12 of the best, most helpful articles about blogging/business/creativity

1761023_8202819_pmprint by heymonster

I found the best things on the internet for you! Here they are!

Somewhat related to blogging: yesterday I wrote about my decision to choose my life over a book deal. It was, as I’m sure you can imagine, a pretty tough decision.

30% of Erika’s traffic comes from Pinterest. This 4,000-word post shares everything she knows!

3 options if you’re bad at what you love.

Want to build a business that fits your lifestyle? Here’s how.

Yessss! Write your social media updates in batches and pre-schedule them!

Do you get mental fatigue? I always referred to this as ‘psychic weight’ but I loved this article that
a) validates that it exists
b) shows us how to deal with it
Even some of the common ways in which we pass the time when we are taking a break—presumably for the purpose of refreshing our minds—probably fatigue us even more and should be avoided if they occur just before we have to be on top of our game. For example, if you often turn on the news or check out a news website that reports on the latest tragedy or an upsetting political development, it can require a good deal of self-control to manage a knee-jerk reaction to these kinds of stories. So avoid these activities before you have to be at your best.

I’ve been using the 1-3-5 method for my to-do list and it’s sooooo much more sane and sustainable than my old 20-bullet point lists.

Have you heard of The Noun Project? Thousands of icons you can use for anything?

When I create new services I usually just email previous clients and say “Hey! I’m doing this thing now!” (super profesh, Von Bargen.) But did you know you can ‘launch’ services – even if they’re available all year round? Maggie Patterson talks about how she did it here.

Clever, clever, clever. How to hide an image in a WordPress post.

Creating healthy business boundaries can be hard. Norma has a five-step process that makes it easier.

Micromanagers are Le Worst (I know because I can be one). But with a bit of finesse you can manage your micromanager.

If you read or wrote anything super helpful to bloggers or business owners, leave your link in the comments!

How To Turn Your Online Community Into Offline Friends

This guest post comes to us via Beth Maiden, She’s a tarot reader, writer and facilitator based on a little boat in Manchester, UK. She helps people to develop their own unique approach to tarot, build their card-slinging confidence and explore themselves through those 78 cards. She’s the creator of the Alternative Tarot Course and the Alternative Tarot Network.

blog friends
When I started my blog nearly five years ago, I had no idea that people out there would even want to read it, let alone invite me into their homes. But a few months ago, that’s exactly what they did! I spent two whole months Greyhounding around the US from Portland OR to New York, meeting and geeking out with a bunch of awesome people who share my interests.

A little background. My name’s Beth Maiden, and my blog and business is Little Red Tarot. It’s a resource for anyone curious about tarot, from total newbies to experienced readers, with a really strong focus on alternative perspectives on a craft that is steeped in often bewildering traditions. My income comes from different sources including one-to-one tarot readings, the Alternative Tarot Course, and my little online shop – but it’s all fueled by my blog.

As readership has grown over the years and my business has developed, I’ve seen some really awesome stuff happening in the periphery. Firstly, in the comments – where more and more people are piping up with their own ideas, and offering each other, and me, support and love.

Secondly, in my inbox, where I now receive a whole bunch of emails every week from people thanking me for ‘creating this space’, or replying to thoughts I share with my mailing list. And thirdly, on Twitter, where I get to geek out with fellow tarot-lovers and discuss card meanings, new decks and so on.

This is all very nice indeed, of course! Most bloggers want to create this kind of buzz around their work, and I think many of us are excited about the online communities we’re active in. I wondered if it was possible to take that sense of community and explore it in real life.

Here’s how I took my blog from a simple website to a network of enthusiastic tarot geeks, and eventually wound up couch-surfing across the USA.

ta-road-trip

1. Make friends with readers by helping them out

My blog is chatty, down to earth and accessible. The emails I get from my readers let me know that they find a load of helpful resources here where they’ve found other tarot sites to be intimidating. I regularly ask Little Red Tarot readers what they like to talk about and how I can help them, and then provide content that answers these needs. It’s fun for me to know I’m being genuinely useful, and it makes readers feel listened to.

2. Keep it personal

There’s a load of information out there about how to get fewer emails, how to prevent people from contacting you. I’ve taken the opposite approach. I actively encourage folks to get in touch with me and tell me what they’re up to or what they’re struggling with and reply to everyone. Sure, it takes time, but without personal relationships, my business is nothing.

