I know, another new column! This one has a very specific direction and topic. It's about business, sharing tools with each other, helpful tips, and accountability. When I was brainstorming ideas for my opinion column, that is more of an editor's letter column called Coffee Talk, the State of the Meg name came up on that list, but I feel like it fits better with this topic versus an opinion column. State of the Meg is a play on the State of the Union address (that was obvious, right?). This column will be more frequent than the annual State of the Union, and will be a dialogue versus just an address to "the people" but I thought the name was funny and fitting. If you come to MIMI+MEG for eye candy and inspiration, don't worry, that's not going anywhere. If this column is boring to you, feel free to skip it, and know that none of my regular content will go away.
One problem I have is not taking my own advice. I wouldn't say that I'm terrible at it by any means, I'm actually pretty good in comparison to most people, but my standards for myself are very high, and when I'm giving advice to friends (usually about blogging or business, and I'm typically saying things like, don't be scared just go for it!), sometimes it's also advice I need to put into action myself. Focus was one of my main issues, whether it be that I was too focused on one thing (that I ended up realizing later was not a business I wanted to be in), or couldn't focus because I had too many things I wanted to do, it was an issue. I have wrestled with it and am getting so much better now. I believe I finally have created a business that will generate income quickly and for the long-run, it combines my talents and passions, and won't require me personally to constantly to keep it going in the future. Hello, that's my perfect job! I'm working on it, and will of course let you know when it's ready. My goal is to have the actual sites (yep, 2 of them) up and running before December. If they aren't up by the holidays, I'll be disappointed in myself. So hold me to it!
|Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky|
So how does this column benefit you besides maybe some motivation or inspiration with your own ideas and businesses?
Well, yesterday I was talking to a good friend of mine that, like me, also went from a nice salaried position to freelancing in the past year. She and her business partner are very talented, so I know they will be successful in their venture, but we started talking about certain things we were each dealing with in our businesses. When we used to work at together at a large creative company, there were always people around who knew all the newest, easiest ways to do things. If you had any type of question, there was always someone with the answer. Now that we are more on our own, it takes a lot more effort and time to find the right solutions.
We started talking about how we should have monthly meetings about all the things that are working or not working for us, that way we could help each other become more efficient and find the right solutions for our businesses. I think that in person or meetings like that via skype or phone is a great idea! I was already in the process of starting this column, so I thought I'd get out what I learn here and use this as a forum for you to share what does and doesn't work for you in blogging, business, or even just life!
One tip that I've started using that I want to share with you all is how I keep track of billing hours for clients. I have a separate folder for each of my clients with any information they give me or paperwork I need for them. I have also printed off a monthly calendar for each of them (clearly labeled at the top). I write down my time for my clients each day, usually with a little description of what I worked on, for example if we had a meeting about their blog, I'd write Meeting/Blog, or something to that effect. Since I am using this for my reference when sending invoices, having a separate calendar for each client helps me track and analyze my time for each client. I made a calendar that you can download from my flickr and fill out with the month, client, and dates. Click to get it here.
Since I currently have two blogs of my own and a few for clients, I had to get my own blog posts more organized. I decided to buy a monthly planner where I write down the posts I'm planning on doing, and I highlight them when I'm done with them. If you have more than one blog, you can visually separate the posts in your calendar by the color of ink you write them in, or draw a line between them, or what I do is write the MIMI+MEG blog posts at the top of the box, and the Stella & Henry posts at the bottom, and just keep that consistent. You can also hang a white board calendar in your office or near your computer that is a dedicated blog calendar to write your posts on.
So a quick recap of the tools/ideas in this column today are:
1. Read Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
2. Monthly Calendar (sheet to print) for keeping track of hours for clients
3. Monthly Planner or Monthly White Board Calendar to plan your blog posts
Also in each column I'm going to list a few sites that I think are either inspiring or great sources of information. Today's are:
The 99 Percent: It's not about ideas. It's about making them happen. (Great slogan, right!)
Makeunder My Life by Jess Constable: Jess has been really successful in starting her jewelry and accessories business, and her blog is full of inspiring stories and tips on how she does it all. She is honest and helpful. (Did you see her Fall Faves earlier this week?)
Entrepreneuress Academy: Empowering women to start successful businesses online. This is a membership site. Try it out for a week for less than $5 and see if it's a good tool for you.
I'm a believer in helping others, sharing resources when possible, and talking about business, struggles, and anything that we can do to help each other succeed. There is room for all of us to be successful, so let's help each other get there. (And take down the guys! Just kidding, not really, a little, channeling Kristin Wigg here.) In all seriousness, women should definitely be getting paid the same as men in the same or equal jobs, and the fact that women don't in many cases is just plain bullshit. Ladies, ask for raises and equal salaries to your male colleagues. All your boss can do is say no. That could be an entire column, so I'll stop there.
Please share your ideas, what works for you with your business or blogs, books you've read, and any other info you'd like to share so we can all learn from each other in the comments below!