How to Ship When It’s Not Perfect: On Beating Procrastination, Overcoming Limiting Beliefs, and Finally Shipping my Copy Messaging Guide

marketing messages that convert

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I recently sent an email to my list about the long and winding road to finally, finally, at long last, publishing the beta version of a copy messaging ebook I’d been working on in fits and starts for nearly a year.

Actually, when I started working on what would eventually become the ebook in June 2018, it was still going to be an 11-lesson e-course that would drip out over the space of a couple of weeks. At that time, I was planning to sell it for $97, and add downloadable worksheets & checklists to go with the main course content.

To go back even further than that, though, this content was originally meant to be a course specifically for photographers.

That’s when I was calling it 30 Days to a Magnetic Marketing Message That Sells: A Course for Wedding, Portrait, and Lifestyle Photographers: Create Messaging for Your Photography Business That Helps You Stand Out in an Overcrowded Market, Attract & Connect with Your Ideal Clients, & Get More Bookings.

But even long before that, much of this content already existed in some form or fashion – email newsletters, blog posts, guest posts on other sites, podcast interviews, and so on.

All of which is to say, I could have gotten this dang ebook done and dusted much sooner than I did.

So, why didn’t I?

Why I couldn’t get this project shipped

Part of the hold-up was everyday life stuff, like moving, dealing with some family issues, and other ordinary run-of-the-mill challenges.

And then there was the out of the ordinary stuff.

To be 100% transparent, A LOT was going down in my personal life at the time I was trying to create this content, that was, shall we say, very, very challenging.

(Maybe I’ll share that story someday, if only to say, “Can ya believe I survived that?” Ha ha. Because I can hardly believe I did.)

Another thing that kept me from completing and shipping the project was the nagging feeling that I shouldn’t focus the content solely on helping photographers, as much as I love and adore them. Instead, I should make this content applicable to solopreneurs, freelancers, and creative business builders of all kinds.

And if I was going to do that, I was going to have to rewrite at least part of the content I’d already created to appeal to a wider audience.

But if I’m honest, much (ok, most) of the delay had to do with resistance and procrastination, caused by limiting beliefs like . . .

“An ebook? Ebooks are sooooo 2006, Kimberly. Or 2009. But certainly in 2019 they aren’t a thing people sell anymore!” [I’m not talking about what you can buy on Amazon; I’m talking about selling ebooks directly from your website or a third-party solution like Podia, which is what I used. Podia is awesome, by the way.]

AND …

“Why would you put so much time and effort into writing and selling an ebook, fer cryin’ out loud, when that same amount of time and effort put into selling your premium services would net you exponentially more revenue?” [I can just hear certain business coaches and well-meaning copywriters I know saying this exact thing in my ear right now.]

AND …

“When you look at your copywriting heroes, those whose careers you’ve long admired, those you’d like to emulate in at least some small way, have ANY of them ever sold an inexpensive ebook as part of their suite of offerings?” [The only copywriting hero of mine I know of who has, is Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers.]

AND the classic imposter syndrome belief …

“Who am I to write this copy messaging guide? Sure, I’ve been working in the marketing, communications & copywriting space for 15+ years now, but I’m no [insert any one of my copywriting heroes here]. Why would anyone listen to me?!”

What finally got me off the dime

Despite the BS limiting beliefs above, I couldn’t deny the magnetic pull I felt toward sharing the framework I’d been using for years to create memorable & effective messaging for my private copywriting clients.

When I began developing this framework, the core thing that was driving me was the problem I was trying to solve – how to extract and distill my clients’ point of difference or USP, and create persuasive messaging that conveyed that meaningful difference, so they could stand out in an overcrowded market and attract and convert more of their ideal clients.

Doing this requires diving deep and determining the Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) and Unique Selling Proposition (USP), then combining those two key ingredients, along with a few other uber-important factors, to create compelling & sticky signature marketing messages that convert website visitors into promising leads and ideal clients.

It was in early 2019 that it occurred to me that I should, in the name of all that’s holy, stop messing around and share this copy messaging framework NOW, no matter what form the content took – ebook, dripped out ecourse, full-blown course with all the bells and whistles, or me showing up personally at your front door with a whiteboard and some dry erase markers to teach you this stuff one-on-one. 😊

Because this messaging extraction process is something everyone building a business online or offline needs to be able to do – for their business overall, and for each service offering and marketing campaign as well.

And it should be for all freelancers, solopreneurs, and small business owners selling their products and services, because that’s who I see struggling the most with developing persuasive messaging that helps them stand out online.

And it should also be fairly inexpensive, so it’s accessible for those just starting out, because that’s when you need this information the most. (Though you can – and you certainly should – use this framework to clarify and improve your existing messaging, even if you’re farther along in your business journey.)

So, yeah. It was time to get this content put together and shipped, once and for all.

Of course, swimming around in my fevered brain at the same time were thoughts like, “But I want this to be perfect!,” and “It should be beautifully designed first!”

But naw, the perfectionist in me would have held off for at least another 6 months before moving forward if I had let those things stop me.

Which is why I decided to put this information together in the easiest format I could tackle on my own – an ebook – and release the imperfect beta version, so I could get it launched before I chickened out or came up with 40 other bullshit excuses to avoid taking action.

How I MADE myself finally finish the ebook and put it up for sale

It was simple, really.

I did something I’ve never done and always said I would never do, because I don’t enjoy that kind of pressure: on a Thursday afternoon, I sent an email to my list to let them know the beta version of the ebook would be ready for sale by the end of the following day.

I let them know it would be in beta form, so not to expect beautiful design or fancy bells and whistles, but if they were interested in the simple PDF version, the info inside would be well worth way, way more than the $10 cost of the ebook if they implemented the 11 lessons within.

That meant there was no turning back.

It also meant I had to work like a fiend that Thursday night, and all the next day without even taking a break for a shower or a meal, to get the ebook finished and out the door by 5:00 pm that Friday.

And get it out I did.

I sold several copies within the first 15 minutes of sending the email announcing it was ready. More sales trickled in over the next week.

Final Thoughts

I can’t express how phenomenal it felt to finally share my framework for creating compelling marketing messages for freelancers, solopreneurs and small business owners in overcrowded markets, something I’d wanted to do since at least 2012/2013, when doing this very thing saved my own business from dying a sad, ignoble death. [That is no joke, y’all.]

