Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to come up with new ideas for your blog

I'm so sorry for the late post. Honestly, I got caught up in finishing a project for a client and redesigning my other blog, and I almost forget!

Anyhoo, today's post is about coming up with new ideas for your blog. Whether you're just starting out or have been blogging for a few years, it can be hard to come up with new and interesting topics. Hopefully, these tips will help:

Read, read, read. That's the number one way I find new ideas for my blogs, and I think it's one of the easiest. For example, to get ideas for my blog, for colored gurls, I read magazines like "Essence" and "Marie Claire," self-help books and other lifestyle blogs and articles.

Consider your interests. If you're interested in a particular subject, chances are a lot of other people out there are, too. Also, when you write about things that interest you, your passion comes through in your posts. Additionally, you can think about what others around you are interested in and talking about.

Think about individuals you know or have access to. The people you know can help you get blog ideas and sources for posts. For instance, maybe someone in your community is starting a cool business that your readers might be interested in.

Consider your knowledge and expertise. If you have a degree in a certain topic or have studied a subject extensively, you could share that information with your readers.

Please share your tips for coming up with ideas for your blog.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to spring clean your freelance business

I know that spring has already sprung, but yesterday I found an article by Lexi Rodrigo on Freelance Folder about spring cleaning your freelance business.
Why should you spring clean? It will rejuvenate your business, re-energize you and aid you in becoming more efficient. Here are a few tips that Rodrigo gives:
  • Begin with your home office. No matter how small your office might be (it might not even be a real office), give it a complete cleaning. This means decluttering, putting away the documents you don't use on a regular basis, organizing the ones you do and recycling old items.
  • Clean out computer files. Do this by archiving your old client files into an external drive or an online file storage service- just choose how long you will keep client files. Additionally, delete sensitive client files that you don't use anymore like passwords or other log-in info.
  • Shine the light on your marketing. Since it's a new season, it's a great time to evaluate your marketing efforts. Get rid of those that haven't been working, continue using the ones that do and explore new methods you havent tried.

See the rest of Rodrigo's tips: Spring Cleaning for Your Freelance Biz
Photo from:

Friday, March 26, 2010

Business truths for your success

Happy Friday! As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of Kimora Lee Simmons. Yes, I know she can be a bit much and over-the-top, but I love the brand and success she has created for herself.

In a portion of her book, "Fabulosity: What It Is & How To Get It," she shares three basic business truths that will help anyone succeed in business and career:

Business Truth A: Kimora says that those who act on their ideas are the ones who succeed.
"You don't have to come up with the most incredible idea ever made to be successful," she writes, "so don't sit paralyzed in fear that your idea isn't 'good enough' to execute."
And while pretty much everything has been done before, remember, it's possible to discover new and creative ways to do something.

Business Truth B: According to Kimora, you need at least one new idea each month to be successful in business. It's important to figure out ways you can constantly innovate and grow. You need to always think, "What's next?" "What's new?", and be open to change and opportunities.

Business Truth C: Everyone needs at least one mentor. If you ask people with great success, more than likely, they will tell you that they learned from someone around them. And it's generally an older and wiser individual who imparted knowledge at important times in their career.
"All of us need those people along the way who will recognize our potential, help us to see how much bigger we could be, and push us to try harder," Kimora says.

If you have any business truths you'd like to share, please leave a comment below!
Photo from

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Resources for entrepreneurs

If you're anything like me, you probably search the Web for resources to help you succeed in your career and business. Last year, I ran across a work-at-home mom and entrepreneur Lashanda Henry.

Lashanda runs several helpful websites including Black Business Women Online (social networking + tips) and Sista Sense. She also writes ebooks about internet marketing, making money, entrepreneurship and much more. I have read a couple of Lashanda's ebooks, and they have really helped, especially with marketing and planning for my business. For instance, one of her ebooks, Create Your 2010 Action Plan, helped me to come with a plan and goals that I can use for my business this year.

If you're interested, click below:

[This is an affiliate post. If you click on the link above and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. I also want to point out that I wouldn't recommend something that I don't know or believe in. ]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Successful tips to become a successful woman entrepreneur

Most women have a lot going on in their lives- family, kids, trying to have a social life, just to name a few; and trying to handle everything in your life while running a successful can be difficult, but it is possible.

