Showing posts with label #GoalChat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #GoalChat. Show all posts

The 5 Rs of Refreshing Your Writing Goals

So much has changed over the last several months. In-person events have been cancelled, projects have been delayed, and many businesses and publications have shut their doors.

On the flip side, a lot of organizations have pivoted, a variety of virtual gatherings are popping up each week, and new publications are taking shape. People are writing their experiences, creating solutions through new businesses, and doing their best to adjust to this new world.

So, how are you doing? What are you doing? Are you ready to embrace your writing goals? Want to set new ones?

Here are the 5 Rs of refreshing your writing goals:

Revamp: When plans change, sometimes the easiest thing to do it roll with it. Did your live book-release tour get cancelled? Set up a virtual book tour of blogs and podcasts. Apply to speak at conferences. Or start a workshop of your own.

Reboot: When was the last time you spent time looking at your website, blog, or social media? I'm guessing it's overdue for a makeover. Make sure your social media and blog have a new-ish - professional - photo of you, and your experience is up-to-date. Don't forget the consistent blog posts and branding. Your online presence is most people's first impression of you. Make sure it's an accurate reflection of you, so you are ready for future work and new connections.

Revisit: Have your pitches-in-progress stalled? Has an editor not gotten back to you? It's all good. You know what you can do instead? Spend time on that passion project you keep meaning to go back to but never have the time. Whether it's a book idea, short story, or article, your fresh eyes on it may be just what you need to fast-track it forward.

Research: Trying new things is just as - if not more - important than revisiting old projects. Want to explore a new genre? Great. Ready to discover whether a podcast, videos, or a new social media platform is right for you? Fantastic. Unless you experiment with new genres, formats, and mediums, you don't know what's out there. ... And you could discover something that is a game-changer for you in the process.

Reach Out: Are you missing real-people connections and conversations? Want to know how old friends and colleagues are doing? Ask. Send an email. Schedule a Zoom. Or pick up the phone. People will be thrilled to hear from you. Plus, you never know what opportunities can come from a conversation.

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As a writer, there's no better time than now to take a good look at your goals and adjust them accordingly.

#ChangeHappens. However, when we embrace change, set new goals, and make a plan, it's a much smoother road ahead.


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How are you refreshing your writing goals? What new goals have you set? Please share in the comments.

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Read my post on 5 networking goals you can pursue from home.

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Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChat Live on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

LinkedIn for Writers


"What social media platforms should I be on?"

I get that question a lot.

Want to know what I get even more often? Looks of surprise, when I say the first place you should be on is LinkedIn.

As an author, entrepreneur, or marketer, you really need to be where your people are. Your fans and followers may be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and/or YouTube.

Your associates, peers, mentors, potential partners, and other resources are definitely on LinkedIn.

Since LinkedIn is a business-focused network, it's frequently the first place someone looks for you when you meet, whether it's through a referral or at a live or virtual event. It gives you validity, as you showcase your specialty or expertise. It's also your hub of contacts. If you want to target a new connection - whether it's an agent, a source, or a service-provider - you can look to your network and see who can introduce you.

LinkedIn Basics

Whatever the primary function of your LinkedIn profile, you want to put your best foot forward to your connections.

Your LinkedIn profile offers a snapshot of who you are. It should include:

- Your Profile Photo. This should be a professional (or at least professional-looking) picture, so others have a face to put with a name. This also helps when you meet someone online leading up to a conference. You've already developed a familiarity, so when you meet in person, the connection is even stronger.

- Your Background or Header Image.  This visual branding should match your website/blog. In your header you may want to include images of your published books, your logo, your website, or perhaps a special offer.

- Your Headline. This is the first thing people read about you. It should reflect who you are, what you do, and how you help others. Even as a author of fiction author, you can find value to highlight, such as entertainment or education. If there's room, include a quirky or obscure detail about you. That makes you memorable.

- Featured Content. Under your summary section, as well as the work experiences, there's space to add links and multimedia documents. (There's also a section for Publications and another for Projects.) Any content you have that illustrates who you are, what you stand for, and some of the work you've done deserves to be highlighted. This is also an excellent place to feature your book trailer or any author readings.

- Work Experience. Highlight your job responsibilities and major accomplishments.

- Background and Accomplishments. This ranges from volunteering and education to language and certifications

- Skills. These keywords are what you want to be associated with. Find the best fit for what you are doing and what you want to be endorsed for.

