Posts Categorized: Uncategorized

3 Ways To Make Your Clients Feel Really, Really, Really Appreciated (No lavish gifts or muffin baskets, required!)

This post comes to us via my dear, real-life friend Alexandra Franzen.  Alex writes about how to be a better writer. Which really means she writes about being understood. Which really means she writes about love. Her tips on clear, persuasive, positivity-charged communication have been spotlighted on The Daily LoveFast CompanyForbesThe Huffington Post and in several books. (Including one of her own.)  Learn how to write with style, simplicity + astonishing ease at

When you’re a coach, consultant, designer, coder, writer, editor or service-offerer-of-any-kind, making your clients feel really, really, really appreciated is not rocket science.

And contrary to conventional belief, expressing your gratitude isn’t about sending lavish gifts in the mail — like bouquets of roses or blueberry-studded muffin baskets.  Gifts are lovely — I rarely turn down a muffin, myself! — but showing your clients that you love, respect + genuinely care about them is actually much simpler. And less crumbly.

To quote Maya Angelou, a very famous online business strategist + certified life coach (right? I’m pretty sure I read that in O magazine…) “People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

For the next week — just as an experiment — make every email you send out to your tribe feel like a “thank you” note. Even if it’s not.

And while you’re at it: practice these three techniques with your current crop of clients. (Prepare to feel really, really, really appreciated, right back.)

Your client says: Hey, could you recommend a graphic designer I ought to hire?

You say: Sure! Here’s a list of my favorite 10 designers.

(You could leave it at that, and they’d be perfectly happy. But to make them feel really, really, really appreciated, add a personal twist…)

All of these designers are terrific, but I’ve highlighted the top 3 that I think would be perfect for YOU. If you’d like a personal introduction to any of ‘em, let me know.

Your client says: OHMYGAWDYAY!

Your client says: I’m feeling really frustrated by my current website. It’s old and clunky and I’m embarrassed to show it to anyone — which is making it difficult to promote myself in the media. It’s really holding me back, but I don’t have the budget for a big, fancy website overhaul. {insert ten more minutes of rambling + mental spillage, here} Argh! What should I do?

You say: It sounds like you’re craving a crisp, sleek website that reflects who you’ve become — not who you were, back when you first started your business. What if we created a super-simple 3-page WordPress site — nothing fancy, just clean lines + gorgeous new headshots — and kept the whole project under $1,000? Sound good?

Your client says: {sniffle, sob, weep} OHMYGAWDYAY and THANKYOU and YES! When do we start?


Your client says: I know I need to work on being more ‘visible’ online — guest-blogging and stuff. But it just feels so draining. Blech.

You say: You know, you’re such a natural on video — maybe that’s the medium to focus on, instead of writing? I happen to know someone who does a weekly video-interview series with cool entrepreneurs. Want me to introduce you two, via email?”

Your client says: OHMYGAWDYAY, you are SO right! I’d never considered that. And YES! Introduce away!

*Not just to other people + resources, but mental connections that your client can’t quite see on their own.

With every conversation + email exchange, your purpose is simple + clear:

Personalize. Really listen. Synthesize + echo back information. Make connections.

Your clients will feel deeply seen, heard + appreciated — no muffin basket required.

(And if you still feel compelled to blast some pastries through the postal system, you can go right ahead + send them to me. 😉

photo by briana lehman // cc

7 Insanely Helpful Posts About Your Business

Wait!  Before we get to links I have something else I want to talk to you about.

It’s late September and I’m talking about the holidays. 


Okay!  Now that that’s out of my system, let’s also acknowledge that 80% of Americans buy gifts online. And wouldn’t it be lovely if they bought those gifts from your Etsy shop/online store/blog?  Yeah, I think so too.  

But what if your online space isn’t quiiiiiite ready for an influx of visitors?  Dude, I can help.  

Each month I help small businesses and creative entrepreneurs with their online presences through my Solution Sessions.  It’s an awesome (and big) consulting package, filled with lots of different takeaways - none of which I offer a la carte.  Until now! (please read that in your best monster trucks announcer voice.)  

