7 Tips for Blogging Success

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Let’s talk about blog­ging. We all know it’s impor­tant to stay in touch with your peeps, but it can be intim­i­dat­ing to get start­ed.

Find­ing the right top­ic for your blog is prob­a­bly the biggest hur­dle to get­ting start­ed. If you sit down to write and sud­den­ly get writer’s block, I’d sug­gest start­ing a list of blog post ideas, so when you are ready to write, you have a list of ideas at your fin­ger­tips. Your per­son­al expe­ri­ence is a great place to start. Shar­ing your sto­ry is like­ly to attract the right audi­ence.

Tone

Stay con­sis­tent with your brand when writ­ing your posts. Use the same tone of voice as the rest of your blogs. Whether you are known for being fun­ny or known for not sug­ar­coat­ing the truth, stay true to your style.

Images

Whether you use stock pho­tos or cre­ate your own graph­ics, make sure you at least have a head­er image that can be shared on social media.

Topic and SEO

Once you know your top­ic, it’s time to focus on SEO, the most dread­ed thing for every blogger…I’m just kid­ding, there are peo­ple who absolute­ly love SEO, my col­leagues includ­ed. Opti­miz­ing for search engines is of course a big part of your blog strat­e­gy. If you want to rank on Google, key­word research is manda­to­ry. You want all of your blog posts to be key­word rich with the spe­cif­ic key­words and key­word phras­es that your audi­ence is search­ing for. Opti­miz­ing after you have writ­ten your post can be done, but it is some­times quite tedious. And wouldn’t you rather focus on a new post any­way than opti­miz­ing an old one? A cou­ple of easy-to-use resources are the Google Key­word Plan­ner (Ads.Google.com) and UberSuggest.com. If you need help with your key­word research, we are just a click away!

Before publishing

It’s impor­tant to check your meta descrip­tion, your social descrip­tions and of course the dis­tri­b­u­tion of your key­words and the read­abil­i­ty analy­sis. Don’t for­get to add prop­er inter­nal and exter­nal links before pub­lish­ing your post.

After publishing

If you want vis­i­tors to read your blog, you need to make some noise and post it to your social media chan­nels! There are plu­g­ins that push your blog posts to social media as soon as you hit pub­lish. That said, we rec­om­mend organ­i­cal­ly post­ing your blog to all of your social plat­forms. Let your fol­low­ers know that you have pub­lished anoth­er great blog.

Internal linking to this post from other posts

Inter­nal links are links that are in your text and they tell Google all about con­text. It’s impor­tant to link to and from your blog post. While writ­ing your post, you can link to oth­er posts you’ve writ­ten already, but you can not link to your new­ly cre­at­ed blog. (Your vis­i­tors would end up on a 404 and Google doesn’t like 404s!) After pub­lish­ing, make sure you check which blog posts could do well with a link to your new post and add them imme­di­ate­ly. Trust me, you will thank me lat­er when you don’t have to go through all your orphaned con­tent and spend hours upon hours find­ing con­text and rel­e­vant posts!

Analyzing post performance

After a month, you can start to ana­lyze your post’s per­for­mance. This is some­thing you need to do every three months. More often or less often if desired. You should check in Google Search Con­sole how peo­ple found your blog post, if you rank for the key­words you wish to rank for, and if you pos­si­bly should cre­ate more posts sur­round­ing the sub­ject or make the blog post even more in-depth.

Revisit your cornerstone content

Every 6 months, you should revis­it your cor­ner­stone con­tent and check if it’s still up to date. Your cor­ner­stone con­tent con­tains length­i­er arti­cles that give a lot of infor­ma­tion. This is also known as ever­green con­tent.  Be sure to use my 75/25 rule for all of your social media posts!

Happy blogging!!

» Secretly wish you didn’t have to do any of this??

We, of course, have hap­py lit­tle writ­ing gnomes, just wait­ing to ghost-write your blogs for you!! You give us the top­ics, we do all the heavy lift­ing! Please just let us know if you’d like more info on our full-ser­vice blog writ­ing at AmpUpMyBiz.com/Contact

 

Meet IGTV, Instagram’s New Long-Form Video Tool!

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The now 1 bil­lion users strong social plat­form, Insta­gram, has a new fea­ture that may take large pieces of YouTube’s pie. On June 20th, 2018 Insta­gram announced the launch of IGTV. IGTV allows cre­ators to upload and share videos up to an hour in length, users cre­ate their own chan­nels, and Insta­gram plans to let cre­ators mon­e­tize their chan­nels in the future. This excit­ing new fea­ture of the Insta­gram expe­ri­ence cre­ates oppor­tu­ni­ty for busi­ness­es, how can IGTV help grow your brand?