I also send out friendly emails to my bits and bobs list, letting people know what’s happening in my life and in the tarot world. Sometimes these get really personal, like when I moved house or when my dog died, I found a lot of support through people replying to my emails and sending warm wishes. People feel like they’re part of a community – it’s not just a one-way process.

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3. Play with online/IRL boundaries

Almost my entire business and community interaction takes place online. That’s great ’n’ all, but I really wanted to know how my relationship with a regular blog commenter or Twitter friend would work in real life.

I put out a note in an email to my list, asking if anyone would be up for hanging out. I got so many replies! I got a big map of the US and started putting pins in, somehow putting together a route. And then I just did it!

But it’s not just about meeting up in person. I still consider many of my readers my IRL friends because of the quality of our interactions. Talking tarot over a glass of wine with you is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, but it’s also amazing to talk over email.

4. Do the things that bring you joy and be prepared for change

When you start an online business, you read so much information about all the different things you need to do, the best ways to market yourself, which social media platform is the one you need, how to be ridiculously productive, how to make six goddam figures in your first ten minutes and all the rest of it.

All that really matters is that you do what you love and what feels right for your life and business. Earlier this year I knew I had had enough of sitting behind a screen, even though my community was awesome and I got so much joy from my online interactions. I wanted to know want these people looked like in real life, how they spoke, how they did tarot. I wanted to move! To talk over a brew or a glass of wine rather than via my blog. More than anything, I wanted to connect.

So I did it. I asked people, they said yes, and what else was there to do? I headed off and had a grand old time – I went to the launch party of a super cool new queer tarot deck, camped out in a trailer, went sailing in New Orleans, created a truly transformative new moon ritual in a woodland cabin, met one of my first ever internet friends, did a comedy run through of a new tarot deck with one of my most prolific commenters, went to the best queer festival in the world ever, read cards on the road for strangers and loads more.

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As soon as I got back, I launched a social network. It was so clear that my growing community of tarot people is special and amazing and needs a special amazing place to hang out. It’s no replacement for online interaction, but it brings people together so we can all feel part of something. And that is the best way I can think of to do joyful, sustaining, sustainable business.

Where am I going with this? I’m not suggesting everyone reading this heads off on a road-trip and meets their blog folllowers… though hell, why not? It’s this more general thing about community. If you have a bunch of people around your blog, and they like you and what you do, nurture them. Talk to them. Invite them in. You never know where they might take you.

Have any of you organized on offline meetup for your readers or clients? If you have, tell us all about it in the comments!

P.S. The Network of Nice is a great, free way to make friends online, test your offerings, or get feedback. If you’d like to be involved, take a look through some of our previous editions and if feels like the right fit for you, email me at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org with 100-ish words with your non-promotional, un-Google-able hookup offer or request! (Hookups can’t contain any live links or business names.) 

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The One Time It’s Actually GOOD To Compare Yourself To Others

compare-yourself
Friends, permit me to begin this post with a personal anecdote followed by a (potentially) heavy-handed business metaphor.

A few years ago, I decided to undertake the white girl’s right of passage: the novelty 5k. Yes, like everyone else in your Facebook feed, I signed up for some color run/mud run/well-intentioned fundraiser run and then proceeded to question that decision.

But like the try-hard that I am, I downloaded a Couch-to-5k app and proceeded to train my ass off. I bought cute pink sneakers and started doing that walk/run interval thing that every training program suggests.

Walk run walk run walk run run run

Despite what seemed like a fairly sane training program, I found myself incredibly winded and exhausted. “Maybe I’m even less fit than I realized? Do I have lungs the size of almonds?”

I kept training and I kept feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. On a whim, I invited a veteran runner friend to join me on a training run; at least I’ll have a companion and witness to my misery, I reasoned.

When my friend met me, I explained my interval training program and we took off at a brisk walk. When my C25K app beeped, I broke into a what I thought was a jog. I did what I thought I was supposed to be doing, going at a pace I  thought I should be going.

“Whaaaaat are you dooooing?!” my friend yelled from 10 feet behind me. “Why in the name of Nike are you sprinting right now?”

But I didn’t know I was sprinting.
I thought I was ‘jogging.’

I thought I’d set realistic expectations for myself, when – in fact – they were ridiculous and unsustainable. And I didn’t realize that until I showed my friend what I was doing.

