Hey Solopreneurs! Are you ready to rise up?

When this morning hit, I really thought I was going to slay the day. By 9.30, I was my third diaper change, so hey–no one could say I wasn’t being productive! But I was so ready for naptime, so I could get to the keyboard and tell you all about this latest thing Moonphase Creative is offering.

Custom Package with Special Pricing for Black Owned/Female Owned Small-Business Owners

I’m offering customized writing/service packages and special pricing for black-owned and/or female owned small-business owners and solopreneurs. See, when I left my ex-husband three years ago, I was knee-deep in oppression and struggling to make my way. In a world where childcare is the cost of a mortgage and employers are more concerned about their bottomline than employee health, getting to a point of freelance freedom was absolutely crucial to the survival of me and my three girls.

So with all this political uprising and an uncomfortable zoom-in on the unjust ways of our world, I’m here to be part of the solution and extend help however I can. If you happen to be a solopreneur and happen to be black and/or female, please contact me. First consultation is always free, but I want to talk to you about how you CAN become a successful small business owner. I want to help you find a path that works for you. As a copywriter/editor and illustrator with some knowledge of content creation and strategy, I’m confident we can figure out the blueprints of a career that can grow.

LGBTQ+ Crowd Welcome, Too

Not to be exclusive, and definitely welcoming all rainbow fam–I want to welcome the LGBTQ+ crowd into this offer, too. See, when you’re struggling on the peripheral of society, you can get so caught up in daily survival, trying to make it through the trauma and societal norm navigating just to avoid panic attacks–strategizing your business can seem like an afterthought.

close-up-photo-of-lgbtq-letters-on-a-person-s-hands-1566842
Moonphase Creative is focusing on the LGBTQ Community to help LGBTQ solopreneurs slay the day. Image found at Pexels

I’m here to connect and use my skills as a solopreneur in the freelance world to help you develop your ideas, define your path, and execute a plan. Our first consultation is always free, and I know a lot can be accomplished in that initial meeting. If you’re ready for more, we have plans and packaging that can be engineered to fit your budget because right now, I’m giving back to the world that has so graciously given to me.

 

Others Lifted Me Up… Now it is MY Turn

When I left my situation a little over three years ago, I was emotionally battered, physically exhausted, and mentally stretched thin. Traditional employment quickly showed itself to be an impossibility for many reasons. I was a single mom of three, and all three were already needing tons of therapy due to the trauma we were all escaping and navigating.

sleeping_scared
This was me holding my beautiful girls after a fruitless shift in retail. Shortly after leaving my abusive marriage, I worked for not a lot of money and it mostly complicated my situation, rather than adding value. Enter: Freelance Freedom.

Beyond that, there was a police investigation and lawyer-stuff happening on the daily… I was in no shape to be dropping my kids off at daycare and going off to work in retail or wherever else. Jumping back into teaching after a five year absence while my ex-husband degraded me and convinced me I wasn’t able or worthy wasn’t going to be so easy, either.

But I could write and I could draw/design. I held an MFA in Writing; I had studied art and animation. I had a few skills, and I knew I could sail my own ship. This was how it all began, and I registered Moonphase Creative as a writing and illustration sole proprietorship, and did my best to jump in and build my empire.

It Takes Time… but you CAN

Building your freelance career takes time, but you can definitely do it. I want to avoid telling you it’s easy and you’ll have a great income in six-months, because that wasn’t my personal experience and I’m all about transparency. I was lucky to meet a few great mentors and learn a few hard lessons right at the starting line, and this definitely helped me shape my path and achieve eventual success.

photo-of-woman-standing-on-sunflower-field-3756168
Let’s figure out where you are and where you’re going–and if Moonphase Creative can help. Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Every day is a learning experience, and some days will be more productive, more successful than others. Due diligence will reveal results, though, and I want to help others work on the plan to get you where you want to be.

Let’s Find Your Niche

Let’s talk about your goals and interest and find your niche if you’re still wandering in search of it. And let’s see how you can start building your plan. Please contact me to get chatting, and I’m so excited to talk about what we can do for you. Or keep an eye on our website to see new posts rolling out about being a small business in the land of niches.

