Stop Being a Selfish Twit

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You know what’s not okay?

Selfishness. Full-fledged selfishness.

It makes me ANGRY. Can you tell?

Business owners who only think about themselves burn their connections, frustrate their customers and give off that snotty arrogance that nobody likes. It might take a little while, but your true jerkface colors will eventually shine through.

And, if you’re a small business (as in it’s only you or it’s you and an assistant or you and a couple of freelancers), it’s pretty darn obvious when all you care about is you.

I get it.

You’re in it to win it. (Forgive the cheeseball sayin’.) You want to succeed. You need to make money. You’re constantly thinking about how to get more customers, how to better your website, how to get more likes on Instagram and retweets on Twitter and how to get your mom to stop referring to your online jewelry store as “that little thing you do on the internet.”

But, come on. You’ve got to give, too.

I know this is a little more rant-y of a blog post than I usually publish, but a few things have happened recently that have put me in a rant kind of mood.

Think about all the other people who are working their butts off to build their businesses. Think about all the other creatives who are putting their art into the world to make it a more lovely place. Think about all of the customers who are giving you their hard-earned money.

Signs you’re being waaaaay too selfish:

You don’t give away any of your time. (For instance, I set aside about 10% of my work time for answering non-customer emails, doing interviews that I think will help other creatives, helping other people promote their stuff—usually via social media and answering questions I receive on social media. I also write and publish blog posts for free—to help my business and creatives who don’t have the money to invest in my higher priced courses.)

You don’t give a little support to someone (like tweeting about her latest product when she sent you easy-to-copy tweets) you call a friend and who has always given you and your business support.

Your Twitter feed is all self-promotional. If you haven’t re-tweeted someone else’s blog post, given a shout out to another creative entrepreneur or said something nice about someone else in the past month, what are you waiting for?

You mention someone else or someone else’s product in a blog post, but you don’t include a link. Without a link, it doesn’t really count.

You NEVER link to other people’s stuff in your blog posts because you don’t want your readers to ever leave your site. (Why don’t you just set the link to open in a new window?)

You don’t give credit where credit is due.

You steal someone else’s concept, design, photograph, illustration or copy and pretend it’s your own. (Just to clarify, I’m not talking about designing something that you actually thought of on your own and then you find out that someone else has created something that looks kinda similar. That happens. I’m talking about intentionally stealing.)

You want to steal someone else’s concept, illustration, idea, design or copy and you know it’s wrong, so you ask them if you can also use it. Or, you email them afterward, telling them that you were inspired by their work—when actually you just copied pretty much every single thing. (I’ve had this happen more than 10 times. I’m not kidding.)

You’re called out on intentionally copying and you say that “you’ve changed enough things that it’s different enough that you aren’t legally obligated to do anything about it.” (Ummmm…are you serious? How about be original? And, the last person who said that to me lost that legal battle. Take that.)

You’re mean to your customers because they have questions.

You’re rude to someone because she hasn’t actually bought from you yet.

You don’t give someone the time of day because she isn’t as “big” as you. Maybe she only has twenty followers on Twitter and five blog readers, so you ignore her. (I recently had a business treat me really bad, so I mentioned it on social media cause I was fuming. They immediately reached out to me, because they saw how many followers I had (I’m not Beyonce or anything but they were scared) and they wanted to contain the situation. That’s the only way I got their attention and I had tried calling customer service and going to the actual business to work out the issue. They didn’t pay attention to me until they thought my talking about it would impact them negatively. Then they wanted to fix it immediately. Complete selfish jerkfaces.)

You don’t say “thank you.” (Whenever a customer comes to me with an issue like she can’t download my digital book because her link isn’t active anymore, I always try to remember to thank her for buying from me first. Cause I am very thankful. Then, I fix her problem ASAP.)

You don’t ever go out of your way to help someone else succeed. When you receive that handmade purse you ordered off Etsy, take a picture and share it on Instagram. How good would that make you feel if someone did that for you? Spread the love!

You never “help” someone else unless you think something is in it for you.

This might be a tad harsh, but we all need a little wake up call every now and then, right?

I’m not saying that I’m perfect. Not by any means. Selfishness is human nature. There have been plenty of times that I’ve reminded myself to stop thinking about just me.

