Be Easy to Find: 3 Quick Things to Fix

Be Easy to Find: 3 Quick Things to Fix

It’s the end of March and we are also at the end of the first quarter of the year. It’s hard to believe the last three months just flew by. It’s time to check in. Where you are with your projects for this quarter?  What are your plans for next quarter? 

As part of your check in, what can you optimize to help your career grow?

I like to encourage everyone to be easy to find. Here are three quick things to improve that will help make you more visible to potential employers and customers.

1. Your LinkedIn Banner

This is important real estate that you should be using to advertise who you are and what you do. A blank banner means your profile is unfinished and automatically makes you look unprofessional. Check out my article  Your Missing Link: Linked In for Creatives  for banner suggestions and a short video tutorial on designing your banner in Canva.

2. Your Email Signature

Like your LinkedIn banner, your e-mail signature is a great place to let people know more about you and what you do. Be sure to include a picture. It reminds people you’re writing to who you are and immediately makes you seem more friendly and approachable. The key to an effective e-mail signature is clickable links, making it easy for people to find out more about you with a simple click.

 This video  is an easy signature tutorial. Note: he says you can do this trick in both Word and Google Docs, but I found it only worked in Google Docs.

Lindsey Hughes Google doc signature
my Google doc signature

Usually, I recommend Canva for everything, but unfortunately their email signature templates are not clickable. If you want to get fancier and clickable, try (It is $60 a year and I am not an affiliate.) They have lots of templates to choose from. Even better, it is easy to swap templates, if you change your mind.

Lindsey Hughes email signature rescue signature
My email signature rescue signature

Get creative! In addition to your social media profiles, you can include things like links to your book, links to a fun bio, or videos.

3. Your Link in Bio in Instagram

Even if your Instagram is completely personal, you still need a link in bio so that you are easy to find. Because Instagram doesn’t let you include links in posts, you have to put all your information in one link. The link in bio sends people to a page of links that can include your other social media profiles, your portfolio, your website, products you’re selling, etc.

There are several services that people use to make their link in bio. I use  ConvertKit  (I am an affiliate. See more info below.) which offers several link in bios as landing page templates. Landing pages are one page websites that give information or sell a product. Check out my  link in bio page  to see an example.

If you have any suggestions of other ways to be easy to find, comment below.

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Anyone Can Be Lucky!

Anyone Can Be Lucky!

Today with shamrocks everywhere I am thinking about luck. Do you believe in luck?  For me, the answer is yes and no.

I believe we make our own luck. We make our own luck by working hard, by producing good work, and by being outgoing. We make our own luck by networking to meet new people and nurturing our business and personal relationships. And we make our own luck by always being ready to talk about ourselves and our latest project in a compelling way. We make our own luck by being open to new possibilities and opportunities. By taking risks and trying new things. 

No matter how it looks from the outside, there is no such thing as an overnight success. People may seem to come out of nowhere and suddenly be at the top of their game, but we don’t see the years of work behind the scenes honing their craft, practicing, and always striving and improving.  That is how we make our own luck.  

Be ready when opportunity knocks, and when it does, be sure to answer the door with a smile.

That’s a picture of my dog, whose name is Lucky and who brings me lots of luck! Wishing you a day filled with luck and joy this St. Patrick’s day.

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

Irish Blessing

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Professionals Don’t Need a Degree

Professionals Don’t Need a Degree

As you know,  I love British cozy mystery shows . I was watching an old episode of Father Brown the other night when he said this gem.

Professionals built the Titanic; amateurs built the Ark. 

Father Brown

When the constable told him to mind his own business and not investigate the crime, Father Brown answered with this wisdom. It got me thinking. A lot of us are still stuck in the 20th century mindset that we need a school degree to prove our expertise to ourselves and the world. When in fact, today’s professionals are people that make a living at whatever they are doing. 

I had a friend a while back who was a good writer.  She wrote nonfiction essays that were inspiring, and she had wonderful ideas for screenplays. I always encouraged her to write, but she said “I didn’t study screenwriting. I don’t know how,” and so sadly she never wrote a script. That thinking that we need a degree to make something, create something, or start a business can stop a lot of us. But it is an old mindset.

We are in the 21st century.  There are no gatekeepers.  We don’t have to wait for permission to do what we love.  Unlike past generations, we have access to unlimited information on the Internet. We can watch how to videos, read blogs and books, listen to podcasts, and take online courses to learn all kinds of new skills, hobbies, and fun facts that support our creative endeavors and can turn into businesses.

