When You’re Stuck - Blog Post Idea Grab Bag for Solopreneurs

February 17th, 2010

istockcowstuck 

 

These ideas and topics are meant to kick start your own creative process. Some can be used ‘off-the-shelf’ - title and all - you chose.

 

Happy writing!

 

1.      How to find the right niche.

2.      Top 10 signs you are in the wrong niche.

3.      Do I really need a business plan?

4.      __ways to find more paying clients.

5.      The best ways to conduct market research.

6.      How to handle a problem client who’s also your top billing.

7.      The art of firing a client (and how to guarantee they recommend your service after they’re gone).

8.      What do you do when a client fires you?

9.      How to ‘close’ a hesitant client?

10.  How to handle complaints without breaking your boundaries.

11.  How to apologize to a client without losing their biz (or their respect).

12.  How to write a ‘cold’ email to prospective clients.

13.  When do you know it’s time to quit your day job?

14.  How do I use Facebook, Twitter, social media to attract new clients?

15.  How to tell if/when you are ready to quit your day job and start working at home.

16.  How do I quit my day job, work from home (and not go crazy from worry/the stress)?

17.  The challenges of being a solopreneur AND a mother/father/spouse/partner…

18.  What is competitive advantage and how do I know if I have one?

19.  My best/favorite client success story.

20.  The worst client I ever had…(anonymous of course).

21.  How to sign up new business in tough economic times.

22.  How to write a promo and not feel creepy/salesy/pushy.

23.  How to write a sales letter that doesn’t suck.

24.  How to find a great writer-for-hire.

25.  What are the best things about your work environment (space/light/color/gadgets/desk…)?

26.  What I miss most about working outside the home (and why I’ll never go back).

27.  If you could run your business from anywhere, where would that be and why?

28.  How to break out of the 9 to 5/pay check mentality.

29.  Profit share and subcontractors – should you or shouldn’t you?

30.  How to set up a profit share with subcontractors.

31.  Affiliates – teh good the bad and the just plain ugly.

32.  What does a day in the life of YOU look like?

33.  Where was your last vacation and where are you planning to go next – why?

34.  Budget is NOT a four letter word.

35.  How much money do I need to set aside in my business for expansion/tax/education/travel?

36.  How do you define success and how will you know if you get there?

37.  How does a business budget differ from a personal budget (and why should I care)?

38.  How to tell if you’re addicted to personal growth/conventions.

39.  How guerrilla marketing can make you look like a turkey (or an eagle).

40.  What’s your competitive advantage?

41.  Social media and you - how to get started.

42.  How to go from good to great.

43.  How to leverage current events to improve YOUR search engine ranking.

44.  What’s a viral post and why should I care?

45.  Solopreneurial Siberia - Where to go when you feel isolated?

46.  Chrystal ball - What will your field look like in 5, 10, 20, 50 years?

47.  The Ten Biggest Mistakes I Ever Made in Start Up (and how you can avoid them).

48.  The most embarrassing client moment and what I learned from it.

49.  My ultimate top 3 stress busters.

50.  Share a milestone in your business/personal growth.

51.  Write about your ‘niche hero’ and what it is about them that you admire most.

52.  Review the most recent business book you’ve read or most recent websites you’ve visited.

53.  What I learned from (a current event, a person you met, or an experience you had).

54.  Define commonly used terms in your niche that a beginner might not understand.

55.  Ask your readers for their biggest problem and write about it (and any follow ups).

56.  Contradict/challenge a hugely popular site/concept/method in your field.

57.  Speak out against the conventional wisdom and rules of operation in your field.

58.  Introduce 5 new services/service providers you recommend and say why (be specific).

59.  Take a popular blog/website outside your field and show how to adapt success principles from it to your own niche/field.

60.  Highlight someone in your field ‘doing it right’.

61.  Take a snippet from a previously published article you wrote and highlight it in a post (and provide a link to the full length article).

62.  Share your frustrations about blogging and what you do to keep writing/motivated.

63.  Share a story of success you found directly through blogging.

64.  Take a spam email/promo/sales letter sample that deals with what you offer/do and take it apart to show why it does/doesn’t work for you.

