EVERY heart-centered worker should have a book out. Yes, YOU TOO! Here's why.
In the process of the editing / proofreading work I do for authors of all sorts, there's one thing about all others that makes a difference in the organization of written words - the outline. Think of it this way - would you move houses or go on a long journey without a plan?
We're taught basic outlining in elementary school and some of us haven't used the concept since. But whether you're writing an article, a blog or a book, it's critical to a smooth flow of ideas to jot down the basic structure before you begin. I've edited several projects that are very disjointed, repetitive, and disorganized - had the piece gone out like that, no reader would have grasped the information the author intended to convey.
Here's a simple way to start. Write down each major category you want to cover. Let's say, for example, you want to write a book for beginning artists. Categories might be materials needed, resources, kinds of pencils, kinds of paint, choosing a pad or canvas, etc. Look at it another way - think of file folders. What "folder" would you need to file your thoughts into?
Once you have the basic list written, add sub-categories of topics you want to cover. Check the order of what you've written - does the flow and structure reflect where you want to take the reader?
Next time you have anything to write, try this out - you'll find it's a lot easier to flesh out an effective, easy-to-read piece!
I have clients who love to communicate and those who don't. But whether they love to or not, they all DO communicate in some way or another - it's part of life, of course, but also part of doing business.
Whether you like to communicate through writing is another story. I wrote before about getting your ideas out of your brain and onto paper, and even if you're not a top-notch writer, you can still communicate your brilliant ideas through blogging.
Creating and maintaining a blog can serve multiple purposes. Yes, of course it communicates the information you want to share, but it also communicates who you are, your personality and talents, your skills and gifts. For instance, if you regularly read this or my spiritual blog, you know more about me than most.
There are so many ways to set up an online blog with little or no cost. Here's a quick down-and-dirty suggestion list to get you thinking.
You know that feeling when your body has changed shape and your clothing doesn't fit quite right? Or when your once-perfect home has features you no longer need? Well, if you're a teacher, trainer, or coach of any sort, after a time your training materials may not fit your needs either.
Let's say you created a wonderful teleseminar a few years ago, with PowerPoint slides and downloads. The topic really speaks to your heart-based business, and it's been well received every time you offered it. You're preparing for another class, and you notice some references to a spiritual practice that no longer fits your belief system. Or perhaps you want to include material from a book you just read. These are indicators that what once worked for you no longer does.
Take advantage of these cues to read through your material. Does the overall "story" you're telling in your teaching represent the story in your current practice? Do the action steps you provide your students still make sense? Take a highlighter to the areas you want to revise, and draw a line through items you want to delete entirely.
While you're at it, examine your business practices in the same way. Do your rates work for both you and your clients? Do your speaking / teaching fees match your value? Do you have items you need to delegate to someone? Make sure that all aspects of your business still "fit," and if they don't, take action to tailor them!
And if you need help in the process, I know a great Spiritual Virtual Assistant who'd be delighted to help - Holly@
I've never liked that label - "dummies." Let's change it to "newbies"! If you have never been exposed to something, you are ignorant, not stupid. Now with that established, I want to explain a few simple things for "newbie" entrepreneurs (and for your home office as well) to simplify your record keeping using Excel.
Nearly every computer has some form of Excel or spreadsheet software, and they operate in nearly the same way. When you open the program you're presented with a screen full of little boxes - called cells. On the left are numbered rows, and at the top are lettered columns. This gives you a convenient "name" for each little cell. The one on the top left is in column A, row 1, so it's called "cell A1." Got it? Its "address" is A1.
Let's say you want to make yourself a simple "database" of contacts so you can have easy access to contact information for everyone you know. You'd want to start typing in cell A1 and go across into B1, C1, etc. Type the column names (headers) you want to use. A1 could be first name, B1 last name, C1 phone number, D1 email address, and so on - type in every category you want to capture.
Then below that, in cell A2, start typing your data. First name: Joe, last name: Smith, and so on. Continue to add the specifics for each person. When you're done, guess what - you've built a simple spreadsheet! GO YOU!
Now for the sexy stuff. Let's say you want to find out who of your contacts live in your state. You don't have to poke through the entire thing to find them. You can sort! Click on any cell in your State column. On the top right of your menu at the top of your screen, you'll see something that looks like this:
When you click on the icon you get choices. So now, you can sort the state cells alphabetically, and easily see your Ohioans. There are other ways, more complex ways, to do the same thing, but this is the easy way, for you Newbies!
You can use this simple recordkeeping method for anything: checkbook balances, calendar entries, deadlines, medications, whatever you can think of. Take some time to poke around in Excel and learn other things you can do with it. Have fun!
Anyone who knows me or has read my blogs knows that I encourage organization in life and work. And yet I have not always been good at goal setting. From a Law of Attraction standpoint, not to mention practically, I learned the value of setting goals.I've always used lists - and sometimes to excess! - to keep track of tasks, shopping needs, spiritual goals. (Read my post The To Do List.) Yet I did not break down my goals to plan my work week until just over a year ago. I knew what I needed to accomplish for clients or for my own business, but just attacked the list one item at a time based on priority. When I was presented with the idea of planning one week at a time, I felt such relief! I was no longer looking at a long list of obligations, but instead, a short, easily managed list.