- Updates. Post updates on a regular basis to stay top of mind. This can be general comments, replies, long-form, links, photo, or video. And some users already have the ability to go Live on LinkedIn.

You can post about:

- Your author journey

- Your favorite resources

- Upcoming events

Since LinkedIn is less cluttered that the other networks, there's a bonus reason to interact on the platform: your activity is more likely to be seen.

Other Sites

Beyond LinkedIn you should definitely have business personas on the primary social networks. That means a Facebook Page (and possibly Group), as well as Twitter and Instagram Profiles. If you are visually inclined, you may also want to try Pinterest. And for those into video, YouTube is a must!

The time and energy you put into those networks is an article for another time. What I will tell you is this: whether you're preparing to launch a new website, book, or article series, you need to have your branding on all the social platforms.

- Go to Namechk.com and search for profile names consistent with your company name or branding

- Create Pages/Profiles on each of the main networks.

- Choose one or two social networks to amp up; go into maintenance mode (weekly posting) on the others.

The aforementioned should be in tandem with your activities on Linkedn.

A social media plan helps readers know when to expect content and it helps you to put your best foot forward in the right place!

This is only the tip of the LinkedIn iceberg. Stay tuned for more articles on ways to make LinkedIn work for you as an author.

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How do you feel about LinkedIn? What tips do you have for making the most out of the network? Please share in the comments.

And connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Read last month's post on 5 networking goals you can pursue from home.

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Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals. A writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of the D*E*B METHOD and Write On Online, Deb works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. She is also the author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and #GoalChat Live on Facebook, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Outsourcing


To do or not to do? That is the question.

No matter what your business, there comes a time when you need to decide what priorities you need to handle yourself and what you can outsource.

Whether you offload work to a live or virtual assistant, a different "team," or an outside specialist, more often than not, the time and energy you save will be well worth the expense.

The Litmus Test

When deciding whether to take on certain projects or offload them, here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Is this related to my specialty?
  • Can someone else do it?
  • Should someone else do it?

Characteristics of items that are good to outsource, include:

  • Repetitive tasks, such as data entry
  • Time-consuming tasks, such as transcription.
  • Out-of-your-comfort-zone tasks. If something will take you more time to learn than it will take someone else to do properly, unless it's something that will benefit your own professional development, it should go on someone else's plate.

Professional Services. Unless it's your actual business, look to others for:

  • Web Design and Support
  • Legal Advice
  • Accounting
  • Graphics
  • Finance

Project Support. There are also certain cases where you need get assistance, even when the action item can be done by you. Especially when doing something close to you, such as self-publishing, to get the best product possible, you may need to hire the following contractors:

  • An editor
  • Copy editor
  • Cover designer
  • Book designer
  • Marketer or Publicist
  • Don't forget a photographer for new headshots.

Finding the Right People

If you do decide to outsource, start with your network. Ask friends directly for recommendations, post a request in a LinkedIn update, or go to networking events where you can potential find the right people.

Alternatively, you can look to job boards and ask for suggestions relevant Facebook or LinkedIn groups.

The Bottom Line

When the question is about outsourcing, it usually comes down to money. If you can afford the expense, it enables you to focus on the things you do well and are passionate about ... which will ultimately generate more money. Outsourcing in the perfect world pays for itself.

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How do you decide what to do and what to outsource? What are your tips for finding great resources? Please share in the comments.

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For more on Getting Press, read the #GoalChat recap on the topic.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  Debra is the author of Your Goal Guide, being released by Mango in January 2020, as well as Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and the Guided Goals Podcast, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Getting Press

Getting Press

An ongoing challenge for anyone in business - an author, marketer, consultant, or all of the above - is getting recognized. The more the public knows you, the more likely they will be to read your books, hire you, etc. One of the best ways to get known is through press.

But how do you go about getting press?

I posed this question on my Sunday night #GoalChat Twitter chat. Here's what I - and some of my community - had to say.

Q4. What are the most effective ways of getting publicity?








Q5. What advice do you have for getting press?






What are your tips for getting press? Please share in the comments.

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For more on Getting Press, read the entire #GoalChat recap on the topic.

