‘Follow your passion’ is usually nonsense

Quick: What is your favorite thing to do ever ever ever and always?

Mine is reading. I’ve been a reader since I could pick up a book. My grandmother used to work at a bookstore and bring my bags and bags of paperbacks with the covers ripped off (it’s a weird publishing industry thing). I would read 2 or 3 books a day during my summer breaks. Those silly Pizza Hut reading challenges were a joke to me because I read that much and more all the time. I read basically any genre and I will gladly recommend you a book in any genre and my to read list on Goodreads is completely out of control.

I love reading with all my heart. It is essentially my only hobby.

But, did you catch that? It’s a HOBBY. Not a job.

Go read this post — How to choose a business — and learn all about why Naomi decided not to become a prostitute. It’s brilliant and funny and lays out 7 very smart reasons why turning what your friends say you are good at into business is not always wise.

I especially like #2 and #5. Both reasons why I am not a full-time developmental editor and don’t really want to be.

Following your passion, while it sounds like a good idea, and you certainly don’t want to pursue anything you’re not interested in, is not as cut and dry as you might like.

I didn’t really pursue marketing because I’m passionate about it….. although I do find it fascinating. If I was being honest, I am PASSIONATE about learning. Reading every book I can get my hands on. The non-teaching part of academia. But I can’t make a living going to school and haunting the library.

I can, however, make a living learning about things and translating them into useful products and services for other people.

I can offer myself as a developmental editor and make an income reading novels. But even then, not 40 hours a week.

Just because you love it with all your heart, does not mean it would make a good vocation.

Of course, there are exceptions. And of course if your passion really is small business accounting or teaching 2nd graders, then godspeed. But I know for most of L&R readers that is not the case.

P.S. For a probably better-said clarification, check out this post on why passion shouldn’t drive you.


5 resources to become an awesome small business owner

The question came up last week in Kara’s Babes Making Things Facebook Group, about if someone should go to school or if there was something she absolutely needed to do in order to be a designer and small business owner. I jumped on RIGHT AWAY to spew my self-taught-evangelism. I 100% believe that you can do it yourself.

be awesome resourcesMy husband went to trade school for 9 months and now is the very top of his industry through hard work and teaching himself. I have a blog that makes enough money to let me quit my job, and my 7 years in college were all about novels and critical analysis of text and not in the tiniest bit about marketing.

YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS ON YOUR OWN. Here are my favorite resources to take control of your small business and learn how to become an awesome small business owner:

Blogs: There are some *amazing* smart people out there writing every day or every week and just offering their knowledge for free on their blogs. I recommend Problogger, Jon Morrow, Seth Godin for sure.

Podcasts: If you have a long commute, or a lot of piecework or time that you watch TV or listening to music, I suggest trying podcasts instead. Briefly, a podcast is kind of like a radio show, except on demand. I am subscribed to more podcasts than I could ever possibly listen to, but they are in a variety of topics and I can learn all kinds of things just by listening to these free audio shows! (my favorites are here)

Email lists: Not unlike reading blogs, so many brilliant business people will send tips directly to you via email. And a lot of them offer exclusive content via email. I love Tara Gentile, Braid Creative and ittybiz among others.

CreativeLive: This began a few years ago as free live-streamed courses for photographers, but it is so much more than that! Design, business, life, money, etc. If you have the time to watch the courses live (usually 2 or 3 days from about 9am to 5pm) they are an amazing free resource. If you don’t have time, you can purchase the courses for a really low price and watch the hours of video whenever convenient. Here’s a glimpse at some classes coming up.

BUILD ecourse: I mean obviously, self-promo. But my goal with this ecourse is to be a one-stop-course to help you establish your foundation AND have the steps to build your business even further. I am super proud of the ecourse as-it-is and even more excited about what I have planned to add to it!

What are your favorite small business resources?


Pillar Content Webinar now available!

If you missed it earlier this year, I’ve just packaged up my webinar — Pillar Content: The Backbone of your Blog — for you!

This is the perfect resource to get you in the right headspace for the coming year. Very soon you will be setting your goals and resolutions for 2015 — know how your blog’s content is going to to fit in next year.

pillar content webinarIf you have a blog, your content is the heart of your online presence. The work you put out there on a daily or weekly basis is what you become known for to online readers all over the world.

Don’t you want to leverage that content to work for you again and again and again?

Grab this 1 hour, 7 minute recorded webinar that gives you all the examples and steps you need to create fantastic blog content that will bring you traffic (and income) for the long-haul.

Topics included:

  • What is Pillar Content?
  • Why you need Pillar Content
  • Examples of Pillar Content
  • How to structure and publish Pillar Content
  • How to promote Pillar Content
  • so many examples
  • action steps to take right away
  • … and so much more!

