Hello! We’ve moved our little house on the web, so visit us at our fancy new place here!
Hello! We’ve moved our little house on the web, so visit us at our fancy new place here!
I know SO many people who are calm, capable, confident humans…. and they won’t pick up the phone – so: networking 101 starts with how to cold call anybody. Calling somebody, especially when you need or want something, or have some sort of work issue to sort out can be scary because you are asking a stranger to give you their undivided attention and help you out in the midst of their busy day. Would you be comfortable doing that face-to-face, in the street (like one of those silly comedy shows they play back-to-back at the pharmacy)? When cold calling, we can feel vulnerable, as though the person on the other side will a) judge the reason for our call and hate us for taking their time, and b) judge us ourselves. (But it’s ok – as long as you’re not phoning to sell them a banking or phone-related product, your call will probably be more pleasant for them than most.)
Additionally, we live in a world where, for most people, we speak far less on the phone than we used to. I tend to Facebook Message or WhatsApp my friends rather than call them, and although I sometimes Skype with faraway friends, the art of the chatty phone call is disappearing. This means that when it comes to phoning a stranger, we’re far less used to the medium and don’t know how to cold call.
When I worked in online education, designing and creating academic short courses for tertiary education, our manager asked us to each phone a few students, to get their feedback on the course they were completing. The aim of this was to take us out of our spreadsheets and Drive folders, and bring us closer to the humans we created courses for. Calling students was what many of our other departments did on the daily, but very few people in our team were able to pick up and dial. So, practice.
If you have a list of cold calls to do and don’t know how to cold call, force yourself to try one per day, or two per day, or five per day. Seek out opportunities to call instead of email (when appropriate), or times, like in the example above, where you can legitimately cold call with a good reason and not look for anything except feedback.
Do you know that when you smile, someone can hear it in your voice?
Obviously, you should refrain from grinning like a maniac (especially when giving bad news – can you imagine?) but as you introduce yourself and your reason for calling, as you ask how the other person is today, and listen to their response, smile during the times when you would were you face to face. It banishes tension, lets the other person know that you’re non-threatening, and sends friendly, warm vibes down the line.
Remember those school orals, when people were so nervous that their whole prepared speech was one sentence of really-quick-speaking-gobbledegook-and-now-I’m-finished-thank-you-very-much?
When we’re scared, we talk quickly. When we know what we’re going to say (even though the other person doesn’t) we talk quickly.
Slow. Right. Down. Speak in measured tones, giving the other person time to hear you and respond. Listen to their answers – this is key when learning how to cold call.
Much like the above, when we are scared we tend to talk at a far higher pitch than usual.
Think of a presidential speech or debate. Who wins? The person who speaks really quickly, with a high-pitched voice, or the person who speaks slowly in a low-pitched voice?
According to the rules of charisma (see here), people who speak slowly and in a low pitch are seen as far more powerful than those who don’t.
You know when you’re talking to your boyfriend and you just KNOW he’s scrolling through Facebook? Uh-huh. If you’re reading an email while you talk on the phone, the OTHER PERSON KNOWS. Even if they don’t realise it consciously, or mention it, your call will always, always, always be better when you’re respecting the person’s time by eradicating your space of distractions. (It’s really tough when talking to a loved one – but if we can’t give our undivided attention to someone we love, then who can we give it to?)
If you are hunched up and nervous, you cross your arms, lower your head and look like the proverbial meek mouse, it’s going to change the non-verbal signals you send through the phone. Much like power poses can change your life and your brain (I’m serious, check this out!) when you’re face to face with someone, they’ll also change your phone calls.
Want to sound confident? If you can get away with it, put your feet up on the desk and lean back in your chair (think Wolf of Wall Street). If you can’t, sit up straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground, push your shoulders back and channel a power pose.
And now you know how to cold call anybody! I would LOVE to know if these techniques have changed your ability to cold call, so please let me know below!
A few weeks ago I wrote a post explaining why we offer a blog editing free trial, and what it’s done for our business. Although the format of the free trial will change slightly in January, in line with our new service offerings, many people ask us how the free trial works.
Here’s the breakdown: You learn about our blog editing free trial and SEO services, and you decide that it’s something that just may add the value you’re looking for in your business, so you tell us you’re interested in a free trial.
We say, “Yay! Welcome to the Sarah Evelyn family!” and I introduce you to your Editing Account Manager over email.
Depending on whether you’d like us to edit your posts over Google Drive or in WordPress (or Squarespace, or whatever you use), we either set up folders for you, or you create a login for us. Then, you tell us as specifically as possible what you’d like us to focus on (better keywords, for instance, or spelling, or checking all your links). We do a range of things for all our clients anyway, but it’s always helpful for us to know what you really want out of your process. You also tell us what posts you’d like us to work on – all posts in your Draft folders for instance, or your Published posts, from most to least recent.
Then we get to work. We generally publish one post per week day (depending on your deadlines).
Your trial consists of up to 20 posts and is held either from the first to the end of the month, or the 15th to the 15th. If posts run over 1,200 words, we count them as two.
24 hours during the workweek, for each post.
We invoice you for the current month on the 25th of each month, over PayPal.
