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Wednesday
Jan222014

The Two Traps You Must Set To Capture Your Best Blog Ideas

Good morning, rebellious rule breaker!

I hope you're having a splendid morning. (Or evening. Or lunch break. Whatever! I don't care. I just hope it's splendid. If it's yucky outside, just close your eyes and imagine the sun shining! I'm writing this post from a sunny patio in California and I want to share the sunrays with you!).

 

 

I'm damn inspired today to help you solve one of your biggest, silliest blogging blunders. 

 

This is one of those simple, golden nuggets of advice that will make you slap your forehead with an open hand and say "DOH!" à la Homer Simpson.

It's not fancy. It's actually the most simple piece of advice I've ever given

 

In fact, you've probably already heard this golden nugget of advice and thought, "Oh yes. That's nice."

Yet... I know you're not doing it.

And even if you ARE doing it, I know that you could do it BETTER.

 

People ask me on a weekly basis, "How do you come up with ideas for your blog?"

 

They say things like...

"Every time I sit down to write, it's like all of my good ideas run away and hide."

"I know that I'm an expert, but I just don't know how to come up with a good article idea."

"I hate following an editorial calendar. I never feel inspired to write about the thing that I PLANNED on writing about."

 

So don't worry, I'm NOT going to tell you to create an editorial calendar or plan your blog articles six months in advance. This type of Glamour Magazine-style planning has never worked for me and from what you've told me, it's not working for you, either!

 

No - what I do is much, much, MUCH simpler.

 

Because the thing is... YOU HAVE PLENTY OF ADORABLE, SHOCKING, REVOLUTIONARY, BORDERLINE LIFE-ALTERING blog ideas.

 

If you're anything like me, your best ideas hit you when you're...

...driving on the highway.

...lathering your locks in the shower.

...drifting off into sleep.

...waiting for your your car's oil change.

...working on something else entirely.

...chatting with your friends over an artisan beer.

...standing in a downward dog in yoga class.

...sweating in a crowded rush hour subway train.

 

 And because you're busy (or don't have a pen handy) you say to yourself whistfully, "I'll remember it when I get home/wake up/get out of the shower."

 

HOWEVER, DUE TO THE LAW OF THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF LIFE, YOU DON'T REMEMBER YOUR LIFE-ALTERING IDEA. YOU NEVER DO. NEVER!

 

So here's what we're going to do.

 

We're going to set up the 2 idea traps that you abso-tootly MUST have if you want to consistently come up with amaze-balls blog content:

 

IDEA TRAP #1: YOUR COMPUTER

You're on your computer approximately 47 hours per day, so you DEFINITELY need to set an idea trap on your computer.

Remember how I showed you how I set up my computer desktop? 

I have a sticky note on my computer desktop labled "IDEAS".

Every time I come up with a blog idea (usually while I'm checking my email, Facebooking, or working on a different blog post) I pause and write down the idea on that sticky note.

This is my main idea trap. I transfer all of my ideas from other idea traps into this trap and this is where I look when I'm ready to write a blog.

DO THIS NOW: Set up a sticky note idea trap on your computer desktop.

 

IDEA TRAP #2: OUT AND ABOUT 

For the times when pure genius slaps you in the face while you're shopping for lipstick at Target, you need an "out and about" idea trap.

Me? I use the "notes" application on my iPhone. 

Then, about once per week I'll look at the notes app and unload the most amazing ideas on to my desktop idea trap/ sticky note.

 

It's really that easy, dollface.

You don't need fancy apps or blonder hair in order to write articles as wonderful as your idols.

You don't need to lose 5 pounds or hire a business coach to play with the big dogs. 

JUST DO THIS.

 

Try it out and make sure to Tweet at me and let me know how it works for you!

 

(P.S. This tip is one of hundreds from the book From Amateur to Professional. For more information about the book, click here). 

 

Is your life better now than it was before you read that? If so, SHARE THE LOVE!

 

Friday
Jan032014

14 Ways to Go Pro in 2014

Welcome to 2014, babydoll!

 

I've got a question for ya:

 

Don't know?

 

I've got some ideas for you!

 

In today’s article I’m giving you 14 ways to become more professional in 2014.

 

(For those of you who haven’t been following the RBC for very long, don’t worry. Being a pro doesn’t mean being boring. Being a pro just means taking your work seriously and putting yourself first. You can absolutely have fun while doing this!)

 

I'm made it easy for you to step upt to the next level! Each step comes with a Profesh Tweet-firmation that you can use to make a public declaration of your comittment to success. Tweet out the declarations that you want to use in your life :)

 

1. Visualize yourself at the next level.

 

Write down everything you see. Where do you live? What tools do you have? What does your day look like from start to finish?

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros know where they're headed. I'm ready for the next step!

 

2. Get control of your social media use.

 

One of my biggest goals in 2014 is to stop letting social media control me. Often, while my mind wanders, I’ll open up a new browser and go to Facebook. It’s an automatic reflex! That’s why I’ve started using Self Control on the regular to block my vices: Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros control social media. They don't let social media control them.

 

3. Start a daily writing habit.

 

If you run an online business, you need to become a writer, period. In order to become a better writer (and copywriter), you need to create a daily writing habit. (Psst! Even I had been slacking on this recently, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t been writing as much as you’d like).

 

I recently read an essay by Gretchen Rubin where she said, “As a writer, I work every single day, including weekends, holidays, and vacations. Usually I write for many hours during a day, though sometimes it might be a stint as short as fifteen minutes-- and I never skip a day. I’ve found that this kind of frequent work makes it possible to accomplish more, with greater originality, for several reasons.”

