Suitcase Entrepreneur-A Business Woman Living Her Dream

I discovered a new blog today.  The Suitcase Entrepreneur is a blog by Natalie Sisson, an acclaimed internet entrepreneur and life coach.  She left the corporate world in 2006, where she learned marketing and branding of major brand names, and now travels the world running her internet business from a laptop at her hotel or coffee shops she finds with wi-fi.  Her goal is to encourage more women entrepreneurs to start their dream business the right way and live their dream life.  As she puts it: “(I am) A multi-faceted multi-passionate woman intent on changing my world, and yours for the better.”

I decided to check out her marketing and sales category on her blog and came across this post on 10 frequently asked questions about networking.  Since I’m rather shy and haven’t figured out how to network yet (in my daily life or online) I thought that was a good post to start with.  I was impressed with her answers as well as her ideas.  Her statement that “Networking is a means to an end, not an end in itself” is a good thing to remember as well as her ideas for keeping in contact with your network and not adjusting yourself to “attract” other people into networking with you.  Her advice is “Focus on being yourself and having a clear sense of what you are looking for and what you have to offer.”  That is definitely something to remember while building your brand and networking inn any aspect of your life.

Procrastination and Productivity

The weekend has come and gone again.  I had big hopes for this weekend and getting a lot of blogs and other writing done.  Instead I got two of the three main blog posts I needed done out of the way, the other I’ll try to get done tomorrow.  I forgot how boring and how much time it takes to caption half a days worth of photos on Flickr.  I spent a few hours on that this afternoon and evening for my travel blog.  It’s hard to make every single picture seem interesting when it tells only a small part of the story of my day but it’s over for now.  Unfortunately I have it to look forward to next weekend as well.  Fun.  Most of the weekend I couldn’t manage to force myself to do writing and research after the stressful week at work.  All I felt like doing was watching some of my television shows and playing FaceBook games.  Luckily for me, I have a part of my business that I can do while my computer is showing a movie or episode of my latest fad.  So I got out my jewelry making things, finished a few practice piece,s and set up the project for the week.  I know that I should have just worked through my fatigue and done the writing I had planned but my writing would have been as depressed and frustrated as I was.  No one wants to read writing like that and everyone needs time to decompress from very stressful situations.  Now that I have decompressed, I get to go right back to work for another full week of hopefully less stressful work than last week.  Oh well, such is the life of a worker bound by contract for a while longer.  I just have to make the best of it and plan for when my freedom comes.

On the brighter note, my other blog is almost ready for the world.  (I know, I have too many blogs and have trouble keeping up with them all but this one is less stressful, I promise.)  This new blog is all about my crafting and the techniques and books I try as well as other craft things I find on the web that are interesting such as the creations or stores of other people.  I should be able to do a post a week, at least, even if it is just an introduction and a link to another website.  I know that I should have a more in-depth plan for this new site but this one is mainly for fun.  It will have affiliate links with Amazon and maybe other things but this site is designed to be an arrow to my store, my articles, and just an incentive to work on my techniques and ideas for my store.  I spend so much time thinking of projects and putting them off as too much work to learn new techniques to create the final project.  This new craft blog is my excuse to sit down and learn the techniques and experiment without forcing myself to be perfect.  It will also force me to work on my photography which I need for my Etsy store.  All in all, I figure this new site is a win-win and I’m happy it’s almost ready to present to the world.  It was one of the things I wanted done by tonight, but oh well.  It should be up by next weekend.

Ten Years Out

My last post was about knowing what you’re aim is online.  I realized today that I don’t have a real plan.  I was thinking today that I really don’t know where I want to be in ten years.  I do know that I want to be working for myself or working in a museum somewhere setting up the exhibits or doing the research on artifacts.  Other than that I only know that I don’t want to be in the job  I’m in now and that I want to travel a lot.  I think it’s time for me to get a clear image of what will make me happy and make a plan to get there.

Where do you want to be in ten years, or even five years?  What are you working towards?

Why Are You Starting Online?

Today starts a category on how to get started online where I go through the basics for anyone just starting out and a good review for those of you who think you have it all worked out.  You never know where you may have missed a step that may help you now.

The first thing you need to decide is why you are setting up a website online.  Is your main purpose to create a community around your hobby and an income is secondary or is the money primary and you don’t care about the community?  There are many combinations of the two goals as well as other ones such as raising awareness of a charity or problem.  Maybe you just want to have a voice somewhere and believe people are hearing what you say and agreeing.  I will warn you now though that whatever your goal, it will take a long time before you get a large following or make enough money to support your family.  Do not start this endeavor with the thought that you will be famous or a millionaire by the end of the week.  It takes months, normally years to feel successful online unless you were a minor or major celebrity before starting your website.  Knowing why you want to be online and keeping that goal in mind as you do the research and planning needed to start your website and be known online.

