• Magick

    How To Begin Using Magick Tools

    magick tools

    When you feel anxious or lethargic for what seems like no reason (barring clinical issues of course), it’s often because you feel disconnected from the Source. Connecting with Source brings wholeness and makes you feel at one with everything, centered, and grounded. Reconnecting with the Source inside you leads to empowerment.

    On this journey of reconnecting, you will likely use magick tools to help you. These tools can range from tarot cards to crystals to herbs and many, many more. I personally consider my journals, ritual notebooks, and candles to be some of my tools. Basically anything that you are using that you would consider to be important to your spiritual path.

    It’s important to take the time to build an energetic relationship with the magick tools that you will work with. No matter what the reason is that you are using the tool, it’s crucial to bond with your tools in order to use them effectively.

    magick tools

     

    Why Use Magick Tools

    Why should you use magick tools anyway? This is a fair question, and one that I asked in the beginning as well. The short answer: you don’t have to. There’s no rule book on a spiritual path that says you must use tools to be effective at connecting with your soul and the Source.

    If you don’t feel like using magick tools, that’s perfectly fine. Like I said, I felt that way for a while. Maybe you have little kids or you don’t want woo things lying around your house. It could even be that you feel that since Source is in everything, there’s no need for tools. However you feel is valid.

    That said, tools are helpful for focus. Each tool also has its own unique energy that can assist you in your path as well. So, there are valid reasons to use tools, but they aren’t required. They are, however, a lot of fun!

     

    Tools and Their Energy

    Each tool you work with will have its own energy that can assist you. Even when a tool is known for helping in a certain way or designed for a specific focus, each tool will still have its own unique energy.

    That’s why it’s important to get to know the energy of each tool before working with it. It’s also crucial to use your own intuition when deciding to work with a tool regardless of what properties the tool has. For example, if you are looking for a stone, don’t just look for one that says it has the properties you want; choose a stone that resonates with you.

    Look at the stone and ask yourself what does this color and shape make me think about? Does it put you in mind of your goal? Pick up the stone. Does it feel like it connects with you? Some people notice a tingling from the stone or a particular sense from it, such as the stone feeling energizing or calming. You might just feel that holding the stone makes you feel a certain way. Just because a tool is known for a particular helpful property doesn’t mean that’s how it will feel to you, so be sure you’re choosing tools that feel right to you for the job.

    No matter what tool you’re choosing, you’ll want to work with tools that make you feel good when you use them. If a tool feels meh to you, brings down your energy or repulses you, that isn’t a tool for you. Working with tools is a lot like a relationship – you don’t want to keep one in your life if the two of you aren’t compatible.

    magick tools

     

    Cleansing Your Tools

    So, you’ve found the perfect tool. Now it’s time to cleanse it.

    Most magick tools can be cleansed by water or smudging (depending on if the tool is waterproof or not). If you’re not sure how to cleanse a specific tool, you can always rely on water or smudging to do the job. Water can be used by holding the tool under running water, submerging it in a bowl of water  on your altar, or left in a bowl of water under the full moon. Smudging an item is as simple as smudging yourself. Let the smoke of the smudge stick cleanse the item until you feel that it no longer contains the energy of anyone else on it.

    There are numerous other ways you can cleanse items. Some depend on the item, and some depend on the extent to which the item needs cleansed. These are things you can often intuit by getting to know the spirit of the tool you are working with. If you feel your item needs a deep cleaning, then use your intuition to determine what would work best.

    Hold the item or look at it and ask it to tell you how it needs to be cleaned. This may seem silly, but it’s good to work with your tool as a friend. Instead of thinking of this tool as an object, think of it as a friend because it carries its own spirit. You should get a picture in your head of what your tool needs to cleanse it or get a sense of what element will work best to cleanse it. There aren’t any right or wrong ways to cleanse, so listen to your tool. Trust yourself that you will be able to sense when the tool is cleansed. If you treat your tools with love and respect, then you will build a lasting relationship with them.

     

    Charging Your Tools

    Charging your tools should be a very personal experience. The purpose of charging your tools is to enable them to assist you with something you need. You might charge a tool for protection, or to assist in a ritual, or to imbue the item with a particular energy for use.

    Charging is quite simple. You want to hold the object and clear your mind. Focus on what you feel from the tool. When you feel like you know the energy from the tool well, then visualize what you want the tool to do for you. Don’t force your will onto the tool; remember everything has its own energy and force is not the best way to gain the help of anything or anyone. When you have a clear picture or feeling about what you need from the tool, then ask the tool to assist you. Visualize the tool assisting you with the task and wait until you feel that the tool has agreed and is charged with the energy needed to assist you.

    At first you might find it difficult to know when an item is charged. It’s an intuitive process, so it’s difficult to explain and to know if you’re doing it right. The best way to gauge whether you’ve charged the tool is in how it looks and feels to you. This is similar to cleansing your tools. If the tools looks or feels charged to you, then it probably is. Look to see if there’s something slightly different about the energy, such as it’s calmer or brighter or vibrating more. The more you do it, the easier it will become for you to tell. Keep at it and you’ll have no trouble telling soon enough.

     

    Your Magick Tools Should Be Your Friends

    Tools are not necessary for magick, but they do help in many ways. They can help with focus, creating and directing magick, cleansing and many other things. Each tool has its own unique energy, so it’s important to get to know the energy of each one and learn how to work with it.

     

    What tools do you love to work with? Let me know in the comments!

     

     

  • create sacred space
    Sacred Living

    Create Sacred Space to Reconnect to You

    Do you have that one friend that you know you can turn to when things are rough and she’ll always give you the perfect advice? Or that friend that is so good at listening without judging that you can tell her your deepest, darkest fears and know she’ll still love you?

    What if I told you that person could be you?

    Maybe you already know that, but you’re not feeling like that relationship is working very well right now.

    Maybe you feel like there’s so much you’re supposed to do and who you’re supposed to be that you just can’t cut through all the noise.

    That’s why it’s important to create sacred space that’s just for you. And I don’t mean space to pamper yourself and relax (though you should be doing that too!). What I’m talking about is a space where you do your inner or soul work and get to know the deepest parts of yourself so you can become your own best friend.

    A relationship with yourself is a sacred journey of self-discovery. Doing soul and inner work can be exciting and challenging, but it’s oh so worth it. As you learn more about yourself, your life will gain meaning and purpose. But such inner work is sacred.

    Therefore, you should be creating sacred space for doing it.

     

    Why You Need Sacred Space

     

    “Create sacred space and be reminded of who you are. You are spirit in body.”

    ~”Make Sacred Space.” from Goddess Chant: Sacred Pleasure, Shawna Carol

     

    You may have heard the term sacred space before. It’s commonly used by practitioners of magick before rituals, ceremonies, and even meditations. The reason they use it is to create a space that’s outside of the mundane world. This enables them to concentrate on whatever they are doing.

    Sacred space is just that – a space where you work with and on the sacred part of yourself. It’s a space that is focused solely on you. Therefore, this is not a space where you worry about your to-do list, what you’re going to make for dinner, other daily tasks or concerns. It is also not a space for others to be in your head. Women tend to have a difficult time making space for themselves and often feel guilty about it. Your sacred space should be a guilt-free zone. You create sacred space to work on and connect with your soul, so it’s a space that is vital to self-care. Therefore, by creating sacred space and doing inner or soul work, you are keeping yourself centered and grounded. That’s good for yourself and also everyone else in your life.

    So, kick those judgy voices out of your head while you’re in this space.

     

    create sacred space

    It’s Helpful To Create a Physical Space

    Sacred space is really a mindset. It’s a space you hold for doing inner or soul work. This space is a judgment-free zone, a place where you can vacation from your daily concerns for a bit, a place where you can explore the very essence of yourself. This space can be physically anywhere because the important part of the space is in your mind.

