Archive for Blogging and Business

4 Reasons I Love My Email List That Have Nothing To Do With Money

Disclosure: Posts on contain affiliate links. For more information see policy.

It seems these days everyone has an email list and a newsletter. Regardless of the field or industry, everyone is hungry for emails. I get it, 10/10 online business owners will tell you that it’s important to have an email list. (Okay, I totally made that statistic up and haven’t done any studies but I bet it’s true.)
Not to be redundant but these are the reasons you typically see:

  • You don’t control your follower’s information on social media; it can get taken away without notice.
  • People buy from people they trust, having a newsletter builds a relationship.
  • It takes X amount of touches before someone will become a customer.

While I agree that if you ever want to make your website a business, you should have a newsletter I’m guessing when you decided to start your website your thought process wasn’t, “I’m going to build a website, start a newsletter and quit my day job. ”
Money is necessary, it’s needed if we want to pay for things like a roof over your head or food, but I wanted to take a second and talk about some of the great benefits of having an email list that have nothing to do with money.

It Helps Me Learn More About My Readers

When I send a newsletter and ask them to reply, I never know if I’ll hear crickets or get an email that brings a tear to my eye. When you send out an email to your list, it gives readers the opportunity to respond privately and honestly. Sure I have a comment section on my blog posts but if I’m talking about a heavy subject like depression or anxiety, it may be intimidating to log into your Disqus account and talk about your struggles with depression for just anyone to see. By sending an email and welcoming them to reply directly to me, I offer them a safe space to build a stronger connection. Also knowing what they respond to helps me know what content speaks to them.

It Helps Them Learn More About Me

You have to be an open book to some extent when you decide to be a blogger but even some stuff you may not want on the internet. When I write an email, I have a lot more leeway just to open up. One of my favorite things each week is writing my newsletter because it reminds me of when I first started blogging and didn’t have an insane content calendar, I could just write about whatever was on my mind. I mean sure, I could go back to that but I am trying to build something, so it’s important to be strategic in what I post. I generally write my emails the night before they go out, while I sometimes write my blog posts weeks in advance. When I sit down to write my newsletter I can update them on what’s going on with me and real time behind the scenes info.

It’s Less Formal

While I never claim to be the queen of grammar, I know that even as a blogger a certain level of formal is expected from the internet. Is the keyword used enough? Is it SEO friendly? Is it at least 300 words? “Insert a piece of advice for a successful and shareable blog post.” In my email, I don’t have to worry about “alt titles” or if I’ve managed to get a green light on my Yoast plugin. I can occasionally go on a rant about what’s happening in my life.

I Can Be Sure They See What’s Going On

As mentioned above (and all over the internet) sharing a blog post on social media doesn’t guarantee anyone will see it. If I share my blog post in my newsletter, I can be sure the people who love me and my work will see it. If I’m launching a new service or program, they know first. If I’m hosting a webinar, I can be sure my top supporters know about it. If I’m featured on another site or do a guest post I share it with my email list. If someone just regularly visits my website without being on the list, they may miss an interview or guest post on another site they might love. I always try to share any off-site posts in my monthly recap/goals post but if there is a limited time bonus, they may miss out.

Remember that while an email list is a huge part of your business, it is so important to build real connections and not generic, superficial ones. Your email list is essentially the VIP area of your online club. You make sure they have ice and limes before anyone else and they get the first shot at meeting any special guests. Here are three ideas of things you can share with your email lists.

3 Things To Send Your Email List

Your highs and your lows.

I follow many online business owners, be it in their newsletter, on social media or just routinely checking their website. I often think with people online they can develop this celebrity, through no fault of their own they seem like they are “better” or just couldn’t understand where you may be coming from with your struggles. I remember a few months ago Melyssa Griffin did a webinar about mindset shifts and talking about her struggles with depression and I had to reach out to her. I had always respected the million dollar business she built but I also had this view of her as a happy sunshine and rainbow type of woman, who couldn’t understand certain struggles. For example the struggle of not wanting to get out of bed when your cortisone levels take a major roller coaster ride because of your anxiety and overthinking. Learning that side of her made me respect her even more.