Kevin Sys­trom, CEO of Insta­gram, on stage at the June 20th launch event in San Fran­cis­co stat­ed “It’s time for video to move for­ward and evolve.” IGTV videos are opti­mized for mobile view­ers by play­ing videos in a ver­ti­cal for­mat and is acces­si­ble in the Insta­gram app and as a stand­alone IGTV app for both iPhone and Android users.

Unlike pre­vi­ous Insta­gram video fea­tures, where length was lim­it­ed to 1 minute or less, IGTV videos can be up to 1 hour in length. Allow­ing for longer videos gives cre­ators more free­dom and means a lot more time can be spent con­sum­ing con­tent and keep­ing users in the app. There are cur­rent­ly no ads in IGTV but Sys­trom says that down the road they’d like to help cre­ators mon­e­tize IGTV and that they rec­og­nize the pre­mi­um oppor­tu­ni­ty for ads in IGTV. View­ers can com­ment on, heart, and even share IGTV videos with oth­er Insta­gram users. In IGTV you can browse videos cat­e­go­rized in tags labeled “For You” includ­ing videos Insta­gram believes you’ll enjoy, “Fol­low­ing” show­ing videos from cre­ators you fol­low in Insta­gram, “Popular” which is trend­ing videos, and “Con­tin­ue Watch­ing” where you can watch videos you’ve pre­vi­ous­ly start­ed. There is also a search bar where users can search for creator’s chan­nels, cur­rent­ly hash­tag search is not includ­ed in this search tool.

If you’re already on Insta­gram you can eas­i­ly cre­ate your IGTV chan­nel sim­ply by click­ing the new IGTV logo, a tv with a line through it, in your Insta­gram app in the top right cor­ner of the news­feed tab or by down­load­ing the IGTV app. Click to cre­ate a chan­nel and then you’re ready to start post­ing con­tent! Con­tent is made in advance and then uploaded, cur­rent­ly video can­not be shot in IGTV itself.

As Insta­gram is now up to 1 bil­lion users IGTV has a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for growth and gives mar­keters a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty too! With IGTV brands and busi­ness­es can show­case more about them­selves and cap­ti­vate their audi­ences for longer peri­ods of time. Imag­ine a spa allow­ing you to watch a full treat­ment as they explain the ben­e­fits, or watch­ing a full-length inter­view in Insta­gram. IGTV videos can also be shared to a con­nect­ed Face­book page when post­ing allow­ing the con­tent to go even far­ther. Cre­ators can also include links in video descrip­tions to out of app web­sites. (As you know, you still can’t put links in your IG posts, but you can on your IGTV videos.)

Videos have been a grow­ing trend in social media for some time now, so if you’re not cre­at­ing video con­tent yet it’s time to start! Video con­tent allows your audi­ence to get to know your brand bet­ter and if your con­tent is engag­ing enough they’ll keep com­ing back for more!

We’d love to hear your com­ments and ques­tions below!

As always, if you need help with any of your online mar­ket­ing, we’re just a click away.

6 Ways to Gain More Traffic to Your Facebook Group

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Since the Face­book algo­rithm is now giv­ing pri­or­i­ty to con­tent from Groups, local news sources, and oth­er places where Face­book users have “mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions”, it is high time to con­sid­er using FB Groups to help increase those mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions, and at the same time, build your brand.

Groups are a way to build a com­mu­ni­ty based on a com­mon inter­est.  Think about your business…What do your clients want to talk about? Groups pro­vide a space to com­mu­ni­cate about a shared inter­est. You can cre­ate a group for anything—your fam­i­ly reunion, your after-work sports team, your book club—but since we are in the busi­ness of grow­ing busi­ness­es, we’re think­ing more in line with: My Week­ly Busi­ness WIN, Ask a Sales Expert, Fit­ness for Fun, etc.

There are a cou­ple of tricks to use for grow­ing a Face­book Group, so to aid in your efforts, here are six tips for increas­ing engage­ment in your Face­book Group.

 

First, Make A Closed Group

Believe it or not, closed Face­book Groups often fos­ter more engage­ment than pub­lic groups. Group mem­bers are more like­ly to post if they know that their post will only be seen by like-mind­ed indi­vid­u­als in the Group—not every­one in their Face­book feed. 

