marketing consulting business at the time, which I adored but . . . by necessity it remained a “side business” to be squeezed in and around my corporate writing gig obligations.

So here I was, making a pretty decent living as a copywriter, with plenty of projects on tap for the corporate client (a situation those of us who sell our writing services actually dream of), but I was working 7 days a week to keep up with both that work and my side hustle, and frankly, not enjoying my life very much.

It was a despairing cocktail of non-stop obligations, deadlines, and 12 hour days, most of which were spent doing work I didn’t love. And with that schedule, I didn’t have enough time left over in a week to optimize my business, my website, or my offerings – which meant until something changed, I’d always be stuck with my overwhelming workload, at my current revenue plateau.

Since my most cherished value is “freedom,” working this way made me feel like a tiger pacing a cage – imprisoned, and none too happy about it. I was desperate to change things, but how?

One of my most vivid memories of this time is sitting in Panera Bread one night with one of my closest friends, sobbing into my caesar salad about my work life and my obligations, barely able to breathe. (Between the crying and the gasping for breath, my friend actually offered to take me to urgent care. True story.)

Obviously, I could not go on this way.

The trouble was, I had I no idea HOW, exactly, I could change my situation. I was in no position to just up and leave the corporate writing gig, but there was no way on earth I wanted to give up on my dream of creating the copywriting business of my dreams either.

Especially since achieving that dream would allow me the space and time freedom to work on a book that’s been gnawing at me for over a year – and I had yet to get started on.

But one of the great things that happened for me during that time – the thing I credit with eventually helping me get beyond it all – was reading publicity and business strategist Selena Soo’s emails in which she shared her story about once being in a very similar situation.

She was working in PR, yet not making much money, even though she was working non-stop. And she was uncomfortable with some of the pressure involved in get results for PR clients. And because she never established clear boundaries in her work, she was working early mornings, nights and weekends.

Almost every detail of what she described felt like what I was going through. And she had actually turned her situation around, to great success – she quit that iteration of her PR business, changed her business model, and started offering coaching and consulting services, which got her to $157,000 in revenue in the first year of her new business.

And best of all, she did it on a schedule that didn’t consume every waking moment of her life, which sounded like pure bliss to me. Because making a nice income is great, but only if it comes with time freedom and a flexible schedule as well – that’s the ultimate prize, in my book.

I was intrigued by Selena’s story, and honestly, envious.

So when she announced her Get Known, Get Clients (GKGC) program last May, I hopped on board almost immediately. [The program is now closed, but if you’re curious, you can read the review I wrote about GKGC and the results I got from it right over here.]

It was through working with Selena last year and applying the advanced strategies she teaches that I was finally able to leave my corporate writing gig in February of this year and go fully out on my own with my copywriting and web marketing consulting business.

Now I’m much happier, more fulfilled, and I actually have free time. Not a lot mind you, but way more than I did this time last year.

And I’m gung-ho and ready to rumble with my business again. I can’t believe that this time last year I actually thought of throwing in the towel, even for a second.

There are still challenges, of course. And lots more work to be done. So much so that some days, if I’m honest, I long for the ease of just having to show up at a regular gig again.

Luckily, that sentiment quickly passes.

If I could offer any encouragement to anyone going through something similar, anyone on the verge of chucking the dream of supporting themselves with their creative business for the so-called security of employment, I’d say think long and hard before you make that deal with the devil. There’s probably some way you can turn things around, as I did (and as Selena did).

Just remember, you’re trading your life energy – time you’ll never get back – for what you do to earn a living, so make sure you’re happy with the choice.

 

[Want to learn to write copy that connects with your ideal clients? Sign up for free weekly updates and get instant access to the CREATIVE REBEL GUIDE TO WRITING A CLIENT-ATTRACTING ABOUT PAGE, plus copywriting & web marketing tips and other fun stuff for creative freelancers & biz owners that I only share with my subscribers, delivered straight to your inbox each Tuesday.]

Diary of a Southern Summer: Dog Days

KDH & Ronda in Oak Island, NC

(Me and my best friend, Ronda, Oak Island, NC, Summer 2013. I’m the one in the back with the dolphin-sized forehead.)

Well, it’s official: the sweltering days are here.

And it’s not even summer yet. The first day of summer isn’t until next Sunday, June 21.

No, it’s still “spring” according to the calendar, but the humidity and the temperature say otherwise.

Right now it’s 94 degrees with 46% humidity.

On Tuesday it promises to be 98 degrees.

Welcome to summer in the South.

Although I really can’t complain, because the weather only just turned torrid a few days ago. Normally it would be this hot by May, but we had an actual spring that lasted for more than 3 weeks this year – high 70s in the day, low 60s at night, ab-so-lute-ly ideal.

I wish that fleeting and perfect spell could have lasted forever.

Just this morning I was remembering those halcyon days – the mornings when I could open my patio door and my bedroom windows and leave them open all the live-long day, the ability to take my daily walk in the park in the middle the afternoon if I felt like it, sitting outside at high noon to enjoy a beverage and read a good book – ah, good times, good times.

We won’t be seeing any more of those days again until round about October, I reckon.  

I read on Wikipedia that “In the Northern Hemisphere, the dog days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically observe the hottest summer temperatures.”

Um, no, not if you live in the South, my friend. “Dog days” typically start much earlier, and last much longer.

On the plus side, I live on the coast, so I can take myself to the beach if I feel like it. But the truth is I seldom do, unless I have friends visiting from out of town.

And this week I do! My best friend and her husband are coming to Oak Island later today, which is about 40 minutes south of here, and they’ll be staying until next Sunday.

And lucky me, they’ve invited me to come down and join them in their beach condo for the week. So come Tuesday afternoon, once I’ve wrapped up as much work as I possibly can, I’m headed a south for fun, sun, giggles, great conversation, and lots of quality time with my best gal pal Ronda and her hubs.

Summer in the south, it ain’t so bad.

Especially when a beach, a blender of margaritas, and people you love to hang out with are part of the equation.

Some Notes Concerning That Crazy Dream I Had About Surfing

That Time I Decided I Wanted to Learn to Surf

(Photo by Brett Danielsen from Death to the Stock Photo Photo Pack)

One Sunday last May, I had a dream about surfing.

More accurately, that I was to write a book about surfing. In this dream, I was even given the title of said book.