    However, having a physical space can be helpful for a number of reasons. A physical space anchors you. If you have a special spot, indoors or outdoors, then you are more likely to create sacred space more regularly. If you sit in the same place for the same purpose (not the exact task, but the purpose of soul work), then your mind will soon learn that when you sit here, it’s time to explore your inner world. It takes a little while, but it will become a habit for you. Your mind will quiet more easily after a while if you do it regularly.

    That’s not to say that you must have a physical space or that you must always use the same space. If you feel called to go out into nature one day instead of sitting in your room, then by all means follow that desire. There is likely something you need to learn or discover from nature. I think you’ll find it easier to make a habit of inner work if you have a physical space that you use regularly.

     

    Your Space For Soul Work

    Sacred space is for all inner and soul work. It’s a space where you connect deeply to yourself, but especially to your highest self. It’s a safe space for exploring who you are, what you value, what you want, and for doing inner work.

    I recommend creating sacred space before you do any inner work, including journaling, meditation, reading tarot cards, rituals or ceremonies, and even for affirmations. Creating sacred space enables you to connect more deeply to yourself and to more comfortably do inner work.

     

    Creating An Altar

    If you have a physical space that you will be using, then I recommend creating some kind of altar. Even if your space is outside, you can use natural things to create an altar or place of focus. The purpose of any kind of altar is just to give you access to sacred objects you may need and to enable you to focus.

    If you’re outside, then your altar will consist of whatever you bring with you, such as tarot cards or candles, plus whatever natural items call to you. Search around the area and pick up things you feel drawn to. Though I would suggest not removing anything growing; I’m referring to things such as rocks and pinecones or other items that nature has left on the ground. Then arrange the items in a way that feels right to you. There is no right or wrong way because this is all about following your intuition here. (As an aside, if you are using candles or incense outside, please be sure to use them responsibly!)

    If you’re inside, then you can be more creative with how you want your space. Depending on how much room you have, it might be nice to use a little table to make a permanent altar if you feel inclined. However, a permanent altar isn’t necessary. You can follow the same instructions for creating a temporary indoor altar as an outside one. You can choose items from inside your home that hold special meaning for you, or you can choose items you find outside.

    If you are making a permanent altar, you can keep your sacred items, such as candles, incense, and crystals, on or near it for easy access. The fun part of a permanent altar is that you can change the items on it based on seasons, important holidays or occasions, or based on what you feel at the moment. A permanent altar is also nice because it’s a place you can go to whenever you just need a quick boost of energy or to get centered without having to create a new altar.

     

    Creating Sacred Space

    Now that you have your altar set up or in mind, it’s time to work on creating your sacred space. Creating sacred space is deceptively simple because it’s primarily a mental space.

    Sit in the space that you will be using. If you’ve decided not to create a physical space, just choose a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.

    Close your eyes and just feel the energy. That might seem a little strange at first, but focus on what the space makes you feel like. Try to focus only on that. Do you feel excited? This might mean the energy in the space is high. Do you feel calm? This might mean the energy in the space is soothing. You get the idea. For this, you’ll simply be paying attention to how the physical space makes you feel.

    Once you know how you feel in that space, then you’re going to tap into that energy to create your sacred space. While sacred space is a mental concept primarily, we’re going to create an energy boundary. Technically, it’s not necessary, but it will help you to feel that this space is outside of your mundane world so that you can more easily focus.

    Feel the energy again and determine what natural place or force it feels like to you. For example, if you feel calm, then maybe the energy feels like the ocean or the forest. Or maybe you feel excited and bursting with energy, so the energy reminds you of a storm. It doesn’t matter what it feels like as long as it makes sense to you.

    You’re going to imagine that natural place or force is surrounding your space like a bubble enclosing you. Visualize it surrounding you, keeping you safe and in a space that is yours alone. When you feel that your space has a natural boundary around it, then thank your deity/deities or the universe for your sacred space. Then you can say, “This space lies outside of reality until I release it,” or something similar that feels right to you.

     

     

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    The mental space should follow your energy. You’ve created an energetic boundary, which should help to keep you focused. However, at first, you will likely find that mundane thoughts and worries creep in, or even that you feel silly. When that happens, remind yourself that this is your space, and nothing and no one outside of yourself is invited. Then take a breath and return your thoughts to the inner work you are doing.

    After some practice, you’ll find that you can create your sacred space easily whenever you want to do inner work. And your mind will learn to quiet down at this time after you’ve practiced it some. If you’re still having trouble keeping your thoughts quiet, then I suggest getting out some paper and dumping it all down right after you create your boundary. That way you can have all those thoughts in front of you and can examine them when you are done. This should help to quiet your mind and let you focus. It can also be good to read what you’ve written and look for any issues that you may need to address, such as patterns of negative thoughts, or problems that you are having trouble finding solutions for.

    When you are finished using your sacred space, it’s simple to release it. Imagine the energetic boundary melting away, or the natural force releasing your space and bringing back into the mundane world. You can also say, “I release this sacred space,” or something similar. You want to acknowledge that you are releasing the energy that was holding the space and moving back into the mundane world.

     

    Having Space for You

    The wonderful thing about being able to create sacred space is that you can return to it whenever you are experiencing stress, doubt, fear, and so on. Whenever you are having troubles, you can return to this space in order to reconnect with yourself and work through the problem.

    It’s a space that becomes like a good friend because it’s a place where you connect with the deepest parts of yourself. It’s also a wonderful to keep centered, grounded, and to work through challenges you’re facing in your inner or outer world. Create sacred space any time you plan to do any inner work and give yourself the gift of focusing on you.

     

    Don’t forget to sign up below and get 21 Self-Love Affirmations to use in your new sacred space!

  • positive self-talk
    Self Care

    Positive Self-Talk Leads to a Happier Life

    Do you ever have an interaction with someone and then feel like you’ve said something wrong? Afterwards, you spend the next three hours berating yourself for how dumb you are?

    Or maybe you get a question wrong on a test or make a mistake at work and spend the rest of the day telling yourself how stupid you are and how you can’t believe you made such a mistake.

    It’s so easy to talk poorly to ourselves.

    Things we would never say to a loved one (or probably even to someone’s face we didn’t like) flow easily into our minds about ourselves. Everyone knows bullying someone is cruel. Yet, so many of us are guilty of bullying ourselves without a second thought about the harm it causes.

    Negative self-talk can destroy your self-worth. But when you talk to yourself with love, respect, and compassion, it changes the way you view yourself and affects your entire worldview.

     

    Negative Self-Talk Hurts

    Negative self-talk damages the psyche. What you hear (or think) about yourself gets embedded in your subconscious and becomes the reality you believe about yourself.

    Toxic relationships take a toll on your mental health, and this includes a toxic relationship with yourself. There are many symptoms of a toxic relationship, including name-calling, that create depression and feelings of worthlessness. When you communicate in an unhealthy way with yourself, you are damaging your self-worth.

    The more you tell yourself these things, the more you believe them, the less worthy you believe you are, and that ultimately can lead to other toxic relationships and self-destructive behavior.

    Oftentimes, your negative self-talk has little basis in reality. You may have said or done something you perceive as negative, or maybe you don’t feel smart or confident, but then your mind tends to blow these events out of proportion. You start remembering every other time you did something wrong and all of a sudden, you discover that you’re the worst and you aren’t good at anything.

    Your mind has convinced you that you have just seen the evidence of how unworthy you really are. But the truth is more complicated than that. Our egos work hard to protect us.

    Don’t just assume your negative self-talk is accurate. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you have evidence in your mind to back it up, but that’s not entirely true.

    If it were, wouldn’t you find it equally as easy to believe positive things about yourself? After all, there’s plenty of evidence of your positive traits as well. Yet, it’s much harder to believe something positive about yourself than it is to believe negative things.

    However, learning to focus on communicating with yourself kindly and believing positive things about yourself can be done.

