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.

 

My 2012: The Pooh Way

the tao of pooh by benjamin hoff

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” asked Piglet, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

“What’s for breakfast?!” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

Back to my roots. Back to me.

It’s been over 17-years since my cousin, Layla, said, “Here… you’ll love this!” and handed me Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh.

I was in Oregon. On sabbatical. During the long ending to my first marriage that lasted eight years.

I had returned to my roots. My home. Mostly because my family is there. In the Rogue Valley. And have been for most of my life. My mother’s life hop-skotched my brother & I back and forth between there and mostly, Hungtington Beach, California.

The first born of four grandchildren, my Aunt Val still calls me Pooh to this day.

So many things happened on that Sabbatical. On my About page, I talk about being introduced to Marianne Williamson while watching an Oprah show. That afternoon happened during this Sabbatical.

On this Sabbatical, many many books were read. I had my first & only out-of-body experience or something like it.

On this Sabbatical, I felt myself open. Even more strongly than I did right after my daughter was born.

Like a flower, looking back over those 17-or-so-years, I have & did. And continue to.

2011 has been the year of (re)alignment. To say the least.

This past fall, when I put my entire personal library of important books into donation boxes, this one was held out with the handful of others I’m visualizing will live onboard the boat.

Irony. Psychic ability. Either way, I had no clue in the very beginning of last year when I decided to write for 40 days about the topic of alignment, what rippling effects it would have on the rest of my year.

Live. Learn. Still loving. Definitely more deeply. More deliberately now. Thank you alignment & 2011.

This year, I’ll reach again. Taking my own medicine from Web Presence Essentials about Entrepreneurial Leadership.  I’m reaching more deeply inside. Reminding myself of the most important commitment. Holding no other or thing before it. Making this my idol of worship.

My joy. My love. My thriving life. Me.

Every season. Renewal. Rebirth. The eternal promise of nature. And so, my soul.

2012 begins with nurturing and strengthening my roots. The Pooh Way.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

Bravery – A New Core Value

Stories are the recipe, life is the medicine.

I’ve been working with a new client. The label ‘client’ doesn’t quite fit but that’s beside the point/another post.

I am helping her face some challenging or difficult stuff in her biz. And I sometimes also help people do that in their lives.

Anyway. We were talking. We had just navigated through a pretty considerable bump called misunderstanding.

And there are all kinds of misunderstandings. Some can make you laugh or smile. But, depending on how big it is, a misunderstanding can be quite painful and hugely destructive. And that was the kind we had just faced together. The kind that completely derails a project, sometimes to leave only a smoldering tree stump.

She (my client) was telling me about how long she had wanted a web presence. For nearly 10 years she’s been dreaming about it.

And in the process of working together, there had been an unfolding of some deeper layers of information. A very personal experience (for both of us). And surprise, vulnerable now had a starring role in this particular web creation process.

Also vulnerable because she doesn’t know or understand the technology so she was trusting me to help her there.

And vulnerable because she was beginning to see just how possible it is to have it (a web presence she loves), and contemplating the process of going live, revealing herself in a grandiose, internet-viral-y way.

And guess what? Your stuff shows up. And you realize you didn’t expect it (building your web presence) to be deep and emotionally stirring.

New recipe, new medicine: Add four to five heaping tablespoons of bravery

I learned a lot from this experience too. Because the truth is, to the degree my client’s stuff shows up, mine does too! And now I’m adjusting my recipe.

I get lost in the excitement of lending you my skill set to help you bridge your technology gap, and get way too far ahead in the game, sometimes completely leaving my tender, vulnerable client behind. So I intend to be more aware of this and support myself to “just stay” with my client. My presence is really all the moment needs. I honor my clients by remembering their tenderness.

Later (and back to the story), she said something I hadn’t really seen until she said it. She mentioned the word bravery. She called me brave. And I thought, “Oh, yeah. I guess so.” And then I started to see it. Every where. So much bravery. From both of us.

Bravery. For turning to face a radical, scary misunderstanding.

Bravery. For coming to the table, to have the difficult conversation. To want clarity above anything else. To want to see. Clearly.

Bravery. For showing up. To keep coming. For her to keep wanting to create it… her small sanctuary on the web she can call her own and create beauty, art and help heal our world. (Note to self: add to Note To Self post, ‘Remember, just keep showing up.’)

