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Yes, Your Visitors Are Judging You. (But Not for What You Think.)

So I just started reading this book, The Human Brand, and apparently we judge people, companies and brands by TWO things and two things only: competence and warmth.

Basically, can I trust this person?

And… is this person not an idiot enough to mistakenly ruin my life?

From an evolutionary perspective, it makes total sense.

Why would you want to form bonds with someone that either treats you like an outcast or whose mistakes you have to constantly clean up after so neither of you end up freezing to death or being eaten by bears?

(You wouldn’t. So you don’t.)

But normally, as the book points out, we don’t approach a person thinking “Is this person warm enough for my taste?” or “Is he competent enough for my standards?”

(Unless you’re on a date, and you’re totally making in-depth judgements like that every split second.)

Instead, you think “Ehhh, I don’t know. He seemed nice but something just felt off.”

You know, like when you show up to a networking event and everyone’s super smart and friendly, but you dread the idea of having to actually set a date with any of the people you met.

That is usually because the warmth factor isn’t there.

Networking events suck, in my opinion, because everyone there is just trying to get something out of everyone else in the room… therefore the warmth just gets sucked right out of it all.

As the author of the book points out in the intro, “For as long as anyone reading this book has been alive, big companies and the people who work in them have been in the habit of shaping our expectations in the exact opposite direction of our natural desires for competence and warmth.”

So think about it for a minute… what companies do you prefer to buy from?

Why?

If you’re human, you prefer the companies that make you feel good about yourself, your decision-making, and your community.

For example, unless you’re stone-cold, you don’t like Coca-Cola because of their manufacturing prowess. Instead, you like them because of their global message of human love and kindness… even though that message literally has nothing to do with their product. Their marketing gets you to associate it with their product, so you feel those same emotions when you’re holding one of their cans.

It’s genius, really. Because as the book also points out:

“Humans were never mentally wired to trust and enjoy goods made by ‘unknown hands.’… Before 1880, there were hardly any packaged goods or ready-to-wear clothing.”

Which is crazy, if you think about it. 200 years really isn’t that long in the scope of history.

But when we get into doing business today, we’re just so concerned with proving that we’re more competent and smarter than our competition.

But in this day and age, honestly, I don’t think competency is our problem.

Sure, there’s always the wannabes out there, but they’re fewer and more far between than we realize.

It’s the warmth that we’re missing.

So how do you create this warmth within your brand?

There’s a million ways and approaches that I don’t have time to go into right now, but try these things:

  • Spell out specific scenarios. Even if it might not be the “exact” scenario your reader has been through, they’ll project themselves onto it and feel like you “get” them.
  • Tell your own story… and don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself a little bit.
  • Write like you speak. Like, actually write like you speak. I know everyone gives that advice, but we still continue to write in those boring-as-hell middle school paragraphs, don’t we? STOP IT. (If you can’t imagine yourself saying the exact thing you’ve written to your BFF, it’s time to stop and re-write it so you can. Periods, italics, and bolds are your friend.)

One of my favorite concepts introduced by the book is instant karma, which basically means that the way a person acted in business used to immediately influence how well he or she did.

That went away for a little while after the industrial revolution, but with online social networks and search engines, it’s back and better than ever.

BUT when we take a moment to relate to people with warmth and understanding, it’s almost as if the disconnect created by physical distance doesn’t even matter anymore.

So some food for thought:

What are some other ways you’ve noticed brands—big or small—weave in a friendly feeling of warmth into their online marketing? And how could that apply to your business model?

Copywriting vs Content Writing (Copy Power TV)

Okay, so this is a bit of a detraction from the typical copywriting advice I give in my videos.

But it’s a question I get often, which means it’s important.

The difference is subtle, and the two terms often interchangeable in “industry speak.”

However, for those of you who are in the market to hire a copywriter or a content writer, the difference could save you a lot of frustration and confusion.

For one, it’s okay to hire a generalist. For the other, you’d be kicking yourself in the shins if you didn’t go for a specialist.

One is about selling, and the other is about informing.

And often, the type of copy you need written will determine which kind of writing expert you should hire, and which ones you should say “no thanks” to.

In this video, I’ll explain the difference between the two, and what each is best suited to do for you and your business.

It’s a short, 5-minute video, so if outsourcing your content is something you need to do, check it out:

If you found that video helpful, I’d love it (and you!) if you’d click on one of those cute little social media icons below and share it with your network.