Sylvia Browder shares five tips on her blog to help women entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. Her first tip:

Set a specific goal...and just do it!
Successful women entrepreneurs know how important it is to set goals that are easily measurable and obtainable. A common mistake is setting unrealistic goals- too vague and unachievable! This can be avoided by setting simple and specific goals. For example, instead of setting a goal to increase your internet marketing presence, you might want to list several specific ways that you can do so.
Determine what your priorities are and then focus on one or a few at a time. By prioritizing your goals, you are focusing on those that are important to the overall success of your company.

Check out the other four tips: 5 Super Successful Tips to become a Successful Woman Entrepreneur

Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small business consulting and coaching firm. She is currently employed as a Project Director, business coach and consultant for the Women's Business Center, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses. She also serves as a volunteer SCORE counselor, an organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and succcess of small business nationwide. She is also a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA's Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles, go to Sylvia Browder's Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, She can be contacted at

Monday, March 22, 2010

What "Top Model" can teach us about perseverance

Happy Monday, everyone!

You may not know it, but I'm a huge fan of America's Next Top Model, and I have been since it first aired back in 2003. The season 14 premiere was a couple of weeks ago, and one contestant, Krista, really stood out to me because she said she tried out for ANTM for most, if not all, seasons-- that's seven years!

Most people would have given up after the first year, and while I agree you should know when to go for a different goal, you shouldn't be so quick to give up on it- especially if it's your dream and something you're really passionate about.

Becoming successful and living your dreams takes time and work, and I think Krista really proves that. Modeling is a cut-throat industry, but she came back year after year to go after what she really wanted; and she ultimately got a spot on the show. Even if she doesn't win the title, I think she'll still be a successful model because she seems to be that determined.

What can we learn? If a writing career is your goal and you know it's what you were put here to do, then don't give up until you get there.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Essentials to providing quality customer service

Yesterday, I received an email from a social networking site I'm on, The BOSS Network (great place, by the way). It was an article, 12 Essentials to Delivering Quality Service, written by Tanisha Rankins. Here are the tips she gives to help you give quality service to your customers:
  1. Understand that customer service is an attitude. Starting your day on a positive foot contributes to having a positive attitude.
  2. Dedicate yourself to the task at hand. Try to clear your head of outside (personal) stress when dealing with customers. Focus on the here and now.
  3. Build upon basic etiquette: Smile and greet! It gives a great impression to customers.
  4. Get to know your customers. Ask open-ended questions and be observant.
  5. Be knowledgeable. Know your products and what complements them.
  6. Be willing to go the extra mile. Customers love having their expectations met, but exceeding them takes things to a whole new level. They will share the experiences with others, and in turn, boost your bottom line.
  7. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Play up your strengths and commit to working on your weaknesses.
  8. Make the customer feel appreciated, even for their consideration. Even if she didn't use your product or service now, if you her experience was pleasant, she'll keep you in mind for future opportunities.
  9. Treat every experience indpendent of the next. Don't take out your frustrations from a previous experience on the next person.
  10. Be willing to acknowledge your mistakes. Honesty is the best policy. Accept the mistakes you made, and make the decision to learn from them.
  11. Know what your options are. Understanding your limitations will allow you to assist your customers more effectively. If there is something you're asked to do that is beyond your limitations, knowing who can make decisions past your limitations will help you service the customer more efficiently.
  12. It's not what you say, but how you say it. Show compassion and understanding in your voice. It will make a world of difference to your customers.


Check out more of Tanisha on her blog, Tanisha's Savvy Two Cents. Also, feel free to share your customer service tips below!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dealing with self doubt

If you're anything like me, you have your moments of self doubt. For a while, I feel confident about being able to actually create a successful career with this, but then there are times when I'm like, "What the heck am I thinking?" Luckily, I came across a post on that gives five ways to conquer self doubt (side note: I love Zen Habits).

The author of the post is Alexandra Levit, a career advice columnist, and the first tip she gives is to go back in time. She says the first step to overcoming self doubt is to recognize that it's there in the first place.

