That Day In The Garden

What I imagine the apple said to Eve on that day in the garden…

“Life will break you.

Nobody can protect you from that,

and living alone won’t either,

for solitude will also break you with its yearning.

You have to love.

You have to feel.

It is the reason you are here on earth.

You are here to risk your heart.

You are here to be swallowed up.

And when it happens that you are broken,

or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near,

let yourself sit by an apple tree

and listen to the apples falling

all around you in heaps,

wasting their sweetness.

Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

Eva Herzigova in El Jardín Secreto de Eva’ (Eva’s Secret Garden), El Pais Moda, March 2010. Original photo by Giampaolo Sgura.

Contributors

Toward The Rising Sun

May Ostara bring joy and easiness into your life.

May her fertility be passed over to you and may your dreams,
ideas, wishes, plans ripen and bear new fruits.

May the loveliness of spring open your heart and
may you understand the beauty of being and take it in.

Full of strength and new energy,
you shall walk into the brightness
of the awakening spring
and you shall leave the darkness
of the past time behind.

Let go all former burdens
and get rid of the ballast still hindering you.
Free and with new strength
your feet shall carry you
toward dawn.

May Ostara bless us all!

Ostara by Tricia Danby

 

The Free Value-Add Giveaway

This post is about offering something free to visitors who subscribe to your email marketing list.

If you’ve been hanging out on the web for a bit, chances are you’ve visited a website that offers something to download for free. But before you get your thing-y, you must provide your name & email address.

Open For Business

Many people believe that once their website is built, their customers will come. Like putting up a huge banner on a storefront that says, “OPEN FOR BUSINESS.”

Then we sit around, watching our phones, inboxes and wonder… where all my perfect customers?

It gets quiet and stays quiet.

And so we, really me (I’ll cut the crap, cough it up and admit that all the we’s are really me’s) begin re-reading and re-writing web copy, install Google Analytics so we I can see exactly what is not happening down at our my electronic storefront and since we’re I was busy being busy—doing business-related stuff—it felt like work.

Busy work. Not busy-getting-paid work. Sigh.

Now leaving Corporate America, welcome to Oz

This is when it dawned on me that I wasn’t in Experian Kansas any longer.

I wasn’t building huge e-commerce web sites where the audience was captive.

Meaning, most of the bill-paying population needed/wanted their credit report, at some point in their adult lives.

Back in Kansas, people were basically signing on, clicking buy and boom! Transaction. Conversion. Ding Ding! Dollar signs. Like millions of them. And the product itself (at the time) only cost something like $12.95.

How did they do that? Or rather, how do I do that?

Understanding your business

Here’s the thing… before I went running down the path of “how do I do that?,” I really needed to understand the kind of business I had.

Because I’m not selling credit reports here. Neither are you.

Most entrepreneurs are selling something else, but it’s not a widget or gadget that needs to be manufactured and shipped. And it’s often something whose results can’t easily be measured, with analytics and facts.

In terms of what an entrepreneur is selling, there is a before and after. There is something to measure. It’s just not going to easily fall out in black & white on your computer screen by doing a S.W.O.T. analysis.

Knowing what you’re selling as an entrepreneur is super important. What it is, who it’s for, how it helps.

Knowing what you’re selling helps you speak it clearly. And clarity is resonation.

Resonation (with words) is like goose bumps, without the actual goose bumps.

It grabs your attention.

And when you can write this way, you’ll have all the business your heart can hold. I think it’s important to mention the heart here because I believe everyone can learn to write and connect in this authentic way.

Since we all have hearts. 🙂

Understanding what exactly you sell

Sound bite Shaman Isabel Parlett was one of the first people I remember experiencing this level of resonation while reading her web content.

When I discovered her, I had recently slung together the first few words to describe myself & what I offered to the world. I could feel that my message needed polishing & refinement. There was a way to make things clearer, for my clients and for me too!

And Isabel promised to help me find the words to rock the world. And she also helped me understand that the kind of business I had was not like Experian at all.

Entrepreneurs online today sell the realization of a dream. If you are any kind of coach or consultant (or solopreneur), you sell transformation.

Which is not a credit report with a captive audience. Which is why figuring out how to apply what Experian was doing, so I could do it, wasn’t really the best approach.

In order to get your inbox/phone to blow up with requests to be transformed or realize a personal or professional dream, it really takes establishing a few critical things before someone is ready to do that kind of work with you.

Trust. Expertise. A clear definition of what they can expect to get working with you.

