Finding Cool Networking Events Right in Your Backyard!

Finding Cool Networking Events Right in Your Backyard!

An important part of marketing yourself and your work is networking. And while we have all gotten used to connecting over Zoom, nothing beats in person events for connecting and building relationships. For the Hollywood crowd, the biggest event of the year is Comic Con in San Diego. But you don’t need to jet off to big-ticket events to make magical connections. Stellar opportunities are knocking at your doorstep every single day – if only you know where to look!

How to find networking events near you:

  • Ask friends and colleagues.
  • Google
  • Your LinkedIn feed
  • Meet Up
  • Creator newsletters like this one.
  • Podcasts
  • Join industry groups.
  • Alumni groups

I had an absolute blast at a meeting of the ​League of Romance Writers​ last weekend! The best part? Meeting the fabulous ​Jami Albright​ and diving deep into her newsletter wisdom. The meeting was half an hour from me, and I could have attended over Zoom, but I wanted to meet people in real life. Also, I was thrilled to find such a cool event in my hometown.

I learned about it from Jami and Sara Rosett’s podcast, which I have recommended to ya’ll before – ​Wish I’d Known Then​. I love this podcast because it’s authors talking with other authors, and I learn something from every episode. It was really cool to meet someone I had been listening to for over a year. I felt like a fangirl!

So, here’s your mission for the week: Seek out an in-person event. Dive into lively conversations. Expand your universe, one connection at a time. Remember, the wider your network, the brighter your constellation of opportunities!

Stay connected and keep shining!

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Be Easy to Find With a Creative Website

Be Easy to Find With a Creative Website

We are getting started early with September as the month ​marketing​. As creatives, a lot of us cringe when we have to market ourselves and our projects. Whether you have a corporate job, you’re a freelancer, or a solopreneur, no one is going to hire you or buy what you’re selling, if you are not talking about it.

For the next four weeks as we talk about the different ways you can​ pitch yourself ​and ​your creative ideas​, I encourage you to shift your perspective around marketing.

Marketing is just storytelling in another format. Embrace the creativity around talking about yourself and your ideas. If you start with the attitude that marketing is fun and creative, you’re going to see results.

Be Easy to Find – Have a Website

​Be easy to find​ is a marketing mantra that I teach my clients. If someone is interested in hiring you, optioning one of your screenplays, or buying a book, you want to be easy to find. The most effective way to market yourself is to have a website. A website that explains who you are, what you do, what you have done, and how to get in touch with you. If you have something like books or art to sell, be sure to feature your work with a handy ​buy button​.

Your website doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be one page that you add to as needed. You can build and maintain your own website even if you aren’t techie. If I can do it, you can do it.

I built my website on WordPress. WordPress started off as a blogging platform. Now 60% of websites are built using WordPress. When you build on WordPress, you choose a theme, which is the architecture for your website. I use the ​Divi ​theme because it offers lots of design possibilities and it’s very easy to use.

You will need a domain name. I suggest using your name or something similar like And you will need to pay for web hosting. I use and recommend ​Siteground ​for domains and hosting. Their ​tech support is amazing​. They only work with WordPress sites, so if you have trouble with WordPress, they will help you too.

​Author Media​ has a free course –​ How to Make Your Author Website Amazing​ – that walks you through building your site in a day. While this course is aimed at authors, it will help any kind of creative build their site with wonderful tips about how to appeal to site visitors.

I can’t to see what you create!

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Every Problem Has an Answer

Every Problem Has an Answer

Last week we talked ​about how being helpful ​can make you feel good, build your network, and help your career. There was one situation that I didn’t cover.

Sometimes you don’t even know you can ask for help.

When we feel that we are in an impossible situation, it doesn’t occur to us to ask for help. ​Don’t panic.​ There is always a solution. It may not be the one you hope for or the one you like, but there is always a way to make your problem a little better.

Don’t assume that you know all the answers. And secondly don’t assume you can’t ask questions. If you are in a real bind, discuss your situation with a trusted friend and brainstorm solutions.

Ask for help, brainstorm, and you will be surprised at the outcome.

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The Unexpected Benefits of Being Helpful

The Unexpected Benefits of Being Helpful

I love to help. I realized in the past couple of years that being a helper is a large part of my identity. I feel lucky that I have found a profession that is centered around helping people. Seeing people light up and gain confidence makes my day.

I encourage you to look for opportunities to help people. Being a helper will change your life.

Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours

Les Brown

Help Other Creators

Don’t see people in your industry as competition. Instead, recognize the more you connect with and help other creators, the quicker you grow your network. Meeting people in your industry will have a positive impact on your career.

Here’s a few easy ways to help your favorite creators.

  • Write a review on their podcast or ​Amazon book page​.
  • Write a testimonial for their website or sales page.
  • Reply to their newsletters or comment on their social media posts. Creators like to know people are enjoying their content. And the mysterious algorithms reward posts with more comments.
  • Tell a friend about an amazing book you are reading, the podcast you just heard, or the newsletter you never miss. Word of mouth is invaluable. It is still the best way for creators to grow their brand and gain customers.
  • If you come across something that you think someone in your network would find helpful, send it to them in an e-mail.