Late Night

I know, to most people 11 PM isn’t a late night but I think one of the worst things about not being my own boss is that I can’t work all night if I want to.  I have so many ideas but I need to be functional tomorrow so I need to get to sleep.  I would love to be able to do what my brother does.  He’s an internet artist who spends the late evening, night, and early morning on his business, and sleeps through the morning and probably much of the afternoon when his social schedule allows it.  I would love that schedule because my best ideas and most awake time is late evening to night.  Everyone has their own schedule and if you think about it, you will realize what yours is.  Try to schedule your day around when you’re most focused and when you aren’t.  I think that if I was allowed to set my own schedule and had no social things to think about, I would get up late morning to do some paperwork and business things that I don’t much want to do but I like the “work before play” idea and it makes me feel productive.  After lunch I would do something that wouldn’t require a lot of thought since I usually feel very sleepy soon after lunch and by mid afternoon I should be able to do the creative things like work on websites, research for my blogs, and work on my crafts to learn a technique or to sell in my Etsy store once ready.  I could work until around midnight or later if I get involved in something and don’t want to stop.  I could always work through late morning and do my business things before going to sleep in the afternoon.  I would love that schedule, at least that’s how I feel now.  If I get on that schedule it may change.  (Things often work better in theory than reality.)

Well, that was a tangent I hadn’t planned on but I think it’s a good thing to keep in mind.  Trying to focus on something when your mind wants to go fuzzy can be really annoying and pointless if you know you’ll be able to focus better in a few hours.  I know that trying to get work done when I’m low on energy often makes me cranky.

I had meant to talk about the project I’ve had the supplies and idea for awhile that I finally started today amidst a creative light bulb moment that could be a lot of fun if it turns out like the images in my head.  However, my time is out for the night so I’ll say ‘goodnight, world’ and look forward to what happens tomorrow.

Private Label Rights

Today I was listening to a webinar by Jim Edwards on how to use PLR.  I had no clue what PLR was but basically it’s general articles or e-books or audio or any type of media you can find online that you can buy for cheap, edit, revise, and sell as your own.  For people who want to focus on making e-books, marketing them, and starting the next e-book, which is what Jim Edwards basically promotes (of course his version of “promotion” is much more in-depth than that sentence seems), that isn’t a bad idea.  My two main niches are ones I couldn’t find good PLR for (I didn’t look too hard) and I don’t want to use other people’s work as my own.  True, the webinar was saying that you would basically buy PLR, read through it, and rewrite it so it sounds more like you and is therefore unique and the search engines will accept it (and your target audience won’t realize they’re reading the same basic article or e-book they read the day before from someone else).  I agree that for almost everyone the problem is sitting down and writing the first draft.  The idea is awesome for people that need to type out a lot of articles fast to meet a deadline or if you just want articles that bring traffic back to your site.  I just don’t think the idea works for me.  The entire point of most of my blogs is that I’m learning with the reader.  I like being accountable to a reader group to research and learn something new each week or to experience something new every two weeks.  It gives me a guide to keep me from spending all my time on games online or just pointless surfing from one article to another.  Some day I may use PLR, or Private Label Rights, for marketing or something similar and I realize I’m taking the long route and maybe wasting time, but PLR is not a resource I plan to use at the moment.  One thing I will warn, and try to remember if I do use any of the many sites selling these products, is to always read the licenses.  Some articles are only allowed to be used for blogs or article marketing while others can be revised and sold under the seller’s name.  As with everything in business, always read the fine print so you don’t end up getting in trouble in the future.

Organize Projects

What is an easy way to make a huge project manageable?  I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, but make the big project into smaller projects.  I know I put off a lot of things because I know they will take a long time and I prefer to get things, such as blog posts, done in one sitting.  I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately as I tried to figure out how to plan my posts on my blog on the American Civil War.  There is just so much information out there for me to discover and it seemed disorganized to just write about things as I discovered them because I tended to find a number of things to chose from as I research each blog post.  There is also the trouble of doing article marketing for all my blogs.  That means figuring out how to get articles up to establish myself as an expert somewhere in in six areas, at least.  I’m still not sure where my main niche is so I should give all my blogs a good start.  But where do I start?

I finally figured out I’ll use Squidoo as a gallery of sorts for my craft blogs and journey to become a published fiction writer and I’ll use Hubpages to post rough drafts of my civil war posts.  I’ll create a weekly rotation of five categories and work on a lot of research each month.  That way I can write a rough draft of my blog post, do more research, and rewrite it to post.  Then I can go back to the rough draft I had, edit and rewrite it so it’s a good summary of my blog post at over 600 words, and the post it on Hubpages.  It’s a little extra work but I should be able to get a good, detailed article to put on my blog each week and a useful article to put on Hubpages each week as well.  By having a five week rotation in blog categories, I can keep the research more focused, by knowing I can get to things in the future, and less stressful as I look at all the research I find on such a vast topic.