You can see our rates and packages here.
This is something we may change down the line, but you’re only committing yourself month by month. Need to take some time out of your blog? Just let us know.
The trial process allows us to get to know you, and what your brand needs, as well as to work out the working process that best first both you and us. Any questions? Please ask us below!
This week was a busy one – we returned from Durban on Monday afternoon, so I’ve been playing a bit of catchup. I’ve had a few meetings this week, which made me look up from my laptop, and see some awesome people, and I’m looking forward to my team get together tomorrow!
How was your week?
4. How do you define trendy and classic? How to define it for yourself.
5. How to write a post-interview thank you letter (with template).
6. Six ways to survive the holidays without losing your blog readers.
7. The easy brownie recipe I’m making this weekend!
8. A great system for keeping a clean house all week long.
9. A dreamy model apartment in Manhattan.
10. And lastly, a BRILLIANT post on how to recommit to your blog and see tangible progress.
You’ve seen them. Those seemingly-unobtainable, perfect blog images. Look at the following three Pinterest boards:
What do you notice?
Turns out, you don’t have to be a designer to achieve perfect blog images too.
I’ve always been in LOVE with beautiful desk-scapes and flatlays. I hankered after Shay Cochrane’s collections, which are so beautiful, but were beyond my price range (however, if you sign up for her awesome newsletter, you’ll get access to a free monthly image). So I took some of my own, which isn’t impossible to do, and they came out ok (you can check them out here, here, and here) but they weren’t the perfect blog images I was looking for.
Of course, there are great sites that offer free images, such as Unsplash. Although I love their photography though, their images are not a great fit for my brand.
So to take my images to the next level, I had to invest. I chose to pay a subscription to Haute Chocolate, which allows me a year of unlimited access to all the styled stock on the site – and it’s amazing!
The options on offer include graphics packs, with which you can style your website, frequently-updated new collections, archived collections, and styled desktops. Images are high res, held on Dropbox, and offer product placement in the form of blank iPad and iPhones, mugs, and books.
Some of the beautiful desktop collections look like this:
As you’ll notice from the Pinterest boards I showed you above, consistency is KEY to perfect blog images (and it’s something I’m still very much working on).
So you’ll need to edit your images. Although you can use Canva, I generally use PicMonkey (shown below). If you’re keen to learn how to do amazing things in Canva, check out my friend Nicholette’s website – she’s ah-mazing, and I learn so much from her!
The biggest trick to it is to limit your fonts to two. I use Avenir (which comes with Mac) and Greatesque. After using largely white or grey text, I now use a dark navy blue (black is too dark, but the navy stands out well on my website and on Pinterest).
The editing tools are super easy in PicMonkey, so I add text, an overlay behind the text, and sometimes a border. You can also make collages really easily (choose any collage layout in a shape of your choice – you can add or takeaway blocks later). I’ll write a followup post on how I edit within PicMonkey.
And there you have it! What’s your secret to achieving perfect blog images?
As you know, guest posting is one of the best ways to reach a new audience, and we’ve rounded up 8 ways to get your guest posts accepted.
Two recent guest posts I’ve written include 9 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Digital Nomad (for the amazing Think Creative Collective), and How To Write Better Blog Posts (for Confessions of a Design Geek).
Some websites don’t accept guest posts. Some are so flooded with enquiries that you may be lost in the crowd. So do your research. Write down the names of ten websites in your niche (that is, blogs that your target market read and use) and then look on their site to see if they accept guest posts. If you can’t find the information, look at their blog. Who are the posts written by? One of the best ways to get your guest posts accepted is to be clever about who you pitch to.
Most blogs that accept guest posts will outline HOW they want you to pitch. This will usually include your details and an outline of your post (or the whole post). Remember, that the bloggers can’t see you, don’t have a lot of time to research your fabulousness, and are therefore depending on your pitch. The easier you can make it for them, the more of a no brainer it’s going to be for them to accept your guest posts.
The blogger you are pitching to wants the guest posts on her blog to be good, and she also doesn’t want to have to run after you and your guest post with spellcheck. Handing in a pitch or guest post with grammatical errors is a surefire way not to get your guest posts accepted! Double, triple check for spelling errors, grammar errors, readability, and so on.
You need to be authentic. But you also need to be aware that you’re hoping to publish on someone else’s turf. Therefore, write in your voice, to your target market. If you’ve chosen the blog well then your voice may not be that different to that of the host blogger’s, but you’re still you’re and they’re still them. So write in your voice, but be aware of the tone and type of post the blogger publishes.
A practical post that addresses and solves a problem found in your target market (it doesn’t have to be everyone’s problem, but it needs to exist) is what host bloggers really want to publish. So instead of writing a nice, fluffy, airy-fairy post, write something that teaches your target market how to overcome a challenge. Do that consistently, and it’s a surefire way to get your guest posts accepted.
Instead of sitting down, banging out a post and submitting it straight away, remember the steps you had to take in high school. Have a draft or outline. Write the post. Give yourself some time and your head some space away from it. Go back to it. Edit it. Fix all errors, of course, but also rewrite sentences that are unclear, take out words and sentences that are unnecessary, tighten up the paragraphs, pay attention to formatting. Make it better.
