Cross Blog Conversation with Benecia Ponder

BeneciaI’m trying some new, fun and interesting things this month on my blog.  I had my first guest blogger last week when Ponn Sabra wrote a post, Simple Tips to Help You Blog Faster.  Today I am participating in a Cross Blog Conversation with a new friend, Benecia Ponder.

Benecia and I are both participating in the Stretch Yourself Challenge this month and this is one of the activities we are doing to stretch ourselves.

If you have never heard of a Cross Blog Conversation let me explain….

The Unstoppable YouYou get to “listen in” on an interesting conversation between two people. (Benecia and I)  But instead of an in-person conversation, it is on our blogs.  You can chime in if you want in the comment area. Benecia kicked off the conversation yesterday with her post, Cross Blog Conversation with  Robin Smith and today I am responding to her questions.

Benecia’s website is The Unstoppable You Revolution.  Benecia and I are both solopreneurs building businesses doing work we are super passionate about. We’re also both at a place in our businesses where we are ready for more.  We are stepping it up so that we can impact and serve more people.

Our Conversation

Hi Benecia,

I’m so glad we are doing this Stretch Challenge together.

I was surprised to learn as a professional speaker, you don’t feel comfortable starting conversations. I had to chuckle when you mentioned checking your phone messages and running to the restroom to give yourself pep talks.

You did a great job of initiating this conversation, even if it was intimidating.

For the past couple years I have been in learning mode.   Learning as much as I could, but not activating or implementing.  In August, I vowed to change that and I have been actively implementing since then.  I write for people and it seems all my time is going to writing for others. Just as you mentioned, “I was helping others to step it up, but I was not doing the same for myself.”  So, I joined the “stretch” to focus some time on my business and taking it to the next level.

Benecia asked:  You help entrepreneurs grow their businesses by enhancing their social media presence.  Have you ever helped a client with something and then realized that you needed to do it for yourself?

Answer:  All the time.  I will come up with great ideas for blog posts, find little tweaks that need to be made to clients’ websites, etc. and I make sure they are well taken care of.  My motto is to exceed expectations!  But till I get them all fixed, I sometimes don’t have time to do my own.

Also, I am a great cheerleader for others to take care of themselves, to get enough rest, to celebrate the little things, to give themselves grace and not push themselves so hard.   I need to take my own advice in these areas.

Benecia asked: How did you handle it?

Answer:  I can’t say I have handled it as well as I would have liked. I still work a full time job.  I enjoy the work, but it takes a huge amount of my time.  So my time to work on my business is limited.  I will admit, that sometimes I get stressed.  If I have lots going on at work and my personal life and then a couple big projects for clients, I cheat myself of sleep and that has very negative consequences.  (Ask my husband!  lol)

What I have done this month is cut back on some client work to make a bit more time for my own stuff.  I just finished a couple big projects for clients and instead of jumping right in with the next big thing, I have carved out some time for the things I want to focus on for the stretch.  I’m still doing the routine work for clients, just not extra projects.

I always try to over-deliver to clients and end up short changing my own business. After tracking my time I realized I was giving customers their allotted time and some of my time to over-achieve for them.  Now that I realize it is a problem, I will take the steps necessary to better schedule my time. Come May I will pick back up on projects and seeking new customers, but I hope to be more strict with my time and allow equal time to work on my own projects as I do for clients.

I’m also making a concerted effort to get more rest.  Four and five hours of sleep every night is just not enough.  I’ve also been trying to give myself more grace.  Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.

Benecia asked:  Do you have any strategies to make sure that you’re “practicing what you preach”?

Answer:  Yes, I do.

1.  Track your time.   I found this to be extremely helpful in realizing customers were getting much more of my time than I had allotted for them.  So now I am sticking to strict time limits.  Yes some things will take more time, but on average, I should be able to complete the work in the time allotted.

2.  Know the difference between actual working online and wasting time.   Commenting on facebook to personal posts, answering email etc. is important and deserves its own time, but if it isn’t actually part of the work you need to do, it is a waste of your valuable time.

3.  Schedule specific time to work on YOUR business and YOUR projects.  If you don’t, time will disappear and your work won’t get done.

Go to Bed4.  Schedule sleep!  Yes, I actually write on my schedule, “Go to BED!”   If I don’t, I will be up till 2 AM.  I am a night owl, but going to be at 2 and getting up at 5:30 or 6 gets old.  Anyway, sleep affects your focus, your concentration, your thought processes, your mood and so much more.

5.  Schedule other down time for fun.  I love what I do and I could work all day and all night.  But that makes for a boring person.  So I deliberately schedule downtime and fun activities.

6.  Accept that sometimes “good enough” is truly good enough!   Everything doesn’t have to be perfect.  It is OK to eat soup instead of a gourmet meal.  It is OK to ask others to help you do laundry, etc.  It is ok to get a job completed without over-delivering sometimes.

Questions for Benecia:

Now we will turn the conversation back to Benecia to answer some questions.