Bravery. For trusting. Me and a process she has no clue about. Not any. Code, Web Design, Hosting. Blak! Email has got her covered and she’s just fine with that. And herein I step. A tech whiz. To help her make sense of it. One bite at a time.

Bravery. For stepping out of comfort zones. Both of us. I haven’t really worked with clients in the way I’ve been working with her. My webification package and stuff are all pretty new. I’m following the flow of what feels good and easy because I am an artist too.

Bravery. For discussing how it would end, if/when it does. May sound counter intuitive, but, hey, I’ve learned there is so much good stuff in the counter intuitive. I care about endings as much as I do beginnings and sometimes middles too. I care about it all.

Bravery. For loving ourselves, each of us individually, so much… we wanted clean and clear.

And so here I am. Sharing with you. How I crystallized one of my latest core values in business and I guess life too. And that’s bravery.

I am willing to know this new value because it leads me to the best (working) relationships. Each core value I identify becomes the red velvet rope that Michael Port talks about in Book Yourself Solid.

Bravery is kinda a new one for me, although when I look back at all the clients I’ve worked with in any capacity, I can see the value there. Singing steadily. They wanted something they felt I could help them get and together, we both bravely found a way there.

Considering getting some help from me? That would be awesome if you did. Here’s how to get started.

Content: The First Few Words

Tech Savvy 101 is a series of posts designed to help demystify some terminology so you can get your brain around what it really takes to start getting your tech savvy on.

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of defining core values early on in the web creation process because it provides an anchor, to help you remember, when things get freaky-deeky. Knowing your own values gives you a rope to hold onto to guide you back to a simpler time… when you were clear about what makes you blissfully happy and why the heck you are doing this in the first place.

This being creating that blog or web site for your business.

And even after you do begin to get into the content of you, by discovering your core values, and you’ve got this nifty anchoring device to help steer you through uncharted technology (and regular life) territories, there is still this issue of your first post (or page if you’re using WordPress)… actually lots of them. Staring back at you. And they’re blank. Stark raving mad white-ass blankety blank!

Or…

Maybe you already have some content. You’ve pulled your stuff together (you remember what that was like the first time?) In fact, you might have pages of good stuff, but you’d like to go a little further with it. Something (not quite sure what) is getting lost in translation somewhere. And the sneaky suspicion, at least one of them, is it might be your content. You ask yourself, “What exactly am I saying here? Who am I saying it for?”

Quick Detour

Search Engine Optimization, sometimes referred to by just its initials, SEO, is basically the steps a web owner gets to take to “prime” his/her web presence to appear in a search engine result. That is, your perfect person types in a search term to Google and YOUR website URL hits them smack in the face (although no one gets hurt).

Right after, and I mean, immediately after creating your first web page/post, you will be thinking about this very topic. It’s the next logical step. How do I get people to see my website or notice me? Right?

However, if you pay some moola to one of these specialized companies who help with SEO implementation and you haven’t gotten your content savvy up to speed, all the traffic you drive to your web presence may not necessarily result in buyers. Or anything really. Just a lot of cattle, moving through. Kickin’ up dust.

Your buyers are looking for your thang, in your voice. Except they don’t know what your thang looks like, exactly. This is why when we start with the writing part, we don’t even really get into the “This Is What I Do” part until after the prospect has some amount of confidence that you can help them with their “situation.”

Your buyers want to be seen and understood. And the only real way to do that (using a blog or website) is via content. Writing about it. Essentially, talking about the stuff that keeps them up at night.

Except as business owners, we’re all ready to tell them about the features and benefits of what we got. We are already in the solution. And our perfect peeps doesn’t even know whether or not what we have is perfect for them. We haven’t given them a chance to make that choice. We are all hot and bothered about how great our great stuff is. And it’s great! I know it is. I got great stuff. You got great stuff! It’s just that my perfect peeps are not showing up ready to buy anything. They want relief. They have a challenge or situation and they are frustrated. So I’ve learned I cannot shove my chicken soup down their throat. No matter how good it is!

But in the beginning, starting out by writing down the “This Is What I Do” stuff is easier. Because we love it and we’ve been eating, drinking, sleeping it; because it’s our business. And our web presence does need this information. It’s critical. But not as critical as going to where your perfect peeps are first… going with them into their challenge and meeting them there.

