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Dancing Christmas Lights

We were out of town for the holiday. One thing we did was visit the Dancing Lights at the Disney Hollywood Studios. It was such an amazing display to be standing in the middle of! I caught some of it on video and wanted to share that with you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSRLUu5gbN0&feature=youtube_gdata_player . .

A Facebook How To

You've created a Facebook account. You are Facebook Friends with your kids and grandkids. Now what?! You'd like to know exactly how to use FaceBook?

You can use Facebook for so much more than keeping up with a few close family members.

You can:
• let Facebook add personal friends as FB Friends for all the people in your email address book
• do a search in FB for friends you've lost contact with
• do a FB search for subjects you're interested in (keyword search)
• keep up on what’s new from groups and businesses without going searching for it.
 • contact companies and often get prompter help with your issue than calling their customer service line.

Add Personal Contacts as Friends

In Facebook, click on the “facebook” word at the top left of the screen. Then click on “friends” in the left side column (left sidebar). Facebook gives you a choice of what you want to use to “Add Personal Contacts as Friends”.

Search for Lost Friends

In Facebook, in the blue bar at the top of the Facebook screen, type a friend’s name into the white search box (has the icon image of a magnifying glass) You will see options of people who have that same name. Look through to see if any of them are your friend,

Keyword Search

In Facebook, in the blue bar at the top of the Facebook screen, type a keyword into the white search box (has the icon image of a magnifying glass) You will see options of people, Facebook business pages and groups that have that word in their name.

Keep Up on What’s New

Click on the “Like” button at the top of a group or business Facebook page. When that group or business puts something on Facebook, it shows up on your “wall” without you having to go looking for the information.

Customer Service

Many companies are starting to realize how important Facebook is in marketing their business. They now have Facebook business pages that are monitored by someone at their corporate headquarters.
If you have tried to get assistance at the local level, you can often get a quicker response from their corporate headquarters if you comment on their Facebook page rather than call their customer service phone number.

Tips & Tricks

Blocking Games

One of your friends is constantly sending you requests to help them find dragon eggs or some request from their latest Facebook game. You can block the game requests… without blocking your friend. Put your cursor to the right side of the comment you want to stop. Move the cursor around until an “X” appears. When you click on the X, you’ll be given a choice of hiding all posts from this game/application or from the person.

Two different views of Facebook

To see what you’ve posted, click your name at the top left sidebar.

To see what all the people you are following have posted, click the “facebook” at the top left of the screen.


You can also sort your friends, family and favorite Facebook business (fan) pages into lists so it’s easier to read.
For example, if you are a fan of Facebook Pages relating to a hobby and you are also a fan of Facebook Pages relating to travel, it would be nice to read all the related posts and comments together.
Well, you can with Lists.
Here’s how…
Click the “facebook” at the top left of the screen. In the middle of the left column you’ll see “Lists”. Even if you haven’t created any, Facebook puts blank lists there for “Close Friends” and “Family”.
Move your cursor to the right of the heading “List” until the word “more” appears. Then click “more”.
In the center column click on the button “Create a List”.

 Give your list a name.
 You will then be taken to a page (in the center column) where you can “Add Friends”. Click on that and a box will appear with all of your Facebook Friends. You can pick some of them if this is a list of friends. Or, at the top left of this box, click the down arrow next to Friends and pick Pages. Now you can pick all the Facebook Pages you want to put in this list.
When you are all done, this new list will appear with your other lists in the left column.

Create an Income Working from the Internet with Books

I’ve talked in a number of posts about writing books as a way to create a stream of income. 

I thought I’d share some of the books I've been working on so you can see that I believe in writing books as a source of income. 

In addition to books I have on my own websites, I've started putting my books up for sale at Amazon.com

Did you know that Amazon.com is the #2 search engine online?

So many people buy books through Amazon.com that if you are considering selling books, you really need to think about being on Amazon.

I created a Kindle book called 
Learn to Read Sheet Music
This is a book for those who want to read sheet music easily without having to learn all the music theory.

Kindle is a great medium for selling books. So many people are either buying Kindles or using Kindle Apps.
To learn how to publish on Kindle can be a bit tricky especially if you have photos or images inside your book. But the effort is worth it.

Another book that just went onto Amazon.com today is
This paperback book is a collection of short children’s stories from the 1870s.
It helps show today’s children how different and how much the same their lives were.