The goals we make for our businesses and online lives are very frequently private. They’re often based on what we want for ourselves – more Instagram followers, more clients, more traffic, more money. They’re not always based on what’s sane, sustainable, or realistic.  We might not even know we’re setting ourselves up for stress and heartbreak because we’re so busy playing our cards next to our chest.

The moral of this story, dear reader, is that we might be sprinting when we should be jogging. We might be expecting to land a book deal when a self-published ebook that earns $1,000 might be more realistic. We won’t know the difference unless we open up to our friends and peers about what we’re trying to do and where we’re trying to go.

Let’s commit to building honest, open friendships with our peers so we can get the truthful feedback we need. Let’s have conversations include questions like “Do you think that’s realistic?” and “How long did it take you?” and “Am I going to hate my life if I do this?”

And in the spirit of healthy, sane-making comparisons, let me tell you:
* It took me eight VAs, two years, Susan Drumm, and Trello to figure how to manage someone
* I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years and some blog posts still take me foreeeeever
* Sometimes it takes me 45 minutes to find and format the right photo for a blog post
* I run my blog posts through Grammarly, I proofread them backward, I print them out and edit them by hand and typos still sneak through

Sometimes a little intelligent comparison can be a good thing.

Tell me! Has comparison ever helped you and your business? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

photo by Death To The Stock Photo // cc

6 Free Tools That Make My Online Life Easy + Awesome

free blogging tools
This blog post has been gathering dust in my drafts folder for, oh, always. 
I want to write posts for you guys that are clever, inspirational, and filled with ideas that make your online life more awesome.

I also assume that you already know about the piles of tools/apps/platforms available to you. But one person’s obvious is another person’s you just changed my life with this information, right?

And if you already know all of these? Here’s a cool cat hoodie.

Tweetdeck (free)
This platform allows you to schedule tweets months into the future and (most importantly) upload images for your scheduled tweets. Thus far, this is the only platform I’ve found that will post images with the tweets (rather than posting a link to the image hosted elsewhere.)

If you’re not using images in your tweets, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to OMG DO IT. Tweets with images are 94% more likely to get retweeted and favorited! And you can include the title of your post in the image, ‘freeing up’ your tweet so you can use those 140 characters for pull quotes or @mentions.

Gramblr (free)
In a perfect world, we’d all be professional-level photographers who took in-the-moment, filter-free photos for Instagram. For the rest of us, Gramblr allows you to post images from your computer, so you can pull images from blog posts or something you took with your DSLR.

500px.com Creative Commons // Flickr Creative Commons // YAY Images (free trial)
All of these are free resources for gorgeous, professional-grade images for your blog posts, social media updates, and marketing emails. If you’re using a Creative Commons image, make sure to link and credit the photographer. You can find Flickr’s best photos by sorting by ‘most interesting.’

Picmonkey (free or $33 a year for platinum membership)
I’ve heard tons of good things about Canva, but I still love my cheap, basic, incredibly user-friendly Picmonkey. I use it to resize images so they’re more Pinterest-friendly, create images for Twitter, and make headshots matchy/matchy.

Trello (free)
Are you working with clients or a VA? I bet you are and I bet you’re sick of 15-part email threads or those “just checking in” emails. Without exaggeration, Trello has completely changed my business life. It helps me stay on top of deadlines and huge multi-part projects. It helps me work with my designer and my VA without annoying them so much they want to quit.

Trello allows you to assign projects and break them into checklists … and then save those checklists so any time someone has to complete that complicated task again, you can just pull up said checklist. And you can assign deadlines! When a deadline is looming, Trello will automatically send the task-doer a reminder email, so you don’t have to!

IFTTT (free)
This awkward acronym stands for ‘If This Then That’ and it writes ‘recipes’ for hundreds of online tasks. Like “If I post a photo to Instagram, then a tweet with the image and caption will be automatically generated” or “If someone posts a Macbook Air on the Minneapolis Craiglist for less than $700, I’ll get a text about it.”

There a jillions of helpful ‘recipes’ – recipes for photographers, streamlining social media, even news junkies.

Of course, I also use all the usual suspects – Google Docs, Dropbox, Google Calendar, Paypal. But I imagine you really do already know about those!

I’d love to hear all about the resources, tools, and apps you use for your business! Let’s make this comment thread a recourse itself!

