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.

 

For The Artist In You

Abraham & The Artists

“This is becoming a world (and more of you are beginning to feel it) where the niche-ness of You; the niche markets, the niche hobbies, the niche interests… this is the time for them!” ~Abraham

At the Abraham-Hicks workshop I attended in early March, the same one where I was called up to the hotseat, something interesting about the other “hotseaters” I noticed was how many of them were also artists.

A painter. A musician. And a writer.

Each of their questions asking for clarification on how to best support themselves in their creative processes and what to do with their resistance.

We all need support and encouragement to trust the art within us and let it flow out. As a coach and writer myself and as a web presencer for women whose primary medium online is often writing, I’m familiar with resistance. I find myself almost constantly soothing self-doubt. Believing thoughts like, ‘I need training before I can be taken as a serious writer/actor/musician/ [insert yours here.]’

There are lots and lots of other thoughts along this path I won’t go into here. You know the ones that get in your way. I’ll bet you are thinking about it now… that thing you say to yourself most often and you just stop.

You stop following your artist’s lead.

Today’s post is for the artist in you. A few messages from Infinite Intelligence meant to help you when resistance shows up.

The Painter

Her desire is to create income from her art and she’s been noticing that when she tries, constructs a grand plan for it, it never comes.  She wants to know how to better sift through her creative ideas and which one to put on her canvas before overworking it…

“In a moment when it’s not happening, tell yourself, ‘Later Gator!’ Don’t have the conversation. Don’t try to fix it. Don’t ask, ‘What’s wrong!?’ Don’t worry about what’s wrong… remind yourself, ‘It’s oil. I can paint over it.’

Put your brushes down, put your words down, put your thoughts down. As quickly as you can, pull your attention away from any thought that is giving you the feeling of frustration.

Your goal is to always paint when you feel good. You could even start out feeling pretty good while you’re painting and your mind could wander over to something that feels not so good… Stop painting!”

That’s our encouragement about anything.”

The Musician

He wants to know how to know who to give his demo tapes to… and what if he hasn’t done or isn’t doing something right? How will his music ever then be received?

“When you present your genius to someone else, we want you to don the stance of the one who is doing the interviewing, not the one being interviewed.

You’ve created something they may or may not be up to speed with and in this meeting you are going to find out whether they are qualified or not qualified to be the presenter of what you’ve created.

But there are people who are ready, qualified and waiting for you. And you are not attached to the outcome because you know there is so much more that is coming!

In the ownership of that, that is how you proclaim to the Universe, “I AM the creator. Bring it on. Bring the cooperative components to me!

And as you practice that stance, what you’re going to discover is, those Executives/Editors/Agents don’t understand any of it anyway!

In other words, they are totally gut-oriented. They are looking for confidence. They are looking for stability. They are looking for someone who knows what they are doing. And when you are under the influence of pure positive energy flowing through you, knowing what you are doing, they are going to know that you know what you are doing. And they’ll say, ‘Yeah, that’s good!’”

The Writer

A professor who writes and wants to inspire others with his writing. He’s felt a deep connection to Source before in his classroom, in front of his students. They are all “ready” for him. He’s familiar with the feeling of inspiration flowing through him. But he still hasn’t written his book.

“There are so many people who want to motivate their audience. You see the hype. You see the hype in the advertisements. You see the games that they all play, trying to motivate you in order to come and see what they’ve got…

Can we give you a little hint?

You are not writing to them.

You are having the inspired moment where you are receiving for your personal benefit.

That’s what we were saying to the artist, what we were saying to all of you… If you leave who you think is receiving you out of the picture, then you leave all that probability of distortion (disillusionment) out of your vibration.

You write for the thrill of writing. You write for the thrill of the inspiration. You write not to write the book, but because you want to feel that life-giving feeling of inspiration flowing through you!

And that’s what you want to remind yourself of…

Your painting is magnificent but it doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Your books are magnificent, your music is magnificent, what you do is magnificent but it does not appeal to everyone… nor does it need to.

Law of Attraction will bring those to you, who are a vibrational match. But you’ve got to be a vibration match to your own work first.