Expanded text on blog posts.

Many people who have an information based business struggle with how much content to give. If you’re giving it away for free, why would they purchase it? You want to give away amazing content to build your trust but also hold a little something back. You also want to reward your VIP’s. If you publish a post called “5 ways to grow more potatoes” in your email announcing the post hook your readers up with a 6th way to grow more potatoes.

Printables, worksheets and downloads. (Oh My!

I feel like it would be safe to say at least 80 percent of the bloggers I subscribe to is the result of a wanting to get my hands on some content upgrade they shared. That being said that is probably why your subscribers signed up for your list. So keep them by continuing to send that added value. Don’t make them sign up again to get the freebie, sent them a link in your newsletter with the option to snag it. If you want to track the interest of particular offerings, you can set up link triggers in most email service providers.

I try my best to email my list every week so I can stay on their minds without being too annoying. I also feel like unless you are promoting an event, product or offering it can seem like you’re just emailing to email and no one wants that. We all have enough emails we don’t need filler emails. I am able to stay in constant contact with my readers in a personal way using ConvertKit. It’s super easy to use and one of the leading email service providers in the industry for bloggers and online business owners.
Do you have an email list? If so, what do you like to send them? How often do you email? Let me know in the comments!

June 2017 Goals

Disclosure: Posts on contain affiliate links. For more information see policy. 

You can thank the heavens… the it’s gonna be May jokes are officially over. It’s June and that means we are almost halfway through the year. With it being the last month of the second quarter of the 2017, I’m sure many business owners and bloggers find themselves checking on their progress. While I plan to do a deep dive into my goals and planning later this month, today let’s just see how I did in May and what I’m trying to crush in June.

May 2017 Goals Recap

Personal Goals

  • Read two books

This month I read some amazing books! I finally took the plunge and read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America by Firoozeh Dumas. Boss Bitch by Nicole Lapin and Secret Lessons by Don W. Weber and Charles Bosworth Jr. 

You Are A Badass ReviewThis book is great. I was nervous because I heard that it might be a trigger for people with anxiety. I didn’t get that from the book. She does say things that could be taken the wrong way if you let it. But the only quote (I noticed) that came across this way was actually a quote by Lao Tzu, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Funny in Farsi Review: This is a good book. It’s funny and relatable even if you aren’t an immigrant. It’s really just about family and how they can shape us.

Boss Bitch Review: I’ve read a few books geared at female entrepreneurs and this by far is the best. She walks you through the specifics, the sexy stuff and the not so sexy sides of business. It’s not fluff. It’s the same way your best friend would lift you up but tell it to you like it is. If you want to start a business or build your career read this book.

Secret Lessons Review: This is the second book I’ve listened to by these writers and this narrator. His performance is always amazingly captivating. the stories are great because they are real and while not everything works out perfect it’s okay because you know it’s real.
(Side note: This story may be hard for those with a young daughter or if the listener has been a victim of sexual abuse.)

  • Do at least one activity a week for myself that isn’t work related.

I suck at keeping track of this. I have been having one of those months where every weekend is go go go. I did make a trip to San Angelo which was nice and I got some books read. I do feel like my self-care game has been on point. 

  • Do my gratitude/goal journal at least 5 days a week if not 7.

I really took my positive affirmations up a notch in May by not only writing them out each day but taking time to say them out loud and let myself feel them. 

  • Keep meditating and doing visualization

I don’t feel like I did enough visualization in May but I did meditate almost every day. 

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Have 565 Facebook page likes

550. I know I need to put more time on my Facebook page but I also know that Facebook groups are where you get the most bang for your time. Feel free to drop any tips you have for growing your Facebook audience in the comments. (This isn’t a major priority for me at the moment so I’m not looking for a paid course. )

  • Have 3525 Twitter Followers

3617! I feel like since I’ve started blogging I have continuously grown my following on Twitter but I do think I could step it up a notch and start building more connections. (Adding that to my to-do list now).

  • Have 1255 Instagram Followers

1242. Close but not great. Also adding Instagram to that Todoist task. 

  • Have 1090 Pinterest Followers

1097! Woot woot! 