I’m a writer and illustrator and I’ve often said the beauty of my job is that I’m not limited to any single subject or sector. But if I’m honest, I love working with fitness peeps: exercise, bodybuilding, nutrition, and more. I also love working with woman-owned businesses that somehow relate to the service industry, motherhood, or female-centric products and services. I felt weird saying that for a while, but it’s true. And I also love working with creative out-of-the-box niches that have a place and a purpose but are sometimes hard to nail down. One of my very favorite projects to have helped launched into the world? This Sex Positive Education website.

If this sounds like we would be a good fit, let’s get together and talk about what your options might be. I can hand you some resources and ideas, and we can have a coffee chat by Zoom or by phone to go over the details of what you’re doing, where you’re headed, and how Moonphase Creative can help.

Developing Your Content Strategy

There are a lot of ways to streamline your social media marketing and blog post outreach, and a dozen people will tell you a dozen different ways to do it the best. However, if they’re worth their salt, you will hear a few resounding repeats in the advice thrown your way. I’d like to cover some ideas about developing your content strategy in  in short-form.

Firstly, though…

What is Content Strategy?

In short, Content Strategy is how your brand chooses to use social media content (blog posts, Facebook posts, Instagram, Twitter, and so on) in order to strategically appeal to the audience and make connections that become conversions.

Content strategy is kind of like the Ad Man job of the 20th century, in a way. People got really tired of kitschy commercials and two-page print ads in magazines they didn’t want to subscribe to once 2001 arrived. Print advertising isn’t dead, but it has changed. Just like content strategy isn’t new–it’s just been evolving for a while and we’re finally seeing how this little component of online marketing and social media outreach can be a hugely important part to any small business or solopreneur’s strategy.

Content strategy
Develop your content strategy with authenticity, accuracy, and your audience in mind.

The thing is, content strategy isn’t hard, per se, but it takes a little time to develop and the skillset is an elusive mix of knowledge, common sense, and social savvy. The idea is to develop content that appeals to your crowd in an authentic way–because no one likes a sales pitch that feels smarmy, out-of-touch or too thirsty. I prefer to coach clients when possible to develop their own brand strategy and give them the tools to implement it themselves. I do provide content and social media designs, but largely I truly believe most small businesses and solo professionals can be successfully coached to take the reigns of most of their own social media campaign with the right information and toolset.

Being an Authority & Expert in Your Field

The reason I believe most small businesses and professionals have the potential to arm their own social media is because the biggest piece of the puzzle is being an authentically engaged, dedicated expert in your field. You can learn how to wrangle your social media; but your expertise is exactly why you do what you do. That being said, a successful and well-done content strategy plan can be time-consuming–which is why some choose to outsource the job to freelancers like myself who invest their time and unique toolsets into this as a full-time career.

But–time and toolsets aside–

People want knowledge and answers to their questions. That’s the big thing to remember when piecing together your brand’s social media strategy. People want to hear from an authority on topics of concern. This is where a small business has the chance to give followers and potential followers a clear idea of who your company is and what knowledge and expertise you offer. The internet is a scary place filled with misinformation and scammy back-alleys. So, if you can prove you’re a genuine, authentic person with actual authority and knowledge on your topic–you’re golden.

Because content strategy is developing ideas about how you can communicate your knowledge and know-how to your audience in an authentic way that keeps them coming back for more. That’s it. In a nutshell, that’s what you need to do in order to grow the right kind of following that will turn into sales/loyal clients/returning patrons (and so on).

marketing-school-business-idea-21696
A successful plan for your content strategy is possible with a little planning and consideration.

How Do I Create a Plan for Content?

You might be asking where to begin and wondering how to create a plan for your content.

Forget the strategy, how do I even make good content?!

