Twitter Facebook

Chipmunk Theme Review: How to Build a Web Directory with the Content Curation Model

Content curation is one of the easiest, most elegant and expeditious ways to create the appearance of “authority” in whatever niche, market or industry you want to work in.

Simply stated, you can take a long weekend, add a few hundred resources to a page, say nice things about your favorite ones, and then share that with the world….and get tons of traffic, love and appreciation from both the public, and your professional peers.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a site that was not only curating content in a smart and strategic way, but they actually had built an entire directory style site, with featured listings, user submissions, some cool sorting options and more. I was pretty sure it was a custom solution – but when I discovered it was a WordPress theme, and one available for purchase as well, I jumped at the chance to send an email to the theme authors right away.

That framework is the Chipmunktheme – a silly & light hearted moniker for a very serious functioning WP theme. Here is a quick overview of what you can do with the Chipmunk theme – and I recommend you check out their showcase page to see some of the cool and creative ways many start ups, tech companies and other online entrepreneurs are using it to curate content in fast, fun and inspiring ways.

A Great New Way to Teach What You Love

There has never been a better time to teach what you love, and share what you know, than right now.  The online learning space, or teaching space, is exploding with  unique opportunities for both people who are addicted to information, and learning new things….as well as cool and creative platforms for those of us who want to share what we love with the world.

Some of these platforms (and models) are super interesting to me, because they are actually simplifying the process flow for teachers, and learners alike.  For example?  When I spend any amount of time on the Teachable platform private community (the FB group in particular, for instructors) it’s amazing how many of us are constantly getting seduced by a new tool or tech, a new twist or unique piece of software to punctuate the teaching process, or to make our courses sexier, or improve this UI/UX component or that…….all in the service of something most of our students don’t really care that much about.

They want to learn, and typically….want to learn one thing, and one thing fast.

With that in mind, check out http://gohighbrow.com/courses/

Their courses are short (usually 5 minutes long) text based, delivered by email, and finite in length.  (usually 10 days)

It’s sort of an interesting regression back to the way things USED to be done (email mini courses rather than learning platforms like Udemy/Teachable/Thinkific/etc) and it really is quite an enjoyable experience to take a course.  (i’ve now signed up for, and have taken 2)

The good news?

You can submit your OWN courses to gohighbrow.com, and become a teacher, leveraging their large audience in your favor, to promote anything else you have going on related to your expertise.  In other words, create a 10 day course on anything, get it approved, and use that course to sell YOU in any and every which way you are comfortable)

There is also another similar platform called http://Dailybitsof.com, which is also well worth checking out.

I love this approach to course creation and have been saying exactly this, for a few years now.

  1. Teach one thing.
  2. Teach one small thing.
  3. Teach the smallest thing you can that makes people better.
  4. Think small, but think scale.

 

If you are looking for a great jumping off point for launching your own teaching career, and need a gentle nudge in the direction of your dreams, check out the platforms above.  (gohighbrow in particular, if you’ve got a course ready for  the world…..but need a little bit of extra self confidence that lots of happy students can serve up on a silver platter)

 

Tell Them What You’re Going to Tell Them

Tell Them What You’re Going to Tell Them

In this short post, I’d really like to just show off my infographic making skills.   I may have shared this graphic in the past.  (sorry)  It also may be the very first time I’m posting it.  (in which case, you’re welcome)

But, there is really very little wisdom I aim to impart here, other than I really like using Adioma to create cool little creative visualizations with pithy prose I can post on my blog.

Like so.

So if this is your first time visiting, you can expect better work from me in the future, I promise.

Do come back.

And if you are a long time fan or follower (okay – this is an extinct population for the most part) – you’ve probably tolerated this sort of odd interlude in the past, so hopefully you are accustomed to it.

My favorite part of this little visualization, if you are wondering (which i’m sure no one is) is the little kick to the curb thing I managed to sneak in. It just feels good to kick some ass once in a while, even if it’s only with little stick figures that don’t have real assses, or even if they did, they probably would just brush themselves off, and not give it a second thought in their little imaginary, boring, black and white little universes.

But that little touch does  makes me happy.  Even though in real life, I tend to collect people, rather than give them the boot.