There’s also a sense of exclu­siv­i­ty in a closed Face­book Group. Hav­ing a closed Group fos­ters an intel­li­gent and respect­ful atmos­phere that encour­ages mem­bers to post.

2. Your Group Needs a Cen­tral Theme, (not a prod­uct)

Since Groups tar­get a sin­gle com­mu­ni­ty, base your Group on a sin­gle theme that will inter­est your clients. Base it on a need. For exam­ple, say you own a music store. Make a Group for local musi­cians, not a Group about your store. Ask mem­bers to share their exper­tise. Let mem­bers par­tic­i­pate and get com­fort­able in the Group. Let it become a place where they find valu­able infor­ma­tion. Then, mix in pro­mo­tion­al posts lat­er on when the Group is estab­lished.

What do your clients want to talk about? Clients don’t want to dis­cuss your music store. Rather, they want to dis­cuss gigs, equip­ment, and tips for copy­writ­ing orig­i­nal tunes. Then when a Group mem­ber needs a new micro­phone, or gui­tar, he or she will remem­ber that your store’s Group gave them great infor­ma­tion in the past. 

 

3. But How Will Members Remember ME?

Face­book lets you cre­ate Groups using your exist­ing brand­ed Page. Addi­tion­al­ly, your brand­ed Face­book Page will be adver­tised on the right-hand side of your Group inside of the “Group By” box. 

When cre­at­ing your Group, add “By [brand name]” to the end of your Group’s name. For exam­ple, we could make a Group titled “Social Media Mar­ket­ing Secrets by Amp Up My Biz.”

4. Active Admins…A Must

Your admin­is­tra­tors need to be active­ly engaged. Reg­u­lar engage­ment is key to keep­ing your audi­ence con­nect­ed. What’s the point of ask­ing ques­tions, if no one is there to pro­vide answers and reg­u­lar­ly engage with mem­bers?

Ide­al­ly, we rec­om­mend hav­ing a week­ly series. Give mem­bers a call-to-action to encour­age them to join the con­ver­sa­tion. Admins could even ask Group mem­bers what they want to dis­cuss, to get the pulse of the mem­bers. Of course, be sure to use their ideas. Oth­er­wise, you will lose cred­i­bil­i­ty. Or have a series based off a FAQ, or a just-for-fun top­ic relat­ed to your indus­try. Final­ly, give the series a mem­o­rable title. EG. It’s Time to Ring the Cow­bell or Ten Cents a Dance.

News Flash: Face­book is rolling out a series of new fea­tures aimed at those who cre­ate and man­age these groups, includ­ing cus­tomer sup­port with answers and help pro­vid­ed by a real per­son, not a machine or auto­mat­ed respons­es. Admins are also get­ting a ded­i­cat­ed online edu­ca­tion por­tal and more tools to man­age their groups’ posts. Cur­rent­ly they are in the pilot phase for admin sup­port that’s avail­able to a lim­it­ed num­ber of group admins on iOS and Android (but you know how fast things change). 

 

5. Cover Photo and Group Description…Also A Must

Make sure to include a Group descrip­tion and a cov­er pho­to. All groups, pub­lic or closed, are view­able pub­licly. Poten­tial mem­bers need an accu­rate descrip­tion of your group to decide if they are inter­est­ed. Also make sure to use a pho­to that will grab someone’s atten­tion. First impres­sions mat­ter, even on the web.

 

6. Welcome New Members

Don’t for­get to wel­come your new mem­bers to the Group. This trick is more effec­tive than you’d think. Each week send out a wel­come post invit­ing peo­ple to say hi and intro­duce them­selves. Make it infor­mal, so new mem­bers feel com­fort­able to post, plus, it will encour­age exist­ing mem­bers to say hel­lo and get con­ver­sa­tions start­ed.

Keep grow­ing your Face­book Group! 

To recap: Your closed group should have a description/photo that inspires poten­tial mem­bers to join. Once they join, be sure to wel­come them and have active admins that keep the group use­ful to its mem­bers.

If you haven’t formed a group for your busi­ness, at least go and look at all the groups out there. Maybe join one. Once your feet are wet, you might want to form your own group. They are easy and an excel­lent way to engage your audi­ence and grow your brand.

Need help? Please just reach out to us!

F**k FEAR!