I’ll talk more about the particulars of content in a future post–but simply put Content is simply the stuff you are talking about, promoting, and showing across your social media platforms. Are you talking about the hot new homes for sale in your area? That’s your content: the real estate market is the subject you’re discussing. Are you sharing a DIY post on how to mend a hole in your shirt? Then your content is craft and DIY related, and your mending a shirt blog post is probably going to appeal for people searching DIY methods for fashion, or “clothing hacks” for everyday people.

Knowing your audience is absolutely key in planning your content. But before that, even, you must know your brand. This seems insanely obvious, but it is painfully true that many solopreneurs and small businesses do not know their own business well enough to be generating the right kind of content.

Often times, my clients know their industry really well, but they’re failing to see how valuable and indispensable they are within the industry they serve. Know your own worth, trust your authority, and make lists about what you do and why. Once you have explored what you do and how you serve people with expertise and authority–write down your plan.

Content Strategy: The Authority Plan

Develop a two-week plan that covers a certain topic in part. You can cover this over the course of two or three blog posts, and then promote these posts across other social media platforms. Talk about your current blog posts that are offering an “in-depth look at the industry (fill in your niche)” or share resources related to your two-week campaign in addition to the blog post you wrote on the topic.

man-wearing-white-top-in-front-of-woman-wearing-blue-long-1181715
Create a sense of authority and expertise while also remaining relatable to your audience.          Photo by Christina Morillo

This is a reinforcement of your expertise and authority, which highlights what you can do for your clients and why you’re worth hiring. The best part is? Your how-to and information campaigns can honestly help people and you never had to pitch an awkward, weird sales-pitch to someone who didn’t want to hear it in the first place.

Content Strategy: The Launch

Gear your social media toward a launch. Maybe it will be the launch of a new product or a new class you’re teaching. It’s up for you to decide, but if this is a good fit for your small biz and what’s happening in your brand’s world, The Launch is a fantastic way to operate on a couple of marketing techniques that can really motivate people to jump on board your train of awesomeness.

The launch strategy capitalizes on a few things for your readers/viewers. First of all, since the launch happens at the end of a timeline, there is a countdown and a sense of scarcity as tickets/availability/time dwindles as the launch date draws closer. The “get it before it’s gone” mentality makes it hard to pass by if it is something that intrigues your readership or viewers.

Content Strategy: The Evergreen

I know I’ve talked about evergreen content before, but evergreen content really is that valuable. It’s the kind of stuff that, over time, stays relevant in the Google rankings because it remains relevant. If you write a really fantastic and informative, helpful post on a common problem in your field, people searching for a common solution to this common problem will be thankful you shared the answer.

creative-female-artisan-drawing-in-workshop-3771079
Demonstrate your expertise and show what you do as a form of content strategy.                     Photo by Andrea Piacquadio 

It’s the perfect chance to flout your authority and help some people out–who, in turn, might just poke around the rest of your website/channel/social media account and decide you’re pretty much the bee’s knees. At this point, at the very least you have the chance of earning a new follower. And, best case scenario, this evergreen content could earn you a converted client because they have found you–and your information–to be tried-and-true.

 

 

 

 

What Can Digital Marketing Do For You?

“But wait!”

grayscale-portrait-photo-of-shocked-woman-1201758
What if I told you Content Writing has EVERYTHING to do with Digital Marketing?

 

“You’re a writer.

Oh. Okay.

But what if I told you that a lot of what I offer as a Copy and Content Writer has everything to do with marketing? And, since I primarily write for web, my writing really has everything to do with digital marketing–though, no, I am definitely not a digital marketer.

What is Digital Marketing?

So, first off, what is digital marketing, actually?

HubSpot gives this definition:

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.

And that is exactly why my job as a copy and content writer has everything to do with digital marketing. I write for every single one of these platforms. As Donald Miller, author, speaker, and creator of the StoryBrand concept says, words are the ultimate tool in storytelling.

Visual storytelling is awesome. Having clean, crisp images and a color palette that ties in a brand’s identity and helps sell a brand image and further their story is awesome. But at the end of the day, folks, it comes down to words.

What Can You Do to Tackle Digital Marketing?