So don’t go paying for SEO unless you are certain you’re getting your content savvy ON. Otherwise, even if your perfect peeps come your way off a search referral, if you’re still talking about how great your stuff is and not what you can help them with (their problemo)… they’ll miss all your goodness.

Which would be really sad.

Resuming Post Topic

Back to the first few words on those blankety-blank pages & posts.

If you don’t have a clue about what those first few words should be, I can help you with that. If after you get those first few words down and even finish your first post and begin to wonder, what other pages or posts do I need to include? I can help you with that also.

If you have been thinking that you’d really like to get a web presence for that thing you do or book you’re writing, one that’s real and genuine, drawn out of your heart (disguised as values) and built by your own two hands, yes, I can help you do that too.

But only if… only if you decide to do something today. Pick a place and start. And I can help you.

The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time. ~Osho

Otherwise, here’s something on giving yourself permission.

Core Values & Creating Content For The Web

Why begin with core values and not the technology stuff?

Well it’s like this. As you’ve probably heard, content really is king, of all of it. And so very shortly after you start to receive the technology know-how pieces of creating a web presence, you’ll be up against a different kind of question. A few of them in fact. And most of them will stem from:

What do I say (write) here (on this webpage)?

Simple enough question. Not so much with the answer.  This is… an inside job.

All the BEST help I’ve ever received from my own teachers, coaches, mentors was about content. It may not have always been web content. It was usually the content of me. And how I define that. And being clear about what I do and how I help people. And shifting my perspectives around so I could see more of a situation, more possibilities. Like what it looks and feels like from my client’s point of view.

I start with values because it helped me with purpose. All of these types of questions sort of connect back to understanding your purpose. And if you’re thinking about creating your first web presence or doing better with the one you have, you get to answer the purpose question for those too.

The Million Dollar Self-Development Question

But purpose is like… c’mon … a very big word. And like, it’s got to be the million dollar self-development question ever, right?!

What is my purpose?  Is usually right in front of us. Something too small and insignificant to allow yourself to recognize as adding real value to someone else’s life… (especially not our right people) because it’s not big enough. It’s not Save-The-MuthaF’n-World, make-Mother-Theresa-weep and Gandhi-roll-over big enough.

And I didn’t really realize it until I did some work on myself. I discovered the content of me. I discovered what I value, what truly makes my heart sing and my skin sizzle & juices me up.

Attracting Perfect Customers

Somewhere between no-and-some idea what my mission is & tons of personal development work, this book called Attracting Perfect Customers found me reading a chapter called Be On Purpose To Your Mission. Shit! What is my mission?

As I read the chapter and deliberately choose to let go of what didn’t make sense… Anxiety about not knowing more than I did/do… Or thinking I should be doing better or as well as someone else. Instead I gave myself permission to go with what did make sense… and invest in my right now so I can get to where I’m going.

And I found my core values. The things I know I need for sure, or it just ain’t worth it.

And once I had my core values, I had a clarity. To help me with the next business (or personal) question (because we know it’s all mixed together anyway).

And once I had my core values, I knew what passion felt like. Because I was there… in it. I had to find it to get in it. This was big.

And with clarity & passion, I had purpose. It wasn’t this big thing. And didn’t need to be. Because for now, it is the reason I get up every morning (which is an empowering change all by itself).

So this is why I start with values. Defining my values brought me back to me so I could understand what I need from any situation. And even when I don’t know what I need at the moment, I can look to one of my values for inspiration.

A guide for me when I can’t necessarily see the next step. Or just need to find my center again.

Knowing my core values always lets me know if I’m living my definition of personal integrity. And if my business is close to that definition, it’s where the authenticity and aliveness lives.

Core Values. Know Yours?

Knowing your core values helps you build a strong content foundation and combines with your new web skills on your online journey.

I help women create and be in charge of their own web presence (which could be a website OR a blog, whatever you want).

Together, we crank up the fun and wonder (two of my own core values) to uncover a place on the web for you and your goodness. A place that is your business. Your very own web presence.

This post is a taste of some of the stuff I cover when we work together. And, it’s also in my new ebook. Along with a lot of other new material about leadership and building your online business.