One of the several spiritual business coaches I follow suggested that we plan our week on Sunday or Monday, to create a good work/life balance and yet accomplish what is necessary. For the last year, I start my Monday with a brief planning session. I take a look at the long list, at my current clients' wishes, and my time available, and from this information I write down the goals I want to reach for that week. This short-term planning helps me stay flexible, avoid overwhelm, and maintain my balance.
Give it a try yourself. Don't get so caught up in list-making that you feel anxious or controlling. Instead remind yourself that your intent is to make life easier for yourself! Sounds like a plan, Stan!
Decorations are down, parties are over, and life is back to post-holiday normal. For many of us, now is the time for the dreaded "T" word . . . Taxes! Ugh. A process nobody enjoys, whether you prepare quarterly statements for a small business or whether it's time to start organizing receipts for April. Too much of a project? Here's the answer - small bites!
I've worked with clients on both ends of the "prepared" spectrum - some with regular monthly updates of beautifully organized spreadsheets, and some who try to cram a year's worth of work into a few days. Which is better? I can't say. We all have different work styles, and what works for one may not work for another. However, in terms of low stress and efficiency, the first way is usually easier!
There are loads of online expense templates for any software system you might use (or SHOULD use if you don't now): Excel, Access, Quickbooks, etc. Even if you just use a simple Excel spreadsheet, taking half an hour each month to organize expenses is much easier than rushing to beat a deadline with a year's worth to go through. Go through receipts, bank and Paypal statements, and any other documentation you have. Enter each expense into your spreadsheet and add them up. Voila!
An easy way to stay organized is to use envelopes - even used ones from mail you've opened. Label each envelope with an expense category: Supplies & equipment, mileage, meals/entertainment, internet, contractor expenses, website and domain expenses, etc. Put all your business receipts in these envelopes as you sort through them, and when you're ready, all you have to do is add them up and enter into your spreadsheet.
Use these same envelopes to store receipts throughout this next year as well, and come next quarter's accounting, your recordkeeping will be a breeze!
My next post will cover ways to make going through statements eas
If you're in the holistic game, whether a body or energy worker, a reader, a health expert or any other medium, your business is dependent not just on what you do, but on what you say. How do you say it? And to whom?I recently posted about finding your writing "voice." But in today's high-tech world you'll want to find your speaking voice as well. Research shows that video is THE most effective marketing tool, and having video of yourself on your website (or at least online like on Youtube, if you don't have a website) is crucial to success. In fact, 51% of all consumer internet traffic is through internet video, with greater content recall. You and your message will be remembered if you offer video!
A high-quality product does not mean high expense. Excellent quality video can be made from a good smart phone, and today's digital video cameras are inexpensive. But it's not just the equipment that matters - it's YOU! Practice by presenting to yourself in the mirror! Give yourself a brief introduction to yourself! Try talking to a friend or relative with whom you're completely relaxed. Without judgment, notice your facial expressions, vocal tone and pitch, how well your personality comes across. It's YOU that sells yourself, especially in a service business.
There are lots of videos and resources to teach you how to create effective marketing videos. Take action now in the new year, and resolve to really shine your light to those who need what you have to offer. Just do it!
What do you think of when you hear that word - service? Do you think of military service? Customer service? Restaurant service? Religious service? What I want to talk about for a moment is this:
I believe it's a best practice to periodically review the service and services we provide. Think about the definition of what you do: "I provide massage therapy." "I educate about nutrition." "I write inspirational blogs." Whatever service you provide, how do you know that it serves your clients? Solicit feedback, get a year-end review, and if necesary, make any changes to your offerings or how you do your business.
Let's say for example that you provide microwave cooking classes. You do a great job of it. BUT, now that the dangers of cooking that way are known, does your service really serve? Time to update. And if a client relationship or a service you offer no longer serves YOU, then contribute to your welfare by making a change!
I've written about this before, but I have seen so many grammar sins lately in the media that I have to rant one more time, this time on comma use. Wait! Don't leave me yet, this will be fun!
Commas, the difference between "Let's eat, Grandma" and "Let's eat Grandma."
"The Panda eats, shoots, and leaves" vs. "The Panda eats shoots and leaves."
"It's raining, men" vs. "It's raining men."
"I love, Lucy" vs. "I love Lucy."
Then, of course, there's this magazine cover that made the rounds earlier this year. Mmmm, a nice family dinner!
I will not bore you with the specific English Teacher sentence structure lessons, but suffice it to say that commas define separate elements of a sentence. Used correctly, they clarify your meaning, as can be seen in the examples above. Used incorrectly, they not only cause confusion, but can give your readers a comical or horrific impression of you!
Here's a fun web page that lists other common grammatical mistakes, along with one of my earlier posts. There are countless internet resources and books available if you want to study up on what is correct. Just be sure to use an America resource, as British conventions are a bit different.
So, off you go now to write correctly. And let's not eat Grandma!
Welcome! These stories, tips and tricks are intended to help you save time, and be more organized and effective in your work. New items will be added frequently so check back often.