And the most frequently overlooked element in the beginning, and a biggie, is learning to clearly identify and write about the transformation-seekers problem(s). What’s stuck for them? And how can you freely give or demonstrate the type of value you can add to their life or business or that helps them realize a dream?

Transformation has a much longer sales cycle. Not visit, click, buy, ka-ching!

Learning this difference was huge for me and my business. And how I wrote everything, from that point forward, was affected.

Helping your customers understand your value offerings

How does an entrepreneur build trust & demonstrate her expertise? With a free value-add giveaway. It’s for helping transformation-seekers or your perfect customers, cross that “transformation services” chasm—that one between Visit and Buy.

It’s for helping your perfect customers get a feeling for the work that you do, in a very low-risk way.

It’s for building your brand and establishing your expertise.

It’s a place for putting their problems or challenges down in writing (so they can see themselves) and for you to help them solve them.

Part of the process when you create a web presence will involve building a marketing list. Your community of perfect customers.

The most common method we see online is to install a widget in your sidebar that captures a name and email address.

And to further the interest in becoming a member of your community, there’s the familiar offer of a free pdf download. A taste before you buy.

I’ve had some great experience with creating lists and offering freebies in this way. At one point, there were up to three free pdf downloads I offered, and nearly everyday, someone downloaded one (or all three).

In essence, if you create your freebie… they will come.

A couple of questions to get you started thinking about creating your own freebie:

  • What is already right under your nose that you take for granted or think is silly or not good enough? I’m flashing a neon sign at it right now. It says “Look Here.”
  • Coaches & consultants are often teachers also. We present our ideas to others & help implement them. If it’s easier to talk/teach, consider offering a teleclass & record it. 60-minutes will do ya. Then transcribe the recording.
  • If you already have a blog, write a blog post series on something specific about your subject of expertise. This is also called a List Post and is one of the best strategies for getting your ebook written, one post at a time. And it’s how my own ebook Web Presence Essentials began.

Is this you?

“I have no idea where to begin with creating my freebie. None!”

“I have a few ideas, but haven’t really finalized them.”

“I’ve got my freebie written and ready to go, I just need help getting it integrated into my web presence & delivered to my community (via my email marketing list).

“I want to understand what tools you used, get help using my own tools so I can begin/finish writing my own ebook.”

Then it sounds like you may be ready for some WordPress & online business consulting with me »

“I want a web presence so I can have a place to put my stuff: freebies, ebooks & otherwise.”

I’d suggest checking out my new ebook & my custom web presencing package »

“My web presence is a mess Mynde. I need your expert help with evaluating everything I’ve been up to and/or how to do it better or shift into a new direction.”

You’re probably ready for a Strategic Website Review » (coming soon!)

Free Your Mind & The Rest Will Follow

This post is about how MindNode offered me a Get-out of-Word-doc-ebook-writing-hell card so I could pass Go & Collect $200.

Well, I’m on the way to collecting $200. The book hasn’t been in Pay-What-You-Can mode for very long. 😉

The honest truth is MindNode did set me free… to let’ er rip. And so I did pass Go, so-to-speak. And I’m sharing the story of how I did it. Cuz blogs are for sharing. And because lettin’ er rip is good for our souls.

I mentioned that, after a while of writing a post-at-a-time, and answering questions that were fed to me on a nearly-daily basis…

(Definitely each time I spoke with a client.)

I started gathering some of my best posts together. The ones where I noticed myself telling a client in session, “Oh I’ve written a post about that…” Or, the ones that were fed to me, in a real-time life or biz situation. And then write about that.

I had started the list. Three posts were already written. The ones that answer, in the most basic of terms, what I do specifically under the domain of web presencer for creative women. 

Soon, a popular question rose to the top. What’s the difference between a blog and a website? And which one is right for me?

Ta-da! Yes. That easy. If you’re paying attention.

Why we dismiss it or overlook it—our own brilliance—still baffles me. Those goggles we’re born with. Like special 3D movie glasses, we somehow can’t see it like other people can. Our stuff. The brilliance and (laughing) those frightened parts that still react in lizard-brain mode. I’ve decided to love my lizard brain. To love it & the process…

And surrender.

Compassion is a biggy if you’re gonna be out here. I talk about it in the first Chapter of Web Presence Essentials. It’s a success factor actually. For becoming part of this revolution of entrepreneurs, leading their lives in alignment… hearts, souls, businesses, lives.

