The 17-Point Essentials Checklist

17 things I’ve discovered along the way, that are essential for getting started online.

It’s not everything you’ll decide, and it’s not about that

It’s always only about taking the next step, whatever that is for you. In the direction of the things that make your skin sizzle, your heart sing, and your soul wake-up!

By giving each item on this list some consideration & a teensy bit of planning now, you’ll help yourself launch off into your web presencing journey feeling a lot more confident and lot less like you don’t have a clue (because really, you know more right now than you think you do).

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The 17-point Essentials Checklist from Mynde Mayfield - Click me!

Twitter: My Rules & Lists

Several months ago, I went on a Twitter diet. Probably connected to the Facebook re-alignment thing I did just before that. And, the overall shedding of things, that’s been a movement in my life, since October of 2010.

This movement (and it’s been just that), or desire for change, came from within. Although I did have and continue to count on, Universal aides and Divine prompts that grab my attention so that just for a moment, I can hear myself clearly say, “Yes, I want that.”

This movement was about alignment with my best me. And the excuses I’ve heard myself say countless times when I dreamt about my tomorrows and how I wanted them to be. About my healthy, fit body. How happy I am. How in love with life and myself, that I am.

And I decided to just get in line with it now. Why the fuck waste any more time? People we love drop dead every day. And that reality screams at me to live and cherish every moment.

So I said Yes to now. Literally. And figuritively. That was 40 pounds and a 3-bedroom-condo-full-of-furniture ago.

When you clean out, you clear up.

Simple as that.

One day not too long ago, I looked at my Twitter stream and it felt bloated. And often challenging to get any good stuff from any of you because it was such a fire-hose of constant flowing information.

I know the “rules.” About Twitter. And following everyone who follows you. It’s customary. Considerate. All that.

And I’ll tell you straight up, I’m one of the kindest people you’ll meet. Sweet too. Most people say one of those two words after knowing me for a moment… or millenia (up to the karma I guess).

But after all the purging, I absolutely prefer lightness & clarity.

So I turned my Twitter fire-hose into a softly dripping faucet that whispers inspirations and reminders for helping me focus on the stuff that really matters.

Which is me. Or you, in your case.

So no offense when/if I don’t follow you back. Really.

Makin’ a list.

Many of you, have landed on a list. A useful way I’m organizing & building my own network of people, resources, friends using Twitter.

I love Twitter. I believe in technology and the innovation that is Twitter… and I’ve learned how to change the rules if they don’t fit. Which is being an innovator for myself.

You can too.

Don’t be on Twitter if it doesn’t feel good. Don’t worry about Facebook right now, if it doesn’t light you up right now.

Focus on you and what makes you feel good.

Twitter definitely makes me feel good now. I can actually take you in. And really appreciate you. And your contribution to the conversation.

So please do join me. And the rest of us. When you’re ready.

And whenever that is, say hi. I’m @myndemayfield.

Say Hi! I'm @myndemayfield on Twitter!

 

 

 

jsyk

Nourishing Your Creative Thrive-Times

Time, energy, attention. Really at the bottom of everything. The biggest reason why something gets done, or doesn’t.

Focus. Your magic beam of creativity, or death. Your world is either expanding or contracting. Depending on how you wield your light sabre of focus.

Productivity. For me, being productive is about optimizing processes and systems in my life & biz that help me maximize my TEA + FOCUS.

Let’s have TEA, shall we?

If you haven’t read Charlie Gilkey’s Unconventional Guide to Freelancing, well… you should.

Personally, one of my biggest opportunities for growth and learning has been the entrepreneurial self-scheduling bit. Beyond just organizing my life & business for sane living, Charlie has also helped me honor my own creative thrive-times, or peak periods of my day where I’m aware I’m at my most creative and do my best work.

…so many of us fill that time with stuff that shouldn’t be in there. We’re checking email first thing in the morning when we’re at our peak. We jump on social media when we should be writing or developing a marketing plan or an application. We are picking up kids right during our peak.

What we often don’t pay enough attention to is the fact that we can’t do creative work very well when we’re off-peak, but we can do a lot of the other business and life maintenance work when we’re off-peak.

Perhaps the biggest practical implication of thinking in terms of TEA rather than time is that it can guide you to recalibrate your schedule and determine when you’re booked. [… or when to create!]

