Watch these numbers to grow your blog & business without going crazy

When I first started growing my blog to support my web design work in 2009 I felt lost and awkward. I had no idea what would help me get clients, what would make someone feel comfortable enough to work with me, let alone what would make them come back or refer their friends to me.

I was enthusiastic and had a lot of knowledge, but you can’t show that to anyone until they find you.

It’s easy to feel like your tiny website is going to stay lost in internet limbo unless someone who’s already successful discovers you.

Watch These Numbers to Grow Your Blog and Business by Kyla Roma

While that can’t hurt, there is no one handing out wands and creating blogging fairy godmothers. And even if there were, there’s no fairy godmother section on your business plan or editorial calendar.

When it comes to growing your blog or business in a meaningful way, you don’t want to hope for a fluke high traffic day that’s gone as fast as it arrived. You want to track slow and steady growth without beating yourself up about the numbers.

So what should we pay attention to?

The past years of hands on experience – plus wearing out my library card and amazon delivery service  – have taught me a lot about online business and strategy. I’ve taken courses, attended conferences, and have been lucky enough to have conversations with really smart people.

What’s been truly transformative for me is being behind the scenes in hundreds of businesses as a designer and consultant. Before I can help anyone improve their online world I have to understand it, so I’ve had the opportunity to see a huge variety of healthy online businesses.

While some of them have thousands of people waiting to hear from them every week, most have small blogs that provide a great positive impact through a product or service that they provide. And those blogs and businesses – including my own – support families, pay for rent or mortgages, without the comment count or posting frequency that we imagine a “successful blog” has when you use lifestyle blogging standards.

Friday Finds know you’ll move mountains (no. 60)

Friday Finds

image by itsaliving via Pinterest

image by itsaliving via Pinterest

Links about creativity, living fully & getting things done:

11 Extensions To Power Up Your Gmail Productivity

✖ Live like You’re Dying (and Find Time for the Things That Matter)

The truth, wisdom and lessons of your jealousy.

One of the most uncomfortable emotions has got to be jealousy. Any time I feel it, I react like I’ve touched a hot stove, and suddenly all I can hear is, “Oh great, here we go!” and “AREN’T YOU BEYOND THIS? COME ON!”

In the online world, jealousy is always around the corner. There’s always someone who owns things that we can’t afford, someone getting a book deal, or someone who’s a little further in their career or skills than we are. If your emotional immune system isn’t at the top of its game, you can start out on Pinterest and end up with a witches brew of self loathing in less than an hour.

What a relief, to let jealousy lead you to whaty ou creave instead of resisting while it burns you to the ground (via Kyla Roma)

Several months ago there was an episode of the Design*Sponge podcast that talked about using jealousy as a positive tool to motivate you to action, instead of treating it like a nuclear weapon, and it sparked some great insights for me. In case you haven’t listened, you can read more about it and listen to Grace Bonney’s explanation here.

When jealousy is sparked in us, we make the feeling about who or what triggered it. Jealousy becomes about people who can afford a trip we can’t take or who go to the conference we can’t attend.

What if instead of letting your jealousy curdle, you let it lead you to what you deeply crave?

Instead of letting its heat turn you to ashes, what if you let your jealousy burn a path to the parts of your life that have been neglected so you can make your own life better?

Friday Finds don’t care about the competition (no. 60)

Friday Finds


it doesn't matter what others are doing it matters what you are doing

Don’t focus on the competition, focus on your game. (lettering by satsuki shibuya)


✖ Your life just isn’t complete without this 1989 Aerobics Workout version of Shake it Off.

✖ Get lost in beautiful maps of space throughout the ages 

✖ Scheduling across multiple social media networks? Who isn’t, right? Tiempy is a free social media scheduling tool that’s beautifully designed and ultra useful. Currently supports Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with Google+ and Pinterest being added soon.

✖ Brush up on the five parts of brand storytelling nearly everyone misses.

✖ Work with lots of files on a daily basis? I didn’t even realize how inconvenient dragging / dropping / copying was until I downloaded DragonDrop. Just shake your mouse, pop files (or anything) into a tiny dock, and keep adding until you’re done. Practical, helpful and playful is a great combination.