The man who owns my gym is writing a book. Recently, I read a wonderful book called On Good Authority by Anna David about how nonfiction authors can build their brand while they’re writing and then how to launch their book. I dropped him a quick e-mail about this book, and he was thrilled.

When you are helpful in small ways like this, people remember you. And when you have a new project, they will be eager to support you.

Be a Helper and Connector in Your Industry

Be known as someone who is always happy to share a resource like a book or refer someone for a job. This reputation grows your network and makes you more visible. Ultimately it makes you more top of mind. Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Lunch Alone is a primer on becoming a connector through thoughtful networking.

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.

Charles Dickens

Helping People Feels Good

When you help someone, you get a flood of dopamine that makes you feel good. A common piece of advice is when you’re having a hard day, sad, and struggling, help someone else. For a moment your mind is off your troubles. It makes you feel better. And again you’re growing a relationship and nurturing your network.

Know When to Ask For Help

Oddly even if you are a helper, most people have trouble asking for help. We think we can do it all. And this can lead to burnout. Here are some easy ways to ask for help.

  • Email or call someone with a specific question.
  • Ask someone for a referral, review, or testimonial.
  • Ask someone for ​feedback​.

Accept Help

Be open to accepting help when it’s offered. I’ve noticed that my go to position when someone offers to help me is to feel bad that I’m putting them out. And so, I often don’t take them up on it. This week I made a commitment to myself to shift that behavior, recognizing when people offer to help, they mean it. I said yes to an offer to drive me to the airport!

Be Grateful

When someone helps you, be grateful in the moment. And send a thank you note a few days later. I am a big proponent of thank you notes because people don’t write them anymore. If it’s someone close to you, a handwritten note or a card makes the thank you extra special. If it’s more of a business acquaintance, an e-mail will do. And to nurture that relationship ​follow up​ with them to let them know how their help has impacted you. If you followed their advice and tell them, they are more likely to help you again. If you’ve had great things happen, they would love to hear it. I love hearing good news! It is another dopamine hit.

Have Boundaries

The one caveat to being a helper is to have boundaries. Don’t do a bunch of free work. Keep an eye out for energy vampires who want to take advantage of your good nature. And always value your expertise and the work that you do.

Here’s how I strike a balance. The other day I met a neighbor while I was walking my dog and it turned out she was prepping for a job interview. I gave her a couple of ideas and suggested some resources on my website. That’s what ​Josh Spector​ calls micro coaching. Because I like talking to people, I usually do at least two or three of these a day. However, I do not spend my entire day coaching people for free. Another cool timesaving trick is to write out email templates to your most frequently asked questions or write a blog post on your website, Medium, or Linked In that you can refer people to.

Do not let fear of users keep you from moving through life as a helper. There are so many benefits from your mental health, to growing your network and your career by being a helpful and ​enthusiastic ​person.

Who can you help today?

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How to Wear the Manager Hat for Your Creative Business

How to Wear the Manager Hat for Your Creative Business

A few weeks ago, we talked about ​ creative entrepreneurs wearing three hats to run a successful business​ – the Maker, the Manager, and the Marketer. In July, we talked about ​how you can up your Maker ​game by cultivating curiosity and working on your craft. Let’s make August our Manager month!

Being your own manager can be tough because most of the tasks are “grown up” and not fun. But the manager side of things is essential to your success, whether you are a full-time creator or a corporate citizen. The most effective approach to management involves two steps: establishing systems and using tools to enhance efficiency.

Managing Your Time

Let’s start with managing your time, setting goals, and planning your year. As I mentioned at the beginning of this year, I personally don’t find goal setting helpful. Instead, ​I divide the year into quarters​, deciding which projects take priority in each quarter. I focus on completing those projects by ​chunking down​ each into 5 – 10 steps.

Another way of setting goals is using the SMART goal method.

  • You get clear about what you want (Specific)
  • Find a way to know you’re on track (Measurable)
  • Make sure it’s something you can really do (Achievable)
  • Ensure it matters to you (Relevant)
  • Set a finish line for when you want to achieve it (Time-Bound).

This method helps you zoom in on what’s important, stay on schedule, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

Set up a checklist of things you have to do each month for your business.

  • Are there recurring tasks that you can either create a system for or find a tool for?
  • Are there things that you can delegate to a virtual assistant or an unpaid intern?

Use scheduling software to book meetings and avoid lots of back and forth emails. I use ​Acuity​. (Affiliate link)

For social media use a scheduling tool and batch your content. Pick a day each month to spend creating social media posts for the month.

Instead of answering emails all day, schedule time in your day to read and respond. I answer emails once a day so I can focus on other things.

