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  • Post-Apocalypse Christmas Holiday Plan For Your Business

    Christmas is Coming, if the Mayan Apocalypse doesn’t get us first.

    What did you do on December 21, the day the Mayan calendar supposedly stopped? I officiated a gothic Victorian wedding – I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the end of the world!

    Although, I don’t really understand why everyone was so worried. I read recently on the Atlantic Wire that archaeologists found new astronomical tables in the city of Xultun. These new tables pre-date the previous codex, which mysteriously stopped on Dec 21, 2012, and span over 7,000 years into the future. So it seems we’re not doomed yet. It’s just that the Mayan writing down the codex got a sore hand and went down to the pub for a drink instead.

    What Does The Mayan Apcoalypse Have to Do With MY Business?

    Not much, actually, come to think of it. Except for the fact that since it didn’t happen, chances are high you’ll get to enjoy your Christmas turkey, go to the beach (or the ice skating rink) and sip vodka through a straw or whatever it is you get up to on New Years.

    You’re out-of-commission. On Holiday. And that means your business is going to have to tick along without you.

    Is YOUR business prepared for that responsibility?

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  • Email: My Secret Shame, and Improving your creative business in the New Year

    I am shit with email.

    There is no sugar-coating that baby, no making excuses or blaming it on the cat. I am shit with email. I come home from work, all ready to write my little heart out for the evening, and there it is, that seething bulk of communication, and I am grateful for every single item that comes into my inbox - new albums for me to download, guest posting, client enquiries, press releases from strange and weird places, ad requests for Gothic Wedding Planner, replies from editors about pitches, newsletters … – so I, in my excitement, read them all, think “I’ll reply to that later, when I’ve given it some thought,” file it away in a folder, and promptly forget that I need to reply to it.

    Sometimes I look at that counter that says “54 new emails” and I go and listen to my husband’s band practice, instead.

    I frequently leave people hanging for days – sometimes even weeks. I accidentally delete things. I send emails and forget to attack stuff. I send enormous files without noticing. I am a bad, bad emailler. 

    If there were email gods, they would smite me where I stand.

    The first thing that I wanted to say was that if you’ve been a victim of my email-suckyness, I apologise. I am so, so, so sorry. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m an unorganised, scatterbrained hazard to myself.

    The second thing I want to say is that it’s going to change.

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  • Unicorns are Awesome and Why I can’t help you quit your day job

    [dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s a lot of bollocks blowing up in the blogasphere right now, especially surrounding internet marketers, information products, and the old adage: “those that can’t do, teach”. I won’t go into specifics, suffice to say a lot of people are starting to ask questions about what “qualifies” someone as an expert who can teach others – and whether teaching people they can “quit their day job” and run a successful internet business from home is the marker of a scam artist or not.

    I wanted to address this today because I’ve been reading what they’re saying and – even as a person who sells info-products – I can see their point. I don’t want to be rude or mean about it, or call anyone out, but yeah – I see their point.

    A phrase used by a lot of sites these days goes: “you don’t have to be a 10 in your chosen niche to teach. Even if you’re only a 5, you can teach the 1′s and 2′s”. And a lot of the people telling us this are genuinely nice, kind and caring people. I believe you should always think people have the best of intentions until proven otherwise, and most businesses who earn money around selling info-products and services – coaching, how-to ebooks, affiliate marketing, courses, etc – genuinely want to create something that helps people. They care.

    Hell, I write ebooks and I coach people, because I care.

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  • From punk rock princess to creative business coach: Epic Interrogations with Michelle Nickolaisen of LetsRadiate.com

    Do you know Michelle Nickolaisen? I have a feeling that in a couple of years when I ask you that question, you’ll be saying “of course!” Michelle is one kick ass chick – she’s been a blogger for several years, and her latest effort – Lets Radiate – is a love letter to creative folk who might be struggling with workflow or getting all their amazing projects off the ground.

    What does Michelle do better than anyone? She gets stuff done. She says “I have this great idea!” and then she goes out and gets it done. And she helps other creatives to work through blocks and figure out their workflow issues. And, since I’m bloody good at having great ideas, but not so good with the whole workflow things, I’m truly grateful to have her here to talk about running a small business, finding your people, and getting your business running as sweet as mustard.

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  • I’m am NOT a Workaholic … I’m Just Sensible

    I hope you’ve all had a gander at Monday’s EPIC INTERROGATION with Laura Simms, creative coach and artistic inspiration mistress. Laura has a lot of great tips for anyone interested in getting into coaching and consulting with our kind of people (those are creatively awesome people, by the way).

    When I asked her if she was a workaholic, Laura had this to say:

    No. I think that word gets bandied around a lot amongst online business people without much regard for what it really means. Do I work a lot? Yeah. Do I enjoy it? Almost all of it. Do I sacrifice other activities in order to work? Yes. Is my allegiance to my work detrimental to my health and relationships? No. I’m not a workaholic.