I’m hoping this post inspires you to do better. Give more. Think about others. And, maybe laugh a little? The word twit always cracks me up and how could you take that photo seriously?

It feels so darn good to help others and give. So why not bake that into your day or week? Start each day by doing something to help someone else.

My challenge to you (even if you haven’t been very selfish lately) is to do something for someone else right now.

Need some ideas? I’ve got you covered:

  1. Tweet about the helpful video you watched on YouTube yesterday.
  2. Say yes to an interview that might help other creative entrepreneurs.
  3. Take a picture of the handmade necklace you bought two weeks ago and post it on Facebook with a link to where others can buy it.
  4. Link to an amazing blog that you highly recommend others read in the blog post you’re currently writing.
  5. Write an email to someone that might need a little support and ask her if there’s anything you can do for her.
  6. Write an email to a blogger who inspires you, letting her know that you love her work and don’t ask for anything in return.
  7. Leave a thoughtful comment on a blog post that doesn’t have a single comment.

Then, leave a comment below letting us all know what you did. That way you spread the love even further and give us even more ideas on how we can support and encourage each other.

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The Two Markets You’re Ignoring (And How You Can Double or Triple Your Profits)

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All creative businesses have at least three target markets, and most business owners are ignoring two of them.

Yep, it’s true. You’re probably neglecting people who would love to hand over their credit cards to you.

The three markets I’m talking about are: 1) the people who want to buy your product (the necklace, mittens, handbag, body scrub, etc.), 2) the DIYers who want to make it for themselves, and 3) the people who want to learn how to start a business like yours.

You’re always going to have customers who want your product, made by you.

They don’t have the time or skills to make it themselves. They just want to order it, get it and use it.

Like the customer who buys your organic apricot facial scrub for an indulgence. She’s recreating the spa at home, and the last thing she wants to do is battle traffic to go to the grocery and health food stores to hunt for all the ingredients and then come home and create a disaster, including piles of dirty dishes, in her kitchen while trying to make the scrub herself. That defeats the point for her. She’d much rather pay you $16.

But, you’re also always going to have customers who love to DIY and troll Etsy and Pinterest for stuff they can try to make themselves.

Instead of buying your embroidery hoop art, they’d love to buy a PDF pattern of your adorable bumble bee design to embroider it themselves.

You might never want to sell to DIYers, especially if you’re the type of creative who could never imagine giving out her trade secrets. And, that’s okay.

But, it’s important to recognize that those people exist and that there’s potentially a lot of money to be made.

Why would you want to sell to that market? Well, I’ve got a few good reasons:

1. Lots of times when you’re selling patterns, ebooks, or tutorials, you only have to create something once and then you get to sell it over and over and over and over and…well, I think you get it. Basically, you can sell it while you sleep, without having to wake up the next morning and make each thing you sold. It gets delivered upon purchase, so you make more money without having to do anymore work. Talk about magical.

It’s much easier than creating every product by hand. In that scenario, you’re trading money for time and you can never get more than twenty-four hours a day. You’re limited to how much you can make—product and money-wise.

I’ve worked with creatives who’ve added patterns and tutorials to their revenue streams and doubled or tripled their profits in a couple months without adding more work hours to their days. Sounds kinda great right?

2. There’s a huge DIY population, people who love to make and create and who would never ever buy your handmade products because they want to make the stuff themselves. For example, I’m a knitter so I hardly ever buy hand-knit products. But, I do buy lots of knitting patterns.

3. You can serve people who can’t afford your handmade products. I’m a huge Alabama Chanin fan but $3,860 for a dress is a big deal for me. I didn’t spend that much on my wedding dress and I’m not a millionaire. So, I’ve been creating my own Alabama Chanin pieces (my poncho is almost done!) with the help of the Alabama Chanin books and patterns. I still support her business by buying her books and fabric.

This isn’t the right direction for every business, but it’s something to contemplate because it works really well for many creative businesses.

You have the option of making your patterns and tutorials available for personal use only—that way you can still sell your handmade creations without direct competition.

And, then there’s the third market: the people who want to learn how you do what you do so they can start a business like yours.

Knitters who want to sell their own knitted creations. Illustrators who want to learn about licensing and how to break into the freelance scene. Jewelry artists who want to know the ins and outs of setting up their own jewelry business and selling retail.