And for more tips on how to instantly improve your website’s resonance and conversion rates, check out my free ebook that covers five different copywriting hacks to help you reduce your bounce rates and increase your conversion rates.

Beyond that, you can subscribe to the Copy Power TV YouTube Channel and/or enter your name and email address below to get updated every time I publish a new blog post (approximately every other week) and to be in the cool “in” crowd that gets brownie points from the universe and exclusive Copy Power news.

I’ve Yet to Accept Payment in Shits & Giggles, and I Never Will.

Subtitle: What Happened When I Discovered My “Why”

Find your why.

If ever there was a piece of feel-good advice I rolled my eyes at, it’s that one.

Actually, there’s a lot of feel-good advice I roll my eyes at, but that one was a doozy.

Because, like, come on people.

Yeah, it’s all good and fine and dandy to have a higher calling attached to what you do in exchange for money… but at the end of the day, I think we can all admit we’re after money.

No, money doesn’t solve all our problems. And no, it’s not the end-all-be-all of life.

But more of it sure as hell does make our lives easier, doesn’t it?

So the thing I couldn’t stand with the “find your why” advice shit was the complete disregard for the money.

That and the “love your job and you’ll never work a day in your life” BS.

Newsflash: I do love my job.

I love it so much I could never imagine myself doing anything else for a living.

But not every day is a dream come true.

And as much as I love doing it, I do it for the money. I’ve yet to ever accept payment in shits and giggles, and I don’t think I ever will.

Buuuutttttt

I couldn’t ever put that piece of advice away.

Usually, when someone says something that annoys me, I brush it off with some sassy comment and forget about it.

But when these hokey I-love-what-I-do-and-you-should-too life coach gurus kept talking about my “why” it’d stick to me no matter how hard I tried to brush it off.

Because…. were they REALLY that happy in their work that it felt so effortless that it just rolled off the end of their fingertips, through their computer, and out into the world????

And if they were that happy in their work…. WHY COULDN’T I BE TOO?!?!

So on Black Friday, I bought some business courses.

Really, I just thought they’d help me make more money (they will, and I’m so thrilled), but as a part of the Black Friday deal, I got Bryan Harris’s Rapid List Building Course for free.

It’s the version of the course that focuses on starting from scratch to your first 500 subscribers.

And while I’m not starting from scratch, I do want to grow my list… and I want to grow it terribly.

But before he started dishing out instructions on how to get your list to grow from 0 to 500, he had me sit down and write out WHY I wanted 10,000 subscribers and what I’d use that leverage for when I had it.

My first thought, of course, was “to make more money” via selling my services and my upcoming course.

But I felt like that was a little shallow, so I dug a little deeper.

And when I realized my deeper drive for money, money, money, I cried a little bit.

Now, every day at 7 am, I get a text message that says this:

“I want 10,000 subscribers to help myself and others retire early & live better, more meaningful lives.”

Because in all honesty, the reason I want to make butt loads of money right now is so I can funnel all of it towards buying a house so I no longer have to pay rent or a mortgage.

And the reason I don’t want to have to worry about paying those is because right now rent is my biggest expense, and not having to worry about making money to meet that bill every single month would seriously free me up to focus on things that I’m more passionate about.

Because honestly, it’s when you don’t need the money when your work counts the most.

And the earth right now needs that work.

We need it for the sake of the environment.

We need it for the sake of peace in humanity.

We need it for the sake of acceptance and tolerance.

And heaven knows we need it for the sake of politics.

We need more people who aren’t constantly worried about meeting their rent or mortgage payments so that our world and humanity can continue to advance.

And we need people who don’t have to wait until they’re 60 to do it.

Because while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being 60 and stepping into your passion, we could all benefit even more if you could step into it at 50 instead. Or 40. Or, dare I say, 30 or younger?

So when I preach about charging more and making more money, it’s not for the sake of greed and buying fancy, pretty things.

(Though, if fancy things are what makes you come alive, then by all means…)

It’s about making the world a better place.

About using my power and your power to see good things happen to our human brothers and sisters, and to proactively protect our mother earth and our animal friends that are dying off in droves.

Because seeing this beautiful earth and the species it created decay and die off absolutely breaks my heart.

And as much as I want to do something about it, right now my hands are tied to making sure I make enough money to make my own ends meet before I can really pursue that passion.

