Blog Announcement (Last Post for the Summer!)

Mom life can be crazy hectic right? With all the hats (and shoes) we wear we are constantly in an ongoing state of metamorphosis.

If you are an avid reader of my blog, maybe you’ve noticed my writing slowing down lately. I just haven’t been blogging here as much, and I certainly haven’t posted to my business YouTube channel in a few months now.

Just in the past few months alone, I have been doing some real soul searching about my current mompreneur pace. I’m always looking for ways to find balance.

The main questions are: How much do I really need to accomplish daily? Weekly? Monthly? And why?

What is my purpose for achieving blogging goals?

These are all questions I ask you to consider in my blogging course. It’s important to know your purpose before you begin blogging because, yes, blogging is a full-time gig whether you set it up that way or not.

I won’t lie to you- it’s a lot of work!

I love teaching women how to blog because I know the benefits it can have for you and for your family if you are looking for supplemental income.

But I am also realistic. I cannot guarantee that your blog will be successful if you don’t take the steps necessary to ensure a successful blog.

I also realize that we mamas are busy. We just often don’t have the time to commit to building a lucrative blog.

As much as I teach blogging and enjoy helping moms shine on the web, I realize that there are seasons when blogging just isn’t going to cut it. You may have to get back into your career, take a job, start a business that doesn’t include writing a blog, or take time away from work altogether.

It’s all about seasons.

So, my BIG announcement (as you may have guessed from the post title) is that this will be my last post for the summer on this blog. I have no clue how that will affect my status in Google, and I am really not concerned about it. I just know that I really need this break.

(Is it shameful to say I need a break?) I hope not!

As our family is now in the middle of buying and selling a home and as I’m about to enter a new season of tutoring at our special homeschool group which I am so excited about being a part of, ironically, I am finding less and less time to blog about blogging.

The good news is, I am always available to help you with your blog– be it learning how to start your own (check out my book and e-course) or designing one for you.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this summer I won’t be interviewing guests for this podcast or updating the blog, so that I can, instead, help you with your blogging needs as one of my e-course students.

I also realized that I really want to shift my focus back to my homeschool blogmy first blog baby! 🙂

So you won’t see much updates here for a few months but it’s for good and happy reasons!

If you still want to follow me around over the next few months, I’ll be blogging a lot more at Christian Homeschool Moms.

That said, I wish you a happy summer and much blogging success!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me over the summer should you have any blogging questions or needs.

MIH058:How To Grow Your Blog on a Bootstrap Budget

Are you looking for ways to grow your blog without breaking the bank? Maybe you have just begun blogging and need to find ways to grow it while using your budget for other business needs.

No worries- there is good news! If you want to grow your blog, it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get away with barely spending a penny on marketing and advertising.

Since I first began blogging (in what seems like the dinosaur ages of blogging and web tech- back in the mid-2000’s), I have found loads of shortcuts to saving money on blog advertising.

In fact, I bootstrapped my way from humble blog startups with barely any pageviews to thousands of visitors monthly. (As a mompreneur on a budget, these pageviews meant more potential customers to buy my services and products- which is exactly what I was counting on!)

Back in 2006, I didn’t have access to any of the following social media resources I’m about to share with you. There are just so many more ways to spread the word of your blog nowadays, thanks to social media.

Here are just a few ways I have been landing visitors on my blog without spending a penny.

Five key ways to grow your blog on a budget

Write what your readers want to read

This is the easiest way I’ve gained readership: write what my readers love reading about.

No doubt, this may seem like common sense- and really, it is. If your readers want to know about a topic, they will likely search for it in Google. If your blog happens to be in the search engine results (especially if you have a high ranking for the keyword), your reader will have found an answer to their question. If you are answering their question, you win!

The key for blog growth is to continue attracting readers with great content that answers their most pertinent questions and solves their problems.

For this, you really have to get to know your audience. Once you’ve laid down the groundwork for your blog’s purpose and your niche market, you’ll begin to write content specifically for them.

And guess what? Writing content is free. (It just takes some time on your part). But, it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Join Facebook groups

Not on Facebook yet? Do you have an aversion to Facebook and all the chaos that can seem to transpire as a result of being tied down to too many groups or being bombarded with notifications?