They’re looking for classes, books, guides—anything that’ll help them get there faster.

If you’re a natural teacher and love public speaking, this is another market you could tap into and make money from.

You could write a series of ebooks, put together workbooks, offer online courses, teach in person, and apply to speak at conferences. The options are unlimited thanks to the glorious internet.

If you can’t fall asleep at night cause you’re wondering how you’re going to make your handmade business work long-term, these other revenue streams might be just the thing that’ll derail your nightmares and allow you to sleep easy.

If you’re getting overwhelmed by the amount of creating you have to do every day to make your business profitable, these other revenue streams could free up your time while overflowing your piggy bank. Cha-ching!

If you’re thinking that this all sounds great but you have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. I’ll be teaching a course on creating digital and information products that sell at CreativeLive November 10th-12th. You can join me in the live audience or watch from home with a big bowl of popcorn for FREE. Mark your calendars now and I’ll be sharing more info soon!

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How My Website Has Affected My Business

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One of my favorite web designers, Emily Thompson, asked me to participate in her blog tour on how my website has affected/grown my business.

Well, that’s easy. I wouldn’t have a business without a website.

Seriously.

It’s how I’ve launched all of my products and courses. It’s how I’ve “met” the majority of my customers. It’s how I’ve shown people that I know what I’m talking about.

Without my website, I can’t tell you where I’d be. It’s unimaginable to me.

Starting my blog changed everything for me.

Within a few months, I had hundreds of readers. People who otherwise wouldn’t know anything about me or what I offer.

I connected with my business partner, Mayi Carles, through my blog.

Etsy “found me” through my blog and featured many of my blog posts and asked me to speak at the first Etsy Success Symposium.

Kimberly Palmer, author and journalist, read my blog and loved it. She interviewed me for U.S. News and World Report and featured my business in her book, The Economy of You.

One of the executive producers of creativeLIVE, Elizabeth, checked out my blog when thinking about asking me to lead a workshop for them. Obviously, she liked what she read, right?

My blog is my place to be me, share my ideas with the world and connect with other creative minds. It’s my online home. It’s my brand.

Now, here’s the thing you’ve got to realize: I started waaaay before I was ready. I started with a shoddy web design and hired that out six months later.

I didn’t know exactly what topics I was going to cover or what my blog posts would look like. I didn’t know much about my target market or what I’d sell. I just started with one blog post and grew from there.

If you’re waiting until everything is perfect, you’ll be waiting forever. It’s much better to learn as you go. You’ll figure it out. But, you’ve got to start somewhere.

What’s the next step you need to take to establish your online home? Or, what’s the next step you need to take to use your website to grow your business?

This blog post is part of a blog tour to let you know about a fabulous ecourse, Indie Headquarters, that’ll teach you the foundations of building your brand online. Registration is open until July 10th, so check it out now!

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100 Creatives to Follow on Instagram: Artists, Writers, Photographers, Crafters, Designers

100 Creatives to Follow on Instagram

I’m slightly obsessed with Instagram.

Cute dogs, pretty flowers, gorgeous paintings, delicious recipes, fun crafts, fashion. The inspiration I get is endless. I probably spend a little too much time on Instagram, but hey, it’s fun.

If you’re a newbie to Instagram or just want a list of creative people to follow (who post lovely pictures), I’ve compiled a list of 100 of my favorite creatives who constantly inspire me with their pics. I hope you find some new favorites in my list below.