Knowing your own thrive-times is key to living happy. Setting things up to nourish you and nurture your creative thrive-times is strengthening for you & your biz. 

It’s for you and about you. Really. All for you. If we could just get that. Instead of turning it into a bunch of should’s & have-to’s…

Leveraging technology to improve your creative thrive times.

Several weeks ago I implemented a system in Gmail for automatically responding to client emails using a Gmail lab called “canned response.”

By creating a “client” filter in Gmail, each time I receive an email from a client, the following message gets automatically sent to them.

Hello Lovely You,

To support my creativity, productivity and the fine art of balancing work & play, I now check/respond to email at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. You can expect to receive a fuller reply to your email message within 24-48 hours.

Also it’s very unlikely I’ll answer my phone unless our call is scheduled. You may still try me and if I pick up… YAY for you. If I don’t, you’ll know why. If you’d like to set a chat up, you can do that at http://snurl.com/m2calendar.

You and your email message are very important to me. And, I value time, energy and attention. It’s why anything happens (or doesn’t). Hopefully, you understand how this approach will result in a more focused & creative contribution to our relationship and the service I may be providing you at this time!

Cheers to our rich, rewarding life and work balance in the new entrepreneurial paradigm.

With appreciation & gratitude,
mm.

———————————
Really, an automated email reply? Yup, more here.

myndemayfield.wordpress.com
Web Presencing For Women
714-328-3828
———————————

In an earlier post, I explain how to map all your other email accounts into one, unified email box with Gmail using POP3 or IMAP. However, in order to get canned responses to work, I got to un-do all of the POP3-ing and simply forward emails from Godaddy (the service provider who manages my other email accounts) into my main Gmail account.

That was over a month ago. The question today is, am I really using the system the way I planned? Am I really only checking my Gmail at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m?  And, am I getting back to my most important emails within my 48-hour time frame?

This part has been challenging. In the beginning… like, the day after implementing the canned response lab, my productivity looked pretty much the same as it did the day before.  Still using my Inbox replying to client emails during “non-reply” times (at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m.), pretty much defeating the point of the my automated message; and allowing my personal self-care boundaries for nourishing my creative thrive-times to collapse. Fundamentally, my Inbox was in charge of me.

Until yesterday morning.

Hedge your creative thrive-times with ActiveInbox.

ActiveInbox is a free ‘better Gmail’ plugin (also for Google Apps), that installs into Chrome & Firefox, which helps you manage your email tasks and projects, and do faster email. There is no new system to learn, it just uses Gmail labels. Check out ActiveInbox here.

Using ActiveInbox’s fancier Gmail labels, I created two new labels called Action-10 a.m. & Action 4 p.m. Now, if my Gmail tab is open and I’m babysitting it like I’m wish I wasn’t, I quickly scan my incoming emails with the following practice.

  1. If I can answer it in under 2-minutes, I do it. Using another browser extention called Boomerang, I can schedule the email to get sent to my client later or at a specified time.
  2. If it can’t be answered in under two minutes, I apply one of the new labels (10am or 4pm) and archive the message so it’s outta my inbox. Applying the ActionInbox label essentially marks the email like a “task” which I can review from the new “ActiveInbox” sidebar in my Gmail left-hand navigation. I can manage, edit, assign the email to a project and when I’ve completed the assignment/task related to the email, I mark it ‘finished’ and it’s removed from my “to-do” list in ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

My current inbox now looks like this. Yes, just one email (with the Preview Pane Lab enabled). If you don’t know what a Gmail lab is, I’ve written a post about the 7 Gmail labs you should be using. And this morning, I added Preview Pane to the list after I did a David Blaine on my Inbox thanks to ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

 

I’m already feeling 1000% better.

I’ve layered in another system. On top of some already-working-for-me systems & processes in place in my business. That’s how you do it. One layer or piece or bite, at a time.

Now that I have a system in place to organize my shizzle and one that helps me create and honor my personal creative thrive-times, I can get on to doing what I love… helping women on the mission of sharing their creativity with the world.

WordPress Plugin: Social Media Widget

Expanding the visibility of your WordPress site leveraging technology and social media.

Social Media. As if getting through your web presencing experience wasn’t harrowing enough.