What? Write a book about surfing? I don’t know diddly squat-all about surfing; I can barely swim.

Given the date – Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014 – I considered the possibility that it could be a message from my Mom, who passed away in 2009, and who I miss fiercely.

Now, when you have a dream that you’re supposed to do something slightly outlandish, what do you do?

Sure, writing a book feels like a fine thing to do. I’m a writer. Naturally I have that dream. But write a book about surfing? Not so much.

But I had to admit, I was intrigued by the idea. It actually lit me up.

Which I guess tells you something: if I didn’t immediately dismiss it as ridiculous, silly or crazy, then maybe there really was something to this thing that I was meant to pursue.

So I did what I often do when I get a nutty idea: I became slightly obsessed.

I began researching all things surfing: the sport of surfing, surf lessons, Wilmington, NC surf culture, surf lingo, surfing and spirituality, surf vacations, surfboard artists, books about surfing, and more.

Next I homed in on research about surf lessons in my local area, just for the fun of it. I checked into swim lessons at the Y because, if I did indeed decide to take surf lessons, naturally, the swimming must come first.

Then I started reading surf memoirs: first, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld by Justin Hocking, then Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Heller, and now, West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler.

I took myself to Barnes & Noble and stood like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel in front of the surf section of the bookstore, making a mental list of all the surfing-related books I would buy over the next few weeks and months.

I started researching surf vacations (did you know there are companies that specialize in surf travel?) and imagining myself in some tropical locale, where I would check out of work mode and check into a relaxed beach vibe, with surf lessons in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, and plenty of time to write in between.

Pure bliss, I tell you.

But what, I asked myself, was driving all this?

I thought about it and I thought about it, and the only thing I could come up with is that the last few years have been mostly work, work, work (with the added bonus of a massive amount of stress when I was still at my corporate writing gig), and very little play, and I need more play. Lots more.

I feel like I’ve had my life on lock-down since, oh, about 2012 or so, and quite possibly a lot longer, if I’m honest. I’ve been living as if every moment away from work and business – something I’ve been told is called “down time” – was certain to doom me to failure if I indulged in it regularly.

But now I have this powerful craving for an adventure of some kind, a way to introduce more uncomplicated, unadulterated fun into my life. Blissful, carefree, guilt-free fun, on the regular, as the youngsters say.

I also want to do something that will make me fall in love with life again, something that will help me recognize there is a life outside the confines of my office, this laptop, my copywriting business, and most of all, this obsessive, Type A, hyper-analytical, never-ending loop of thinking, thinking, thinking all the time instead of just being. Just breathing and enjoying, full stop.

And I think learning to surf can help get me there.

That’s what the dream was for.

Fingers crossed I don’t chicken out.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::

What about you? Have you ever decided to do something crazy based on a whim or a dream? How did it turn out? What lessons did you learn? Would you recommend following your intuition this way? Let me know in the comments!

Review of Selena Soo’s Get Known Get Clients

In 2014 I decided to step up my game and invest in training that offered not only actionable content that would help me improve my business, but that also featured one-on-one feedback and support from the big cheese running the program.

This was my feeling: I’d made significant investments into my business in the past buying expensive training – training which did indeed help me create results in my business in the way of more clients and more income – but I was ready for a program that would push me out of my comfort zone (by pulling me forward to do things I knew I needed to do but was resisting mightily), while giving me direct access to, and feedback from, the expert doing the training.

That’s when I decided to sign up for Selena Soo’s Get Known, Get Clients (GKGC), because I had a strong feeling it would do all of the above. (Hint: It did.)

In this review, I’m going to share what Get Known, Get Clients is, why it worked for me and why I’m promoting it, and who I think it’s for and who it’s not for.

I’m also going to tell you about an exclusive bonus offer you can get if you sign up for Get Known, Get Clients directly through me.

Here’s a quick-and-dirty rundown of what you’ll learn in this review:

  • What the Program Is (in a nutshell)
  • My Situation When I Started the Program
  • Why I Wanted to Work with Selena in Get Known, Get Clients
  • My Personal Experience in the Program and My Results
  • What You’ll Learn in the Program
  • How GKGC is Not Like Other Programs
  • Who GKGC Is For, and Who It’s Not For
  • Why I’m Promoting Get Known, Get Clients
  • My Get Known, Get Clients Bonuses for 2015

What the Program Is

In a nutshell, Get Known, Get Clients is a 6-month program that teaches you how to earn more and stand out as the go-to expert in your field. In the program, Selena walks you through the 3-part system she used to build her six-figure business so quickly (in less than a year) and teaches you how to do the same. You’ll learn advanced strategies to get more clients, make more money, and build a great reputation in your industry or niche.

(Of course, your results will vary depending on where you are in your business now, how/if you implement what Selena teaches, and the other variables that are unique to your situation, so there are no guarantees that you’ll create the same results Selena did. But you knew that. :) )

There are three overarching ideas in the course, along with tested strategies to make them work:

  • Setting up the right business model and strategy
  • Building a powerful personal brand
  • Becoming a masterful relationship builder

If you want to get all the details of the program right now, go here:

Get Known, Get Clients

My Situation When I Started the Program

When I started Get Known, Get Clients (GKGC) in June 2014, I’d already been doing business for a couple of years as a copywriter and web marketing consultant as a side hustle to my daytime freelance writing gig, so the foundations of my business were in place.

I had enough clients to keep me busy, and I was doing ok income-wise, but . . . I didn’t necessarily have the clients I wanted, the projects I wanted, the income I wanted, or the time freedom I wanted.

It’s one thing to be able to earn a decent living from your entrepreneurial hustle, but if it said hustle requires you to work 7 days a week doing work you don’t love, well, then, life ceases to be fun. And that’s what happened to me – I was working all the time, but not enjoying my life or my work very much.

My daytime freelance writing gig paid well enough and gave me the opportunity to work on some fantastic writing projects, with terrific colleagues (for which I am eternally grateful), but it wasn’t the best fit for me (big organization, corporate environment), there was a fair amount of stress of the nonstop-hurry-up-and-get-this-project-done-so-we-can-give-you-the-next-writing-assignment variety, and despite this being a freelance gig, I was required to work on-site, which is definitely not the way this liberation-loving girl likes to work.

Why I Wanted to Work with Selena in Get Known, Get Clients

The main reason I wanted to work with Selena is because I identified with her experience – she had a very similar story to mine of starting her first business and not really enjoying her work and not making much money, despite working nonstop.