Have you considered selling a book on Amazon.com?
There is no cost to sell a Kindle format book and you get either 30% or 70% of the selling price.
To sell a paperback book on Kindle, the only cost is the paper proof copy of the book you need to buy to check the printing of the book. That cost is under $10 for a 100 page book. Amazon takes a much larger percentage of the book’s selling price but then they are paying for making the book.

Either way, this is a low-cost way to create a stream of income.
Think about it.

Recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole
It's That Good!

In my family, sweet potato casserole is a must on a holiday table. For years, it was the one with the gooey marshmallow topping. About eight years ago, we discovered the scrumptious recipe I want to share with you today.

At Thanksgiving, our families gather at the table for perhaps one of the few times during the year. 

We woman pour our love of family into preparing that meal. Sometimes, skill or luck run against us and the turkey is undercooked or dry. Or the gravy is lumpy.

But there is one dish that requires minimal effort and is always delicious. 
Anyone who eats it begs for leftovers and the recipe.

That wonder dish is the Legendary Sweet Potato Casserole.
This casserole goes as well with the Thanksgiving Turkey as the Easter Ham.
The next day, we often eat it by itself as a dessert.

One last warning before I share this recipe for the ultimate sweet potato bake. Once you make this once, it will be required on every holiday table from now on.

It’s that good!

Legendary Sweet Potato Casserole

3 large sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (egg substitute works fine)
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crunch Topping (hint: you may want to double the topping)
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tblsp cinnamon

Boil the sweet potatoes until tender. When cooled enough, peal the skins off. In a large bowl, whip potatoes until fluffy. Mix in the sugar, eggs, softened butter and vanilla.
Spray a glass 9x13” pan with cooking spray. Pour in potatoes and top with crunch topping. 
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!
May you have all your loved ones around your table.

If you're looking for a free Word Template to make an eCookbook of your family recipes, click here.

What is Heart Disease -
How Does it Affect Women?

A friend of mine, in her early 40s, had been having odd shoulder pains and general achiness for several months. She had gone to doctors, had x-rays and other tests done but nothing could be found about why her shoulder hurt constantly.

Then she started having pains in her chest. This time when she went to the doctor, he immediately sent her to the emergency room because she had super high blood pressure.

They immediately did Angioplasty surgery and put a stint into one of the arteries in her heart. Her artery had been 90 % blocked.

What they didn’t tell her for another week was why they had her on blood thinners and bed rest. The reason was that while they were in there, they saw that her other artery was also 90% blocked. They couldn’t put a stint in the other one at the same time without putting her at risk during the procedure itself.

So a week later, after she had recovered from the first procedure, they told her she needed another one. After the second stint was put into the second clogged artery...
she noticed that her chronic shoulder pain had disappeared.

Her unexplained chronic shoulder pain had been a sign of heart disease but no one made the connection. None of the doctors she had been seeing even thought of heart disease as a possibility.

Her main arteries had gotten to 90% clogged before anyone thought she had a problem.

I did some research. I found information put out by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health.

This information said that…

Heart disease symptoms in women are very different from men. Often the symptoms in women are overlooked or misdiagnosed.

This was definitely true in my friend’s case.

After seeing what my friend went through, I wanted to share this information I found so other women could be aware of how different heart disease and heart attack symptoms are for women.

I’ve recorded an audio CD that explains what some of the risk factors are for heart disease, heart attack and Coronary Artery Disease based on the information found from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health.

This audio also explains how some of these risk factors can be reduced.

If you think that a heart attack is something you don’t need to think about for another 20 or 30 years, let my friend’s story be a wake up call. She’s not even 45 yet!

Find out now how you can reduce some of your risk of heart problems. You don’t want an emergency trip to the hospital to be your wake up call on this.

Do yourself a favor, get this audio CD.
And get a copy for a friend you can’t bear to live without.


Read Their Minds, It’s Not as Hard as It Sounds

If you like hearing advice from someone who give you no-nonsense, straight talk, then have I got a book to tell you about!

Business mentor, Sandi Kradowski, has just released a new book called “Read Their Minds.”

This book is about finding out what your potential customers are thinking by thinking like them. She gives a lot of logic behind her advice.

If you have any ideas of starting a business, this book is a MUST READ.

And what’s even better is that it’s FREE!

This book is so good, even my dogs couldn't keep their noses off it!

How Do You Post a Blog

During the month of November, I will be creating a book one blog post at a time.
Click Here to see the Table of Contents for this book and other chapters as they become available.

How Do You Post a Blog

Log in to your Blogger.com account.
On the dashboard, click NEW POST under your blog.

Add a Title at the top of your post.