And the fact that I can help others do the same, for less than a Starbucks date? It fills me with joy.

The lesson here is, you can and should get your “thing” out there if it can help others, even if it’s not perfect, and even if it’s very tiny to start. You can always go back later and improve, upgrade, and add more “stuff” to your product if you want – that’s what I plan to do.

The added bonus is, shipping a project, no matter how tiny, does something kind of profound – it starts to change your identity to that of a person who gets things done. As a lifelong perfectionist/procrastinator, that is a big, big, BIG deal for me.

Now I want to give credit where credit is due for a big piece of inspiration that got me over the finish line . . .

If you’re a perfectionist / procrastinator who keeps coming up with excuses not to finish and ship a thing [for me, the two are inseparable], I urge you to check out Amy Hoy’s site, Stacking the Bricks. She writes very compellingly about what procrastination looked like for her, and how she overcame it to create a 7-figure business.

Specifically, I returned to her blog post, How I went from a hopeless procrastinator to starting a 7-figure business, over and over again while I was working on my ebook for a shot of much needed arse-kicking inspiration. It helped me so damn much.

So many golden nuggets o’ wisdom in Amy’s article. Read it if you can.

As she says,

It turns out that just fucking shipping things is magic… but the real fun is in growing and shaping them and reaping the rewards.

But you’ll never get there if you don’t ship.

Amen, sister!

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

Interested in learning more about the beta version of Marketing Messages That Convert: A Step-by-Step Copy Messaging Guide for Solopreneurs, Freelancers, Creative Business Builders & Other Non-Marketing Types? You can check it out right here.

If you’re ready to create messaging that helps you stand out online so you can convert website visitors into promising leads and ideal clients, this guide will help.

Should You Buy Tim Ferriss’ Latest Book, “Tools of Titans?”

Tools of Titans

(The full title of the book is Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.)

I bought this big behemoth of a book on 12/11/16 and I’m about 475 pages into it.

I’d been reading about it and hearing about it on podcasts for a few weeks when I finally decided to fork over the $28 to make it mine. (You know how it is with book launches these days – they go on for what feels like weeks and months and years on end.)

By the time I walked in to Barnes & Noble in early-ish December 2016 and read through a few pages of Tools of Titans, I decided I had to buy it. (That’s what priming’ll do for ya. It works.)

But wait, let me back up a minute. That’s not exactly how it happened, come to think of it.

The first time I actually saw the book, I picked it up read through the table of contents and the bullet copy on the back cover, thought, “Hmm, never mind,” put it down, and walked away.

I wanted the book, no question, but I was resistant, and here’s why: if my math is correct, of the 112 people in the book Ferriss shares wisdom and insight from, just 14 are women. Of the bullets on the back cover of the book – you know, the copy that’s meant to really sell the thing (so it’s where the – ahem – uber “important” people are mentioned) – there are 14 bullets and only one features a woman.

So it is that most “successful” people come in the male variety in Tim Ferriss world.

I’ll admit, I was disappointed. It confirms what I’ve long felt about many of the male-lead businesses and people I follow online, great though they may be – you’re way more likely to be featured in/on someone’s podcast, website, blog, book, or even in their testimonials or case studies if you’re a man, unless the website, blog, or podcast is woman-owned. I’ve seen it over and over and over again.

If you came here from another planet and took notice of this, you’d think, “Hmm, what constitutes ‘success’ on this planet is for men, defined by men, and about men.”

[As an aside, if you want to read a fantastic piece on this dilemma, far more eloquently written than what I’ve scratched out here, check out Sarah Kathleen Peck’s article, Why We Can’t Keep Having “Best of Entrepreneur” Lists That are Overwhelmingly Male.]

Anywho, back to the book. I bought it despite my disappointment over the underrepresentation of women, so obviously I believe there’s value in it.

Now, if you’re still with me, here’s a brief overview of the book:

The book is laid out in three sections: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise, which Ferriss describes as “a tripod upon which life is balanced. One needs all three to have any sustainable success or happiness.” (His definition of wealth is about more than money, it also includes an abundance of time, relationships and other life categories.)

He calls it “a compendium of recipes for high performance,” lessons he’s learned from the 200 world-class performers he’s interviewed on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. Among these are writers, actors, comedians, and photographers, so it’s not all hedge fund managers and Silicon Valley people, not that those folks don’t have important lessons to share as well.

The book is made up of distilled wisdom, strategies, tips and tricks from these high-achievers that Ferriss put together for his own use, and only later decided to publish. It’s not just a book of interviews, it’s “a toolkit for changing your life,” according to Ferriss, and many of the lessons he’s learned and applied have indeed changed his life, he says.

And because it’s such a long book (well over 600 pages), Ferriss says to treat it sort of like a buffet, to skip what you don’t feel compelled to read, and read what grabs you. I skipped the entire first section, “Healthy,” and started right in with my reading at section 2, “Wealthy” (page 164). I’ve been reading in order straight through from there though.

(It’s my OCD. I feel like I can’t skip pages and sections now, and once I get to the end, I’ll go back and read the “Healthy” section.)

What I liked:

There’s something here for just about any kind of challenge you might face, as cliché as that sounds.

For example, if you tend to “compare and despair,” Sophia Amoruso (page 376), founder of global clothing brand Nasty Gal and #Girlboss Foundation, says not to be so impressed by the high achievers you admire, because you are entirely capable of doing what they do, and there’s no reason you can’t have the things they have. Despite her massive success, she shares that she still cries sometimes, and doesn’t ever feel like, “I’m done, I’ve arrived.”

Or maybe you have a medical condition, or something else in your life is causing you mental, emotional or physical pain that keeps you from doing all you’d like to do, and your tendency is to complain about it, as much as you’d like not to (been there/still sometimes there).

Tracy DiNunzio (page 313), founder and CEO of Tradesy, who has raised $75 million from investors including Richard Branson, talks about being born with spina bifida and having to undergo several surgeries. She says she tried “complaining and being bitter,” but it didn’t work. Because, she explains, sharing a Stephen Hawking quote (someone with a bigger reason to complain than most people), “when you complain nobody wants to help you.”