Here’s the deal: 

* You buy a Holiday Presence package
* You send me your URLs (blog! shop! social media profiles!)
*  I stalk your online life and send you 15-20 actionable, profit-increasing, awesome-i-fying suggestions
* You spend October implementing said suggestions to make your online presence as amazing a internet-ly possible
* In November, your ad goes up on Yes and Yes, introducing your products (and your newly improved online space) to 11,000+ people and 3,000+ newsletter subscribers
* You make waaaa more sales and enjoy lots of traffic and new readers
* We send each other internet high fives.  Yes?  Yes.

Sound like something you’re interested in?  Fantastic!  Check out my traffic stats here and then drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org.  

Okay.  Onto the links!

20 quick tips for writing great blog posts.
Mix up the length of your posts – short can be sweet but long can be epic!
When an idea strikes – drop everything and capture it!
Do everything you can to understand who is reading your blog – it will make you more useful to them

What’s the difference between flat rates and hourly rates? And which should you use?

If you’re tired of hearing about marketing funnels, then you should read this post about the much more fun-ly named ‘salesnado’.

Did you know that super successful people share a lot of the same habits?  Let’s steal 9 of those habits!
Talk is cheap and meaningful customer relationships are built on promises. Same goes for your personal life, right? Well, maybe. Success is built on mutually trusting relationships with just about everybody. If you say you’re going to walk the office dog? Well, you’d best walk the office dog.

7 timeless principles of creative management

Holy helpful!  Bookmark this ish NOW. Startup Toolkit: the best tools for entrepreneurs

NBD.  My True Story: I Waited Till Marriage To Have Sex post was on the front page of the Subreddit: Sex board and I still get heaps of traffic from it.  Want to get a link on the front page of Reddit?  Here’s how.

Have you read anything particularly helpful lately?  Leave links in the comments!

photo by kennymatic // cc

How To Be Amazing At Social Media Without Letting It Consume Your Life

Good lord but maintaining your online life can get exhausting.  There’s always a new platform to sign up for, more people to follow, new best practices to perfect.  When I’m doing a Clever Session with a client, social media overwhelm is inevitably one of the first things we talk about.

Nearly everyone I’ve worked has said some version of the following:
“I know I need to use social media but I have no idea where to start.”
“It’s just so time consuming! I’ve got shit to do!”
“Do I reallllllly have to use __________?”
“How can I find time in my day to watch all of the cat videos I want to see?”

Dude. I know.  I totally, totally know.  I work hard to maintain some level of work/life balance and for me that means no data plan on my smartphone and only using two social media platforms (I use Twitter and Facebook - let’s be friends!)  It’s taken me a while (and an abandoned Pinterest account) to figure out a social media plan that works for me, promotes my stuff, but doesn’t consume my life.  Here’s what I’ve figured out (and what I suggest to my social media overwhelmed clients

Choose 2 (or 3) social media platforms and get good at them
It’s much, much better to do two things well than five things poorly.  If you ‘just’ have a Facebook page and Twitter account that is 100% acceptable. Devote your time to writing interesting, click-worthy tweets, creating Twitter lists that will help you reach your goals, and posting clever things on your business’s Facebook page.

If you’ve chosen LinkedIn, reach out to people you want to work with and post helpful articles. If you’re on Pinterest, write funny, helpful captions. Instagram? Share photos of the products you’re developing or behind-the-scenes photos.

You get the idea.  You’ll see better results (and feel a lot less stressed) if you really commit to becoming amazing at just a few things.

Pre-schedule your social media
This is the absolute best thing you can do to make social media manageable.  I (somewhat controversially) recommend that you tweet about your blog posts multiple times - which can obviously get time consuming.  Set aside an hour or two each week and spend that time scheduling your tweets and Facebook updates.  If you’re super organized (and feel so inclined) you can even schedule out Instagram photos and pins on Pinterest.  I use Hootsuite for all my pre-scheduling needs, but there are heaps of other pre-scheduling services.

You should also set aside at least 20 minutes a day to pop into your social media account and interact with your friends and followers in real time.  Robots we are not.

Work around the limitations of the platforms you’re using
Just because you want to post a tiny video of your products, doesn’t mean you have to create a Vine account.  If you’ve already got an Instagram account, you can use their video option.  I don’t have an instagram account, but I regularly share images on Twitter by using Twitpic.  Do you love to curate collections of inspirational images but don’t want a Pinterest account?  Create a photo album on your Facebook page.

