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How Busy People Can Still Be Bloggers (My 4 Part Writing Process)

 bloggers

Writing is certainly not for everyone.

Writing takes more than skill; it takes commitment.

Interestingly enough, I never grew up caring about or even liking writing. And I never once imagined I would grow up to become a writer and have it be such an important part of my life and business.

But I’ve fallen in love with writing for a few reasons

– It helps me sharpen my own thinking about lessons I’m learning and concepts I’m wrestling with.

– It gives me a historical archive of questions I’ve answered and it documents much of what our team at Southwestern Consulting and me, stand for and believe in.

– It is a routine that forces regular self-reflection and self-improvement.

– It is a skill that has come in handy as critical in a variety of different areas of our business.

– It is a platform that multiplies my time because it requires the same amount of work regardless of if ten people are reading it or 10,000 people are which helps us reach more people.

But another benefit I didn’t realize until recently is that it is also a discipline that helps keep me on schedule.

I find that people tend to think writing must take a massive amount of time but it really doesn’t. For me, writing is much more about consistency than intensity. (My exercise strategy actually follows that same principle.)

And while I wouldn’t recommend writing as the best short term revenue producing activity for most businesses, it does add a tremendous amount of value in a multitude of ways over the long term.

If you’ve ever wanted to write but don’t think you have enough time, maybe you can try some of these habits I’ve developed as part of my own process:

 

1.Capture the Idea – The hardest part of writing is usually getting started, but you can neutralize that challenge by just keeping a list of things to write about as you have the ideas but then you wait to actually do the writing until you have the time.I keep my list of topics on my notepad in my cell phone. And almost every blog starts as a topic that comes from one of these places:

– A question that someone asks me that I’m going to answer anonymously and publicly (this very article is an example of that)

– A new lesson that I’ve learned that I want to clarify and remember for myself

– Reinforcing a timeless principle I’ve learned from Southwestern Company culture or some other trusted source of truth, or

– Sharing a piece of advice that I would want to give to someone in my life or want to make available to people (like my newborn son) at some point in the future.

One caveat is that if you get into an intense personal situation or experience in your life it’s usually best to not write about those – at least not right away. It’s best to let those situations incubate and allow some time to pass for reflection so you don’t say something out of emotion that you’ll regret later. Plus, time often changes your perspective and shapes what you want to say.

 

2.Restrict Your Focus – Another major hurdle people struggle with when it comes to writing is that they have so much to say about something that they don’t know where to get started. And then like I used to, they sometimes end up with with a large unorganized blob of disconnected mess.

Combat that indulgence by forcing yourself to focus on only one idea with each blog or article. Answer only one question. Give only one piece of advice. Share only one concept. Have only one central message. Where you get into trouble is by trying to fit too much in and not knowing where to draw the line.

I first learned this lesson in speaking during my journey to the Toastmasters World Championships when one of my mentors said, “Most speakers take a 9 minute speech and try to squeeze it into 7 minutes (the max time allowed in the contest). The winners take a 4 minute speech and deliver it in 6.”

 

3.Block Your Time – Like so many things, we just need to find a spot in our calendar to make time for it. Do I write in the middle of the day during prime business generating hours? No.

For me, I write about 95% of my articles during one time only: during take off and landing on airplanes. It’s the one time I’m not allowed to have my computer in front me and I’m also disconnected from wifi; so I’ve found that writing is one of the most maximizing ways to use that time.

And it’s about 12 minutes up and 12 minutes down which is exactly the perfect amount of time it should take to write one article on one topic and do a light proofread.

 

4.Build Your Business – As I mentioned earlier, writing is not the strategy I would suggest for short term business growth; it is a slow long term strategy that can pay dividends but usually only over a long period of time.

That said, content marketing can still be a very useful  tool to a business. While it will never outperform the short term efficiency of picking up the phone and talking to someone about your business ie sales, it can sometimes help you build a broad reputation of trust with a large number of people if you do it well and consistently for a very long period of time.