Then she found the right business model, and by implementing what she teaches in Get Known, Get Clients, was able to generate $157,000 in her new coaching business in one short year. And she was able to pull this off despite having no clients and no email list when she first got started.

Second, I was drawn to Selena’s program because, like me, she’s an introvert. And if Selena can create an uber-successful business as an introvert, then that means other introverted business owners can too.

And third, Get Known, Get Clients was a perfect complement to the way I teach marketing and outreach, which relies more on online networking, web marketing, and nailing your compelling marketing message and conveying it with personality on your website, whereas what Selena teaches, while incorporating some of those elements, relies more heavily on creating a business model that will set you up for success, creating premium packages and programs, and developing relationships with VIPs and influencers, etc. (This is a short list of what you’ll learn in GKGC.)

My Personal Experience in the Program and My Results

Before I share my results, let me point out that as of May 2015 I’m still implementing a few of the strategies and tasks that I didn’t complete during the course (the course ended in November 2014).

When I take a course, I keep on top of the weekly coursework, attend all the live trainings and Q & A’s, interact in the community, and implement what I can as I go along, but I often crank out the majority of the implementation part in a massive push after I finish a course, so I can focus on showing up and availing myself of the training while it’s happening live. Because, you know, there’s only so much time in the day.

I bring this up because your results may vary – if you implement faster you may achieve different results. That said, I still got kick-butt results from GKGC, and I haven’t finished knocking out all of Selena’s advanced strategies yet.

So, here’s what I accomplished:

:: I put together a lower-priced offering based on the work I did in the first module of the course, Identify Your Target Market, and did $1396 in sales ($349 x 4).

:: Two of these clients provided referrals to other clients.

:: Two of the clients who booked me for the $349 offering then signed on with me for copywriting projects, which resulted in an additional $3396 in income.

:: During the target audience interviews from the same module, I sold some copyediting for around $300, without even trying.

:: A second person from the same set of target audience interviews also wanted to hire me for a project, but I simply didn’t have the bandwidth at the time, and had to say no.

[It’s important to point out that the target audience interviews weren’t meant to be sales or promo conversations in any way. As Selena teaches (and provides scripts for!), they were conversations meant to connect with my target audience and find out what their challenges were so I could create exactly the kind of offerings they would be happy to pay for. Booking the new projects as a result of doing the interviews was an unexpected bonus.]

:: I started attracting and working with more of my ideal clients, and charging more for my services.

:: And the very best thing I accomplished as a result of the work I did in GKGC was the ability to leave my onsite freelance writing gig to go fully out on my own with my copywriting and marketing consulting business 3 months after completing the course. I am practically floating on air just writing that!

These are the more tangible results I got from investing in Get Known, Get Clients. There’s more though – I gained a whole new level of confidence in my services, and especially, in my ability to get premium clients who are just right for what I have to offer and happy to invest in working with me.

Let’s just say lots of mindset shifts happened for me during and after the program, mindset shifts which have directly impacted my ability to get premium ideal clients and increase my income, and which will continue to serve me over the life of my business. And that is priceless.

Your mileage may vary, but if you implement what Selena teaches, I don’t see how you wouldn’t create similar, or even better, results in your own business.

What You’ll Learn in the Program

You’ll learn to identify your target market, create your valuable offerings, have genuine sales conversations that get clients excited to work with you, how to get referral partners, how to elevate your personal branding, how to speak to sell, how to build your email list, how to connect with VIPs and influencers, how to create your launch plan, how to create a team to grow your business, and more.

You can get detailed info about what’s in the course right here:

Get Known, Get Clients Course Information

How GKGC is Not Like Other Programs

:: GKGC is set up to start getting you wins quickly. As I mentioned above, I started to get results right away, in the very first module, simply by doing the homework. (And by “results,” I mean actual clients and actual sales, not just “mindset shifts,” as important and necessary as those are.)

:: GKGC teaches you how to get clients NOW, even if you don’t have a website or an email list, which I felt was one of the program’s biggest benefits.

:: It’s a 6 month program, which is longer than any online training I’ve ever done by about 4 months. And that means you’ll get plenty of opportunities to interact with Selena directly and get your questions answered.

:: I also found the private Facebook group to be uber-helpful as well. Not only is Selena in there consistently answering questions and offering feedback, but you’ll also have the opportunity to get to know and interact with your colleagues in the course.

:: There are 3 live training calls per month, 18 opportunities in total in which you’ll have direct access to coaching and feedback from Selena. I’ve invested in other pricey programs where getting your question answered is as rare as winning the dang lotto! Not so here. Selena knows every single person in the program and genuinely cares about each person’s success. That came through in a big way when I took the course in 2014. (By the way, this is the last time Selena will be teaching Get Known, Get Clients LIVE and offering this much personal coaching. So if you’re interested in getting extra support, now’s the time to join.)

:: There are regular check-ins from Selena and her team to keep you on track, and homework designed to get you to implement what you’ve learned quickly.

:: You’ll receive word-for-word scripts for everything you’re asked to do in the course so you’re never left figuring out how to apply the strategies Selena teaches. Scripts for having genuine sales conversations, asking for referrals, exactly what to ask in your target market interviews, and lots more, are all part of the course.

:: I felt supported and “seen” in this program in a way I haven’t in other online training programs. As I mentioned before, Selena will know exactly who you are, and exactly what your business is about.

Is Get Known, Get Clients Right for You?

Like any training program worth its salt, this program is definitely not for everyone.

If you’re committed up to the eyeballs right now, it might not be the best choice for you. That was my situation when I took GKGC last year – between my client work, the GKGC course load, and my other obligations, there were times I felt like a was on the verge of an over-commitment nervous breakdown.

But hey, I’m still here and I didn’t get committed to the psych ward, and I achieved increased sales, new ideal clients, and other compelling benefits from doing the program, so it all turned out for the best.

The most time-consuming homework was front-loaded into the first two-three modules though, so once I got through that, I started to feel almost sane again. To be clear, this pickle wasn’t because of the GKGC course load specifically, but because I had a boatload of other stuff going on at the same time. Just a little tip from me to you.

The course homework and implementation takes time, but if you stick with it and you do the work, you will get results. I’m still implementing what I learned nearly 6 months after completing GKGC, but I got some results very quickly, which kept me motivated and helped me stay committed to doing the work each week.