Choose a platform that makes sense for your business
Really, arguments could be made for just about any social media platform for just about any business.  Regardless, here are my two cents for which platforms make the most sense for which business.
Twitter: just about everybody.  It allows you to interact directly with customers and potential clients in 140-character bites.
Facebook: most companies - especially brick and mortar businesses. Facebook is the grandma of social media so most people view it as a foregone conclusion that any reputable business will have a Facebook page.  It’s also the platform with the most users.
Instagram: photographers/designers/lifestyle brands.  Your goods are visually appealing!  You should be showing people that!
freelancers/marketers/consultants.  This is where you find potential clients and collaborators.  Obviously.
Pinterest: anyone who markets to women.
Vimeo/Youtube/Vine: speakers/coaches/companies whose product must be demoed to understand.

Which social media platforms do you use?  Do you preschedule?  How do you avoid the overwhelm?

photo by sean mcgrath // cc

7 Posts That Smart, Excited-About-Their-Work People Should Read


Do I know a decent amount writing and social media and interneting? Yes.
Are there lots of other people who know just as much (or more!) about those same (and other) topics? Also, yes.

In fact, here are a few links about said topics!

When I discovered She Takes On the World I spent at least an hour watching videos and taking notes. Prepare to surrender your evening.

Do you have a 404 page for your website?  Add a bit of personality to yours!  Here are the best, funniest error pages on the web.

Don’t quit your job to chase your dreams - until you read this
You owe it to yourself to chase your dream – but not at the expense of those around you.  Too many times have I seen men and women chase dreams in ways that put their family in the way of harm. I can recount a number of new bloggers who quit their jobs to become full time bloggers only to find that their family no longer had an income stream or health care. I’ve seen marriages break down and tragedy strike as a result of chasing dreams without a safety net or backup plan.

Whoa!  This is an SEO mistake I didn’t know I was making!

I love listening to podcasts and webinars while I’m making dinner/driving/cleaning.  This webinar about monetizing your blog is great!

For fun: what’s your business’s spirit animal? (I think I’m an otter - though that’s not one of the choices.)

Another great podcast - this one from Copyblogger - about content marketing.  They talk about using content to drive traffic to a product or service,  creating content that attracts enterprise clients, and becoming recognized as an expert in your field.

Have you read anything awesome lately?  Share links in the comments!

photo by jd hancock // cc

Collaborating Your Way to More Traffic + Clients

tips for collaboration
When you’re self-employed or running your own business it’s very, very easy to fall into the busy trap and attempt to do everything yourself.  It can be hard to delegate and when you’ve worked hard to flesh out your email list and develop an online following, you might even be a bit greedy about sharing your spotlight with someone else.

Don’t be such greedy spotlight hogger, dude!  When done correctly, collaboration will lighten your load and expose you and your stuff to tons of new people who want what you’re selling.

Want to make sure that a collaboration goes well?  Here are some questions to ask yourself before you dive in.

Does this person do something that I can’t do + that my clients/customers need?
I regularly collaborate with Maria Ross on her Slice Sessions - I’m not a branding expert and Maria’s not a copywriter, but together, we’re nigh-on unstoppable.  I’ve also collaborated with web designer Sarah to dish out advice on websites - I gave content and copy advice, Sarah gave design and coding advice.

You might not want to collaborate with someone who does exactly the same thing that you do, but if they provide a service your clients probably need, team up!  If you’re a clothing label, collaborate with stylists.  If you’re a CSA, collaborate with a food blogger who makes and promotes recipes from your produce.  If you’re a wellness coach, collaborate with a place that makes fresh pressed juice!

Are our businesses about the same size?
Different collaborators bring different things to the table.  Maybe you don’t have a large online following, but you have a PhD and you’ve written two books.  Maybe your photographer has lots of experience with commercial shoots but very little with pets.  You don’t need to limit yourself to collaborators who are in the same tax bracket, but things will probably go a bit more smoothly if you’re on - if not the same page - the same chapter.

Do our businesses ‘make sense’ together?  Would their clients like me?
If you’ve been following this blog (or my larger lifestyle blog Yes and Yes) you probably know I’m not a particularly corporate person.  As such, I will probably never collaborate with Best Buy or a middle-aged white dude who talks about investments. My readers probably wouldn’t like them and their customers probably wouldn’t like me.  I would however, very happily collaborate with Paul Jarvis or Go Mighty or A Life Less Bullshit or Barnabas Clothing and I bet our people would love each other.