And I don’t know how I’ll do it on a deeper level once I own a house and don’t have to worry so much about bills.

Maybe I’ll just continue working but funnel the amount of my rent payment towards my favorite non-profits.

But even if that’s “all” I do, wouldn’t the world be SO MUCH better off because of it?

So, my dear friend, I’d like you to take a moment to think about what your “why” is for your business overall and what your theme can be for 2017.

Because now that I’ve figured out my “why,” even though I’m doing the exact same work as before, I feel so much more energized every time I sit down at my desk.

I actually enjoy working longer hours and become inspired more often.

So beyond making money, why do you care about growing your business?

What will that money or that platform mean to you?

I’d love to know, so tell me in the comments or shoot me an email. 

All my peace and energy to you this fine new year,

XOXOXOXOXOXO

-Chelsea

Announcing New 2017 Copywriting Packages

Alright, you know those fancy new 2017 copywriting packages I’ve been promising since that Black Friday email I sent out?

Well my dears, I’m finally ready to tell you about them.

I’ve been thinking about them, pouring over them, and planning them for months now, and I’m so excited about it I can hardly contain myself.

The Mini & Mega Power Trip packages are here to stay, but here’s some packages I’m adding to the roster:

Brand Essence Extraction: $1,500

I uncover the exact feelings, emotions, and wording your target audience feel and use around the pain point your product or service solves. With these, you can begin to create a brand and a message that will resonate on a deep, deep level with your target audience, crafting hard-won emotional loyalty and dedication to you and what you’ve got to say.

(If you don’t know these things, it’s pretty darn hard to sell anything to anyone.)

Deliverables include:

  • The real pain points (usually 2-3 levels deeper than what most marketers stop at)
  • The real emotions and feelings people have about those pain points, and where they come from. (Again, on a much deeper level than any traditional marketing class will ever take you.)
  • Wording to use about your main product or service that will create an instant emotional connection.
  • Color & font suggestions for a good feeling : image match-up.
  • Imagery suggestions for stock photography or custom design work as you progress in your business.

Sales Page Power Punch: $3,500

In this package, I write a sales page for you, but I also lay it out for you, from within your own WordPress dashboard, on Leadpages or Thrive Themes. 

This way, you know my words are being displayed for maximum impact on your site visitors, and there’s no confusing back & forth between me, you, and the designer.

Includes five suggested A/B tests for optimized conversions.

Options of adding a monthly conversion management by yours truly or working with a custom, specialized web designer who’s one of my coolest friends.

On-Site Micro Text: $500/page

Ever go to a website and just eat it up because of all the cutesy, wonderful things written in the opt-in form fields, the text that shows up when you hover over an icon, or the error text when you accidentally enter an invalid email?

You can have that kind of website too.

With this package, I’ll take the existing pages of your choice and come up with that sort of witty, heart-grabbing micro text that will turn your visitors’ faces into the heart-eyes emoji and have them tripping over their own feet to follow you wherever you go.

Social Media Sharing & Teaser Text: $2,500

You do my discovery questionnaire and then together we do an analysis of your entire online sales funnel and where social media fits into it.

We figure out what’s working well, and how we can improve.

Then we pick out the pieces of content that will be most effective, and I write 20 lines of fun, enticing CTAs your followers can’t help but click on for 3 social networks of your choice.

To deliver them, I’ll either load them into your Meet Edgar account (with images, if available within the post) or send them to you via a private Google Doc.

These are pieces of text you can use forever, and forever get better engagement and traffic from your social channels. 

Rent a CCO (Chief Content Officer)

The goal of this offering, honestly, is to get you to a point where you don’t need me anymore.

But if you need some serious help whipping your content and your strategy  into shape, I’m the girl you need.

There’s a minimum of a three-month engagement, but what we’ll do together is phenomenal.

Outcomes include, but aren’t limited to: re-doing your site content, optimizing for SEO, planning funnels and optimizing existing ones for the best results, training writers & content creators to make better content, and even hiring and creating a stunning in-house content team.

I’ll also work with everyone else in your C-suite to make sure the strategy is totally encompassing and gives you the kind of business that makes a lasting impression no matter what angle someone might see it from.

This is an offering that will truly take your content strategy from “Eh, it’s good enough” to “Holy shit wow, I didn’t even know this was possible.” Promise.

Initial meeting & roadmap planning: $1,200

Monthly rates will vary, depending on level of need.

