Free Social Media Banners + Motivation

Here are 4 Free Social Media Banners with PSD Template included.  These work well with short motivational phrases or one word.  Images are Public domain.

social media banners rainbow mountain desert outdoor hope dreams encouragement

So, I felt a little nervous putting these out today.  They’re not my usual style, and seem off-brand.  We’re told in the online business world to stay consistent and on brand at all times.

But then I thought, “Fuck it, this is what I feel like sharing today.” So here you go.

I’ve been struggling a lot this year.  My grandfather died in February after a long fight with Alzheimer’s.  There have been a run of other family problems too.  I wrenched my shoulder badly in March and the fucker is still hurting.  (I use a wheelchair, so arm injuries are pretty serious and take forever to heal.)  I was sick and incapacitated for most of April.

May has been a wobbly process of getting back on my feet and trying to catch up.

If I’m being honest, the past 4 years or so has been a series of shitstorms, injuries, and loss.

So I’ve gotten used to riding the storm out, keeping my head above water, and then cleaning up to take another shot.  It’s not easy, though.  And I know I’m not the only one.

So what I want to tell you is, keep going.  It’s okay to want things.  It’s okay to reach for them.  It’s okay to be frustrated, and tired, and pissed, but you have to keep going, keep reaching, keep trying, because that’s the only way to the other side.  You have to keep finding hope because without it you’re well and truly fucked.

 

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Art Share: Transformation

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This is what I did with the fugly crap I posted last week.

For anyone new: Last week’s post was a set of reddish-brown /black images with some splatter and grunge on them.  They weren’t all that remarkable.  I worked with them a little and got some designs that totally reflect my style and helped me process what was going on with me emotionally.

I never tell people to “look for lessons” in their pain, but I can say without a doubt that if you walk through it, your own refusal to give up will bring transformation.

IWSG: Taking Risks As A Writer

insecure-writers-support-group-badgeMy clients often tell me that they are afraid.

 

  • Afraid their writing won’t be good enough.
  • Afraid of disappointing themselves.
  • Afraid they’ll start and not finish.
  • Afraid that people won’t like their book.
  • Afraid that their idea is not “original.”
  • Afraid that they won’t “make it.”
  • Afraid that cat-aliens will take over their computer in the middle of the night and write a better book than they could.  (Okay, no.  I made that one up.)

I wrote my first book when I was 12.  It sucked.  Started my second one when I was sixteen and it took forever to finish.  In between starting and finishing the second, there have been 9 others.  Each one is a learning experience.  Each one is flawed, but they’re each progressively better than the one before.  At any point along this writing journey, I could have given up.  Decided that my books just weren’t “good enough,” or that I didn’t have what it took to be an author.  I didn’t, because writing is a skill.  It’s not magic.  You learn to write by writing.  You get better by taking the risk to do the thing as best you can, and then learning from your mistakes.

 

I’ve been writing for close to 30 years now.  Reading for longer than that.  Every time I’ve seen what I thought was a unique premise (an “original” story idea) I later found out that it had been influenced and inspired by other stories.  It doesn’t matter if your idea is “original.” What matters is that you take the risk to write it from a place within yourself that no one else can reach.  Then, the experience of your book will be unique.

 

Some people are not going to like your work.  That’s the way it goes when you do art.  But other people will, and some of them need your work.  It’s on you, writer, to take the risk involved in finding them.

And don’t let the cat-aliens surf Youtube all night.

Stop Being An Ass About 2016–My Inaugural Blog Rant

rbf_-12-30-2016-_feb_-024copy4 So, a lot of people are blowing off steam about 2016 right now.  “This is the worst year ever–2016 can kiss my ass!”

“Damn you, 2016, did you have to take Alan Rickman, Prince, David Bowie AND Carrie Fisher?”  Or more seriously, there are deep fears about the state of world politics, the environment, and all sorts of stuff.

People are expressing the hard times they’ve had.  The collective agreement that 2016 has been a harsh and unforgiving piece of crap seems to make us all feel a little better about it.

We’ve all had a rough 2016.  But at least, if we’re all talking about it, we know we’re not alone.

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How I Beat Panic Attacks By Re-Writing Scifi Literature

I spent February and most of March battling panic attacks. For much of the time, I was completely paralyzed. I knew that I needed to develop new coping strategies and figure out how I could get back to a level of functionality.

 

The first thing I tried was the Litany against Fear.

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Business Clarity Workbook Questions

Biz clarity map

So, like I said yesterday, this week’s homework in my business coaching program, Sisterhood Tribes, is to go through some questions in Rachel’s Business Clarity Workbook.  I’m about 2/3 of the way done now.  This is what I’ve got.  (If I get done the rest of it this week, I’ll do a process post on how I did the business map I came up with.