One who is connected, who is in that place of allowing the full force of creative expression to flow through their being, is more powerful than millions who are not!

It’s not about whether they are ready for you, it’s about, whether you are in alignment with who you are. And when you line up with you, you broadcast a signal that makes you more findable, it makes you more reachable, it makes you more seeable.

‘I’m not writing it because you need to read it. I’m writing it because I want to write it. Because I want to line up with it. Because I want to BE it. Because I want the knowledge expansion that it represents for me.

 

And I think there are probably plenty of others out there like me that would resonate with it too. There are plenty of them out there for me to be a successful writer. There are plenty of them.’

This is becoming a world (and more of you are beginning to feel it) where the niche-ness of You, the niche markets, the niche hobbies, the niche interests… this is the time for them!”

We create to receive. To feel the universal life-giving energy of Source flowing through us. We create to see and know ourselves. To become more self-accepting. To honor the Love we are created from.”

Go. Now. Follow… follow your artist’s lead.

Portions of this text were directly transcribed from a workshop held on March 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. For more information about the teachings of Abraham, visit Abraham-Hicks.com.

Writing Wishes For 2011

Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

December 2 Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta).

This is such a hot topic for me. Very excited when I read it this morning. Irony is, here I sit. Late evening. About to hit publish.

I drank up many great posts today, in and outside of #reverb10, wondering if/when I would have time to write my own installment and laughing, at myself and today’s prompt.

My Short & Sweet

I’m with @whollyjeanne on this one,

Lately everything contributes to my writing. And nothing – nothing at all – was gonna’ come between me and my writing on this day. grief is messy

But I think somehow the prompt is getting at what @DanielleLaPorte says here about the ‘mastery of stop’ and saying no to what’s distracting and draining,

2. I will not leave Twitter, Facebook and Gmail open while I write. I need blocks of two to three hours to think clearly and craft that clarity into something useful. Writing is a “yes!” to all three of the questions. what’s on your stop doing list?

In terms of manifesting what’s next for my writing, I’’ll start here. In 2011, I say ‘no’ more often to distraction. I become “let nothing stand in my way” determination. And remain open and awake to the offer.

3 Beginning Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

When you’re just starting out on the web, getting your blog or web presence thing happening, there are three really important pieces you’ll want to keep your eye peeled for.

Most people get frazzled just thinking about the technology part (the pieces that are actually getting easier and easier). We get so distracted thinking about all the parts we don’t yet know or think we need to know before we can get started, that we actually forget about the planning.

But one of the three keys to creating a great web presence is being able to answer the question of what you do and who you do it for.

Mistake #1: Not Planning

Planning your web presence is knowing who you are, what you offer (exactly), who your audience is and what problems or challenges you help them face.

Think of it like this, from now until infinity, you’ll be asked over and over again by everyone you speak to, to answer in 15 seconds or less, “What’s in it for me?” and why/how you are different from anybody else who does a similar thing as you (coach, artist, writer, teacher).

So knowing yourself and knowing your audience is vital. And the real growth edge for your web presence.

The one person I know who most fluently teaches this vital piece of the planning aspect is Mark Silver from Heart of Business. In fact, he has a free download called the Business Heart Toolkit that will help you answer these nichey questions. He calls it (your 15-second answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question) the ‘Who-Who-What’ statement. And his approach really works!

The thing to remember as you dive into something like Mark’s process for planning your web presence is this motto: Progress, not perfection.

I have found that everything is born in bits and pieces. So, you won’t hit it out of the park on your first try. Mistakes, experiments… that *is* creativity. It’s all fluid and constantly changing. Even what we understand, process and create today will seem different through the context of tomorrow.

So if you pick anything to begin doing for your web presence, like immediately… (because you want to get in on this blogging thing, or you already have a web presence for the cool thing you do ) it’s write!

Pick two hours a day and write your content. Do one blog post per week. The more you do the easier it gets. Keeping in mind that you are simply talking to people.

Mistake #2: Missing The Point Of What Your Content Is For

You don’t have to be a brilliant writer. You just have to be able to help people with the problems they have. You just need to be able to connect and talk to people. All content is “is something that’s going to help somebody else.”

And the key to writing powerful content is to write the same way you would talk to people.