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In my per­son­al opin­ion, the num­ber-one thing that stops most peo­ple from pur­su­ing their entre­pre­neur­ial dreams is FEAR. Well, you know what I say?? F**k fear. (What??!! I can’t believe she just said that! Well, I did.) So many of us are fear dri­ven. We are mak­ing choic­es, big and small, not based on what we tru­ly want, but on what we are afraid of—what we’re afraid of los­ing, what we’re afraid of win­ning, the fear of work­ing too hard, the fear of not work­ing hard enough, the fear of doing it “wrong,” the fear of rejec­tion, the fear of what oth­ers think of us, the fear that we can’t do it, the fear that we can. Where in your life does fear stop you? Take a moment to look at your life and think about some of the things you REALLY want.

How many of those things are you work­ing toward right now? How many are you not?

Now that we know what you want, I’d love to know what’s stop­ping you. (I bet you’d love to know what’s stop­ping you too, right?) So, take a moment, take a breath, maybe put your hand on your heart and feel into what fears and beliefs are real­ly stop­ping you from get­ting every­thing you want. You may find your­self get­ting emo­tion­al here. That’s ok. Our great­est fears and desires have emo­tion behind them, and some­times they’re eas­i­er to just ignore; it’s high time we give them a voice so we can deal with them. I’ll give you some exam­ples to get you start­ed…

  • Lazi­ness
  • What if I spend my time and I fail?
  • What if I spend my mon­ey and I fail?
  • What if I try as hard as I can and I fail?
  • What if I succeed…then what?!
  • What if he/she won’t love me any­more?
  • What will my friends think?
  • Peo­ple will expect me to…
  • I will expect xyz from myself.
  • I’m just too tired.
  • I don’t want to work that hard.
  • I don’t think I can do it.
  • It’s too hard.
  • I don’t know how.
  • I have too many respon­si­bil­i­ties to fol­low a dream.
  • That’s not the way life works.
  • Hard­ly any­one gets what they real­ly want, what makes me any dif­fer­ent?
  • Etc.

What’s stop­ping you from going after what you tru­ly want in your life?

I’d love to hear in the com­ments below!

This is an excerpt from Brid­get Brady’s #1 Inter­na­tion­al Best­seller, “Jobs to Jam­mies!” 

Get your copy now at JobsToJammies.com.

 

The Life of an Entrepreneur…WHY BOTHER?

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It’s 6 AM. My alarm goes off, and I feel a famil­iar pit of despair in my stom­ach. I won­der if I con­tin­ue to press snooze for long enough, will I no longer need to go to work today? Alas, I must get up…shower, hair, make-up, suit. Cof­fee, cof­fee, cof­fee. I’m at the edge of late, so I’ll have to run to catch my bus. My heels are in my bag, as I run to join the oth­er tired drones on the bus. I ride for an hour to spend the day doing some­thing I do not love, with peo­ple I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly choose to spend time with if they weren’t in the cubi­cle next to me, to eat lunch at my desk, or I could go out, but it’s so stress­ful to get back in time for my meet­ing, and (errrrreeeccckk—this is the sound of squeal­ing tires as I halt this sto­ry).

This isn’t my life…well, it’s not my life any­more. Today, I work at home in my PJs. Most days I wake up when I’m done sleep­ing. I exer­cise, make myself some deli­cious break­fast, write in my grat­i­tude jour­nal, and when I’m ready, I start work. My com­mute is 30 sec­onds, I don’t have any make-up on, my hair is in a pony­tail, I work with whomev­er I choose, focus­ing on projects that bring me joy and ful­fill­ment, and most of the time, I love my life.

Hon­est­ly, I think the num­ber-one rea­son to be an entre­pre­neur in some fash­ion is, to quote one of my idols, Aretha Franklin, “Free­dom, oh free­dom, yeah free­dom, peo­ple say FREEDOM!” Please don’t mis­un­der­stand me and think I’m imply­ing that entre­pre­neurs don’t work. In my expe­ri­ence, entre­pre­neurs often work “hard­er” than many employ­ees. But the dif­fer­ence is that it’s in YOUR time, on YOUR sched­ule, with YOUR rules. The dif­fer­ence is that when my niece was born, I could take two weeks off to fly to Col­orado to be with her and my fam­i­ly. I didn’t ask for per­mis­sion, I didn’t take vaca­tion days, I just went. I per­son­al­ly am a work hard/play hard entre­pre­neur. When I work, I am dili­gent and focused and am con­stant­ly striv­ing to pro­vide more and more val­ue in the mar­ket­place and in people’s lives. When I don’t want to work, I don’t. I spend time with the peo­ple I love, I go on total­ly unplugged vaca­tions (no cell phone, no com­put­er), I take class­es, I go to hap­py hour, I go hik­ing, I read, I nap, I travel…you get the pic­ture.