P.S. I remembered another one! Co-schedule’s Headline Analyzer! It’s amaaaazing!

photo by Death To The Stock Photo // cc

 

9 Wonderful Posts About Blogging + Creativity + Business-ing

18875946_15238842_pmA cute print from Saskia Keultjes

I rounded up the best of the net! For you!

Etsy friends! Sarah has made over 500 Etsy sales – here’s what she’s learned.

Pop-ups are annoying, but they totally work (I use IP-sensitive pop up Opt In Monster so once you close the pop-up, you won’t see it again till you clean your cookies or use a different IP). If you’d prefer not to use a pop-up, here are seven spots for your opt-in.

I love how Esme outlined her process for writing and designing her book. So helpful!

Also helpful, Maria’s post about discovering your competitor’s success secrets – without getting too jealous.

6 ways to recharge. I particularly like the tip about creating your own stop signs.

If you’ve ever struggled to price your work (who hasn’t?!) Kyla made you some worksheets that’ll help!

A complete beginner’s guide to starting a lifestyle blog.

Interesting! If you, like me, are trying to cobble together your ‘graphic design’ with what’s available in Picmonkey, you’ll love this tutorial on font pairing. (It’s so much more complex than I thought!)

If you want better content ideas, here’s a 144 slide presentation on how to do that. So.

If you’ve read or written anything particularly amazing lately, leave the links in the comments!

12 Surefire Ways To Master Business-Life Balance

This guest post comes to us via Jess Brown, a virtual assistant and health coach who helps other entrepreneurs and self-employed types find time for balance and health in their busy lives. You can get her free book ‘The Virtual Assistant’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Work-Life Balance’ here or follow along on Facebook.

work life balance
Are you tired of feeling like your business is creeping into all parts of your life? You started your business so you could live your life your way. But instead of having that work life balance you crave every waking minute is filled with email, client issues, and creating your next product. It doesn’t have to be that way…

Here are 12 tips to give your well-being and your business a boost:

1. Get dressed
I will be the first to admit that yoga pants and pajamas are super comfy and my outfit of choice. But there is something about putting on real clothes with buttons, zippers and all that puts your brain in the right mindset to really get stuff done. Get dressed every day. It will make a huge difference when you actually feel like you’re in a real work environment.

2. Schedule family time first
Grab a blank calendar and mark it up with your family activities and obligations. When you start to schedule this way, your life won’t revolve around your business. As you’re filling out your calendar, be honest with yourself about how long each task actually takes. If you need to leave the house, for example, don’t forget to factor in drive time to get to your destination.

3. Say goodbye to perfectionism  
This is where you’ll have to give yourself a break. So what if your apartment isn’t immaculate and that blog post you wrote last week isn’t the “best” it could be. If you’re someone who can’t stop thinking about these things, you could try a yoga class or go for a brisk walk or run.

4. Announce your “working hours”
Balancing business time with family time isn’t easy. Giving your full attention to both sides of the spectrum can be difficult if you have tons of distractions that pop up throughout the day. If you have blocks of time to work on your business and your family knows this, you’ll not only be more focused and productive, but you’ll feel a lot less stress because your family will come to know and expect that you’ll be working during certain hours. That means when it’s family time, you won’t have to worry about business. All business matters are dealt with during your regular “working hours.”

5. Learn to unplug from your business
When you’re the one in charge, it’s next to impossible to completely unplug, but there are ways to get some balance during your off-time. One idea to help is if you have people helping email address for important “after-hours” matters that need your immediate attention. Your people will know how to get a hold of you and you don’t have to check your regular email and social media constantly.

6. Expect the unexpected
Let’s face it, stuff happens. When you’re scheduling your day, it’s smart to book an hour to “unexpected” things that come up. This block of time is to take care of unexpected interruptions or events that happen. If nothing unexpected happens that day, great! You just gained an hour you can do whatever you want with.

7. Get laser focused
When it’s time to work, turn off your phone, close your email and social media and let the people in your life know not to interrupt unless it’s an emergency. Part of being balanced is using your time efficiently and minimizing distractions whenever possible.