Once your post has been published, respond to comments underneath the post, as well as on social media. Your host blogger will most likely advertise the post using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so on, so make sure you see these posts and respond to any comments or encouraging words.
Manage and foster your relationship with the blogger or publisher – they may ask you to become a regular, or collaborate with them! Even if that’s not on the cards, you’ll have won an online friend! It pays to do everything you try really, really well, keep in touch, and, maybe you’ll be asked again.
There are countless posts on what hashtags to include with your Instagram or Facebook posts, and many of them are really helpful – but I couldn’t find a complete hashtag list for creative entrepreneurs. What I found is that because we live in the era of pretty (and amen to pretty!), many of the hashtag posts and suggestions I found were embedded in pins, inforgraphics, or images, or numbered in a way that you’d have to copy.and.paste.each.one.by.one…. ain’t nobody got time for that – we need a copy+paste hashtag list for creative entrepreneurs that you can just cut, copy, paste!
So here we are: a copy and paste hashtag list for creative entrepreneurs. You’re going to want to pin this post for easy reference, and if you’re like me you’ll want to copy+paste the below hashtags into Evernotes or the Notes function on your device so that you can access it when you need it (it also makes sense to use in batches – just copy+paste the batch you need for each post, and delete the ones you don’t want – right in the post).
#goviral #newblogpost #newblogger #bloglife #instablogger #newpost #writer #communityovercompetition #ohwowyes #calledtobecreative #chasinglight #designisinthedetails #dowhatyoulove #entrepreneurlife #fromwhereistand #liveauthentic #livefullyalive #makeithappen #makersgonnamake #morningslikethese #nothingisordinary #ontheroadtofulltime #pursuepretty #sayyestosuccess #solopreneur#ontheblog #linkinprofile #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #diyblog #weeklyresources #creativityfound #craftsposure #thenativecreative #diyproject #crafternoon #doityourself #makesomething #creativelife #createeveryday #doitfortheprocess #wemakecollective #thatsdarling #darlingmovement #darlingweekend #livethelittlethings #thehappynow #pursuepretty #petitejoys #flashesofdelight #welltravelled #momentswithsunday #morningslikethese #mytinyatlas #colorhunters #colorcrush #abmlifeiscolorful #abmhappylife #lifecolorfully #pastel_lover #pasteloftheday #colorlove #dscolor #smallbiz #mycreativebiz #makersgonnamake #onmydesk #whereiwork #creativelifehappylife #weeklyresources #handsandhustle #tnchustler #creativeentrepeneur #girlboss #pursuepretty #mycreativebiz #creativelifehappylife #girlboss #onegirlband #interiorstyle #livethelittlethings #lovelysquares #smallbusiness #thehappynow #flashesofdelight #photooftheday #loveit #instadaily #picoftheday #igers #instacool #TBT #throwbackthursday #motivationalmonday #transformationtuesday #followfriday #sundayfunday #mcm #quotes #quoteoftheday #qotd #lifequotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #instaquote #marketing #googlesearch #webtraffic #optimization #content #seo #socialmediatips #communitymanager #smtips #smm #contentmarketing #work #rockyourlife #success #working #grind #magazine #moneymaker #founder #startup #money #startuplife #successful #passion #inspiredaily #hardwork #hardworkpaysoff #thinksmartgrowrich #motivation #happiness #entrepreneur #entrepreneurs #lifestyle #motivational #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurlife #business #businessman #businessowner #businesswoman #femaleentrepreneur #femaleboss #womeninbusiness #lawofattraction #womensupportingwomen #womenentrepreneurs #makeithappen #beyourownboss #bosslady #bossbabes #savvybusinessowners #brandstrategy #womeninbiz #lovelysquares #womenwhohustle #blmgirls #exploremore #editorial #cupofhappiness #girlboss #bandotodolist #ccbossclub
In the spirit of #communityovercompetition, thanks to these posts for their help and inspiration:
1. Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. – Mother Theresa
2. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. – Napoleon Hill
3.Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not. – Oprah Winfrey
4. Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde
5. Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome. – Rosa Parks
6. Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
7. A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. – Christopher Reeves
How was your week? We’re visiting Craig’s family in Durban, which is a two-hour flight from Cape Town. Yesterday we had a lovely massage (what a treat!) and went out for brunch – after the red-eye – to Old Town Italy, a beautiful and authentic Italian restaurant, butchery, bakery, gelateria and deli. Here are the most inspiring links from our week.
1. The difference between being and doing.
2. How to find your flow in a full-time job (when it seems impossible): podcast
3. Create an effective moodboard in Canva (even I managed it!)
4. The BEST ever career advice from Cup of Jo.
5. Decorating on a budget? How to drastically cut your costs.
6. Whether it’s for play or fun, why (and how) you should treat your blog as a business.
7. How to vanquish jet lag – dos, don’ts and an infographic.
8. How to feel motivated as an online business owner (inside an income report).
9. Why you need a fool-proof social media strategy (and how to create one).
10. Why choosing yourself is the best choice of all (especially if you want your voice to be heard!)