Anyway, over time, the list of three grew. And I mentioned that one day I got inspired to grab it all up & paste it into a Word document.

Then I figured out how to create a Table of Contents in Word, so I could see what I had (again, like the List Post I’d already created online at my website).

I looked at it. “Ugh. There’s a lot of work here. So much is missing. A lot needs re-writing, re-alignment,”  the lizard inside my amygdala said.

I saved the Word doc & closed it. For like five months.

Then, on the day I asked myself the question “What if I never designed another web site again?”

It hit me…

…like a band of wild horses.

And it all started up again. I dug around on my Toshiba laptop to find the Word doc. Opened it. And realized how much had happened in that five months or so. So much. In my life. In my biz. I know you know. You were there for 2011 also 😉

Anyway, I’m gonna get to point of this post now.

I looked at the Word doc and it became clear to me that I needed another way to organize all the thoughts & ideas for what was missing. What I wanted to add to it and a way to move “blocks” of similar content around in the body of work so that I could organize it in an easy-to-digest-and-understand format.

So you don’t take a nap on me when the technology stuff comes up.

And that’s when I discovered MindNode. A simple brainstorming tool. There are tons of them online. Some free, some not. Some for Mac, or Windows or both. MindNode was easy so I went with that.

And I basically began building, with my ideas, a-node-at-a-time, what eventually became Web Presence Essentials.

If it felt like I needed to put things in some kind of order, I could easily move nodes around, like a spoke on a wheel. But what I like about this tool is it’s not linear. But can be. This gave me freedom to just blow up with ideas and organize them later.

Once I emptied my mind of all the ideas I felt were important to capture, there was space to breathe. To catch my breath. Reflect. Rest. Another step accomplished. Yay me. A+.

Feeling much freer for tomorrow and opportunity. For steps. For breathing. For reflecting & relaxing. And focusing my time, attention & energy into another A+ story.

And now some scoop.

If you’re not familiar with the A+ story, you can read up on it here. It’s the place we begin on your web presencing journey. You telling your web presencing A+ story.

And it’s the place I begin in the Workbook Companion for Web Presence Essentials, coming out this Spring. In accordance with the best planetary alignments, naturally.

The workbook is my personal process, of working with and using great teachers—wisdom from their own bodies of work—filled with worksheets & fill-in-the-blank questionnaires; everything that’s helped me create my own soulful message. With no copywriter (don’t shoot copywriters… i love you & your magic ;).

It’s also the process for using The Six Hidden Layers of Your Content. Which is the real gem inside Web Presence Essentials. And it’s the same process I use one-on-one, when you decide you’d like to co-create your uniquely you web presence with me.

So there it is.

Another step I took to get to writing it. Hopefully you are thinking about your own next step.

If you want to know when the companion-y workbook comes out, get on my list babes. And if you haven’t yet peeked in on the book, you can do so risk-free. Check out Chapter 1, Success Factors of Entrepreneurial Leadership where I talk more about compassion & A+’s.

xo,
yes, this is my real-deal signature

The List Post

A list post. It’s just what it sounds like. A blog post with a list in it. Think table of contents. The kind with hyperlinks.

Your table of contents. With a list of blog article topics or a series of posts. Written on a specific topic, within your domain of special knowledge. Your gifts or talent. Whatever you plan on sharing with the world.

When I first created a blog, I was asked to answer one simple question. And do it in the form of a blog post.

It’s one of the top struggles I see women challenged with when they’re getting ready to launch a web presence.

What to write about. Basically, where to start. Where to begin. Because we know so much about what we know.

So here it is, that question to help you focus & pick a place to start.

What are the top three questions you’re asked or answer frequently about what you do?

For me, it looked like this.

What do I do? I’m a web designer. I create web sites.

What are the 3 most important things someone needs to create a web site? Well, you can’t have a website without these three things: 1) a domain name, 2) web hosting & 3) content (words & other stuff to put onto the web pages.)

Blog post #1: What is a domain name & 7 tips for choosing one
Blog post #2: What is web hosting & why do I need it?
Blog post #3: Content Creation

And this was how “3 Essentials for Creating A Website” (or a title something like it) was born. A free PDF download that visitors received when they subscribed to my email list.

After these first three post topics were answered & published, I simply kept adding on to the List Post.

Using my client’s questions during their webification process, I’d choose a topic and write about it.

What did your last client bring forward as their personal challenge or obstacle? How did you help them with it?