Blogging With Balls Masterclass

This is where you can learn for yourself how to write the kinds of blog posts that people in your target audience can’t help but say “OMG YAAAAASSSS!” to while they’re reading.

This masterclass is available in a more private, one-on-one, or company teaching setting, or you can join the waiting list for the next “public” opening. (The public openings are less customized, but way more affordable.)

You’ll learn how to come up with topics that are actually interesting and get search engine traffic, how to stand out from the crowd, how to optimize for SEO, how to batch your content production for more productivity, and how to use your blog as the main driver behind your sales funnel and bottom-line revenues.

Hint: If you have a staff writer who’s good but could be better, this is the PERFECT investment to take their awesome talent to the next level.

Email me at chelsea@getcopypower.com for a quote or to join the waiting list and be the first to know the next time I open the course to the public.

All my a la carte items will still be available (at slightly higher rates), but I won’t be featuring them front & center on my “Hire Me” page anymore, since these packages will be the core focus of my offerings.

And as promised in that Black Friday email, if you pay a deposit on a project by the end of the year and schedule your project before the end of March 2017, you’ll get in on this year’s rates. And the spots are filling up.

I’m working reduced holiday hours this week, but there’s still time for a client discovery call. So if you’re *maybe* thinking about it, just go ahead and shoot me an email at chelsea@getcopypower.com.

Cheers to you!

Happy New Year!!

*kisses*

On Cursing My 2017 New Year’s Resolutions Before I Even Set Them

Three things happened yesterday.

First, I pulled a card out of a deck at random.

A virtual deck, but still. Same idea.

And this is what the card said: “It’s safe for me to take big income leaps.”

And though I know this statement is true in my head and my heart, I couldn’t stop this overwhelming attitude of “Pffft, yeah right” from taking over me.

But for some reason, I don’t quite know what, I caught myself.

It’s the sort of situation where we usually let ourselves go, finding that kind of response permissible because of ALL the evidence of past ideals and big dreams that didn’t quite go our way.

It’s logical, right?

Sensible, even, isn’t it? To write someone off when they tell us that we can be rich, powerful, and happy beyond our wildest dreams.

Second, my boyfriend found a fortune cookie at work and told me he was opening it on my behalf.

When he opened it, this is what it said: “You create your own stage and your audience is waiting.”

Um, hello. Spot-on, much?

It felt insanely empowering, and we both knew it was true in regards to the business I’ve built and am continuing to build.

Third, I read an email from Laura Jane Williams’s Ask the Question.

And in it, she got so real it was uncomfortable.

She spoke about how she’d been so burnt out and depressed in the last year, and how all she wanted to do moving forward was to protect herself to make sure that didn’t happen again.

Can you blame her?

But she also talked about how three different people in her life called her out for not living up to her potential… even though she’d published a fucking book this year, for goodness sakes.

And as I read it, I got a sinking feeling.

I’ve done a lot this year and have had a ton of what I’d consider major successes.

But I just know deep in my bones that I’m destined for more.

And I know that that attitude of “Yeah right, fuck off” towards the card about making big income leaps is a fear that’s there just trying to protect my fragile emotions. But at the same time, I can’t help think of Elizabeth Gilbert‘s attitude towards fear, which is basically, DO NOT let that motherfucker in the driver’s seat of your life.

So here’s how these 3 things came together to make me realize I was cursing my 2017 goals before I set them:

1. I didn’t take a promise of greatness seriously

2. I was told I was destined for greatness anyway

3. I got a strong kick in the ass to stop being such a lazy bitch about making things happen

And to be honest, when I came to this realization, I felt a little sick.

I mean, am I not the one who’s always preaching that anything is possible, telling everyone how powerful we all are, and what bad asses we can be if we just buck up, make a to-do list, and do the work?

I didn’t know exactly how to break myself out of that pattern in that moment, but I did do this:

Instead of going to the 1 hour vinyasa flow class I planned on attending that night, I went to the 1.5 hour warm vinyasa flow class that was longer and I knew involved so much sweat it’d drip down off my fingertips.

I didn’t want to, because yesterday was a gloomy day and I felt tired.

But there was no real reason why I couldn’t do the harder class. And honestly, the only reason I was considering the easier class was because I was rationalizing illegitimate excuses for my own laziness under the guise of “protecting” my own energy supply.