Then begin writing your post. You have many of the same formatting tools as you have in MS Word. You can choose from a few font styles, a few font sizes and some font colors.

You have the ability to add links
If you use your cursor to highlight a sentence or a few words, you can click the LINK button and add a link to any webpage you like. Those words you highlighted will show up as underlined in your final post. If anyone clicks on those words, they will go to the page you added the link for.

Adding a photo to your post is just as easy.
Put your cursor where you want the photo to be. Click the photo icon. It will let you either pick a photo from your own computer or from somewhere on the web. Once the photo is inserted, you can click once on the photo and you have an option of different sizes.

At the bottom of your post window, there is a field called LABELS. Labels can either be categories or keyword phrases. This field is optional but helpful.

Post Options
Below that are the words “Post Options”.  Click on those words. Of all the options that appear, the only ones that you need right now are READER COMMENTS and POST DATE AND TIME.

If you like to let people leave comments on your post, check ALLOW.  Since a big part of blogging is community interaction, this is a good thing to do.

The other option of interest is when to show your post to the world or when to publish it.
If you choose AUTOMATIC, the post will publish as soon as you hit the PUBLISH POST button.

If you choose SCHEDULE AT, you can say what date and time in the future you want the post to publish. This is great if you write a lot of posts on one day and want them to publish all week. For example, if you write all your posts on the weekend, then you can schedule them to publish one at a time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is quite helpful if you have a busy week or go on vacation.

Publish your post and show it to the world.
Once you’ve written your post, given it a title and picked when it should publish, the only thing left to do is hit the PUBLISH POST button.

It’s that easy. You’ve just published your first blog post!

How Do You Get a Blog?

During the month of November, I will be creating a book one blog post at a time.
Click Here to see the Table of Contents for this book and other chapters as they become available.

Chapter 1 - 

How Do You Get a Blog?

There are several types of software (platforms) that you could use to create a blog. 
Many people will strongly urge you to use Wordpress. However, Wordpress is not as beginner-friendly to use as Blogger.
In the beginning, it is more important that you feel comfortable and confident with the software or you won't use it.
So for a beginner, I strongly suggest setting up your first blog on Blogger. And that set up is what we will step through.

Are you ready to create your first Blogger blog?

Go to Blogger.com
If you don’t already have a Blogger account, sign up for your free one. Then sign into your Blogger account.

You will be taken to your “dashboard”. This is your home page on Blogger. If you create multiple blogs, this is where you can see them all.

Click on “Create a Blog”

You will type your blog name into 2 places on this screen. In the first line, type it as separate words if it is multiple words. I typed “Boomers on Blogger”. This is the title of the blog that people can read.

In the second line, type the blog name as one word in front of the “.blogspot.com”. This will be the URL address for your new blog. So your blog address will be:
http://yourblogname.blogspot .com

Choose the “Simple” template.
In later posts we will customize this template so it helps if we all start out with the same template.

There! That was all there was to creating your blog.

From here you can create your first post or just go see what your basis blog looks like.

Above is what your basic blog looks like. The title you see at the top of my example blog is the one I typed in at the first line near the beginning of this tutorial.

Go ahead and set up your blog using this tutorial.

In future posts throughout the month, I will be writing about how to create your first post, insert photos and customize your blog a bit.
By the end of this month, I will have the rough draft of a complete How-to Book for Creating Your Own Blog in a Weekend.

Can you please help me improve my book?

If there was anything unclear in this tutorial or anything that needed more explanation, please let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email. (My email address is at the top right of this page, below my photo.)

Write Nonfiction in November

During the month of November, use blog posts to write a book by the end of the month.

Subject of the book:
Create your own blog as an electronic “home” for any future ventures online.

Why you would want to create an electronic home now rather than wait until later:
Several reasons:
  1. If you wish to write your own book and publish it on Kindle, having a blog to connect with your readers is a good idea.
  2. If you have ideas or expertise you would like to share, a blog is a good place to start.
  3. Also, in the online world, age is a good thing. The longer a site has been around and active, the more fondly search engines like Google look at the site.

Many people say that if you are really serious about creating an online business, you should create your blog using self-hosted Wordpress. Well, that's fine and good if you are ready to jump into the deep end of the pool and spend the money and time it takes to figure out Wordpress and the hosting site.

But what if you only want to wade ankle-deep into the water?
What if you're not ready to spend a lot of time understanding how to set up a Wordpress site?

