Tag Archives: business

Writing Journal 57: Creative Dreams to Creative Business

Writing Journal 57: Creative Dreams to Creative Business

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 8, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I’ve got a couple of meetings this morning, so I need to spend a little less time on fiction and nonfiction, so I can prepare for the meetings, and then be on my way.

Creative Dreams to Creative Business

We’ve had a wonderful response to our new Creative Business program. I’m glad, for two reasons.

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into ProfitsThe first reason: I’ve always been aware that business is a challenge for creatives. My very first couple of blogs, way back in 1999, were about business for creatives. I published the “Creative Small Biz” ezine for several years, and it was hugely popular. I think it was ahead of its time however, because we focused on old-school marketing, and Internet marketing.

Internet marketing was painful in those days, right up to around 2004, when things got better. I have VERY painful memories of installing the first versions of WordPress, well over a decade ago — 2003? Can’t remember. I do remember uploading it to websites and messing around with the config files for several hours get it to work. When one-click installs came along they were a blessing.

Today, you can ignore tech; everything’s point and click. I’m thrilled to be helping creatives to do business, because everything is easy now. You can install an online store to sell your creative products, whatever they may be, with just a couple of clicks. Marketing’s a dream too — there are endless alternatives.

The second reason I’m glad is that truly creative people can lose their dreams when no one buys their books, listens to their music, or buys their art. To a creative person, not creating is like not eating. I used to say that while writing made me miserable (this hasn’t happened in years, I’ve learned a few tricks), I’m bereft and more miserable when I don’t write. The knowledge that I’m helping others to live their dreams is hugely satisfying.

Back to writing…

This morning I do a couple of timer sessions on the mystery novel, and on the two nonfiction books for my coaching client. I’m writing these two books in tandem; the print version will be an expanded version of the ebook, with many diagrams and images. I manage 1,300 words on the novel, and 800 words on the ebook.

I get Honey’s breakfast, and eat my toast while responding to email.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been procrastinating on the new website I’m setting up, so I do a little work on that. I choose a theme, and post the material I’ve written to the home page. I make a list of blog posts to get the site off the ground.

Then it’s time to rehearse my pitch for the pitch meeting. Next, I need to go back through the other client’s files, to see what I wrote for him, so I can create some suggestions for what he can do over the coming holiday sales period.

While I’m out, I’ll have lunch, and then I’ll pop into the library to do a little more research.

Back again…

The meetings ran long, as they always seem too. It’s late afternoon. Time to return phone calls before people leave their offices for the day. Then I write up the notes from the meetings, and add the tasks to my schedule.

I’ll need to do a few hours of work tonight, to catch up. With my daily review done, that’s it for the work day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 55: Your Creative Small Business

Writing Journal 55: Your Creative Small Business

My writing journal for Monday, October 6, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I received an email message from a client last night for a rush copywriting job. Of course, I agreed, especially since he’s offered me a bonus. Today’s a public holiday in Australia. Work on my day off? Sure.

Since I managed to get out of bed at my usual time of 5AM, unlike yesterday, I spent the first couple of timer sessions brainstorming a concept for the client’s project. Nothing jumped at me. That’s what I expected. I need to do some research first.

When I’m developing a copywriting project, I aim for the “click” — the AHA moment of inspiration. I start by brainstorming, then I do some research. Then more brainstorming, and by this time I should have been hit by the lightning of inspiration.

Not to worry, I’ll do some research later. Firstly, time for Honey’s breakfast and my own. She’s a lot livelier because of the warmer weather. I skimmed through the email messages; Julia can deal with most of them. I’ll catch up with email tonight.

Today will be a hot day again, so I’m going for my walk early.

Back again. The earlier overcast has burned off, and the day’s warming up. Very few people are up and around, just people mowing lawns, and dog walkers.

I jump right into some research for the copywriting project. Then more brainstorming. Finally, I do a few cluster diagrams, and it’s time for lunch.

Planning your creative small business

Let’s talk about creativity, and business. I get email messages every week, from writers who want to write something or other. They know they want to write, but have no idea what. It’s a real challenge. They think they might like to do copywriting, or write Kindle ebooks, or write content for the Web…

Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into ProfitsIn essence, they want to sell their creativity. Once they decide that yes, that’s what they want to do, they can start thinking and planning. You know that I’m big on planning — and it’s not because plans work. They don’t.

To repeat: YOUR PLANS WON’T WORK.

I used to tell people to create a plan, and they’d come back to me saying that they didn’t know how to do that. That’s OK. You don’t need to know anything, you just need to plan. As Eisenhower reportedly said:

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Your plan is useless, but essential. Plans never, ever work the way you think they will. They just get you moving. Your real battle is against inertia. If you’re taking action, you’ll get feedback, and you can refine things as you go. Without a plan, you won’t act.

Once I’ve convinced students that they don’t just “want to write”, they want to run a creative small business, and they need a PLAN (any plan, their best guess as to what might work), they can focus on two things — writing what they’ll be selling, and selling it (the business.)

Creativity and business: you need to sell your creations

My mantra has always been “create and promote”, which is shorthand for “creative small business.”

“Create and promote” tells you what to do every day.

It’s useful to think of yourself as two distinct personalities: creative you, and business you. Creative you writes the words. Business you — a separate personality — handles everything to do with business.

It’s a tough sell getting this across to students. Creative people really don’t want to have anything to do with business. I know it, because I used to be the same way. Way back in the 1980s, I had a literary agent. We parted ways, for various reasons. I still thought I needed an agent. So I got another one, and another one. Finally I gave up on agents. I realized that I could run my business myself.