But actually, as I found out in that yoga class… and as I feel like I’ll find out in 2017… it’s not about protecting your limited energy.

Instead, it’s about unleashing it in a strong way to create domino effect in your own favor.

Because when I finished that harder yoga class, I felt so much better than I would have if I’d opted to sweat less.

(Side note: I think this fear/protection mindset was what led to that burnout I had last month.)

Right now, I feel like the idiot treading water in the middle of the diving pool.

It takes less energy than swimming, and she can maintain it easily, so that’s what she’s doing.

But if she’d just reach her arms out and push some of that deep water behind her, she’d get to the edge of the pool rather quickly. Then she could take a shower, put on some dry clothes, and go home to some true rest.

And you know what? I really want to stop being that idiot.

Because she is just so senseless.

Let’s swim our asses off in 2017. Will you join me?

High Pricing = The Ultimate Placebo Effect

Entertain me while I preach to the choir for a second.

Wait, I think that’s the wrong saying.

What I mean is, come alongside me while I preach to myself the *exact* thing I need to hear, as I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one having this issue at the moment and I think we can all benefit from a little group pep talk.

I’ve talked a lot about high pricing before, but mostly about how it benefits us to just go ahead and label our services with a big fat price tag.

It’s scary, but when we up the ante and have the balls to just do it, things change.

The universe rises to meet us halfway. God helps those who help themselves. (Choose your own philosophy, but you get the point. Show your intention, step out in it boldly, and you will be rewarded.)

I’ve seen it happen time and time again in my own business, yet when the time comes to up level again, I get scared shitless.

I just want to take the 14 steps from my living room office space, past the couch, down the tiny little hall, into my bedroom, and up to the side of my bed.

Then, I just want to collapse onto it, pull my pretty teal comforter of my head, and lay there reading my latest book on new-age spirituality or the French graphic novel my boyfriend lent me. (Side note: graphic novel = really long comic book – like Persepolis and Epileptic. Not a slutty romance story, you sickos.)

Because you know what? Putting myself out there is really hard.

And it scares me.

I’ve gained a lot of confidence over the years, but I’m still that really shy kid who’s afraid to speak up because she’ll get made fun of by the class bully again.

I still feel a restriction in my throat when I want to speak up. Sometimes I power through it, sometimes I don’t.

But when I know in my heart of hearts that the best thing for me will be to speak up and reinvent myself with an image and price tag I’ve never portrayed before?

Oh, god. Is it ever scary.

Sure, I’m 28, self-actualized, feel confident in my own opinions, live on my own, have climbed the corporate ladder, traveled the world by myself, and all that good stuff.

But it’s still so damn hard.

Which brings me to the placebo effect.

(Bear with me.)

I’m a huge believer in the placebo effect.

If I have a body ache, I might take an ibuprofen. Or leave the bottle of pills alone and just drink a chamomile tea.

And you know what?

Both work extremely well for me.

But you know what else?

I have friends who think tea is just bad-flavored water and the chamomile doesn’t work for them. And my off-brand ibuprofen won’t either. Only Tylenol (or Advil or Aleve) will suit them… even though these pills have the exact same ingredients as their Walgreens-brand counterparts.

It’s the placebo effect.

In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely talks about an experiment he did with the same exact pill… but by putting different prices on it.

One pain reliever was worth $0.10 per pill, and the other was $2.50 per pill.

The pills were actually the exact same pill, but (not) surprisingly, the $2.50 pill worked so much better for patients with pain issues than the $0.10 pill… of course, only when they were aware of the “price.”

Price = placebo.

So here’s how the placebo effect ties into our self-confidence issues.

When you learn to have confidence in the placebo effect, you learn to have more confidence in yourself.

You realize that nothing is perfect, not even you, not even your clients.

And rather than being pessimistic about it our being a total fraud who just wants to take advantage of people, you realize that the belief in the investment is almost always more important than the investment itself.

And when you get into a self-fulfilling prophecy circle (a positive, uplifting circle, mind you), things just get better and better.

You believe in your work more, and your clients believe in your work more.

And here’s the clincher: when you believe in something, it works.

And, just because we have human brains that are funny and irrational, the more something costs, the more we believe in it. (Within reason, of course. But you’d be surprised at how much people are willing to spend on things that are important to them.)

Think about it, how much do you believe in a $5 pair of jeans in comparison to a $50 pair of jeans?