To create and keep an amazing continuous fountain of blogging ideas flowing right to you is to look right into your life at the very conversations you are having on a daily basis.

Whether you are talking to peers, customers, or prospective clients… look at each conversation as a potential blog post topic.

I sometimes will use an entire conversation as the basis of a blog post. And I look right at what my clients are asking me about as potential post subjects.

Let the inspiration come from the market or your life experience. Look around and see what others need or ask yourself what you need and write about it.

Mistake #3: Not Getting Support

And finally, because we are entrepreneurs or being entrepreneurial-ish, we also think we need to do it alone. We have to be the designer gal. And the copywriter gal. And the code guy.

The most avoidable mistake and yet the one we make most often, is trying to be everything alone. But there are people out here that want to help, so you don’t need to try to do everything yourself.

If you’ve only got two hours a day, don’t spend it learning code. Write!

And do some networking. It’s so darn easy now with all the Social Media tools. If you are a kind person who really wants to help others, there are a lot of other people who are waiting to help you.

Hello? (waving enthusiastically)

Technology is the facilitator. It *is* becoming easier. It has too. It must keep moving in this direction or it will become extinct.

And with the help of others who want to help people like you, you won’t have to wear all those hats. Finding the right support is easier than you think.

Just like taking that next step… toward blogging and your web presence. You don’t have to be an expert writer. Just an expert at understanding your people, and what you help them face.

3 Simple Tips For Writing Blog Post Titles

My blog post or article titles suck. Do you have any ideas to share with me?  ~ Recent Webifier

What a good problem to be having. It means you are writing more. And passing through those voices of perfection that, in the past, have kept all your good ideas locked up in your head. It means you’ve opened Word on your computer and put some words down. Or, if you’re old-fashioned-like, you opened your notebook and scribbled some goodness out.

It doesn’t really matter the way you did it, only that you did.

And now, one more time, perfectionism is showing itself, this time asking you if you know enough about titling your blog posts. The right way.

And here’s what I’m saying, “It’s right enough for right now.” Please, try it on. See how it fits for you. And then, read what’s working for me, and then chuck the rest and remember to just keep writing.

The Importance Of Killer Post Titles

2 Seconds & Counting

When I was in corporate, I had the privilege of working with some hired-in copywriters. It was so fun to give the consultant the “creative brief” (an outline of what the project was about) and see what came back.

I was always surprised at the headlines. And I learned early on, it’s really the secret to getting your readers past the two-second threshold (we’ve only got about that long to pique a reader’s interest and convey to them that what we got is what they’re looking for!)

Also, killer headlines will help you with search engine ranking, if you can build into your titles the keywords that fit for your industry.

So headlines obviously become a very important thing for growing & expanding your web presence.

My Approach

When I’m writing a post/article, I may already have an idea about what the title is going to be. But that’s only sometimes. I go ahead and title my draft the title I think I’m going to be using.

Mostly, it serves as an anchor point. I can go back to the title, while I’m writing the article, and it helps me stay focused. Because when I write, I usually do not know each and every word that will be written before hand. There is a lot of trust in the process. At least for me.

I like to open Word, write the title, maybe a few bullet points of things I want to highlight (if I know the post might be a long one or a “how-to”) and then let my fingers do the talking, literally.

Sometimes, after editing the post, the title actually sticks. Though this isn’t usually the case.

What I find is that after the article is written, I can scan it and pull directly from my own writing a title that suits the article much better than the one I originally chose.

And then I go through the process of applying some basic rules that I’ve learned from other expertish people. People I met in corporate. And people I’ve met out here, on the web.

3 Basic “Getting-Started” Places

This is not meant to be a comprehensive this-is-how-you-do-it kinda guide. This is meant to be a beginning point for getting better at writing killer post titles or headlines.