Also, check out the newly released 3rd edition of The Frugal Book Promoter by WOTM's Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  Debra is the author of Your Goal Guide, being released by Mango in January 2020, as well as Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and the Guided Goals Podcast, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Branding Checkup

Branding Checkup

No matter what your business, branding is essential. Your name, your theme, your visuals. It's what sets you apart, so prospects, clients, your audience, fans, etc. can easily identify who you are and what you do.

Perhaps the most important part of your brand is you: your personality, expertise, and your niche. When you take the time to plan and create your elements, and add your authentic self in the mix, it's a recipe for branding success.

If you can't remember the last time you did a branding checkup, it's likely way overdue. You don't necessarily need to change or update anything. However, it never hurts to touch base with yourself, in case it's time for minor changes, a pivot, or a complete overhaul.

Your Brand Elements

Your brand is composed of numerous areas - some are tangible, while others are just part of your businesses model. 

Business Name: Your business name should be consistent with your blog name, podcast, and any other content you create to promote your business.

Mission Statement: Who you are plus what you do encompass your mission statement. Does your business still reflect your mission? Does your mission reflect your business? Or is it time to make adjustments?

Tagline: Your tagline is a simplified, catchy version of your mission simplified. Think of it as a touchstone for all of your potential business activities.

Logo: Whether your logo is an image or stylized text, it should be a reflection of your brand. A modern company vs tech vs financial services vs creative industry will all have different approaches to logo. 

Fonts: See notes on logo.

Colors: Like logos and fonts, your brand colors should be consistent ... and all go together. 

Imagery: Branded images range from your website and blog images to your social media backgrounds and post templates. Use the same type of image - for instance, all illustrations or all modern photographs - throughout. And don't forget to incorporate your logo, especially when it comes to social media headers and shareable blog posts.

When you evaluate your branding, remember consistency is key. You want all of your personas, links, social media accounts to connect to you and to each other. 

Follow this simple rule: "Be yourself - your brand - everywhere." And that's really all there is to it!

For more on Branding, read the #GoalChat recap on the topic.

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How important is branding? What other elements do you incorporate in your branding? And how do you set yourself apart? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  Debra is the author of Your Goal Guide, being released by Mango in January 2020, as well as Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and the Guided Goals Podcast, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

The Power of Saying No

The Power of Saying No
One of the biggest challenges people have is saying, "No."

Has this ever happened to you?

Scenario 1: 

Can you help with the school committee? "Well, I have a huge deadline at the end of the month, so I can't really devote the time." But you are so good at promotion. It'll only be a few hours a week. "A few hours?" Well, less than 20 total, but you are speedy, so it will probably won't take you that long. 

What you want to say: No.

What you say: Yes.

What happens: You dedicate more than 40 hours, because when she said help she meant lead the committee, and everyone else shirked their responsibilities. You are not happy with the work you have done for either project. Plus, you are frustrated, sleep deprived, and mad at yourself for not sticking to your instincts.

What you should have said: I understand that volunteering is part of my responsibilities as a parent at the school. However, the timing is not great. Let's take a look at the calendar and pick something I can contribute in the near future. I will be less stressed, won't have to split my focus, and will do a better job on both projects.


Scenario 2: 

Mom, will you pick up grandchild from school this afternoon and take him over to the dentist? "I'd love to help you out, but you know this is my designated writing day." I know it's short notice, but I have a meeting for work that I can't reschedule. "Why did you double-book?" The work thing was last minute. You'd really be helping me out. And I know how much you two enjoy spending time together.

What you want to say: No.

What you say: Yes.

What happens: You do it. It's fine. But you get the same request a week later. Then, when you try to say, "no," you get, But you did it last time and didn't you two have the best time? 

What you should have said: I understand it's last minute, and I will help you out this time. But, in the future, I'd appreciate it if you would find an alternative. Even though it's work on spec, it's still my work schedule; I cannot skip all the time. Optional: I take Fridays off, so if you need me to pick him up on a Friday, that's much easier.


Scenario 3: 

Do you want to be on a panel for this cool - but not related at all to your business goals - event? We had a last-minute cancellation and we'd love to bring you on board.

What you want to say: No.

What you say: Yes.

What happens: This could go either way. 

1. You do the event, you make some new friends. You don't really get work out of it, but make some nice connections. 

2. You do the event. It went okay, but definitely not a topic you would speak on in the future. It felt strained, but you pulled it off. To top it off, you discover the topic that is your forte is on the schedule for three months from now; and you are not eligible since they have a rule against repeating speakers within a year.   