She talks about putting herself on a “complaining diet,” because she was thinking and talking about being in pain enough that it caused her life to go in a negative direction. She decides not to say, or even think, anything negative about the situation she’s in. She admits it took a long time and she wasn’t perfect at it, but that replacing the negative thoughts with more positive ones helped get her life moving in a better direction, one where she wasn’t obsessing about what was wrong, which served to lessen the physical pain.

Feeling stuck? Legendary music producer Rick Rubin (page 502) says to start with a very small, doable task. He recounts the story of an artist he was working with who hadn’t made an album in a long time and was struggling mightily with getting anything finished. So Rubin gives him the assignment to write one word in a song that needs 5 lines by the next day. Just one word. This advice resonated with me because I’ve found the “small, doable task” trick great for building momentum in my own work and life when I’m feeling stuck.

Searching for the courage to do something bold? Research professor Dr. Brené Brown (page 586), whose TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability” has been viewed more than 31 million times, shares her experience teaching as a public figure despite hurtful online comments and attacks. She realized that if she wanted to live “a brave life,” a life “in the arena,” that yes, she would get her ass kicked, but she chooses to live by the question, “When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?” As someone who regularly chooses comfort, this is a lesson I need to ponder. Actually not to ponder, that’s too “comfortable.” I need to implement this, fer cryin’ out loud!

Afraid to be your “true self,” online or elsewhere? Glenn Beck (I know, I know, but bear with me. Page 553), shares some excellent advice, especially appropriate for those of us conducting business online who sometimes hide behind our “real” selves so as not to offend or scare away potential clients or customers.

Beck says, “What I realized . . . was that people are starving for something authentic. They’ll accept you, warts and all, if that’s who you really are. Once you start lying to them, they’re not interested. We’re all alike. So the best advice I learned by mistake, and that is: Be willing to fail or succeed on who you really are. Don’t ever try to be anything else. What you are is good enough for whatever it is you’re doing.”

This is only the second time in the history of ever I’ve agreed with something Glenn Beck said (the other time was some comments he made about Trump), so I’m as shocked as anybody that I’m mentioning him in a blog post. But there it is.

My Favorite Bits

These are my favorite bits, meaning, I’ve actually added these practices to what I call my “Daily Practice,” and do them regularly now:

The Five-Minute Journal, page 146, which consists of a couple of brief morning prompts, and a couple of evening prompts. Each morning I write 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things that would make today great, and 3 daily affirmations. In the evening, I write about “3 amazing things that happened today,” and “3 ways I could have made today better.” Though I was doing some form of this before, it wasn’t organized, and it wasn’t daily. Now it’s both, and I feel happier. At the end of each week on Sunday night, I spend 10-15 minutes reviewing that week’s journal entries.

Tim’s 8-step process for maximizing efficacy, page 200, which is a list of things he does to make sure he gets stuff done, despite “self-defeating habits and self-talk.” Oh, how I love this, because we all have bad habits, and so do the most successful people we admire. But they still manage to get big and amazing things done, and so we can too.

I won’t share the entire list here, but the crux is: Wake up at least one hour before you have to be at a computer screen; write down 3-5 things that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable; for each item, ask yourself, “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”; look at only the items you’ve answered “yes” to for that question; then block out 2-3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. [That’s a brief overview.]

I love that he says, “This is the only way I can create big outcomes despite my never-ending impulse to procrastinate, nap, and otherwise fritter away days with bullshit.” Sounds like someone I know very well. Ahem.

And lastly, one of my favorite new practices that came from the book, is wishing for random people to be happy, page 158. What you do is simply randomly identify two people who are standing, sitting, or walking nearby, and wish for them to be happy. Just say to yourself, “I wish for this person to be happy, I wish for that person to be happy.” It’s just thinking, mind you, it’s not saying it out loud.

I’ve done some form of this before as part of my daily practice, but not consistently, and not for a long time now, but after reading this passage in Tim’s book, I sat on my bed and randomly wished for all kinds of people to be happy, even people I don’t much care for, like Trump. AND BOY, WAS THAT EVER DIFFICULT TO DO.

This practice does tend to make me feel happier, and I think it’s because of what Ferriss identifies – it takes the focus off you and your “stuff,” at least briefly. Which is a welcome respite for those of us who tend to live so much in our heads and focus obsessively on all we have to do/be/accomplish/handle, etc.

At the end of the day . . .

Despite my quibbles about the book’s mostly male focus and version of “success,” I’m happy I bought the book, and would recommend it.  

That said, I have to say I agree with Emma Jacobs, who reviewed the book for the Financial Times:

“Halfway through this book, I started to feel battered, like I had been hit by a tsunami of testosterone. I flicked through the book tallying the number of men and women proffering the advice — just over 10 per cent of the interviewees were women. Granted, there are fewer female billionaires — to take his subtitle — but icons and world-class performers? Give me strength. The overall effect is a kind of quantified self, Silicon Valley machismo. And that will appeal to many.”

Though I don’t find “Silicon Valley machismo” compelling in any way, shape, or form, I still found many things to like about this book, and found it worth the $28. 

And there ya have it.

Thank you for being part of my community + updates

Can you believe it’s already the end of 2016?

If I’m being honest, a new year can’t come soon enough for me. 2016 has been tough, and I mean really tough, for me and a whole bunch of other people I know as well.

And I’m not just talking about the terrifying political situation we now find ourselves in, though that’s a big part of it.

While I firmly believe that every moment, even the “bad” ones, can have their own unique blessings, I am good and ready for a whole bunch of “good” moments strung all together in several looooong months/years at this point.

But hey, on to brighter things! 

The real reason I’m writing today is to thank you for being a part of my community this year.

Whether you stopped by to read a blog post, signed up for my weekly copywriting tips newsletter, left a comment, sent an email with a question, told me how much you enjoy receiving my weekly emails, inquired about working together, or simply reached out to say hello, thank you. It’s deeply appreciated.

It means so much to me that you get value out of the articles I write and the emails I send, and that you actually take time out of your busy day to tell me that. That’s a big deal, so again, thank you.

And if you became a client this year, I appreciate your trust in allowing me to write marketing copy for your business to help you generate more clients and sales.

I don’t take any of these things for granted.

I’m blessed to have worked with several amazing clients this year, and to have interacted with many of the amazing and wonderful readers of my blog and my weekly newsletter this year as well.

So know that you are loved and appreciated, and that I’m wishing you the very best, in your business and in your personal life, for the coming year.