  1. Numbers. As in, “3 Must-Haves For Your Blog” How many times have you seen that one? A gazillion, right? So again, this might be great for when you know ahead of time exactly what you’ll be writing about. And that’s exactly how I wrote my last installment; with a topic in mind and I narrowed down to super simple. Three things. Kinda like what I’m doing here with this post.
  2. Problems. Because that’s one of the top reasons anyone is online looking at anything to begin with. They want help with a problem they have. When we say the problem in the headline, we are actually speaking directly to our perfect person’s need. When a person feels seen or heard (a common thread in humanity) we’re on our way to making the deeper connections that happen after the 2-second part. The part about where you and they intersect. Also, speaking to solutions as much as problems can be very effective too so try switching it up.
  3. Short. Short, sweet, to the point. Remember, two seconds. Most people are scanning online. Sorting through boatloads of information. Likely in information overwhelm. Two seconds. That’s it. Short & sweet. And if you are getting your social networking on, you’ll want to make it re-tweetable by keeping the tweet length down; aiming at using around 100-120 characters of the available 140.

Recommended Resource

In case you are wondering about the all-inclusive comprehensive guide for writing killer post titles or headlines, I recommend CopyBlogger’s Magnetic Headlines blog post series. It’s got plenty for your perfectionist to chew on.

And personally, I’m not so sure there is a right or wrong as much as there is a getting better at it. I find this approach helps me have more fun with myself and my writing as I go.

Free From The Stuck Of Comparing

I have this habit. I used to not even see it. Now I see it, but at the same time, still see myself doing it and wonder if I will ever stop. Or what thought I might have that finally releases me from this habit’s grip.

I remember Tom Stone saying something like 80% of our sensory perception is affected by sight. I really notice this when I sit quietly and close my eyes. How I sense and what I’m aware of is inner directed instead of being stimulated by what my eyes are constantly taking in and processing.

I wonder sometimes if I just shut my eyes, will I then stop comparing? And I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want to miss the richness of sight. And at the same time, I’m also tired of not doing stuff because I’m in a state of stuck because I’m watching too closely what others are doing.

I might not even think I am comparing anything. But if I’m watching, comparing will shortly be there. Materializing out of thin air. In the form of my own private thought-bubbles that speak to me, out loud in my head.

“What if this story isn’t important to anyone else but me?”

“Isn’t it selfish to write for myself or to myself?

“The others, who have written books and published them, are in another league… waaaaay outside of my orbit!”

“I am not trained and have taken no higher education courses around writing. I probably suck and everyone can see that in the evidence of my posts. Whatever I write needs to be and mean a whole lot more than the scribbled ‘I love you honeybee’ messages on my daughter’s lunch napkin.”

That’s what it sounds like in my head sometimes. Really, a lot more than I care to admit.

I’ve learned that comparing comes from my fear. A pretty deep one that shows up in disguises. Fear is a master of disguise.

When I’m comparing, I’m usually coming from a place of less-than. Which is tiresome. So so tired of hatin’ on myself. My ideas. My creativity. My choices.

When I’m comparing, I let someone else’s light eclipse my own.

This week, I’ve been contemplating comparing. How and when it shows up. How much I beat myself up in it. How much I want to do something else besides compare. Understand why I focus on comparing… and discover the gift in it.

What am I not doing while I’m comparing?

A lot. It’s an energetic stall. It’s a cover up. A distraction. A procrastination.

And what would better than this?

Better than a cover up would be a revealing.

Better than a distraction would be great love in the form of focus.

Better than procrastination would be a decision.

The decision to just do it.

Comparing. Might it be A Gift For Learning To See Ourselves?

Just five minutes (thank you Pace & Kyeli for this wonderful anchor).

Do it, whatever I’m not doing that wants so badly to be started or fed or created or worshipped or loved.

And so I’m closing my eyes. And going within to ask what wants to be done? What wants to be written? What wants to be spoken? What wants to be prayed for? What wants my inner attention?

And I believe it’s me in there. A connection to my creative source that wants my attention and wants my voice, my fingers on the keyboard, and my heart wide open.

For now, comparing is keeping me from seeing me and connecting to the very thing I think I want more than anything. The thing that I ache for…

And that voice sounds like this:

Sometimes, you just have to stop looking at what other people are doing. And start doing your own thing. Now, strike sometimes.

That was the message I received from the me that is free from the stuckness of comparing.

Have you noticed comparing? I would love to know how you care for yourself if you have. And if comparing stuckifies you, how do you help yourself with that?