I would also like to take a moment here to talk about full-time vs. part-time entre­pre­neurs. If you want to ful­ly tran­si­tion out of a job you’re not pas­sion­ate about, you can absolute­ly do that. But even if you love your job, or you tru­ly don’t want to give up your job, you can still become at least a part-time entre­pre­neur in some form or fash­ion. Entre­pre­neuri­al­ism is not for every­one, but you won’t know until you try. The extra mon­ey and time free­dom it will afford you can be well worth the effort. Besides, you could find a new call­ing that might sur­prise you. If you have a desire for more time and mon­ey free­dom, if you want more con­trol of your life and your income, then it’s time to have your own busi­ness. That is where more time and mon­ey free­dom come from. They cer­tain­ly don’t come from being a slave to a com­pa­ny or anoth­er per­son.

Why do YOU both­er?  What dri­ves you to be an entre­pre­neur?  I’d love to hear in the com­ments below!

This is an excerpt from Brid­get Brady’s #1 Inter­na­tion­al Best­seller, “Jobs to Jam­mies!”  Get your copy now at JobsToJammies.com.

A Little Birdy Just Told Me…

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A lit­tle birdy just told me we’re gonna’ get more out of 140 char­ac­ters!

In the com­ing months Twit­ter is mak­ing changes to sim­pli­fy Tweets includ­ing what counts toward your 140 char­ac­ters! For instance, @names in replies and media attach­ments (like pho­tos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valu­able char­ac­ters.   You’ll now also be able to Retweet and Quote Tweet your­self. These updates will be avail­able over the com­ing months. If you want to get more of the scoop, just go talk to that same lit­tle bird…I call her “Twit­ter”.

Check back here for more updates in the com­ing months!

If you have more info on this, or oth­er Twit­ter updates, PLEASE be sure to add a com­ment below!

 

How Long Does Social Media Marketing Take?

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AKA:  Allow­ing Your Social Media to Grow

One of the ques­tions (or con­cerns) that I some­times get from my clients is, “How long will this take?”  Like most peo­ple, when I want some­thing, I pret­ty much want it NOW.  The real­i­ty is, social media takes time to grow and reach it’s full effi­ca­cy.  It just does.  We ALL wish it would hap­pen light­en­ing fast, and in a mat­ter of weeks we’d have thou­sands of new fol­low­ers and hun­dreds of new sales.

The GREAT news is that it DOES work.  It’s been proven again and again that a huge piece of today’s mar­ket­ing IS social media mar­ket­ing.  The pri­ma­ry ben­e­fits are:  Increased expo­sure, increased traf­fic, mar­ket­place insight, lead gen­er­a­tion, devel­op­ing loy­al fans, improved search rank­ings (SEO), busi­ness part­ner­ship growth, reduced mar­ket­ing expens­es and increased sales.

Social Media Benefits

I found an inter­est­ing quote by Tom Mar­tin after inter­view­ing sev­er­al top social media experts: “So, how long do the lead­ing dig­i­tal thought lead­ers think it should take before your new social effort begins to show results?  Drum­roll please……. well, on aver­age… about six months.”

I per­son­al­ly have found this to be true.  Most peo­ple start to see results in about 6 months, and start to meet their larg­er goals in 12 — 24 months.  So, this is my “please remem­ber to be patient” love note for you.

Question          

 
But wait…Isn’t there a way to speed this up??  

Pour some gaso­line on this baby??

 

1.  
No…and YES!!!  There is noth­ing as proven as time to let things grow.  But there is also noth­ing like well-craft­ed social media ads to light a fire under it!  Social media ads can be run on almost any plat­form, for almost any bud­get. In addi­tion to offi­cial ads, there are also less expen­sive “post boosts” on Face­book.

2.  Mea­sure­ment, analy­sis and improve­ment.  I also rec­om­mend con­sis­tent­ly look­ing at all your KPI’s (key per­for­mance indi­ca­tors) to see what you can do to get bet­ter results.  Look at the opti­mal days for your posts, the opti­mal times of day to post, which of your posts get the most engage­ment, etc.

3.  Con­sis­ten­cy.  Part of this social media game is just PLAYING.  Well-craft­ed, key­word-rich posts, put out across mul­ti­ple plat­forms every week DO get results. When you’re con­sis­tent with your social media and using best-prac­tices, suc­cess is inevitable.