If you’re not that into Facebook then you should start to think of it a bit differently. Even if you’re not using it for personal uploads of family pics and keeping up with your high school classmates, you should still at least have a business presence there.

Here’s why: Facebook groups provide awesome engagement.

If you really want your readers to find you and dig into deep discussions about your main topic, then starting a Facebook group can be quite helpful.

On the other hand, starting groups take a lot of work, so you may just want to join a group that someone else started. This way, you can chime in discussions, lend a listening ear, and be of help to others who have questions about your area of expertise.

One way I’ve grown my blog is to contribute to user discussions in groups. If someone has a question about setting up their WordPress blog, I usually chip in and give my two cents worth. I also invite them to download free resources at my blog in order to help them meet their goals. This is the way social media becomes an excellent referral tools for your business.

Pin your posts for maximum viral effect

Every blog post you create needs an opportunity to go viral. It’s no guarantee that it will, but at the very least, it should be positioned for sharing success. One of the best ways to do this currently is through a wonderful little tool called Pinterest.

The reason I love Pinterest is because it truly is a straightforward sharing system. I write my post once and I pin it once to my main board. Afterward I set up my post to be pinned to different, relevant boards.

By joining Pinterest groups and pinning to those boards as well, I’ve opened up my opportunities for virality in a massive way.

After pinning to each board just once, I can then just sit back and wait on my pins to be engaged. This means, other pinners stop and see my post image, like what they see, and repin it to their boards.

And, of course, once pinners are truly hooked on my image title and graphics, they typically click over to my blog from Pinterest, and land right into my corner of the world. Many times they join my mailing list from here and become part of my tribe.

It’s a quick and inexpensive way to grow traffic.

If you want to put a little money into this you can purchase Tailwind to make your pinning life easier, but it’s definitely not necessary. I love Tailwind and without it my pinning would be much, much slower process, but I have gone years without it and my Pinterest account and blog traffic has still grown regardless.

Start guest blogging

By far, contributing to other bloggers in your niche is a profound way to grow your blog on a shoestring budget.

I love this method because it means you can have a zero-following, a baby platform, and come away with a boatload, or just a few more followers you didn’t have before. And you do this all by posting to someone else’s blog and gaining readership through their platform.

When I first began my homeschool blog this was one of the major ways I was able to grow my blog. I guest-posted on several other more prolific homeschool blogs and boosted my following by sharing my posts to readers at these other home education blogs. This, in turn, gave my blog a much larger platform, boosted my SEO ranking, and referred traffic back to my site. A win-win, and completely free!

Invite guest bloggers

One way to get more readers to your blog while adding more content at the same time is to invite guest bloggers. You might be surprised at how many writers out there are itching to provide content for your blog for free in exchange for the writing experience and a credit back to their site.

How does inviting guest bloggers help you?

By encouraging your guest writers to share your blog with their audiences and promote to their social media and fan base you can expand your own audience. Remember, it’s not just an opportunity for your writer to expand their audience, but a chance for you to expand yours as well.

This is free advertising for both of you and is essentially a win-win.

The conclusion:

You don’t need to have a large advertising budget to expand your blog following. You can grow your blog without huge startup expense and you can do it minimally.

All you need is time, commitment, and a desire to help others with your content.

I hope these five action-packed ideas will get you moving toward starting to grow your blog on a bootstrap budget. Let me know how these tips have helped you.

Listen in to the podcast episode featuring this article, and leave a comment. Until next time! 🙂

How to Banish Business Stress as a Mompreneur

We recently found out that we are moving again, so our family has been feeling just a little bit stressed lately!

How do you deal with stress as a mompreneur? How do balance your life hiccups while cruising through your business? (Or do you cruise through?)

As I am surrounded by moving boxes, plus a full schedule of homeschooling, volunteering at our church, and helping mamas create their brands online, I am feeling a significant amount of stress, to say the least.

So how do I deal with the stress? What can you do to overcome life stressors while keeping your business running effectively?

Here’s what I’ve been doing so far that’s helping me keep my sanity.