"Are there particular situations (for example, dealing with a new boss, speaking in public) that prompt you to feel this way? Make a note of the times in the past when you doubted yourself but ended up coming through with flying colors. Knowledge and recognition of your past successes will bolster your courage regarding what you can achieve in the future."

Read the rest of Levit's tips: 5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt.

And Happy St. Patrick's Day! : )

Monday, March 15, 2010

Useful web apps for writers

Happy Monday!
Last week, I received an email with a post idea from Kaitlyn C. of

The post, "100 Free and Useful Web Apps for Writers," has a list of tools that all writers can use. The best part? They're all online and free! The list includes resources for organization, brainstorming, inspiration, writing, publishing, freelancing, communication, collaboration, marketing and networking and other miscellaneous tools.

Check 'em out; I think you'll like them! 100 Free and Useful Web Apps for Writers.

Photo from:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ways to improve your website

Happy Friday, everyone!

On Wednesday, I wrote about why your website matters. Today, I want to share some tips on how you can improve your site. I found this really great list of 101 things you can do in just five minutes to enhance your web home. Here are a few:

Tell you readers why they should perform a task. People are trained to follow a request as long as you give them a good reason to do so.
Emphasize benefits. Make sure your copy tells readers exactly how your product/services will benefit them.
Be concise. Be sure your copy is only as long as it needs to be to get your point across reasonably.
Make navigation consistent. Make sure that your site navigation is in the same place on each page so visitors don't get confused.
Turn off music. No one wants music to greet them every time they click a link, so turn off the music, or offer an easy option for disabling it.
Fix broken links. Don't send search engines and users down dead ends. Clean up links for better search engine optimization and usability.
Put important info "above the fold." Move the most important content high on the page so you can be sure visitors will see it.
Keep background colors and images to a minimum. Backgrounds are often less than visually appealing and can make your site load slowly.

See the rest of the tips: 101 Five-Minute Fixes to Incrementally Improve Your Website. If you have any tips to share, feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Madness Special

To celebrate March Madness, you can get any Mocha Writer Service 20% off.

Services include:
-Press releases
-Press kits
-Website copy

And more! Click here to see all services provided.

Also, feel free to check out my writing samples and testimonials from satisfied customers.

If you need more info or have any questions, please contact me: or (864) 202.9568.

Why your website matters

Happy Wednesday!

As you all know, I'm on several social networking sites, and I interact with lots of entrepreneurs and business owners. I check out many people's websites, and sometimes what I see is not-so-good-- the sites load too slowly, have too much going on animation-wise and sometimes they're not even completely finished!

So, today I want to tell you why your website matters:

1.It reflects you as a business owner and a professional. If your site looks professional, prospective customers will see you as professional. If it looks amateurish, you'll be seen as, well, an amateur.

2. Even if you have an actual store, a good website can get you extra business. Local people frequently search online, and if they come across your site, they may be encouraged to pay your store a visit. On the other hand, if they discover your competition, and the competitior seems better than you, you could lose business.

3. A website can translate into global business. Because your site is visible almost everywhere in the world, you increase your prospective client base by millions.

4. Your site can produce media interest. Suppose a reporter is seeking an expert in your field for a story; she or he will probably select a business owner with a clean, professional website instead of one whose website doesn't look the part. And as I'm sure you know, a media mention is great for business!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What qualities do you need to start a business?

With the economy being the way it is, many people are thinking about starting a business. And believe it or not, doing so is actually a good idea. Why? According to business administration professor Gregg Fairbrothers, tough times require innovation and figuring out how to do more with less.

And there are successful companies that were created during a dowturn: Microsoft, FedEx, Johnson & Johnson and Hyatt Hotels, to name a few.

However, creating a business is not exactly easy; so, I have a question for all my freelancers, entrepreneurs and business owners:

What are the qualities needed to be successful in starting a business?

Please share your knowledge by leaving a comment!

