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February 28, 2018

What Kind of Busy Are You?



Since when does being busy have to be a bad thing? It's easy to find articles about how to avoid busy-work and how not to wear 'busy' as a badge.

My first inkling that 'busy' isn't always good came in the form of a phone call from my (at-the-time) boss. We worked at different locations and he asked how things were going. My answer included the word 'busy' and he said, "Linda, you shouldn't be complaining." At the time the business group I worked in was weathering a period of slow business, and things had just started to pick up. To me, being busy was really a good thing and I was (failing at) sharing our good news.

That was over 20 years ago but it stuck with me. Now I'm a small business owner and I don't feel any different. Why is being busy shameful? And why can't we wear our busyness like a badge of honour?

When I'm busy, I'm making money - what could be better than that? It's a big part of why I work.

Let's embrace our 'busy' as being a sign of success, and be proud that our hard work is paying off.

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February 23, 2018

This Useful Process Helps You Teach with Your Writing


If you do any amount of training or facilitating work with customers, you may already be familiar with adult learning models. Teachers use them to prepare insightful learning experiences.

The one I'm familiar with is Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle but there are others equally useful:


Learning can start at any stage in the cycle:
  • Concrete experience - encounter a new experience or reinterpret an existing experience
  • Reflective observation - reflect on an experience from a personal perspective
  • Abstract conceptualization - form new ideas (or revise existing ideas) based on reflection
  • Active experimentation - apply new ideas to surroundings, test for changes in the next experience

The next time you sit down to write an article intended to teach, consider following this process. Pick the most obvious stage at which to start for the topic you have in mind. Work your way through the cycle, perhaps having a paragraph or two for each stage. Your writing will flow smoothly from one point to the next.

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February 17, 2018

Here's How Writing Content Turns You Into an Expert


There are many marketing benefits to regular blogging or writing for a newsletter. But other - perhaps more important - benefits may not be clear until after you've been doing it a while.

Regardless of how much you know, sooner or later you're going to need to do a little online research.

Does that article you just wrote really include all the important facts or items? Especially for checklist type articles, you want to make sure to include everything relevant. An item missed from a list of items to take camping in the winter could have dire consequences, not the least of which is your reputation.

Does your article agree or disagree with others' advice or information? Finding other references that support your message is good - you can grab quotes or link to it. Finding others who disagree is important if there are a lot of them - you may need to justify your message in that context.

Do you know the latest developments in your industry or affecting your target market? Talking about old technology is only one of the many pitfalls of not staying current.

You'll learn lots from this type of research:
  • You further develop your own opinions to become a thought leader.
  • You become able to understand and disseminate complex info.
  • And you learn from others' strategies.

In short, it pays to research, both for the article you've just written and all your future ones. Use research to confirm completeness, to develop opinions, and to stay current.

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February 11, 2018

Why Does Everybody Know Me?


"Everybody knows who you are. How do you know so many people?" I hear it every so often... and my answer is really easy.

It's not because I'm such a charming person. It's absolutely because my name shows up in their inbox every single week. The thing is, people don't know me - they know of me, whether they open my emails or not. (Or even if they think my subject lines are boring.)

Repetition and consistency do pay off but, by their nature, the results take time. There is no shortcut, so start now.

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February 4, 2018

The Worst Thing About Moving My Website to WordPress


There have been many good things about moving my website to a WordPress platform late last fall. And there have been a few frustrating things. I'd been doing a pretty good job of ignoring some of those frustrating things until I received an email from Google Search Console with the subject line: Increase in "404" pages on daleyprogress.com.

Oh no! That sounded pretty ominous. The accompanying graph was even more so.

Here's the backstory: all my website links changed with the move. Previously my pages all ended with '.html' and now that's truncated. There's a plug-in for redirecting when people click on an old link out there somewhere, so I set that up for every current page. I also had to move several documents and files hosted on my old site to the new one, and then go change all those links on my various blog posts about them.

Tedious, painful work but I thought I had it handled. It turned out I was so very wrong.

These '404 errors' are caused when there's a link (out there somewhere on the web) trying to link to a page at my domain that no longer exists. There were 97 of them. How flipping embarrassing! (I'm imagining head shakes as people click away.)

Another evening of more tedious work got them all looked after. I've asked Google to re-crawl my site and, so far, I've got a clean slate.

If you are maintaining your own WordPress site and haven't installed Google Search Console, you'll want to take the time to do it. And if you aren't maintaining your own site, ask your webmaster to help you get the report and deal with the errors.

I was trying hard to avoid it but that was a big mistake.

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