Bonus! The video includes a little bit before and after the webinar showing you how I broadcast it live.


WAIT! This video and SO MUCH MORE is in the BUILD ecourse. Upgrade to that full ecourse and learn how pillar content fits into your full online platform strategy.


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Creative small business resources

Plus, I have recently added over 100 resources (with many more to come) to the BUILD ecourse. Sign up here for access to the full course


Why creators NEED a platform

Do you do custom illustrations for tattoos? You need an online platform.

Do you make historically accurate swords? You need an online platform.

Do you write compelling and effective landing pages? You need an online platform.

Example: My husband is a recording engineer and producer. His clients are mostly L.A. punk bands, members who have part-time jobs just to pay gas money to their gigs and live 9 to a three-bedroom Silverlake house. This description is a bit exaggerated, but nonetheless accurate. Andrew is heavy into the scene and almost all his clients are word of mouth. One of his bands plays a show with another band, his name comes up, someone texts him and finds out details.

Andrew works incredibly hard. Harder than I have ever worked. He personally hits up bands he wants to work with. He’s on email and text all the time hustling with potential new clients, or previous clients to maintain the relationship. He does this all personally and I am not sure he will ever get to the point where he hands off handling inquiries to anyone else.

He is skeptical of almost all my marketing ideas for him (he usually comes around eventually), but the 1 I would not let him veto is having a website. I know it seems so not-punk-rock to have a website with a contact form and everything, but have it he must.

And now that he has a website?

He gets inquiries from France. He had a Toronto band fly all the way across the continent to work with him. There’s an Oregon band coming down in the next couple months to make a record.

Andrew is creating really really great work. His name is in the credits on record sleeves everywhere, and if some kid in France googles his name, there NEEDS to be an online platform where Andrew can be found.

There’s not much on his site, but it is THERE. About, contact, credits. Enough of an anchor for his name, because when word spreads google is where most people will go.

I genuinely don’t even care if you have a blog (in Andrew’s case, his credits perform the same function a blog would), but if you are a creative person, you need an online platform.

Do it. No excuses.

750x100_amyquit_colorP.S. I had planned to add a bunch of content to the ecourse by the end of August and raise the price, but I ran out of time! Therefore, you still have until the end of September to register at the current price before it goes up October 1


Marketing 101: Who is it for?

Continuing our Marketing 101 series:

We’ve talked about the very basics of marketing, how to identify what you are offering, know how it helps people, how to make sure they know about it and knowing what to tell them. The next step in creating your marketing campaign is to make sure your marketing message is reaching the right potential customers. Get the info to the right people and you can actually help them change something in their life.

Marketing can be boiled down to this:
Know what you’re offering, how it helps people and make sure they know about it.

Let’s dig deeper into knowing who your offer is for!

Your product is NOT for everyone. Sorry. It’s just not. And your marketing is not going to be effective until you start to embrace the small niche that is interested in what you have to offer.

You need to think about questions like:

  • How does your customer spend the bulk of their time?
  • What kinds of things do they value?
  • What is their experience with similar products/services?
  • Who or what is the major factor in your customers’ decisions?

Your product might be for stay-at-home moms who need to run purchases by their husbands because they don’t feel comfortable spending money they didn’t directly earn. Your product may be for just-out-of-college professionals who have a full-time income for the first time in their lives. Your product might be for 40-something couples who are not quite at a mid-life crisis but are still looking for something exciting to shake things up.

Your marketing message can be tailored to a very specific group as in these examples. You just need to know who YOUR specific group is.

For example, now that I am moving farther into fiction-writing circles and introduce myself, I often have to give the disclaimer : “Oh, I blog for blogging crafty creative ladies. You, middle aged nerdy male writer, are not the audience so don’t even bother looking me up.” It also saves me from having to try to explain what 30 Days of Lists is, for example. Unless you are already acquainted with the idea of an online class or creative challenge, #30Lists is mind-boggling.

As Seth Godin says about figuring out who your product is for, “It’s cheaper to answer these questions than it is to spend time and money on marketing, but, alas, it usually doesn’t happen that way.”

P.S. This weekend will be the BUILD virtual retreat! You MUST be registered for the ecourse to join, but all weekend I’ll be online answering whatever questions you want. We will tailor the retreat content very specifically to the attendees.

P.P.S. The BUILD ecourse price will go up on September 1, so this is the best time to jump in if you have been thinking about it.


Blogging resources

Just a few great posts I’ve found recently …

P.S. WAY more blogging resources in the BUILD ecourse or on my Pinterest board

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TravelScrap HQ Launched!