Today, it’s EASY to run a business. You can hire any help you need.

So, if you want to write, consider that you’ll be running a creative small business. What will your business sell? Where and how will you sell it?

By the way, check out: Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits, for help in creating a creative business which works.

Completing the rush copywriting job

After lunch, I still had no “click.” So I gave up. I turned on Spotify, cleared my mind of thoughts, and doodled for a while.

It worked. I got an idea, and wrote some headlines. Within an hour, I’d written a couple of Web pages. I tidied them up, and sent the draft to the client.

If at first you don’t succeed, give up

If you’re looking for a way around a creative block, try this. Work intensely for a couple of hours, then stop. Give up. Go for a walk. If you’ve still got nothing, clear your mind. Play some music. Doodle. Relax as much as you can.

You’ll get something. You may get a full-blown plot, or just a character if you’re writing fiction. If you’re writing nonfiction, you may get a new sense of direction. You’ll get something.

Onward with blogging

It’s a public holiday, so I’m finishing early. I polished up a couple of clients’ blog posts, and scheduled them. I did my review, and I’m done for the day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Social Media Outrage Over Penalty Rates Rant

Social Media Outrage Over Penalty Rates Rant

Want to go viral on social media? The Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant in Adelaide shows you how it’s done. But please don’t try this in your own business.

The restaurant created a faux menu showing what prices its menu items would be if they were multiplied 2.75 times. Why, you ask? Because of the penalty rates which the restaurant pays its staff on public holidays.

Adelaide pub Bombay Bicycle Club apologizes for calling people ‘idiots’ on Facebook after staff penalties rant reports:

“We will have to pay our staff 2.75 times the base rate for public holidays. This is how the prices on our bar menu would look using that formula”, the sign read.

All well and good. You can imagine the restaurant’s patrons glancing at the sign as they walked past it. Unfortunately, the restaurant posted an image of the sign on its Facebook page. As you would, right? (Snark.)

The image went viral. Lots of people had opinions, and they posted them on Facebook and Twitter. They also punished the restaurant with one-star reviews.

Then this post appeared on the restaurant’s Facebook page:

The BBC ownership would like to apologize for our sign and Facebook post. We regret the wording. There was no intention to offend anyone.

Overly clever PR? No

When I first heard this story, I thought that a restaurant patron had snapped a photo of the faux menu and uploaded it to Facebook. Not so. Apparently the restaurant posted the image. I couldn’t find it, they must have deleted it.

Then I wondered whether this was a clever PR trick. Upload a photo, get lots of comments and links. That though died when the Facebook timeline reveals that the restaurant tried to justify its attitude on penalty rates… on Facebook.

Social media can be savage; I read some of the Facebook and Twitter responses. Harsh punishment. Not the image the restaurant wants to show.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Blogging Tips: 5 Easy Tips To Simplify Your Business Blogging in 2014

Love blogging or hate it, it we’re all looking for tips which will simplify our blogging. Although I’m in the “love” camp, I have lots of other writing I need to do, so I look for shortcuts.

Here are my top tips to help you to blog more effectively in 2014, so that you can turn your blog into a powerful marketing tool for your business.

1. Before you start writing, decide what you’re selling.

We discussed thinking about conversions, rather than traffic. Ideally, each blog post you create will have a call to action. If you ask your visitors to do something, some will.

Way back in 2004, when blogging started becoming mainstream, commercial blogging was frowned on. A little of that “content for content’s sake” mindset remains. You don’t need to blog with a “buy this!” mindset, but you do need to include a call to action.

Tip: each month, look through your list of posts, and edit your calls to action. Your business and marketing goals change over time. Update your blog posts to reflect this.

2. Batch-create, always.

If you’re creating a blog post, you might as well create two. Or more. Here’s the key to batch-creation: always have blog posts in draft form.

This simplifies business blogging, because your brain hates unfinished tasks:

After starting a task, your brain will be more enticed to finish it to its “conclusion.” You also tend to see that it’s not as big a mountain as you initially imagined, and that the work involved in completing this task won’t be so terrifying after all.

Here’s how this works. Let’s say you’re writing a blog post. Create a list of keywords for the posts, as you usually do. Then in addition to the article you’re writing, begin another couple of articles.

As the old saying goes, “well begun is half done”. Just writing working titles, and a couple of sentences for each draft, helps you to conquer procrastination.

Add the drafts to your editorial calendar. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you complete the posts you’ve started.

3. Before you create, decide how you’ll get more value from each blog post.

You can get more value from a blog post by: using it in a short report or ebook, creating a podcast or video from it, or by using it in your company newsletter.

4. Write fast, edit at leisure.

Writing and editing are two separate mental processes. If you try to combine these two processes, you’ll get frustrated, and will decide you hate blogging.

Batch-creating comes into play again. Give yourself 20 minutes to write a quick draft. Use a timer. I like Repeat Timer Pro. Then spend ten minutes adding content to a couple of your draft posts.

You can edit your posts another day, or later in the same day. I always say that professional writers expect to write cr*p, because they know they can improve on what they’ve written. You write to discover what you think. Just get something written, and let your subconscious mind do the grunt work.

5. Get out of your office: use your camera.

Your cell phone camera is an amazing blogging tool, so get out of your office, and wander around, snapping some photos.

It doesn’t matter much what you photograph. Your photos act as triggers to your inspiration. You can use them on your blog, or not, it’s up to you, but if you frequently find yourself thinking: “I don’t know what to blog about”, take photos. Your images will inspire you.

Try these simple blogging tips. They work. You may discover that you love blogging too. :-)

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, and on Twitter: @angee