1. April Bowles (yep, that’s me–above is one of my Instagram photos!)

2. Mayi Carles

3. Lisa Congdon

4. Brittni Mehlhoff

5. Katie Jaeger

6. Jessica Swift

7. Whitney Leigh Morris

8. Anna Bond

9. Laura Hooper-Leader

10. Madeline Trait

11. Jordan Ferney

12. Bri Emery

13. Claire S. Wilson

14. Heather Ross

15. Kate Bradbury

16. Sarah Yates

17. Courtney Cerruti

18. Brittany Jepsen

19. Elsie Larson

20. Hilary Rushford

21. Laura Blythman

22. Romina Bacci

23. Lisa Currie

24. Lauren Essl

25. Light Rust Studio

26. Jackie Reisenaur

27. Patricia Martins

28. Meghan Plowman

29. Sarah Shotts

30. Female Photographers Association

31. Suzy Gasson

32. Karla Lim

33. Jamie Beck

34. Cindy Loughridge

35. Ashley Goldberg

36. Kelly Lanza

37. Shasta Garcia

38. Sarah Palmer

39. Victoria Smith

40. Abby Smith

41. Morgan Lamkin

42. Christine Schmidt

43. The Happy Hunters

44. Melanie Burk

45. Leah Duncan

46. Jessica Shyba

47. Chelsea Foy

48. Kiss My Spatula

49. Jessie Chanes

50. Mike Perry

51. Kim Ficaro

52. Sean McCabe

53. Joy the Baker

54. Alice Gao

55. Ben Wagner

56. Anna Joyce

57. Kris Carr

58. Jolie Ankrom

59. Theron Humphrey

60. Ariele Alasko

61. Live Green Healthy

62. Diana Dontsova

63. Aran Goyoaga

64. Kimberly Sienkiewicz

65. Dawn Smith Designs

66. Scott Rankin

67. Alabama Chanin

68. Ali Edwards

69. Alma Loveland

70. Jessica Comingore

71. Piera Gelardi

72. Ez Pudewa

73.Ellie Koleen

74. Danni Hong

75. Amanda Rydell

76. Bonnie Christine

77. Anastasia Marie

78. Joy Cho

79. Angela Hardison

80. Bianca Cash

81. Eva Black

82. Kate Arends

83. Lisa Rupp

84. Sarah Kate

85. Tina Yang

86. Will Taylor

87. Edyta Szyszlo

88. Jess Marvel

89. Tara Pearce

90. Valentine Hello

91. Nicole Franzen

92. Joshua Lott

93. Vicky Navarro

94. Hiroaki Fukuda

95. Lisa Lehmann

96. Heather Bailey

97. Jenny Doh

98. Molly Hatch

99. Austin Kleon

100. Add the link to your Instagram profile in the comments below!

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Scholarship Winners for From Busy to Happy!

Winners

We thought we were only going to give out ONE scholarship, but then we saw all the amazing photos on social media and read your blog posts and knew we had to increase that number to THREE!

First, we want to thank everyone who entered. You set inspiring goals that you want to achieve by specific dates. That’s a huge, vulnerable step and you deserve a pat on the back (and a mojito). If we could all have a party in person, Mayi and I would supply mojitos for you all.

With that said, the scholarship winners for From Busy to Happy are…

Imagine trumpets blaring…

confetti raining…

superhero capes blowing in the wind…

Kris Windley, Caylee Greyvenstein, and Kimberly Sienkiewicz! Congratulations!

You’ll receive an email from me tomorrow (Friday) letting you know exactly how to set up your memberships, so be on the lookout.

We’re beyond excited to have you join us for From Busy to Happy.

And, if you weren’t selected for a scholarship, we really appreciate your thoughtful entry and would love to have you join us if you can.

If you still have questions about From Busy to Happy, check out the replay of the happy hour Mayi and I hosted yesterday (fast forward to 6 minutes and 30 seconds cause we were working on getting the audio right until then). It should help you make a clear decision. And, if you still have questions after watching, just email us at connectingthegaps@gmail.com and we’ll answer you as soon as possible.

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Chat with Mayi and April for Free Today!

Happy Hour

Check all that apply  to you:

1. You do a lot each day, but you never seem to reach those BIG goals (like getting your website set up, blogging once a week for a year or fitting into your pre-baby jeans).

2. You have so much going on in your life that your normal is always busy, and you’re not really sure if that could change.

3. You haven’t felt calm and relaxed since your last vacation (excluding the nights that you down three glasses of wine).

4. You wish you had the time to indulge in bubble baths, massages, manicures or just reading a good novel in bed.

5. This isn’t quite what you pictured your life to look like. You were thinking more Anthropologie shopping sprees and less technological-related stress. More laughter and beach trips and less twelve-hour days.

6. You’d love to chat with ladies who get it cause they’ve been there (and ask them all your questions–nothing’s off limits).

If you said yes to two or more of the above, you need to join us tonight at 7pm EST for the happy hour that we’re hosting.