65.  Describe a service you use that you just couldn’t do without.

66.  Just keep writing.

 

I know, a list of 66 is an odd number – that’s just where it fell. Stay tuned. If this proves popular there may be more to come.

5 Kick-Butt Ways to Kick Start Your Writing

February 3rd, 2010

istockwinebarrels1

Feeling as though your creative juices have fermented? And I’m not talking about the, “It’s brought out a smooth nutty flavour with subtle overtones reminiscent of ethereal French pressed coffee with a faint suggestion of creme-brulee and a velvety finish…” kind of fermentation. More like the kind of fermentation that happens in the bowels of a frat house refrigerator.

If your writing has soured try a fresh approach with these quick and easy tips:

1.     Write a bunch of crap. Don’t feel bad. Write the worst you can. Think of the old prospectors from the California Gold Rush days –how much ‘crap’ did they have to get through to find that single nugget. And so it is with writing. Once you give yourself permission to ‘suck’, you’ll be surprised how fast the good stuff shows up.

2.     Write around it. If I’m stuck I write around the project: I’ll come up with the easy stuff – headlines, outlines, key words, key phrases – basically all the stuff that comes off the top of my brain. This allows the big picture to take care of itself.

3.     Show up. Woody Allen once said, “90% of success is showing up.” Using that logic you can’t be successful if you don’t show up so schedule a writing time that works, and one that you know is doable. Even 15 minutes per day. Once it’s a habit you’ll find you actually want to write more and you’ll spend more time doing so (without the pressure of a three hour writing marathon).

4.     Avoid closure. When I’m done for the day I’ll stop, not when I’m stuck, but in the middle of a stream of thought. It leaves me with something to jump right into the next day. Key - make a note of your thoughts in bullet form, but to save the writing for the next day. When tomorrow comes, look at your bullet points and hit the ground running.

5.     Stop writing and start reading. Take a look at some of your old writing. Can you refresh and recycle it and avoid the need to come up with completely new material?  Professional writers do this all the time. You invariably improve the original content with new insights.

Give it a try – the real trick here is to make sure you write and write every day even if it is ‘crap’ and you never use it you will still benefit from the practice.

Remember, you can always use the ‘spittoon’ if necessary until to find the one tip that suits your taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get (and stay) Motivated While Writing Your Great Work.

February 2nd, 2010

istockmotivationsign

Some hard fought lessons from the trenches to stay on target with your writing.

1.   The Buddy System. Find an enthusiastic writing buddy. They don’t even have to be a writer. Just having a ‘go to’ person who’s in your corner can help lift your spirits. Find a fierce supporter of you - someone who doesn’t hesitate to offer you their enthusiastic encouragement.

2.      We can’t all be rock stars. I wish I could sing well or play guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughn, but I can’t. But I can play inspiring music. I know for me listening to great music from amazing talent. Heavy metal, easy listening, rap, good old rock and roll…

3.      I’m a visual learner. Keep a visual reminder of the larger reward your writing will bring – a jar of sand to represent a dream vacation, a photo of a musical instrument, for me it was a picture of a kayak, or maybe it’s a photo of the loved ones you’ll be supporting with your continued writing.  

4.      Clean up your act. You’d be surprised how a little environment de-cluttering can clear your mind.

5.      Da Plan Boss! Da Plan! Develop a plan for your book. An outline or Table of Contents sets a mark to write towards. It lets you know where you’re heading and leaves fewer opportunities to get stuck.

6.      Cut it out. You wouldn’t jump out of the tub to answer the door or spit out your dinner to answer the phone would you? (oh, you would?) Well, I never do. Just because someone thinks it’s a great time to contact me doesn’t mean it is. If I’m not expecting a call/visit etc. I just don’t answer. That’s what paper, pen and voice mail are for, no? Take advantage. Negotiate schedules with loved ones during your writing time.

7.      Retreat! Professional development in the form of conferences or retreats is a great way to inject some new life into your writing. It’s also a great place to hook up with other writers to boost your motivation.

8.      Maybe it’s time to quit writing altogether. Did that one hit you in your gut and hurt or do you find yourself nodding in agreement? ‘Man up’ or move on.

The bottom line – keeping up with writing requires more than will-power – that tank is easily emptied. Writing passionately about what you love is the most energy efficient fuel your creativity can burn.