10 Ways to Grow Your Newsletter This Year

10 Ways to Grow Your Newsletter This Year

Whether it’s a goal for this year or something you’ve just been meaning to work on, a newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your customers/readers. It keeps them informed about your products, services, company news, etc. Here are ten ways to grow your newsletter and ensure that it reaches as many people as possible (in no particular order).

1. Make sure your newsletter is valuable.

The most important thing is to make sure that your newsletter provides value to your readers. This could include useful information, helpful tips, exclusive offers, or interesting content. If your newsletter is valuable, people will be more likely to read it and share it with others. Make it worth their time. I find that a lot of my readers don’t want to come to this blog every couple of days to see if anything is new. So collecting all the recent content into one email makes it way easier for them to catch up.

2. Use an eye-catching subject line.

The subject line is the first thing that people see when they receive your newsletter, so it’s important to make it attention-grabbing and compelling. Use action verbs, numbers, and keywords to grab people’s attention and entice them to open your newsletter. Make it fun. Show your personality. And use an emoji because life’s too short not to.

3. Optimize your email for mobile.

More and more people are reading their emails on their smartphones, so it’s important to make sure that your newsletter looks good on mobile. Use a responsive email design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes, and make sure your text is easy to read on a small screen. This is something I forget to check constantly and is a goal for this year.

4. Include social sharing buttons.

Make it easy for your readers to share your newsletter with their friends and followers by including social sharing buttons. These buttons allow people to share your newsletter on social media with just one click, which can help you reach a wider audience. Plus make sure you give them a way to engage with you on other platforms. Include all of your various social links.

5. Segment your email list.

Not all of your subscribers are interested in the same things, so it’s important to segment your email list and send targeted newsletters to different groups of people. For example, you could send a newsletter with product updates to your customers, and a newsletter with industry news to your partners. I tend to write about a wide variety of subjects, so segmenting my list can help make sure people see what they actually want to see.

6. Make it easy to subscribe.

Make sure it’s clear and easy for people to subscribe to your newsletter. Include a sign-up form on your website and promote your newsletter on social media and in your email signature. I’ve put my sign-up for everywhere. Including a button at the bottom of this post.

7. Use eye-catching images and design.

A visually appealing newsletter is more likely to catch people’s attention and keep them engaged. Use high-quality images, compelling headlines, and an attractive layout to make your newsletter stand out. Take a look at the newsletters you find yourself opening and reading. What are they doing that you enjoy and what would you change?

8. Personalize your newsletters.

Use personalization techniques such as the recipient’s name and personalized recommendations to make your newsletters more relevant and engaging. Most importantly, share your story and voice. If someone has subscribed, they probably like you or what you have to say. Don’t shy away from being yourself or your brand in newsletters.

9. Be consistent.

Something I definitely struggle with, but is super important to maintain an engaged audience. Have a regular newsletter schedule that readers can come to expect.

10. Include a clear call to action.

Your newsletter should include a clear call to action, such as visiting your website, making a purchase, or signing up for a free trial. Make it easy for your audience to take the next step and follow through on your call to action. Oh look…a button…why don’t you click that and sign-up to my newsletter?

No matter what social media platform is currently popular, email won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. So create an engaging newsletter and work to continue to grow your audience. It’ll take time, but you’ll gather a list of people who are interested in your conent. Trust me.

5 of the Best Things to Do When You’re Overwhelmed by Work

5 of the Best Things to Do When You’re Overwhelmed by Work

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, it can be easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. Trust me. I definitely get it. There have been too many days to count recently where I just stare at my computer, overwhelmed on what to work on next. There are some simple things you can do to help relieve the stress and get back on track. Here are five of the best things to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed by work:

Take a break.

It’s important to step away from your work and give yourself a mental break. This could be as simple as going for a walk, taking a quick nap, or spending some time with friends or family. Taking a break can help you clear your head and refocus, so you can tackle your work with renewed energy. Sometimes I just need a change of scenery. I drive myself to a coffee shop, get a drink, and set up a little office there. 

Prioritize your tasks.

It’s easy to feel like everything is urgent and important. However, not all tasks are created equal. Take a few minutes to prioritize your tasks and focus on the ones that are most important or urgent. This will help you feel more in control and make it easier to tackle your workload. If I’m not sure, I usually just ask myself, “which of these tasks will generate the most income/benefit before others?” That usually helps me weed out the unnecessary clutter and focus on what’s most important.

Ask for help.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out to your coworkers, manager, or HR department for support. They may be able to offer you additional resources, such as training or assistance with certain tasks, to help you manage your workload. If you work for yourself like I do, expressing how I’m feeling to my partner Alex or my team helps them to see where they could assist me. If you don’t ask, most people won’t know.

Practice self-care.