Since Digital Marketing really is an umbrella term encompassing all the many ways we target, connect, and engage audiences online, tackling digital marketing can have a lot of steps. I recommend setting some doable, bite-sized goals for yourself and starting small. Perhaps this means setting up a website for your small business, and then committing to writing blog posts regularly to help boost your SEO organically.

Then, after you’ve mastered that, perhaps your next step is tackling Facebook and Instagram. Make business accounts for both of these social media powerhouses and start sharing those blog posts you’re publishing regularly, and commit to several weekly posts on Instagram showing relevant content rather than just pictures of your adorable dog cuddling a parakeet.

 

Develop Your Digital Marketing Plan

Developing your digital marketing plan can be a process that evolves overtime. But, basically, you should commit to three or four strategies and then prioritize following through. Trust me, this will be the hardest part.

white-smartphone-1851415

Outsourcing your digital marketing implementation might end up being a really great option for you, or you might find that utilizing a suite of nifty tools like Buffer and Hootsuite are the answers to your side-hustle prayers.

Learning about different ways to digitize your marketing and diversifying your strategy will be key to your success. Check out some of these ideas to keep growing your digital marketing strategy.

Whatever route you choose, remember that the follow-through is most important. Especially in organic SEO: consistency is key, as results can easily take six months to become noticeable.

Familiarize Yourself with Writing Techniques

In addition to learning the basics of digital marketing, familiarize yourself with writing techniques. Learn how writing for web and digital marketing works, and make an effort to identify your strengths weaknesses as a writer. This really will help your professional communication in every aspect, from emails to blog posts, to social media blurbs and bylines.

Check out my post about writing a blog post for some really basic ideas on getting started, or read up on SEO strategies in 2020.

And beyond trade-specific writing info, check out resources like Grammar Girl’s guide to writing properly (her blog is full of fascinating word-nerd info), or take a quick course to freshen your business and casual writing skills. Top-level writing will definitely help you pull of you DIY digital marketing endeavors with greater success. If that isn’t your skillset and you’re not eager to make time for it yourself, outsourcing copy and content is a viable solution that many small businesses find a huge time-saver and value-booster.

Stay Committed

Stay committed to digital marketing strategies and implementations. I’ll reiterate what I said throughout previous paragraphs about that exact thing.

Stay committed to your digital marketing plan.

Stay committed to developing your understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Stay committed to content planning and strategic posting schedules.

And if you can’t, then commit to outsourcing the work to someone who does it for a living because it really can be that much of a game-changer for any company.

What’s your plan going to be?

So now that you know what digital marketing is, and a little bit about what it might entail, what is your plan going to be?

As always, feel free to be in touch. Email me or find us on Facebook. Moonphase Creative is always excited to help you in whatever phase you’re orbiting.

 

Until next time,

 

Angi

 

Tips from a Work-at-Home Writer: 4 Keys to Block Scheduling

Productivity & Block Scheduling

I figure everyone is working from home, so, as a work-from-home freelance writer, I wanted to share some strategies for increasing productivity and utilizing block scheduling. As a work-at-home mom, I’m fairly used to (and well equipped) to be flexible and creative in ways I get things done. I’ve been utilizing this super effective method for some time, but only now realized it is, like, a thing and people call it block scheduling.

I previously discussed ways small businesses need to change their approach during the Coronavirus pandemic, and now I want to talk about ways people–small business owners, self-employed people, and traditionally employed folks–can all make the most of these days spent home under the realm of social-distancing.

Ways To Build a Block Schedule

Build a block schedule by examining your goals, your responsibilities and your hours of availability. Instead of an overwhelming list of things to do and trying to find time to do them, find chunks of time (hours or even 30 minute increments) and start filling those calendar spaces with tasks and projects.