One client question or challenge. Answered in written form. Once a week.

dominos: one after anotherOver time, this small series of just 3 posts became this List Post. Which eventually became my ebook Web Presence Essentials.

Well the foundation for it. Once I decided to take it from List Post to ebook, it took on a life of its own.

I became more focused on creating it. And how I’d feel when I got it done. And then, like a band of wild horses, the book literally wrote itself.

I talk about the importance of telling “your A+ story” or feeling into your desired outcome in Chapter 1 (another free download). Seeing things go the way you want them to before doing any work at all. And how this is vital to the creation process because experience has taught me it is the deciding factor for getting launched. Or writing a book. Getting any form of dream-to-reality to manifest.

It worked for me. I’ve seen it work for my clients. It’s how I wrote the ebook every woman should read if she’s thinking about creating an authentic & soulful web presence.

Band of Wild Horses

Or how to write your ebook or other digital download-y thing.

“The ebook wrote itself,” I said skyping with a client last Thursday afternoon. She had set out to write her free pdf thingy but found that under the pressure to perform, it wasn’t coming. Shifting directions like a nimble entrepreneur does, she decided to go back to basics. Start with her blog. And just write a few posts.

“How about a list of posts that help explain your three main core values… for yourself or your business?” I continued.

My ebook wrote itself. I mean, I didn’t set out to write the book that every woman should pick up before she begins her web presencing journey. That’s not what I had in mind when I sat down to write it.

Not on any day of writing was it ever that.

It became that all on its own… after I trusted & followed the process.

When I wrote, it came from a place where it was super easy to write. It came from my expertise. From the place I safely claim within my own fragile ego, I am an expert. On this particular subject.

That’s why the book wrote itself.

Because my expert “knowing” was in charge of every word I dropped onto the computer screen a letter-at-a-time.

What I did each day to get in the zone, was visualize how I would feel once the body of work was complete. And in orbit.

That’s all I wanted. Was to get to a finish line and then press the launch button.

I like launch buttons. And I enjoy working with my clients in their discomfort around getting ready to launch and all the other stuff that percolates up to the top for clarity and processing. For love. And acceptance.

A beautiful perfect moment of self-realization. Aligned one after another.

Anyway, the finish line. And where I was going 😉

Truly, each day I practiced taking pleasure in being motivated by my own personal success of doing it.

I was also extremely motivated by the idea of not ever doing it again (whatever it is for you). For me, it was web presencing.

A popular end-of-the-year-review question to ask yourself which I share right on the ebook sales page (yes I said sales page without even a flinch of discomfort. That’s what it is.)

… “What if I walked away today? From everything I’ve created or built… how would I want to leave it? What is left unsaid? What wants out? To be seen. Or heard. Or felt?”

Practicing… experiencing the pleasure of my own success before I wrote each day was also a healthy way for my egoic mind to get its rocks off.

I didn’t stay here too long though because the excitement of finishing the book drew me into the “what’s next?” so quickly, I opened Word and found the place that felt the most exciting or fun and began.

That’s how Web Presence Essentials went from a simple List Post and became an ebook. My container for the larger body of work I’ve created on the web, written in my special language of connection. Heart & soul. No longer holding much of anything back.

Why is this important for you to know?

Simple. I trust. Another essential, I tap into daily, to know and love where I am.

Even though my workbook companion thingy isn’t yet finished. I know I will finish it. Soon.

Even though I haven’t written consistently on my blog this year (once a month is probably too little even if consistent), I know I can and will and do… write. All day long.

Even though I’m not yet on a sailboat, it’s gotten so close I can smell it. Which makes me laugh and smile and giddy with joy.

I’m writing this down in a blog post because I trust you want & need to know this.

I trust you’ve got a book or an idea for one or the idea for your free pdf download you’d like to offer people when they subscribe to your email list. And you want to get it done too. Your special stuff. In digital download format. Right?

And I’m sharing this with you because I couldn’t not share it. An old-but-feels-like-new something I’ve learned to recognize, trust and follow.

As I arrived back into my body this morning, ideas & inspiration swirled chaotically in my mind, like the jumbled notes of a musician’s about-to-be-written song. Listening to the sounds of morning, the stillness—inside the house & outside my bedroom window—beckoned.

More thoughts. Followed by realization.

I miss it. I miss writing to you. I feel like I have so much to tell you. To catch up. Catch my breath. To continue connecting & sharing… and creating.

So I rose & did my morning ritual. Trusting the inner call. The inner voice. The creative impulse

… and followed it like band of wild horses.