A good way for someone who has never had a website or blog before is through Blogger.com.
Blogger has an especially easy to use setup. You can keep your blog super simple. Or you can jazz it up a bit and even get a custom website name (URL). Even that amount of customizing your new site is still easy to do and minimal cost.

I'll walk you through creating a simple blog.

Twelve Steps to Create Your Own Website in a Weekend

  1. Setting up your initial account. See #2.
  2. How to insert a picture.
  3. Where are your pictures stored?
  4. How to format your post to make your font larger, bold or different colors.
  5. How to format your post to catch your readers eye
  6. What is a Widget and How to add it to your blog.
  7. How to create a custom header (the banner at the top of the blog)
  8. How to get someone to inexpensively make a custom header for you.
  9. How to put a custom header into your blog
  10. How to customize the colors of your blog

These twelve steps will get you started with a blog that you can be proud to tell your friends about.

I will be posting these steps throughout this month.

Is there anything you think I should include in this list? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks to Nina at http://writenonfictioninnovember.com/ for the idea to write a non-fiction book in the month of Novemeber.

Life is Like a Painting

Life is like a painting. 
You start with an idea of where you are going. 
But life experiences color how you create your painting.

If you enjoyed this video and would like to see more like it, 
please click on the post title above and leave a comment saying "Hey! Liked it!"
Or something like that!

How to Know What You Don't Know

Have you thought about starting a blog or maybe an online business?

But then you think:
I have no clue what’s involved,
where to start or
what I even need to know to do it.

The good news is... there are plenty of people who can tell you.

The bad news is... there are too many people who can tell you.

Where do you start?
Who do you trust?

Live where you want to
instead of where you have to.

Someone I admire is 
Natalie Sisson

Natalie is a New Zealand woman who has created an online business that she runs from her travels around the world.

While I don’t want to become a constant traveler like she is, I do want to have an online business that is not dependant on where I live.

By having an income that is not dependant on where I live, I create the opportunity to move closer to my family who live in an area of the country without a lot of jobs available.

I’m sure you understand the need to live in an area because either:

  •  that is where the jobs are or 
  • because you’re underwater on your house and can’t sell it to move.

Developing an online business that can be grown to replace a job’s income, can allow you…

…to move to where you want to live…
… instead of where you have to live.

That’s a pretty good reason for wanting to know more about starting an online business, don’t you think?

Natalie Sisson recently wrote a guide that is a good overview or summary of what is involved in setting up an online business.

She fills in the blanks.

After reading her guide, you will at least know “what you don’t know”,
you know!

Her book is called BYOB Guide.
And no, that doesn’t stand for Bring You Own Booze.
It stands for:
Build Your Online Business

I had the opportunity to read this book before it was published.

Natalie does a great job of explaining in a general, easy to understand way what you need to know about so you can think about starting your own online business.

After reading this book, you can begin to think about where and how you can start creating an online business for yourself. And you’ll have a better idea of what types of information you’ll need to dig deeper into.

Her book, BYOB: Build Your Online Business Guide, is well written and easy to read.
For $37 you get a pdf of her guide that you can read on your computer or iPad.
The guide (143 pages of awesome) includes templates, checklists, case studies and a resource section.
Click here to view more details

Natalie also has an audio version of her book that you can listen to in your car (while driving to that job you want to replace with your own business.)
The audio book is $10 and read by Natalie with her charming New Zealand accent.
Click here to view more details

Here is a video of Natalie talking about being a Suitcase Entrepreneur.
As I said earlier, you don't have to want to live out of a suitcase to use some of her great advice.
But if she can do this out of her suitcase, then you can do it out of your home, right?

Click here to view more details

I'm sharing these links with you because I’ve read the book myself and found it very helpful. If you click on the links above (affiliate links) to Natalie’s book or audio, I will receive a commission from her. If you would prefer to go directly to her site and not use my link, her site is http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/byob/
Either way, I think you’ll find her book very helpful.
And I hope that you’ll use my affiliate links.

How to Read a Blog with Google Reader

(Can someone please leave a comment to let me know how the sound is on this video? I'm having some issues with my sound equipment. Just want to make sure the video sounds okay. Thanks.)

Do you read a number of blogs?
Or do you find blogs you'd like to read but forget where you found them?

If so, then you might just love Google Reader as much as I do.
I use Google Reader to collect all the new posts from all the blogs I like to read. Then they are all in one place where I can glance through them and see which ones catch my attention.

 I don't have to have a whole long list of bookmarks in my web browser. And I don't have to try remembering any URLs. I just go to one place and there are all my blogs I want to read. I can read the posts on the Google Reader page or I can click through and read it on the original blog.