UPDATES

Some of you may have gotten what you needed from my blog posts and weekly emails and be ready to move on. If that’s the case, no worries! There’s only so much time in the day, and you have to be careful where you spend your time and attention. So if our “relationship” has run its course, I’ll understand if you need to unsubscribe from the newsletter and/or stop reading the blog. 

But if you decide to stick around these here parts in 2017, here’s what you can expect:

:: More blog posts, tips, ideas, and how-tos for writing compelling copy that helps you attract your ideal clients, customers and collectors, geared especially for creative business builders, solopreneurs and other non-marketing types.

:: A new [free!] short e-course on how to write a magnetic, client-attractive website. This will be something like 7 or 8 lessons delivered over a week – 10 days or so, so you can go through it quickly, get what you need, and get it implemented on your website, pronto, to start attracting more of the kind of clients & customers you really want.

:: My first ever product – I’m not sure exactly what this will look like yet, but it will be created based on the most frequent questions I get from email subscribers and clients, + the issues and challenges you all share with me in my Creating Better Copy Personalized Help Session private workshop calls. It will be affordable, uber-useful for getting your website copy and marketing in tip-top shape, and FUN to read and implement!

:: And more . . . stay tuned for details! 🙂

In the meantime, if you’d like some customized-especially-for-you help with your web copy or marketing now, or in early January to start the new year off just right, check out my Creating Better Copy Personalized Help Session: You + Me + a One Hour Private Workshop to Address Your Most Pressing Web Copy Challenges Right Now.  It’s customized-for-you answers to your top copywriting challenges, and clear ideas for improving your website copy ASAP to more effectively call in and convert your ideal clients.

That’s it for now.

Hope your holidays are magical and miraculous!

See you in the New Year!

Warmly,

Kimberly

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!

 

Book Recommendation: The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau

The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

Once you’re near the end, there’s no time for bullshit. But what if you decided there’s no time for bullshit – or regrets – far in advance of the end? What if you vow to live life the way you want right now, regardless of what stage of life you’re in?”

Of all the inspiring passages and quest calls in Chris Guillebeau’s recently released book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life, the quote above is the one that resonates with me the most.  

The context: Chris tells the story of Kathleen Taylor, who was a hospice bedside counselor for 8 years and loved her work. Frequently asked how she could enjoy her job, Taylor responds, “Because people at the end of their lives are incapable of bullshit . . . when they’re facing the task of wrapping up an entire life, the distractions that usually tempt us away from being honest with ourselves kind of fall off the map.” (I’ve linked up Kathleen Taylor’s TED Talk on this topic at the end of this post under “Additional Resources.”)

It’s a great question, right? What if you vow to live life the way you want right now? What if, what if, what if . . . it’s exactly the question I’ve been asking myself for months now, which is why the book left such an impression on me.

If you’re a seeker, inspired by tales of others’ accomplishments and adventures, and feeling a vague (or pronounced) sense of discontent, The Happiness of Pursuit is for you. If you’re feeling dissatisfied and restless, this book could be exactly the inspiration you need to bust out of the doldrums and find the right quest to help you get your happy back.

When You Sense Discontent, Pay Attention

The Happiness of Pursuit examines the link between questing and long-term happiness, chronicling real-world quests of “normal people doing remarkable things” who have brought meaning and purpose into their lives through their quests.  Chris (we’re not on a first name basis, mind you, but spelling out “Guillebeau” each time I write his name makes me mighty tired), also writes about his own quest to visit every country on Earth (193, I believe) before the age of 35, a task he accomplished.

As I got eleven pages into the book, I started underlining fragments, sentences, and whole passages.

For example:

“If you want to make every day an adventure, all you have to do is prioritize adventure. It has to become more important than routine.”

 “If you want to achieve the unimaginable, you start by imagining it.”

“Courage comes through achievement but also through the attempt.”

“Everyone is busy, yet we all have access to the same amount of time. If you want to prioritize adventure but can’t find the time, something’s got to give.” (This one was like a punch to the gut for me. Note to self: STOP WHINING about not having enough time!)

“Lesson: When you sense discontent, pay attention. The answer isn’t always ‘go for it’ (though it often is), but you shouldn’t neglect the stirring. Properly examined, feelings of unease can lead to a new life of purpose.”

If you’re thinking, “Hey, that all sounds groovy and everything, I would love to experience more adventure and lead a life of purpose, but I can’t quit my job to travel or pursue some far-flung adventure,” I hear you.

But the quests in this book aren’t all of the travel to distant lands variety.  No, many of them were undertaken closer to home, and some, without ever leaving home.

For example, there’s Sasha Martin, a thirty-year-old wife and mother in Tulsa, Oklahoma who decides to shake off the complacency she’s feeling by embracing “culture through cuisine” and cooking a meal from every country in the world.  Yep, every country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a cooking project that took close to four years.

Then there’s Sandi Wheaton, who worked at General Motors for twelve years before being laid off during the upheaval in the automotive industry. At first, she planned to look for another job, as her other laid-off colleagues were doing, but she started thinking about the toll her corporate career had taken on her – “devoting her best energy to . . . corporate America instead of the adventure that tugged at her heart.” What Sandi really wanted to do was travel Route 66 and document the trip along the way. And for six weeks she did, taking 60,000 photographs, sleeping in campsites each night, and getting up early each day to head back out on the road.

As Sandi says, “I had zero clue how to do it, but I was driven by the desire to avoid looking back years later and calling myself a chickenshit for not using the opportunity for something.”

And there’s Elise Blaha, who upon turning twenty-seven set a goal to create twenty-seven different craft projects using twenty-seven different types of materials.

And Travis Eneix, who committed to practicing tai chi and writing down everything he ate for one thousand days.

And Tina Roth Eisenberg, who has multiple creative projects going at all times and set out to publish a body of work promoting innovative design.

Then of course there are the more adventurous quests – such as that of sixteen-year-old Laura Dekker who set out to sail around the globe solo, and Nate Damm, who walked across the United States, and Miranda Gibson, who lived in a tree for an entire year to protest illegal logging, and  John Francis, who maintained a vow of silence for 17 years, and Martin Parnell, who ran 250 marathons in a single year, and Adam Warner, who is in the process of fulfilling every goal on his late wife Meghan’s life list, and many others besides who undertook quests of the creative, self-discovery, exploration, activism, and academic variety.