If you’re anything like me, GKGC will also take you out of your comfort zone, maybe even way out of your comfort zone. That’s what I wanted going in, though, because I know that’s where the real results and big wins are.

But there were weeks I was really resistant to doing the homework, because I was, well, terrified. Such as the week we had to set up and have sales conversations. Which turned out to be not that big of a deal once I did a couple, so the joke was on me.

If any of the above puts you off, then I’d say this is definitely not the course for you.

It’s also not right for you if:

:: You don’t have a business idea, or you haven’t started your business yet. You can be in the early stages of your business, but you have to have one to work on in this course.

:: You aren’t good at receiving and acting upon feedback, or have a “that won’t work for me” attitude.

:: You have a product-based business. Get Known, Get Clients is specifically for coaches, consultants, and service providers – people who offer expert, advice-based services.

:: You want overnight success or need to make $10,000 by next Tuesday.

:: Taking the course would be a financial hardship for you. I always tell people that if making an investment like this will cause them anxiety and stress beyond the usual, “wow, I’ve never invested this much in myself before” variety, that is, if it would put them in a real financial bind, then they should say no and come back to it when there’s more leeway in their budget.

GKGC is probably right for you if:

:: You’re tired of “playing business” – you’re ready to learn and implement the advanced strategies that will help you make big leaps in getting new clients, increasing your income, and securing higher profile opportunities to share your work with the world.

:: You’re looking for a high-touch program with lots of personal attention.

:: You feel great about the work you’re doing, you’re very good at it, and you’re ready to play on a bigger, more high-profile stage.

:: You’re not afraid of hard work or getting out of your comfort zone. You’re also an action-taker and an implementer.

:: You want a clear step-by-step system to generate consistent revenue in your business.

Why I’m Promoting Get Known, Get Clients

If you’ve been around these here parts for a while, you’ll notice I don’t actively promote other people’s paid programs on my site, on my blog, or in my newsletter.

I decided to promote GKGC for one simple reason: because I went through the program myself and it works – I got what I consider to be really good results, results that allowed me to leave my corporate writing gig and go out on my own, something I still sometimes have to pinch myself to believe.

And because the impact of GKGC has been so positive for me, I knew when the time came, I wanted to share it with my own audience.

Now to be crystal clear, I am an affiliate for Selena’s program. This means I get a commission if you sign up directly through me. And that’s why if you purchase through my link, you’ll get access to the exclusive bonuses listed below.

My Get Known, Get Clients Bonuses for 2015

I understand that GKGC is a meaningful investment, and one not to be taken lightly, and I know the work may at times feel overwhelming and/or uncomfortable to do.

So I wanted to put together a bonus that will help relieve some of the anxiety when you get to the modules in the course that involve optimizing your personal brand, and writing and messaging, specifically, and I think I’ve come up with a meaningful way to support you.

This will ensure you keep the GKGC momentum going and don’t get bogged down in the writing/messaging part you need to nail down in order to magnetize your ideal clients with your website and related copy.

Please note that the price of GKGC does not change when you sign up through my link, but I do earn a commission which allows me to offer the following bonuses:

:: Web Copy Transformation Package: This is where I apply my copywriter’s “let’s uncover and highlight the sales-inducing benefits in your web copy” brain to the three key pages of your website – your Home page, About page, and Services or Programs page – and we work side-by-side to edit and transform your copy from lackluster to luminous, so it’s more compelling and client-attractive to your target audience.

:: 60-minute one-on-one web copy strategy session: Over the course of GKGC, you’ll be developing your personal brand, creating or refining your compelling opt-in offer, writing a nurture sequence for your email list, creating your valuable offerings, and other important copywriting-related tasks. In this 60-minute session, you’ll have the opportunity to pick my copywriter’s brain and ask questions about any of the writing tasks you have to implement during the Get Known, Get Clients course, with a focus on highlighting the benefits of your brand and your offerings in a way that most appeals to your ideal clients.

:: Review of one guest post pitch and one guest post/article + copyediting suggestions to make it sing!

:: Review of your compelling opt-in offer and email opt-in form copy + copyediting, so you can get those website visitors falling all over themselves to sign up for your email list.

*Please note, you’ll get access to your bonuses after you complete the Personal Branding Module OR after you complete the full course, whichever works best for you.

How to Access Your Bonuses

Simply email me at Kimberly [at] kimberlydhouston.com to let me know you’ve enrolled in the program so I can slot you into your very own place on my copywriting and strategy session schedule. I’ll email you back to say hi, and share my best contact info so you can reach out when you’re ready to claim your bonuses!

[Note: The bonuses are only available after GKGC’s refund period is over.]

What to Do Next

I know if you apply yourself in the program, Selena can help you get big results. If 2015 is the year you vowed to invest in yourself and grow your business, and you want the kind of personal attention and support you won’t get in other group programs of this caliber, then GKGC could be exactly what you need.

If you also know you could benefit from one-on-one copywriting advice and strategy to really apply what you learn in Get Known, Get Clients to your business, click here to enroll in the program through my special link.

Have questions? Please feel free to email me at Kimberly [at] kimberlydhouston.com and I’ll get back to you within 24-48 business hours! And whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck!

 

This is What “Thinking Different” {and Southern} About Business Looks Like: Southern Airways Express

Doing business different

Image by Ladyheart

Around these here parts, we love to preach doing things your own quirky way in business. (And by “we,” I mean me.)

And we love it when we read about a company that bucks the system, says a big ol’ F.U. to “business as usual,” and follows a decidedly different path entirely of its own idiosyncratic making.

And we especially love it when that company proves you don’t have to follow boring old canned ways of doing things to succeed in business.

Southern Airways Express is that company.

My cousins over at The Bitter Southerner recently featured Southern Airways in a story on their site called Fly Me to the Gulf: How a Gang of Tennessee and Mississippi Entrepreneurs Is Bringing a Little Southern Hospitality (and Some Dignity) Back to Air Travel, written by Richard Murff, with photos by Matthew Jones.

Now this sounds like an airline I want to fly:

So abnormal, sensible and human is the team behind the startup that they just might have saved air travel from the savage jaws of awfulness and made it fun again. Its model — short-haul flights of less than 10 passengers — avoids the Transportation Security Administration policies of treating all passengers like refugees; reduces check-in to a pleasant 20 minutes; makes actual airtime comfortable, even sociable; and has no baggage-claim system to send all your clothes to Anaheim for the weekend. It does this, generally, for less money than the major carriers.”