Or a $20 brand design for your website in comparison to a $2,000 brand design?

A $100,000 house in comparison to a $400,000 house? 

Sure, the cheaper versions might get the job done. They’ll serve their purpose—no problem. But for how long? Will you feel good about yourself using them? Will they truly reflect who you are?

Here’s a hint: when it comes to things that matter, people will spend and they will spend pretty.

And yes, ^ that line is me preaching to myself.

I’m up-leveling for 2017 with some exciting new packages, but I’m constantly arguing with myself over price.

I know I need to (and can) charge more & offer better services. But I’m scared. But I don’t want to. But I’m afraid the class bully will swoop in, point her finger at me, and mock me with her gaping fat mouth full of spit and humiliate me in front of all my friends… again.

Slowly but surely though, I’m gaining confidence.

I’m getting my strength back.

I’m gearing up to not just fight the bully, but to bulldoze her over without a second glance. And before that bitch even knows what hit her.

You with me?

P.S. In case you missed the email last week, I’m doing a “Black Friday Sale” through December 15th or until “supplies” last. I’m booking my services at my 2016 rates for the first three months of 2017. Book before then (or before I book out completely for those three months), and you’ll save yourself a pretty penny and still get the same awesome level of service. 

What Burnout Feels Like & Why Rules of Thumb Are Not the Gospel Truth

As you’re reading this, I’m trekking all over London with a friend I haven’t seen in five years.

Actually, I’m writing this two weeks in advance, in anticipation of the trip, but I can already tell you it’s awesome.

I’d like to say that I’m on this trip right now because I recognize the importance of work/life balance, that I realized how necessary travel was for my soul during my expat years, and that my business affords me the time and freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want.

But it doesn’t.

And I can’t say those things.

The real reason I’m here is because I burnt out and just couldn’t fucking take it anymore.

I started to hate every single aspect of the city I love & live in. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get excited about my work anymore.

Other burnout symptoms I was experiencing included:

  • Wanting to bite off the head of my best friend when she asked me for an important favor that took a lot of courage for her to ask.
  • Just staring at my computer screen, wanting with everything in me to start working, but I just couldn’t.
  • I was noticeably excited about everything else in your life, except for my work.
  • My monthly revenues were slipping, and I wasn’t doing anything to proactively prevent it or push them in the other direction.
  • I knew you want to be at the “next level” in my business, but I couldn’t even begin to fathom a way to get there.
  • I literally felt a sense of desperation deep within my chest every time I thought about my business.
  • I beat myself up with guilt when I didn’t work for full workdays because I was so burnt out… but I just know it meant more of a grind later in the week.
  • I’d actually perfected my productivity to an impressive degree, but couldn’t muster the energy to do any additional work on your business in the spare time I’d saved.
  • Meditation just wasn’t doing it for me anymore.
  • No matter how hard I exercised, no level of endorphins was strong enough to beat my frustration to a pulp.

So if you notice just one of these in your life, I’m begging you to step back and assess what you can do to improve your situation. (Please, I mean it. Like I said, I’m actually writing this two weeks before said vacation and I’m on the brink of tears for absolutely no particular reason… and no, it’s not PMS.)

And for the record guys, I didn’t ever “hustle”. I didn’t work a bit on the weekends or late at night.

I didn’t use one ounce of brain power towards my business on Saturdays or Sundays.

And thinking about it now, the fact that I wasn’t able to do that (even if I wanted to) is probably also a sign of burn out.

So, I’m taking a vacation.

My contracted work revenue for November is the lowest it’s been in six months, so I blocked of one week—Saturday through Sunday—to fly to London, stay in a hostel, and geek out over all the culture and nerdy things to do there.

Plus, you know, afternoon tea. Pretty sure I’m going to take part in that every. single. day.

But I think the reason this burn out snuck up on me so quickly was because I was following all the “rules” of work/life balance.

Sure, it was easy to see why I burnt out so hard in my corporate career—we were required to work on Saturdays. (The company “gave” us six “vacation” days per month in our contracts—4 Sundays & 2 Saturdays. Total bullshit.)

So when I went out on my own, I made sure I basked in the glory that was not working past dinner time or on weekends.

And for a long time, that rule of thumb seemed to be working.

But the thing is, my goals are anything but rule of thumb.

I have a huge, almost-painful-to-think-about financial goal that I set for myself to achieve by the end of next year… 14 months from now. (I know it’s 100% possible, but it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever done, which is what makes it scary.)