The core message of all the quests documented in the book is this: a quest can bring purpose and meaning to your life.

And in The Happiness of Pursuit, you’ll see inspiring evidence of this in action, many times over. And if you’re like me, you’ll finish the book with your own list of quest ideas. {More on that in a future post.}

I’ll leave you with a short passage from Chapter One, Awakening:

“What if you could study with others who’ve invested years – sometimes decades – in the relentless pursuit of their dreams? That learning opportunity is what this book is about. You’ll sit with people who have pursued big adventures and crafted lives of purpose around something they found deeply meaningful. You’ll hear their stories and lessons. You’ll learn what happened along the way, but more important, you’ll learn why it happened and why it matters.”

As for me, I’m keeping the book on my bedside table as a powerful reminder to prioritize adventure, and live the way I want to right now, sans bullshit.

Additional Resources

Learn more here about The Happiness of Pursuit and Guillebeau’s other books.

Check out Rethinking the Bucket List: Kathleen Taylor at TED here.

And for a jolt of reality from a former palliative care professional on the importance of living your life the way you want to now, read Bronnie Ware’s Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.

Lessons Distilled from a Creative Life: “The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art,” by Paul Jarvis

 

The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art by Paul Jarvis

Supported. Seen. Understood.

As a creative, do you often find yourself resistant to business advice or words of wisdom from those not in creative fields, because they don’t seem to get it?  You read a blog post, watch a video, or listen to a podcast to uncover tips for earning a full-time living from your creative thing, and think, “that won’t work for me,” or “that doesn’t apply to me because I sell fine art, photography, design services, illustration, [insert your creative work of choice here].”

While timeless marketing principles, authentically applied, can work for business builders in any category, it’s an unimpeachable truth that as creatives, when we seek counsel on how to up our business game or look for success stories we can apply to our own situation, we want to know that this guidance applies to us specifically as creative business builders. We want to take advice from someone who gets it. We don’t abide yellow highlighter hyperbole, “ninja” tricks, “warrior” moves, or other cliché metaphors of aggression that so many marketers & online business builders promote.

So when a successful creative, someone who earns a full-time living from his creative output, shares what he’s learned along the way, I’m going to pay the gentleman some attention. (“Success” is such a loaded word, so let’s assume here that it means the ability to support yourself from your creative work and feel creatively fulfilled in your daily life.)

Who is this gentleman I speak of?  Why it’s Paul Jarvis, web designer, best-selling author and “gentleman of adventure.”

I recently bought his book, The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art.  It’s pithy, entertaining, and full of good juju in the form of 18 “ideas to consider” when doing your creative thing, wherein Jarvis shares what he’s learned from observing other smart, successful, creative people. He says, “I wrote this book to explore the commonalities between successful artists. These are the 18 traits I see in good creatives. Not get-rich-quick, empty-promise dealers or egomaniacal artists, but good creatives.”

I love his expansive definition of what it means to be a creative: essentially, a creative is a person who makes anything; transforms their ideas into something tangible; curates or edits; leads or teaches; and puts what they know out into the world for others to watch, taste, read or hear.

In the book, Jarvis offers real-world examples to illustrate each of his 18 ideas. And if you’ve spent anytime ‘round these here parts, you know I love me some real-world examples. 

For example, in Chapter One, Try & fail (repeat as necessary), Jarvis shares now famous rejections that didn’t stop the creatives in question from pursing their dreams and becoming wildly successful. Stephen King, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, and Steven Spielberg, anyone?  The message: repeated failure doesn’t stop successful artists. 

In Chapter Three, Launch before you’re ready, Jarvis gives us the example of the Coen brothers’ first film, Blood Simple. The brothers entered their film in the Toronto and Sundance film festivals before the movie was even finished, because they were eager to get something into the competition. Once the film was accepted, they went off and finished it; it then won the 1985 Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

In Chapter Four, Tell your story, Jarvis says, “For creatives, the story behind the art is usually as important as the art itself” (Yes! I could jump up and down!  I give this advice to clients who are creatives all the time), and shares the example of Kris Carr, who launched her career as a wellness activist and author by telling the story of her cancer journey in the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer.

Other favorite chapters include “Share your ugly process,” “Help others,” “Hug your critics,” “Package your quirks,” “Focus on the work, not the outcome,” and “Break the rules.” But heck, truth be told, I actually loved them all.

As Jarvis says, “These aren’t rules, because you can’t magically follow them and then presto—your art becomes more famous than Gangnam Style,” but the 18 ideas here, embraced and implemented in your own special snowflake way of course, can realistically help you get from “starving artist” to fulfilled creative.

Learn more about the book here

(Depending on when you’re reading this, the book may or may not be available yet.  I bought it on pre-sale from his mailing list; otherwise, it’s available to all on June 1, 2014. I believe it will sell for $25.)

To find out more, get after it here:

The Good Creative: 18 Ways to Make Better Art  

An Ode to Being Impractical: A Reading List for Creative Business Builders

On Being Impractical to Achieve Success

I’ve been turning this Will Smith quote over in my head for weeks now. Noticing how I let fear stop me from initiating projects I’d really love to push “go” on. Or how I often get excited by an idea, then say to myself, “Hmm, I don’t know, maybe not,” all because in the back of my mind is that negating caution to be realistic.

As creatives, we’ve likely heard some version of this advice many times over, but how many truly extraordinary things were achieved by following the maxim to “be realistic?”

What if, instead, we gave ourselves permission to be wildly impractical? To throw caution to the wind during our creative process/brainstorming/visioning? How many deeply meaningful and creatively expansive projects would we undertake if the pervasive message was to be outlandish, outrageous, and a little loony, at least every now and then?

With that in mind, I rounded up a few articles I’ve had the pleasure of reading lately that illustrate the benefits of taking the road less traveled. Of being unrealistic.

Whether it’s in your marketing, your creative work, or through simply declaring you are the thing you most want to be – artist, writer, photographer, designer, what-have-you – being open to the unconventional can open up a whole new world of possibilities, leading to success breakthroughs you didn’t even know you were capable of.

These articles each illustrate in their own way that success doesn’t always come from following the default operating paradigm to be realistic. And thank goodness for that.

Oscar-Nominated Director Benh Zeitlin on Not Waiting For Permission

In this interview, writer, director and composer of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which won four Oscar nominations, talks about how an artist collective called Court 13 made one of the best films of 2012, using a model “contrary to everything Hollywood teaches.”