8. Break it down
Make the most of your time and get more done by breaking your tasks into smaller chunks. Not having a plan for your work session usually results in wasted time and little progress. Get focused. Use 15 minutes to return client emails, 20 for social media engagement and 40 to write a draft for your next blog post, etc.9. Harness the power of no

If you’re available to your clients 24/7, it’s a clear sign you have a hard time saying, “no.” If you let that continue, over time it leads to bad things. Not only are you going to burn out, but you very well could start resenting your clients and your work. If you tend to say “yes” without thinking, don’t answer immediately. Get back to the person later and then you can decide if it’s a task you want to do or not. If you end up saying “no”, don’t justify or make excuses.

10. Take care of you
When you’re creating your schedule, don’t forget to pencil in free time for yourself. Book an appointment once a week to take a long bath and a glass of wine. Block out time to go to the gym. Schedule a date night with your partner. Don’t forget to give yourself enough time to get a good night’s sleep every day. Skimping on sleep is bad for your health, but also adversely affects the quality of your work and productivity.

11. Have a strong support system
Tell your friends, family, colleagues and clients you’re trying to balance work and life. Tell them about your plan and ask them to respect it.

12. Take baby steps and work up
Changing things in your life that have become habits is no easy feat. If your goal is to have dinner with your family every night, start with one dinner per week. Don’t try to change too much too soon. Just like any new routine, it’s going to take the time to adjust and build new habits.

So how do you find balance in your business? Do you have something different than what I’ve listed? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. How to juggle a day job + a blog + a freelance career + a life

Online “Success” And “Failure” Don’t Look The Way You Think

online success

For the last few years, I’ve been smugly convinced that I knew what “success” looked like online.

It looked like tens of thousands of social media followers. It looked like book deals and big brand partnerships and press mentions. It was numbers-based (of course) and bigger numbers = more success.

I was also pretty sure that I knew what “failure” looked like. It looked like fewer comments than usual on that post or a Twitter following that stalled out. It was snarky comments and unsubscribes.

And isn’t it awkward when you do more work and meet more people and realize how wrong you’ve been?

In the last year, I’ve seen “success” that looks like a friend who wrote a New York Times bestseller and kept a part time gig to make ends meet* or my buddy whose products were featured in Martha Stewart Living …. and saw little increase in sales. I’ve seen multiple friends get book deals so stressful their relationships and health hit the rocks.

I’ve seen also seen a lot of things that could be mistaken for “failure.”
I watched a client with 72 Twitter followers earn a seven-figure income. (She’s had a booming business offline for a ages.)
I’ve had people unsubscribe from my newsletter (and then email me to say they’re unsubscribing because they’re following on Feedly now.)
I’ve published posts that got three comments (but 10 long, heartfelt email responses.)
I’ve watched a client’s Facebook page stall out (while her Instagram following quadrupled.)
I’ve published posts that offended some readers (but opened up important dialog.)
I posted an Instagram photo that garnered all of 44 likes (and netted me a copywriting gig with a major athletic clothing manufacturer.)

If you ever find yourself feeling less-than while flicking through a famous Instagram feed or reading a highly-trafficked blog, know that numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Popularly doesn’t necessarily equate to profitability. The minds you change and the hearts you open can’t always be measured in Twitter followers

What looks like failure might be success dressed in overalls.

What does business success look like for you? Have you had any “successes” that didn’t quite have the end result you imagined? Or things that looked like “failure” … but weren’t?

* Totally no shame in keeping a part time job! It’s smart to have stable income! But I really thought someone who’d written a wildly successful book would be rolling in the dough, you know?

photo by decor8 holly // cc

Compassionate Business Advice From A Surprising Source

business advice
In case you were wondering, no one has ever asked me “Sarah, how’d you get so wise?”

(And with Instagram photos like this, I’m not sure anyone’s going to be asking me anytime soon.)

But if someone were to ask me, I’ve got an answer ready. I will steeple my fingertips, take a deep breath while staring into the middle distance, and then I’ll murmur:

“I steal my wisdom from other people.”

One of the benefits to interviewing hundreds of people is that eventually, some of their wisdom will rub off on you. And if you’re a greedy wisdom-hoarder like me, you can make this more likely by straight up asking every single interviewee “What have you learned from this that any of us could apply to our daily lives?”

It was this exact question that lead to one of my new favorite business insights … and it’s from a surprising source.

Caryn Davies is a three-time Olympian. She’s won more medals than any other American oarswoman. She’s 6’4”, a graduate of Harvard’s law school AND a graduate of Oxford’s MBA program. If she wasn’t so nice (and wise) I’d probably hate her. She was kind enough to let me interview her for True Story and as we were wrapping up our interview, I asked her what we plebeians (um, my words) could learn from her Olympic experience.