Bring your favorite cocktail (tequila shots count, right?) and any questions you’ve got for us about From Busy to Happy: A 21-Day Productivity Mission!

Dress code: sundresses or pjs. Either works for us.

You can ask your questions via text or video, so if you don’t mind joining us on camera, we might invite you on. Imagine a slumber party with online friends. Fun, right?

We look forward to seeing you then.

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Win a Scholarship to From Busy to Happy!

From Busy to Happy Scholarship

Have you heard of From Busy to Happy?

You know, THE course that’ll help you stop wasting hours on social media, get clear on the goals you actually care about, and figure out what obstacles are standing in your way and how to demolish them.

Well, Mayi and I are offering a scholarship for the course cause we want to help as many creatives as possible, no matter how much money is in their piggy banks.

If you’ve been drooling over the course and counting your pennies to see if you can register, we’re opening up one spot for FREE.

And, we’re making the process super easy, because we know you’re busy. Hello! That’s why you want to take the course, right?

All you have to do to enter is:

1. Print off the hand-painted declaration of your goal (see banner below).

2. Fill in your goal, the date you want to accomplish your goal by and the kryptonite that you won’t let stand in your way.

3. Take a picture of yourself holding your declaration and upload it to your favorite social media platform(s) (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest) with the hashtag #connectingthegaps and the link to the course page: http://bit.ly/busytohappy

4. Leave a comment below letting us know which social media platform(s) you posted your declaration on.

5. The scholarship entry deadline is THIS THURSDAY, June 26th at 1pm EST. We’ll announce the winner around 5pm EST on June 26th.

Scholarship Download

Bonus Points:

1. The more social media platforms you post your picture on, the more times you’ll be entered in the contest. Options: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.

2. If you post the picture of you holding your declaration of your goal in a blog post (with the link back to course page) and write a little bit about why you want to reach that goal, you’ll get entered another five times. Make sure to leave the LINK to your blog post in the comments below, so we can find and read it.

Fine Print:

Anyone worldwide can enter. The scholarship decision is final. If you already paid for a spot in From Busy to Happy and you want to enter, you can. If you win, we’ll simply refund your purchase.

Have a question? Leave it in the comments below or email us at connectingthegaps@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Comments { 43 }

A 3-Day Mission to Boost Your Health and Happiness + FREE Printables

Connecting the Gaps

It’s way too easy to get stuck on the hamster wheel of life.

You wish upon a star each night when you’re falling asleep that you’ll find that extra time to write that book you’ve been dreaming about since your mid-twenties, go to the gym so you’re not wasting that expensive membership you paid for months ago, or finally take that vacation you’ve been talking about with your husband for the past two years.

But, then you wake up and chaos ensues. Your to-do list is monstrous. Your business is struggling. The laundry is overflowing and your mom thinks you should be able to go grocery shopping with her mid-day cause you don’t have a “real” job.

You snap at your husband for forgetting to take out the trash. (Doesn’t he know that you’re on your period and he should obey your every command?) You barely have time to fit in that five-minute yoga video before taking the fastest shower of your life.

You manage to whip together spaghetti for dinner. (Okay, the sauce came from a jar but at least you made something.) And, by the time you’re finished loading the dishwasher, you’re exhausted. (Even a bubble bath sounds like too much work.)

The day is over and you’re not really sure where it went. You did a lot but you don’t feel like you really accomplished anything.

It’s not as if you’re depressed or completely unhappy, but you’re also not thrilled with how things are going. You feel like you’re always on the go and have no time to: sit back and enjoy the ride or actually work on your BIG goals.

This certainly isn’t how you pictured your life.

You imagined yourself walking your golden retriever with a nice tan from your two-week vacation in St. John. You imagined weekly dinner dates with the love of your life. You imagined owning a wardrobe that makes you feel beautiful and taking hot yoga classes to keep your arms toned.

You didn’t picture wearing sweatpants most days, feeling self-conscious about your jiggling arms when you dare to wear a tank-top or having to make do with orangey tinted self-tanner because you barely get outside.

And, the worst part is that you’re not trying to change it. You’re just trying to get through each day, hoping that the next one will be better.