(even though I secretly fantasize about throwing chuck norris sidekicks at half the people i see everyday.  I don’t, simply because i have tight groin muscles and an aversion to bad looking karate)

Anyway, why you are still reading this is quite curious to me.

I’d have given up 3 paragraphs up.   The chances are, i probably wouldn’t be reading your blog at all.  I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I’m sure you are very interesting and everything.  It’s just that life is short and the passing of time is really starting to sink in.

Have you ever asked yourself if you are spending too much time reading silly things on the internets?  If you haven’t, and you are still reading this, today may be a good day to start.

And what is really behind this whole blog thing, anyway?  I mean, why not just keep a notebook under my bed and spare the universe an update everytime the urge to say something special, strikes?

It really makes very little sense if you think about it.  For you.  Or for me.  The whole thing is just weird.

Carry on with your day, and thanks again for stopping by.

 

Milanote: A very cool, very creative and uber addictive productivity tool

Milanote:  A very cool, very creative and uber addictive productivity tool

I am addicted to productivity tools. If I had all the time back that i’ve spent learning cool tools to enhance my productivity, I’d be 28 again. And if I was 28 again, I’d do everything very, very differently.

Starting with treating the girlfriend I had at 28 a lot better. She went on to become super duper mega rich. And i’m in my boxer shorts, with a 9 dollar bottle of wine at 1025 on a Tuesday night, writing about productivity tools.

That’s called karma, baby.

Anyway, if I am going to be writing about cool, creative productivity tools, my new favorite one is called Milanote.

I just started playing with it earlier today (it was featured on Producthunt) – and it’s really the absolute perfect combination of mind mapping, organization, and immersive experience to keep me inspired to keep coming back.

Plus it’s free.

God I love being alive in 2017. Other than the occasional regret that comes from realizing that you fucked most of the rest of your life up in the decade and a half that came before it. But the productivity tools are top notch.

Check out Milanote here.

You’ll thank me later, I promise.

Vantage 4.0 Video Preview

UPDATE: Vantage 4.0 is out, and they are running a “bundle special” until April 21st – you get the theme (Vantage 4.01, their review plugin (Critic) their coupon plugin AND the official appthemes stripe payment integration, all for $99. (about 40% off) Plus, if you purchase through my affiliate link, I’ll give you a free, personalized directory marketing session by email, or by an audio I’ll record for you…..based on your needs, goals and objectives. (part of my $2347.00 yearly course – you’ll get it free, here) Only good till their launch bundle ends in less than 2 weeks.

A few more thoughts, on video, of what’s exciting about Vantage 4.0, what needs to be improved, and what I’d love to see them include to maximize the value the theme offers….both to site owners, but also, to the folks who will be listed/featured on our sites

The more I look at Vantage, and the more interaction I’ve had with David from Appthemes, the more excited I am about developing a new directory with their framework in place. In particular, I think Vantage will be uniquely suited for hyper local “Yelp” like directory communities, and I’ve got the perfect project in mind that I *think* Vantage will be uniquely suited to revive.

To be totally honest with you, I’m much more focused these days on creating new content + creativity – working with authors and writers and really pushing myself to publish more of my own courses + content than building new directories/communities……but I can’t help it. Whenever an exciting new directory theme comes out and I can see the potential for launching something new – from scratch – for $100 or less – my over associative, add addled brain starts moving in directions my better judgement implores me to ignore.

Oh well. Thank god I’ll be able to make a new set of new years resolutions in another 11 months.

Interesting study on the power of positivity from the standpoint of productivity.  How much does that negative nellie in the corner office affect the work?  Maybe more than she knows.  The good news is, where I work, I have no corner office, nor any buzz kill bloggers cramping my style.    But for those of you who do, well – I have no good advice to offer.  Other than to read this.

17 Great Resources for Writers

Here is a short list of some great tools, tech and suite of products you can use to write a book, create a course, or launch a product in 2017.

Most of these are free. A few I’ve included my affiliate link. (Withcoach and Crowdcast – the 2 programs I most highly recommend for authors/teachers who are getting started on a bootstrap budget) And all of them I use at least monthly – and several are becoming cornerstone tech in my own work and process flow. I’m going to make a recording discussing these in a bit more length to attach to this post – but in the meantime, here it is.