  • What does comparing look like for you?
  • What does comparing tip you off to?
  • What would you be doing if you weren’t busy comparing?
  • What works for you to help you reframe comparing?
  • What are the hidden gifts you’ve discovered hiding out in your comparing?

Die Zones & Publish Buttons

Alanis dropped a lil bomb on me yesterday while I was walking in my neighborhood. And I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I strolled in the California sunshine, reminded about a recent conversation on discovering the initial curiosity for wanting to pause and take a closer look at the larger concept of fear.

“Fear is so subtle and slippery” she said. “I wanted to get around it, over it, through it, but I didn’t really know what it was. I could intuitively feel a barrier to my total health, but the barrier itself remained illusive to me.”

The one thing that helps with the illusiveness of fear, is making it more tangible. And measureable. Really choosing to look at it, instead of hiding or running or freezing in it.

Marching Toward Fear or Getting Crazy In Order To Save Our Selves

We’re never going to survive unless get we are a little crazy. ~ Seal, Crazy

Do you know when you’re going for it?

Like really sticking it all out there?

Scaring the shit out of yourself?

Going to the Die Zone?

That is a kind of fear, isn’t it? When I’m getting ready to do something big in my life, I can always count on fear as my playmate.

There are the little subtle fears like hoping dinner turns out ok or that you’ll find a good online deal for socks.

And then there are bigger fears like hoping they will like you or will even notice you.

And then the biggest fears. The ones that keep us up at night. Like wondering how the rent will get paid or hoping this round of chemotherapy helps stop the tumor’s growth.

If all were there when we first took the pill, Then maybe (4x)… Miracles will happen as we speak. ~ Seal, Crazy

I help people see the subtleness of fear, where it starts and what it looks like. And how it works to stay in control of every thought process and decision we make.

The people I work with on the topic of fear are smartttttt. Smart Smarty Smartypants.

They have already done some amount of personal digging into themselves. They get that the results they want come from within. They are not afraid to ask for help or support. They see partnering with a coach as strategic and necessary in order to help them get what they want. They are able to recognize that alone by themselves, they can’t go where they wanted to go.

Essentially my job becomes communicating in a way that helps people begin to know what they don’t know. Playing in a giant pool of illusivity, where your fear dodges in and out of visibility like dancing shadows on a breezy afternoon. Revealing itself at high cost which usually equals discomfort. I mean, really, who wants to scare the shit out of themselves? Who really wants to tango with fear? Scares me just writing this and is hugely challenging to talk about with potential clients.

In a sky full of people, only some want to fly, Isn’t that crazy? ~ Seal, Crazy

Not if they’re all afraid, it’s not that crazy. And most of us are just looking for a break. Some relief. From the hussle and bussle of daily life, the obligations and expectations. Spouses, Children, Bosses, the IRS. Our selves.

And in our attempt to try and find a bit of security, we begin to wall ourselves off from even seeing the sky, let alone learning how to fly.

That’s the insidiousness of fear. And how the construction of a comfort zone begins.

Even though, in the end, we realize we’ve become keepers of the comfort zone. Always working to make it more comfortable, fighting to keep the perimeter secure. Although we know there will be something after this.

I believe that deep down, we all want to fly. And it’s just a matter of time before we realize how unfulfilling it is living in the constructs of a false safety that blocks us from engaging with all of life’s possibilites. But more importantly, keeps you from engaging with those dreams you have. About how you want it to be. For yourself. And for the people you love. Which means that at some point we get to go to the edge and jump off into our die zone, and be a little crazy when we do. At least by conventional standards.

Contained within my fear and beautifully disguised by my mind is reason, justification and explanation. A great irony of self-sabotage. “Stay away,” it says, “at all costs. Don’t press publish! You will piss someone off!” But I’ll tell you a secret I’ve learned.

There is great mojo in the die zone.

And if I can somehow turn into and toward fear, towards understanding it and embracing it, I begin to see myself more clearly which allows me to be myself. And that extra mojo I find that enthusiastically propels me forward becomes dessert.

And I am motivated not because I’m broken in the comfort zone, but because I want to feel the burn of the die zone. And so I press publish.