The thing with technology is… there’s always more. More. More. More. So you probably feel even more behind and like you have further to go now, then you did before, when you only needed a uniquely-you custom designed WordPress website.

But let’s flip it. Cuz, I’m optimystical like that.

The thing with technology is… if it wants to continue to grow and expand into more, more, more… it must become easy, easy, easier or else, no body will come to the party.

Think about that for a second… technology must adapt and penetrate into more of the market, where less people have the specialized technical training like me and many others like me, already have.

No, you don’t want to learn HTML. You want to be focused on that special thing you do, and doing it. Using a web presence and social media… technology in general, to help.

You will need to learn about some of it. My bet though, is this pool will become less and less of a deep-dive and more of a slow wade across calm easy waters; as you layer in your own growth and expand you & your web presence into all you want it to be, step-by-step.

I refer to it as “eating the cookie one bite at a time.” Come on over to the optimystical side, we have cookies!

Easy Does It.

If you read many of my posts, you’ll know I favor a particular focus on ease. And easy. Following easy has expanded me & my biz in unimaginable ways. Do you feel invited yet? Good, because I want you to come follow easy with me.

Start where you are. That means if you are not yet twittering, don’t. Not yet. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to be somewhere you are not (yet). Can we make that deal, right now?

If you only have a LinkedIn profile… great and so what? Now what.

If you are somewhere between thinking about web presencing and being web presenced and continuing to expand it, you will at some point begin to think about social media. The 21st century networking gig of our technology-times.

And your first step into social media can be from right where you are. Wherever you are. Or are not. Even if you’d like to be in both the majors (Twitter and Facebook) and now the goliath that is Google has released Google+ … here we go again.

Social Media Widget: How to add social media icons
to your sidebar.

This WordPress plugin offers an all-in-one sidebar social media widget for your website.

Equipped with more than 40 social media networks, you decide which ones you are already a part of and as you expand into new markets, simply return to the widget to add your new social media profile URL in the appropriate field and presto… a new social media icon appears in your sidebar next to the rest of ‘em.

Social Media Widget offers 4 different icon sets to choose from in 3 standard icon sizes: 64×64, 32×32 (most common) and 16×16.

Get It
It’s a plugin. You can get it two ways. The easy way – searching the plugin directory from your WordPress admin dashboard or the good-ole-fashioned way – visit WordPress Plugins directory and download it.

Lucky for you, I have a 5-minute video in this post  where you can watch me go through the steps of using a WordPress admin dashboard to search for and install a different plugin, however, you’ll use the same steps to search and install the Social Media Widget.

Use It
After installing and activating the plugin, from Appearance > Widgets, simply drag the widget into your sidebar or any widgetized area. Configure the widget by choosing a title, select your preferred icon size, your alignment (center, left, right) preferences and then add the URLs to your various social media networks you are a part of like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Myspace. If you are using Feedburner, there is also a place to add your RSS feed and email subscription link.

adding a new social network to your Social Media Widget plugin

Obviously I keep the number icons I display to a minimum. More means more effort on the part of your web visitor to decide what to do next, so keep it simple. My social media sidebar icons looks like this:

the social media icons i use

Integrating Google+ with Social Media Widget

Update – September 21, 2011: The developer released an update to this plugin so that it now automatically includes the Google+ input field.

Well I’m hoping very soon, the developer of the Social Media Widget plugin that I install to almost every single WordPress installation I complete… has plans to accommodate Google+, the easy way; by pasting in my profile URL into the appropriate “Google+” input field.

But since there is not yet a “Google+” input field, we can suffice with taking advantage of what the developer has already thought about… extending the features with custom options.

Right now, you can extend the widget’s feature set with custom selected icons. This could be a complete set of custom designed icons you found on the web or simply by adding a new social media “channel,” both via the widget panel. You’ll see it, when you take a look. A few more steps are required beyond simply pasting in your profile URL, but you can see below where you can add a G+ icon and insert your profile URL and you’ll be good-to-go, Google+ style.

adding a custom icon for google plus in your Social Media Widget plugin

Time to plug me.

Need some help with any of this? I can consult hourly or do the whole she-bang… a custom designed & uniquely-you web presence. Here are the best ways to contact me.

Sidebar Banners: Adding Bling To Your Blog

One of the most frequently asked questions from webifying women is about managing her sidebar.