So make sure you have a strategy for using your writing to capture leads and generate interest for your business that you can follow up with. In fact one of the best things you can do is brainstorm a list of every question your perfect prospect might have and answer them one at a time. After enough time they’ll realize they need to talk to you more!

 

So don’t buy into the excuse that you don’t have time to write.

It’s no different than making the time to work out a couple times a week, review your goals, recite your affirmations, read the Bible, or any number of other positive habits that take a little bit of time consistently and regularly.

It doesn’t take that long.

What it takes is a decision and a commitment.

In fact “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” is almost never the truth about why people don’t create positive habits.

The truth is that you just need to find a way to efficiently fit in the things that are important to you.

It can be done and it doesn’t have to take a long time or be complicated.

So if it is your desire, write on my friend.

Write on.

 

The 3 Basic Elements of an Automated Revenue Machine

digital marketing

How do I make money online?

Can social media really generate leads for my business?

Do we need to have a blog or podcast to be successful online? 

What is the best way to get traffic to my website? 

How does it all fit together?

These are common questions that small business owners are asking more and more as the world moves digital. 

So I figured I’d layout the high level view of how digital marketing works since we at Southwestern Consulting consider it as “online selling.”

There are three core components of a successful digital marketing (online selling) strategy for a small business. You must have all three in place if you want to maximize your potential. 

1. Conversion – This is the most important but the most commonly overlooked of the three. It’s the most important because it is your strategy for how to convert a visitor to your site into a follower, then into a fan, then into a customer. The best strategy for doing this is using a combination of pdfs, emails, surveys, videos, and nurture campaigns. There is a lot of psychology here and strategy that is much more important than what technology you use. 

2. Content – Before you can ever convert someone into an inbound lead or a paying customer, you have to first build trust with them. The best way you do that is by putting out value added content that helps them solve their problems and answers their questions… for free. This may seem counter intuitive at first but the best way to prove you can help someone solve their problem is to give them free advice to actually help them solve their problem. The better your content the more consistent your conversion. 

3. Traffic – This is the one that everyone spends their time on but in my opinion is what you should do last. Yes you need traffic, yes SEO matters, yes there is a lot to learn and a lot of information out there about getting visitors to your site. However, what good is it if a bunch of people come to your site but you have nothing easily available to offer them, no strategy for presenting it to them, and no way of measuring whether or not your efforts are working? It’s just vanity traffic. 

You would never start a bakery shop and have your grand opening before you had all your equipment setup, a fully trained staff, basic business systems, and most of all bread and pastries available on the shelves to sell. Yet in the digital age, small business owners do it all the time. 

They throw up a website and focus on driving traffic and even buying ads or paying for search without having thought through any such strategy for building a lasting relationship with their visitors and nurturing them towards an eventual sale. 

There is a system and science to using online marketing to drive revenue for your business. 

If you’re interested in learning more check out this free course I’ve put together for you on how to build an automated revenue machine by CLICKING HERE.

 

How to Work Double-Time Part Time for Full-Time Free Time

By Rory Vaden

Balance is crap. The concept of balance is not only a discordant metaphor for how to spend your time but an ineffective strategy. Striving for “work-life” balance is an impractical standard; it’s one that won’t bring you the results you truly seek — and it should be avoided…

Click here to read the full article at huffingtonpost.com!

Priority Dilution: The New Procrastination

By Rory Vaden

Priority dilution is a form of procrastination that affects the very people that you wouldn’t typically consider procrastinators: the chronic overachievers.

The average procrastinator knows consciously that they are putting off things that they should be doing. However for high-level executives, mid-level managers and anyone else managing a lot of people, this new form of procrastination isn’t as self-evident. Priority dilution is a dangerously deceptive saboteur of their goals because it is unconscious…

Click here to read the full article at openforum.com!

Flat-Tire Freedom: The Truth About Saying Goodbye To Stress

By Rory Vaden

If you had a flat tire today driving on the way to work, and someone asked you at dinner later on “How was your day?” you would probably tell him or her about the flat tire, wouldn’t you?

Anyone who has ever had a flat tire can tell you it’s not much fun, so your story might sound something like this

Click here to read the full article at huffingtonpost.com!