And while things are good now, the startup had to overcome naysayers and dream stealers and a small-minded consensus among the major airlines that their model was impossible.

But guess what? They made it work.

Here’s COO Keith Sisson:

“Look, we aren’t geniuses here,” Sisson said. “We just did it the way that we’d like to see it done. It doesn’t even cost anymore to do it right; it’s just a little more trouble. You actually have to care.”

And that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it?

You actually have to care.

And by caring, they’ve carved out a competitive advantage.

They’ve done something I talk about ad nauseum around here: they’ve found a way to stand out in a saturated market — simply by caring, by doing things right.

Love that.

Find out more about how Southern Airways Express is doing business different over here:

Fly Me to the Gulf: How a Gang of Tennessee and Mississippi Entrepreneurs Is Bringing a Little Southern Hospitality (and Some Dignity) Back to Air Travel

 

(By the way, even if you’re not interested in this particular article, but looking for some damn good writing nevertheless, you should high-tail it over to The Bitter Southerner. You won’t find better writing anywhere. Their drool-worthy site is full of insightful essays, beautiful images and new ways to think about what it means to live in the South in this day and age. This is hands-down my favorite website on the whole dang Internet, period. I love it to the moon and back.)

The Friction of Being Visible for Creatives (inspired by Mark Nepo)

Mark Nepo, the friction of being visible

In his wonderful book The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have, Mark Nepo talks about something he calls “the friction of being visible,” meaning, as he says, that “no matter what path we choose to honor, there will always be conflict to negotiate.”

He explains:

In effect, the cost of being who you are is that you can’t possibly meet everyone’s expectations, and so, there will, inevitably, be external conflict to deal with – the friction of being visible. Still, the cost of not being who you are is that while you’re busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case, there will be internal conflict to deal with – the friction of being invisible.

Though he’s talking about living more authentically in our day-to-day lives, those of us in creative fields will instantly recognize the friction he refers to as it relates to our creative work.

When we choose to make a living by sharing our creative output with the world, in whatever form that takes – graphic design, photography, fine art, interior design, illustration, writing, flower arranging, web design, architecture, underwater basket weaving, or whatever our gift happens to be – we commit to this friction over and over again.

Part of this friction comes from trying to live up to the expectations of well-meaning friends and loved ones who suggest that maybe we should take a more realistic approach to career and money-making. Or from those who judge or criticize our work, including, sometimes, our very own clients.

In other cases, we are own worst enemy. We’ve limited ourselves by buying into the notion that to be fully self-expressed in our creativity is enough, that if we’re able to practice our creative work and make a living from it, we should be happy to “settle” for barely scraping by. Or that doing our creative thing on the side while working a “real” job is all we’re allowed to ask for.

In my case, I’ve done this number on myself. I don’t recall any adult in my life ever saying to me, “be realistic, you can’t make a decent living writing, that’s something you do on the side,” or any variation thereof.

Even when I was actively practicing photography, shooting rolls and rolls of film (yes, it was actual film then), studying the masters, soaking up as much info as I could, taking photography classes, and applying to art school, no one ever said to me, “be practical, you can’t make a decent living as a photographer.”

So I can only assume that I was making the argument to myself, internally. That somewhere along the line, I had bought into the notion that choosing the path of the creative, at least in terms of career, would mean certain poverty. Or that putting my work “out there,” possibly to be scrutinized and criticized, would feel like being gutted, just too uncomfortable.

But once you understand that the friction of being visible is the price you pay for getting to make a living from your creative pursuits (or from practicing your creative thing with abandon if it’s not your primary source of income), and you make peace with that dynamic, you can go on about the business of your business with less internal conflict.

The friction of being visible, at least for creatives, seems less of a price to pay than the alternative, as Nepo describes it:

Still, the cost of not being who you are is that while you’re busy pleasing everyone around you, a precious part of you is dying inside; in this case, there will be internal conflict to deal with – the friction of being invisible.

While the friction of being visible may make us uncomfortable, the friction of being invisible is potentially much more destructive. It can be ruinous to our mental and emotional well-being, and even detrimental to our physical health.

Many of us go through our lives doing work we don’t love, participating in relationships that don’t light us up, keeping schedules that wear us down, and saying yes to people and obligations we’d rather say no to, all the while putting a happy face on the whole shebang, as if it was our most fervent wish to go around feeling deeply unfulfilled and perpetually dissatisfied.

Then life may throw us a curveball to get our attention. My curveball came in the form of a terrifying episode one fine day in June 2014 while driving to my onsite freelance writing gig at a medical center. Out of the blue my heart started racing wildly and my breathing became shallow and labored.

I pulled into the parking lot of the medical center’s marketing department and struggled to get just one deep breath into my lungs, just one. Then sat in my car gasping for air and crying. I felt like I was drowning. Not fun.

A few minutes later, still not able to breathe fully and deeply, I composed myself as best I could, went inside, and sat through the morning meeting in which we discussed the day’s priorities. I ducked out of the building afterwards to call my doctor to make an appointment for the next day.

Luckily, a chest x-ray and an EKG revealed no immediate cause for concern. But the heart racing and the shallowness of breath (which I now refer to as “SOB” for short, ha ha) continued, sometimes pronounced and nearly debilitating, other times mild and almost imperceptible.

Message received.

That was my call to change some things. And so I did. I left that gig, as wonderful as it was, eight months later. While I enjoyed the work, my colleagues, and a steady paycheck, I felt hamstrung by the 20 hour a week commitment and the requirement to work onsite, and I knew it was keeping me from fully embracing the work I really wanted to be doing – working with creative entrepreneurs, and writing.

My response to this internal conflict, “the friction of being invisible,” as Nepo calls it, was to high-tail it out of that situation and go towards the light. Ah yes, the light – the light of doing work that’s much more in line with my preferred mode and style of working, working with clients I love.

So while it’s true that, “no matter what path we choose to honor, there will always be conflict to negotiate,” I chose the friction of being visible. And I’m much happier for it.

Which reminds me of the Henry David Thoreau quote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

Don’t let’s do this.