 

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Business Clarity Brain Dump v. 1.0

This week’s homework in my business coaching program, Sisterhood Tribes, is to go through some questions in a Business Clarity Workbook.
But before I get to that, I feel like I just need to clear my head and brain dump about where I am with the biz and what I’m doing.

 

This is a brain dump.  It hasn’t been edited except for gross grammatical errors.  Read at your own risk.


So, when I started I had this idea that I was going to work with any bloggers or entrepreneurs who weren’t tech literate and wanted someone else to manage the computer and technology related parts of their business. Basically online business management, I guess.

I realized pretty quickly that what I wanted to do was work with creatives, and especially people who were interested in storytelling, because that’s my real area of expertise. I do art and can work with art-based entrepreneurs/bloggers, but I have a lot more experience of working with indie authors and social justice bloggers.

I wanted to do something where I could incorporate all of those different areas of knowledge, my art, my enjoyment of strategy and my ability to problem solve. So I came up with Evil Genius Consulting.

The way I framed it was, helping indie authors and creative entrepreneurs build a platform so that they can be heard and attract the audience they want.

So I thought that was great, and he was still really technical/practical. That’s what I wanted because I’m good at encouraging and sort of pep talking people but not the greatest at doing that kind of support support over a long period of time. I get frustrated and burnout. I don’t think I have the patience, and I think I’m too much of

The I did this challenge in May and June that really shifted my focus. First off, my Facebook group triple in size. It’s only about 100 people now, but it was a lot smaller before, and I’ve been able to form strong relationships with some of the women in the group.

I realized that a lot of my ideal clients are struggling with more than just the tech aspects of what they want to do, and I think the tech is kind of a smokescreen for a larger problem. My thought process went like this.

They don’t get the technology, so they associate their problems with blogging or or social media marketing or email marketing or whatever with, “I just don’t get this technology stuff.” What they really don’t understand and are having a hard time with is digital culture and how to reach the audience they want to reach.

Okay, from here on out am going to just say “artists” but I mean artists writers musicians, whoever is doing a creative form of expression for a living.

Artists tend to be introverts, and they’re used to thinking of art as a solitary form of expression. Prior to Internet culture, artists didn’t really have much to do with the marketing side of their work. They hired agents and managers, or publishing houses and museums bought their stuff. Somebody else sold it, and the most the artist had to do was show up at events.

Now suddenly there’s been this big culture shift where if you’re an artist, you need to be online, you need to be promoting yourself, you need to be creating newsletters and blog posts and Etsy stores or whatever else. A lot of them just don’t have any idea how to do that, content wise, and most of the advice that’s out there doesn’t really fit or work for art-related business.

So, they are told that they need to blog, but they have no idea how to set up a blog or what to blog about. The closest thing to advice is “find your ideal reader and write for them,” or they join in writing circles where all the writers blog about “how to blog” or “how to write.”

Nobody really explains how or why to find an ideal reader online or how to get them onto your website. Most of them confuse the concept of an ideal reader with the concept of a target market. So, they don’t have clear messaging because they don’t really know who they’re talking to. They don’t know their why because they started blogging out of obligation. They don’t know what to write, on a blog, they don’t know how to write ad copy, they don’t know how to use social media to drive traffic anywhere, and on top of that they don’t know how to do any of the tech stuff that I was originally going to provide. (And still am providing.)

So, they’re frustrated with lack of results and think the problem is, “I don’t understand technology.”

So, all of that is what led me to put together the Find Your Raving Fans program.

Once I did that, I realized that I had a group of bloggers who basically knew their ideal client but not how to attract them and were new to the whole book writing/publishing side of things and needed logistics on that, plus some of them were in need of tech assistance.

I’ve also had 3 different women reach out to me saying that they’re established as entrepreneurs but want to blog and write a book, could I help them?

Well, yes, I can, but I have a pretty detailed ideal client profile, so I said “Okay, my ideal client is a multi-creative woman who’s out of the “beginner” stage of her artist career, but these folks are all established at SOME part of what they’re doing; they’re coming to me for help with the other parts.

What I had was three different groups of people who were all storytellers of some kind at various stages in their development process

So I started looking for commonalities that would tie the whole thing together thatI could use in my messaging.

