A few weeks ago I shared Part 1 of my experience self-publishing with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP — formerly known as Createspace), and I’m back with Part 2 to cover my experience with the platform after the book went live, such as sales reports + tracking data, Amazon rankings, royalties + payouts, and some surprises and hiccups that popped up along the way.
Ok, that title was maybe a litttttttle click baity, but I couldn’t help it. Because it’s true — I’ve been needing to write this blog post, to kick off the new year with a solid blogging game, and yet there’s only one thing I seem to be doing instead: procrastinating. I’m like really, really good at it.
My word in 2018 has been hone. I wanted to hone my business as well as my lifestyle. Refine it, simplify it, get super clear and intentional on what I wanted both to look like. This past year was less about growing my business, and more about stripping out what wasn’t working so I could focus on and improve what was working.
So good news, I self-published a book! I still can’t believe it’s out in the world, making it’s way into mailboxes and hanging out on nightstands and stashed in purses for carline reading. Launch week went amazing, and I’m still amazed that this little book is having such a big impact on readers, and connecting with their stories right where they’re at.
Today I’m talking all about infusing quality into your business, particularly in three specific areas: your craft, your content, and your conversations. Quality should be infused into everything you do as a business owner – this is just good business to provide quality to your customers — but these three areas are practical places we can start to put it into practice. Is that enough P’s for you? This post is a doozy, so let’s get started.
I think every business owner's story is an underdog story. Most of us worked for someone else, spent our days dreaming of working for ourselves, and usually through a significant change in their life – either forced or voluntary – they finally take real steps towards that dream being a reality. It’s rarely a smooth road, it’s usually a bumpy, curvy, pothole-laden road that can take a long time to get down. Lots of people have asked me about my own journey, so I thought I’d share it in a fun, timeline-style post – showing you that the big transition from day job to self-employed is not a quick or easy one. It takes time, work, and a whole lot of patience.
People in the online space are sometimes surprised to hear that I’ve only ever been to one creative conference. There’s a million great ones out there, and lots that I would love to attend, but I’ve actually only attended one single conference, and it was a pivotal one – the Society for Creative Founders. SCF taught me the basics of running a thriving creative business and connected me with countless other creative women who were in the same boat as me – learning the ropes of this whole business thing, and looking for some friends to figure it out with.
Over the last several years, I’ve had lots of random questions and survey responses that brought up great topics, but maybe not enough to write a whole blog post about. So I decided to throw them together into a 20-questions style post – except it’s 15 questions. Close enough, for this tired mama. So below you’ll find some answers to random questions about the interworking of my business, systems, apps, and resources I use, and a grab bag of topics like travel, motherhood, taxes, organization, and even TV shows.
This year had tons of traveling, tons of momming, and tons of work on keeping this business chugging along. I started new projects that I’ve been putting off, and I cut old strategies that weren’t working anymore. This year was a season of pivoting and simplifying and getting real clear on what I do and don’t want to do in my business.
Automation. It’s the buzz word being slung around the Interwebs as of late. It’s that thing everyone is striving for, it seems like, to make their business totally automated and hands-off. But… what if that might not actually be the best thing for our customers? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a convenient app as much as the next gal (or guy! hey fellas.), but I’m afraid if we go so far down the automation rabbit hole, our businesses will end up looking and sounding like robots. Cold, hard, emotionless robots.
ConvertKit has a lot of pieces to it, and honestly it took me a long time to get used to it. But I seem to learn new things every time I get in there, so I thought it would be fun to share some quick tricks to help you work a little smarter. And since I get other nicely designed CK emails from some fellow creatives, I thought you might be fun to invite a few of them to join in and share a hack or two that they have up their sleeves!
I’ve seen this question asked about a thousand times in about a thousand places, so I figured it was time to shoot straight. This topic can have some varying opinions, sometimes controversial about which way is better. But after trying both methods in the last couple years, I’ve discovered it all boils down to a few different factors to consider.
Last week I posted a picture on Instagram of my computer as I was planning out aaalllll my 2017 tasks in just a few days. Yes, that’s right, an entire year’s worth of projects in about one week. And people freaked out. Rightfully so! I know how crazy it sounds, 12 months of work scheduled out on a calendar is a little control-freak-ish right?! It’s okay, you can say it. But this method helps me brain dump all my ideas + plans for the coming year in an organized way so I can actually accomplish the things I set out to do on January 1.
Wow, I have derailed on the blogging train the last few months. Sorry about that. Honestly, I was running low on content ideas and just wasn’t feelin’ it. At first I felt guilty for not keeping up with it, and then I sat down and wrote this quick year-in-review, quickly got over the guilt, and just decided I’d recommit to the blog in the new year. And that felt much better 😃
I’ll cut to the chase: sharing your story with a bunch of strangers on the internet can be down right scary. A little over a year ago, I had no blog and had just opened my business Instagram account with my teeny tiny following. No one knew my name, much less what I had been through in the two years prior. But I had an inkling to write, and I knew I needed to finally start blogging. Not just for my business, but for my own journaling of sorts – to keep a record of this wild journey of entrepreneurship and motherhood.
All morning I’ve been fighting with a toddler to eat her breakfast. Just eat. the dang. toast. She’s a little stubborn – like her mama. And her mama’s mama. And her mama’s mama’s mama. The little stubborn thing celebrated her second birthday last weekend, and as she spent most of the day with her dad, it was a bittersweet day for her mama. These early birthdays are more of a celebration for the parents than the kids, right? Celebrating the fact that you’ve kept another human alive for 2 whole years. Celebrating the fact that you’re still somewhat sane and standing upright.
There can be a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism. It’s a gray area that a lot of Etsy shop owners (and even just creative entrepreneurs in general) are afraid to go near. With such a huge platform like Etsy, it's not hard to come across products from different shops that show eerily similar aesthetics or content. When you're just starting out as an Etsy shop owner, or just a creative business, it's easy to look to successful shops and try to emulate their style or ideas. But try to refrain – because there's a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism, and you don't want to be on the wrong side of it.
This has been a rough week for my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. We lost a good one over the weekend. A guy who moved to town about ten years ago, opened a coffee shop, and changed the entire community. His name was Tom, and everyone loved Tom. Literally, everyone. In the days since his sudden and tragic death, friends have described him as unbelievably generous, impartially kind, and an undeniable connector of people.