Or you may find yourself, one day, gasping for air in a medical center parking lot, wondering what the heck is going on and ruining your mascara with your salty anxiety tears.

I don’t recommend it.

How to Write Headlines for Your Creative Business That Don’t Make You Cringe with Embarrassment (or, Why Great Headlines Beat Peanut Butter on Pancakes)

Formulas. Blueprints. Templates. Rules.

I tend to dislike most of these things. And so do most of the other creative business builders I’ve talked to.

But when it comes to writing headlines, templates and formulas can help if you’re experiencing a rough patch while trying to create magnetic headlines for your creative business, especially when you’re first starting out.

Besides, templates and formulas are just a starting point, a way to get the creative juices flowing. You use them to get something down on paper, then you tweak from there, depending on your personality and your business and service offerings.

So today I give you headline formulas, blueprints, templates and rules.

Because if you can train yourself to write attention-grabbing headlines (you can), then your content is much more likely to get read, shared and acted upon. Good news for you, right?

How Important Are Headlines?

Some well-known and uber-successful copywriters suggest that at least half the time you spend writing a piece should be spent on the headline; it’s that important. Agreed.

You may have heard the statistic that 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of the copy. The headline is there to get them to read the rest of that copy – that’s its sole purpose, in fact – so if it’s not compelling, you can bet the rest of the blog post or article or sales page you’ve just slaved over will, unfortunately, be ignored.

And we’re trying to run successful businesses that rely on writing and sharing content that moves people to act, so ain’t nobody got time to be ignored.

That said, the body content of the thing you’re writing, be it a blog post, a newsletter, a sales page or what-have-you also needs to be well-written and persuasive, and it must deliver on the headline. But you knew that.

Golden advice nugget: When writing headlines for your creative business, keep in mind what your audience is thinking, and that is, WIIFM: “What’s In It For Me?” 

Now then, let’s talk about a few headline formulas.

Promise a Benefit or Arouse Curiosity

Two of the most effective ways to approach writing headlines is to promise a benefit or arouse curiosity.

This is something I learned in my American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) copywriting training. According to the fine folks at AWAI, a powerful headline does these 4 things:

  • Begins to develop a relationship with your audience/potential clients
  • Delivers a complete message
  • Compels readers/potential clients to read more
  • Grabs the reader’s attention

Examples of benefit-driven headlines from my blog:

:: For Photographers: The Simple Yet Powerful Website Copy Tweak That Will Win You More Clients (& How to Implement It) {Benefit: win more clients}

:: The Dreadful Client-Repelling Mistake That Will Keep You Broke (and how to fix it) {Benefit: how to fix a mistake that repels clients}

:: What a Personal Development Book from 1959 Can Teach You About Writing Web Copy That Sells {Benefit: write web copy that sells}

Pretty straightforward, right?

Using Curiosity in Headlines

Google will return over 14 million results when you search on the phrase, “creating curiosity in copywriting,” which tells you what a powerful concept curiosity is in persuasive writing.

If you want to arouse curiosity, one way to do it is to ask a question your audience/readers/potential clients want the answer to. If you pose a question that’s aligned with your audience’s needs and desires, they’ll want to read on to find the answer.

Examples of headlines that evoke curiosity from my blog:

:: What Can Chocolate Cake and Donuts Teach You About Selling More?

:: Can Copywriting Principles Work for Visual Artists?

:: Creatives: Are You Making These 3 Web Marketing Mistakes?

A site called Upworthy does the curiosity headline very effectively, by essentially creating that really annoying “clickbait” I personally don’t jive with. At all. But hey, it works for them.

You can read more about Upworthy and some background on why “curiosity-gap headlines” work here:

Upworthy’s Headlines Are Insufferable. Here’s Why You Click Anyway 

Follow Copywriter, Brilliant Marketer and Expert Business Strategist Dan Kennedy’s Lead

As a copywriter and marketer, I follow Dan Kennedy’s work, read his blog, subscribe to his email newsletter, and read the occasional book he’s written. And while he’s not for everybody, his advice works, if you feel comfortable following it.

In Chapter 3 of his book, The Ultimate Sales Letter: Attract New Customers, Boost Your Sales, Kennedy shares some fill-in-the-blank headline formulas you can use to get people to read your sales material. (He mentions the movie Gone in 60 Seconds and wisely says, “That’s what your recipients will be if you do not command their attention and literally drag them into reading.”)

Of course, the same formulas can be used to create headlines for your blog posts and subject lines for your emails as well.

(Caveat: If you spend any amount of time online you’ll recognize these formulas, because so many bloggers, copywriters and other business builders use them. For that reason I try to use them sparingly, because I don’t want my writing to sound like everyone else’s.)

Here are a few of Kennedy’s fill-in-the-blank headline formulas along with his examples of how to apply them:

Who Else Wants ___________?

Examples:

:: Who Else Wants a Hollywood Actress’ Figure?

:: Who Else Needs an Extra Hour Every Day?

How ___________ Made Me ___________

Examples:

:: How a “Fool Stunt” Made Me a Star Salesman

:: How Relocation to Tennessee Saved Our Company $1 Million a Year

___________ Ways to ___________

Examples:

:: 101 Ways to Increase New Patient Flow

:: 17 Ways to Slash Your Equipment Maintenance Costs

Two other formulas Kennedy mentions that I’ve personally used are the “Secrets of” and the “How To” headline.

Examples from my vault:

:: For Creatives: The Secret to Transforming Your Boring Lackluster About Page Into an Ideal Client Attracting Magnet

:: How to Create a Free Opt-in Offer Your Target Audience Will Love (and why you need to)

Check out three other effective headline formulas on Kennedy’s website here:

Three Killer Headline Formulas That Could Skyrocket Your Conversion Rates…

Use Specificity and Numbers

Let get real: we’re all crazy-busy trying to build our creative empires online, and the people we’re trying to attract are too. So you have to get their attention quickly.

One way to get straight to the benefit-driven point in your headlines and immediately hook your readers is to use specificity and numbers.

Why does this work so well?

Because specific details and numbers are more credible than general statements.

For example, which of these examples is more compelling and believable to you?

:: How to Make More Money Selling Digital Products

OR . . .

:: How I Made $6,557.68 Last Month Selling 2 Easy-to-Create Digital Guidebooks

And how about this . . .

:: Tips for Getting More Clients with Your Website

OR . . .

