My Sweet November: Day 26 Happy Thanksgiving!

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As you sit down to dinner tonight, surrounded by loved ones, think about what you want to be thankful for next year. It’s easy to find the good in the last 365 days.

The best way to show your gratitude for your blessings is to appreciate them. Work for your goals and set new ones. There’s only one way to growth, forward.

This year, I give thanks for my new business. It’s not where I want it to be, but I’m 100% better off than I was this time last year. For that alone, I smile.

And now, I’ll share with you what I learned from Lesson 29: On Blogging and Email Lists.

On Day 21 I talked about the need for freelance business owners to obtain a P. O. Box. At the time, it made sense to protect your home address.

I also briefly talked about MailChimp.

MailChimp

This service will send out email messages containing newsletters or other important information automatically to your everyone in your address book. It’s a convenient service.

The caveat? In order to use it, you must have a physical address. I don’t post my address online. Instead, I’ll use my local post office as my address. Still, I know I’ll need a box before the end of the year for tax purposes. I’m bootstrapping my way there.

Newsletters

Gina created a freebie that she uses to entice visitors to her site into, in effect, trading their email address for her newsletter. I’m not there yet, but I’m already thinking about what I want to have on my freebie.

I think I’ll add designing one to my list of things to accomplish in December.

Blog Posts

If you’re fortunate enough to have your own URL and hosting, and you’ve set it all up by now, you may be wondering what else you should do with it. Personally, I don’t really have this problem since I’m blogging my way through Gina’s course, 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. But the course will end in a few days and I’ll have to compose original content to keep the site alive and vibrant.

Gina’s First Blog Posts

Roughly 18 months ago, Gina wondered the same thing. In Lesson 29: On Blogging and Email Lists, she talks about her very early blog posts. To keep her blog alive, she’d post business related content on a weekly basis.

Here are some of her earliest posts:

My First Posts

After completing the lesson, I thought about my very first posts. Curious, I went back to take a look. Here are my very first three.

My Progress

Having spent some time with my own work while working through Lesson 29: On Blogging and Email Lists, I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. My writing has dramatically improved in 26 days.

This is something I predicted would happen on my introductory post on Day 1. I was right when I thought blogging every day would reveal a record of my improvements. It has!

Keep in mind I’m a habitual journal-er and have been since my teens. Every morning, before I hit the hay, I’m writing it all out. If writing is my talent, my gift, then this is how I get to enjoy it for myself. Despite this ritual, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in the quality of my writing.

I can easily attribute this to the daily practice of all the strategies I’ve learned in the Yahoo! Style Guide.

  1. I can say I graduated from the proverbial WordPress School of Hard Knocks with a C-.

For this one, I am unbelievably grateful! You have to remember I came into this with zero knowledge of WordPress. I had coding experience using Adobe Dreamweaver, but WordPress was a whole other animal.

It isn’t something I can describe, either. The best I can do is equate it to learning another language. The code (language) I knew and felt comfortable with worked (somewhat) in WordPress, but not always. The shortcuts are completely different and there doesn’t seem to be any “filler” commands to control spacing like there is in Dreamweaver.

To boot, the wonderful folks at WordPress completely revamped the site days after I finally felt like I could get by in the new language! The more I mess with it and get past my fear of breaking it, the more I learn.

Now, 26 days later, there isn’t much I can’t do in WordPress. I’m seriously thinking about writing a course teaching novices (like I was) how to navigate the site. I’m also hoping to diversify The Freelance Dance’s services by adding WordPress website setup to my list of services offered.

  1. Photos

In the beginning of the course, I didn’t include photos as part of posts. I wanted to experience the course the same way you have. Now, I almost always include one. Doing this adds dimension to my posts.

Anytime you add them to your posts, be sure to source them properly. For more on this visit Day 7’s post.

  1. I can see my focus becoming sharpened over time

When I started this journey, I didn’t know where it would take me. My posts reflect that. Stress can and does affect one’s focus. And, honestly, I was beyond stressed out when I started.

In the last 26 days, I’ve learned to work through the stressful situations. By channeling the angst, I use it. It moves me forward in my new career.

  1. I’m less afraid of my opinions

In the beginning, I didn’t want to pitch. Even now, it turns my tummy a bit to send out pitches. It almost feels like I’m begging.

I work on it by working through it. I force myself to pitch because I’m (in a sense) accountable to you, my readers. I committed to see this journey through and share all of it with whoever could benefit. I intend to keep my word. This has become another why keeping me on track.

In Conclusion

Make the most of your email by creating a newsletter or a freebie to entice new visitors to your site. This is an effective way to get and keep visitors.

MailChimp is an email distribution service. This makes sending out your regular messages painless. The key, though, is to entice people into leaving their email addresses in exchange for your newsletter.

My blogging abilities have improved in 26 days. After reading my first few, I wonder what I’ll think a month from today. Progress is exciting and motivating. I’m pushing forward through to the 30th, full steam ahead.

Photo Credit: Device testing dConstruct via photopin (license)


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