Have we been insanely, incredibly clear about who does what in this collaboration?
If you landed the client, do you get a bigger cut?  If you wrote a guest post for them, will they send it out to their email list?  If they’re designing something for you, how many rounds of revisions are allowed?  How many times will they tweet about your guest post? Who’s blogging about it?

You get the idea.

Collaborations can be heaps of fun.  They’ll introduce your goods + services to a whole new audience and hopefully you’ll introduce your people to awesome stuff they were looking for anyhow!  If you do it right, that’s a win/win.

Do you ever collaborate?  Any tips on how to make the most of all that team-working?

photo by j sorbieus // cc

5 Crazy-Easy Tips To Improve Your Rankings In Google

This guest post comes to us via Ilga.  She’s a creative online marketing consultant located in Berlin, Germany. She’s been passionate about all things Google and SEO for about 10 years and has run her own business for over 3 years, helping clients gaining more visitors for their website or online shop and turning these visitors into customers. Her website is in German but you can say hello at Facebook.


Does the online marketing world seem overwhelming? The web is so full of SEO advice, tips and tricks that it can seem rather overwhelming for startups and small business owners with limited time and budgets.

What if you could fix some things yourself or on a low budget? These quick tips on optimizing your website require little or no technical skills and most of them can be completed within a very limited time.

1. Keyword Research
What do your customers search for? While you should never obsess about keywords and don’t sacrifice good copy to content stuffed with keywords, it is helpful (and important) to know which terms your audience is using when searching in Google (or Bing). The Google Keyword tool is free to use and it will give you some ideas on how to structure your online shop or website or even which keywords to use in your headlines. (Make sure to select “exact” for more accurate results though.)

2. Title Tags
Now that you know the most important keywords, you should use them in your title tags (in a clever way, do not stuff it with a list of keywords). They’re still important to Google and quick to fix so start here when you optimize your website. Your brand should be part of your title tag but always have your keyword (phrase) at the beginning of the title tag as Google puts more weight on these keywords.

3. Meta-Descriptions
While they aren’t part of the search engine algorithm (read: They will not directly affect your rankings), they’re important for your click rate in the search results. Make your descriptions as appealing as possible so potential customers will click on your result.

Also, a quick note on meta-keywords: They used to be important to Google but that time has passed. These days you can simply ignore your meta keywords but if you *do* use them, please make sure that they’re not stuffed with words (Google thinks that looks spammy and it can hurt your rankings).

4. Headlines and Website Copy
Make sure to include the keywords you want to rank for in your headlines and website copy. H1 headlines are most important but having keywords in your h2 headlines (if you use them) can’t hurt either. Just avoid stuffing them with keywords or making them sound all unnatural.

5. Forget about Google
Yes, really. It’s important to know about what Google likes in websites and what will make you rank higher. But! Don’t obsess about SEO. Your business is still (has always been and will always be!) about your human audience. While it is good to help Googlebot understand your content, always focus on your human visitors. No compromise there!

Of course, SEO can be realllllly complicated and significantly more in-depth than this.  But these tips will get you headed in the right direction!

photo by mislav m, cc

8 Clever Posts Creatives + Business Owners Might Love


It’s that time of month!  Time to acknowledge the fact that even though I know a lot about writing and internet-ing, there are (shock!) other people who know just as much - or more!  

Here are some of my favorite blog posts from the last month!

8 really good, basic tips on ‘website sussing.’

Sweet eff, I needed this.  4 quick ways to help you stay focused on your business and what you do best.

If you’ve got thousands of blog posts in your archives (um, I have 2,100+) you can reuse and refurbish them!
Essentially, refurbishing content is the process of using your existing content and creating new forms of media with it. If you take a moment to think of all the different forms of content you consume on a weekly basis you should be able to come up with a solid list of ways to reuse your content. From blog posts to videos, transcriptions to audio files, slideshares to infographics your options are only limited by your own creativity.

Amanda Genther’s latest ebook is fantastic!  I’m ashamed to admit I never wrote a business plan for Yes and Yes or my copywriting/consulting business and girlfriend has lit a fire under me.