End some obligations

This is a big one for me since a lot of the time I tend to be over-committed. If you’re a “yes” person, saying no can be really hard.

Essentially, this means saying no to offers that don’t fit my life goals at the moment. Because I love helping everyone, this is not the easiest thing for me, though I am getting much better at it, I admit.

Freeing up some time by ending obligations that don’t fit your life goals will be the thing that propels you forward. Sometimes we just have to say no.

Exercise

One of the best ways I’ve been dealing with stress lately is exercise. I’m loving Zumba and Blogilates with a splash of yoga. It’s okay that I don’t get to the gym much these days since I’ve found my favorite YouTube channels that keep me moving.

Whether it’s to take a walk around your neighborhood, go for a jog, or find a group exercise class you love, exercise certainly keeps the business stress down. All movement helps and gets the endorphins released, which makes you feel happier.

Laugh more

I’ve found that one of the best ways to let go of business stress is to let my hair down…and laugh! Getting together with friends and having a good time together is my definition of a great stress-reliever.

Laughing, like exercises, releases those feel-good hormones.

Don’t have any let-it-loose friends? Find some incredible comedy on Netflix or YouTube and kick up a few laughs to release those stressors.

I find that when I take time to laugh, I feel more productive in business and in life. Laughing is healing.

So, these are just a few of my tips that have helped me to feel better and get rid of business stress.

What are some things you do when business life (and personal life) gets overwhelming for you?

How To Create an Ebook (A Guide for Busy Mompreneurs)

How to create an ebook

Work at home moms and mompreneurs- you’re busy, I know (believe me, I relate to the hustle and bustle of your life).

But you have great product ideas for your business and one of those is that ebook you’ve been wanting to write forever.

Don’t worry- I have you covered.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how I’ve been able to crank out a few ebooks over the past years and I do hope this will help you.

If you prefer video, then watch this one before reading further…

Why ebooks?

Ebooks are:

  • easy to create
  • easy to sell
  • a long-term lucrative project

You honestly only have to write a book once and watch it take care of itself in future sales without doing very much at all. Because ebooks are digital you don’t have to worry about shipping and printing costs, and downloads are instant.

How To Create an Ebook

Gather an outline for your topic.

When creating an ebook I usually start with the problem I want to solve for my reader. A good idea is to make sure you’re not all over the board with ideas.  Your ebook should have a specific purpose to solve a particular problem or meet an overall goal.

Remember, it’s better to be too narrow than too vague.  You can always save additional subtopics for another ebook.

No worries if you can’t talk about it all (and you really shouldn’t). Find the main topics you want to write about and let this be your main focus for your book.

Schedule out your writing.

Divide your outline into manageable chunks and plop these chunks right onto your calendar.  

For example, if you have eight chapters in your book idea and you figure you can find time to write twice a week, maybe you can complete 1-2 chapters per week. At this rate you’ll be finished between 4-8 weeks from now.

This is how I was able to finally complete my ebook (which I later published as a hard copy on Amazon.) It took some real time management and staying on track with daily tasks to get it done.

I also needed accountability, so be sure to grab a friend to help motivate you through this process.

Don’t procrastinate.

The main message I want you to leave with after reading this blog post is to get on it right away.  Start writing your book. Just start.

Let your fingers do the talking and start typing your thoughts on the topic. Before long you’ll have one paragraph, then two, and you would have completed an entire chapter and pretty soon- your entire book!

No one says a chapter has to be exactly 10 pages.  You get to determine how long your chapters are. Make your sections the length you feel quantifies what you are trying to get across.

Don’t let the idea of having “seven more chapters to go” looming ahead of you keep you from writing the one chapter in front of you.

You can do it!

Remember your audience.

Remember who you are writing for and stick with it. If you have a passion for your readers, they’ll feel it in your writing, so write from your heart.

Your readers want to feel spoken to, loved, considered. Let them know you’re on their team and that your book will help them solve their problems.

Proofread, edit, and add graphics.

Use your favorite editor to write your ebook.  (I switch between Word, Pages, and Google Docs).

First you’ll want to add a cover page with title and a beautiful cover image (which you can have a virtual assistant do for you or head over to Fiverr). You may also want to add a title page with copyright info.