:: 7 Easy Website Tweaks You Can Implement Today That Will Double Your Client Enquiries

Here are two headline examples from my own vault that use specificity and numbers:

:: A Foolproof 6-Step System for Generating Dozens of Ideas for Blog Posts and Newsletters That Your Target Audience Wants to Read (in Under an Hour a Week)

:: How to Improve Your Small Business Website Content Today for Better Sales: A 7-Point Checklist

These kind of headlines reward the reader by letting them know the specific and compelling benefits of reading the article even before they’ve read a word of the body content. What a timesaver for your readers; they’re gonna love ya for it!

The Instant Clarity Headline Formula

The instant clarity headline looks like this:

End Result Customer Wants + Specific Period of Time + Address Objections

Obviously, to be able to make this formula work, you need to have a deep understanding of your customers and clients and their needs, wants and desires with respect to your offering.

I first learned this formula from a fellow called Dane Maxwell, and the example he uses to demonstrate the formula is this, from the real estate niche:

Recruit 2 Top Producing Agents Each Week Without Cold Calling Or Rejection

He goes on to share that using only the first item (end result) or the first and second together (end result + time frame) can also be effective, but using all three elements at once is the most powerful and persuasive.

The reason this formula works well is because it instantly telegraphs the benefits and results the reader (or client or customer) can achieve from reading the content or buying the product or service. It’s all about what important to the reader, client or customer.

So if you’re a wedding photographer for example, maybe your clients want candid, natural-looking shots in which they look relaxed and happy. And the time frame they want it in is their wedding day. As for objections, they may feel there’s no way you – someone they don’t know all that well – can capture their special moments without making them looking posed and stiff.

So using this formula, a wedding photographer could come up with something like this for a blog post headline:

:: The No-Fail Formula for Getting Candid, Natural-Looking Shots on Your Wedding Day Without Looking Posed, Uncomfortable or Stiff

Or let’s say an interior designer wants to write a blog post to help her ideal client – a busy young family on the go with a couple of small children and a dog – undertake a DIY design project to spruce up their home. The end result they want is a luxurious home that reflects their specific taste and design style, but it also has to be practical and easy to keep up. And they don’t want their lives to be disrupted in the process, so the DIY project can’t take more than a month.

So our interior designer could write a blog post with a headline like this:

:: From Chaos to Calm: 7 Simple Steps for Transforming Your Busy Young Family’s Home into an Oasis of Practical Luxury in 30 Days or Less

Now let’s talk about the “cringing with embarrassment” part. (or, How to Use Magazine Headlines and Book Chapter Titles to Craft Compelling Headlines Your Target Audience Will Love)

The headline formulas discussed above are time-tested and work well, which is why they’re used and shared so frequently. But sometimes the headlines that result can feel over the top for us sensitive creative types.

So one of the handy little tips I like to share with my clients when it comes to both getting ideas for content their target audience wants to read, AND brainstorming great headline ideas at the same time, is the magazine headline method and the book chapter title method.

Magazine Headlines

One of the best ways to practice writing headlines (and to spark ideas for blog posts your audience actually wants to read) is to grab a bunch of magazines in your niche and read through the headlines.

(I wrote more here about using the magazine method to find out what your target audience wants to read.)

Publishers do exhaustive research and spend thousands of dollars to figure out which stories will generate the strongest response among their readers, so why not piggyback on that research to gather headline ideas for your own blog or newsletter?

And to make it super-easy, you don’t even have to go to the bookstore, just sign onto Amazon online and go to the magazine section.

Once there, search for magazines in your industry or niche and read through headlines of 5-10 magazines there.

(Caveat: Don’t copy these headlines/ideas verbatim; instead, put your own creative spin on them, geared specifically to your business and your audience.)

For example, suppose I want to generate headline ideas for an interior design business. So I go through some magazines in the home design niche over on our good friend Amazon, and putting my own spin on what I find there, I come up with the following headline ideas:

:: How to Create the Perfect Beach House Décor on a Budget

:: How To Do Rustic Right

:: How to Create Big Style in a Small Space

:: Your Luxe Living Room: 12 Small Changes You Can Make Today for Big Impact

:: DIY Weekend Project: Create the Perfect Outdoor Retreat

From Magazine Headlines in the fashion industry, I came up with these headline ideas:

:: The Best _________ for Every Body Type (swimsuit, dress, etc.)

:: How to Look Like You Hired a Stylist (Even When You Didn’t)

:: Hot Trends and Amazing Accessories for Every Budget

:: 5 Minute Styling Tricks You Can Learn Today

:: The One Accessory Every Woman Needs Right Now

:: How to Dress for Your Body Type

Book Chapter Titles

You can use the same method to gather book chapter titles to use as headline templates. Here’s what you want to do here:

Search on your topic in the books category; choose a few books in your niche from the returned results.

Once you get to the list of books you want to check out, click on books with the “Look Inside!” option on the book cover image so you can get a look-see at what’s inside.

Once “inside” the book, cruise through the Table of Contents, specifically Chapter Titles of said book, and let the idea sparking begin!

(Again, you don’t want to copy these headlines/ideas verbatim; you want to use them to craft headlines that are geared specifically to your business and your audience.)

So let’s take our hypothetical interior design business and come up with some headline ideas from book chapter titles:

:: How to Decorate Like a Pro, Even If You’re Design-Challenged

:: 3 Investment Pieces Everyone Should Own: Which Pieces to Spend the Big Bucks On and Why

:: Home Design Basics: What You Need to Know Before You Get Started on Your Next DIY Project

:: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Decorating Resources Online

:: How to Build a Room Around a Signature Piece

Now let’s do the same for our fashion business:

:: How to Shop Like a Stylist

:: How to Go from Demure to Daring with a Signature Wow Piece

:: 3/5/7 or 2/4/6: Guide to Understanding Clothing Sizes

:: The One Must-Own Item That Complements Every Body Type

:: 10 Wardrobe Staples Every Woman Should Own

See, how easy was that? By spending just half an hour looking through Amazon, we came up with 21 headline ideas, not to mention, ideas for what to write about in the first place!

Now just for fun, if you’re completely stumped for a headline idea, head on over to Portent’s Content Idea Generator. Enter the subject you want to write about, and the generator will give you some headline ideas.