Does your business have a manifesto? 
It’s so easy to string together a bunch of platitudes and call them a mission statement. But what happens if you actually have a specific mission, a culture in mind, a manifesto for your actions?
The essential choice is this: you have to describe (and live) the difficult choices. You have to figure out who you will disappoint or offend. Most of all, you have to be clear about what’s important and what you won’t or can’t do.

Holy helpful!  An incredibly thorough beginners’ guide to SEO.

Did you know you can use Easel to design a website in your browser?  Wowza.

A reminder that in blogging, as in life or any other career, there are many different ways to become successful.

My friend Grant wrote this great piece about how to get into advertising - but it can apply to any creative field.

What have you been reading lately?  Leave links to good stuff in the comments!

photo by striatic // cc

5 Ways to Bring In The Money Without Feeling Sleazy

This post comes to us via Michelle Ward, PCC (aka The When I Grow Up Coach). She helps creative women get out of their soul-sucking jobs and into work that feels like play. Her first book, The Declaration of You (co-written with the artist Jessica Swift), was recently published and encourages everyone to clarify their purpose sans super seriousness.


Are you afraid that talking about your biz turns you into a used car salesman overnight (greasy pompadour and mismatched suit included)?

Then you’re gonna wanna buy this article you’re reading now, 5 Ways to Bring In The Money Without Feeling Sleazy! For the low low price of just $19.95, I’ll throw in a set of steak knives! Get your credit card ready and call –


When we think of Selling, we usually think of steak knives, Crazy Eddie and operators who are standing by to take our calls. We think of in-your-face aggression, one-way conversations, and telemarketers who interrupt our dinner.

Do me a favor and wave goodbye to the slimiest of salesmen that lives in your head.  Smile.  Give him a hug, even. Watch him go, dejected.

See, in your world, that slimy salesman won’t ever be able to make an appearance. Not only because you won’t let him, but because you can’t possibly become him. Ever.

You have too much of an interest in connecting with others, in bringing them goodness and improving their lives so that you’d never strong-arm someone into buying something from you that they don’t need.

It’s just not who you are, what you offer, and how you want to build a relationship - and you can bring that into all aspects of your business. I pinky swear it.

Stop Calling it Selling
Thinking of having to “sell”, “market myself”, or “advertise” brings on a big case of The Icks.

I decided long ago to group those things under one umbrella, and call it Hooplah - something silly, and fun, and a bit ridiculous, too. I had another client decide to call it Ballyhoo (isn’t that the best word ever?), and it immediately brought a sense of celebration to it all. Conversely, a coach I had called it Inviting, and it immediately created an intimate, personal connection.

Find your word for Hooplah/ Ballyhoo/ Invitations and ban the Selling/Marketing/Advertising from your vocabulary for good.

Create Your Client Profile, and Speak to Her Directly
Who will read your blog, buy your product, or hire you for your services? Think demographically + personality-wise. By starting to answer them and create a client/ customer/ reader profile, you’ll be able to have a picture in your head of who needs to pick up what you’re putting down and why. You can even cheat and use your favorite client or best friend!

Once you have that person in your head, you can write your copy and blog posts for her directly and tailor your products and services to her specifically, too. It’s so much easier than writing for My Audience, I promise (because really – who the heck is that?)!

If you’re having trouble answering these questions, grab a magazine and start leafing through. Rip out anything and anyone in those pages that speaks to you, even if you don’t know why. When you’re done, create a collage and hang it in your office space, or make it your desktop. Keep it in plain view when you’re writing, and write for the person(s) included there.

Be Yourself, Loud and Clear
When I started my blog, I was initially under the guise that, as a life coach, I had pretend that my life is perfect and I have it all figured out, instead of disclosing that I still worked a day job and was pretty damn scared and vulnerable at the time, I realized pretty quickly that my blog was so boring that even I wouldn’t read it. That’s when I chucked the mask I was wearing and let it all hang out – my “real” life, my challenges, my loud personality, my enthusiasm, my sense of humor, my silliness, my day job, my wins and the excessive use of the word “amazeballs.”