Banners, buttons, ads or badges… all the clicky-thingy’s.

Putting your bling in! Your own or someone else’s.

Calls-To-Actions. That’s what they are. Shiney. Attention-getting. Remember blinking ones? ugh.

In my webification package, you now get up to four custom banners or badges installed to your sidebar with your affiliate links (if you have them).

Today’s post is about making it easier for you create and manage not just one, but a set of banners and install them in your sidebar. Yourself!

WP-125 Plugin

Creating & managing sidebar banners. Seriously simple & easy.

Here’s the to-do list:

  • Search, install & activate the plugin. I show you how here, in this under-5-minute video about creating a contact page where I go through the same steps to search and install the contact page plugin, that you’ll use to get WP-125 into your WordPress blog. I even slur the word WordPress. So unrehearsed. ick & hahahah.
  • Your affiliate link for trusted product/service provider’s thing you’re about offer or display when someone clicks the banner.
  • The image link to the banner art you’d like to install.

Really. That’s it. Gather up the above details, install & activate the plugin, and within a few minutes you’ll have a set (I’m up to eight but I’ve already discovered where this plugin falls short for me which I explain in a minute).

To display your new set of banners in your sidebar, visit Appearance > Widgets on your WordPress admin dashboard to drag & drop the WP-125 widget into your preferred sidebar. You’re done. WP-125 just did all the work. And the plugin has a few more setting options I didn’t share.

You can use a [short-code] to invoke the set of banners within a post or page. You can also specify a single banner ad from the set, if that’s your desire. Useful when installing a single banner to a blog post you’ve written the speaks to why you personally endorse the product you’re pimping. Just sayin.’

And for the more advanced Web Designer Developer, there is a php call for using with Thesis Open Hooks. More technical here. But I wrote this part for the you that’s out there wondering more about how I do what I do, exactly. Other designers or virtual assistants finding their tech savvy way. You know who you are.

Limitations & all that

For easily displaying banner ads for the first time, doing it yourself… this is a perfect plugin.

And I mentioned I’ve already run into my issue… which is I need to create multiple sets of banners. From what I can see, WP-125 is limited to creating just a single set. Although, there is an option to control how many banners you show in the set.

I just Delicioused Kevin Muldoon’s englightening in-depth review post, The Best Ad Management Plugins for WordPress. Turns out there is another plugin that may unlock me from my WP-125 limitations and allow me to create banner ad zones called Max Banner Ads.

zzzzzz. i ❤ technology 🙂

Plugin – pluggin me

Remember, I’m a pro at all this shiz. And, I love watching/seeing/feeling you feel empowered when we do it. My intention is help you grow by sharing what I know. If you’d like to get to know this plugin and how to use it or your WordPress blog, here’s how to get some of  my optimystically-styled help.

And, if it’s love, then we’re two birds of a feather and the rest is still whatever… ~Train

Birds & graffiti

Custom Sidebar Plugin

I’ve been actively blogging my brains out since about 2002. When I started, I had multiple web presences all over the place. Several on Blogger and several self-hosted installations of traditional ground-up HTML web sites I had built after leaving my corporate gig at the end of 2006.

In 2009, after Rope Swings & Avalanches, I was kinda tired. Especially at the thought of starting over again. And, I didn’t want to give up on my dream of doing what I love. So this time around, I wanted to focus on introducing more ease and grace into my own web presencing process and my next design.

I took all the expert blogging advice I had ever received (which was really good), threw it out the window and gave myself permission to consolidate everything under one web presence. I choose my name, not some business-ey name, like my original coaching web presence which was called Cognizance Coaching.

I had discovered that not only did people not know how to pronounce Cognizance, they didn’t really know what it meant, it was hard to remember and would put more search engine optimization “heavy” on me, the biz owner, in order to get discovered.

I had always had my name secured at Godaddy in my domain name repository. So I took the consolidation plunge, switched over to the god of all content management systems, WordPress and began using the Thesis theme; acknowledging that my name won’t likely change, even though what I do and what I call it will.

What does this have to do with the Custom Sidebar plugin?

Well, it’s a little bit of back story, to help you understand, why you may eventually need it yourself.