I’m not sure if it will help me get to my first goal of getting my first dollar online but it will make me feel less like I’m spinning in mud and more like I’m working towards something.  Once I get a few Hubs and lenses up, I can start figuring out how to use those systems to my advantage, both to draw traffic to my blogs and to make me some extra money each month.  How do you find the time and topics of your articles or blogs?

How Is Scribd Helpful?

Today I discovered Scribd.  I’d heard the name in my article reading before but never paid much attention to it.  Tonight I was reading an interview with a Hubpage writer who said she got a lot of her information from books uploaded on Sribd.  Hmm…I’ve been looking to get better sources for my American Civil War blog as well as looking for information on other articles and other blogs.  I pulled it up and learned that Scribd is a social media site where people upload their books or other people’s books that are in public domain.  It’s not a bad idea and may be a place to put some of my stories I like but doubt book sellers will publish or that I’m just too lazy to send to agents.  A few short stories may work better there than on member sites.  I may even be able to do both…

Anyways, I’m getting away from myself.  I haven’t looked into the rules and all, nor have I signed up but I thought this a good site for those that are sick of only doing research through websites or ordering a ton of books or Megabits of e-books.  Here is a link to the non-fiction part of the site.

Image Copyrights

Today kind of went as planned and kind of didn’t.  I never made it to the store I had planned to that was about an hour or so away but found a craft store just a short walk away.  I also didn’t manage to get much crafting done, although I did finish the two projects my sister wanted.  She asked for a few more but I haven’t started them yet.  I may start another one tomorrow but for now I’m saying those two necklaces are done.  Not thrilled with them but refusing to spend more time on those two projects.

Anyways, I’m not saying today was a failure, just not as productive as hoped.  I did manage not to deal with my business things today so my comment for today is something I found earlier in the week.  I’ve often wondered at how to ethically use public pictures or any other form of pictures I didn’t take on the internet.  Here is what Hubpages says about the rules for using photos in their hubs but it’s a good list of the policies and locations of free pictures on the internet.  I hope it answers some questions for you as it did for me.

Finally Up

Yep, the title says it.  I am finally declaring this website to be up and ready for the world.  It’s ready twenty days after I declared the other ones ready, but I refuse to get down about that.  Knowing my love of procrastination, let’s see if I can make this a daily blog.  Knowing my habits, I’m going to add another category to this blog: Learned Today.  This is for the days that I don’t do anything on my sites or articles but spend me free time surfing the ‘net, hopefully learning new things as I go.

Let’s see, what have I got online right now?  I’m declaring all my seven blogs/sites up for the world, I have one hubpage up,and my Etsy store is ready for the world, even if I’m not real amazed by my selection right now.  I still haven’t made a dollar online yet but I think my foundation is set.

I want to set up another blog this weekend, a daily blog about all my crafts, such as my store, the techniques I’m learning, other crafts not directly related to my store, artistic inspiration, and links to other pictures or blogs I think deserve mention, especially when I’m underway and don’t have the time or space to do a lot of crafts or post pictures.  I’m actually rather excited about this blog since it shouldn’t be hard to keep this one up to date.  I’m not going to try and be a professional shop owner/designer like I’m trying to be on my store site.  I’m going to allow myself to have fun with crafts for the sake of crafting, not to have some sort of focus on crafting to sell things.  I’ll probably review books and maybe websites as well as aiming people at my store for money, but I think this will be a good way to be accountable to stay creative and working on my jewelry, or at least the ideas in my head, and should help me develop some photography skills along the way.

That should be up this weekend, I hope, but not much else will likely happen this weekend.  You see, I already have my blog posts scheduled to post and Sunday is my birthday.  I turn 23 and I plan to celebrate by having the next two days creative days.  I am going to try to stay away from the internet (besides my craft and store blog) and just play with my craft ideas.  Tomorrow I call home in the morning and then I head out to a store out here that is similar to Walmart, according to the website, but much bigger.  The website says it has a lot of craft supplies there and I plan to have some fun and find my birthday gift there, or more accurately a number of gifts under a certain amount of money.  For the rest of the weekend I get to ignore my guilt at not working online and watch movies and television shows for hours while learning/practicing techniques I’ve been putting off for research and writing online.  Yes, this weekend will hopefully be guilt-free and yet productive in a different way.

I hope you have a great weekend and a happy Chinese New Year.  I’ll talk to you soon.

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