    Your narrative creates your reality about who you are. If you want to live your best life, then be mindful of what you want that narrative to be.

    positive self-talk

     

    Positive Narrative Equals Self-Love

    If you had someone in your life that constantly put you down or talked badly to you, then you probably wouldn’t keep that person really close. I’m sure you work hard to surround yourself with supportive people who treat you with kindness and compassion and who genuinely enjoy your company.

    You choose these people because they treat you with love. If you choose kind and loving people to surround yourself with, then don’t you think that’s how you should also treat yourself?

    Talking to yourself kindly and treating yourself with compassion and forgiveness equals self-love. You must be kind to yourself if you want to reconnect with yourself. Self-love allows you to give yourself permission to make mistakes and take time for yourself. When your self-worth is low and you don’t treat yourself kindly, it’s easy to fall into a martyr mentality where you put everyone’s needs ahead of your own, but the more drained you become, the less tolerant you become.

    This can turn into resentment, anger, and depression because you feel someone should be taking care of your needs. And you’re correct; someone should. You should be taking care of your needs and treating yourself the same way you want others to treat you.

    But the benefits to yourself are not the only ones. When you change your narrative to a positive one, you’ll also find that it’s easier to treat others with compassion and forgiveness. Positive self-talk is treating yourself with kindness, which enables you to see that everyone is human and gives you more compassion for what other people are going through.

     

    Change Your Self-Talk

    Knowing you need to talk more lovingly to yourself can be easier said than done. It is likely something you’ve done for a long time without thinking about. And it’s so much easier to believe negative things about yourself than it is to believe positive.

    The first step in changing anything is to become aware of it. You need to pay attention to the things you say to yourself and how you feel about yourself. Notice those times when you chastise yourself, or when you obsess on mistakes or what you believe are failures. Keep a notebook handy or use a note app on your phone and track these thoughts and feelings. You don’t need to show this to anyone; it’s just for you to see. Sometimes we aren’t truly aware of how often we do something until we write it down. Seeing it can add a new perspective on it.

     

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    Once you’ve tracked your thoughts for a few days, now it’s time to reframe or replace those thoughts.

     

    • Use affirmations for change. For example, if you lack confidence in an area, you can tell yourself, “I am confident.”
    • Use facts to stop negative self-talk. For example, if you feel you aren’t smart enough for something, remind yourself – or even write down – all the times you can think of when you did do things you didn’t believe you could. This allows you to see that the negative thoughts have their basis in fear and not reality.
    • Replace negative thoughts with compassionate ones. Use what you would say to your friend or family member as a guide. Treat yourself the way you treat others.

     

    Learning to communicate positively with yourself is a life-long journey. The benefits of positive communication with yourself extend beyond your relationship with yourself into your relationship with others and the natural world as well.

    When you treat yourself with love and compassion, that behavior will spill over into your other relationships. When you feel confident and loved, you will find that love flows from you to others. Love is your natural state.

  • Self Care

    A Morning Routine To Reconnect With Yourself

    Does your morning go something like this?

    You roll out of bed after hitting the snooze button for the eighth time then drag yourself to the coffee pot, yawning while the coffee brews. You take that first sip of the too-hot liquid from the gods and find that you are a little less like a brain-crazed zombie. After finishing your first cup of coffee, you debate with yourself about whether or not you have time to work out, knowing full well you’ll keep the argument up until you’ve run out of exercise time just so you don’t have to do it. Then, you’ll feel guilty for not taking better care of yourself, but you’re tired because the kids wouldn’t sleep last night and you just can’t muster up the energy for that workout. Hell, you can barely muster up the energy to drag your butt into the shower and off to work. And now, you’re pretty sure you hear a little one playing in their room. You can’t even get a shower in let alone contemplate the idea of completing a morning routine!

    I’m here to tell you, lady, that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a beautiful morning without taking up more precious time than your busy schedule will allow. Even better, after doing this for a few days, you’ll find that you no longer roll out of bed feeling like a zombie. This simple but powerful morning routine will give your more energy and center you so you can face whatever the day brings with love and confidence that you can overcome any challenges.

    Simple Sacred Morning Routine

    This sacred morning routine is short and simple, but will enable you to start your day off feeling calm, centered, and ready to take on the day.

    •    Connect To The Earth With an Intentional Breakfast
    •    Connect To Your Body Through Movement
    •    Connect To Yourself Through Meditation

    Mornings are a crucial time of day because they set the tone for how your whole day will go. If you’ve read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, then you understand this statement. If you haven’t, then go buy The Miracle Morning right now! (I’m not an affiliate for the book or Amazon, but I firmly believe this book will change the way you think about mornings.)

    A lot of stuff I’ve read about morning routines requires you to get up super early. That way you have plenty of time for your morning routine without interruptions.

    While I firmly believe in the power of a morning routine, I just can’t fathom the idea of waking up extremely early in order to do it. I seriously wonder how parents can find it in themselves to wake up at 4 am when there isn’t a screaming child! If there’s no baby crying (or grandbaby in my world), then you better believe my ass isn’t getting up at 4 am for anything.

    Sleep is precious, especially for working moms. You already have enough on your plate and little enough time to sleep, so there’s no reason to wake up before the sun rises just to have some alone time.

    That’s why I’ve created this simple morning routine that I follow nearly every day. It never takes me more than 30 minutes, but it’s been life-altering for me. I don’t exaggerate. I went from feeling fatigued and overwhelmed and barely getting myself out of bed in the morning to feeling good when I wake up and having enough energy to do this routine – without first having coffee!

    [As an aside, I drink coffee all day long. I love the stuff. I used to need it pretty much before I rolled out of bed. Now, I don’t drink coffee until a couple hours after I’ve woken up. And I didn’t even try to do that; it was just a natural side effect.]

    If you’re ready to start your day with more energy and feeling centered, then keep reading for my three step simple morning routine.

     

    morning routine

    Connect To The Earth With an Intentional Breakfast

    The very first thing I recommend every morning is to start with a glass of water. Water has numerous health benefits, including helping prevent weight gain, keeping your temperature normal, and lubricating joints.

    Drink that glass of water slowly while thanking the universe for the beautiful day. Imagine the water flowing through your body and cleansing you as you drink it. It is a new day, and you are cleansed anew by the water. This water you are drinking connects you to all water and all life on the planet. Without water, no life on Earth could exist.

    Be thankful for the water you have. And remember all those who don’t have the luxury of clean drinking water; send good thoughts to them that they may have what they need.

    Eating a little something first thing in the morning is good for you. A healthy breakfast can lower your risk of certain diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, can improve cognitive function, and help with weight loss. It also helps to wake you up and feel more grounded in your body and in the moment. I suggest keeping it small so you don’t wind up feeling tired again.

    Be sure you are choosing healthy foods. Proteins, fruits, and veggies all make excellent breakfast items. Avoid choosing processed foods as they are not the best foods to support your body, they are generally not sustainable, and they will likely make you end up feeling hungry or tired before the morning is over.

    I personally like to make a homemade smoothie every morning. I throw in some spinach, kale, almond milk, fruits and veggies, flax seed, and turmeric and blend it. I take my time finishing it before getting ready for work, but I like to spend a couple minutes while drinking the first part of it to remember all the plants and animals that have given their lives so I may eat. Honoring the sources of our food is one way to connect ourselves to our food in a world where many of us have no hand in the process.

    morning routine

    Connect To Your Body Through Movement

    Your body was designed to move.

    Yet, many of us spend most of our days sitting on our butts in a front of a computer and then a television and rarely get the amount of exercise that experts recommend. It’s creating degenerative back issues in people much earlier than they should have them.

    But when you have an already overloaded schedule, how can you fit in exercise? Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can’t unless you make it a priority. And let’s be real, most of us hate to exercise, so we’re not likely to do that for any long period of time. After all, how many times have you sworn a new year’s resolution to exercise, only to have that fall flat before January was done?