Convert Your Content into Courses

  1. WithCoach.Com  (ideal for teachers, trainers, authors and content marketers who want a full suite of marketing services to promote our business.  Landing pages, autoresponders, drip email campaigns – get paid instantly for digital downloads, content & courses, coaching and more.  Check out my example here.
  2. Teachable  (the market leader for small business and solo-preneurs who want to launch an online school.  Check out our “learn mindfulness community” being built on the teachable platform here.  (launching Feb 2017)
  3. Thinkific (like teachable – smaller platform and user base, but very popular with users.  Has some small UI advantages over Teachable in my view……but the landing pages and front facing course/curriculum pages don’t look as good in my view.
  4. Gumroad (great option for digital downloads, email marketing and is most affordable option of the bunch for a premium plan – starting at about $10 a month)

Writing and Organizing

  1. Workflowy  (awesome list taking app – organizational tool – and generally awesome for everything an author/maker/marketer or disorganized schmo like me needs to stay focused on point and on task)
  2. Hemingway app
  3. Ulysses (great writing app – beautiful, easy to use)
  4. Author app (create beautiful documents with beautiful fonts – convert them to great looking PDF’s, or host on the authorapp platform to teach your content in a beautiful elegant way)
  5. Reedsly (awesome free platform for writing & publishing to Amazon – lots of extra features, well worth checking out)
  6. Adioma – Create great looking, intuitive visual guides for your books, your content, your courses, and more.  Pro tip:  I use Adioma to organize and outline my content in a visual and heirarchecal way, so I can stay on point when my overly caffeinated brain starts to drift in tangential directions.  (please note:  I refuse to spell check heircarchechal)

Transcription (Record your book!)

  • Transcribe.wreally.com (great way to turn your RECORDED content into a book or course – steal of a deal – $20 for the year and exponentially increases transcription speed)

Community

Refind for Writers (brand new:  just launched Jan 31st to the public – Refind is a great way to save, collect and curate great content around the web.  Now they are offering a Refind community specifically for writers.  Great way to connect with other authors – and a great way to get your best content in front of more eyeballs…including people with influence.

Reditt A popular “sub” reddit with an active community of authors, writers, tips, light hearted humor, advice and otherwise. Like everything Reddit – enjoy at your own peril 🙂

Cover Design

  1. Canva (for covers)  (Canva is free (even though I pay for pro) and allows you to create a Kindle worthy cover in about 5 minutes flat – no joke.  Beautiful templates for all sorts of content covers (and obviously, much more) – Canva is awesome.
  2. Fiverr  (You can still get a great cover on Fiverr for $5 or $10 – I see them all the time, have gotten a few myself – and if you don’t have the time to design your own in Canva, but are on a bootstrap budget when it comes to investing your book, Fiverr is still well worth checking out.

Video recording and Teaching tools

  1. Crowdcast.io (webinars, courses – Crowdcast is super smooth, super sexy and uber cool way to record presentations, webinars, teach courses, take questions, create landing pages, private access content and more…..highly recommended for teachers/trainers/webinar marketers – blows the “Gotowebinar suite of stuff out of the water)
  2. Opentest (now called LOOM – killer cool screencasting, talking head videos, download your videos instantly, share on youtube, share via link, share via email…….bookmarklet/browser based – totally free and 100% awesome)
  3. Viewedit  (similar to LOOM, beautiful UI, great front facing recording mode – but……as of last check doesn’t allow for video downloads (meaning you can’t upload easily to youtube, etc) which is only drawback when LOOM does same thing – and you can)

Your Mess is Your Message

“I bet if we all threw our problems in a huge pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is about

– Robin Roberts

One of the really liberating aspects of practicing mindfulness, or really any type of meditation, is the the freedom to focus on failure.

You know you are going to fail going in. Pretty much every time, too.

And recognizing that failure, moment by moment, over and over, is how you begin to win.

There are two ways to practice mindfulness.

Not surprisingly, they are also the two ways to live life.

To over simplify a bit, they are:

1 – Mindlessly (being lost in thought or thinking without knowing that you are thinking)

2 – Mindfully (not being lost in thought, or having finer grain control of how and where your attention in anchored)

Most of the time, for us unenlightened types, we’re thrashing around somewhere in the noisy neighborhood of option 1.