  • Post at least 4 times this month

This month I did publish 4 posts:

5 Reasons Your To-Do List Sucks

2016-2017 Network Predictions Recap

8 Business & Life Lessons From 30 Pounds of Weight Loss

Outside Looking In: Why You Need to Talk to People Outside of Your Industry

  • Do audio versions on relevant posts.

So this isn’t a no or a yes. I did do the audio versions but haven’t edited and published them up yet.

  • Publish on another site

I haven’t pitched anything new. I do hope to start pitching posts again in July.

  • Complete the work for my content series

What a difference a month makes. I joined a new mastermind and have decided to hold off on the content series. We are doing a content strategy week soon and I don’t want to work too far ahead on content that might change.

  • Launch my web show.

Coming soon, my friends! 🙂 

  • Go to a live event

I went to one and it wasn’t totally what I’d hoped for. But I am getting better at my elevator pitch. 

Health and Fitness

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.

I feel like I’ve been doing this but since I get rid of my food diaries at the end of each week I feel like I should update the way this goal is written. There was one week this month where I was just swamped and went out to lunch nearly every day but each day I had a salad and chicken so I was still on my diet plan. I’ll think of a new way to gauge this.

  • Go to a gym class at least 8 times this month.

Why am I the way I am?!? Haha. It was fun to get back into Zumba and no one seemed to notice my absence. My company is supposed to change locations this week so hopefully, with the shorter comute, I can make class on time. 

  • Lose 5 pounds more pounds

I have more to go but am technically only 3 pounds from my goal weight.

June 2017 Goals

Personal Goals

  • Read three books
  • Do at least one activity a week for myself that isn’t work related.
  • Do my gratitude/goal journal at least 5 days a week if not 7.
  • Do daily affirmations.
  • Meditate every day.
  • Do visualization at least twice a week.

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Have 560 Facebook page likes
  • Have 3640 Twitter Followers
  • Have 1260 Instagram Followers
  • Have 1105 Pinterest Followers
  • Post at least 4 times this month
  • Do auto versions on relevant posts.
  • Go to a live event
  • Do Quarter 3 Planning and Outline

Health and Fitness

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.
  • Go to a gym class at least 8 times this month.
  • Lose 3 more pounds

May was a month that really hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel like I got hit with a much-needed sense of excitement and have really gotten my focus back on what I want to do the rest of the year. I’ve also made some pretty gnarly new business friends as I get myself more focused.

How was your May? What are your big goals for June? Ready to finish the second quarter strong? Tell me in the comments.

Outside Looking In: Why You Need to Talk to People Outside of Your Industry

Who do you talk to about your blog and online biz? I know if you’re like me you probably have a group of blog online besties that you talk to about everything. I mean everything about how you’re feeling unmotivated because you had a fight with your mom. About the jerk who dumped you the day before Valentine’s Day. Friends that you email when you’re lacking motivation or need feedback.

You might even talk to your friends about it who don’t totally understand it and have no interest in owning a business or running a blog but they support you. I’m a big believer in having that circle of friends but do you have anyone that you talk to that owns a brick and mortar store? Someone who might operate a product based business while you have a service based one?

I have been trying relentlessly for about a year to set up a mastermind group and have constantly hit roadblocks (insert sad face here). In February I joined The Member’s Club created by Carrie Green, founder of The Female Entrepreneur Association one thing that drew me to the Society was the opportunity to meet and connect with other aspiring and current business owners. Carrie and her team took it up a notch when they built networks for each of us to show us different business owners in our area.  The day that I saw my list I started working to arrange a meetup. I planned it for a month away after lots of back and forth about people’s availability and I got it several RSVPs.  The day of the event only one other person was able to attend. At first, I was a little embarrassed and upset that I was sitting at a restaurant with a table for 6 and there was just two of us but once I started talking to the lady who did show up I knew that this was not a wasted meeting. The woman who I had lunch with owns a restaurant with her husband, very different from what I’m doing. I realized a few things when talking to her that I’ve totally been missing because I’ve been so focused and only communicating with people who are doing the online thing.