Photo from:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Improve your brand recognition

Happy Friday! Today's post discusses how you can improve your business's brand recognition. One benefit of doing this: People will choose your business when given the choice between your company and one they've never heard of. Here are some tips for enhancing your brand's recognition:

  • Give your customers an outstanding experience. If you treat customers- prospective and current- like royalty, you will help them remember you, and they will think of you first when they need something. Additionally, it increases word-of-mouth-marketing which is a great promotional method.

  • Network. If you don't put your brand out there, then guess what? No one will know about it. Some experts believe people have to be exposed to a brand at least three times before remembering it. This means that you have to continuously network with your customers and others in your industry to assure they know you. By creating brand recognition and getting involved with social media, you expose you and your business to thousands of potential customers and clients.

  • Provide value. Share what you know with others by creating a blog, writing guest posts on others' blogs, writing articles or an ebook. Doing this helps you establish credibility which means recognition for your business.

  • Consistency is key. Be sure to use your colors and logo on your website, social media pages and promotional material. Come up with a theme and image you want to portray and maintain it so others can start identifying you and your business.

Source: How to Boost Brand Recognition

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3 Time Management Tips for Freelancers

Time. It's something most of us want more of, and managing it is something many of us struggle with, especially entrepreneurs and those who work from home.
Fortunately for us, there are ways we can manage our time and become more productive (yay)! Here are some tips:
  • If you work from home, set some office hours (I am so talking to myself here). To do this, figure out what time you are most productive, then think about when your clients' businesses are open. Ideally, you want them to be able to get a hold of you 50-60 percent of their workday. After setting your hours, publicize them so people will know when to contact you.
  • Have a weekly catch-up day. Instead of trying to do administrative tasks during the week, save the not-so-urgent stuff (like filing and low-priority emailing) for one day or afternoon each week.
  • Work in blocks of time. (I got this tips from Robert Earle Howells, freelance writer and creator of Sure Fire Writing, says during those blocks, schedule only one task, and devote yourself to it for the entire time. He uses two hours, but you could probably use as little or as much time as you want (I'd say 30 minutes at the least and two hours at most). Also, during this time, you should turn off email alerts and phone (or put it on silent). I actually started trying this technique last week, and it works, for the most part-- hey, I'm a work in progress...
Anyway, I hope you find these tips useful. And if you have any time management tips, please feel free to share them!

Source: My So-Called Freelance Life; Photo from:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Goals

As you all know, it's a new month (yay!) So that means it's time for goals. This month, I plan to:
  • Gain enough clients to make the amount of money I want <-- Primary Goal
  • Email 10-15 businesses a week
  • Network
  • Visit local businesses (to let them know about MW)
  • Sumbit one-two DS articles per week
  • Marketing and Branding
  • Do fabulous work with my ongoing client
  • Post in this blog at least three times a week
  • Make my other blog, for colored gurls, more fabulous and gain more subscribers
  • Work on my ebook
  • Start blog redesign
  • Stay organized (incl. cleaning out emails weekly)
  • Keep track of my progress
  • Stay focused & encouraged
  • Use my time wisely

Photo from:

If you have goals you want to share, leave me a comment with them or put a link to your blog post. Good luck in everything this month!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bouncing Back

Being able to bounce back after a difficult time is important in business and in life. Yes, it's hard to do so when faced with yet another rejection, lack of customers or lack of money, but it is possible- and necessary. Writer Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says that building resiliency and overcoming failure is the biggest predictor of success at work, home and in life in general.

In her blog, See Jane Soar, she gives five tips for building resilience:
  1. Rebuild yourself. Failure isn't a fatal flaw that renders you helpless and unhappy. It's not a permanent condition. It doesn't make you less worthy, less intelligent or less capable. Failure isn't who you are. It's simply an event. How you cope with it- not the failure itself- is what determines your future as a successful [individual]. To build resiliency, accept that you'll often be rebuilding your self, your business, your life.
  2. Stop and think. Figure out exactly what caused the failure: Did the location of your business lead to bankruptcy? Were you fired because you weren't focused? Be honest and specific. To build resiliency, accept your mistakes and take responsibility.
Check out the rest of the tips: 5 Ways to Build Resiliency- JK Rowling. Feel free to share any tips you have for bouncing back.

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