 

~ Brid­get Brady, Small Biz Ampli­fi­er

Staying Up Too Late?? Hard Time Going to Bed ALONE??

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No snug­gles, no warm body, no oth­er pos­si­ble bed-time activ­i­ties, no…nothing. C’mon sin­gle friends (and ESPECIALLY sin­gle entre­pre­neurs) you know this drill. When there is no one to go to bed with, and you don’t have a J.O.B., so you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to get up at a par­tic­u­lar time, some­times it’s hard to get our­selves to actu­al­ly go to bed. Sure we’re tired, but with noth­ing urgent (or com­fort­ing) draw­ing our bod­ies to slip into our sheets, some­times it seems eas­i­er to stay up too late…way too late. There are more emails to check, there are TV shows to watch, videos to edit, blogs to write, snacks to eat, glass­es of wine to drink…and end-of-the-day solace to be enjoyed. You worked all day, went to the gym, made your sales calls, wrote your blog, ran your errands, and man­aged your com­pa­ny. Now it’s late, there’s no one around, and it’s almost like find­ing anoth­er day in your day. A time that’s just for you. It’s too late for the phone to ring, it’s far too late to make out­go­ing busi­ness calls, and you find your­self drawn to do just a few more things before bed. This could be emails, and work relat­ed “stuff”, this could be your TV, what­ev­er it is, it’s keep­ing you up TOO LATE.

Don’t lec­ture ME”, right?? You know that with a great night’s sleep you get up ear­li­er, have the ener­gy to get to the gym, and have more focused ener­gy for your busi­ness and your life all day. And although you know this…the mere knowl­edge of this doesn’t always get you to bed at a decent hour. So what’s the solu­tion?? In my expe­ri­ence it’s two-fold: a sys­tem, and some trick­i­ness. Let’s talk about a sys­tem first, then we can get “tricky-with-it”.

The sys­tem:

Choose a time that you’d like to go to bed, if there are no “exten­u­at­ing” cir­cum­stances. Obvi­ous­ly there will be times when a big project needs to be com­plet­ed, or you’re out with friends, or you’re hav­ing an all night chat-a-thon with a new beau (or cute girl). I’m not talk­ing about those nights. I’m talk­ing about the oth­er 90% of the time, when you’re at home, in your nor­mal rou­tine.

Choose a time when you close your computer/work for the day. This is most eas­i­ly found by rewind­ing the clock from bed-time. Let’s say you’d like to go to bed by 12. Per­haps you’d like an hour or two of television/unwind time, which rewinds us to 10:30 PM, 30 min­utes to have a snack and/or glass of wine (10:00) and 30 min­utes to straight­en up the house, or do mis­cel­la­neous tasks (9:30 PM). Great! Now, at 9:30 PM, shut down your com­put­er, put away your work, and walk away from your desk. That’s it. You are DONE for the day with work, and all oth­er even remote­ly work relat­ed activ­i­ties. Now you get to enjoy your evening rit­u­als.

Stick to your rit­u­al. (For the most part) Do what you want to do, have your snack, drink your wine, watch that show on Hulu, med­i­tate, do your sit-ups, load the dish­wash­er, set out your gym clothes…whatever. Do it, and ful­ly enjoy it. Then with the clock strikes “bed-time”, we’re using 12 PM in our exam­ple. Get up and go to bed. Yes, I know, I hear you…stop your clam­or­ing. “It’s not that easy,” you say. I know. You’re right. That’s where the trick­i­ness comes into play. Read on…

The Trick­i­ness:

I total­ly get that you can fol­low all your cute lit­tle rit­u­als, and close your com­put­er, and do your evening stuff, and look up at the clock at 11 or 12 (or what­ev­er your bed-time is) and say…”but I still don’t real­ly want to go to bed, I know I ‘should’ go to bed, but maybe one more show, one more Face­book post, one more what­ev­er.” Because you still don’t have any­thing draw­ing you into your bed, oth­er than your tiredness…but we’re entre­pre­neurs, we’re war­riors, we can work through tired, it’s not all that big of a deal, right?? We can total­ly be 98% if we get at least 5 hours of sleep, right?!?