The small wins are in recognizing that, and moving back to the breath.  (or the mantra, or the object or anchor of attention – in the service of cultivating true mindfulness in everyday life.

This is very freeing to me – as the barrier of entry is low.  You know you are going to fail.  You know you are going to have some wonderful wins.  And you also know that the only way you make any progress on the path, is to simply do the work.

There is a practice I really like that is taught in some Vipassana meditation traditions, called “noting”.

Essentially, you “note” or name the emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise in the canvas of consciousness, notice they are fleeting, ephemeral, “not me” and inherently impermenant, and in some really special and spacious way, this practice (for me, anyway) tends to really open up a sense of expanded awareness into magical and mysterious terrain.

Time slows down.  You start to see your “stuff” in really clear and coherent ways.  You also start to realize that NONE of your stuff is you.  It comes, and it goes.  Just like everything else.

A typical noting practice for me may have this sort of flavor to it.

back pain.  insecurity.  fear.  fear.  buzzing in ear.  anger. jealously.  insecurity.  worry.  do I have a mullet?  I may have a mullet.   hot.  cold.  itch.  Etc.

Your mess, becomes your message.  And in some real way, it becomes the avenue for enlightenment as well.

I think there is a real analog to be found in our work life as well, especially for folks who are makers,  mentors, authors, artists, teachers or trainers.

There is a freedom in saying –

hey – this is what failure looks like.  I’ve been knee deep in it for decades.  I’ve seen every flavor of failure there is – and I can describe them all for you so you can skip a few.    There is something on the other side of that street though – and I’ve seen that too – so let me show you what i know, what i’ve learned and what matters now.

To0 many people think that our mess needs to be hidden or kept from view, in the service of offering up an appearance that isn’t you.  Or me.

There is no shame in making a mess.  It’s humbling and humorous and helpful and in some weird way, makes the whole adventure worthwhile.

 

 

 

Infographics are a great way to present educational content in a visually appealing way.  The problem for most of us is, infographics can also be really time consuming to create.  (or expensive to outsource)

Adioma is really awesome, and it reduces the time for creating visual graphics to mere minutes – this little mindfulness oriented graphic I created for a meditation class took 3 minutes, flat.

I find myself coming back to it over and over again when I want to present an idea to an audience in a way that communicates a core point or principle, without having to write a few hundred words to do it.

It’s free to use.  (they have paid tiers, too – but I use the free one, and it works wonderfully well for my needs)

Check out Adioma here.  Or, if you want to see how amazing their infographics can REALLY be, check out the funders and founders site, which features their creative storytelling genius in a myriad of cool and compelling ways.

The moment you realize skipping the spellcheck was a mistake

The moment you realize skipping the spellcheck was a mistake

I’m the last person who should be commenting about other people’s spelling.

And yet, I just did.

I’m wondering how many days it will take for these folks to realize that their “how to write like a pro” email course pop up has an “r” that just doesn’t want to play well with the other letters.

I’m going to go back to mangling my own spelling now.  Thanks for reeding.

 

Another cool, simple, very minimalist tool for writers who tend to get distracted easily.

Like you.

And me.

And Don Lemon.  Who isn’t really a writer.  But he does tend to get distracted easily.

What happened to late night news on TV?

And what does any of this have to do with a minimalist writing tool.

My point exactly.

Check it out here.

 

 

More Thoughts on Vantage 4.0:

April 2017 UPDATE: Vantage 4.0 has officially been released (current version is 4.01. You can’t yet migrate your old Vantage (3.x) sites to the new theme (that’s coming in version 4.10, later in April) but the theme is, overall……very well done – a legitimate candidate for first choice amongst all the competing WP directory themes (Listify/Listable/et al) and has the best price point, relative to what you get by default – of the bunch)

While my thoughts and opinions below remain true – I DID buy Vantage 4.0 when it was released last month – I DID get the Launch special plugin pack here, too + I do believe, if you are focused on marketing, developing and GROWING a directory business, rather than obsessed or doing the very common “analysis paralysis” through trying to making the pixel perfect directory choice for YOUR unique business or site launch – of all the recommendations I’ve made in the my LAUNCHiT! series for directory builders and authority site entrepreneurs, I’d recommend Vantage 4.0 as the #1 choice – for ease of execution, simplicity in scale – and cost basis to boot) To get the additional plugins (the launch special) – you have until April 21st – it’s a great deal and the best way to launch a brand new directory for under 100 bucks – bar none.

the >

New: A collection of curated content specifically for aspiring authority site builders and directory developers. Build a hyper profitable web directory….starting today!