  1. Figure out daily to-dos and recurring tasks that need to be on the schedule.
  2. Consider important work goals and deadlines that have fixed or inflexible due dates.
  3. Think about recurring appointments or routines that you must work around.
  4. Start considering your day in chunks of times rather than lists of itemized to-dos.
personal-organizer-kaboompics
Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

1. Dailies & Tasks

This sort of runs parallel to numeric point three below, but it’s on a smaller scale. Do you like to walk the dog at ten? Do your kids leave for school by a certain time? Do you have certain chores you prefer to do in the morning vs. the afternoon? A lot of my work-from-home-strategy banks on nap time of our youngest, who is still home full-time, and when the others are all gone for school (which is now irrelevant because we’re all here, all the time, because Coronavirus).

But these types of daily chores and routines can be a helper, not an enemy, to your block scheduling. For instance, I know everyone won’t be out the door until eight a.m. and then I know the baby will be ready to nap at 9 so–instead of trying to cram work in somewhere in the early morning (because if I lived alone in a weirdly isolated perfect world, that is what my Type A Personality would enjoy)–I work with this routing. A normal Monday–when we have no other appointments typically, and when people can leave the house (lol), my schedule looked like this:

6 a.m. nurse the baby

(I’m an early riser. This was hard because I felt I should be getting up at 5.30 a.m. But this was easily deemed impractical once I honestly had a look at the schedule and realized I’m up a lot at night with the baby and inevitably she always was ready to eat at 6 a.m.)

7 a.m. Bigger Kids off to school

7.30 a.m. Household upkeep, just a bit

(usually dishes. Always the damn dishes)

8 a.m. Play with the baby and get her tired!! Start some laundry.

9 a.m. Nurse & Nap. And now I can WORK

9.30 a.m. Schedule Any Client Calls or Zoom Conferencing etc.

10-Noon Writing for Clients/Batch Blogging the Posts You’re Reading Here

Noon-2 Organize Social Media, Work on Illustration, Eat Something Probably

(The Baby wakes up somewhere in that last block. She doesn’t understand punctuality, clearly Block Scheduling is her thing also)

2-3 pm Creative Work, Printing Stuff, Prep the Next Day

3.15 pm Eldest arrives home and Snacks, Mom-Time, Homework Help, and Family Art Class all begin.

 

Hopefully you can see that, with this structure, I have a lot of flexibility with fairly defined guidelines in place. For instance, I find it easier to dedicate uninterrupted time to  play and enjoy my fourth and final baby. That is so important to me, let me tell you, to enjoy that last round of firsts and finals. Knowing that yes, our routine and schedule allows for work time makes it much easier to shift my full attention and focus to just her without worry or stress.

When I shift into work mode once Baby H is down, I’m not locked into a singular specific task. If I have a client call, I handle that–but otherwise, I can choose from a list of things that can fit in this hefty chunk of work time. It really boils down to Writing Time for two hours, and organizationally this works–but it always works with my schedule, not against it.

Once Baby H wakes up, of course, I feed/change and do the mom thing a bit. It is the perfect time to switch to the more fluid and sometimes flexible workflow of illustrating. Baby H can remain entertained while I get some sketches down or scan some illustrations. I’ve been known to paint with her on my hip, but that is getting a bit dangerous now that she is a bit more capable of finger-painting.

Usually, she has an afternoon nap. I crank out the more detailed demands of illustration, file prep or emails, and get those things out there before my kids start arriving in quick succession starting at 3.15 p.m.

It isn’t perfect, some days are different, but for the most part, I know how certain chunks of time go. I have a set type of task that goes into certain designated chunks of time.

 

photo-of-woman-using-laptop-3890520
This is not what parenting and working simultaneously looks like. This is a beautifully posed stock photo that is basically the opposite of real life. Work from home and parent simultaneously with great caution. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

2. Work Deadlines & Inflexible Dates

Instead of looking at these like looming lines of death, look at these like excited finish lines to cross victoriously and celebrate. With the help of block scheduling, you are going to smash these goals, maybe even finish early, and celebrate with cake. Or whatever you like to celebrate with. I’m a fan of cake.

When I’m chunking my time out according to the daily routines and tasks, I consider what deadlines I’m headed towards. If I have a big writing deadline, then I work on that at 10.30 instead of blogging a batch. If I have an illustration deadline, I will priortize that over organizing my social media content calendar. Makes sense, right?

