Life is CRAZY Sometimes!

I’ve been on ‘vacation’ for the past week and I go back to work tomorrow. This is the first chance I’ve had to actually post something here! That makes me sad. However, I’ve spent a lot of time reading some books that I want to talk about on here. One in particular on the book of Ruth, but also a couple others that are intended to help with blogging for Christians and inspirational writing. We’ll see how all that goes! On my list of things I wanted to get done this week was to write several posts and schedule them out some. Yeah, nope. Didn’t happen. I did, you may notice, if you’ve been here before, upgrade my site and change the theme.

As I mentioned in my last post, some cool things have been happening as far as teaching. My small group leader has asked me to teach at our retreat in the fall! That is a big honor for me and I’m very excited! So, if you’re a praying person…keep that in your prayers!

Also, Alpha will be starting at church next week and I’m going to be a table leader again! I haven’t for a while because of work and location. It has always been on a weeknight and that’s just too much for me these days, with work being exhausting. It was also downtown for one session so that would have put me home pretty late. They’ve moved it to Saturday afternoons at the church (5 minutes away) so I’m totally available and really excited!

Back to life being crazy…yeah. What can I say? I’ve felt so out of control lately. Like everyone else is running my life-and I don’t mean God. He’s allowed. People pull me in this direction or that and I haven’t any time to get things done that I want to do (such as this). I’ve battled depression my whole life and I swear it’s felt like it’s been winning lately. As I type that, I stop and think about the things God is doing in my life and wonder how I can feel depressed. But honestly, I know as well as anyone that depression doesn’t always make sense, nor does it always coincide with life events-although they do tend to have some baring on it. I believe Satan tries to use depression/anxiety to derail me from God’s cause. I’m holding dearly to that fact while I wade through this current storm.

We’ll talk more about that later! Just glad to be back on here and I’m PLANNING on being here a lot more!

(oh-and for my craft and Silhouette friends-my next post is going to be related to that!)

Love to all of you!

~ Nancy

That went well….

So, here I am again, 2 months later. Work is still crazy, but I’m adjusting to that. It’s the new normal. It’s going to get even crazier again soon (co-worker/friend having a baby soon), but I don’t plan on letting it interfere with this quite as much. Let’s see how I do this time.

As I said in the last post, there are some changes coming for mgthumbprints as a whole. The main one is this…this blog will be changing from ‘business only’ to business and faith. I was going to do two blogs, but let’s face it, I’m not keeping up with one well.

Along with that, the shop will take a decidedly Christian tone. I’ll be selling mostly t-shirts, onesies, bibs, greeting cards, and tote-bags with a Christian or just positive  message. I’m always up for special orders from friends and family, so don’t think those are the only things I’m doing. Shoot me an email or a message through the shop, and we can talk. I still want to do shirts for fundraisers as well. I’m not giving up that part. I’ve not updated the shop yet, though. Give me a week or two on that. Still working on some designs.

Why am I doing this? Well, I’m a follower of Jesus. That’s who I am at my core. I want to glorify God in all that I do. That includes my small business. I’m a work in progress, so if you know me ‘in person’ you know that well.

If you stick with me, and I hope you do, you’ll learn a lot more about me and about Jesus. You’ll find I’m not a Christian Right person politically. At all. I’m much more about people and love, and what would Jesus do. Pro-life? 100%. That’s really my only ‘right leaning’ stance as far as ‘politics’ goes. We won’t talk about politics on here, by the way. I’m just pointing out that I’m not a closed-minded nut who does what televangelists tell them and not what the Bible actually says. So don’t be freaked out and scared away! Hahaha!

I’m really excited about the changes that I’m making. I hope you are too. This is really what I’ve wanted to do all along but I just didn’t want to alienate any of my non-Christian friends. Well, if they’re my friends, they will be with the change as well! (they are…I’m sure of that)

That’s it for now. I hope to be back in the next couple days. That’s MY plan, anyway. Today is daylight savings day so I’m tired and probably will be for several days. I love daylight savings time but I hate the change. How about we just leave it this way? Who’s with me?

Till next time…

Love you all bunches!

~Nancy

One is the loneliest number

 

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Hey gang! I haven’t blogged as much lately as I was doing for a while. My ‘day job’ has been really busy so I’ve been tired. I don’t think I’ll go that long between posts again though. Why? I checked the views for the last post and I was….