Creating Content

Continuing from my last post, I’ve been talking about the three critical ingredients that are needed to create a web page, web site or web presence. No matter where you are on the map… small business owner just starting out or big business generating hundreds of clicks per day, each part is essential and needs to be addressed or there can be no web *anything.*

Ingredient #3: Creating Content

In all my years of creating e-commerce web sites for big corporatey places, the number one overlooked issue and where time was consistently underestimated was developing content.

Most of the time, people were huffing and puffing at trying to understand the technical pieces and since I was almost always a liaison between the technical teams, the marketing or business teams and the an advocate for the end user of the product/web site, I constantly got to ask “What’s this web page gonna say or do?”

This is why when I teach an online workshops or if you web presence with me, I don’t even start with the technology how-to part. I figure, you’re already scared outta your mind about it, feeling like a major “estupido” (even though you may have a college degree).

So we warm up to technology by focusing on content and the place we get started with is helping you define You, via core values; so that once we get rockin’ & rollin’ with the techno-how-to part, you have actual stuff to put ON your web pages.

The Who-What-Why’s Of Content Creation

There are three steps in content creation: 1) writing the content itself, 2) designing the layout and function of the content 3) translating the layout into a technical language so it can be used on the Web. The biggest mistake you can make when you set out to create a web presence is to overlook what it is you are going to say, in writing. Who are you? What is your product or service? How do you work? Etc.

More On Content

Once you have prepared content, your options for getting that content published on the Web include 1) working with an experienced web designer and/or web developer (sometimes called Web programmer) or 2) learning how to do it yourself.

Working with an experienced Web designer will help you to create an aesthetically pleasing (use of colors, fonts, imagery) website. A good Web designer should have some basic understanding of the concepts of Usability. Usability is the study of how humans interact with Web pages. How easy was it to complete a task? How easy was it for them to find what they were looking for? A web page can be beautiful, but does it serve a purpose? A good Web designer will take into consideration the overall strategy for the web page and/or web site, be familiar with Usability practices and be able to create interesting designs that help connect our product or service with our audience.

Even after your web pages are designed, many times you may also work with a developer or programmer. The Web programmer will translate that look and feel (the colors, images, and how things are laid out on the page) into a technical language so that the web browser can read it and display it. This is where the actual HTML code comes into play. There are many different types programming languages, HTML is the popular backbone for most web pages today.

These two roles, Web Designer and Web Programmer, can be two different people, or they can be one person. It just depends on that individual’s experience.

Pros & Cons Of Hiring A Professional

Pros

  • Don’t have to learn Web Design or Usability skills.
  • Don’t have to learn software or any special programming languages.

Cons

  • It gets expensive quickly.
  • You’ve got to shop for and hire a Web Designer and/or Web Programmer.
  • You have to stand in line behind your Web people’s other clients in order to get new content created or changed and eventually implemented on your web pages.

Doing It Yourself

Pros

  • Saves money.
  • You can create content changes immediately.
  • Your business or personal web site can grow with you, as you and your business grow.

Cons

  • Requires time investment up front to learn tools & skills
  • Requires ongoing time investment for you to complete your own updates

3 Essentials Ingredients

Combine your domain name (Essential #1) with your web host (Essential #2) and add your content (Essential #3), and you now have all three critical ingredients to a web presence. Anybody can become a content creator or a web publisher! It’s in your hands.

Next up, one of my most frequently asked questions…  Exactly what *is* the difference between a blog and a website? and how WordPress & the Thesis theme can do both!

Technology Baby!

I have this amazing story to tell you. Get some tea, whatever comfort creatures you delight in and I’ll tell you all about TECHNOLOGY BABY!

Ready?

A Business Root Sprouts

End of Summer 2007 during a type of mastermind-ey call, I ask Wendy if she’d be interested in hearing a proposal I had to teach coaches how to build their own websites. I was looking around my world and asking myself questions like, “where can I transfer some of my ‘feel’ good activities into helping others and generating income. I had a ton, and I mean a ton of technology skills and talent to transfer into my small business services and needed cash, income, dinero! This was a huge opening and shift in how I had been looking at being self-employed while dancing my special dance. Alternate streams of income, right?

So I tell Wendy about this plan I have to help meet a need I see in my world. Part of my world is Fearless Living. Actually, a very big part of my world. Fearless Living is a community of coaches and people in general who want to discover ways to deal with their fears. People get coaching and training to become a coach and practice the same stuff, talk the same language. It’s pretty cool. Set me “free,” in a lot of ways. And I give it five stars for anyone who is into personal growth. Anyways, there were a lot of cool folks, trying to be all fearless and stuff, and one of their biggest blocks was using the web to do that and I just happen to have all these cool webified skills. Hm.