I still know it’s possible, but when you’re working with non-rule-of-thumb goals, you can’t really abide by rule-of-thumb rules and expect it to work out.

So I’m changing my perspective.

And I’m inviting you to change your perspective, too.

The rules of thumb no longer working for me are these:

  • Grow your business & revenue gradually, bit by bit.
  • Guest post your ass off and your sanity away until you have the number of email subscribers you want.
  • Work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.
  • Focus on client work over your own business. Because it’s what makes you money right now.
  • Post every single week on your blog. (My videos are still coming, but their production is on hold for this month.)
  • Sit and wait quietly while for others to take notice of you. Slowly but surely it will happen if you keep plugging away.

I don’t have answers to how I’ll substitute these rules of thumb quite yet, but at least I’ve identified them.

I’m hoping this week of sightseeing with an old friend in London and not actively thinking about the constraints of my current business model will open up the space in my mind for some new ideas.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m super proud of how far my business has come in its 14 months of existence.

I just know that my old way of doing things is my old way of doing things… and that I’m desperate for a new way.

And sometimes, taking a step back and going against the grain of typical, standard advice (read: rules of thumb) is the best thing you can do for your business, your life, and your sanity.

So you tell me… what are some “rules of thumb” that have proven to be total bullshit in your life?

If you’re reading on the blog, tell me in a comment.

If you’re reading via email, hit respond and tell me. (Or click through and leave a comment.)

I’d genuinely love to know.

Let’s create our own community of zero-bullshit entrepreneurs, shall we?

With Love from London,

<3 – Chelsea

On Closing Doors & New Beginnings

As you guys might now, I’m an all-out fan of anything that explains our funny, irrational human behavior.

Which is why when I saw the revised and expanded edition of Predictably Irrational (you can get some free sample chapters here) in hard cover for $8 at Mr. K’s, I snatched it up like a hungry bird who missed his alarm clock goes after the first worm of the day.

Which is also why I read it before bed almost every single night and just can’t seem to put it down.

It’s full of interesting discussion material for those of us nerds who like to dissect how survival instincts make us total idiots in the real world… but as someone who’s facing some pretty monumental shifts in her business, the chapter on Keeping Doors Open was hugely insightful and a little bit heart-chaffing.

The subtitle of the chapter is “Why Options Distract Us from Our Main Objective.”

Which, if you’ve ever decided you needed to close one door of your business in order to open another—even if that new door is more enjoyable and more profitable—you know how hard it can be.

We hate to close out potential opportunity, especially when that opportunity has proven itself to provide really, really well for us.

The chapter mentions dating and finding a mate, and career-wise it mentions keeping your options open should something happen somewhere that’s less than ideal. Making sure you’ve always got a Plan B and Plan C, if you will. (And maybe a D, E, and F.)

It makes sense from a survival standpoint, but it counter-intuitively also means that we can’t pursue what’s absolutely best for us.

Our time and mental energy are limited currencies. So any of that currency we spend keeping one door open means it’s currency we can’t spend going towards something that’s actually way more beneficial for us. Read more

Copywriting for Beginners

Believe me: I’ve been there.

Trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing with your site’s copywriting and just hoping to god it’s sufficient for enough people to buy from you to keep your business afloat.

It’s stressful.

I’ll admit: expert copywriting is kind of a beast to figure out and master… especially if you’re just getting your toes wet in it.

Fortunately though, you don’t have to be an expert copywriter to have good enough copywriting or to make some major improvements to your on-site copy today.

So instead of inundating you with a million rules on headlines, how to write your first sentence, hooks, sub-headings, calls to action, and story, I’ve got three easy-to-understand and easy-to-use tips for you in this video.

I promise they’re not complicated and that they’ll improve your site.

Check them out:

Read more

In Which I Actually Defend Corporate Jargon

Five years ago, I started my first ever real website.

It was called Carolina Freelance Writer, and I thought I was being clever with SEO.

The thought of it makes me cringe, but the reality is that I used that site until one year ago last month when I officially started my LLC and could take this site live.

So for four years (and a couple years before that when I was freelancing without a website), because of the wording of my URL, the best I could ever hope to refer to myself was as a freelance writer.

Because there it was, written in pixels in front of anyone who ever thought about hiring me.

That site was a blessing at first, but it turned into a curse.

Read more