 

3. Appointments & Routines

I always consider the personal things as well. Frankly, as a self-employed freelancer, the personal and the professional are always closely packed together. Plus, as a mom of four, I’m also shuttling kids to this appointment or that and coordinating our family of 6 in my synced and color-coded calendar to be sure we are kind of on top of it most of the time. (And when we aren’t? “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m a busy mom of four……..”

So, my block calendar takes in account my eldest’s guitar lessons on Fridays and my Middle Littles weekly appointment with a therapist, and my various group fitness classes about four times a week (I’m convinced Zumba class is just al of us middle-aged mamas trying to relive our high school dance and cheerleading days). These things are constant, recurring, and important to our family. Yes, I schedule self-care. I know I get my hair done every six weeks and have certain appointments that recur anywhere from weekly to bi-weekly, monthly, or even bi-annually. I account for every single thing I can and this ultimately makes me more efficient with my time.

4. Chunks of Time vs. Lists

Freeing yourself of lists is like freeing yourself of a really precarious noose that could snap you up any moment. Chunks of time afford you flexibility and freedom while helping you keep up with your productivity. You’ll start viewing your chunks of free time in a more opportunistic way, too, I almost guarantee it. It becomes more about fitting things where you can and less about hoping things get done in time, because the list is so incredibly long you already feel defeated.

Having been a work-at-home-mom for so long, I feel like I innately utilized this Block Scheduling model simply as a means of survival. But, truthfully, it is a valuable tool for anyone and I hope it helps you make sense of your time if you are suddenly required to work from home and change everything you know about your work scheduling.

man-wearing-black-and-white-stripe-shirt-looking-at-white-212286
Look at your schedule visually, in chunks, with pictures–however it makes sense to you.

Why Block Scheduling Really Works

Block scheduling is a really flexible way to view your calendar–and it can definitely hold a lot of visual appeal, if you’re into that kind of thing. Looking at your productivity in a new light can hopefully help you achieve some new goals and achievements as you plan and implement your work strategy.

What kind of scheduling strategy do you use? Feel free to discuss. I love finding nifty planners, apps, and other methods to make it happen!

 

 

Small Businesses & Content Strategy

Small Businesses Need Strategy

Small businesses are definitely going to need a strategy to survive these strange times. But it’s all about adaptive thinking, creative thinking and a fresh take on your content strategy. I already work at home and my favorite thing to do is talk about ways to share and grow your small business. So, I wanted to talk about how we can shift the conversation and continue to grow and thrive.

neon-signage-2681319
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi from Pexels

Think About Things Differently

And I mean, really creatively expand your take on the situation to think about things differently. Reach out to your community in ways that you can and I promise that if you are giving with a strategy, you will also receive. Results may vary, as they say, but I’m a firm believer that when we’re shifting the conversation and creating the change, we have the power to create positive results and effective solutions.

If you’re a small business, offer ways to serve your customers without open doors if you feel the impact of social distancing.

  • Offer takeout and delivery options
  • Connect and serve via social media more
  • Show how your small business is helping the community survive
  • Be open and honest as you have conversations with the public about your business during Coronavirus Pandemic 2020

 

How Can Social Media & Content Strategy Help?

I’m a freelance copywriter and am pretty passionate about content strategy and social media. I’m all about the ways we can help have a conversation between small businesses and their clients. I believe being proactive with your social media presence is going to be one of the most cost-effective ways small businesses can stay afloat and adapt right now. Furthermore, I believe small-businesses have the potential to thrive if they get creative about the ways they offer useful promotions, meaningful conversations, and flexible, pandemic-centered changes to their business operations.

As a global and local community, this could be our finest hour, or it could be a spectacular failure. How we choose to respond is crucial, and I’m hoping to help small businesses adapt and thrive during a time when restaurants and coffee shops, retail and people-in-person type place are seeing way more empty seats.

If you would like to chat about your business and how content strategy, social media, and content writing can help, please feel free to reach out!

manbehindcounter_PolinaT
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels