women in blogging

The Time Management Survival Guide For Busy Woman

By Sharon Freedman

You’ve finally made it! You’ve worked your butt off to get to this point and now it feels like everyone and I mean everyone is counting on you. The worst part is that now you seem to have NO TIME to enjoy any of it ‘cuz you’re so franticly trying to keep a billion and a half balls in the air. You’ve tried just about every organizing technique ever created and often beat yourself up for not fitting in that relaxing cup of hot coffee right after your 20 minute morning meditation and yoga practice followed by a productive and fulfilling day with your hair, makeup, and outfit looking chic and finishing the day with a delicious and healthy dinner and quality time spent with your loving partner. Ah, to be a woman that only exists in the movies.

Don’t worry, there is hope... and lots of it.

The secret is that Time isn’t a thing to be managed. WTF?!? I know, right.

Time is just a form of measurement and those pesky clocks just keep ticking no matter how much we try to control them. Our relationship with it is what we have control over. If you’re on the edge of throwing a mini-tantrum I totally get it. As a fellow passionately multi-hyphenate who desperately wants to feel in control of some part of her life it took me a bit of kicking and screaming to come around to be willing to try a new approach since my current one left me exhausted and frustrated. So without further adieu here are three (not time consuming and hugely effective) ways to change your relationship with time.

 1.    RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
Radical acceptance is accepting life on life’s terms. You know those weeks when you map out exactly what you’re going to get done over the next couple of days and then your car breaks down or your son gets sick or your basement floods and there go all of your plans there are a few paths you could walk down in this moment.

•  You could flip out about how much time and money you’re going to lose and that it’s not fair that this had to happen now.
•  You could accept that this is what’s happening right now, it won’t last forever, and that your ship will right itself when this storm passes.

Then, grabbing a post it note (it’s that size on purpose) and making your To-Do List of 1 thing that would make you so happy to get done would be the way to go. Everything else you may get done is gravy.

2.    THE POWER OF “NO”
Believe it or not people often respect someone who says “no” maybe even more than they do the person who says “yes” to EVERYTHING. It is not your job to do everyone else’s job. The key is to say “no” gracefully and authentically. Here’s how:

•  Empathetically acknowledge the person who is asking for your time and attention. i.e. “I could see how that would be really stressful” or “It makes sense that you’re really having a hard time with this.”
•  Be honest. i.e. “I wish I could give your situation the full attention that you and it deserve but I can’t right now.” or “Thank you for thinking of me but I, also, have a ton on my plate and wouldn’t be able to do my best work if I took on another project.”

 Short. Sweet. To the Point. Even if the person gets all snarky in the moment it’s not like they’re going to hate you forever this person already values your and your your opinions and abilities... and if they do who needs ‘em.       

 3.    CELEBRATION
Since you’re the type of gal who’s got her eye on the prize you may be whizzing past all of your wins along the way. That is NOT OK, Sister. Focusing on the process as opposed to focusing on the prize just may get you where you want to go faster, or at least getting there will probably be a lot more fun, and you deserve that.

 Make a three part celebration list.

•  Level 1: (I completed that thing that’s been weighing on me)
•  Living room dance party, happy hour with your best girl friend, and extra 30 mins of Netflix, a beautiful hike etc.
•  Level 2: (That was a ton of work and I did that s@#* like a champ)
•  That bag you’ve been eyeing, a new tech toy, a spa day, an impromptu three day weekend.
•  Level 3: (OMG! It really happened. I’m freaking out I’m so excited.)
•  That trip you’ve been hoping to take at some point, upgraded kitchen appliances, a new car.

Now you have to make it part of your routine (like every morning in the shower or when you brush your teeth at night) to acknowledge how cool you are then celebrate.

Maybe, you’ve only remembered to meditate once in the past two and a half months, you’ve been wearing the same shirt for three days, and you’ve ordered Thai every night this week. As long as you’re practicing accepting the fact that your life is rolling that way at the moment, releasing the fear of what everyone else thinks about you, and celebrating the victories that have gotten you to this moment you’re leaps and bounds ahead of most people on the planet.

If you have additional ideas of how to change your relationship with time and things that have worked for you in the past share the wealth with your fellow wildly busy female friends in the comments below.