Connecting the Gaps

So, here’s the hard truth that I know you already know: if you’re not taking steps to change your current circumstances, they’re not going to change.

You’re not going to find Cinderella’s fairy godmother waiting to make all of your dreams come true standing next to your bed when you wake up tomorrow morning.

You’re in charge of changing things.

We all fall into a rut sometimes. It just happens.

I’d like to help you break free of the monotony—to focus on yourself, your happiness and your health.

If you can give me a little bit of your time for the next three days, you can start to shift everything in the right direction.

Grab yourself a cup of tea or a glass of freshly squeezed juice and press play on this FREE video.

P.S. There’s really fun (and totally cute) printables included!

Comments { 1 }

The Five Important Questions Often Left Out of Business Plans

The Five Questions Often Left Out of Business Plans

You might call me unprofessional but I must admit I’ve never written a formal business plan for Blacksburg Belle.

Not in the traditional sense at least.

Of course, I’ve done lots of goal setting and planning for my business. But, I’ve never put my company overview, industry analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan in a document all nice and tidy like.

For one reason, I think planning should be fun.

Instead of overwhelming myself with an uptight business plan, I journal about what I want my business to look like in one to three years.

I use the ‘painted picture’ technique from Cameron Herold’s book, Double Double. If you’ve never heard of the painted picture technique, read the free chapter available on Amazon right here.

For another reason, I feel like those formal business plans don’t address the most important topics when you’re planning your business.

I’ve never read a business plan that started with how much the person wants to work each day/week and what type of work she wants to be doing.

And, I think that’s the MOST important part.

If you build a business without thinking about how you want your business to fit into your life, you’re going to end up miserable, stuck in a job that you created. And, that sucks.

To avoid that trap, I’ve got five questions you should consider before you ever write a business plan:

1. How much time do you want to spend on work each day and week?

You may have to spend A LOT more time in the beginning, getting things off the ground, but you should be working towards a business that allows you to have a life. For instance, I worked with knitter who had to knit about ten to twelve hours a day to make enough money. She didn’t realize that’s the type of business she set up until she crunched the numbers. In order to deal with this, she started selling a lot more patterns and then raised her prices for her custom knitwear pieces. She almost doubled her profits in less than six months and decreased her hours significantly.

2. What does your ideal workday look like?

Map out your ideal workday from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. How can you build a business that supports that kind of ideal day?

When I started Blacksburg Belle, I knew that I wanted to take a break midmorning to walk my dogs every day. I also knew that I wanted to cook and eat most lunches and dinners with my husband which meant I needed to have time to do those things.

3. How much profit do you want your business to make each week and month?

First, your “need number” and “want number” are different. Need means the cost to pay the bills—the basics. Want means everything above that, including vacations, shopping, eating out, retirement fund, etc. Knowing how much money you need and want to make is critical to success. Once you’ve determined that number, you can look at your business to see if it’s realistic. If not, you need to make some changes.

4. How many people do you want working for you? What are those people like and what do they do for you?

First, you’ve got to decide if you want to be a one-woman show. If not, what tasks would you like someone else to take over? What qualities do you want the people working for you to have? Are your employees virtual or local?

5. What are your favorite parts of your business? What do you enjoy the most?

Your answer to this question should tell you what you should be spending the majority of your work time doing. This is your superpower—use it! If there’s a lot of stuff you don’t like doing, you may be the perfect person to hire employees to take over those less-than-exciting tasks.

Write these questions in a journal and take your time answering them.

Come back to them and re-answer them at least once a year because things change. Then, plan your business around your answers and you’ll be incredibly happy.

(Looking for the contest winners from last week’s giveaway? You can find them right here.)

Comments { 10 }

Contest to Win My Products + 26 Posts You Gotta Read (CONTEST CLOSED)

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As many of you know, I worked my buns off to make my creativeLIVE workshop the very best I possibly could. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? How dare you not be paying close attention. Just kidding. Read this.)

Day and night. Hours and hours.

The response I received made every single second that I put into the course completely worth it.

During the course, viewers put together a private Facebook group, so that they could stay connected, share their blogs and ask questions. They came up with this very awesome idea of putting together a blog tour, so that they could: 1) Say thank you to me (which still makes me blush and squeal). 2) Talk about what they learned and the changes they’ve made to their blogs. 3) Connect with each other and send lots of traffic to each other.