Everything is figure-out-able

Do not let anyone tell you don’t know what you’re talking about because your lack of a degree.  (This tactic is a favorite of internet trolls.)  Don’t let others’ limiting beliefs stop you from learning, creating, and doing. This judgmental attitude is outdated and irrelevant.  The line between professionals and amateurs isn’t just blurry, it might have disappeared. We have citizen journalists that are breaking stories.  Indie publishing income is now the same size as a big 5 traditional publisher. People shoot movies on their phones. You can teach yourself to code and learn how to write a business plan on YouTube.  Anyone can start a Roku channel.

You can be an expert and a professional without a degree. How do you do that? By simply learning and doing. Take action. Figure it out. Try and try again, and soon you will be where you just dreamed of being even a few months ago.

A Bit of Inspiration

As I’m always saying, it is never too late.  Just start. This week’s reminder of it’s never too late is the story of the bestselling book Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I got the book as a Christmas gift from my stepmom and read it in three days. It is my new favorite novel! The story is wonderfully unique, emotional, and gripping. Her writing style inspired me to start thinking about writing fiction again. And I felt even more inspired when I found out it’s the author’s first book and she’s 65.

What are you going to start creating today?

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Happy 2023!  Let’s Get Rocking!

Happy 2023! Let’s Get Rocking!

Happy New Year! Is your inbox inundated with suggestions about how to set and meet your goals for 2023? I know mine is! And to be honest with you I’m sick of reading the same goal setting methods over and over again. Instead of setting goals, my approach is to think about the projects I want to complete this year and then make a plan on how to do it and a deadline. I like to approach my year like a traditional business and divide it into quarters of three months. Remember whether you are a self-employed creative or have a corporate job, you are the CEO of your career. Below are some questions to ask yourself to plan your stellar 2023.

For Corporate Workers Wanting a Raise and Promotion:

  • Hone your  personal cocktail pitch  to highlight last year’s accomplishments.
  • Add last year’s  accomplishments  to your  Linked In profile .
  • What projects can I take on to become indispensable and/or shine?
  • Who needs help in and outside the company? How can I help them?
  • Make a daily practice to  track your wins  – who you helped and the positive results of your work.
  • Each month compile your list of wins and results.
  • Each quarter compile your list of wins and results. Write them in an email/memo and meet with your manager to discuss. Ask what you can take on in the next quarter.
  • Decide when to use this info to ask for a raise and promotion, at your yearly review or before.

For Corporate Workers Wanting a New Job:

  • In addition to the above, identify what kind of job you want and where you want to work.
  • Who do you know at your target companies? Tap your network.
  • Who do you know who knows people at your target companies?
  • Send emails with specific information about the kind of job you’re looking for and the kind of people you want to be introduced to. Remember people want to help but they need specific requests. Make it easy for them to help you.

For Creative Projects/Side Hustles:

  • Make a list of the 5 projects you want to complete this year.
  • Order them by preference or urgency, assigning one or two to each quarter.
  • Then  chunk down  each project into 5 – 10 steps.
  • Get to work!

Remember  it is never too late . Whether you start your new project or you don’t, time will pass. Just start!

Wishing you a creative, productive, fun 2023!

In case you missed it, here are the December posts about new ways of thinking to help you in 2023.

 Build New Habits Instead of Making Resolutions  

 Not Everyone is a Morning Person and that’s okay. 

 How to be a Long Term Thinker 

 How to be Permanently Reinventing Yourself 

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Help Your Favorite Writer: Write an Amazon Review

Help Your Favorite Writer: Write an Amazon Review

As a writer and a story geek, I love consuming people’s content. I also love supporting other writers. To get our work in front of and build an audience we often work for free. Screenwriters and novelists write projects on spec. Bloggers and podcasters make content free before they monetize it. So I look for ways to support creators’ work I like. I’m a Patreon of my favorite podcast and I subscribe to online magazines like the Atavist. One of the easiest ways to help authors is to write a review of their book on Amazon. Amazon is a giant search engine. And the more reviews and sales a book has, the higher to the top of the page it pops up when a reader puts in search terms.

How to Write an Amazon Review

Some people are intimidated at the thought of writing a review. A review doesn’t need to be long or complicated. Two to five sentences are all you need. Write what you liked about the book as if you were recommending it to a friend. Remember this is not a book report so you do not need to summarize the book. Just include the details that help you explain what you liked about it.

  • What was your favorite thing about the book?
  • Who was your favorite character and why?
  • Did you have a favorite scene?

Use juicy adjectives:

  • Rollicking
  • Laugh out loud
  • Gripping
  • Moving
  • Compelling
  • Charming

The Headline: I like to write my review first and then pick one of the sentences to use as my headline. When I choose my headline, I think about what will motivate a reader to choose the book.