Read more here about the power of taking an unconventional approach to a creative project.

4 Most Improbable Success Stories You’ll Ever Hear

This group of go-getters didn’t let challenging obstacles or the dreamslayers and naysayers of the world keep them from following their dreams and achieving success.

Check out these four tales of unlikely success here.

They Did What!? 19 Secrets of Successful Business Owners Who Took the Road Less Traveled

The title of this article sums it up: road less traveled. And we love “road less traveled” around here.

Here are 19 secrets from 19 lifestyle businesses that found success by stepping off the beaten path and doing something different.

8 Bold Businesses Reveal How to Build an Unforgettable Brand

In this article Erika Napoletano writes about one of my favorite topics – how to stand out in a saturated market by being your straight-up self. These branding lessons from 8 “bold, brash and brazen” companies prove that building a successful and well-loved business around unique personality factors can have you smiling all the way to the bank.

Read about how these companies brought personality into the branding mix to transform what could have been deadly dull and boring into compelling and drool-worthy here.

I Had Been Fired and Evicted, and Still Retired at 27

Here’s the story of how Brenton Hayden, Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Business graduate and CEO and founder of Renter’s Warehouse USA, made $966,803 in his first full year of business and eventually became a retired multi-millionaire just after his 27th birthday – after being fired and evicted. Proof that opportunity exists in every situation.

Read about Brenton’s path to success here

How I Stopped Waiting to Become a Writer, Quit My Job & Launched My Dream

In this guest post on Problogger.net, writer Jeff Goins admits, “I seethed with envy and bitterness as I saw friends skyrocket to success, living out their passions,” and asks, “What were they doing that I wasn’t?”

Read Goin’s story about how he declared himself a writer, ultimately achieved success, and created a thriving career doing what he loves here.

And there ya have it. I hope you found some inspiration and motivation in these tales of others who found success by doing things differently.

Now it’s your turn – in the comments below, tell me about a time you took the road less traveled (in your business or personal life) despite well-meaning advice from family and friends, and what the happy result was.  

10 Inspiring Business & Marketing Resources for Creative Business Builders

One thing I’ve noticed since I switched my business focus from writing solely for corporate clients to adding independent creatives and small creative businesses to the mix is the number of people who email me saying there aren’t enough business, marketing and other resources online specifically geared to creative entrepreneurs.

And while I can’t know the entire Internet (even though I do spend over 10 hours every day swimming in it – ha!), I agree that when it comes to creatives who want to promote and market authentically, there seem to be fewer resources available than for other kinds of business builders.

So I compiled a list of go-to resources I know about, either through positive word-of-mouth, or because I visit them regularly myself for information, advice, and inspiration.

This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination, only a few places to get you started, so if you know of others not listed here, please drop ‘em in the comments at the end of the post!

The Abundant Artist: Dispelling the Starving Artist Myth

All kinds of artists will find this site useful. While there is plenty of content geared toward helping visual and fine artists market their work, the advice and tips here would work well for most any kind of creative trying to market authentically and create a robust presence online. As Cory, site owner, says about the site, “This is a web site not only about selling art, but about dispelling the starving artist myth.”

The articles, videos and podcasts on the site cover a multitude of topics, including how to build a better artist website, how to sell your art online, how to market effectively with social media, and other business-building topics geared toward artists.

Sample blog articles: How I Made $50,000 Selling Art on Facebook; Newsletters: So Easy, An Artist Can Do It; Personal Branding for Artists; The Artist Website Checklist; How to Create an Art Blog That Makes Art Collectors Swoon; How to Create Raving Fans by Telling the Story of Your Art, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for Cory’s email list and receive a 10 week email course called “Learn to Sell More Art Now,” as well as other useful content to help you grow your business.

Other notes: I love Cory’s tone, voice, and sense of humor. You’ll be entertained, and learn tons about art marketing at the same time.

Artsy Shark: Inspiring Artists to Build Better Businesses

The articles on this site cover how to launch and grow a successful art or craft business. Specific topics include the business of art, marketing, selling your work, inspiration, art licensing and art publishing, and more.

Run by Carolyn Edlund, Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, Artsy Shark publishes articles on featured artists, giving them publicity and linking to the artist’s website, which allows artists to make sales of their work. Artists are chosen several times a year through a competitive juried submission process. 

Sample blog articles: Artist Website Strategies: Improve Your Home Page; Crafting Potent Press Releases That Get You Ink; How to Create an Artist Email Newsletter That Works; 8 Ways to Improve Your Online Portfolio; Effective Art Marketing is Not About You, etc.

Red Lemon Club: refreshing insights into building influence, for creatives

Red Lemon Club features articles and other resources for helping creatives build their influence and land quality clients. The site is a place to “get inspired, absorb, learn and share insight on being influential, standing out, and building an engaged audience to your creative work.”

Sample blog articles: 7 Simple Acts of Daily Self-Discipline That Will Make You a Better Artist/Ninja; 50 Self-Promotion Tips for Creatives; 21 Ways to Add Magic to Your Brand and Stand Out; What Problems Are You Solving? How Great Artists Think Like Entrepreneurs; 11 Things Most Other People Never Do That You Can Do to Win Amazing Clients, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for the Red Lemon email list and receive the e-book, 9 Things You Absolutely Must Do to Land Quality Clients, plus weekly tips you won’t find on the blog.

Skinny Artist: Create, Connect, Inspire, & Live Your Art!

The Skinny Artist site delves into “the unique opportunities and challenges we face as creative artists in this brave new world of blogs, social media, and marketing our creative work online to a worldwide audience.” Specific topics include marketing myths, online marketing, inspiration, featured artists, artist life, and creative productivity.

 Sample blog articles: 5 Ways to Market Your Art in Your Community; 5 Fears That Can Destroy an Artist; Is Etsy Dying?; The Great Artist Statement Hoax; How to Take Charge of Your Creative Goals; Stare, Share, Steal, and be Willing to Look Stupid, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for the email list and receive the Skinny School series, “How the @#$&! do I Get More Traffic to my Website?!” plus how-to tutorials, artist marketing tips, and other resources.

Other notes: I absolutely love this site’s irreverent and funny tone.

