Resources: Balancing work when you work from home

Ever since I quit my day job a year and a half ago, I have been incrementally improving my daily schedule, productivity, etc. Apparently people (me) over-estimate how much they can get done in a day and under-estimate how much they can get done in a year. I’m fighting against that :)

But, as I fine tune and tweak, I’ve been collecting a bunch of posts about working from home, balancing your work and life responsibilities and the best way to keep from going crazy. I’m no expert (I actually love spending all my time at home and not seeing people), so here are some articles from people smarter than me.


Marketing 101: What is a call to action?

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, and who those people are, 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 you are asking for what you want your customers to do. They need to know what the next step is.

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

Here’s how you make sure they know about it: You TELL THEM.

I know, ground-breaking. But a lot of people (ahem. Me.) forget that you actually need to be clear with your readers and customers on what you want them to do. If you want your blog reader to sign up for your newsletter, tell them about it. If you want your newsletter subscriber to buy your recent digital kit launch, ask them to. If you want your Twitter follower to retweet your link, suggest they do so.

That is a call to action.

It really doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. They just need to know what the next step is.

Practice by adding calls to action to your blog post (“Leave a comment below about _____” or “Follow me on Instagram for more behind the scenes”). Review your last product or service launch, and make sure all the communication around that included a clear call to action. Add ‘call to action’ to your checklist for the future.

Additional reading: 5 effective tricks to create a killer call to action (from Problogger)

What are your biggest hurdles with Calls to Action?


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


7 favorite creative business podcasts (+2 bonus)

I love podcasts. The End.

Honestly, it is getting to the point where if you tell me what kind of podcast you are interested in, I can probably make a recommendation. Only, now that I no longer have a long commute I am WAY behind on my listening. No matter. At least there is always something interesting for me to listen to!

Today, some of my favorite creative business podcasts for you to get started with. While you are driving or running or doing the dishes. I listen to one while I’m in the shower and getting ready for the day, even.

I know at least 1 of these will speak to you!

Elise Gets Crafty : One of my favorite bloggers, Elise Blaha Cripe, started this weekly podcast just earlier this year. Episodes are mostly interviews, but Elise also has jumped on the mic to just talk out what is going on in her own business. She does a great job of using each episode to learn herself, along with the listener, so each episode is highly engaging. Bonus: I was a guest on episode 6!

The Lede from Copyblogger: Lots of great copywriting tips. I mean, it’s from Copyblogger, how can they help it? But they also touch on content marketing, email marketing, conversion and other good nuts and bolts of running an online business.

Smart Passive Income: Pat Flynn’s first and most popular podcast. Weekly, hour+ long interviews with other entrepreneurs and experts. I love Pat Flynn’s story and I love how genuine he is always. He is not just someone who teaches about online business but is actually launching new sites and trying out strategies himself.2014-09-08 12.14.38

Ask Pat: Another Pat Flynn podcast. Daily, based on listener questions and much much shorter. Super consumable. I listen to 2 or 3 while I’m in the shower and getting ready for the day.

Entrepreneur On Fire: Daily podcast, hour-ish-long interviews with entrepreneurs. It’s all great, but it’s like a firehose of information so I just pick and choose which episodes I listen to.

Suitcase Entrepreneur: Weekly, roughly 30 minute, interviews with other entrepreneurs. Natalie is super smart, and I would *love* to be able to travel more and work from the road, so this is a great resource for me. I haven’t listened to a ton of these, but they are definitely in the queue.

Self-Publishing Podcast: Self-publishing-specific (you might have guessed), but all 3 hosts self-publish fiction so they are all talking from experience. If you want to publish at all (fiction or non), this is a great place to start and think about your options.

Bonus: Podcasts I am subscribed to but have not yet listened to yet:

Converge – The Business of Creativity: Hosted by photographer Dane Sanders. These episodes are interviews with photographers and other creative business people. I like Dane a lot and I think he is super smart.

The Fizzle Show: Hosted by 3 guys that are mentioned in several of the other podcasts or blogs I follow. Their tagline is ‘a podcast for creative entrepreneurs and honest business builders.’

What is your favorite creative business podcast?


Your job is to FINISH

“What you do for a living is not BE CREATIVE. Everyone is creative.
What you do for a living is SHIP.” — Seth Godin

‘Ship’ as in get it out the door. ‘Ship’ as in ready for customers. ‘Ship’ as in finished.