    Regardless of time and motivation, movement is vital to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Taking ten minutes a day to move your body will have worlds of improvement in your life. You’ll feel more focused, more able to handle challenges, and overall happier.

    So, don’t ignore this step.

    However, I’m not going to tell you to do a 10 minute advanced workout either. (Unless that’s what you want to do. In which case, you are a rare jewel, my friend.) What is important in this step is to listen to what your body wants.

    You can ask yourself which kinds of movement sound attractive to you. Do you feel the calm stretching and strengthening of yoga suits your mind and body? Or would you enjoy a walk in the quiet morning? Or maybe dancing sounds like a fun way to start your day?

    There are numerous options for you to choose from, but I encourage you to listen to what feels right for your body and then go with that. And if one day yoga sounds perfect, but the next you want to dance, then do that. Your body knows the movement it wants to do. All you need to do is listen to how you feel.

    Set a timer and spend ten minutes reconnecting to your body through movement. Pay attention to how your body feels. Be thankful that it is there to support you. Remember this body has been with you through everything, and you should love it, even if there are things you want to change about it. By paying attention to your body as you move, you can reconnect to that aspect of yourself that you haven’t paid enough attention to lately. Your body really is a temple; she deserves your respect and love.

    Connect To Yourself Through Meditation

    Now that your body has had a few minutes of movement, you’re ready to settle in for a few quiet moments that support your mind and soul.

    Meditation is often thought of as a time for silence or a time to relax the mind, and it is those things. However, it is more than that. Meditation is a time to reconnect to your heart, mind and soul. It’s a time when you can connect to the deepest parts of yourself.

    Find a comfortable seated position. I don’t recommend laying down because it can be too easy to doze off in that position. Don’t worry about sitting in the full lotus, although you can if you like, but just find a position that will enable you to relax but remain awake. If you have a disability or back problems or other health issue, I do recommend a chair or couch over sitting on the floor. I use a recliner in my office because I have back issues that don’t let me sit on the floor that long even on a cushion. Don’t avoid meditation just because you feel you need to do it “right.” Right is whatever position allows you to focus on your inner world.

    Find some soothing music without words. I suggest creating a playlist of songs that are about ten minutes long. I do this through iTunes and play it through my phone, but you can probably find something on YouTube that will work as well. Another option is to put on a guided meditation that’s about ten minutes.

    The reason you want to use music or a guided meditation is for the time. You can set an alarm instead, but I would only suggest that if you have a tone for your alarm that is soothing rather than jarring. You’re about to go deep within yourself for ten minutes, and the last thing you want is to get abruptly torn out of that.

    Just relax into the music and notice your breath. If you feel antsy or your mind won’t stop thinking, lean into it. Explore how your mind and body feel. Take this ten minutes to get to know yourself. This doesn’t have to be a meditation where you only seek silence. Use this time to build the relationship with yourself.

    Add in Some Self-Love

    When you’re finished, remind yourself how much you love you, and how grateful you are for the body that houses your spirit, for the mind that allows you to love and accomplish great things, and for the spirit in you that is sacred.

    Breathe deep, and thank yourself for taking this time for you. You are beautiful, you are amazing, and you are worth taking care of. Remind yourself of these things throughout the day.

    Don’t forget to add a few affirmations into your morning meditation! You can get your free copy of my 21 Self-Love Affirmations when you sign up for the newsletter below

  • affirmations in your self-care routine
    Mindset,  Self Care

    Why You Need Affirmations In Your Self-Care Routine

    You wake up in the morning, overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have to do. You have to get the kids ready for school or daycare, get yourself ready for work, go to work, pick children up, make dinner, do the dishes, make sure homework is done, do a bedtime routine . . . then crash in front of Netflix because you’re fresh out of energy.

    A million things on your to-do list? Check. Never-ending stress that you’re doing it all wrong because you don’t have the energy to try any harder? Check. Time for self-care? Um…what is that?

    Self-care isn’t even on your radar. I mean, who has the extra time?

    I get it. I’ve been a single mom of three kids. I know exactly how draining it can be. But self-care is critical to living your best life and to being the best mom you can be. You need to prioritize it.

    Affirmations As Self-Care

    Not all forms of self-care require tons of time. One of the easiest and least time-consuming forms is using affirmations in your self-care routine.

    You may think of affirmations as silly woo-woo stuff. Maybe you believe that affirmations are nothing more than positive thinking. How could something as simple as telling yourself positive things have any real effect on you?

    I’m here to tell you that affirmations are life-changing.

    I’m not even exaggerating about that. Using affirmations in your self-care routine on a daily basis will change your entire perspective about the most important person in your life: you.

    Now, you might scoff at the idea of being the most important person in your life. After all, your kids are the most important people in your life! If you love yourself more than your kids, doesn’t that make you some kind of narcissist or something?

    It could make you one if I were talking about selfish behaviors that were more important to you than your kids. But genuinely loving yourself first will actually make you a better person, parent, friend, loved one, and human being.

    As moms and caretakers we tend to give all of ourselves to taking care of others, and we end up with no time to take care of ourselves. By ensuring we take the time to care for ourselves, we are giving ourselves the love we need so we can have enough love and energy to take care of the others in our life we love.

     

    affirmations in your self-care routine

    Why Do I Need Affirmations?

    When you have a ton of responsibility that all falls on you and you’re super busy, it’s easy to fall into a place where you’re living on autopilot. You wake up knowing each day will be hectic and pretty much the same as the day before. When you constantly live in chaos, it’s easy to fall into a trap of negative thinking about yourself because you haven’t taken the time for self-love that you truly need.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. Affirmations might not change your busy schedule or alleviate your responsibilities, but they can change your mindset.

    And that can make all the difference in the world!

    Right now, you are attracting what you hold as a belief about yourself and what you deserve. These beliefs were gathered based on things you were told when you were younger and things you believed to be true about yourself.

    The problem is that you gained many of these beliefs about yourself when you were a child. Children don’t always see or understand things completely and memory can be a faulty thing, so what you may remember about an experience can be only part of the truth.

    For example if you remember your Aunt Nettie calling you stupid (and that’s weighed heavily in you believing deep down that you are stupid), that experience might not even be as you remember it. She may have meant that something you did was stupid or she may have just been having a bad day and spoke without thinking! Yet, here you are ten years later with a deeply held belief that you are stupid because someone whose opinion you valued as a child made a bad decision in word choices.

    And because you believe you are stupid from that experience, you continue to feel that your decisions are bad, so you continue to make decisions you aren’t sure of and feel that you’re not smart enough to make good decisions. That deeply held belief of being stupid is constantly fulfilling its own prophecy. You believe you are stupid, so you make bad decisions, thereby proving you are, in fact, stupid.

    It’s time to make the cycle stop.

    How Can Affirmations Help?

    The answer to that lies in the understanding that affirmations really are as simple as positive thinking – but with a purpose. Affirmations work to retrain your thoughts and beliefs on a subconscious level. So, while you may think you are just saying some positive things to yourself, you are actually retraining your subconscious to believe these things. This in turn will prompt the law of attraction. What we truly believe deep down is what we will attract.

    Affirmations are a simple tool with a powerful effect.

    Affirmations put YOU back in the driver’s seat. They enable you to redefine yourself intentionally.

    You determine the qualities or things that you wish to attract in your life. Then you use affirmations to retrain your subconscious to believe these qualities so you can attract them into your life.


    How To Use Affirmations In Your Self-Care Routine

    At first, affirmations are going to feel silly. But don’t let that stop you.

    You don’t have to say affirmations out loud either. Simply stating them in your head will be a fine start. However, saying them out loud and writing them down are great ways to make them more real.