Taking care of yourself is crucial when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This could include activities like exercising, meditating, or engaging in a hobby you enjoy. These activities can help you reduce stress and boost your mood, so you can approach your work with a positive attitude. This is more important than ever in the colder, darker months.

Set boundaries.

It’s important to set boundaries when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This could mean setting specific times for checking emails, turning off notifications outside of work hours, or saying no to additional tasks or projects. Setting boundaries can help you manage your workload and prevent burnout. I make sure I set aside time for myself every single day. I don’t let my emails ping my phone (this was a huge improvement for me). Find ways to give yourself a little space from work.

It’s easier said than done. Without a doubt. But you and I can keep working at it together!

5 Ways to Increase Productivity at Your Desk

5 Ways to Increase Productivity at Your Desk

To all the still somewhat new people working from home, I see you. I’ve been self-employed for six years now and it’s still a struggle to be productive at my desk when there are so many more entertaining things just outside my office door. Over the years I’ve found a few ways to increase productivity.

Keep Your Space Clean

This is one of those that people SAY it, but it’s easier said then done. At the end of every day I pick up my space, put any papers I need to look at later in a specific bin, and clear out any coffee mugs and plates that might have accumulated throughout the day. That way the next morning my space is inviting and I’m ready to get to work.

Try Different Setups

For the longest time working in bed was my JAM until suddenly it wasn’t. Then I had a desk in our bedroom but didn’t like how I couldn’t look outside. My current situation with my filming space and desk in one room is the best setup I’ve found. So if you’re not feeling overly productive where you’re currently working, try switching it up. Move your desk to face a window. If that’s distracting have your desk face a wall with a mood/inspiration board on it. Try different configurations until you find one that feels just right, goldilocks style.

Add Nice Things to Look At

Now don’t go crazy with nick knacks and items because that’ll defeat the first tip, but a few plants, cute art pieces, or candles can really help motivate you. I have this gorgeous crinkle fern off the side of my desk and it brightens even the most grey Michigan days. Add a few photos of your family, friends, or kids to keep you motivated to get your work done so you can spend time with them.

Writing in a planner

Have a Good Chair

Trust me on this one. I was so stubborn for years that some crappy chair we basically pulled out of a dumpster was working just fine. It wasn’t. This chair I now own might not be the cutest, but it’s damn good and I highly recommend it. I find myself able to stay working longer without having a sore back at the end of a long day of video meetings. Plus anything is better than a dumpster chair. So invest the money, your body and productivity will thank you in spades.

Take Frequent Breaks

But if you’re working from home, make sure you give yourself a set time to come back. It’s so easy to get distracted when you’re on a break and find yourself suddenly re-watching Bridgerton on Netflix for the third time during the work day. To stay productive, give yourself short breaks every hour and take time away for your desk for lunch, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. You’ll feel recharged and focused when you get back.

If you’re working from home, what is the hardest part about the experience for you?

How I Plan Out My Blog/YouTube Content

How I Plan Out My Blog/YouTube Content

With over a decade of creating content online, I’ve tried my fair share of content planning. I’ve used tangible planners, Google Calendars, and pages of lists. Yet my current content strategy has been by far my favorite and the one I’ve kept up with the most. I use Monday.com, but you could probably recreate this in excel or another project management software. It’s about $8 a month to use after a free trial, but I would pay so much more than that (and I do for my other businesses). I set up my content into three different Monday boards to keep things organized and clear.

One thing to note with Monday, all of your sections within one board will have the same fields. Since all of my content exists on one board, there are fields I won’t fill out until they’re moved to certain sections.

content ideas

Pro The first of the sections is Content Ideas. This is where I put any possible blog post or YouTube video ideas I may want to do. I think color code them based on topic or theme. That way if I want to add more variety to my content, I can just sort my posts by topic and choose from there. I also like to mark if it’s a YouTube Video, Blog Post, or both.

Then I have an area of content I’m working on or want to do next. These are all of the items that are coming up and I’ve assigned a publish date to. Monday.com has a ton of different integration options so I actually connected it to my Google Calendar. So when I set a publish date, it gets added onto my calendar so I can plan out when I’m going to film. I have a section marked “Good to Go?” to let me know if I have all the supplies in, materials I need, and notes taken. Then there’s a section for Content Created, if I’ve Published the post or Scheduled it, and if I have done Social for it. Once the post is scheduled or published it moves to the next section.

finished posts

The last section is where all my finished content lives. It’s where I make sure I post social and include links to any pieces of content. That way if I want to share something in particular, I don’t have to scrounge around on the internet trying to find a particular post. This also makes it easier to do “best of” posts or combine different content together for an ultimate guide to something.

finished posts

Now I still keep a log of the content I post in my planner, but it’s more for sentimental value than actually getting things done. I’ll add to my to do list to film certain videos or write certain posts, but the bulk of the organization and strategy exists on my Monday board. 