If you're not familiar with Google Reader, take a look at the video.
If you have any questions about it, please leave a comment below this post.

PS. Once you've got Google Reader set up with some blogs, there are some great apps for the iPad that put all the blog posts into a magazine-style format for your reading enjoyment.

Things That Get in the Way

As I listened to Dr Brene Brown talk on a video, I felt like she hit me up side the head!

She doesn’t research or talk about “how to”. Her theory is that we all know the answers to “how to”. We all know what we should do. It’s what gets in the way of what we know we should do that she researches and talks about.

Not knowing “how to” isn’t the problem. The problem is what we throw into our own way.


So many times in my life, I’ve known what I should do but couldn’t do it at the time because…

     …the time wasn’t right.

     …I had to get something else in place first.

     …I had to make someone else happy first.

The list of “because” could go on and on.

I’m sure there are instances in your life where you could make the same kind of list. Maybe you’re in one of those moments right now.

Dr Brene Brown in an excerpt from her 2009 UP Experience talk said:

On the relationship between shame and perfectionism:
Perfectionism is not the same as healthy striving. Healthy striving is internally motivating, wanting to do the best you can.

Perfectionism is simply a defense mechanism that leads this thought process:
If I do it perfect, live perfect, look perfect, I can avoid or minimize feelings of judgment, shame and blame.

The thing about perfectionism that is so destructive and addictive is that you can’t avoid or minimize feelings of judgment, shame and blame. It’s part of the human experience.

So when you go out and you’re not so perfect, which is not achievable, your thought process is:
If I had just been more perfect. Next time I’ll be more perfect.

So if you really think about it. Perfectionism is not healthy striving but a way to help us from feeling “less than”.

Watch the full video. It’s 25 minutes long but I found it sooooo worth listening to.

Did listening to her give you food for thought?
What did it make you think about?

Leave me a comment with your thoughts. I’m curious if this affected anyone else the way it affected me.

Now I'm off to go read Dr Brene Brown's book, The Gifts of Imperfection.


Older Women can be Trail Blazers

I’m Ann from CreativeBoomer.com. And I’m glad you’re here.
If you’ve seen my other videos or read my blog before, thank you for coming back.

What Creative Boomer is…
Creative Boomer is a way to refocus and find our inner 20 year old again.
We were once trailblazers.
In our 20s and 30s growing up in the 60s and 70s and early 80s, we did things our mothers never did.

Mary or Rhoda?
You believed in yourself, you were Mary Richards from the Mary Tyler Moore show.

Tell me that you haven’t thought about it!

Tell me you haven’t stood in a crosswalk in a city in the middle of winter, and had that urge to grab your hat and throw it in the air!

I forget Mary and became Rhoda.
For the longest time, I would have been Rhoda. I would have been about to throw my hat, somebody bumped my elbow and the hat fumbled down. At some point in my adult life, I lost the Mary-style confidence in myself.

Well, I’ve changed.
I’ve gotten back to that trailblazer!
I have gotten back to that wonderful 20 year old woman who was ready to take on the world.

I'm Mary again.
If I stood in that crosswalk right now, that hat would go high up in the air and land back in my hand.
That’s how confident I am again about me.

To go forward, that’s how confident we each have to be about who we are.

You are a wonderful, brilliant, knowledgeable woman!
You just have to believe it again.

And that is what this website is about.
Helping us all get to the point where we are who we truly are.

The internet is a wonderful place for strong, trailblazing women...
To make an income...
Doing things that matter. 
And that’s what we’re going to do together.

I hope you join me and keep coming back. This is going to be a wonderful ride.
We are once again going to become the trailblazers we once were.

Great Internet Marketing by Thinking like a Teacher.

The website, Copyblogger.com, published a post by Jennifer Louden titled “Want to be a Better Marketer? Start by Becoming a Better Teacher”.

This post was about how skills you need to teach someone are the same ones used in marketing.

And that no one knows it all.

Two sentences jumped out at me. I think they talk to all of us who believe we don’t know enough to teach or be an expert on a subject.

Would-be teachers often hold back and wait for someone to dump holy water on them and say, “Yes, you’re ready to teach now. You know it all!”
 Sidestep all that mess: give yourself permission to teach. Ground yourself in what you do know, keep learning, stay humble — but stop waiting!

Then come back and leave a comment about your thoughts on the Copyblogger post.