1.  You encourage women to be positive and live their passion.  How do you stay motivated to encourage others?

2.  Have you ever helped other women with an issue and realized you also needed to help yourself?

3.  Have other women’s issues ever been depressing for you?

4. What strategies can you share for staying positive?

5.  What is the one thing you wish ever woman would believe?

I’m hoping you are getting more comfortable with our cross blog challenge.  I can’t wait to read your responses tomorrow.
Robin Sig

Simple Tips to Help You Write Blog Posts Faster

This post is one-stop in the month-long Blogger Babes blog tour which began here. To read this post in-context, we recommend starting at the beginning–then hop along with us for the full journey.

Stop #9 in my 25-blogs blog tour, and today I scheduled to start sharing some of my best tips to writing blog posts faster. And, it’s a perfect follow up to Robin’s latest blog post Tips for Easier Blogging. The 5 tips shared are exactly things I recommend doing, but just with different terminology. Please follow through to the next stops to read the rest of my tips.

Tips To Write Blog Posts Faster

  • Get rid of distractions.  Turn off the Internet, Facebook and other social media on all your devices. Turn off the ringer on your phone.  Tell your family that you’re working. Shut your home office door, if you can. If necessary, find childcare and head to your library or coffee shop.

 I’m actually in the public library write now with my email shut down, phone on silent, in a quiet study room, and on my 2nd blog post which is making me 2-days ahead of schedule.

  •  Set aside a regular time to write. Are you a morning person or an evening person? You may want to set aside a slot at 9:30 am, when you’re sharp and have that freshly brewed cup of coffee (or fresh green smoothie which I prefer) sitting on your desk after you dropped the kids off at school and the dog is fast asleep after his morning walk.

Or perhaps you are an evening person (by choice or necessity because of work or perhaps you homeschool.) Develop a nightly routine or schedule so that after you spend time with your family, that you excuse yourself to write and work.

Be sure to make that time slot regular and sacred. Over time you’ll be amazed at how easy it becomes to start writing creatively, once you’ve made it a daily habit.

I set aside time depending on my weekly schedule. If my girls have a mid-day class, my writing time is during that time. Otherwise, I do it first thing in the morning, or late at night. The point is, be flexible with yourself, but “set a time” nonetheless.

  • Keep it short, sweet and simple.  An ideal blog length should be about 350-500 words.  (If you find yourself passing 750 words, you’ve got two or more ideas – split them up or create a series of blog posts.) This may be difficult from pillar post writers like myself who typically writes 1000 – 1500 words per post. That’s why we recommend a nice mixture of both short and sweet and pillar posts.

I’ve been blogging for over a decade, and I’m notorious for “Ponn’s pillar posts”. As a trained freelance writer and author, I can bang out 500 words in less than 15 minutes, so I know I’m an exception to the rule. I will share that writing 25-blog posts on top of my 12 posts/month on BloggerBabes.com — I’m applying all my “fast blog writing tips” this month!

The above tips are an excerpt from our debut “21 Fast and Simple Tips to Write Blog Posts Faster” Guide, one of seven documents in our comprehensive Blogger Monthly Tutorials launching on May 1st. Each tutorial eKit comes with a tutorial, 21 tips sheet, worksheet, calendar, worksheets, all our recommended tools and much more!

Click here to sign up for the Early Bird special release of $5 per month!

Win Two-Hours of Blog Coaching with Heidi and Ponn ($298 value)

 We’re crowdsourcing the name of our Monthly Training tutorials. So, we need your help!

Grand Prize: Two-Hours of Blog Coaching by Blogger Babes Co-Founders (Value $298)

  • Two one-hour blog coaching sessions, one with Heidi and one with Ponn. Coaching will be conducted separately on the phone (domestic), Skype, or our recorded webinar room (international).

 How to Enter:

  1. Make one comment below for each monthly subscription title you create. Make sure you use your primary email, so it’s easy for us to reach you if you win!

 Rules:

  1. Any age, any country. Minors with guardian’s permission.
  2. Unlimited number of entries across any/all guest blog posts from now until Monday, April 20, 2015.
  3. Deadline date: Monday, April 20, 2015 11:59 pm Pacific Time. [After all, we need time to design the covers. 😉 ]
  4. Winner selection: Heidi and I will select one winner and announce it Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

 You can even champion your title by letting us know on Twitter @TheBloggerBabes or Facebook @TheBloggerBabes.

 [Note: these actions do not serve as contest entries. Official entries must be made on this blogpost…but, we’d love to connect with you nonetheless.]

 Next Steps:

  •  Check out our draft sales page now, take some time, and share your proposed title below in the comments area on or before April 20th 11:59 pm Pacific time. While you’re there, sign up for our Early Bird release special!
  •  Follow the rest of my tour to meet new bloggers, “spy” on other creative title entries, and learn along with me. Here’s our blog tour schedule.

 Can’t wait to read your replies!

Ponn Sabra is a best-selling author and homeschool mom of three tween and teen daughters, also bestselling authors and probloggers [http://PonnSabra.com]. The Managing Partner of Blogger Babes, Ponn prefers the public library over local cafes for scheduled writing time. What are your favorite writing getaway spots?