Blog

Selling Website Maintenance Plans with Easy Digital Downloads

We offer ongoing website support and maintenance for our clients. They have the option to pay monthly or annually. A few years ago, we began selling these plans through our website, to create automatic, recurring payments, and to make it easy for clients to sign up for the plan of their choice. As a small agency, bookkeeping and invoicing is a drag on our time. So, having a system where we don’t have to worry about creating and managing invoices, reminding clients about upcoming payments and chasing after late invoices, is a key for us. In addition to ongoing care and support, we also offer/sell “by the hour” service to our clients who need small tasks taken care of. We use as much of the hour as needed, and keep a record of time spent. When the hour is used up, the client can purchase additional hours or we can create an estimate for a larger project. This saves time for billing for just and hour or two, which is a significant time savings for us, and allows us to charge a slightly lower hourly rate for hours purchased “a la carte.” Solutions for selling care plans online When we…

Read More...

2020 (and 2019) Year In Review

I prepared two versions of my 2020 review: one here which focuses on business goals and plans, and another, on my personal blog, which focuses on personal development. I didn’t do a year in review for 2019 (in fact, I didn’t publish any blog posts after November 2019) , which would have been helpful as a comparison point to see where my head was before the world changed. I do have some record of what my goals were in 2019, since I use the 12 Week Year  format to establish, track and measure goals. 2019 In a Nutshell Decided to specialize in building websites for small school/education-focused nonprofit industries Created explainer video Launched a Pro Bono Offering Dropped idea for in-person Website Weekend event due to lack of interest from others to coordinate it with me Began offering CPC advertising to existing clients Attended Content Camp, Pressnomics and WordCamp Lancaster and WordCamp US Ran in a RAGNAR-Style Relay Race Mentored High School Student Joined the Board of the Educational Theatre Company Tried and failed to learn to play the piano 2020 Review In looking back on a year that is often referred to as a “dumpster fire,” I used a…

Read More...

The Miracle of a Paused Inbox

I have been on a super Unproductive streak lately. Why? Because I have been avoiding things like writing blog posts and other “frogs” I don’t want to do by using my Inbox as a To Do list. Constantly checking email gives me something to do besides what I am supposed to be doing. It is a satisfying feeling to take care of quick, small tasks and to send email replies – but working from the inbox is a bad habit. I have written about this a number of times, including in March, when I committed to being more focused on limiting email. Old habits dies hard and they also come back to haunt us! I have been trying to pause my inbox and had a good streak where I did this for several months. This was a Goal in my two past 12 Week Year plans. I had an auto-reply which told people I would check my email at 3pm. I explained that if they had an urgent request, they should email my support system. After a while, this auto-response became annoying to people who emailed me often, so I turned that off and I think it works fine to…

Read More...
GBoard Emojis

Searching for Emojis on Your iPhone

I’m always impressed by the fun and unique emojis people add to their text messages, Instagram posts and Tweets. I am pretty much limited to the thumbs up 👍🏻, love happy face 😍, exasperated/disappointed face 😩and tongue sticking out while winking 😜emojis, which I used often and pop up as “Frequently Used.” Trying to find specific emojis like tacos, beer and poop has always been too time consuming because I had to scroll through many emojis to try to find the one I am looking for. I usually give up because I can’t find it. On a Mac computer, you can use the Control+Command+Space bar to open up the emoji keyboard and search. (The search bar is at the top of the keyboard). It might not be life changing or mind blowing, but I finally looked up ways to search for specific emojis on an iPhone. It turns out, simply typing the word in a text message will now offer an option under above the keyboard if a relevant emoji exists (you need to have the Emoji keyboard installed. Here is how to do add the emoji keyboard). Another option is to add the Google Keyboard (Gboard) to your phone….

Read More...
turtle

Addicted To Work: Change Is Hard

I have spent most of the past five weeks in a temporary home on the New Jersey Shore. I wrote about this opportunity when I first arrived, hopeful at the first signs of a “new me.” I am going to share my experience, even though it is not really advice on how to be productive and doesn’t contain any tips or tricks. Perhaps you will relate to the feeling of disappointment in not being the person you want to be, and not being able to disconnect from work. I had a mind full of visions of spending mornings overlooking the bay, while working on a creative writing project after drinking coffee and reading the newspaper on my iPad. I had an expectations of pensive walks on the beach, going to bed early and rising with the sun. I dreamed of losing 5 pounds and increasing my running speed. I brought boxes of old photos I looked forward to sorting through to send some off to be digitized. Oh, and I was going to spend time on my own website content as I continue to expand my niche business. And in my spare time I would do client work on a…