    The great thing about affirmations is that they take almost no time out of your day. Using affirmations while you meditate is a great way to put yourself into a positive head space first thing in the morning or just before bed, but that isn’t the only time you can use affirmations.

    One of my favorite morning routines is to use affirmations while I’m in the shower. I spend my entire shower stating my affirmations, and at the end of my shower, I thank the universe for blessing my day. This creates a routine of positivity, and if you shower in the morning, it’s a great way to ensure that you start your morning with positive energy.

    Other places I like to use affirmations are in front of the mirror, while commuting, or waiting in line. Any time you feel damaging beliefs or thoughts running through your head is a good time to use affirmations. Examine your belief, feeling, or thought, and then restate it as an affirmation.

    For example, if I find myself thinking I’m stupid, I can look at the evidence that says that I’m not. This is helpful because then you convince yourself that the original belief is actually misplaced. Then I would create an affirmation about it, such as, “I am smart.”

    If you are comfortable doing so, you can anchor your affirmations by putting them in places you can see them regularly, such as sticky notes, creating alarms with them in your phone, or making them your computer background.

    The more you see, write, hear, and say them, the more real they become to you.

    Creating Affirmations

    Creating affirmations is simple.

    There are two basic rules for creating them. Make sure all your affirmations are positive, and be sure to use the present or past tense only.

    Positive affirmations are important because we are trying to rewrite our narrative, so we want to ensure that narrative is positive. We want to create a narrative that is empowering.

    Whatever you tell yourself is what you will believe. If you are telling yourself you can’t buy something because you’re broke, then you are essentially asking your mind to keep you broke. Instead, you want to tell yourself that you aren’t going to buy something because you would prefer to spend your money elsewhere. The second is just as true as the first, but it’s much more empowering. You might have only a little bit of money, but you are choosing to spend that money on bills.

    The tense of your affirmations is important as well. You always want to use the present or past tense in order to retrain your subconscious that these are qualities or things you already have. Using the future tense does no good because you’re basically just wishing for these things instead of saying that they already are a part of you or your life.

    Some great ways to start affirmations are with gratitude. Being grateful creates a positive state of mind and it assumes that what you are saying is already yours. You can begin an affirmation with, “Thank you [insert god, goddess, universe, etc. if you wish] for . . . “ You can also simply state the quality/belief/thing in the affirmative, such as, “I always make healthy decisions.” You can even get creative and make statements such as, “I effortlessly manage my house,” or “I have all the time I need to complete my tasks.”

    affirmations in your self-care routine

    Get Started Now

    The options are endless. Affirmations are an excellent way to create a narrative that empowers you. They allow you to truly be in control of your own thoughts, beliefs, and perspective. By regularly using affirmations in your self-care routine, you can gain confidence and feel centered. The best part about affirmations is that you can say them while performing automatic tasks, such as driving or showering, so that they take no extra time.

    Creating your own affirmations can seem daunting, but it’s really quite simple. Just remember to keep them positive and in the present or past tense. But if you want to save yourself the time and energy, or you’d just like to see some more examples, download my free “21 Self-Love Affirmations” when you sign up for my newsletter.

     

    Get your free 21 Self-Love Affirmations workbook below.

  • imposter syndrome
    Beginner Blogging

    How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

    I detest interviews. I spent all that time writing down how I’m qualified for the position and showing my experience on paper, but then comes the interview.

    Where I have to sell myself.

    And that’s where I freeze up. Hell, it’s a wonder I ever get any jobs! Even when I am an expert at something, I have a hard time selling my skills and knowledge.

    But when I feel like an imposter? Well, forget about it. Selling myself is damn near impossible.

    Many Bloggers Face Imposter Syndrome

    Blogging is all about selling yourself. You have a particular passion, knowledge, or skillset that you are sharing with the world. But there are so many others out there with more knowledge than you that it can be hard not to feel like a fraud, especially when you don’t think you’re an expert in the subject you’re writing about. Imposter syndrome is a common problem that many bloggers, new and seasoned, face.

    The truth is, though, that none of those people are you. None of them have had your life experiences, or see the world through your particular lens, or speak in your voice. No matter if they have more knowledge than you, the world needs you to write about your subject in your way.

    Becoming An Expert Takes Time

    I’m not an expert at writing. Maybe someday I will have mastered the craft (I doubt it), but right now, I only have my own experiences, a love for the written word, and a desire to help other people achieve their dreams of having an online business.

    And that’s okay. One of the things I’ve learned in my day job is that being an expert comes with time. I knew nothing about that job when I started it, but I learned it from the ground up and can happily say that after a decade, I’m an expert at it. But I had to put in the time and the effort to get there.

    Imposter Syndrome

     

    There’s nothing wrong with being a beginner. It takes time to become a subject matter expert, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re an expert to start blogging on a subject. Everyone starts somewhere, and the more you research and write, the more you will learn about your subject.

    Don’t let imposter syndrome keep you from starting.

     

    You Know More Than You Think

    On the other hand, an expert isn’t always what we need to be. Sometimes, we just need to be one step ahead of someone else and share our journey with them. I know I read a lot of blogs from people who might not be experts in a field, but they’re ahead of me, so the knowledge they share is valuable.

    I think it’s more important to have enthusiasm for a subject than it is to be an expert in it. If you have enthusiasm for the subject, you are much more likely to commit to working on your business every day than you are if you are an expert in the subject matter but don’t find it interesting. And hard work, enthusiasm, and the ability to research will go a long way toward turning you into an expert.

    Next time you’re feeling worried that you shouldn’t pitch that freelance job or write that blog post because you’re not an expert in the subject, just remember that experts didn’t start out that way either. It took them time to get there. You can get there too, and in the meantime, you have valuable knowledge and experience you can draw on to write about the subject. Even if you aren’t an expert, there’s someone out there who needs to read your words.

     

  • blogging tools
    Beginner Blogging

    9 Blogging Tools Every Beginner Needs

    This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend products I trust. If you purchase something through a link, then I will make a commission at no cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here. Thank you for supporting Enchanting Words!

     

     

    So you just started your first blog. You’ve got the pretty theme and content written, but now you need to figure out how to make those beautiful graphics and start an email list, and what the heck is SEO anyway?

    Don’t worry, lady. I got you.

    Without any experience, it’s hard to know which blogging tools are the most important, especially when it comes to paid tools. When I started this blog, I combed through hundreds of articles, courses, and books to determine which blogging tools were critical for beginner bloggers. What I came up with was nine blogging tools that I think are the most valuable ones to use from the start. I plan to expand this list to include additional resources I recommend in the future, but these are the tools that every new blogger needs.

    As an added note, most of these tools are free or have free options. There are some blogging tools that I think it’s best to pay for from the start. I will note which blogging tools I recommend paying for from the beginning. While blogging is a pretty cheap business to start, it’s not free. And I believe it’s essential to invest in your business if you want to succeed. With that said, I’m only recommending paid tools that I think are essential to having a secure and professional blog.

     

    9 Blogging Tools Every Beginner Needs

     

    SSL Certificate

    Until last week, I didn’t even know what an SSL certificate was let alone why I needed one for my website. An SSL certificate encrypts sensitive information on your website. Even if you don’t have customers putting credit card information on your site, you still need to have an SSL certificate. Ensuring the safety of your readers’ information is vital. Any time you are collecting names and email addresses (and you should be for your email list!), then you are collecting private information. It’s crucial to keep that information safe. Also, Google is going to be forcing websites to use an SSL certificate by flagging your site as unsafe if you don’t have one.

    An SSL certificate is not a free tool. You can purchase one through your hosting provider. However, unless you are tech savvy, you should consider paying the extra fee to have your hosting provider manage it for you. I didn’t know the difference between managing it myself and having my hosting provider manage it, so initially, I just bought the certificate. I then found out there was a lot of technical stuff I would need to do to ensure my site properly redirected.