As women, we often feel we need to be the "perfect" expert before we can admit to having a good knowledge of a subject or strategy. If internet marketing is like teaching, isn't there an old saying about the teacher learning more from the students?

The Woman I Am Needs To Roar Again

Do you remember Helen Reddy singing?

“I am woman hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore”
“If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong. I am invincible. 
I am woman.”

When that song first came out, we all sang it at the top of our lungs.

We believed every word.

But then somewhere between sewing peace patches on our hip-huggers and piecing together a family life, we lost ourselves.

Now a few decades later, instead of saying
“I am woman hear me roar”

We find ourselves saying:
Why would anyone listen to me?
What do I know?

Okay, so you probably wouldn’t be caught dead in that tie-dyed halter top that you once thought was your most fabulous top.

But deep down, you’re that same woman only better and more experienced. You just need to believe in yourself again.

So here’s your homework:

Watch this video twice.
First time through, tell me you didn’t sing along to the chorus.
And tell me by the second time through you didn’t remember most of the words!

Maybe it’s time we pulled this record album out of the back of the closet, dust it off and play it as our theme song again.

We need to remind ourselves that we are strong women.
And we need to remind others that we roar in numbers too big to ignore!

We are invincible not invisible.

And together we will roar and be heard. We have a lifetime of wisdom and experience that we can share.

There are plenty of things that you are good at.
If you want to write a book, you can.
If you want to start an online business, you can.

If I hear you again say
Why would anyone listen to me?
What do I know?

I’m going to be forced to make you listen to our theme song until you believe it AGAIN!

Surviving Hurricanes and other Natural Disasters

Photo by USFWS

Reading that another tropical storm is headed for the East Coast made me think about how many businesses had to close because of Hurricane Irene.
How many of those same businesses will have to close again because of flooding from this latest storm?
How many people will be dealing with flood damaged home?
How many people will have no income because their workplace is closed?

And it’s not just people on the East Coast that could loose income because of weather-induced damage.

I grew up in the Midwest where tornado sirens are a part of life in the summer
You see the sky turn slightly greenish and you go inside away from windows. 
No big deal. It’s just part of summer weather.

But this summer, a few days after the deadliest tornado in US history ripped through Joplin Missouri, we had a tornado warning that had the sirens blasting for 40 minutes straight.
The tornado sirens never blast that long!

After seeing the devastation inflicted only one state over, I admit, I didn’t react with my typical: 
“Oh bother, a tornado warning.”
This time I huddled with the dogs in the corner of the basement watching the angry red blotches on my WeatherBug app on my phone.

The photos from the Joplin disaster reminded me that just because you get used to weather warnings doesn’t mean they’re not real warnings.

As I sat there on the sofa pillow I’d throw on the hard basement floor, I had a lot of time to think. One of the things I thought about was the amount of unexpected damage that weather can cause. I’ve had heavy metal lawn furniture thrown around the yard and siding ripped off the house. But that’s minor and easily fixed.

What if the weather caused enough damage that you couldn't live in your house AND the place where you worked was closed because of the damage? House insurance would cover the long process of fixing your house. 
But what about your income being cut off at the same time?

This is yet another reason to consider creating at least a side income from the internet.

If you had a website that produced income or an ebook that sold well online, then that part of your income would be safe from the weather damage. Even if you lost your computer, you could borrow one and go to a coffee shop that had Wi-Fi in the next town over.

While the place where your job is might get a sign on the door that said “closed due to storm damage”, your website would still be working. So while you’re trying to deal with recovering from unexpected storm damage, you would not be totally dependant on government disaster relief money that we all know is very slow to arrive. Instead you would have the income to help you and your loved ones make it through that unexpected experience.

That’s a pretty powerful reason to put effort into creating an online business.
Don’t you agree?

If you're wondering how to get started online, sign up at the top of this page for a free ebook and newsletter on creating an ebook and being an entrepreneur.

How to Build Self Esteem with a Cup of Coffee

So much of what we do as women is nurturing others. 
  • We support. 
  • We encourage. 
  • We help others see how remarkable they are.

Yet we tend not to see how remarkable we are.
How many times has someone complimented you and you turned the conversation back on them?
Or you downplay what you accomplished?

“What this? Anyone could do it”

But the thing is, not just anyone can do what you do. To you, it’s an everyday thing. You know it and assume everyone else does too. But not everyone has your combination of experiences and skills.

Maybe you can taste the sauce simmering on the stove and just know that it needs a pinch of a certain spice to make it perfect. If someone complimented you on that skill, you say “anyone would know that.”