Fresh Rag: The No BS, Straight Talk Approach to Earning More From Your Creative Pursuits

Fresh Rag is for artists, designers, crafters and other independent, creative entrepreneurs who want to  build their business and make more sales.

Sample blog articles: Calling Yourself Out on Your Own Bullshit; How to Eliminate the Starving Artist Syndrome from the Ground Up; Your Excuses About Etsy’s Changes Are Holding You Back; The 100%, Sure-Fire Way to Sound Like a Self-Absorbed Artist ; I Serve Those That Serve Creativity, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for the email list and receive free updates with tools, tips and tricks for taking your creative career to the next level. Topics include converting lookers into buyers, building a loyal following, and making more money without killing yourself.

Living a Creative Life with Melissa Dinwiddie

The aim of this site is to offer insights and inspiration to help you live a fully creative life. The goal: “to get you sparked, stoked and creating!” As Melissa says, she wants to see everyone on the planet using their creative gifts.

Sample blog articles: Failure, Progress & the Great Experiments of 2013; Secrets of Living a Big, Bold Creative Life; What to Do When You’re Caught in a Shame Spiral; Case Study: Dealing with Criticism; My Big Secret for Getting Creating (Almost) Every Day, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for the newsletter and receive a printable poster, 10 Keys to Creative Flow, plus regular email inspiration, first dibs and special offers when Melissa has new stuff to share.

Other notes: I love Melissa’s warm, friendly and encouraging tone. Oh, and there’s the stark honesty about her successes and her failures, which is refreshing. She’s a creative who gets creatives – get ready to feel understood and supported as a creative soul.

Creative Freelancer Blog

Geared to creative freelance professionals – freelance designers, illustrators, writers, photographers and other creatives – Creative Freelancer Blog provides business and marketing advice and inspiration.  

I’ll be honest, even though I visit this site regularly, it kind of drives me crazy because there’s so much going on and it doesn’t seem that well-organized. When you land on the blog it’s a giant mish-mash with a long scrolling list of articles, with no apparent topic categories. Maddening. That said, there’s a wealth of fantastic information for creative freelancers, and the content is well worth reading if you have the time and the patience to dig through the seeming randomness.

Sample blog articles: The Photographer’s Guide to Photo Contests; Work, Life, and You: Are You Staying Sane?; Top 3 Social Media Platforms for Designers & Creative Pros; When They Ask You to Work for Free, Say This; Turn More Prospects into Paying Clients; 12 Stark Differences Between Freelancing and 9-5; Why You Should Say “No” to Clients and Become a Specialist; Retainers Get You Off the Rollercoaster, etc.

Free resources available: Signing up for the email list will allow you to download job-search strategies, interview techniques, and portfolio and résumé tips to help you land the right creative position.

The Unmistakable Creative Podcast: Candid Conversations with Creative Entrepreneurs and Insanely Interesting People

This is hands-down one of my favorite places to visit online for creative inspiration. There are over 400 inspiring interviews here with every kind of creative entrepreneur you can imagine, spanning every kind of background. As the graphic on the site’s About page says, podcast guests include best-selling authors, world-famous cartoonists, ex-cons, graffiti artists, happiness researchers, peak performance psychologists, and more. This is not your usual business podcast, in a good way. A very good way.

Sample podcasts: How to Escape a Life of Mediocrity with Melissa Leon; Idea Execution and the Creative Process with Jocelyn Glei; Creating a Profitable Expression of Your Art with Alex Franzen; Unleash Your Creative Genius with Erik Wahl; How to Master the Craft of Writing with Dani Shapiro; The Importance of Developing Your Own Belief Systems; Redefining Ambition with Amber Rae, etc.

Free resources available: Sign up for the email list and receive notice of the latest podcasts, plus (as of this writing), a weekly email delivered on Sunday designed to make you think about your creative path. Inspiring, thoughtful and honest, this is of my favorite Sunday reads.

Scoutie Girl: Creative Life with Character

Scoutie Girl is a daily digital lifestyle magazine that features stories, philosophies, and innovative ideas about creative living & becoming a more creative individual; offers creative visual inspiration and motivation to the handmade community. Written by a team of creative thinkers and designers, the site seeks to help you become inspired and informed.

This is a site I have to admit I haven’t spent a ton of time on, but others I know have recommended it. There’s a nice resource page on the site with a pretty robust list of other sites that will help the creative person “live a creative, fulfilled life” as well.

Sample blog articles: Tap into Creativity by Letting Go; Just Do the Work; Never Too Late to Bloom; Why Planning Isn’t Always the Answer; Oh, That Inner Critic; Chasing the Light: The Search for Creative Balance, etc.

99u: Insights on Making Ideas Happen

I visit this site at least once or twice a week to see what’s new. 99U’s mission is “to share pragmatic insights on how to push bold ideas forward . . . and ‘demystify the creative process.’” The philosophy here is that creatives often focus more on idea generation than idea execution, and the action-oriented insights found on this site – in the form of interviews, articles, videos, and blog posts – aim to change that. You’ll find loads of actionable tips here for getting the ideas out of your moleskin and into reality.

Sample blog articles: 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal; The 5 Most Dangerous Creativity Killers; The Case Against “Do What You Love”; How Your Friends Affect Your Creative Work; Talent is Persistence: What It Takes to Be an Independent Creative; Beat Procrastination by Adding Rewards to Your Day; Don’t Get Screwed: The Contract Provisions Every Creative Needs to Know; 7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People, etc.,

And there you have it, a short list of online resources for creative inspiration, education, and biz & marketing advice.

If you know of other practical and effective resources for creatives not listed here, please drop ‘em in the comments below, you’ll be helping us all out! : )

[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.]  

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly, from the fine folks at Copyblogger

I love it when I find an Infographic to embed on my site that speaks to something near and dear to my heart — and this is one of  ’em.

The English major in me loves these quick and easy grammar lessons from the good folks at Copyblogger.

Enjoy!
15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Five Female Marketing Mentors Who Can Help You Crush It in Your Small Business

Female Marketing Mentors

When you’re just getting started in business, it helps to have mentors.

Especially when you’re trying to do something no one in your immediate circle of friends or business contacts has done.

You know, the ones who look at you quizzically when you try to explain your plans for creating a digital empire where you get to express yourself, help others achieve something positive, and get more clients, customers and sales, all at the same time.

