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Business

My Biggest Business Mistakes From the First 6 Months (And How I Fixed Them!)

I’m writing this post on a Saturday night after doing 13 straight hours of work, with only one break to inhale a few pieces of peanut butter toast.

It was a beautiful sunny day outside, and I didn’t see any of it.

This is not how I want to run my business.

All hustle, no balance.

It’s taking a toll on me.

Luckily, I am smart enough to realize when I’ve made some pretty awful mistakes and how to fix them. Today I want to get a lil’ personal with you and share my biggest struggles and failures over the past 6 months and how I’m overcoming them to become a better blogger and business owner.

I hope you can learn something from this post. Here goes.

Biggest Business Mistakes

 

1. No time for fun.

Talk about overscheduled.

Even my husband knows that if it’s not on my Google calendar, it’s not happening.

I’ve lost touch with several friends. Some of them understand, and others don’t. I even feel bad with how little time I’m spending with my dog.

It’s super depressing.

I ended up getting so burnt out, I didn’t want to do anything.

And that was my solution.

I realized that I procrastinate a lot. Not because I dislike my work, I love it, but because I’m too much of a perfectionist and I want “the perfect idea” before I start working.

Well, that just doesn’t exist.

I’ve learned to just start, and edit shit later. I’ve learned to be more productive with my time so that I can get more done in less time.

Ya know what the big magical secret to all that is?

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

How to Start an Online Clothing Business for $0 with Printful and Etsy

I did something crazy about a month ago. I started an online clothing business.

And it’s actually going really well.

Am I a designer? No.

Am I an Etsy pro? Nope.

Do I even know what DPI is, or what the difference is between CMYK and RGB? Not really.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year as a serious blogger, it’s that sometimes you just gotta try new stuff and do it. Jump in with both feet. Don’t overplan. Just follow your heart and see where it goes.

Easier said than done, especially when following your heart could cost thousands of dollars in upfront costs.

Not so bueno.

But, I really wanted to do this. So I found a way of getting started that was totally FREE, and in this post, I’ll show you how to do the same thing.

Create an Online Clothing Business Free

I create t-shirts, iPhone cases, leggings, skirts and other small items, and I don’t have to pay a single cent for inventory or expenses until someone buys one of my products. aka guaranteed profit! Isn’t that amazeballs?!

For example, here are a few examples of my humble creations. 😬

Wanna win an item of your choice from my shop? Just enter the contest at the end of this post! 👇🏼

 

It’s really easy to start your own biz this way. So let’s jump right in and get started…

Create Your Free Etsy Store

For this post, I’m going to assume you want to sell your stuff on Etsy! It’s a great choice. Etsy is a solid network of handmade sellers, and a trusted shopping destination for millions of people around the world. You can’t go wrong.

So, if you don’t already have an Etsy account, sign up for free here.

When you’re all signed up, click on the You tab to go into your settings. From there, you can choose to open a new shop.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Once you’ve created your shop, you’ll be taken to the Shop Manager area. It’s pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to go into Settings on the left-hand menu to ensure everything is set up.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Here you can set things like your tagline, top image banner and logo. Here’s what my shop looks like with all those things added:

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Go through all the Settings fields and make sure everything is filled in. Don’t worry about making it perfect right now. You can always change it later.

Remember: DONE is always better than perfect. ✌🏽

 

Create Your First T-Shirt

Mmk, switching gears to product creation now. Woo! This is where the magic happens, people.

Already have a good idea for a t-shirt, mug, or other product? Great! If not, just think of a silly saying and follow along with this tutorial. You can always redo these steps when you have a “real” product idea later on.

Not sure if your idea is good or not? Let the market decide! Remember, this is all free so you’re not out any money by testing your ideas.

To create your first product, you’ll need to sign up for Printful.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipper, which means they print your designs onto merchandise and ship it from their location to your customers. It’s worldwide, and the products look like they’re coming from you, not Printful. Basically… it’s awesome.

Once you sign up, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard. It’s your order portal.

Creating a product on Printful isn’t like an actual thing you create on there. You create your artwork files in a design program, like Adobe Photoshop, and then upload those files to Printful to store until you’re ready to print them.

I use Photoshop, but you could also use Illustrator, or a free option like Canva.

For this example, we’ll make a simple text-based t-shirt, but you can get as crazy and colourful as you like. If you can draw, go wild! I… can’t draw.

I’m going to make a shirt that says, “I Work So My Dog Can Have Nice Things”.

(It’s true. 🙄)

Printful has a template for everything on their site so you always know how to size it. The t-shirt print area is 10 in x 12 in, so all you need to do is open up a new Photoshop file at 150 DPI sized 10×12. Also make sure you’re using RGB colour.

If you’re using Canva, open up a new file that’s 1500px x 1800px (or larger).

Create Online Clothing Business Free

Then add your text to the file. Make sure your background is transparent. This can be done in Canva as well, but I’m using Photoshop in the screenshots below.

Create Online Clothing Business Free

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

How to Create a Simple Blog Business Plan (Free Template!)

Struggling to monetize your blog, or turn it into a profitable business? Or, thinking of starting one but getting hung up about where/how to start?

You. Need. A. Blog Business Plan. STAT!

Simple Blog Business Plan

You’ve probably seen tons of posts out there from other bloggers about creating a Blog Business Plan. I’ve downloaded many of their templates myself and filled them out. Don’t get me wrong – those templates were awesome, and really helped me narrow down my goals, focus and how I could get there.

But after filling out so many questions, I felt a bit lost. How was I going to implement all of this RIGHT MEOW?!

It was pretty overwhelming, especially when I was new to blogging.