    Laura’s comment about not being a Workaholic inspired today’s post. First, let’s do a little semantics on the word “Workaholic”.

    The word consists of a root – work (defined in the noun as “Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result”), with the -holic suffix. When applied to words, -holic ususally denotes a negative condition, a person having an abnormal desire or dependence on something – an addiction, usually. Holic denotes an inability to stop oneself from indulging in their chosen vice.

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  • Don’t Let Your Fear Run Your Business

    Last week I wrote about making a big decision in my business to shut down what has been a lucrative source of income. I wrote about how afraid I was that this would completely screw my business.

    It didn’t.

    This week, I got a contract for several months worth of work. Work I enjoy and can turn around quickly. Work I can accurately gauge my time for. Work that makes me feel bubbly and happy and excited.

    The thing about fear is, we’re always afraid to change. We’re afraid the new situation is going to be SO MUCH WORSE than what we have now. We think “better the devil you know …”

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  • The perils of working for unknown returns

    [dropcap]I[/dropcap] work sixty hour weeks, and I don’t even notice. This probably makes me a horrible wife (and obviously, I have an incredibly tolerant husband).

    Some of this work is quantifiable – I work for an hour, I get paid for it. I finish a client’s job or a Braille book, fill out an invoice and money appears in my bank account. That money keeps us fed, watered, powered up, clothed (and when most of your clothes come from obscure underground shops in Scandinavia, this is no easy feat) and gassed up for adventures.

    But I work the rest of the time for unknown returns, and that’s quite scary. It might take me 30 minutes to write this blog post, but chances are, it won’t net me any money. Not a cent. It might bring in new readers, who might sign up to the email list for the FREE ebook or the RSS feed, and might eventually, one day, buy something from me, or because super internet famous and recommend me to all their friends, who might buy from me. But right now, this 30 minutes of work will net me exactly $0.

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  • When the Going Get’s Tough … the Tough make Brownies

    You ever have one of those weeks when everything seems impossible? Where all your savings are spent on emergency car repairs and replacing broken drum pedals and stolen car stereos and your work seems pointless and your goals seem impossible and the whole world seems to hate your guts?

    Yeah, me too.

    I’m currently facing the reality that – even though I reached my income goal for 2010 – we now have next to no savings left. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that not only will we probably not be moving to Germany next year, we can’t even technically afford to go to Wacken and see our amazing friends. I’m waiting and hoping for a cheque that was supposed to come in October, a cheque for over 2 months worth of work that I will likely not be paid for. I’m looking at spreadsheets and to-do lists and all the amazing things I wanted to do next year and just feeling like the world’s biggest failure.

    I feel like I’ve let my husband down, and myself, because I had set these goals and, even though I achieved them, it’s all come to nothing. We still won’t get to do what we’d set aside all that money to do. I’ve been busting a gut working 60 hour weeks for over a year now, and I have nothing to show for it.

    I have given myself permission to wallow. And hence, with a plate of my killer chocolate and beetroot brownies, I am sitting at the computer, the cat in my lap, listening to Opeth and throwing an epic pity party.

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  • The Secret to Successful Freelancing in the Economic Apocalypse

    [dropcap]T[/dropcap]oday, I wrote 2000 words on my novel, finished some metal album reviews, helped a creative lady in Aussie brainstorm business names, wrote some website copy, produced a Braille novel, gave an agency a quote for a new batch of work, and finished up by writing this article.

    What a fun day that was! Most of my days are like this (barring the days when I’m sleeping off a metal concert or off climbing over castles with my husband). A mix of interesting work from clients and agencies alongside my blogs and fiction writing. Not only that, this unique and interesting range of work is my success “secret”.

    Bloggers love catchy titles like “3 Secrets of Freelance Success” and “21 Ways to Scam Some Poor Sucker out of $50″. For years, I’ve been writing blogs for clients with titles like this, and there is definitely a place for them.

    Numbers in titles and buzz words like “Secret” and “Sure-Fire Method” force people to pay attention. They ooze confidence like a confident sausage-making machine. Readers think “A person who didn’t know what they were doing wouldn’t come up with 21 steps”.

    I know – the numbers and buzz words hook me, too. Even though I’ve been freelancing for 5 years and probably know all the secrets by now, I still read posts titled “5 Freelance Writing Secrets”. I can’t stand not knowing a secret – I’m a nosy bugger like that.

    But none of this secret stuff is really a secret. Most of it is just common sense. Even the most “sure-fire” method doesn’t work for everybody. Often, it’s the people rocking the status-quo who make all the money and get all the girls.

    Here’s a “secret” of mine. Even if it was a secret, which it isn’t, I’ve totally ruined my chances of making it as a freelancer by letting you get your fithly paws on it.

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