“You’re going to do what, now?” Yep, I’ve been asked that a few times.

But I didn’t let it stop me.

I went online and found biz and marketing mentors who were doing what I wanted to do, and started learning and implementing what they taught me.

The following five marketing mentors are the ones I follow consistently, and whose blogs, newsletters, webinars, free reports, videos, and in a couple of cases, paid programs, have been the most useful and actionable to me as a small business owner.

They’ve taught me plenty about marketing online and business in general (and life too, yeah), and I bet you can learn heaps from them as well.

LAURA ROEDER

Laura RoederI’ve probably learned more actionable, immediately implementable online marketing strategies from Laura than from anyone else to date. She’s one of two people on this list whose paid products I’ve purchased. (So far.)

Laura offers accessible, practical, easy to understand and simple to implement social media marketing instruction. Both her free content and paid programs are full of real-world strategies and techniques that work.

As she says, “I make technology, specifically social media marketing, dead-simple to understand and implement.”

Agreed.

If you want to learn how to market your small business with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and a whole lot more, and you like your advice straightforward and uncomplicated, then Laura’s your go-to girl.

My biggest takeaway from Laura . . . technology and social media marketing do NOT have to be difficult or time-consuming. You can get results and have fun – yes, fun! – by doing a few things consistently and well.

Laura’s site: http://lkrsocialmedia.com/
Follow Laura on Twitter: @lkr

MARIE FORLEO

Marie ForleoMarie is a goddess of holistic business and life advice. You’ll get guidance on everything from “How to Transition from Your Day Job to Your Dream Business,” to combining multiple passions in your business, to “What to Do When You Doubt Everything + Just Wanna Stay in Bed,” and lots more besides.

I love her combination of real-world life advice and implementable marketing strategies, with a whole lotta keepin’- it-real and hip hop sensibility & fun tossed into the mix.

Marie calls herself a “multi-passionate” entrepreneur and tells us we can be the same and still have a business and life that works. God love her for that.

She walks her talk when it comes to this – she’s a living example of it – as you’ll see when you watch her videos.

My biggest takeaway from Marie . . . it’s entirely possible – and recommended – to bring your multiple passions into your business and use your unique talents to change the world – and achieve massive financial and life success in the process.

Marie’s site: http://marieforleo.com/
Follow Marie on Twitter: @marieforleo

DANIELLE LAPORTE

Danielle LaPorteDanielle offers a kick-a** combo of poetic and writerly, yet realistic and straightforward, guidance. There’s no b.s. in her digital domain. She’s smart, helpful and direct, and the well of her emotional intelligence seems bottomless. Think a whole lot of practical with a huge helping of spark-inducing, inspiration-generating business and life advice rolled into an outspoken package.

Two of my favorite things she says: “there is no such thing as life balance,” and “your mantra of choice is ‘you’ll figure it out.’ ”

Go to her site and watch the 1:46 minute video, “A Credo for Making It Happen” for some instant inspiration. And for the stuck full-in experience, check out her book, The Fire Starter Sessions.

My biggest takeway from Danielle . . . it’s possible to be your most authentic self online and still be uber-successful – without selling your soul to the online devil and writing the same stuff in the same way everyone else in your niche is doing. Be an artist, a poet, a writer’s writer, if you want. It’s all good.

Danielle’s site: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/
Follow Danielle on Twitter: @daniellelaporte

NAOMI DUNFORD

Naomi DunfordOh, Naomi. Love her. In fact, I read all her emails, even the sales & offers emails, with great joy. She’s a terrific communicator, whip-smart and funny.

And she tells it like it is. Her marketing advice is of the cut-the-b.s.-and-just-tell-me-what-works-variety, delivered with a healthy dose of tough love, all wrapped in an officially licensed warm fleece Snuggie of wise and witty writing.

She describes her site, IttyBiz, as “a place to get tips, advice, motivation, and support for your very small business. If you’re working from home or just thinking about it, come and hang out here for some great ideas and bad jokes.”

My biggest takeaway from Naomi . . . how to prioritize business activities, especially when you’re not swimming in clients and cash and you need to get some money rolling into your business pronto. In that case, thing #1 you have to do is get real and focus on the activities that are “closest to cash.”

This piece of advice literally changed my business. When there’s an 87-item to-do list and the hours are slipping by, the directive to focus on my “closest to cash” activities brings me instant clarity.

Naomi’s site: http://ittybiz.com/
Naomi on Twitter: @NaomiDunford – I don’t believe Naomi is active on Twitter at the moment. Our loss.

ASHLEY AMBIRGE

Ashley AmbirgeI’ve only recently discovered Ashley Ambirge and her site The Middle Finger Project, and when I did I thought, “Girlfriend, where’ve you been all my life?!”

I somehow stumbled onto her brilliant post, “The 67 Emotions of Online Success: My Story,” and nearly wept with soul-sister recognition. I’d never read anything that made me feel better about the many – and I do mean many – twists and turns and moves and passions, and you name it, she nailed it – steps along my own path.

It actually made me cry. More than once. So, I find her utterly beguiling.

Ashley is a copywriter who also sells online programs and products. The freebie on her sight is called “The Definitive Guide to Getting Off Your Butt, Finding Some Focus and Jump Starting Your Biz,” which I promptly downloaded and thoroughly enjoyed.

And with blog post titles like “How I Plan on Making $97,000 while Traveling Latin America. Bitches.,” and “Being Fat, Getting Robbed + Some Shit You Won’t Want to Miss,” at the very least you’ll be entertained by her content – well, maybe shocked – but also entertained.

My biggest takeaway from Ashley . . . even if you were once gloriously disappointed, lost, frightened, unsure, and defeated, you can still come out on the other side wildly happy, successful and doing what you’re meant to do – and make bank doing it.

Ashley’s site: http://www.themiddlefingerproject.org/
Follow Ashley on Twitter: @TMFproject

And there you have it. Five women doing great things online and off, whose knowledge and business advice you’re sure to benefit from tapping into.

How about you? Who are your business and marketing mentors? Online or off – please share! : )

 

[Hey there, gorgeous. Did you know you can get my FREE weekly newsletter, with actionable tips, techniques, and how-to’s for marketing your business online, delivered straight to your email inbox each Tuesday? You betcha! Go ahead and enter your name and email address at the top right hand side of the blog now, and let’s get you glowing online.]