Hello!

I’ve not been here in a long time! As I said the last time I was, work has been crazy. BUT, new year, new start. I’m hoping to be back more. Not as often as when I first started the blog, but more than every 3 months!

The shop has been viewed quite a bit and I’m thankful for that! I have an order coming in soon for some shirts. I don’t know how many yet. I’m kind of excited/nervous about that! The ‘I don’t know how many yet’ is the part that makes me nervous! That’s ok, I’ll get it done. No problem. By the way, the shirts are for a non-profit so please keep me in mind if you need something. I can either discount or make a donation. Whichever you prefer. I will say though, I do reserve the right to make that decision myself if it’s a charity I just can’t back. 😉

Anyway, all that asideish, I plan to do some new things on the store as well as possibly building my own personal blog. I’ve been inspired by a friend over at functionalish and I know there is value in sharing and living in community. This is my business blog. The new one, when named, will be more of a ‘come along with me and share my crazy and my love of God and people’ kind of thing! I had one previously but didn’t put the planning into it that I need to do. This time will be different. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the last 6 months. It’ll show. Plus, I plan to talk to Lorie about her awesomeness and get some hints (heads up!).

So….with that, I’ll be going for now! Tomorrow starts a new year at work. Same great time, same great people! Lots of stuff rolling around in my head and heart and then down on paper (or computer).

 

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!

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!

It doesn’t have to be perfect!

I read the most freeing thing the other day about starting an Etsy shop! It doesn’t have to be perfect! Things don’t have to start out perfect. Nor will they ever get to ‘perfect’. At least not in your own eyes.

I tell you, when I read that I was just dumbfounded! I look at my shop and I see room for improvement. I look at my items for sale and I see room for improvement. I’m not trying to discourage you from visiting and buying, I’m just saying it was a huge weight off when I realized that’s ok.

I love the onesie I have for sale on there. I really do. It’s actually the second one I made. The first didn’t go well. But, even though I love it, I know I can improve on it. And I will. You see, if you’re completely satisfied with a craft that you made, are you going to try to stretch and make things better? Or are you just going to reproduce the same thing over and over (yawn…)? I love my site itself, but, I have more plans. It will always be growing and evolving! This blog is the same. It’ll change, too! I don’t want you to get bored!

Life itself is the same way. Am I happy? Oh, heck yes, I am!  Is my life perfect? No, no, no, no, no. Because of that, I’m always looking at ways to grow and change. That’s the fun of life, don’t you think? Finding new ways to do things and relate to people. Meeting new people, going new places. Part of my  growing is what you’re reading right now! I’m enjoying the crafting and blogging and even the marketing end of this!

If you’re just starting a blog or shop, or even if you’ve been at it a while, it’s good to step back and remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be alive! Keep improving and plugging away. And enjoy it!

I want to share a little milestone with you today! My 7 week old Etsy shop hit 100 views today!! It’s not huge, but it’s growing! Visit me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest!

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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!

Fishing for ideas for your blog or shop

If you’re going to write a blog and/or start an Etsy or some other creative shop,  you’re going to need ideas galore! There are lots of places to find them, of course, not the least of which is your own creative mind! But, if you need a little help from time to time, and you will, I have some thoughts on the subject!

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The best places to come up with ideas are with your ‘competitors’. Not that you should think of them that way really. In the blogosphere, people tend to be much more collaborative than competitive. Anyway, that’s a story for another post!

Follow bloggers who blog about the same things you do. Not to steal from them, of course, but to prompt ideas and to learn. If you’re just starting out you have a lot to learn about blogging and blogs are the best source of information.

Also, read books on your subject of interest. Become an expert on your subject. If you’re a DIYer or crafter, walk people through your process of making something.

Need ideas for what you want to sell? Peruse Etsy and other handmade websites. Again, not to steal ideas, but to prompt your own. I’ve seen so many things that have given me ideas. I haven’t had time to make them all! (You’ll eventually see some on my Etsy shop. Hopefully soon!)

The last idea I have for you is shopping. Yep, shopping. I see things all the time that I know I can make. I even have my sister doing it! The best thing is to go home and make them! They look even better when you make them yourself!

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in a day or so! In the meantime, visit me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as well!

Random blogging tips

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Just some random thoughts…..

As I promised, today’s blog is just some random things I’ve learned over the past month or so. Nothing heavy, just stuff! Let’s dig in!

  • Get organized! Download a planner or, better yet, use an old fashioned paper one! That’s what I use. I can write down thoughts at random. More importantly, it’s a place to plan out your blogs so you’re not just filling in. You can plan what you’re going to say.
  • Check into affiliate programs if you’re looking to make money with your blog. If you search ‘affiliate programs’ on Pinterest you will find a plethora of ideas!
  • Take a break every now and then! Don’t let blogging consume your life! I mean even when you lay down to sleep (I struggle with this one…). Put it out of your mind. Don’t let your blog be the last thing you think of before you go to bed. Blogging won’t be any fun if it eats up your life. And it could.
  • If you’re looking to make money…don’t start on a free blogging site. Seriously. Look back to one of my first posts. I’m paying for that as we speak. Yes, I own my domain name, but until it’s been up for 60 days, I can’t move it to another host and I can’t have affiliate programs on it. Know the difference between wordpress.com (free) and wordpress.org (self hosted). You want .org in this case!
  • Don’t ignore social media. Make a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…etc site for your blog. It’ll help pull in readers.
  • If you’re making money on your blog or even if your blog is a DIY themed site, save your receipts. This is a small business and you deserve to take every tax benefit you can!
  • Include pictures on your blog. This is crucial when sharing posts. A picture attracts attention!
  • Do your research on SEO. What is SEO? Search Engine Optimization is the fancy term for keyword searches. Google SEO (see what I did there??) and  you’ll find a lot of great info to help you choose the best words to get your blog high up on the search returns!
  • Last, but far from least…don’t give up! Growth may seem slow. Actually, I’m sure it will be at first. Hang in there! If you’re getting a couple new followers a week, or even just one, you’re growing! And even if you go a few weeks with no growth…still hang in there! It’ll happen. Just go back over SEO and make sure you’re using the best keywords. Stay the course!

Thanks for following me! I’ll see you in the next couple days! Don’t forget,my shop is growing, so stop on by! And of course…check out the social media sites! You’ll see me there, too!