Well, I’m an “anyone” and I can tell you for a fact that I don’t have that skill. My cooking skills are horrible! I can read a technical manual and tell you what it says in simple English but please, please, please don’t ask me to figure out what spices go into a meal. Better yet, for your own sake, don’t ask me to cook!

You’ve had years to collect the level of skill you have in things you do every day. Yet because you do it every day, you don’t think of it as a skill.

  • You raised children to be healthy, happy adults. Not everyone can say that.
  • You worked in a male-dominated industry all your life and came out with your sanity. You have survival skills that young women starting out would love to know about.

I have a task for you.
First drink a large cup of coffee…

Okay. Now.

Grab pen and paper and write down 3 things you are amazing at.

NO cheating!

You must write down 3 skills you have.

And here’s your incentive. 
Remember that big cup of coffee you drank? You can’t go to the bathroom until you write down your 3 amazing skills.
Yup, you’re going to admit, on paper, that you are an amazing person with amazing skills or you’re going to be doing a little dance in that chair until you do.

You nurture and support and find value in everyone around you.
Didn’t it feel good to nurture and support yourself?
Okay. Now you can use the bathroom. We’ll talk more later!
Hey, no running in the hall!

What I learned about Marketing Communications from Mirassou Winery

Yesterday I was at a wine tasting sponsored by Mirassou Winery where I learned some highly effective marketing strategies. David Mirassou, a sixth generation owner of this family-run business spoke to a group a over 100 women bloggers and entrepreneurs about his family business at the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp in Chicago.

Communication Strategy #1
Make it Personal.

When David Mirassou, a 6th generation owner in this family-run business, first spoke with us, he didn’t start talking about the wine. He started telling us about the family behind the business. He told us about his grandparents (six generations back) who were visionary enough to see the fruitful soil for planting rather than being consumed by the Gold Rush fever of 1880’s California. How they found a way for their fruit cuttings to survive the ocean voyage when the ship’s captain would not let them use drinking water on the plants.

Communication Strategy #2
Tell What Makes Your Business Unique.

David told how those original California grandparents were the first to grow a special nutritious plum that kept it’s nutritional value even when dried. And how this dried plum was often found in the back pocket of goldminer. H e continued to tell us about the innovations his family brought to winemaking over the generations such as being the first to use mechanical harvesting.

David had yet to talk specifically about his company’s wines but by successfully using the above two communications strategies, I could hardly wait to try the Mirassou wines.

All of this personal story telling was great for setting up a customer to be on your side and want to like your product. But those strategies must always be accompanied by this one:

Communication Strategy #3
Sell a Good Product.

I prefer sweet wines. When David said he had brought a Moscato wine which is similar in sweetness to a Riesling, that was the one I wanted to try. I love Reislings (sometimes called Ice Wines.) After listening to the family stories I was inclined to like their wine even before trying it. What was unexpected was just how good the wine actually was. The winery had a very good product.

This Moscato wine produced by Mirassou Winery kept the promise made by the first two marketing strategies. Listening to a winery family member tell stories about his family in the business made me want to like their product. Then the product itself was better than I expected. This combination made a fan out of me. Usually when buying wine, I go for type rather than brand. From now on, my preference will be the Mirassou brand and specifically their Moscato wine.

My thanks to David Mirassou for the real life case study in successful marketing strategy.

If all of that were not enough to make me a fan of this company, Mirassou Winery believes in Paying It forward. Their Bright Ideas grant program will be awarding $20,000 to empower innovators to start a business or make a difference. Check out their Facebook page to learn more about this.


How to Make an Ebook. Part 3:
Will People Want Your Book?

[Third Post in a Series on How to Make an Ebook]

You’ve been thinking about writing a book. You even have a subject picked out. You’re all ready to start creating your ebook.

You know the book will sell great because so many people need what you’re going to write about.

But are you sure it’s what people want?

What’s the difference between a need and a want?

Below is an example of a need and a want. Can you tell which is which?

1.  I should eat more veggies and exercise. I want to be healthier. I’ll start doing that tomorrow. I’m too busy today to think about it.

2.  I need that cute little red purse I saw yesterday. It’s a little out of my budget. But if I skip lunch all this week, I can afford it.

It’s very easy to tell the “need” for a purse is actually a Want. Although we often use the words need and want interchangeably, they really do have two different meanings.