UPDATED, update.  (Jan 30)  The comment I posted below on the appthemes blog was in fact “approved” and posted – and it appears Vantage 4.0 is still about a month away, per the new timeline David posted this weekend.  As I mentioned on their blog – the more I look at the theme, the more I am starting to really like it, and the more cool and creative opportunities I’m starting to visualize that ought to be uniquely advantageous to the Vantage framework.  So my recommendation (for those who care 🙂 IS in fact, to wait until a few more weeks before you launch a new directory project – if in fact, you don’t fancy shifting gears mid project from one framework to another.

I’m re-posting this comment here, only because I want it to be said – and I worry a bit that they won’t “approve” my comment on the actual thread that is updating users on when Vantage 4.0 will be available, what is changing, what is improving, what is missing, (apparently a lot! 🙂 and all of that good stuff.

(David from Appthemes HAS approved all of my comments thus far – and I certainly don’t mean to be critical or unfair when making suggestions or recommendations, but I do worry that he won’t approve this one, and I do know that people are reading my blog now for updates on Vantage/and other directory theme choices like Listify or Listable, etc – so I do feel a little bit of an obligation and responsibility when I’ve recommended folks wait till it gets released to start a directory, that they at least get an updated idea of where my personal thoughts are, as more of the actual theme/framework/launch details are available)

That said, I’m sure David from Appthemes is a lovely guy, who wants to build a great directory theme, and I’m sure he is working as hard as the rest of us in trying to make our customers/clients/readers and subscribers happy each and every day. (it ain’t easy – and I rarely do it well – although the stray cat I’ve adopted in December seems to think I’m doing a bang up job of being an exemplary human)

So, I’d encourage you (before you buy Vantage 4.0) to read the comments on their OFFICIAL blog post updating it’s progress and release, and to also read my thoughts below (as of Jan 23, 2017). I posted this a few minutes ago on the comments after reading of yet another thing it looks like they are stripping out of the new version (robust support for featured listings) and some other troubling odds and ends.

Again – I’m only posting this comment as it’s “waiting to be approved” on their blog itself – and in the event they don’t publish it, I want to be able to say “I told you so” when people yell at me because the new theme disappoints…..after I recommended you buy it.

(this is why I should have stayed at Payless Shoes instead of becoming an internet marketing person.  I could have been regional manager by now, in charge of all rubber soled footwear in the south eastern USA.  #lifegoals)

Hi David – I just took a peek at this comment – and wanted to chime in on both the featured listing front – and the WC vendors front – from the perspective of folks who want to build a marketplace – and allow their users to sell products from their listings – as a way of extending the value that we (as the site owners) provide to both the public – and the professionals who are listed/featured on the directory itself.

1 – The idea of not having robust support for “featured” listings – because they “clog up” the front page – is going to be an anathema to most of your prospective buyers. (especially as it’s a core function of selling the virtues of paying for a listing now to our members – and many of the folks who will be UPGRADING to 4.0 – already have members who have paid to be featured on categories, localities/etc – as is. If this isn’t baked in to the new version of the theme (e.g. – those featured listings in local categories or packages don’t pass to the new version – it’s going to be a significant burden for many) Simply stated – omitting this from the next version is a puzzling choice -and one that runs counter to how most of your customers monetize their sites as is.

2 – I’m also surprised – that the WC vendors integration feels like something that needs clarification on your end. The most popular directories now – the ones that are clearly the ones you’ll be competing with – are integrating with WC vendors (or other marketplace style WC extensions) that allow our listings (the folks we want to submit their businesses to our site) SELL products alongside their listings – as a further way of extending the value proposition to induce, excite, enthuse and inspire them to choose “our” community (your vantage buyers) over the panapole of other communities/directories or portals that are available. This still CAN be achieved by dint of using external products links in the base WooCommerce (allowing members to list products in the store) – but having a more refined integration is obviously preferable.