    Thankfully, my hosting provider was helpful and tried to explain it to me. I already know I’m not tech savvy, so I just asked if there was an option for them to do it for me. (I’ve erased my site once trying to do something myself and it cost me a lot to fix it. I just don’t bother trying to figure out website stuff that big anymore.) Fortunately, there’s an option for those of us who lack tech expertise. Your hosting provider will sell you what is called a managed SSL certificate, which means they will install it and ensure that your site redirects appropriately. Unfortunately, it costs a couple hundred for a two-year certificate that’s managed. But having your readers feel safe and willing to give you their information is well worth the cost.

    blogging tools

     

    Canva

    Canva is a fantastic tool for people with limited or no experience in graphic design. Canva has predesigned templates that make it easy to create Pinterest pins, blog graphics, and opt-ins. Even better, it’s free to use. The free version has limited features, but it’s 100% usable for creating the graphics you need. I use the paid version (Canva for Work), which is only $12.95 a month. The paid version gives you more designs to use and allows you to save your brand information, such as colors and fonts. I’m willing to pay the small monthly fee because it makes it easier for me to stay on brand. However, you can write down your colors and fonts and use the free version.

     

    Stock Photos

    Bloggers have mixed opinions about stock photos from what I’ve read. A lot of bloggers say that you can bootstrap your blog by using the free stock photos out there. On the other hand, I’ve read numerous bloggers who have said that Pinterest becomes confused by everyone using the same stock photos for different niches, and Pinterest isn’t offering these photos as much in their Smart Feed. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I do think paying for stock photos is one of the places where it’s smart to invest in your business.

    Quality stock photos that are on brand for your business are going to make a difference in your traffic. If your photos have a similar look and feel, then it will be easier for your audience to recognize you. It will also create familiarity for people seeing your graphics. As humans, we tend to gravitate toward what’s familiar.

    By using quality stock photos for your brand, you’ll be able to increase your familiarity with readers. I found finding quality free stock photos that worked for my brand to be a huge pain, especially since I wanted something that everyone else wasn’t using.

    That’s why I recommend paying for high-quality stock photos. I’ve used both Depositphotos (affiliate link) and Atelier21. I’ve found great photos on Depositphotos and still use them, but I’m in love with Atelier21’s photos. They have photos that would work in a variety of niches. And the woman who runs the site is helpful and sweet, which is another reason I recommend Atelier21. I currently pay for a membership there to have access to the whole library; however, you can also purchase curated bundles and get freebies (through email subscription) without paying for a membership.

     

    Yoast SEO Plug-In

    Yoast SEO is a plug-in for your WordPress site. This is an essential plug-in, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing with SEO. The basic plug-in is free although they do have a paid version with some additional features. I only use the free version, and it’s one of the most valuable tools I use. Yoast allows you to create a keyword, edit the meta-description for your post, and gives you an SEO analysis, which enables you to optimize your post even if you have little experience with SEO. In addition, Yoast helps ensure the readability of your post. Yoast is a handy tool to have, and it’s even better because it’s free.

     

    Social Media Share Buttons

    You want your readers to share your posts. Many readers like to skim, and they may not make it all the way to the bottom of your post. If you only have share buttons at the end of your post, you could lose out on valuable shares. Social media plug-ins, such as Social Warfare, allow your readers to share or pin your post without having to scroll all the way to the bottom for the buttons.

    Get Your Blogging Tools Checklist

    And get my five bonus recommendations when you sign up

    Powered By ConvertKit

     

    Email Provider

    One of the things you want to start on your blog right away is gaining email subscribers. You’ll need an email provider for your list. There are several options, such as Convertkit (affiliate link), MailChimp, and Mailerlite. The only one I’m familiar with is Convertkit. I understand that Mailchimp and Mailerlite are free up to a certain amount of subscribers, so if you’re just getting started, this might be the best way to go.

    Convertkit does cost $29 per month up to 1,000 subscribers. It’s a bit steep in price, but it has a lot of features, such as sequences and landing pages. Convertkit is also user-friendly. It was designed specifically for creatives, and they have a lot of helpful articles on their site. I haven’t used the other two, so I don’t know how well they work, but I do know I’ve seen lots of emails from bloggers who use the other options.

     

    Google Analytics

    Google Analytics is a free blogging tool that lets you see the stats of your site. There’s a dashboard that shows you pageviews, sessions, bounce rate, and where your traffic is coming from. There’s even a graph that shows you a comparison of the last two weeks. Google Analytics can give you some information about your traffic, which can help you to make decisions about where to spend your time. For example, over the past two weeks, most of my traffic came from organic searches and Instagram.

    However, my bounce rate increased last week. If you have no idea what a bounce rate is (I didn’t!), in simple terms, it’s the visitors who come and land on one page but leave afterward. Here’s an article from Yoast that gives a more in-depth explanation of bounce rates if you’re interested. These metrics can be difficult to interpret, but having them gives you some insight about where your readers are coming from, whether your audience is engaged with your site, and where you need to spend more time, such as creating more valuable content.

     

    Jetpack

    This is a plugin that’s designed by the company behind WordPress, which makes it a reliable plugin that’s always compatible with your site. There are, however, differing opinions about this plugin. Because the plugin is so large and includes more functions than any site needs, some people recommend against using it since the plugin can slow loading times on your site.

    I’m a fan of Jetpack, though, and I recommend it at least in the beginning. It’s a plugin that has a lot of features that are helpful for people who have little experience with the tech side of blogging. Jetpack gives you the additional features found on WordPress.com for your WordPress.org (self-hosted) site. These features include allowing WordPress.com users to like and follow you, automatically posting to social media, and keeping you updated when your site is down. Jetpack also gives you the ability to use the WordPress app on your mobile device to check stats, comments, and even to post. It’s a convenient plug-in with a lot of features, and when you’re just starting out, it’s a good plug-in to help connect everything for you.

    Jetpack is a free tool; they do have paid versions, but the free version has everything you need as a new blogger.

     

    Headline Analyzer

    Headlines are the bane of my writing existence. I am terrible at coming up with catchy headlines that make people want to read. That’s why I was thrilled when I learned there were headline analyzers out there. I use the AIM headline analyzer. It’s free to use, and it gives you the emotional marketing value of your headline. Headlines are crucial because they are the deciding factor of whether or not someone will bother reading your post. Don’t just wing it.

     

    There are many other available tools out there that are great to have. I have used or do use many more blogging tools than the ones mentioned above. Some of them I love, and some of them were a waste of my time or my money (or both). These nine blogging tools are the ones I recommend for all new bloggers. Get your checklist of these nine tools plus five bonus tools that will get your blog flowing smoothly when you sign up below.

     

    Get Your Blogging Tools Checklist

    And get my five bonus recommendations when you sign up

    Powered By ConvertKit

     

     

    Do you have any other blogging tools that you love and recommend? Let me know in the comments!

     

     

  • fear hold you back
    Beginner Blogging

    Is Fear Stifling Your Blogging Potential?

    This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through a link, then I will make a commission at no cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here. Thank you for supporting Enchanting Words!

     

    It’s a funny thing being an entrepreneur. In a job, you have a supervisor or manager giving you direction. You usually have tasks that you regularly complete with specific deadlines. You know you have to make those deadlines because someone else is counting on you to have that work completed.

    When you’re an entrepreneur, however, there is no one giving you directions and deadlines. You are your boss. There is great freedom in that. You get to choose when you complete a task, what you want to work on, and even where you want to work on it.

    There is a downside, though, because there’s no one to tell you that it’s time to get to work, or to give you direction like in a regular job. It requires a lot of initiative and self-motivation to be an entrepreneur.

    As beginners, it’s easy to hold ourselves back in blogging. We’re so accustomed to waiting for someone else to give us a direction that we wind up doing nothing. We feel we need external validation before we think we’re ready to promote ourselves. Only that validation isn’t going to come.

    fear stifling blog

    Fear Often Holds Us Back

    You don’t need anyone’s permission to blog, or to promote yourself, or to create products.