 

In 2014 I’m recommitting to my “morning pages”-- a daily writing exercise recommended by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. On top of that, I’ve committed myself to writing 365 articles in 2014. I won’t publish all of these articles, of course. Some of them will be absolute crap! The point is that I’m taking control of my creativity.

 

Tweet-firmation: Professionals have a daily writing habit. 

 

4. Upgrade your tools.

 

What kind of tools does someone at your level use? Is there a reason why they use these particular tools? I must say that purchasing my MacBook Pro in 2011 was the best decision I ever made. At the time, I wasn’t even close to being a professional, but having the best tool possible made it possible for me to step up to the next level.

 

Make a list of all of the tools that you’d like to have this year and make a plan to invest in them!

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros use pro tools. No skimping on getting what you need for your business!

 

5. Show up.

 

It’s as simple as that, my friend. If you want to make waves, you’ve got to show up every single day and get the work done. In the beginning, you have to show up even more because you still haven’t proven to yourself that you can do it. When you honor your own word and show up, you empower yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an article, going to the gym, or filing your taxes. SHOW UP.

 

Tweet-firmation: A pro shows up to work EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

 

6. Clean up your life.

 

A few weeks ago I was trying to book a client when I realized that my living and work spaces did not reflect the environment of someone who would have high paying clients. My desk was a mess, I hadn’t unpacked my suitcase properly, there were dirty dishes in the sink, and my bed was unmade. In an amature life this kind of stuff is fine. But in a professional life? It’s time to upgrade and clean out!

 

Tweet-firmation: From now on my personal + work space are totally profesh! 

 

7. Take care of numero uno.

 

This is NOT about “life balance”. I don’t believe in balance. Sometimes you’ve just got to focus more on work and sometimes your personal life comes first. I get it. But if you want to step up to the next level, it’s imperative that you take care of your basic needs. Drink your green smoothies, get enough sleep, do your yoga stretches, and spend time with family and friends. If you don’t do this, you’ll burn out. You’ll extinguish your creative flame and it will take months to get it back.

 

Tweet-firmation: I’m a professional, bitches, and I take care of my pro temple.

 

8. Upgrade your to do list/ calendar system.

 

I put my best thoughts on this subject into my book From Amateur to Professional, but here's the gist:

You need a master to do list and a master calendar.

This can be a physical or electronic system. I currently use a physical notebook for my to do list and Google Calendar for my calendar.

Basically, if it's not on my calendar, it's not happening.

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros honor their calendars. If it's not on my calendar, it's not happening.

 

9. Be ballsier. Or ovary-er. Whichever.

 

Do you want to know the BIGGEST reason why you're not at the next level yet?

You haven't done the things that someone at that level would do.

It may come from a deep, uncomfortable feeling of not being good enough. 

I think we all struggle with feelings of not being good enough at some point or another.

But it's time to be bold, baby.

It's time to take that big step forward toward your dream. You know which step I'm talking about.

(It's funny, as I was writing this the Switchfoot song "Dare You to Move" came on Pandora. If you need a little musical inspiration to get your butt moving, listen to it here).

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros make ballsy moves + start before they're ready.

 

10. Do a little profesh development.

 

I'm constantly reading books on psychology, marketing, and writing to improve my skills because I want to be the best in the world at what I do. 

You can create a wish list on Amazon of books in your industry that you want to read or start downloading eBooks to your e-reader. 

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros are always learning. I'm constantly improving my skills, yo! 

 

11. Hire someone.

 

Newslfash: By the time you feel "ready" to hire help, it's proably too late.

I'm not talking about getting a fulltime VA. Yet.

But what about hiring accounting, photography, design help?

What about hiring a business coach?

I keep a running list of "things to outsource" in my to do notebook. Basically, every time I come across a task that I DON'T WANT TO DO, I write it down in the book.

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros don't do everything themselves. We do what's in our zone of genius.

 

12. Pay for basic online services.

 

If you're new to the outsourcing game, a great place to start is with online services.

Currently, I pay for monthly accounts at Freshbooks and ScheduleOnce. Bookkeeping and scheduling are two things that you should not be doing by hand. Let these services take away the hassle!

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros pay for pro services to automate their work.

 

13. Get your legalities in order.

 

I know, I know.

This is the LAST thing you want to talk about.

In order to take your business to the next pro level, though, you need to:

 

  • Register your business.
  • Get contracts set up for your client and contractor agreements.
  • Set up a separate bank account. 

 

And I'm not joking about this. You NEED to do these three things ASAP.

Tweet-firmation: Pros have their businesses set up with contracts and separate bank accounts!

 

14. Surround yourself with likeminded people.

Finally, I want to leave you with this thought:
 
There is no better self-development tool than entrepreneurship (except maybe relationships).
 
You're going to realize quickly (if you haven't already) that 99% of the people in your life have NO CLUE what you do or why you do it. 
 
And before you chase after me with a lit torch calling me a witch, LET ME ESSPLAIN MYSELF.
 
I'm not suggesting that you ditch your BFFs or stop talking to your family members. 
 
But you DO need to protect yourself. You need to know who you can share your aspirations with and who not to.
You need to know who's on the same page as you and who isn't.
 
And then, you need to make it a point to find people who understand you and can lift you even higher.
 
Slowly, you'll start to realize that you have more and more entrepreneurial friends. It'll seem weird when you meet people who actually have to go to a normal job every day (swear to Moses). 

 

Tweet-firmation: Pros protect their art and surround themselves with superstars.

 

 

If you're ready to learn even more about going pro, make sure check out From Amateur to Professional. It could change your life in 2014. (Click the image to learn more).