I’m a bit surprised that this isn’t something you’ve thought deeply about already with regard to re-conceptualizing the theme – as it feels like a pretty obvious marketing intuition you’d want to have thought through – and…… it’s already something that is pretty easily achievable (and super appealing) to directory builders who are using Woocommerce already, on tens of thousands of directory sites as is 🙂 (in other words – this is already something that is “standard” – because it’s so popular with users – on the major directory frameworks being sold everywhere else)

I’m a bit weary of how you are re-thinking the theme – predicated on real world use cases- on the drips and drabs I’ve read here – and on what I would hope would be your base intuition – to improve upon – and enhance – and push the envelope a bit beyond what is already out there – or at a minimum at least – not to strip out what made the original Vantage an appealing option to begin with.

I’m going to buy it either way as it looks good and I want to support your launch – but I’m hoping that you’ve spent as much time understanding what IS in fact working well now in this space for thousands of people who are running directory style businesses – and not cutting out essential features (nor omitting or failing to identify very conventional use cases already in the wild – e.g. – why one would ask about WC vendors ) – as ultimately – these are the things that will delight, or disappoint your users when the theme goes live.

I recently joined a Facebook group for intermittent fasting. There are a lot of people in the group, and we spend most of our time talking about not eating, and posting pictures of ourselves before, during and after not eating.

I say “we”, but the truth is, I never post any pictures of myself. And I really don’t look at the pictures of other people. I just read the articles. (okay, I do peek occasionally at the pics, too)

Recently, there has been a lot of pictures of monkeys in our facebook group. Monkeys, aging gracefully. By not eating, I presume.

Anyway, I’m not really sure I can pick out the sexier monkey in this picture. There IS a right answer, it just took me two tries, and qualifying question, to get it.

Which of these monkeys do YOU think is aging better? And don’t forget to check out the hard science on why, not eating, is pretty good for living a longer, albeit unhappier life i’m finding, here.

calorie restriction benefits

I don’t know how you work, but for me….my working background is usually a mess of tabs, tv’s, windows, and distractions that crush my creativity, before I can really find some flow. When you combine that with the everpresent awareness that there is a 30% chance our current president may in fact end our career as a species by 2020, the fierce urgency of doing my best work now, feels more pressing than ever. (because if I’m going to get into heaven on the basis of my contribution to humanity, i have a lot of catching up to do)

Here is a great free writing tool that I really like – it’s colorful, easy to use, relaxing and just really seems to help with focus and flow.

Why Can’t I Get My Damn Book Done?

A lot of us struggle with completing our projects – finishing our books, or completing our courses

If you are trying to share your expertise, it becomes very easy to want to “data dump” all of your niche knowledge, or your professional passion….into a long winded, never ending treatise that sounds great in theory, but in reality, never makes it on to the printed page. (instead, it stays locked in your head, in the perpetual pursuit of perfection)

My own mantra – and mandate – especially for 2017 as i hope to get a lot of my own words out into the world – is to TEACH 1 THING at a time…..keep it simple, avoid the urge to overwhelm – and with each project, to stay small, fiercely focused, and with eye on making people better, in ONE specific area, with each new thing I put out into the world.

Hope this helps you as well – as I know it’s a challenge that is faced by many. (someone sent me an email this morning that she read that “97%” of all aspiring authors – never finish their books, a statistic that feels hard to validate, but not so hard to believe 🙂

The Best Free Traffic Building Strategy for a New Web Directory or Authority Site

Q: What is the absolute easiest way to get free traffic to a new online directory or authority site with NO (or very small) budget?

I really believe that the easiest way to get free traffic to a new directory style site is to offer to INTERVIEW people who are in your ideal audience (professionals in the niche you are focusing on) and doing this, at least for starters, by inviting them by email to participate.

You can hire someone very inexpensively to send out email invites, and by offering an interview, it adds a whole new dimension of appeal that will, no doubt, dramatically improve the response rate you’ll get from the folks you invite.

Here is a very simple CASE STUDY on how I generated about 20 thousand FREE visitors to a new site, a few years ago, using a very rudimentary invite strategy that worked wonderfully well….that I have since improved, optimized, tweaked and critiqued with lots of follow up – and in multiple niches, markets, industries and verticals as well. (this email invite did NOT include the “interview” angle or twist – which has dramatically increased it’s effectiveness)

Here is an example of an interview I did last week (Jan 12th of 2017) for one of the web directories/authority sites that was built using the email example above. You can hear that there “inteviews” are not formal or forced – the members really enjoy doing them – the public (the folks who are browsing the site to find people on the directory to hire) really find them quite informative and helpful, and overall, it’s just a win/win experience for all.