Add page numbers and your name and URL  in the footer section for each page.  

For eye-catching images for your book find royalty free stock photos at places like istockphoto.com or even free places like Pexels.com.

Publish.

I use Adobe Acrobat Professional for this one, but here’s a quick and easy way to create your PDF document in Microsoft Word.

Simply go to: File->Save as Adobe PDF.

Voila!

You can also do this in Google Docs or in Pages. With your PDF you now have a simple way to distribute your ebook without having to worry about whether your readers have Pages or Word installed on their computer.

Adobe PDF Reader is pretty universal and is free to download.

Distribute.

If your ebook is a free download, upload it to your hosting and provide the link for your subscribers. I recommend using cloud hosting like Amazon S3 Storage.

If it’s a paid product, services like Ejunkie or Gumroad make it more convenient to distribute digital products.

You can also simply use Paypal as your shopping cart preference or you can go fancier and install Woo Commerce if you are using WordPress.

Password protected membership sites are also a great way to ensure encryption on ebooks.

Lastly, if you want to reach a wider audience, you’ll need to employ some social media methods to get the word out!  Try your Facebook connections, Pinterest and Twitter.

That’s all for now!  

So are you ready to begin writing your ebook? Remember, the first step is simply to get started.

Discover your passion to share, create an outline, and go for it. You can do this!

Has this tutorial been helpful to you?  I sure hope so!  I hope you’re encouraged to move forward in publishing your ebooks!  Leave me comments- I’d love to hear from you.

MIH057:Self Care Tips for Moms in Business

Press the play button to listen to the podcast below.

Mompreneurs wear quite a few hats (and shoes)!

You know the old adage “if the shoot fits, wear it”? Well…this would be the epitome of the mompreneur life: being able to fit comfy sneakers, cozy slippers, or working heels.

We wear them all.

The question, then, is how do we take care of ourselves while tending to our busy, hectic and chaotic lives?

How do I balance three coaching calls, two design clients, a leaky faucet, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a day of homeschooling my daughters?

The true question is: how do I balance these things while maintaining self-care?

Welcome, Allison Jackson of Allison Jackson Fitness- this week’s podcast guest.

Allison is the founder of Allison Jackson Fitness. She is passionate about all things health and fitness, but she really loves sharing her knowledge and expertise to help corporate moms get lean eating foods they love so they can be at their best.

She knows exactly how hard it is to work full-time, take care of the kids and household…plus try to fit in working out, eating right and taking care of herself, too!

Allison has spent the last seven years training and competing in figure competitions — even winning her pro card — so she has a crystal clear picture of what it takes to get to your ideal weight and stay there. Now she’s ready to share what she’s learned and experienced.

What we talked about on the podcast

Get moving!

As mompreneurs and bloggers we might often find that sitting behind the desk at the computer can keep us more sedentary.

Allison recommends looking for ways to get movement throughout the day. Shoot for 10-12,000 steps.

Just focus on taking a few extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example.

Ways to set goals for our health

Self care for moms doesn’t have to be rocket science. It’s often just a matter of creating small and easy goals. I talk a lot about creating easy blogging goals, but we should do the same when it comes to caring for our bodies.

Break down huge goals into bite-sized manageable tasks.

  • 6 months
  • 3 months
  • 1 month

Another way to set goals is to track what you eat (five days out of the week).

Simply focus on eating and working out. Setting tiny goals makes a big difference at the end of the day.

Suggestions for healthy snacks on-the-go

Allison suggests focusing on protein. Did you know that women don’t get enough protein in our diets?

So, guess what? Protein bars are great and quickly accessible. Slip them in your purse on your way out the door before running errands or keep a few at your desk while you’re working throughout the day.

Also, don’t forget small snacks like almonds. They keep well and travel well. Almonds also provide both protein and healthy fats.

Allison’s Programs

Allison offers an 8-week group coaching program. She helps with tracking goals and teaching how to eat foods you love and still lose weight.

Find out more about her programs at Allison Jackson Fitness.

You can also reach Allison at Facebook – Instagram – Hacked Snacks .Ambassador

Did you enjoy the podcast? Let me know your thoughts>

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