Uncoincidentally, that’s when I started getting steady readers and clients who were already excited to work with me despite never having a consultation call.  I inadvertently realized that I never have to sell anyone on working with me who’s read anything I’ve written online because they know what they’re gonna get. That’s THE BEST!

Make It Valuable
Quick - which statement below makes you want to Click Here?

“I wrote a book! It’s so great! Click here and buy it!”


“Want to uncover your own declarations around life’s big, scary topics in a fun, creative way? Click here to make it happen!”

I don’t know about you, but I see Option 1 more than I’d like - on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs - they’re all over! If someone comes to your home on the Interwebs, they want to get to know *you*, and what you sell is just a portion of that. I gotta tell you, nothing keeps me away from the Follow button more than someone with a feed full of outgoing tweets that link back to their own stuff and/or only talks about themselves. Yuck.

So, swap it around and start crafting your copy to be about what your audience will find helpful (yes, that includes sharing what other people are putting out there) - not what you wanna tell them about yourself.

Have a Conversation
There’s a reason we have two ears and a mouth – it’s to listen twice as much as we speak.

On my consultation calls, there’s never a schpeel. I’m never waiting to “close” them. I’m there because I get to gage whether I can help someone, or know someone that can help them. I’m there to answer their questions and give them the information they’re looking for so they can make the best decision for themselves. I’m there to listen to dreams and offer encouragement and make a connection.

Honestly, the Hooplah doesn’t even come into the equation, and I don’t think of my consultation calls as “prospects” or “sales.” I think of them as “creatives” and “go-getters” and, um, “people.”

Imagine that.

How do you feel about selling?  What tips/tricks have you found useful?  Share in the comments!

photo by tax credits // cc

8 Blog Posts Clever People Might Want To Read


The internet! It’s overflowing with super helpful platforms/websites/blog posts! But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Here are some of my favorite links as of late.

What? All the best copywriting formulas in one place?  Dontmindifido!

I already talked about how to keep your blog advertisers happy. But what if you want to sell more ads on your blog?
Think of a few companies and brands you love and want to represent. Small companies and shops work really well, but definitely go for some bigger names. Reach out to these companies and tell them how much you love them. Introduce yourself and your site, and tell them how your site will help them. Most businesses have never considered blog advertising. Tell ‘em what’s up!

It sure is nice when traditional media pays attention to you.  Here’s how to become a media darling and sponsorship magnet!

Welp, this is insanely helpful.  15 digital resources you might have missed.

Noisette Academy’s newsletter is super helpful.  Yes, really!

I love a good peek behind the curtain.  As such, I’ve been compulsively reading How They Blog.

BOOKMARK THIS ISH. 41 Fresh Blog Post Ideas For Your Company’s Blog.
22. Respond to industry research with your own perspective. Offer a fresh angle to spark conversation.
23. Do a survey with Survey Monkey among your community members and create an infographic based on the results.
24. Do a poll of your Twitter community with a  Twtpoll  or your Facebook community with a Facebook Question and post the results on your blog.
25. Do an in-depth case study about one company, or offer a few examples of how other companies do something successfully.

How do bloggers make money?

Have you read anything particularly helpful lately?  Share links in the comments!

photo by Garret Gill, cc

9 Super Helpful Posts About Blogging + Business + Internet-ery


It’s that time of month, guys!  When I admit that there are other people on the internet who know lots of stuff about blogging/writing/small business.  Here are some of the best, most helpful things I’ve seen lately!

Why taking a work sabbatical is super, super important for creatives. (And here’s how you can do it!)

Want to add a ‘pin it’ button to your blog?  Here’s how.

How to create wildly effective marketing language.  Oh, okay!

Super interesting!  A really in-depth look at one blogger’s readership (wish charts!)  What does yours look like? Yup. Great Twitter advice for brands

Are you making any of these mistakes?  5 reasons you just lost a sale on your website. If your copy is terrible, you’re in trouble! People want to know what they’re getting into, and if the description of your item makes it sound like a bad idea, they won’t be buying. One of the most important things to remember is to make it clear what they’re looking at and what it does. Leave nothing in the dark!

Want to know when to tweet?  Tweriod can help.

Great advice on knowing your worth as a freelancer.

Helpful!  How to fix internet embarrassments and improve your online reputation.

Have you read/discovered/written anything awesome lately?  Leave it in the comments!

photo by paul keller, cc