This is what I found from talking to the women in my group and other places:

  • Aren’t comfortable with technology or aren’t familiar with blogging, usually not utilizing social media very well. (Entrepreneurs are great with Social media, not great with running a website/blog in most cases.)
  • If they blog, they aren’t attracting the right readers (IE–nobody’s buying their books and they’re mostly blogging for/with fellow readers)
  • Don’t have clear messaging, or if they know their message, they’re not targeting their ideal reader/client well.
  • Don’t know how to use brand visuals effectively, don’t understand how to create a personal brand
  • Struggling with what to write about and stuck because all they really see are business bloggers posting tips, fashion bloggers posting outfits, etc. Art blogging (especially for authors) works differently.
  • Struggling with self-doubt, low confidence, not feeling good enough, and usually have some kind of

 

Then I started sharing some stuff about my personal experiences with starting my business and dealing with fears and trying to figure out how to move forward when I was in the middle of panic attacks. Either that or stuff about being honest relating to your emotions and not pretending to be all happy when you’re really not. I think I’d decided to post that stuff before I have a clear idea of what I was doing in the business. I had the posts saved, but anyway they resonated pretty strongly with my audience . In my head, that was related to goal setting and motivation.

I know those things aren’t directly related to what I’m offering in my business, but I’ve always believed really strongly about using my experiences to help others, and if there’s something I’ve learned, I want to share it on my blog. I like doing that, and I like the idea of blogging about ways in which this business is helping me come to terms with my past etc.

I also like posting shortened versions of those things and the related images from my blogs into my Facebook group because it’s ready-made content that I already have. That way I don’t have to think up something completely different post in there every week. It seems like whenever I post something like that, the group really enjoys it and responds well, so I want to incorporate that kind of thing more into my business and messaging, but I’m not sure how it fits exactly. I mean, I know it’s my story and that it humanizes me.

This week, I found some ways to connect my story with what I actually do in the business. I talked about some ways in which my disability and various other experiences had led me to choose computers and technological forms of expression.

I LIKE creating blog posts and even social media posts about those kind of things. I like knowing that my writing is encouraging and helpful to my clients or whoever else reads it.  I just know that I don’t want to be anybody’s one-on-one emotional support person.

I’m still not sure how to integrate that with the more technical subjects, and I ended up with a crapload of posts that are themed around the power of story and using my personal experiences to drive the point. I feel like using that kind of messaging will set me apart from most of the people I see in entrepreneur groups who are usually posting business trips or posting about how to be happy and grateful etc. I’m essentially doing the opposite, saying “I’m not happy, and that’s okay. I’m angry, I get scared, I get frustrated, and I don’t try to change it. I made peace with that part of myself when I learned to channel it into my art and business.

I think the thing is that with artists, we’re generally not happy people. We’re high energy and charismatic when we’re true to ourselves. People are drawn to us. But art doesn’t come from a happy place. It comes from needing an outlet for all the stuff that we either can’t verbalize or that society frowns on. Artists are supposed to show people what it means to be human, and that means being open about our emotional lives.

I think maybe that has more to do with “how to attract readers” than with “how to blog/how to set up the tech side.”

So, possibly I’m not doing 3 different things, I just need to know where what I’m currently writing about fits in my messaging.

Ideal client/reader work seems like it should be a bigger focus in my offerings–maybe I can develop a shorter program or course just on that?
Defining a message could be another one (the fact that I can do that for my clients but I just sat here babbling about this for hours is kind of embarrassing.)
I have some ideas for blog prompt books or opt-in freebies too.)

Right now I want to focus on fixing my current FB strategy and getting clients into Raving Fans.

How to Handle Your Biggest Fear

RBF_-06-26-2016-_-0032(Copy)

When I was 15, I threw a party and nobody showed up. I wasn’t one of the “cool” kids, but I had what I thought was a reasonably solid group of friends from different cliques in my high school.  (Everyone knows who you are when you have a physical disability, and most people will converse with you if they think that you are smart enough to help them with their homework.)

 

Getting my parents to agree to that party had been a monumental effort.  Then I had to invite everyone–also a huge deal for an introvert who  with an anxiety disorder. Inviting people or asking them to do things was my worst nightmare.

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100 + Amazing Things I Bring To My Business

100

 

My business coach, Rachel Abott gave me this assignment on Monday.  I expect I’ll be posting future assignments here as well.

 

My task was to make a list of 100 things I’m good at.

 

It sounds a bit daunting, but I did it in about an hour.  Here’s how.

 

Step 1

Break your skills and talents down into categories

Add a category for unique qualities and experiences

 

Step 2

Brainstorm or mindmap as many things as you can think of for each category

Step 3

List any major life events and the lessons they taught you.

Step 4

Plug your categories into a search engine and skim the top articles that come up.  These will help jog your memory and shift your perspective to realize how much you know and what skills you’ve gained.

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Goal Setting Tip: Channel Yoda

Goals

Remember—even though I encouraged you to “try again” yesterday, there’s no such thing as “I’ll try.” You make up your mind to succeed. You do.  Or do not.  Setbacks aren’t failures, they’re part of your learning process.