Managing Your Finances

Set up automatic payments for bills, savings, and investing. ​I Will Teach You To Be Rich​ by Ramit Sethi teaches you how to automate your finances. I recommend this book to everybody. This is a no stress system to pay bills on time, improve your credit score, and grow a nest egg. Create a tax deduction template spreadsheet. List all your deductions. Include all the expenses that are the same from year to year like your LinkedIn. This makes tax time way less stressful because you are not hunting for most information that you need.

File all of your receipts in an alphabetical accordion folder. Bonus points if you put them on the spreadsheet as you spend.

As creatives, we are not always good at some of the business stuff and that is okay. Set up systems and tools to help you. And if you can afford it, hire someone.

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How an Ergonomic Workspace Can Upgrade your Productivity

How an Ergonomic Workspace Can Upgrade your Productivity

With our laptops, phones, and the Internet, you can work and create anywhere. While it’s important to be flexible, you also need a dedicated home base workspace, whether it’s a home office, a cozy corner desk, or your day job cubicle. Being comfortable is key to unlocking productivity and creativity. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll be surprised how the inspiration flows!

The Quest for the Perfect Chair

My big project over the last couple of weeks has been upgrading my workspace to be ergonomic. I’ve known for a while that I needed a new desk chair. I chose my chair for cuteness and matching my décor, instead of being practical and picking one that supported my back. And because my chair wasn’t comfortable, working from my bed had become a regular (and not so spine-friendly) habit.

My cute, uncomfortable chair.

Being a researcher, I spent about six hours looking at chairs on the Internet and reading reviews. After a while, they all started to look the same, even though there was a vast difference in price. Sometimes you get what you pay for, so I decided to make a big investment in both my health and productivity by getting a chair from the Relax the Back store. The real deal clincher was getting to try out the chairs before making my pick. As a bonus, they put the chair together and adjusted it for me.

My new ergonomic chair!

A few weeks using my incredibly supportive, albeit not-so-cute chair, I’ve experienced a transformation. Besides supporting my back and preventing neck strain, having armrests is a game changer. I am working longer without taking stretch breaks and my productivity has exploded. If you can, I encourage investing in a top-notch ergonomic chair – it’ll feel like a productivity superpower.

More Upgrades

The second big change I made to my desk setup was getting a second monitor. Working off of a giant monitor is easier on the eyes and more fun. Having dual monitors, with the Internet on one and my work on the other, makes everything easier and quicker.

Another significant improvement I made was getting an ergonomic keyboard. My laptop keyboard had been my go-to for years, but I started noticing strain on my wrists after prolonged use. Ergonomic keyboards, with their unique design, promote a more natural hand and wrist alignment, significantly reducing discomfort. If you’re someone who spends a good chunk of the day typing, this ergonomic shift might just be the cherry on top of your productivity sundae!

And finally, I invested in a new fancy camera. Perfect for both Zoom meetings and creating workshop videos, its auto-lighting adjustment ensures I’m camera ready anytime. No more anxiously checking the weather for the right light!

All these changes have been incredibly helpful. They have not just transformed my workspace, but my overall work experience, making it more enjoyable and more productive!

How can you improve your workspace?

Ergonomic Desk on a Budget

Upgrading your workspace doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank. Here are some affordable ways to rejuvenate your desk, keeping productivity and comfort in mind:

1. DIY Chair: Instead of purchasing an expensive chair, consider adding a cushion or pillow to your current seat for better lumbar support. I was using a lumbar cushion in my cute chair. I have the same cushion in my car. It is a godsend on long drives.

2. DIY Monitor Stand: Use a stack of books or a sturdy box to elevate your monitor to eye level. This simple change can make a huge difference to your posture.

3. DIY Stand-Up Desk: Use a stack of books or a sturdy box to elevate your laptop and create a makeshift stand-up desk. This change in posture can help reduce back pain and improve focus.

4. Keyboard and Mouse Upgrade: There are plenty of budget-friendly ergonomic keyboards and mice. Sometimes a minor upgrade can improve comfort significantly.

5. Wrist Support: Using a wrist support with your mouse increases comfort for a small investment.

6. Second-Hand Goods: Check out thrift stores, garage sales, or online marketplaces for second-hand items. Sometimes you can find high-quality, barely used goods for a fraction of their original price.

7. Repurpose & Rearrange: Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective. Moving furniture around, using natural light, or even just decluttering can make a space feel brand new.

8. Mood Lighting: If you don’t have the luxury of natural light, consider getting an affordable LED desk lamp or fairy lights. The right lighting can boost mood and reduce eyestrain.

Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, but how you use what you have. With a bit of creativity and some DIY spirit, you can transform any workspace into a comfortable, functional, and inspiring environment!

My New Desk

I am an Amazon Associate so if you purchase through my links, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

  1. ​Chair​
  2. ​Laptop stand​
  3. ​Monitor​
  4. ​Lumina camera​
  5. ​Logitech keyboard​
  6. ​Wrist rest​
  7. ​Document stand​
  8. ​Footrest​
  9. ​Lumbar pillow

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