They Put Your Elevator Pitch To The Test

If I told someone online I was trying to build my business as an educational platform as a time management and systems project management specialist they would probably understand what I was rambling about. The woman I met with nicely pretty much told me that was vague and asked for more details which made me wonder, am I being totally clear?

It was slightly intimidating meeting with this woman who owned a brick and mortar store and having her quiz me about what I was doing. Intimidating but good. If I can’t simply explain it to someone who wants to understand how could I possibly explain it and sell my services to someone who needs them but doesn’t realize the benefit.

It’s so easy to stay in your comfort zone in the online world because it feels like a safe place. Not many bloggers are vapid meanies so they won’t belittle you or run you down. It’s comfortable but a lot of groupthink can happen in your comfort zone.  By talking to people who can’t automatically finish your sentences when you’re discussing your online business you’re forced to take a step back and look at what you’re doing from the outside.

They Can Open You Up To New Networking Opportunities

Online when trying to grow your business most people are just looking at webinars, content upgrades and resource libraries but she got me thinking about how to make more connections in person.

As the owner of a restaurant, she could email people all day, write amazing blog posts and even host webinars on making your own pizza sauce if she wanted. All that is great but unless she gets people in the door her business would go belly up. Making great content online is important and a great way to build credibility, get your name out there and set yourself apart.  But like the restaurant example blog comments and Instagram likes won’t pay the bills (for most of us). I think that is why it’s so great to hang out with someone separate from that online mindset. It’s easy to start “feeling yourself” online as your list grows, comments rack up and traffic grows but where is the income? A lot of us, myself included, are working day jobs still so the stress of getting income may not be as pressing as if not. You know you have a safety net. I have several clients who have brick and mortar operations, some of them want Facebook likes and page traffic, while others only want to track calls and sales and they think the social media aspect is just fluff. My honest opinion is you need some of both.

Talking to someone with that experience about your business forces you to think about what activities are stress relieving and which are goal achieving.

They See Brand New Revenue Streams

I’ve been so focused on helping other bloggers and online business owners I never thought about how I might be able to help people working offline or corporations for more revenue and reach. The great thing about talking to a brick and mortar business owner when you have a digital based business is that they tend to think outside the box. In fact, if you’re thinking inside the box they are thinking inside the triangle. It’s a different shape altogether. 

If she owned a steak house she probably wouldn’t go to a farmer’s market to adverse her services. But she may see about having a booth at a local beer festival. She asked if I did or wanted to do courses and suggested I try to set up live events. I casually mentioned something in my work history and she thought of several ideas I wouldn’t have ever thought about for possibly generating more revenue in my business.

They Have A Purer Vision of Your Services & Industry

They aren’t comparing it to other businesses or even to their own. They are basing their opinions and suggestions strictly on what they see and what you tell them.

Have you ever been working on a project and found yourself stuck? Maybe you are working on your great American novel and know that your main character needs to run into her ex Dr. Handsome Face at the ER but you don’t know how to get her there. All your ideas don’t seem right then you casually mention to your boyfriend your dilemma. The book you’ve seen him reading was Captain Underpants, you aren’t expecting an answer you’re just venting. Out of nowhere, he says, “What is she has a panic attack thinks it’s a heart attack and has someone take her to the ER.” Then BAM! You see it she has her best friend Sally, who hates Dr. Handsome Face take her and comedy and drama follow. Your boyfriend may not know how to do a book outline or be able to create a character bio but there he gives random genius. He wasn’t thinking about the character’s seemingly perfect health or any of the other things clouding your ability to see this simple solution.

The same goes for people outside your business. Where another online business owner may not think of that local event you should go to, to scout new clients, you brick and mortar friend might have a list of them.

They also aren’t clouded by their own past failures they just see the details you provide in black and white.

I’m not saying drop your online biz friends and go hang out with brick and mortar owners only. Don’t ditch your business coach with a history in SEO and marketing for someone who doesn’t even have a Facebook account. Just be perceptive and open to people in other industries. At the end of the day, you have to make the decisions for your business but you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting alone.