End on a high note: If the book is part of a series, I always like to end with “can’t wait to read the next one!”

5 Stars: And finally, always use five stars. Five star reviews are weighted much heavier than four-star reviews. So if there’s something that you didn’t like about the book which is why you want to rate it under five stars, understand that it will ding the author’s rating which may not be your intention. (By the way this weighted system works in everything from rating your Uber driver to your pharmacy tech.)

Be Positive: My goal in reviewing a book is to help readers find a story I enjoyed and support great writing. If I don’t like a book, then I don’t write a review.

How to Post a Review

It can be a bit tricky for some people to find the review spot on Amazon (keep scrolling down!) so I made this quick video.

Free Books Need Reviews Too

A permafree book is one that the author has set the price as free permanently. These books are usually the first in a series. It is a sales tactic to get you hooked on the series and buy more books. If I like the first one, I always review it and buy the series. I am a binge reader and I enjoy reading a series in order back to back.

One More Way to Help Authors

Buy books direct from your favorite authors on their websites. This way they get a bit more money because of affiliate links. Even if you don’t buy a book from Amazon, you can still review it there. As the biggest bookstore in the world, authors make a substantial part of their income from Amazon. So help them out!

Other Places to Post a Review

For Authors

Make it as easy as possible for your fans to review your books. When you have a new book coming out, send an email to your list on how to write a review and/or video with links to your books on the different sites. This video from Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz, teaches you how to send a link of the Amazon review site of your book. Feel free to use my explanation of how to write a review above and the video about posting on Amazon.

If you don’t write an author’s newsletter, it’s time to start! I use ConvertKit to write & send my newsletter. I am a ConvertKit affiliate and get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my link to sign up. I love ConvertKit because it is easy to use and focused on creators. Get started today for free!

Legal Follow Up

Last week we talked about why creatives need contracts. This article about how a YouTube foursome became a YouTube threesome has a great interview with an intellectual attorney discussing agreements.

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Sometimes Creatives Need a Lawyer

Sometimes Creatives Need a Lawyer

I am a judge’s daughter. I was raised to respect the law, revere the Constitution, and look forward to jury duty. Not everybody loves lawyers. Lots of people do whatever they can to avoid them, often trying to DIY the legal aspects of their business. As a creative, there are a lot of things you can do yourself including protecting your material with copyrights and trademarks. Sometimes you need a lawyer to negotiate deals and write contracts. I know lawyers are expensive, but the headaches a solid contract will save you are worth it.

**The following is not intended to be legal advice. I am not an attorney.** See, judge’s daughter, covering myself. 😊

A contract’s job is to protect you.

Protect you from:

  • Being sued
  • Taken advantage of
  • Having your idea stolen

Contracts also protect relationships.

It’s show business not show friends.

Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr) in Jerry Maguire

Even if you are working with friends and family, it is important to have a contract. This way their can be no misunderstandings, because everyone knows what is expected of them and what the payout will be.

Contracts are even more important if you are working with someone new to the entertainment business. Newbies don’t know what they don’t know and often make outrageous demands or have outsized expectations. When everything is spelled out clearly in a contract, the partners have a blueprint to move forward.

Your Deal Points

Attorneys charge by the hour. Save time and money by having deal points in mind the first time you speak. Follow up your appointment with an email recapping the conversation and what you want in your contract. In addition, to your pay, here are some other things to consider:

  • Due dates of material
  • Turnaround time for story notes. You don’t want the executive to take months to give you feedback.
  • What rights you retain. If you are a novelist, do you have the audiobook rights, the film rights etc.?
  • Can you get your material back if it is inactive for a certain amount of time?
  • Screen credit

Read Before You Sign

Contracts are long, boring, and in tiny print, but it is important that you read every word before you sign. Proofread carefully. Contracts can be full of typos and mistakes. Once you sign them, they are very difficult to change. Be sure that everything you agreed to is there before you sign.


  • Sometimes you need a lawyer.
  • Contracts protect you, your work, & relationships.
  • To save money, have a deal in mind when you talk to a lawyer.
  • Always read everything before you sign anything.

Last week we talked about how it is never too late. In this week’s Publisher Weekly, there is an article about 7 YA authors making their debuts after 50.

Vanessa Torres’s (The Turning Pointe) advice to aspiring authors who think time has passed them by: “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re too old to write. You have a lifetime of experience to draw from and that is priceless.”

Just start! Whatever you are dreaming of creating, start today.

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