This week's journal entry is dedicated to the little things.
The first two topics are little things, at least in comparison to the other items on my to-do list for creating a website. So this week, I finally got around to creating a logo and handling email subscriptions. Full disclosure, I have been dreading them...cringing every time I think about these tasks, simply because I knew I would be pulled out of my comfort zone.
The last section is about the book, The Little Things by Andy Andrews. The book's premise...the little things do matter. It is in the details that big changes occur.
So...here's to the little, yet big things.
Boy, have I been dreading this one!
I never liked the little gray box that is the default browser logo for any website created and hosted by Squarespace. (A browser logo...you know, the little symbol next to a website's name in the internet tab. It is also called a favicon. For Squarespace users, it is a little gray box, plain and simple, until you change it).
But, I easily overlooked "the box" for almost 3 months because I had so many other things to learn and to do. And when only you, your husband, and your sister go to your website, I mean, what is the rush? :)
The time came this week when I had technically finished the most pressing things on my website to-do list. This doesn't mean I am completely happy with my site...but I have the most important items up and running (like an About page, 2 posts a week, my social-media links, etc.). Also, I am getting a few more visitors each day to my site.
So, now to tackle this whole logo thing. Many bloggers and consultants will say to leave this one to the professionals. Hey, I even say that. Yet when money is an issue, you do the best you can until you can afford a professional. :)
I used Canva. com to create the one I am currently using. Canva is a site where you can create a FREE account, upload pictures, and make images for different purposes like Pinterest graphics, Facebook ads, and email headers. You also have the option to purchase icons and photos. The free stuff, though, is plenty for me at this point. (I'm in love because I love free and effective!)
I admit it takes a little practice with Canva before you are creating graphics quickly. Many bloggers have written tutorials. Plus YouTube is an option. So, with a little time investment, everyday people like you and me can create professional-looking graphics. (Maybe, semi-pro graphics in my case.)
Although I am not happy with my recently-created logo, my goal was to design one in just a few hours and then upload it to Squarespace. I knew once I saw it that I would get ideas for improvement.
That means...I have to tackle this project again next week. (Sigh.)
For the last few weeks, I have promoted some of my new blog posts on Instagram and sent my Mothers' Day post to some of the wonderful, hard-working moms in my life. Through these sharings, I have collected email addresses of people (10, to be exact) who are interested in receiving updates from me straight to their inboxes.
Of course, most of these signees are my precious friends and family. (A big thank you!) Truly, a girl needs people like them in her corner!
The problem here...I didn't really know where the addresses were being stored. I had received no alerts in my own inbox about new sign-uppers. And I only realized I had a few brave souls willing to accept email from me when my mother-in-law and I were talking one day. She mentioned that she had signed up for weekly updates. (Reference back to earlier statement--people in my corner.)
Later we were at dinner with a dear friend. She mentioned the same thing. Ugh! How embarrassing, I thought to myself, that I don't exactly know where these addresses are located. I knew they weren't lost, but they weren't found, either.
I realized then that I had to tackle this little thing! I had to take time to learn more about the subscription options at Squarespace...to figure out this whole email-update thing.
The good news...it didn't take me long to determine that the email addresses were being stored in my Google Drive. Just a little reading. You know, paying attention to details solved that problem. So, yay!
The bad news...more like, the confusion for me, I need to determine if a service for disseminating email updates (like Mailchimp or Send In Blue) is a necessity. Or, can I directly email subscribers from my own business email, at least while the list is rather small?
My first step to clearing up this messiness in my brain...ask my brother-in-law Ben. He has over 5,000 subscribers at his site UpstartHR.com, a well-established human resources blog he started about 8 years ago. He knows a thing or two about websites and emails. :)
Even though this little thing is not neatly tied up and put away, I have at least started my research to learn more about email subscriptions. That is a step, albeit a small one, in the right direction!
The Little Things by Andy Andrews
Another thing I learned from my brother-in-law Ben is to be a sponge. Read like a mad person, listen to as many podcasts as possible, and talk with people more knowledgeable than you about your niche and about best business practices. Soak up anything and everything you can. (Of course, this is a good practice in life, not just in business!)
To increase my "reading" time, I traded music on my runs for podcasts and audiobooks.
On one of my runs this week, I finished Andy Andrews' book The Little Things. I suggest this book to anyone, no matter your niche or whether in business or not. (Being a frugal girl, though, I always check out a sample first before buying or take a trip to the library. I would advise the same for you. I personally love Andrews' writing style, but I realize not everyone does.)
With real-life examples, Andrews' book builds the case that it is the little things that make the biggest difference. Put another way...if you ignore the little things, be prepared for (and don't be surprised by) the repercussions. Still another way...if you attend to the small details, you will see a large, positive impact.
The greatest challenge, of course, is recognizing which details should garner our attention and which details are simply an overblown focus to every single, minute, obscure thing that passes before our eyes and in our minds.
Sadly, I have no great wisdom here. Praying to our Heavenly Father and prioritizing our to-do lists (for business and for family) will help direct our attention to the significant details and bring about disregard for things unimportant at the time.
Prayerfully attending to the little things,
Weekly Timesheet - Summary
Research (3 hours suggested) = 1 hour & 15 minutes
Content/Product (5 hours suggested) = 10 hours & 15 minutes
With Clients (4 hours suggested) = 0
Marketing (3 hours suggested) = 6 hours & 15 minutes
Total = 17 hours & 45 minutes
Takeaway - We were in Atlanta this week so I got a little extra time to work on the drive to/from and because there are very few household chores to do there. :) I spent more time focused on Marketing this week, specifically Instagram. Wow! Not exactly like me!
Detailed Weekly Timesheet
Monday - read You Want to be a Writer by Goins (Research) for 15 minutes; wrote on Reasons to Schedule post (Content/Product) for 2 hours and 30 minutes; Instagram post and Pinterest (Marketing) for 45 minutes; total = 3 hours & 30 minutes
Tuesday - read You Want to be a Writer by Goins (Research) for 15 minutes; completed Reasons to Schedule post (Content/Product) for 2 hours; Instagram post (Marketing) for 15 minutes; total = 2 hours & 30 minutes
Wednesday - read You Want to be a Writer by Goins (Research) for 15 minutes; revised Reasons post and worked on next week's post (Content/Product) for 1 hour and 30 minutes; talked with Melody Thorpstrup for a free consultation (Marketing) for 30 minutes; Instagram post (Marketing) for 15 minutes; total = 2 hours & 30 minutes
Thursday - read You Want to be a Writer by Goins (Research) for 15 minutes; worked on next week's post and anniversary post (Content/Product) for 30 minutes; looked into storage of email addresses and logo design (Marketing) for 2 hours; total = 2 hours & 45 minutes
Friday - worked on logo design using Canva (Marketing) for 2 hours total = 2 hours
Saturday - began working on end-of-week post (Content/Product) for 45 minutes; Instagram post (Marketing) for 30 minutes total = 1 hour & 15 minutes
Sunday - finished end-of-week post (Content/Product) for 3 hours; talked with Ben about Mailchimp or using G suite for now for subscriptions (Marketing) for 15 minutes total = 3 hours & 15 minutes
Total = 17 hours & 45 minutes