How do you track projects or content creation?

The Toxicity of the Hustle Mentality

The Toxicity of the Hustle Mentality

Good things come to those who hustle, right? As someone who has “hustled” for nearly six years, I’m tired of it. Tired of the toxic mindset that if you just work a little bit harder, a little bit longer, you’ll be successful. That’s just not true. Sure you can’t just sit on your hands and expect things to happen, but at some point, hustle can only take you so far.

We as a culture glorify burnout. We glorify late nights, sacrifices, and entrepreneurship. But ONLY if those things breed success. Entrepreneurs are revered if and only if they have something to show for themselves. Work/life balance only seems to apply to people who aren’t “hustling” because if you’re not working 80 hours a week, are you even trying? 

There is value in taking a break. In stepping back. In letting something breathe and take its time to cultivate. Things very rarely happen overnight and there’s so much pressure to be that rare exception. If only you had hustled just a little bit harder your Etsy shop would have made it. A few more late nights or cancelled plans with friends and your company could have hit it big.

You’re not successful because you aren’t working hard enough. You aren’t laser focused on your children’s book because you’re too busy taking care of your kids. It doesn’t matter what the reason is…if  you aren’t hustling hard enough you won’t make it.

Why must good things only come to those who hustle? What about those who are thoughtful? Or those who know their limits, try, but don’t kill themselves in the process? I’ve spent countless years of my life with my head down, plowing through work and getting praised for the sacrifices I made in the process. Endless, “I can’t believe what you guys accomplish! You must never sleep!” or “You are really living the dream. I’m so envious.” Yet not a single one of the praisers would ever actually pursue this “hustle” lifestyle themselves. Because they know it’s not sustainable or healthy. It’s good for us, just not for them.

There is a time and place for hard work. Don’t get me wrong. There needs to be SOME hustle at SOME point. But there’s also a time where it needs to stop for your mental and physical health.  When your business is a little fledgling trying to get off the ground, everything is your responsibility. But that hustle and grind mentality is like having your foot on the gas at all times. Putting your foot on the gas to hit 60 is way different than trying to go to 150. The constant pushing to go faster will ultimately damage the metaphorical car. You have to identify at what point can you let your foot of the gas, hit cruise control, and take a much needed break, despite onlookers cheering you on to just drive a little bit faster.

What My Work Day Looks Like Right Now

What My Work Day Looks Like Right Now

Working from home has always had a bit of a weird schedule attached to it, but now that quarantine and COVID-19 are a regular norm, my daily work day looks quite different. Plus we’ve expanded our business services to doing boutique branding for companies which adds a whole new slew of changes. So here’s what my work day looks like right now. Of course it changes from day to day, but on average this is what a regular day at home for me looks like.

8:00am: Wake up, get ready, and make myself a chai tea latte. We got a milk frother right before quarantine started and my life has been 100% improved by it.

8:45am: Sit down at my desk in my studio and start on emails. I rarely work in bed anymore and I feel like I’m officially adulting. Gone are the days of bed desk mostly because I have a blazing fast desktop computer now.

10:00am: Team meeting to talk about current projects, what everyone is working on, and goals for the week. We find ourselves doing a lot more team meetings now that we manage a handful of clients’ marketing. We also have two rock star interns for the summer that we check in with regularly.

11:00am: client meeting. Sometimes there are a few in a day, but we often have at least one video meeting with a client. We’ll go over what we’re currently working on for them, get approval on things, and make plans for the next steps.

cat on cushions

12:00pm: More emails. A lot of my life revolves around back and forth messages to get information, approval, and complete projects. It’s really not quite glamorous. Mostly me typing away and looking out the window behind my computer at people walking their dogs.

12:30pm: Lunch time. This is where I’ll play with the cats, change over a load of laundry, and eat (obviously). I’ve been going outside on our deck or the front porch to get some fresh air while I try to eat healthier.

1:00pm: After lunch it gets pretty quiet and I can buckle down and get the majority of my projects done. I do a lot of website design, content creation, and graphic design. 

3:00pm: Now this doesn’t happen every day, but a lot of my committee meetings happen in the afternoon. I’m on a committee for the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s annual gala, a wayfinding committee for signage downtown, as well as an ambassador council for the Chamber of Commerce. These committees help me feel like I’m still connected to the downtown although I’m not there in person.

5:00pm: If I’ve gotten through my emails and made headway on projects, I’ll usually spend the last few minutes of my work day preparing for tomorrow. I’ll look at my project boards and write up a to do list for tasks to complete the next day. That way I can feel like I’m ready for the morning and can enjoy my evening.

The rest of my day consists of hanging out with Alex, baking, working on personal projects, and playing a whole lot of Animal Crossing.

What does an average day look like for you these days?