Sharon Freedman has been a professional actor and voiceover artist for over 15 years and trained at The Coaches Training Institute with a desire to be more of service. A few years back she looked death in the eye and found that mindfulness and other evidence based therapeutic methods like DBT saved her life which inspired her to create her coaching practice Stress Reduction Joy Production.  She owns being a work in progress and practices bringing as much fun, creativity, and authenticity to the world as she can. Join us on FB at: https://www.facebook.com/stressreductionjoyproduction/

Two Mad Rabbits - a blogging partnership

By Two Mad Rabbits

We're busy; with three kids a piece, jobs to juggle and houses to faff. Who isn't? That precious commodity of time can be so elusive, and let's be real, 'time to stop and smell the roses' is almost extinct in our high-tech, frenetic world. 

We love reading, but a novel takes months these days. And we love gorgeous images and finding the 'pretty' in the every day, and basically anything to do with home styling. 

So, our whole blogging philosophy centres around all our loves (family at the top of the list of course!), but in short, inspiring doses for our fellow time-poor creatives - five minute therapy for the heart and home. 

With a dozen posts and bucket-loads of excitement, we launched Two Mad Rabbits just over a year ago. 

It has been therapy for us too! Writing is therapy. Sharing ideas is therapy. The blogging world is therapy. Creating a post we're really proud of is therapy, and receiving feedback when things catch on is wonderful.

Sharing a blog with another is much more fun we think.  Firstly, you're sharing the workload.  That takes so much of the intimidation factor out of getting started.  You're in this together.

Secondly, you have someone you love and trust to bounce ideas off without fear of judgement.  You won't always be on the same bandwagon about a post idea, that's impossible (we have vastly different ideas on whether or not Sonny Angel dolls are cool or creepy!).  But that's also an advantage because readers are getting different perspectives from each of us. 

We allow each other the space to do posts on things that sometimes the other isn't that excited by. That helps to keep us both engaged, and no-one's creative toes are stepped on!  And we're honest with each other when things don't work - we have to be. Having each other as the ultimate wing-woman has allowed one of us to take a little more time off when we had newborns to feed around the clock and were pretty much walking zombies, or started a new job.

We admire uber-bloggers who post a set number of times a week and are tuned into every blip on the blogging radar, but that isn't us. We do it because we love it. We post when we have something to share, or something to say. That works for us, because blogging is lovely, and a cherished outlet for creativity and we want it to stay that way. We've seen bloggers just pack it all in because it became a chore. It's important not to let that happen, we think. Who needs another chore?!

Here are our 5 tips for making a blogging partnership work:

1. Set your goals up front, before pushing the launch button. What does each person want from the blog? How much can each person contribute content and time-wise? Make it clear what your boundaries are, and what happens to the blog (i.e who ‘owns’ it) if the relationship goes pear shaped. 

2. Divide duties. Who will take care of what? For example, will someone do more of the technological side of things while someone else does more of the photography? 

3. Set parameters. What will and won't you do or allow on your blog?

4. Make some rules for 'problem' days. For example if one person wants/needs a break, how is that dealt with? If one person doesn't like an idea, how is that dealt with? You need to commit to being honest when it's hard to be, and not let it affect your friendship. We have regular blog meetings when times are good or bad, so that it just becomes routine to discuss how we feel we are going, and even some of the more difficult topics. 

5. Put the friendship first! Sometimes it's nice to just make time for the friendship and ban the B word from conversation. Sometimes put the phone away and do not take photos with a blog post in mind when you are together. Easier said than done! 

Some of our favourite blogs are:

Vicki Archer

Paris in Four Months

A Beach Cottage

The Grace Tales

Practising Simplicity

Faux Fuchsia Style

They're all aimed at women, and have stunning visuals. That is pretty much where the similarities end as some are parenting blogs, some are lifestyle blogs, and some are sheer eye candy, inspirational blogs. 

So, in summary, a blog partnership is a fabulous thing on so many levels. No matter where this ride takes us, we're strapped in together and isn't everything more fun with someone else by your side?

Sami and Tam met at the outset of their university days studying journalism, what feels like many moons ago. They became fast friends, then good friends, better friends, and best friends. Now, they consider each other chosen family.  