If you were not around last Friday morning, I spent almost 3 hours live online setting up a new little mini site:

TravelScrap HQ

Travel Scrapbooking

My goal is to build a lot of content and let it be a source of leveraged income (affiliate links, ebook sales and non-live courses). I think the site will really start rolling once there’s a ton of content, but that is (of course) immensely time consuming. But, since both travel and memory keeping are subjects I truly love, I’m not that worried about the time spent. I would be making these books and albums anyway, so why not have a focused place to show them off?

I used essentially a big chunk of the info and strategy I have included in the BUILD ecourse. You can visit this page and watch the (long) video and check out my full to do list.

You can follow TravelScrap HQ on Instagram and Pinterest

Those are the only social media I’m using for now, because they are image-centric. I have grabbed TravelScrapHQ on Twitter and FB as well, but don’t have plans to use them very soon.

I am also accepting guest post and you can read guidelines for submission here.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for the site, let me know!

If you are thinking about creating your own tiny niche site, watch how I did it here and register for the BUILD ecourse


Watch me launch a website LIVE

I talk a lot about building your online platform. I really think ANYONE can start a little online business that can help them make a little money on the side, or raise their public profile or help promote their cause.

Anyone can do this. Anyone! This is more or less what Gary Vaynerchuk talks about it Crush It! You can just figure out what tiny little niche you love, and work on connecting with the other weirdos who love it too.

So I’m gonna do it. Are you busy August 8? Because I am going to be online that morning, and I thought you might want to join me.

On August 8 I will be setting up a new minisite LIVE online!

That sounds weird, right? So here’s the deal:

About a year ago I registered a URL for a little niche site I wanted to set up. I’ve been putting it off and putting it off because it involves creating a *bunch* of content that I just haven’t had time for. But I LOVE the niche – it’s so close to my heart and something I’m involved in anyway and (let’s be honest), if I can figure out some way to make it part of my business I will love my job that much more.

I’ve been brainstorming how and when to launch this little niche site…..  But, the more I think about it, the more I realize some of you might be interested in what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

So, Friday, August 8 at 9:30am PT I’m going to get on Google+ and do a LIVE hangout and show you what I’m doing to create this new site.*

I have no idea how long it will take, or what *exactly* will be included. I have a big to-do list, but I’m going to stay flexible. The site will be called TravelScrap HQ, and I’m pretty excited! I believe it will be recorded and I’ll put together my whole to-do list and related resources so you can launch your own minisite.

And the whole event is totally free! I hope you’ll join me!

Make sure you’re on my email list and I’ll send a reminder that morning.

*Note: Specific technical steps with secure info like setting up an email address and creating a Pinterest account will NOT be done live. But I will tell you about all of those steps and do everything that is *not* security related live.


Connect Guest Blogging ebook redesigned!

Connect: Guest posting templateGood news! Another one of my ebooks has now been redesigned by Alexandra Rae Design to match L&R branding!

I could not be happier.

Grab yours: Connect: A simple template to make guest posting work for you

I love the practice of guest posting – both giving and receiving. In the 6+ years I’ve been blogging, I’ve have DEFINITELY found guest posting to be one of the most effective ways of promoting my site.

Guest posts are valuable as marketing, as a form of networking or as just a way of connecting with a new audience.

When pitching your guest post, what is the best way to make that post work for YOU – instead of just the blog’s owner?

Guest posting can be used for

  • Marketing. Growing your audience, gaining a few more customers, increasing your visibility.
  • Networking. You will start to connect with new readers and other blog authors and start to gain name recognition in your little industry
  • Practice. Practice practice practice. Writing well takes practice and the more you do it the better you will be.

I try to brainstorm a guest post whenever I’m sponsoring a site, as well as every couple months in between sponsoring a site.

But any guest post I write, I always have a goal. I always have a reason for the guest post. And I always give that new audience a reason to come visit Lemon and Raspberry. And it has WORKED. Worked to grow my audience (in REAL numbers). Worked to make sales (tracked directly to guest posts).

I figure, if it’s working for me if can work for you too ….

Written by me and designed by Allie Trumpower, Connect contains the basic structure to help you build a guest post that both connects with new readers, and guides them to follow-up with you to help grow your business or blog audience.

The simple structure outlined in this pdf is easy-to-use and perfectly adaptable to any subject or niche you may be blogging about.

This guest post template – Connect – gives specific steps to crafting a guest post that is both promotional for your new product or service, but also intimately connects with the reader in a way that does not feel “salesy”.

Add to Cart

Download yours and let me know if you have questions and how guest posting has worked for you!

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