BLOWN AWAY! There was 1. O N E. Just one. The loneliest number. My goodness! Did ya’ll give up on me? Or was it because that was a sponsored post? I’m actually seriously asking these questions so if you could comment, that would be great! Here’s what I learned on my own, though….

To make something grow, you have to feed it. Duh! Of course I knew that. I need to be here more. If you have a blog, make sure you show up! No matter what, post about something! I’ve seen pins on Pinterest that give ideas of what to blog about. Writing prompts or very general ideas. I think that’s a great thing. If you need inspiration, that’s where to go!

I also learned that people like when I’m myself. I need to write the blog in ‘my voice’. Everyone who writes a blog should find what’s comfortable for them and stick to it. It’s more comfortable to write that way and sounds better to your readers.

While I believe in Tailwind and think it’s a great app, I’m not sure if I was ready to write a ‘sponsored post’. I may again in the future when I’m more experienced at blogging and more comfortable with the idea. I felt a little ‘pressure’ when I wrote it. Sponsored posts are almost sales pitches in a way! Don’t get me wrong. It was my idea to do it. The pressure was from inside me. I don’t write as well when I put pressure on myself.

Bottom line is, I’ll be back a lot more often. More like I was before. I missed doing this!

Thanks for stopping by again!

Subscribe to the newsletter!

Subscribe

So, today we’re going to talk about building an email list for your blog! I’m sure you’ve seen the pop-up inviting you to subscribe to my newsletter when you come to my site. This is one (and the best) way to build your email list! Why do you want one? Well, I’ll tell you!

Having a list of subscribers gives you a list of people who are interested in what you have to say or sell. You can direct sales right to them, keep them up to date on what’s going on, and give sneak previews of what’s to come! In turn, that will increase your sales or site traffic! Any good tutorial or blog on ‘how to grow your blog’ will tell you, contact is everything. EVERY. THING.And the best way to do that is to build an email list and keep in CONTACT with your followers…but never ever spam them or overwhelm them.(I’ll talk about that in a minute)  I know many of you get my blog in your email everytime I post and I thank you for that! But, just like me, you want your followers to be engaged with you.

Part of blogging…a big part, actually, is building community around a common interest. The blogging community is generally a fun and welcoming place. I’ve gotten to know a few bloggers that I follow and I feel like I know a few that follow me. One good way is through commenting, of course. I love getting comments on here, so don’t be shy! The more you get to know your followers, the more likely they are to share your blog or shop with their friends! That sounds good to me! And even better is that through commenting, your followers can get to know each other. Community!

Part of community is staying in touch through a newsletter. Mine comes out once a month. Around the first of the month. Included are tutorials for some of the crafts in my Etsy shop, blogging and small business tips, answers to questions you may have, as well as a coupon code from time to time! Also, in the September and October newsletters there will be sneak peeks of my fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas items! AND….a chance to pre-order some of them….PLUS…the only chance to get some of them personalized!

See what I did there? I’m giving you, my followers, perks for signing up! That helps get subscribers, which builds community, which is what we want in the first place. I will let you know right here that the FASTEST way to lose subscribers is to spam them or constantly send nonsense. I promise you that my newsletter is all you’re signing up for UNLESS there is a major product release or a special sale. Those won’t happen often. Most of your email from me will be the newsletter, unless of course you ask me something 😉

We’ll talk more about email lists and newsletters again in future posts. In the meantime…..

Refresh this page and sign up in the pop up! If that doesn’t work, use the contact me form!

Thanks!

~ Nancy

Reasons To Blog

You need a reason to blog? Of course you do! I bet you have a lot of reasons. We’ll talk about a few here. Just as a side note, my next post will be reasons to sell on Etsy. I haven’t touched on that topic for a while. I don’t want to lose my small business followers! But, for today, we’re talking about your reasons to blog!

I started this blog to go hand in hand with my Etsy shop. To promote it, to boost its impact. It’s already become much more than that to me, though. But, I started with one reason. You probably will or did, too. Maybe you just had something you wanted to say. Sometimes that’s the case. A blog is a great place to just tell it like it is. Get things off your chest. Influence people on a subject that’s important to you.

You may just love to write. About anything. Blogs like that can be so much fun. Just to see what’s on someone’s mind. You can learn a lot that way, for sure. Photographers use blogs a lot to show off their work and promote it. If you’re an expert on something, sharing your expertise is good, too.