Read More...
Person leaping between cliffs

It Doesn’t Hurt To Ask

Going out on a limb is a trip that is not always easy to take. Sometimes when we ponder the risks of asking or saying something that has a risk involved – a risk of getting a negative response or reaction, we don’t take action. This could be a good thing, if the question or statement is not well thought out or is inappropropriate. I have a well worn spot in my mouth where my foot has a habit of going because I don’t always think before I speak or act. On the other hand, asking for something, making a connection or “putting yourself out there” can create opportunities and benefits that could even be life changing. It doesn’t hurt to ask if, as Seth Godin says,  you “invest some time and earn the right to ask. Do your homework. Build connections. Make a reasonable request, something easy and mutually beneficial.” What holds you back from asking for something? We are afraid of rejection. Asking for something requires an answer, or a lack of an answer, which we probably interpret as negative. If we don’t ask for something we want, we avoid the possibility of being personally rejected. As long…

Read More...
Working from Avalon New Jersey

Where Are You? How Changing Your Environment Can Help Change Habits

I have recently been spending time at my family’s house on the Jersey Shore. Alone. I am so lucky to have this opportunity for many reasons. I wish everyone could have this experience. I acknowledge the place of privilege this post is coming from. However, the basic point is universal. Even if you don’t have a beachside retreat at your disposal, changing your environment can change YOU and how you spend your time. My discovery is not original. There are tons of blog posts about the impact of environment on habits. This article by Gregory Ciotti in Psychology Today talks about changing one’s environment to change habits. He suggests, “Head to a local library or coffee shop and that place will become associated with ‘writing time’.” Your brain has a muscle memory that snaps you back into habits when you are in a certain place that you have occupied in the past. Have you gone back to visit your parents in the home you grew up in, and found yourself behaving in ways you used to – drinking milk out of the carton or leaving the toilet seat up, which you never do in you own home? Do you turn…

Read More...
Lego toy business man at desk

The Benefits of Being Small

In our consumer culture “Bigger is better” is a common philosophy that challenges us to want more, bigger, better all the time. Yet, I like small things. I drive a small car. It fits in small parking spaces and uses less gas. I have a small dog. He’s easier for me to manage, because in the scale of people, I am also small to medium-sized. My business is small. For the past few years I was self conscious about this, yet also committed to it. I have brilliant entrepreneurial friends who aspire to have a large staff, an office with their company logo outside the building and acclaim for being great at what they do. I have watched these businesses grow, and follow their social media feeds that show their success and fun times with their employees. I am happy for them! While I confess to being a jealous person in many ways, being happy for the success of others has not translated into jealousy or a desire to grow my own business. I have heard tales of cash flow problems, sleepless nights worrying about how to make payroll, huge clients who cancel contracts and months where the owners could…

Read More...
Man with paint roller painting the word "Why" in the sky

Contemplating the “Why”

I have made a regular practice of setting goals and planning my time very deliberately. As a result, I usually feel more mindful, productive and calm. Seeing my goals scheduled gives me peace of mind that I won’t forget about something I was scheduled or intended to do. Having a “To Do” list every day can be helpful in avoiding distractions and focusing on what needs to be done. The Negative Space With a strategic planning mentality, I can also be very critical of myself for becoming distracted, not meeting goals, losing focus, and working too much. For example, I continually set a goal for myself to take breaks during the work day. Studies show that taking breaks improves productivity. There are numerous apps and alarms to help enforce these breaks. And yet. I have never met this goal for even one full day. And I beat myself up about it all the time. Why? I recently saw this Ted Talk called “What Is Your Why?” When I thought about its message, I applied it to my “break” goal. While my take away is different than the message of the Ted Talk, I asked myself, WHY do I set this…

Read More...
Open 24 Hours Sign Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

Creating Productive Habits and Avoiding Procrastination

Developing and maintaining good habits to be productive can be a challenge. On the other hand, it’s easy to develop a procrastination habit. For me, I suddenly feel hungry when I am about to start working on a project I am not excited about. Since I work from home, I wander into the kitchen, roam through the pantry, stuff something in my mouth that I shouldn’t eat (chocolate chips from the giant Nestles Toll House bag has been a recent source). Then, I say to myself, I am ready to tackle the project … until I suddenly notice a new email in my inbox. Two hours later, I still haven’t started that “priority” project. Hello, procrastination, my old friend. Habits For Productivity I recently finished the book, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. I am inspired by books about productivity and habits. It helps to be reminded that other people struggle with maintaining productive behavior, and to learn techniques to be more productive. The psychology behind our actions is fascinating to me. Ultimately, productivity results from good habits. When I employ good habits that result in productivity, I feel great. I feel in control and am happy and proud of myself….

Read More...