What you should have said: I'd love to help out. But just so you know this is more on the cusp of my niche. My true expertise is XXX. Whether or not I am still a fit for this event, I'd appreciate it if you would think of me the next time my topic comes up, regardless of the timing.

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To avoid - or at least lessen - regret, wasted time, and frustration, before you commit to anything, ask yourself three questions:

1. What is the benefit? Will it help me professionally, personally, or both? Does it reflect my mission? 

2. What is the commitment? Do I have the time and bandwidth to take this on?

3. Do you want to do it? When it comes right down to it, this is really the only answer that matters. 

When making a decision to do - or not do - something, consider yourself first. Granted, emergencies happen and sometimes the choice is a clear Yes. However, if your answer is No, meant it, stick to it, and keep any (necessary) explanation short and firm. 

Think of Saying No as giving yourself the gift of time. And it's likely something you should give yourself more often.


For more on the power of saying "no," join on Twitter this Sunday, May 13, at 7pm PT for our #GoalChat on this topic.

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How do you say No? Do you say No? Or is it a skill you need to improve? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Creativity & Work-Life Balance

Creativity & Work-Life Balance
When was the last time you did something creative just for fun? 

If the answer doesn't come to you immediately, you are missing out.

There are many benefits to being creative. Among other things, it helps with critical thinking, relieves stress, and is just plain fun. Whenever you are having a particularly stressful day - or even if you are not - a creative endeavor will add much needed adrenaline, motivation, and spark. And just a few minutes can make a huge difference.

Here are ten creative things you can do today or any day.

1. Doodle or Sketch. You don't need to be artistic to make art.

2. Take Photos. Just about everyone has a camera on their mobile phone. Take a walk and take some pictures.

3. Write a Poem. April is #NationalPoetryMonth. Celebrate.

4. Turn on Music and Dance. Regular dance breaks also help with your physical health. 

5. Write a Story. Just for Fun!

6. Garden. The bonus: flowers to beautify your home or something good to eat.

7. Cook. See what you can make with the ingredients in your fridge or pantry. 

8. Bake. Yum. 'Nuff said.

9. Craft. Sew, scrapbook, knit. The options are endless. 

10. Write a Letter. This is a fun exercise. Plus it will make someone's day. 

For more on the power of creative pursuits, check out the recap from my #GoalChat on this topic.

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How do you incorporate creativity into your work-life balance? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Career Development: 5 Ideas

No matter what your area, it's essential to stay on top of the latest news, information, and trends in your industry. People hire experts. So do everything you can to hone and improve your level of expertise.

Want to be the go-to in your field? Here are five places to look for information today to stay ahead of the pack.

1. Find 5 Blogs. If you are in writing or marketing, you already have one blog you like, so do a search and find a few more. Set your RSS feed or make a weekly - or twice weekly - appointment to visit these URLs and read what's happening.

2. Find 5 Podcasts. Podcasts are an excellent source of information. The best part is, you can listen while doing other things, such as running errands or commuting to work. Ask friend in your industry to recommend their favorite podcasts. Then, subscribe, so you get new episodes as soon as they are released.

3. Find 5 Groups. These can be local groups, online, or a combination of both. Whether it's an association directly related to your industry, or one, such as marketing, that can help you improve your business, find places with like-minded people where you can share - and receive - resources and recommendations.

4. Find 5 Events. Once you discover your groups, finding events will be a snap. These can be conferences, workshops, or continuing education. Some of these may also be all of the above. Btw, don't need to actually attend all of these, tho it's great if you can. Many organizations have e-learning options. Plus, some live events have Twitter feeds you can follow as the next best thing to being there.

5. Find 5 Books or Authors. You know the trendsetters in your industry. And if you don't, find them. Do a search. Then, follow them. Get their newsletters, connect on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube. And regularly read what they have to say.

Look for places that offer the kind of information that will allow you to improve your level of knowledge, so you can excel. This will help you, as well as your clients, no matter what your field.

What do you do to stay on the top of your field? Please share in the comments.

For more on Career Development, drop by my Twitter chat #GoalChat tonight at 7pm PT to discus or read the recap on Write On Online.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  She is author of Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat. Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

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  by Suzanne Lieurance Did you know that studies have shown that most self-published authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book?   Tha...