Pretty brilliant, right? I thought so.

So, instead of writing my own blog post today, I wanted to share their posts with you to say THANK YOU to each participant for being so involved with the course and staying committed to blogging afterwards and to hopefully continue the connections.

(These posts are in no particular order. And, the contest details to win some of my products for free are below.)

1. It’s all about YOU by Jo Cavagnis

2. Your Voice + Your Blog = Magic by Amanda Houchin Howell

3. Getting the K9 Blog to the Groomer {Creatively Speaking} by Kristina Zambrano

4. Just Do It! (It’s not just for Nike) by Connie Hanks

5. Old Dogs, New Tricks and Spring Tags by Gina Zee

6. How A Blogging Workshop Jumpstarted My Business by Rebecca Houghton

7. Blogging is a Team Sport: How to Build Community Online and Why you Should by Kris Windley

8. How blogs can help you be a Wok Star! by Eleanor Hoh

9. Done is Better than Perfect by Laura Kuenzig

10. 6 Things I Learned From a Successful Blogger (And How I Applied Them) by Nela Dunato

11. 5 Things I Learned about Blogging from April Bowles Olin by Kathy Reilly

12. 10 Best Blogging Bits from #BelleLive, and one important DON’T by Consu Tolosa

13. #LIVEAUTHENTIC – 11 Blogging Tips by Vivayne

14. Something New… by Beth Soler

15. Tips for Filling in Genealogy Gaps -Working towards Your 500 Direct Ancestors! by Lynne Cobine

16. Why Ponytails, Bubbles and Mismatched Socks Got Me Blogging! by Michael Nelson

17. Why I’m Building a Blog That is True to Me by Rebecca Nash

18. Keepin’ It Real in Business and Life by Sage Grayson

19. How A Blogging Workshop Changed My Outlook On Business by Anastasia Parmson

20. How to Make a Dream Come True by Richelle Shadoan

21. How Entering a Contest Literally Changed My Life by Richelle Shadoan

22. The “What #bellelive Taught Me” Blog Tour by Nelia Freitas

23. Revive Your Dormant Dreams: Some Motivation to Refresh Your Passion by Julene Fleurmond

24. Learning, Blogging, Doing by Josephine Mills

25. Blog Organization (and a freebie!) by Jennifer Ashley

26. When You Know Better, You Do Better Blogging! by Kymona Tracey

Contest Winners: (I’ll email you by Friday, June 13th to retrieve your prize!)

1. Jo Cavagnis

2. Anastasia Parmson

3. Rebecca Nash

4. KrisWithaK

5. Nayana Iliffe

6. Margareta Carlsson

7. Maria Zilakou

8. Beth@That One Mom

9. Michael

10. Vivayne

Contest Details (cause free stuff rocks):

I challenge you to pick TWO POSTS above and: 1) Leave a thoughtful comment on both posts. (Doesn’t it feel good when new people comment on your blog? Spread the love, people! It’s good karma.) 2) Share those posts via social media. You can tweet about them or like them or pin them or share them Facebook. It’s up to you. Just help that blogger spread the word.

Then, come on back and leave a comment below letting me know that you commented and shared two of the above blog posts. (Also, pleeeeeeease don’t just pick the first two. Pick two that you really think you’ll like. Spread the love around.) And, we’re using the honor system here, so be honest.

Next Wednesday (6/11/2014), I’ll pick TEN people who’ve left comments below and the winners will receive their choice of Marketing for Creatives or 365 Days of Writing and Blogging Prompts. Yep, it’s true.

Bonus Points: You’ll receive a bonus point for every ADDITIONAL blog post you comment on and share. That means you get entered another time for the drawing–the more times your name is entered, the more likely you’ll win. Just leave a comment below letting me know how many blog posts you commented on and shared. Remember, honor system–and I will be checking these posts for comments and shares.

Fine Print: Make sure you use a valid email address when leaving a comment, because that’s what I’ll use to contact you if you win. This is not valid for a refund if you’ve already purchased the above products. Good luck!

(If you’re a blogger who participated in the blog tour, you can still enter. Just follow the same rules above and leave a comment below letting me know how many you commented on and shared.)

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