    You have to grab the reins and act.

    That’s the thing about blogging. You get the freedom to work whenever you want on whatever you want. On the other hand, if you don’t show up and do the work, there isn’t anyone to punish you. No one will take away your blogging rights if you miss a deadline. Unlike your 9 to 5 job, there are no hard and fast consequences if you don’t work.

    But if you don’t work, there are also no rewards.

    Often, fear is what holds us back. We want to do the work, but we’re afraid of failing, or perhaps worse, we’re scared of succeeding. We tell ourselves stories about how we aren’t good enough or smart enough to become successful. We believe these stories, and then we create the failure that we feared because we never worked hard enough to find success in the first place.

    We have to find the inner drive to fight those demons and believe we deserve success. No one is just going to award us with success. We must be willing to put in the work and that means starting even if we don’t feel like we know what we’re doing. One step will yield more results than doing nothing will.

     

    fear hold you back

    Sometimes You Have to Fake It

    You can waste weeks or even months taking every course and reading every book ever written about blogging, but you will most likely still feel that you don’t know enough to begin. I should know because I’ve done that. (Okay, not every course and book, but so, so many!)

    Here’s the thing though: you’re never going to feel ready. All the knowledge in the world won’t make you feel confident until you have some experience. That lack of confidence will come across to your readers, and it will make them less likely to trust you.

    So how the heck do you gain confidence without experience?

    You fake it.

    That may sound as though I’m saying you should be less than truthful, but I promise it’s not. The only thing you’re faking is your confidence to combat your fear. You will gain genuine confidence as you gain experience in your craft. The only way to gain experience, though, is just to start blogging.

    You might feel like you aren’t ready because there isn’t anyone to tell you, “Hey, you’ve finished X, Y, and Z, so now you’re a blogger.” But, you don’t need external validation from an authority. You only need to begin, and you will grow in confidence as you continue.

    fear holding you back

    Take the First Step

    Sometimes, we have to stop finding excuses for why we can’t do something. Your fears may never completely go away. It’s scary to try new things and put ourselves out there where others can judge us. But we have to find the courage to take the first step no matter how scary it is.

    And the cold, hard truth? You’re probably going to suck at first. Everyone does. Blogging has a high learning curve, and no one is an expert when they begin. What sets apart the successful bloggers from the failures isn’t that they had some innate talent for blogging and knew every business tactic out there.

    It’s that they started even though they sucked and kept plugging along anyway. Successful bloggers practiced and learned and continued blogging.

    While I believe researching a new path and learning about it is critical, it’s easy to get sucked into a research loop. We feel we still don’t know enough, so we need to learn more before we can take the first step. The problem is that the time never comes when we know enough because it isn’t lack of knowledge that’s holding us back.

    It’s fear that holds us back, and the way to move past it is to acknowledge it’s there and act anyway. Fear is a powerful emotion that will paralyze you and hold you back from having the life of your dreams.

    The solution is putting yourself out there and gaining that experience and knowledge through time and work. To realize your dream, you must be willing to put all of yourself on the line to gain that confidence.

     

    Do you have any tips on working through the fear of beginning? Leave a comment below!

  • mission statement
    Marketing

    Why Your Blog Needs A Mission Statement

    Last week in my marketing class, we had to evaluate a company’s mission statement. That project got me thinking about how important a mission statement is to a blogging business.

    Sometimes we forget the small things that are important to running a business as bloggers. There are so many other projects we have to tackle that we can get sucked into creating content, creating products, and marketing our blogs and lose sight of the minor business elements of running a blog.

    That’s where creating a mission statement comes in.

    Focus On Providing Value

    According to Entrepreneur, a mission statement defines what your business purpose is. It explains why your business exists, who you serve, and what products or services you offer. Since marketing is all about the customer experience—you are here to provide value to your readers and customers—then your mission statement should reflect that.

    A mission statement guides your business operations and core values of your business. When you’re wondering about the next product or piece of content to create, you can look to your mission statement for guidance about how to best bring value to your readers.

    For example, The Kraft Heinz Company states, “A globally trusted producer of delicious foods, The Kraft Heinz Company provides high quality, great taste and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants, or on the go.”

    In that one sentence, we know the company exists to produce food and that their customers are those eating at home, in restaurants, or on the go. We also know that they provide tasty, nutritious food. In a nutshell, we see why the company exists, what it sells, and who the customers are.

    The Kraft Heinz Company goes even further to explain their core values in the final sentence of their about section, which states, “The Kraft Heinz company is dedicated to the sustainable health of our people, our planet and our company.”

    (In case you were wondering, I did my analysis of The Kraft Heinz Company 🙂 )

    These two sentences can tell consumers a lot about who the company is and what they sell. But more importantly, these sentences help guide the company’s business decisions. If something doesn’t align with the company’s mission, then the company doesn’t sell it.

    Creating Your Mission Statement

    You’re running a business, so it’s essential that you think like a business owner. That can sometimes be tough when you’re the only person and wearing multiple hats.

    Having a mission statement to guide your business helps to keep you focused on what you are providing to your readers. When you know what the core values of your business are and what value you give to your readers, then you will easily be able to create the right content and products to solve your readers’ problems.

    Creating a mission statement isn’t difficult. Here are a few simple questions to answer to help you write one.

    • What is my business?

    • Who is the customer?

    • What do my customers value?

    • What should my business be?

    (Armstrong, 2015 p.39)

    When asking yourself what your business is don’t answer “a blogger.” Yes, you blog, but that is the platform for your business, not the value you are providing to customers.

    The value you provide should combine the tangible with the intangible. You should explain what your business is and include a purpose that gives value to the customer and defines your core values as well.

    Another good example is from sweetgreen, “Our mission is to inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.”

    Like The Kraft Heinz Company, sweetgreen states that they provide food to their customers. We also know from that one sentence that sweetgreen isn’t just in the food business; they are in business to “inspire healthier communities.”

    Sweetgreen provides the value of a healthier life by selling food.

    And that’s the sweet spot of a mission statement. To show your customers (and yourself) what intangible value you are providing when you sell them your product or service.

    mission statement

    Help Your Readers Better Themselves

    So, if your business is teaching people how to budget, your mission might look something like this, “I empower young adults to gain control of their financial future by teaching them how to create and maintain a budget.”

    Thus, you’re selling them the ability to control their financial future by teaching them how to budget. Being in control of their financial future is a problem that your readers need you to solve. You’re selling them a product or service that gives them the tools to create a better life.

    That’s the value your content brings to your readers. That’s the principle that needs to guide your business.

    And that’s how a mission statement will enable you to focus on the value you bring to your readers. Your mission will guide your business decisions. You’ll discover what products you can create or services you can offer by reviewing your focus.

    If you read most mission statements, they contain a couple of sentences that describe the company, their market, and the value the business brings to consumers. In my opinion, one sentence that clearly states who you are, who your readers are, and how you serve them is all that is necessary, but you can play around with how long you want your full mission to be. However, I would make sure that your first sentence is similar to the above examples, so you have a clear focus on the intangible benefits you offer your readers and by which material means you offer it.

     

    Do you have a mission statement? Share it in the comments below!

     

     

    References:

    Armstrong, G., & Kotel, P. (2015). Marketing an introduction [Pearson digital version]. Boston: Pearson.

     

     

  • finding time to blog
    Beginner Blogging,  Time Management

    Finding Time To Blog With A Full Schedule

    One of the toughest parts of being a new blogger, especially when you are a busy person, is finding time to blog. This post is ironically several weeks late in getting done because my own life has been too busy to find time to blog!

    It may be difficult to always make time to blog when you have a family or work full-time (or both). But finding time to blog and to run your blogging business doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or impossible. If you are able to carve out a couple hours a day to work, then more power to you! I love the days that I can focus on my blog for hours at a time.