Right out the gate, I’m going to probably discourage you from doing this. Mostly because, you need to understand some basic web presencing terms like evergreen.

All the widgets and banner ads, etc. in your sidebar are considered evergreen because they are always on (displayed). Like in nature, those trees that stay green forever, even in winter. Also always on, will be your static pages that are available from the primary navigation bar of your web presence.

But just recently in the spring of 2011, I realized my two sidebars were increasingly cluttering up my web presence. Creating way too many options for you the web visitor to look at and decide which one to click on. Not good in the Usability world. Not good at all.

Remember, you always want to make it easier for your visitors to know what to do next. You want to guide them to the most important thing you need them to do… which is usually subscribe to a list (start watching as you move around on other blogs and you’ll see this call-to-action usually always near the tippy top of the web presence).

After that, it’s really up to you, the biz owner, to decide what’s most important. For me personally, I want to give visibility to my product offerings and then perhaps my “best of” article links.

Problem is, when you do many things in several categories like I do (astrology, life coaching and web presencing for women), one evergreen sidebar will not do.

I don’t want to be telling you about my astrology products when you are reading a how-to-guide tutorial on Setting Up Your Free GoDaddy Email Account, right? I’d rather be showing you my technology products instead.

So when you visit my website, you’ll notice as I continue with my redesign (live and unfettered by the possibility of showing you the imperfections that occur along the way) that my sidebars change as you navigate through the major categories of my site.

WordPress Plugin

I’m doing that with a plugin called Custom Sidebars. And this post is really for those of you who have been blogging for a while and maybe going through a major overhaul to re-presence yourself; like several of my latest clients.

You’ll see from the link, the developer of the plugin does a great job at showing you some basics about using the plugin. And if you need some personal one-on-one help, you can always set up a WordPress consulting session with me and I’ll give you my expert feedback on whether or not I think you’re ready for it and help you get started using it.

I plan on doing some regular posts on the plugins I’m personally using and the ones I install in my custom wordpress web design package. Because generosity rocks and I love empowering you to use technology to help you do that thing you love.

Until next time,

 

 

The Redesign Haps

Back in June, I announced I had found a new template. One that does what Thesis can do, but with more ease and less technical programming.

I was attracted to the theme’s tagline about a “drag & drop” framework. And I thought, “That sounds like something my web clients might need or find useful.”

So I took the Memorial Day weekend and contemplated the impact of implementing this new template on my own site. I came up with really good reasons for my time spent in contemplation. But underlined deeply in heart and my bottom-line these days for doing A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G…  (mostly without reason) was because… I wanted to. And besides, before I can promise it to you, I had better know what I’m getting into… and if it is and will be easier for you to do your web thing.

And six weeks have come and gone.

And I know you know what I’m talking about here. For we all are experiencing these interesting times together.

… all the great plans we have to do something. And then all the little things we tell our self about why we can’t do it now. When we are fired up about it. I call that following my artist’s lead.

I’ve realized that self-doubt will enter. It will never not enter. At least not from where I’m standing.

For my ability to feel and let more and more good into my life, for me to be in my creative flow, I can meander no more through the valley of the shadow of death.

Going a different way.

Today, I’m going to practice recognizing the doubt, as it arises. I’m going to sit quietly within myself for just a moment of acknowledgment… a peace offering.

Maybe I’ll even have a few very long moments of acknowledgment.

But I’ll begin with just a pause. Come back to the awareness of my breath. Relax just the tiniest bit.  And in it’s presence, I’ll say, “Self-doubt. It’s you.”

No cursing. No blaming or shaming. Just some quiet allowing.

Paused by and with an intention. To be whole. To love my way here. Moment by moment.

And gently remind myself again, whatever the doubtful thought is, all I have to offer happens when I follow follow follow… that call. Where my action is animated from within. Not without. Inspiration.

I won’t know where I’m going. I won’t know exactly where it’ll lead.

But how fun would that be?

For today, I’m choosing to follow being me.

And for today, that looks like starting my redesign, right here. With you.

Sharing with you, my creativity as it reveals itself. Big large moments of imperfection. Using my existing template. Moving forward into what’s next. Which I’m hopeful includes, expansion into a new easeful, drag & drop template later this year.

Welcome to my web world. This is what I do. I’d be so happy if you had a sit & a read & a 🙂