The “trick” is sim­ple. Find one last enjoy­able draw to get you into bed. My per­son­al trick is a real­ly amaz­ing FICTION book. I’ve tried self-help books, busi­ness books, and the like, they don’t seem to work as well for me. When I’m in a real­ly good habit and flow of going to bed on-time, some­times I can use a good busi­ness or per­son­al devel­op­ment book, but I the “trick” that real­ly does it for me is a great work of fic­tion with char­ac­ters I con­nect with. Then, when it’s bed time, I get to brush my teeth, wash my face, and find out what’s been going on with Har­ry Pot­ter, Jemi­ma James, Anna, Ruth, Eliz­a­beth, Stan­ley, Ben, etc. So I lay in my lux­u­ri­ous bed, already proud of myself for get­ting to bed on-time, and I read for a bit. With­in 30 min­utes or so I’m ready to go to sleep.

It’s that easy.

So, for all the sin­gle men and women, or the cou­pled men and women, out there who are going to bed too late, and who are caught in an end­less cycle of not enough sleep, try a sys­tem AND a trick. Let me know how it goes by com­ment­ing here on this blog. I can’t wait to hear all about it!!

Life: A Balancing Act

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Work, fam­i­ly, friends, busi­ness, fun, romance, our dai­ly tasks, self care, etc. How does this all get tak­en care of? How does it all get bal­anced? Truth?? I have almost no idea. I do how­ev­er have some thoughts to share, that you might real­ly like.

I’m writ­ing this on the plane from Den­ver to Los Ange­les, the flight I typ­i­cal­ly take 3 – 4 times a year to vis­it my fam­i­ly in Col­orado. Birth­days, wed­dings, hol­i­days, I do my best to make as many as pos­si­ble. And although I LOVE see­ing my fam­i­ly, and tru­ly wish I saw them more often, in order to fly out to Col­orado sev­er­al times a year, I “leave behind” my busi­ness, my shows, record­ing my album, my friends, and my usu­al self-care rou­tine. I believe it’s worth it. There is noth­ing more impor­tant to me than my fam­i­ly, but it most def­i­nite­ly brings into ques­tion my bal­ance.

Whether you spend a lot of time trav­el­ing, or you are at home, pur­su­ing your dream, work­ing on your busi­ness, or even work­ing your job, how do all of your pri­or­i­ties get fit into our mod­ern-day busy lives? Let’s start with some “easy” ones, and work our way through some pos­si­bil­i­ties.

Friends. What I’ve found most use­ful with most things in life, but cer­tain­ly with my friend­ships, is to be ful­ly present with them when I’m with them, and keep in touch periph­er­al­ly through text, phone, or even social media when I can’t see them in per­son. Here’s what I mean, when I’m at din­ner, or cof­fee, or at a friend’s house, I am NOT on my cell phone, or social media. I am WITH my friends. Ful­ly engaged, soak­ing up and giv­ing back all the con­nec­tion, con­ver­sa­tion and love that I can muster in those moments. This way, our time togeth­er is high-qual­i­ty time, and even if I only get to see my friends once a week, once a month…or even once a year, our time togeth­er is ful­fill­ing.

Self-Care. When you have a busy life, or are trav­el­ling, it seems that the first thing for a lot of peo­ple to let go of is our self-care. This is a TOUGH one. I get it. This is often the first thing I let go of too. It’s some­times eas­i­er to keep our com­mit­ments to our jobs, busi­ness­es, fam­i­ly and friends, than to our­selves. I urge you (and me) to do your best to find a self-care rou­tine that is DO-ABLE in MOST sce­nar­ios. Fig­ure out what that means to you. It might be a spe­cif­ic eat­ing strat­e­gy, bed-time, exer­cise, med­i­ta­tion, or even qui­et time that ensures your bat­tery is charged. I know that when my self-care fal­ters, every­thing else in my life just feels hard­er. Then, regard­less of what else is going on, put your­self first (as much as pos­si­ble). Put your own oxy­gen mask on first, before help­ing oth­ers. (Yep…still on the plane.)

Busi­ness. If you own a busi­ness, do your best to “sys­tem­ize” and put as much of your busi­ness on auto-pilot as pos­si­ble. Espe­cial­ly when trav­el­ling, or dur­ing big life events. Remem­ber to del­e­gate any tasks that aren’t in your core strengths, or that you are required for. If you can’t take time away from your busi­ness to trav­el, or spend time with the peo­ple you love, you prob­a­bly own a “job”, not a busi­ness. Addi­tion­al­ly, in my opin­ion, if you are so chained to your busi­ness, that you can’t take time away, it’s pos­si­ble you might be bet­ter off just get­ting a job. At least jobs have ben­e­fits, and vaca­tion time.