    But if you’re more like me and have trouble blocking out hours at a time without interruptions, don’t fear you’ll never be able to blog. You will; I promise.

    The trick to finding time to blog on a busy schedule is to learn to effectively use those small windows of time we all have and focus solely on one task until it’s complete.

    Create A Priority List

    The reason most beginners feel overwhelmed and like they are spinning their wheels is because it seems like there is so much to do that it’s hard for them to know where to put their attention. I know I felt this way with my first blog. And frankly, it killed blogging for me for quite a while.

    What I learned was that the key to crushing it as a beginner is to work on what you think is important and to not get distracted by what you worry you should be doing. When you complete one task, then you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something, which gives you the motivation to keep going.

    In order to get started, you need to create a priority list. List all of the things you need to do for your blogging business that you can think of. Then prioritize those items. It may seem like everything should be a priority, but that’s definitely not the case.

    The key to understanding which tasks are the highest priority is to refer back to your overall goal. In this case, because you’re still in the beginning blogging stage, your overall goal is to create the foundation for a sustainable blogging business.

    Since you’re just starting out, then setting up your site, creating awesome content, and getting an email list started should be your highest priorities. These are the vital items that will bring readers to your blog and keep them returning. Until you have your foundation set, you can’t build a sustainable business. So, focus on the important tasks that will move your blog forward and avoid tasks that are less important to your overall goal.

     

    Multitasking is a Lie

    Yup, I said it. I know so many people love to brag about how great they are at multitasking.

    They’re totally lying to themselves.

    Multitasking is just now how the brain works. Studies indicate that multitasking actually makes us less efficient because our brains have to switch gears when we switch tasks. We can only truly focus on one task at a time. So when we tell ourselves we are multitasking, what we’re really doing is burning a lot of energy while not accomplishing much.

    When you have only small bits of time to work on your blog, it’s best to use each allotted time to focus solely on one task. That way you are actually completing one thing before you start another, which will give you more motivation to move onto the next task without feeling overwhelmed or as if you aren’t getting anything done.

    finding time to blog

    Finding Time You Didn’t Know You Had

    One of the best ways to squeeze in time for your business is by finding time you wouldn’t think would be enough for working. We all have time that we never consider as time that could be used to grow our business.

    Some examples of these small windows of time are:

    • Commuting – Use this time to brainstorm blog post or product ideas. When you get to your destination, be sure to write down your ideas!
    • Shower – Same as above. I don’t know what it is about the shower, but it seems to get the creative juices flowing.
    • Any time you’re waiting where you’d normally just play on your phone aimlessly. Utilize that time to make notes of ideas, work on graphics, draft an email, update social media, or even work on a post.

    These are just a few ideas of time that you might not have thought about as business time. Basically, any time that you have a few spare minutes where you would otherwise just be playing games on your phone or flipping through social media because you were bored are perfect times to squeeze in some business activities.

    If you’re out and about, either make it a habit to take your laptop or tablet with you, or always have business-related activities that you can do on your phone. When you’re at home, be sure you have a clean space that’s always ready to work when you find you have a few free minutes. Working in spurts of five or ten minutes may not seem like a lot, but spending five minutes ten times throughout the day working would give you almost an hour of work on your blog.

    Allow Life To Happen

    Life is going to get in the way of your business. It happens to everyone, and it’s going to happen to you, perhaps even more because you have a busy schedule already.

    When life gets messy, ride it out. Allow yourself to step back from your blog and take care of your other priorities. Forgive yourself for missing your deadline or not sending out that email to your subscribers. When you send out the next email, I guarantee your subscribers are going to be understanding that your life got in the way. They know what that’s like.

    Although there’s a lot of advice out there that you have to pump out new content all the time and stay on top of social media, etc., the truth is that it’s okay to take it slow and embrace being a beginner. Slow progress is still progress. The important thing is that you continue to work when you can and don’t give up just because things become challenging. Besides, challenging times are when we learn the most about ourselves, so embrace those times!

    Even though you should take your blogging business seriously, it should be a business that fulfills you rather than makes your life more stressful. Blogging with a busy schedule can sometimes feel frustrating. But if you prioritize your tasks, focus on only one thing at a time, and use small chunks of time to work, finding time to blog doesn’t seem so impossible.

    Do you have any tips for finding time in a busy schedule?

     

     

  • embrace beginning
    Beginner Blogging

    Why You Should Embrace Beginning As A Blogger

    Blogging has many challenges. It can be a lonely business, and it can feel like you’re getting nowhere while all these other bloggers have it figured out. I quit blogging for a year because I was so discouraged by how much I needed to do to catch up with other bloggers. Despite enjoying the niche I was writing in, I couldn’t come up with content. It seemed everyone else was so far ahead of me, and I would never reach where other bloggers were. I figured I just wasn’t any good at blogging. I couldn’t embrace beginning, so I gave up.

    But blogging was a siren song that continued to call me. I finally started this blog, but then I set it aside for two months when all the doubts from before crept back in.

    What if I’m not good enough?

     How will I ever have as much content as this other blogger?

    Can I even make money on this blog?

    Make The Decision To Start

    The truth is that I didn’t have an epiphany moment. I didn’t suddenly know I was going to be good at blogging or make money at it.

    I still don’t know that.

     

    embrace beginning

     

    But one day, I woke up and made a decision just to write and post something every week. I told myself that it didn’t matter if I had no idea what niche I was writing in, or if I could ever make money blogging (of course, I certainly hope I can!). All that mattered was that I enjoyed blogging and wanted to spend time doing it.

    I took the pressure off myself of being perfect, and I stopped comparing my blog to seasoned blogs.

    Choosing to embrace beginning was the best mindset shift I ever had.

    Knowing that your goal is just to keep moving forward, to keep writing and posting, relieves you from the pressure of trying to be farther along than you are.

    Embrace Beginning

    Embrace Beginning

    Being a beginner means that there is a world of possibility open for your blog. Even if you haven’t nailed down your niche or target audience yet, that just means you get to experiment. You can see what you enjoy writing about and get feedback from others about what they found valuable.

    Blogging is not an easy way to make money online. All bloggers have ups and downs on their blogging journey, and they didn’t get where they’re at overnight. I encourage you to read about other bloggers’ fears and their thoughts on giving up so you can see you’re not alone.

    Embrace beginning as a blogger because beginnings are full of wonder. View your beginning as a blogger like a young child–find the wonder and joy in the new experience. Creativity is often born of wonder and joy, and creativity is the backbone of your business.

    Enjoy The Process

    You started a blog because you enjoy writing and helping others, right? Keep that in mind whenever you feel you’re not as good as other bloggers or you’re feeling overwhelmed that you don’t have as much content as someone else. You’re doing this first and foremost because you decided you wanted a job that you were passionate about. Remember that passion when you start to compare yourself to other bloggers. They might have more content than you, or you might feel they are better writers, or whatever, but only you can create content in your voice and from your perspective.

    But if you want to continue to love what you do, you have to embrace the stage that you are at. If you’re just beginning, you have to embrace that your goal is to keep creating content and to find your audience. Those are the goals that will allow you to make money from your blog business eventually. You can’t start from scratch as a blogger and expect to have several years worth of content, a huge following, and a $10,000 a month income. (Though all of those are fantastic goals!)

    Instead, realize that everyone started with nothing. If these other bloggers have built successful businesses, then you can too. You just have to embrace the stage you’re in. Enjoy the pleasure of creating new content and the thrill (maybe terror?) of sharing your content to find an audience.

    There will be many stages of your blogging business. Like with any area of life, it’s important to be present where you are and enjoy the process of being a beginner. There are endless possibilities for your blog at this stage. Who knows where your blogging journey will take you!

    Do you have any great tips for beginner bloggers?

     

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