 

Why You Need a Blog Business Plan

Creating a biz plan is of utmost importance, even if you’re just starting out. Not having one is like setting sail on a journey across the ocean with no map. Crazy talk. A crazy ass pirate ain’t even gonna do that.

Here are a few of my favourite blog business plans from other bloggers (all 3 of them are amazeballs and I have secret entrepreneurial crushes on them, shhh):

Melyssa Griffin’s 20+ Page Bangin’ Blog Business Plan

Regina’s Epic 36 Page Blog Business Plan

Allison from Wonderlass’ 9 Step Business Plan for Creatives

But I’m not writing this post to just give you a bunch of links to check out, although you should most definitely check those out for super in-depth blog business plans.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by business planning, especially if you’re just starting out.

So while having a multi-faceted, detailed, ironclad biz plan is definitely a must at some point… we all gotta start somewhere.

For me, I filled out template after template of planning resources out there, but I never did the most important thing you need to in order to be successful.

What’s that you say?

Oh, it’s actually IMPLEMENTING something! Doh.

I was all plan, plan, plan and no action, action, action. Don’t be like me.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

10 Things Your Small Business Website Needs

If you’re trying to grow your home based or creative business online, this post is for you!

As a freelance writer, I spend most of my time working on website projects. My clients cover a diverse range of industries, but there are common elements among them that make their small business websites successful.

Whether you are a creative freelancer, or a local small business, these ten things apply to everyone looking to attract and convert more customers online.

10 Things Your Small Business Website Needs to be Successful and Get You Clients

Sure, you might be thinking the obvious things, like a contact page, or a newsletter subscribe box.

Those are great, but you need a few more things to ramp up your success. So this post is going to cover each of those items, and some examples from around the web from businesses who’ve done a great job implementing them.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

The Difference Between Digital Strategy and Digital Project Management

My name is Michelle, and I’m a recovering Digital Project Manager.

The Difference Between Digital Project Management and Digital Strategy

 

You see, I was a digital PM for awhile, back in the heady days of 2015, a distant blur now. And then I became a digital strategist. “Cool,” I thought. “A totally different job, how exciting!” And then weeks and months went on and I found myself thinking, “Hmm. This seems an awful lot like what I was doing before. What gives?”

Months turned into almost a year and I became more disillusioned and confused than ever.

cat confused gif

So what is the actual difference between a digital PM and a digital strategist? It’s taken me awhile to learn.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager/Human Being

It’s difficult to accept failure. I think that’s part of human nature — to be proud, defend ourselves, survive, and dislike failing. But sometimes we fail as human beings, and as project managers. And sometimes, spectacularly, we fail at those two things at the same time.

Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager (and Human Being)

 

I’ve been a total failure over the past few months.

  • I started this blog, intending to keep it going with new content twice a week. Fail.
  • I transitioned out of project management recently, but didn’t actually transition out of it because I’m a total control freak. Fail.
  • Even though I didn’t transition out of it, I still failed at doing a bunch of PM stuff properly. Fail.
  • I couldn’t think of new content ideas to save my life. Fail.
  • I lost my focus, my energy, my drive, and my love of what I do (temporarily). Fail.
  • I ate an entire tray of four cinnamon buns and washed them down with an entire bottle of wine. Fail (or… win?).

Cinnamon Bun GIF

I think the important thing to remember here is that cinnamon buns fix all failures until you step on the scale and feel like a failure in an entirely new way. Not as a project manager or a human being, but even worse, a failure of a woman for not fitting into your pants anymore.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

What Your Worst Project Ever Can Teach You About Good Digital Project Management

Everyone has had a “worst project ever”. Mine has been recent and is still ongoing. I don’t mean it’s the worst because the work is bad or the client is bad, quite the opposite with this one. Our team has created amazing work and everyone really cares about this project. The client is fantastic and smart, willing to think outside the box when it comes to design and to take our input. When it finally completes, it will be a great piece of work out there in the world.

But that’s the problem, when it finally completes.

 

What Your Worst Project Ever Can Teach You About Digital Project Management

It’s easy to blame others when things don’t go as planned but project managers need to be bigger than that. If it didn’t go according to plan, it means your plan didn’t work. Why not? Where were you? Why weren’t you paying attention? Or if you were paying attention, why did you miss the clear red flags that things were going awry and your plan was not working? How come you didn’t fix it?

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.

How to Get a Derailed Digital Project Back on Track

This post is for all my DPM peeps out there. That stands for “digital project management” in case you manage projects from under a rock. So, while I no longer work full-time in digital project management (I only dabble, as now I am a strategist/writer full-time), I’m still passionate about client relationship management and making sure our lovingly crafted digital projects go smoothly. I’ve found that now being on “the creative side” has given me even more passion for project management, as I feel like I have a better idea of what it’s like for the people I used to schedule and plan for, both internally and externally.

How to Get a Derailed Digital Project Back on Track

 

But we’ve all been there: the digital project that goes completely off track and looks like it’s destined for the rubbish pile or worse, public consumption as a warped, ugly version of its formerly wonderful concept. Let’s face it, it’s usually a website.

So what do you do? How do you tackle this seemingly insurmountable beast and tame it back into a (oh god here comes a cliche) beauty? By following these oh so useful tips of course.

But first, we need to identify the signs of a project going off the rails… We’ll assume it’s a website for the purposes of this example because, well, it probably is.

CONTINUE READING

I’ve helped hundreds of bloggers and B2B businesses grow their profits with actionable content strategy advice. As a marketing agency brand strategist and copywriter, I’m on a mission to prove that you don’t need a fancy degree to market yourself, you just need the right tools. Find your voice online and grow your business! I’m known for being a crazy cat (+dog) lady, German car enthusiast and a bit of a wino.