Knowing Your Tribe & Getting “The Right” Support

Wendy has been part of my fearless tribe for a while. And I remembered her mentioning she was a web head too so I thought mostly, “I wonder if this is good enough?” and then in popped a thought about Wendy so I was fearless one day and asked her to look at it with me.

I also knew from my coaching experiences that I was taking some big new steps. Using some old skills (technology) and new skills (teaching, coaching, mentoring) to show up in new ways. Accountability always helps here when we’re doing new & different things. Also, doing new & different things with people we resonate with, feel supported by and safe to be with helps too. Have I just described the coaching relationship? Indeed! I said, “Wendy, what do you think?” and then I became so impressed with my boldness I said, “What about joining me too?”

And here we are. Your Web Coaches. An idea that actually became something. Here’s a tiny bit more on how the process unfolded.

Getting Clear On Your Business Intention

The first thing Wendy and I did, after being excited about what was possible, was talk about the parts that scared us. We both knew, because of a particular interest and study of fear, we would encounter some uncomfortableness along the way and further from our studies, we have acquired and frequently practice special tools to get Jedi with it, our fear that is. One Jedi move is called intention. Fear just does a brilliant job of covering up unique aspects of our selves that would naturally express if fear wasn’t in the way mucking it all up. Wendy and I defined an intention that would support us for when things got scary and weird and when we were definitely outside what feels normal and comfortable for us. Here’s what we discovered.

The Your Web Coaches Business Roots

When fear flies in, our FUN meters sort of crashed so we needed a mantra to help us remember to have fun, all the time. It really matters and counts and is part of making friends with technology. So fun is a core value or one of our roots of the YWC business tree. Keeping fun front and center is very important.

Speaking of fun, we also noticed how much fun it was to EMPOWER other people, to give them a sense of “I can do it!” Totally rewarding and effortless with the right people (our perfect clients). This became a critical element in our decision making as well. From fun came empowerment, another clue we were “in the zone.”

Finally, SHARE came up. I think even this week during our regular strategy call together, we got closer to “connect” which feels like where sharing comes from or what we do when we connect. We used it initially to anchor us into the awareness that what we have naturally, as who we uniquely are, can be shared to empower other people and we can have fun doing it.

Ta-dah! Empower, fun, share pretty much sums up how we work.

Business Roots and Decision-Making

Now I mentioned decision-making and this is crucial (if you’ve been reading Wendy’s blog posts on the Business Tree,
this will make even more sense). When our decisions for our business (or our lives) connects back to a root (value), we can check for resonance. Not super hard. Not a ton of effort required to “figure it out,” sensations in your body will help to inform you too! Bottom line is, if it doesn’t match with what YOUR primary business intention is (your roots or core values), then don’t do it! Or maybe just wait also. Waiting in neutral works well too!

Fast forward to today. And here you are. Here we are. And it’s pretty simple really. If you’ve got a technology problem, we combine technology “know-how” with a life coach-ey type approach to help you grow your business, from the inside out. That’s why we call it organic. Because it is all really you in the end. I’ve got some cool Jedi tricks to use with Fear and Wendy has a compassionate, in-plain-english, approach to technology. I love technology, always have & think I always will and am not throwing the baby out with bath water just because I left Corporate America (Ok, I ran out as if my hair was on fire!) Multiple streams of income baby! Baby baby.

Oh Yeah, Jedi Moves Called Intention

So that is the story of ‘how’ – and our business roots (core values) tell you a bit more about the ‘why’s’. Oh and the intention part, here that is. An intention is all about practicing how you want to show up in the moment. That’s it. Wendy and I use our roots to remind ourselves that no matter how uncomfortable or scary we might feel, we are willing to BE our business roots in any given moment. We say, “Oh this is new and different and I’m freaked-the-****-out” and then remind ourselves that we are most fulfilled and in the zone when we are having fun, and sharing our wisdom and knowledge in an empowering way. Acknowledge feelings, act on commitments. Jedi!

If you are ready to get clear on what really matters to you and your business and translate that in a purposeful & empowered way using technology, we are your Wonder Twins! We get Jedi through Technology Baby!

Until next time!