They spent their formative journo years in the same newsroom. They learned about real life, covered the inspiring and the heartbreaking, and cemented their love of story-telling. That love of story-telling eventually pulled them in different directions. Sami was lured into radio and remains a big part of a ratings-winning hosting team on Mix FM radio station on the Sunshine Coast (with an audience of 90 thousand locals every day). Tam ventured away from hard news, moved to Canada with her husband and began working in entertainment news, climbing the ranks to eventually become the Senior Executive Producer of Entertainment Tonight Canada. 

When Tam moved back to Australia to spend more time with her young and expanding family, they knew they wanted to create something together. Their blog was born, and they're now telling the stories they want to tell!

The Two Mad Rabbits understand mums are busy, so the blog is their way of providing a few minutes of escapism from the chaos. From the simplest tale of a gorgeous vignette or a delicious recipe, to the thought-provoking ideas they encounter, to the candid sharing of their own struggles and triumphs - it's a little space to provide what they call 'five minute therapy for the heart and home' for their readers. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Alissa Circle of Diary of an Addict // Behind The Blog Scene

Happy to be back this week with another ‘Behind The Blog Scene’ post and I have to admit that when I first read Alissa’s blog, Diary Of An Addict, it was the title that piqued my interested. But it’s not what you think and soon I was quietly addicted to this blog and Alissa’s attitude toward blogging in general. “The blogosphere has power. We can impact social agendas, speak into corporate America, and evoke real change” – a girl after my own heart. So I thought since we love a bit of honesty around here, I’d invite Alissa to share with us a little bit about her life as a blogger and entrepreneur all the way from Southern California – enjoy!

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Coffee addict (can that be one word? Haha), foodie, passions. Ok those are kind of random, but how it’s hard for me to sum up all my addictions in 3 words. 
What is your blogging manifesto?
I’m a firm believer as a mom and business owner that mommy guilt can often over take us. We spend so much time agonizing over taking time for ourselves, even small moments that we find ourselves burnt out and exhausted. For me personally, I struggled with frustration over lack of personal time and feeling guilty for needing it. Please don’t mistake this for not loving my family. I love them more than life itself and would do anything for them, but I also realize the need for having things that I can enjoy alone.

And so, Diary of an Addict was birthed out of a need to find moments to do things that I love. Cook, bake, workout, read, coffee dates with friends, taking a bubble bath… all things that would fill my cup so that I could pour into my family and friends. Making time for these things in my week makes me a better wife and mother.
Top 3 blogging essentials?
DSLR Camera, Selfie Stick + my iPhone
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
Probably when I re-branded last April. Whew! It took so much guts, let me tell you, but when I started blogging I was in the maker/crafter space and was sewing and selling products online and when I closed the shop I felt like the name of my blog boxed me in and I wanted to talk about more than just sewing/crafting. It turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. I love my new space so much!
Best piece of advice I've been given?
We all have a story to tell, don’t be afraid to tell it.
I'm dreaming about traveling to..
Bora Bora. My husband and I haven’t been on an exotic trip together since our honeymoon. Sun, sand + my hubby = amazing!
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Put yourself out there! Take the time to build new relationships and connect with others. The blogging sphere is an incredible place + yes, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but it’s worth it.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Oh man, I would probably be lost. I’ve been blogging since 2007 and it’s such an innate part of me. Maybe Room Mom so I could keep myself busy? haha
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
Beautiful chaos. There’s always something new an exciting I’m working on or planning to write about.
This year I'm most excited about...
All the traveling I’ll be going to conferences where I get to speak + meet so many amazing other bloggers! It’s truly a gift!

 

She is not your competition

By Taylor Bryant

As brand strategist and a newly minted entrepreneur, I spent a lot of time thinking about competition. And all of that thinking made me afraid. I was scared that having a business that was similar to someone else would make me less of an entrepreneur. I feared failing. If I’m being honest, I was afraid to even say hello to owners of businesses similar to mine. It’s all too easy to see everything as a me versus them situation when you use the word competition. The very word implies that there is a winner and a loser. And in the world of blogging and creative entrepreneurship, that is not the case.

This is the story of how I figured that truth out for myself. Quotes carry a lot of meaning for me. I’m always underlining, doodling, and pinning words that speak truth. These words by Zen Shin cut to the heart of my thoughts surrounding competition, “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

Success isn’t about beating competition, rather it depends on self-understanding and self-improvement. All of the effort expended on being better than another person is better spent by investing in yourself and in others.