When I did this for the very article you’re reading right now, Portent suggested the following headlines:

:: Why Great Headlines Beat Peanut Butter on Pancakes

:: The 5 Best Resources for Magnetic Headlines

:: How Benefit Driven Headlines Are Making the World a Better Place

And my personal favorite:

:: Why Copywriting Will Change Your Life

Fun stuff, huh?

So there you have it. Tons of easy-to-implement headline templates you can start using today to get your content read, shared and acted upon. And for still more writing magnetic headlines goodness, check out the additional resources below.

Additional Resources

If you’re serious about learning to write great headlines, you can head over to Copyblogger at the link below and sign up to receive the free e-book, How to Write Magnetic Headlines. I’ve got it and it’s good. Seriously, you’ll find dozens of easy-to-implement headline templates in it, so go to town, my friend:

How to Write Magnetic Headlines

From Alexandra Franzen, here are 10 ways to write blog post titles, headlines & email subject lines that make people go, “whoa!”

And from Buffer, check out this in-depth post on how to write headlines for all the various kinds of content you’ll be writing as you build your online empire:

30+ Ultimate Headline Formulas for Tweets, Posts, Articles, and Emails

 

Comments? Questions? Other headline templates you’d like to share? Leave ‘em in the comments below!

[Sign up for free weekly updates and get instant access to the CREATIVE REBEL GUIDE TO WRITING A CLIENT-ATTRACTING ABOUT PAGE, plus copywriting & web marketing tips and other goodies for creative freelancers & biz owners that I only share with my subscribers, delivered straight to your inbox each Tuesday.]

 

The Thing You Have to Understand Is That You Are Different

blog img_You are different

:: Not everybody wants to escape the 9-5 world. 

:: Not everybody who is deeply unhappy in the 9-5 world makes the leap to self-employment or any other kind of cubicle liberation. 

:: Not everybody wants to start a blog. Or launch a website. Or create an Etsy shop. Or write a newsletter for an audience of raving fans.  

:: Not everybody believes it’s possible to liberate themselves from unfulfilling work and build an online presence that sells their good and services, all while tapping into their innate talents and skills and abilities. 

:: Not everybody is comfortable sharing their art – whether that’s writing, graphic design, fine art, photography, business & marketing strategy, or any other kind of creative pursuit – in a public venue. 

:: Not everybody feels the fear and does it anyway. 

:: Not everybody chooses the friction of being visible over the much more palatable friction of being invisible. (Inspired by Mark Nepo

:: Not everybody chooses to feel utterly alive doing what they love to do, despite being terrified a crash and burn scenario could be imminent.  

:: Not everybody decides to take action on their dreams despite the naysayers who proclaim it’s not possible to do work you love and be well-paid for it.

:: Not everybody believes that creative sovereignty is a worthwhile and achievable goal.  

:: Not everybody keeps marching to the beat of their own quirky drummer when it would make much more sense to cave and get a job. 

:: Not everybody understands the liberating and undeniable joy of being unemployable. (I am full-time self-employed, but I consider myself unemployable.) 

:: Not everybody reads blogs like this one for marketing advice/how-tos/inspiration. (Thanks for that, by the way). 

:: Not everybody believes they have to ask permission from some kind of “gatekeeper” to do their thing, pursue their art, and sell it

The thing you have to understand is that you are different. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Revel in it. Fall in love with it. 

 

What would you add to this list? What do you believe/do/practice that goes against the accepted wisdom about how to earn a living or pursue your creative work? Please share in the comments!

Some Notes on What I Read This Week: March 1 Edition

What’s the good reading stuff round-up for this week? Here are a couple of things that made an impression on me this week.

What’s Your Lucky Number?

The best email I got all week was the 02/25/15 edition of Hugh McLeod’s Gaping Void newsletter, a daily missive of his quirky and smile-inducing cartoons, in which he shared this inspiring fact:

Five thousand one hundred and twenty-six failed vacuum cleaners.  

That’s how many prototypes it took for James Dyson to get it right.  

5, 127 was his lucky number. He’s now worth over $4 billion.  

It’s not about being brilliant, or about always being right.  

It’s about not giving up before you have the chance to succeed.

If you’re interested in getting a daily cartoon that will make you happy, make you think, and possibly make you question the status quo, you can sign up for McLeod’s newsletter here:

Gaping Void Newsletter

(By the way, in the video on that page, McLeod shares a great way to think about “marketing” that makes it feel genuine and natural; if you’re a creative trying to find a way to sell your products and services without feeling icky or uncomfortable, be sure to watch it.)

Stay Weird, Stay Different

Screenwriter Graham Moore’s Oscar acceptance speech for best adapted screenplay for the film The Imitation Game brought tears to my eyes, and I’m not alone. It was magical.

Here’s part of what he shared:

“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong. And now I am standing here. So I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. You do. Stay weird, stay different. And when it’s your turn to stand on this stage, pass the message along.”

I’m getting all teary again reading it now. What can I say? Despite my hard-candy outer shell, I’m an emotional softie on the inside.

Editing is a “Wifely Trade,” Marketing Plans in Book Proposals Are “Nonsense,” and Other Retro Reflections

I finished a book this week called, Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction – Stories and advice from a lifetime of writing and editing, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder and his long-time editor, Richard Todd.

I loved reading about the years-long relationship between Todd and Kidder, as anything that delves into the realities of the writer’s life interests me, but there were a few passages in the book that left me scratching my head. And by “scratching my head,” I mean thinking, “you can’t be serious.”

Such as:

Editing is a wifely trade. This is a disquieting thought for editors, certainly for male editors, and in a different way for some female editors too, but editing does involve those skills that are stereotypically female: listening, supporting, intuiting. And, like wives, editors are given to irony and indirection. When male editors become bullies it may be because they resent their feminized role. (They shouldn’t take it out on writers. They need other avenues for their manly impulses, skydiving, Formula One racing, something.) However hesitant, timid, and self-doubting writers feel, they nonetheless remain the stereotypically male figures in the relationship, whatever their gender. Writers assert. Editors react.

And:

There are even book proposal consultants and book proposal formulas. Authors are advised to create ‘marketing plans’ to include in their proposals, and some dutifully spend weeks on the chore. Most of this is nonsense, and bad advice.

I am not making this up. And this book was published in 2013. 2013!!

And that’s a few notes on some things I read/saw this week. Feel free to leave a comment below about what you’ve been reading, or share reading suggestions. Thanks!