Fam­i­ly. This might be your spouse, your kids, your sib­lings, your par­ents, your sig­nif­i­cant oth­er, etc. If you want a “healthy” fam­i­ly, your fam­i­ly requires your time and your ener­gy. Sim­i­lar to your friends, I encour­age you to be as present with your fam­i­ly as much of the time as pos­si­ble. Now, I get it, if you are liv­ing with some­one, there will be times that you are togeth­er, and on your phone, or on the inter­net, etc. That said, be sure that qual­i­ty-time is set aside. I encour­age you to not fall vic­tim to periph­er­al time like watch­ing TV, or doing work, become the “only” time you spend togeth­er. Find ways like meals at the table, or evening chats to share your day, and con­nect inti­mate­ly with your fam­i­ly as much as pos­si­ble. If you spend 8 – 12 hours a day work­ing (as many of us do) find a way to spend time every day tru­ly con­nect­ing with your fam­i­ly.

Fun. Find time for fun. Peri­od. This comes in many dif­fer­ent pack­ages for many dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but seri­ous­ly friends, if you’re not tak­ing time to tru­ly PLAY and have some FUN (that’s Fun with a cap­i­tal “F” with no oth­er rea­son than hav­ing fun) what is the point of all the oth­er stuff you’re work­ing so hard at?? Once a day, once a week, once a month, whatever…go have some “no ulte­ri­or motive” fun!

Rela­tion­ships. I’m talk­ing about the roman­tic ones now. Sin­gle or com­mit­ted, here is yet anoth­er piece of the puz­zle that requires focus, ener­gy and time. If you’re cur­rent­ly in a rela­tion­ship, you might con­sid­er a stand­ing date night, or a mutu­al play day that is just yours alone. If you’re sin­gle, then the time spent on this is find­ing that spe­cial some­one. I would sug­gest deter­min­ing how impor­tant this is to you at this time, and putting forth time and effort accord­ing­ly. Some peo­ple are per­fect­ly hap­py in life with­out “roman­tic” love. If that’s you, great! If not, and if you are sin­gle, find­ing love can indeed become anoth­er “task” on your life list. If it’s impor­tant to you, don’t leave it out of the mix.

Life “Stuff”. These are the dai­ly or week­ly tasks that most human beings have. Con­sol­i­date, and del­e­gate. If you have errands or tasks that can be del­e­gat­ed, by all means, do that! Do you real­ly need to clean your own house, wash your own car and do your own tax­es? I’m going to sug­gest that you don’t. Find the tasks that are eas­i­ly del­e­gat­ed to oth­ers, and for good­ness sake, del­e­gate them. This frees up more of your time to spend on your oth­er 1,007 pri­or­i­ties. If there are tasks that are best done by you, con­sol­i­date. Run all your errands just once a week, or per­haps have a spe­cif­ic time every day that you work on paper­work, or pay bills. Bot­tom line, del­e­gate and con­sol­i­date as much as pos­si­ble. It’s some­times the lit­tle life “stuff” that drains our time more than any­thing else.

I think the key to all of this is focus. Doing the “thing” we’re doing with so much pres­ence of mind that we don’t miss it. I think it also lies in find­ing secret moments to do things, when pos­si­ble. My cur­rent exam­ple is writ­ing on air­planes. I wrote almost my entire book, “Jobs to Jam­mies” from an air­plane. There’s real­ly “noth­ing” else I can do from the air, so I love to get some writ­ing done. (Like the blog you are cur­rent­ly read­ing.) Like I said sev­er­al para­graphs before, I hon­est­ly don’t have the “answer” on this one. I get super caught up in my busi­ness and my work, and real­ize I haven’t spent time with my friends for weeks at a time. I get caught up in big projects or stress­ful fam­i­ly events, and I decide that tak­ing care of myself can wait. I think that out­side of extreme cir­cum­stances, this doesn’t serve us. I believe it IS pos­si­ble to live a bal­anced life where work, fam­i­ly, friends, fun, rela­tion­ships, and tak­ing care of our­selves co-exist with joy and grace. We might vis­it imbal­ance, but let’s do our best to live in bal­ance.

To learn more about the busi­ness vehi­cles that help me stay bal­anced, please vis­it: http://AmpUpMyBiz.com. To get on the list for my lat­est book, vis­it: JobsToJammies.com.

Please com­ment below, I would love to hear YOUR thoughts and tips on this!!