Every day, I fight fear and envy and the voice that tells me that I’m not good enough and remind myself of this truth: she (or he) is not your competition. I’m just beginning to learn that lesson, and maybe it’s something that you need to hear too. That mindset shift takes time. I often whisper to myself, “Just bloom” because I get caught up in the idea of competition.

These are a few actions that have helped me bloom. Incorporating one or two of these ideas into your blog or business might be just what you need to kick your competitive mindset to the curb.

Connect

Instead of avoiding people in your niche, connect with them. Set up a time to chat over coffee, by phone, or through video conferencing. The people that you may have previously considered to be competition are in actuality the people who will best understand your struggles. You are perfectly positioned to offer mutual support, encouragement, and advice. Your “competition” is a resource, not an enemy.

Collaborate

Join forces with others in your field for a collaboration. Write a joint blog post series. Co-host a podcast. Create an e-course together.

I could keep listing potential collaboration opportunities. Even though your businesses overlap, you likely have different customer bases. You probably also have different strengths and work processes. Collaborating creates a win-win situation for all involved while competition only allows for a winner and a loser.

Celebrate

Focus on what you do well and let that be the center of your business. Emulating someone else will leave you exhausted and self-critical. Invest in your strengths. You’ll be amazed at how much more joy you have.

Curate

Get really clear on what you do and don’t do. Curate your service list. If a potential client asks for something outside of your comfort zone, refer them to someone else in your niche. You’ll be happier. You’ll be helping yourself and others bloom. And I bet people will return the favour.

Remember, friend: they are not your competition. When the going gets tough, tell yourself, “Just bloom.”

Taylor Bryant is the owner of Jubilant, a brand strategy firm for creative entrepreneurs. On any given day, you can find her practicing Pilates, drinking a cup of hot tea, and helping her clients create brands worth celebrating. Instagram is her social media of choice, so be sure to say hello @wearejubilant

Photo Credit: Unsplash

3 Ways to Use Facebook Groups to Connect to Your Audience

By Shannon Davis

Participating in Facebook groups specifically for entrepreneurs is one of the most successful marketing strategies I use for my business. I've signed on new clients, made friends with women doing amazing things and connected with affiliate partners through Facebook groups. But you can’t just spend time browsing around these groups and call it “marketing”. Here are my top 3 tips for utilizing Facebook groups successfully:

1. Be Genuinely Helpful

Don’t just read everyone else’s advice, weigh in! If someone wants a review of their new sales page, give it a look over and give your honest feedback. If someone asks a question about a particular software that you happen to be a wiz at, answer it and offer some tips. Please note, this does not mean that you should plug your products or services every time someone asks for help or a suggestion. In fact, never plug your own stuff unless it’s on a promo day. Offer helpful, valuable information and make real connections. People are naturally curious and will likely check out your page without any prompting. 

2. Be Easily Found

Since you've offered such super helpful advice, people will click through to your profile in order to check out your biz and what you’re all about. Make it easy for them to find! For the best chance of actually making a connection, either have your biz listed as your job with a link to your website in the description OR have a Facebook page for your biz and tag it as your job in your about section. Make sure they can find out more about what you do as soon as they land on your page. Don’t make people search for you or they will give up! I speak from experience here.

3. Participate

Most biz-related Facebook groups have specific days for you to share blog posts, promos, or even Twitter handles to connect on multiple platforms. Participate regularly in those days - and that doesn't mean just drop your link and hope someone clicks on it. Read through and comment on other people’s blogs. Tweet out for other biz owners (and be sure to tag them) to help get the word out about their biz. Most of the time, they’ll return the favor.

Your time is valuable, so make sure that you’re using your time in biz-related Facebook groups effectively! I guarantee that you’ll notice a big difference.

Shannon Davis is the online business manager extraordinaire behind The Empire Strategist. She began offering virtual support for entrepreneurs in early 2013, and rapidly grew from zero to fully booked in under 6 months, allowing her to leave her corporate job behind for good! Shannon uses her systems savvy and administrative expertise to take the behind-the-scenes operations of online business from shaken-up to supremely seamless. 

Shannon also enjoys exploring new cultures, putting her History degree to use by volunteering on archaeological excavations (where she met her fiancé) and diving into the chaos that is planning her destination wedding. You can connect with Shannon on Facebook or on Twitter.