NOTE: DO read the case study above to get some of the psychological “triggers” for why this approach works so well for TRAFFIC generation – as you’ll be leveraging the actual audience of the person you are inviting, to grow/build + develop your directory. (if that doesn’t make sense – just ask below)

Content Curation Tools: How to Start a Curated Email Newsletter

I know my voice sounds like I’m dying. (After hours and hours and days and days of recording videos/tutorials and screenflows, I very well may be). But, curated newsletters (and curation in general) is something I’m really excited about these days, which just goes to prove I really ought to get out more.

I’ve mentioned or written about 3 different curation tools over the last few months. All of which I’ve used, 2 of which I’ve paid for, and 1 of which I feel super comfortable recommending to new users, who are just launching something new.

I’m listing my recommendations in reverse order. (they are all really good)

Curated.Co (great landing pages – great name recognition in the curated newsletter space with high profile users – nice looking archive pages that do well for SEO – and good overall value for high profile, professional level curators/communities) – $25 a month to start.

Volleyy.com – Beautiful landing pages, nice looking forms, finer grain control over RSS feeds, segmentation, and automation. Slightly different process flow and functionality from the other tools I’ve used/discussed – and these guys have zero name recognition in the space – yet, the tool is temptingly awesome to used as #1. (and for some of you – may deserve to be) $1 per 100 subscribers (at last check)

Getrevue.com. Revue is fricking awesome and beautiful and a joy to use, which is Yiddish for this should be your top choice. Check out the video I made on the back end of one of our newsletters a few minutes ago, after a recent send. Adding content is super sexy and smooth on mobile and desktop – and all of the pixels are arranged in a perfectly pretty way when you publish. (the newsletters themselves, LOOK awesome, as the folks behind Revue are designers, and UI/UX pros through and through.)

Here is the best part. They are super affordable – and have free plans – and even if they didn’t, I’m going to do something totally weird and give you a coupon that’s not even mine. (I used it from some other random site I found it on last week – so rather than asking the guys at Revue to give ME a coupon code to share, because life is short, and i’m getting older and uglier everyday – I’m just going to share this one instead)

STARTUPRESOURCES

(one word)

What Are Your 6 Things?

One of the exercises in the Flow process outlined in the talk here, (or in Steven Kottler’s book on Flow states) is the science of going small. I’ve written about that a fair amount in years past (my own thoughts on doing that) and you can read some of that here or for me, more importantly, the “empowering questions” exercise I find really helpful, right here. (Especially the “what could go right”, practice)

how to use infographics,One of the “flow triggers” that many world class athletes, artists and creatives use is the intentional act of staying small. Making a short list (6 things or less) that IS your life. This is what you do. This is who you are. This is what you care about. This is how you live. This is the structure of your day, your priorities, your passion and how you appear in the world.

Going deep into what it is that you do really, really well….rather than going wide, like life, and business often asks of us.

This isn’t new of course. There are lots of trite truisms about going small and specific and mastering a few select things in a world class way (e.g. – the “fear the warrior who has practiced one kick, a thousand times…rather than he or she who knows a thousand kicks, practiced once)

I remember an interview with Bill Parcels, the storied NFL coach and executive, who once said – (and I paraphrase) “All I know is football. If I had to start making a living in any other field, I’d be woefully unqualified to do much else.”

So I was playing around a bit with some of this over the last few weeks, insofar as how i want my work life to look in 2017. Things I know I can’t fuck up, because i’m good at them, and they don’t really require much other than a comittment to show up. This isn’t my final list – but just some thoughts on my own “6 things” as I was jotting them down listening to others describe theirs.

What are YOUR 6 things? Write them down. Think about what life would look like (either overall – or professionally) if this was ALL you focused on for a fixed period of time.

My 6 things (go small) #LAUNCH2017

  • i write books
  • i teach courses
  • i create community
  • i inspire entrepreneurs
  • i make people laugh
  • i challenge myself professionally, in one new way, everyday.  

What weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.

Carlos Castaneda