“You don’t have to put in your best performance every day, you just have to beat your average. If you consistently aim to beat your average you’ll consistently get better. It’s quite a lot of pressure to put on yourself to perform at your peak every day. Have a little self-compassion; you’re just aiming to consistently get better. You don’t have to be amazing all the time.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of setting some pretty ridiculous goals for myself. I hope that every reader will love every post. I want every launch to be wildly successful. I want everything ever to be a smooth road of good, better, best fading off into the overachiever sunset.

Not surprisingly, this mentality leads to exhaustion and watered-down work.

So I’m taking Caryn’s advice. Instead of hoping for a six-figure product launch (and being devastated when that doesn’t happen) I’m aiming to make slightly more than I did last time. Instead of being disappointed when my funny tweet doesn’t break the internet, I’ll hope that it gets seven ‘favorites’ instead of six. I’ll aim for one more blog sponsor each month and a few more comments than usual on each post.

My new goal? To be slightly amazing, most of the time.

Do you set unrealistic goals for yourself? If you do, how has that worked out for you? If you’ve recovered from burnout, I’d love to hear your story and tips in the comments!

Photo by Ben Rodford // cc

6 Smart, Helpful Things The Internet Wrote For Your Business

It’s the end of the month! I’ve been stockpiling the best of the internet for you!

I love a good statistics-backed breakdown. Kyla shows us how she increased her Pinterest impressions by 240%!

What happens when your Facebook post goes viral and is seen by 1.9 million people?

I loved Amanda’s suggestions for testing new product ideas!

The internet has changed A LOT since I started blogging approximately one million years ago. I enjoyed this podcast about creating content for the ‘new’ internet.

Why can’t you get blog traffic? Ahem, nobody cares.

Ooooh! How to write blog posts that generate leads!

And a few posts you might have missed: My biggest work happiness secret and Collaborating your way to more traffic + clients

2 Dirty Secrets About Starting Your First Blog

start a blog
Let me preface this by telling you that today I’m writing a love note to people who’d like to start a blog. 
This is for every former English major who needs a creative outlet and everyone who wants a space to share their recipes/outfits/insights.

If you’ve already got an awesome, established blog here’s an amazing live webcam of otters.

Still here? Wonderful!

When you’re thinking about starting a blog, it’s spectacularly easy to get overwhelmed. It’s easy to over-research, psych yourself out, and decide that you clearly can’t begin till you have your own domain, professional headshots, and an amazing mailing list opt-in.

While you’re doing all that research, you’ll find all sorts of good advice about the things you need in order to start a blog. You will be told that you need to be on lots of social media platforms and that you need to use gorgeous photos. You’ll read about the importance of building your list and how to optimize your posts.

That’s all good advice! But you know what you really, actually need in order to start a blog?

The desire to start a blog.

You won’t know if you like writing on the internet until you do it. You won’t know how fast you write, how long it takes to assemble a post, how people feel about your writing until you do it.

And as soon as you start, you’ll discover two dirty secrets.

1. You need way, way less to start a blog than you’ve probably been lead to believe
For the first four year of Yes & Yes I spent $13 a year on it. I took photos with my ancient digital camera and wrote on a $300 netbook or my work computer. I cobbled together the design on my own and I USED A YAHOOMAIL ACCOUNT AS MY PROFESSIONAL EMAIL. I still managed to book sponsors, publish two ebooks and write blog posts that went viral.

2. It will take a while for anyone to notice your blog
For the first few months of your blog, not many people will be reading. That sounds a bit depressing, but you can choose to view that time as a space to experiment and get your internet legs. For those first few months, it won’t matter if you publish something controversial or riddled with typos. You can use this time to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Once you’ve got thousands of readers it’s a lot harder to publish haikus about your Brazilian wax.*

So dear would-be blogger, this is your permission to just start. Just try.

P.S. If you’re a small business or a consultant, I would recommend a slightly more studied, professional approach to starting a blog. You don’t want to send clients to a janky .blogspot.com website full of broken links! Here’s a list of things I suggest doing before you launch your blog.

* Yes, I did that. ACCOMPANIED BY A PHOTO OF A HAIRLESS KITTEN. WHAT THE EVER-LOVING EFF.

photo by Zoe // cc