I don’t care how long you worked on that blog post if you didn’t finish it and hit ‘publish.’

I don’t care how much brainstorming you have done on your new fancy app if it’s not ever going to become available.

Creative work is fantastic. It is essential. And there is a lot to be said for the value of the process….

But if we are talking about work, business and making a living, your job is to FINISH. If you are building your online platform, you need to finish planning and get to work. If you are working on quitting your day job, you need to finish that first ebook, and release it so it can make you some money.

As creators we are constantly fighting against……apathy, the lizard brain, distractions, the Resistance, fear …. All of these things are fighting against us finishing our creative work. Arm yourself in order to finish your creative work.

The Finishing Manifesto will help you do that, of course.

But mostly you just need to look yourself in the eye and make yourself FINISH. Like it’s your job.


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


Ok, so summer was slow and relaxing and we read all allowed ourselves 2 months to read a book that probably could have taken 2 hours.

But fall will be here soon (!!) and it is time to kick all our butts into gear.

Which is why the L&R Book Club selection for September/October 2014 is

The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Official book description from Amazon:

The Fire Starter Sessions is an apathy-kicking, integrity-infusing guide to defining success on your own terms.

As the creator of–deemed “the best place online for kick-ass spirituality,” Danielle LaPorte’s straight-talk life-and-livelihood sermons have been read by over one million people. Bold but empathetic, she reframes popular self-help and success concepts:

: Life balance is a myth, and the pursuit of it is causing us more stress then the craving for balance itself.
: Being well-rounded is over-rated. When you focus on developing your true strengths, you enter your mastery zone.
: Screw your principles (they might be holding you back).
: We have ambition backwards. Getting clear on how you want to feel in your life + work is more important than setting goals. It’s the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and it’s what leads to true fulfillment.

(Note: This is a good lead-in to The Desire Map that I am planning on choosing for January/February 2015)

Grab your copy of The Firestarter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte from Amazon, your library, your friend’s bookshelf, your local bookstore, Audible. Wherever. September 1 is soon!


BUILD virtual retreat starts Friday!

Throughout the rest of this month I will be concentrating on adding more and more awesome content to the BUILD ecourse! Some of these are sessions that have recently been popping up (like hiring help and adding to your team). Some of these are sessions that I’ve been meaning to add for months (like media kits). I’ve already added more than 100 external resources, and have hundreds more to go.

Reminder to those of you that have been putting off registering: The cost of the ecourse will go up September 1 to reflect all this new content.

BUT! Before that happens (and also piling on top of all the existing content), this weekend I will be hosting the first virtual BUILD retreat August 22 – 24!

virtual retreatYou *must* be a registered BUILDer to attend, so be sure you join now! It’s the best time to jump in! We have the most amazing mastermind group and we’ll all be able to be together for hours online this weekend!

If you register now you will be getting:

  • Lifetime access to the full (giant) self-paced ecourse (including any and all additions)
  • Access to the private mastermind Facebook group
  • Access to the virtual retreat this weekend
  • The original price before it goes up!

Plus, of course, you will have the blog-building tools right at your fingertips for a big fall push!

This is the perfect opportunity to set aside some sacred focus time to get done what you want to get done.

The BUILD ecourse is self-paced, so I know everyone will be working on their own thing. The retreat will be structured as a series of themed Q&A live events, so if you are working on building your email list you can pick my brain during the marketing session, or if you are working on your editorial calendar, jump on for the content section. This format allows me to exactly personalize the weekend experience for the BUILDers who attend.

Please note: We will all be in different time zones, but I would be useless at 3am, so you will be able to submit your questions ahead of time.


Friday, August 22:

  • 7pm ET: General mixer and discussing goals

Saturday, August 23:

  • 10am ET: Design
  • 3pm ET: Content
  • 8pm ET: Monetization

Sunday, August 24:

  • 11am ET: Marketing
  • 3pm ET: Maintenance
  • 8pm ET: Congrats! You did it!

There is a private Facebook group where links and discussion can be posted. Plus each Q&A will be recorded and live in the BUILD ecourse content, so you can come back and listen as many times as you like.

Be sure you REGISTER soon – so you can jump in to the virtual retreat!


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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