So, you’ve got your first reason. What are others? And the perks? Here’s what I’ve found;

  • Blogging involves discipline. We talked some about that on the last post. You need to schedule and plan. It’s a good way to grow your discipline skills
  • You get to know other people. You don’t have to go anywhere to blog so if you’re shy, it’s the perfect vehicle to meet people with similar interests.
  • You can earn money. Sometimes really good money. There are a lot of people who earn a living solely by blogging. How cool is that? As a matter of fact, I just became a member of an affiliate program, which you’ll be seeing on here in the next day or so. (I won’t forget my disclaimers) This is part of my business. It’s part of mgthumbprints. It will earn money for me just like the shop. Cool, huh? I’ll do a post on affiliate programs at some point soon.
  • Product development. If you are a crafter or other manufacturer, your blog audience is a good place to find ideas or get opinions on what you’re up to. You don’t want to give away too much info but you sure can pick your readers brains on your ideas!

No matter your reasons for blogging, the best thing to do is keep it up! There are many benefits to you and your readers. Even if you have a small audience, you could touch one of them and change their lives. Seriously! Happy blogging!

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On Being Productive

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If you happen to follow me on Facebook then you’re laughing about now. I had one of the most unproductive days ever today. Of course, I posted about that. That gave me the idea to write about being productive.

Today was totally out of my control. Days like that happen. You just have to shake those off and move on. You can’t control other people or many situations, no matter how much we try. (Can you say control freak?) We learn from things like this. What did I learn? Here are a few things:

  • First of all, relax. If you have a plan laid out and something derails it, take a deep breath. Start tomorrow with what you were going to do today…as much as you can. I mean, if you have appointments tomorrow then you’ll need to adjust. But mentally realize things can and will wait.
  • As I mentioned in a previous post, write out your plan. If you’re blogging, keep a calendar of blog topics and plan ahead. If you have an idea for a post, write it down that day on the calendar (so you don’t forget), then, when you decide to schedule it, check it off so you know you’ve scheduled that one.

Actually, you can write ahead if you want. WordPress allows you to schedule your                    posts ahead of time. Most, if not all, blogging software allows that. It’s great! You can         plan your Pins on Pinterest ahead of time using the Tailwind app, Twitter use                           Hootsuite and Facebook also has a scheduler. Apparently they all know how busy we             are!

  • If you’re running a shop or another small business, you need to plan ahead as well. I keep track of what crafts I want to do on my calendar as well. I make a list in the right side of calendar of the ideas I have during the day. Then, I’ll schedule them further out. I have several lists running, of course, but when I schedule one, I check it off so I know it’s coming up.
  • Don’t forget to plan your administrative work. If you have a business, you need to keep track of the finances and paperwork as well. That goes for Etsy and monetized blogs, too. You don’t want to get caught with no records of anything at tax time!
  • Set aside specific time blocks during the day for everything. This is going to look different for everyone. We all live different lives. Just make sure you block out time and stick to it as much as humanly possible. It’s important! Treat it like you would your job. To be successful and productive, you need to commit to specific times and really stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how much this helps!

I hope some of my tips have helped! I would love to hear from you! What are ways you stay productive? Ways you struggle with this? We’re here to help each other! Leave me a comment and let’s learn from each other!

What’s your passion?

So you’re thinking of starting a blog or a business. That’s awesome! The first thing you need to decide is what you’re going to do. What’s your main topic? What can you make a business out of? Continuing in the vein of the last post, let’s talk about your passion!  You would be completely amazed at the things you can do as a business; let alone things you can talk about. The best way to start is look inside you.

What do you love to talk about? I didn’t ask what you know a lot about because that’s not my point here. What do you enjoy having conversations about? Write that down. That’s #1. Make a short list of things that could be your answers to that question. I like helping people achieve their goals. And I like crafts. So my blog is about getting started with blogging / running a small business online, with some crafting thrown in to encourage you to visit my Etsy shop as well!

The reason I said it doesn’t have to be what you know a lot about is because half the fun I’m having with this blog is the learning along the way. Think about it, the internet is a vast wealth of information. As long as you’re getting your information from reliable sources (and not plagiarizing!), you’re learning while you’re blogging! What I mean by that is do your research. Cite your sources (I’ll write about that in the next several days or so), and don’t just copy.

What can you make a business out of? Stop and think of something you like to do that might fulfill a need. Business services, education, handmade goods, all good possibilities. It’s best to go with something you really enjoy doing. If you’re going to be doing this full time, and that’s a good possibility, then you want it to be something you really enjoy! You may already know right away what it is you want to do, or maybe you need to take some time to think about it. Either way, you’re on your way!