Did you also notice how I rationalized and made excuses for each?
Eating better and exercising is something I know I should be doing. It is something I need to do. However, it’s not something I want to do. So until I get to a point that causes me to change my mind, I’m not going to want to do it.
No matter how good your ebook is on that subject.
I will not have any interest in your book because I don’t want to be interested in that subject.

What would cause me to change my need to exercise into a want to exerceise?
A Point of Pain.
That’s like a tipping point where a need can turn into a want. In this case, when I can’t even fit into my “fat” jeans, then I’ll be motivated to do something about exercising and eating right. That is when I will suddenly become interested in your book on the subject. But not until then.
If you have a really great book on a subject that everyone needs to read, it may not sell well.

However, did you notice how I was able to explain to myself a way to get the purse I wanted? There is no reason why I need that purse. I have others. But I saw it sitting there in the store and I WANT IT! Want is an emotional response.
It even had a price that was more than I should spend on a purse.
And if I want if enough, I will find a way to get it.

If you can focus your ebook to make it more about a Want rather then a Need, you will have an easier time selling your ebook.

If you liked this post, see the other posts in this series.

How to Make an Ebook. Part 1: 
What Should I Write a Book About?

How to Make an Ebook. Part 2: 
Create a Cover that Grabs People

If you liked this post, please sign up for my email newsletter at the top right of this page so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series.

How to Make Cookbook with Word Template

Do you have a paper collection of clipped recipes stuffed into a binder?

Would you like to share those family recipes with your kids?

Do you have recipe files in different places all over your computer hard drive?

Are you the one who has to assemble the cookbook for your group’s fund raiser?

If you do, then here’s a way for you to put all those recipes in one place.
Create an ebook cookbook using this eye-catching template.

This MSWord template has a red and white template similar to the cover of everyone’s favorite cookbook.

This template is a Microsoft Word document file with the cover artwork and background page artwork already in it.
To see more about this ebook template, click here.

If you liked to hear more about making your own ebooks, please sign up for my email newsletter at the top right of this page so you don’t miss seeing information on other ebook template releases.

How to Make an Ebook. Part 2: Create a Cover that Grabs People

[Second Post in a Series on How to Make an Ebook]

Have you ever walked through the aisle of the book store and found yourself reaching for a book without even realizing it?

That’s the power of a good book cover and a good title.

Despite what our mothers told us, most people really do judge a book by its cover.

You could have a really good book. The contents of your book could be exactly what a person is looking for. But if the cover and title don’t grab them, they will never know.

The purpose of a book cover and title is to make a person want to find out more about the book. 
The cover and title make the person want to read the back cover of the book. Or in the case of an ebook, the cover and title make a person want to click and find out more. Without the desire to pick up the book or click on the ebook, you never have the chance to give them details about the book. You never have the opportunity to hold their attention long enough to sell them the book or get them to sign up for your email list.

Let’s looks at these two important items separately.

First, the ebook cover.

Below are three possible ebook covers for the same ebook. Each gives you a different feeling when you look at it.


The first is just text. It’s very boring. There is nothing to catch and hold the reader’s eye. With this cover, they will be on to the next ebook without ever clicking on this one.

The second has a very business feel. Visually there is a lot to look at with the two-tone graded background and the two colors of text.
Also whenever a face is in a picture, the eye naturally is drawn to that face. In this cover the person is looking straight back at the reader with confidence. 

The third evokes a more emotional feel. With the green stripes and the door into the garden, this cover gives a peaceful feeling. The text is all one color but arranged on different color backgrounds for visual variety. On this ebook cover, the author’s logo and photo were added to support visual branding. 

While a cover can help grab the reader’s attention, it does not grab attention by itself.

The other important element is the title.

Three things to consider when coming up with a title:

1. Don’t preach.

A title like “Why you should write an ebook” sounds just a little too much like your mother telling you why you should eat your veggies.

2. Think of a benefit your book gives to your reader.

Instead of “Why you should write an ebook”, a benefit could be “How to be seen as an expert”

3. Make it short.

A good rule of thumb is to keep the title to eight words or under. This makes it easier to read. (People don’t like having to wade through a long drawn out title.) It also makes it easy for people to promote your ebook on Twitter and still have room for their reviews or comments and a link to your ebook.

Combine a great title with a great cover design and you are on your way to an ebook that grabs people to want to know more.

You don't feel comfortable designing an ebook cover?
 Click here to see how I can help you.

Come back for the next post in this series. 
If you missed the first post in this series, here’s the link to What Should I Write A Book About?

If you liked this post, please sign up for my email newsletter at the top right of this page so you don’t miss any of the posts in this series.

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