✖ One of the more positive and practical pieces about dealing with critics that I’ve read is Jame’s Clear’s piece, “How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work”. A must read if you’re a blogger or creator online.

✖ Want to have a more meaningful day, week & life? Ask yourself these two questions every morning

✖ Pinterest SEO: 7 Tips From A Pinterest Engineer that have helped my followers grow from 3000 to +40k this past year (not an exaggeration!)

Friday Finds no. 59

Friday Finds!


image by Cocorrina

image by Cocorrina

✖ Are you a blogger, creative or entrepreneur looking for support & community? You need to check out #fireworkpeople! The brainchild of Canadian writer Ashley Beaudin, #fireworkpeople is a free, encouraging, positive community that has weekly tuesday twitter chats, a facebook community, blog tours, and conference calls! If you’ve been curious about a group coaching program or mastermind? This is your perfect opportunity to see what that’s like and get involved before this explodes with members.

✖ Do you use Facebook pages for your blog or brand? Try this easy way to see what’s working for your Facebook page. Even better? It’s more accurate & more encouraging than just looking at likes.

These 8 ways a simple notebook can change your life show that the right app was there all along.

Monica Lewinsky gave her first public speech in 16 years, and don’t look now but she’s a kind of a badass. She speaks with humor, self compassion and heartache about what it was like to be one of the first people to have their reputation ruined in the dawn of the internet era, and on helping to keep the victims of bullying and gossip supported and alive as this has swelled to be a tidal wave in our society. Bullying is not criticism, and it’s rampant online. Why not change that for the better? Don’t visit negative websites that make money from your pageviews, and make what you want more of online stronger by supporting your favorite maker, teacher or resource with encouragement or a purchase.

Have you heard of dazzle camouflage? It’s ships painted into optical illusions so they’re harder to hit, and they are wild! you can’t make this stuff up.

The weekly habit that’s changed how I feel about my work & life

One of the tricky things about being interested in goal setting is that it’s easy to slip into what I call productivity shaming.  You don’t have to be a perfectionist for this to trip you up, though that doesn’t hurt, and it looks different for all of us.

For me, this often ends up being a day where I get a lot done but not the specific things on my to do list. For you, it might be a day when you slip into responding to email mode instead of doing the bulk of your job.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the most underrated parts of working for someone else is having outside forces to attribute these problems to!

We all have threads of assumption woven through the our days that show up in the stories we tell ourselves. If you let your mood run away with them, you’re going to end up in a mess.

This is how I changed that for myself.

image by Sylwia Bartyzel

November 2014 marks the start of my fourth year of being completely self employed, and I’ve spent much of that time wishing that I’d spent it differently.

Even when my work goes beautifully, and even when I’m proud of what I put out, there’s always something I would have changed.  And it’s true right now,  when I wish that wasn’t the case!

What’s helped the most for me is definitely practicing self compassion (must watch video alert!) and also finding ways to punch through my mood at the end of the day or in the middle of the week when I’m more likely to let how I’m feeling at the moment colour how much I’m helping someone I work with, how I’ve made someone laugh, or how I’m learning things that I couldn’t have imagined when I started out.

As you’ve already guessed, I’m talking about drugs and alcohol.

Just kidding!

My solution is a lot more effective than numbing yourself, and it’s something I learned while working with the lovely Molly from Stratejoy.

This is a simple but effective part of our coaching calls that I fell in love with, and since then I’ve used it once a week to check in with myself, when I ask myself these three questions.

Friday Finds no. 58

Friday Finds on

I haven’t done Friday Finds post in a long time, but I’ve been finding so much great content to share between Pinterest and Twitter that keeping it from the blog just seems weird. So out with the weird (unless it’s the good kind of weird!) and in with the new.

Here’s new weekly inspiration from around the internet – links about beautiful things, creativity, social media, positivity, making a living online, community building, and of course some good old fashioned juicy photos…

Amy Roth Etsy Print

Perfect Citrus Wall Art by Amy Roth

The Science Behind How Emotions Lead to Smarter Decisions

New Evernote Web App Takes Decluttering to the Extreme (Now bring it to the desktop app!)

Not sure where to start with your social media campaign?

✖ If you have anxiety, depression, or just a case of the fates conspiring against you, check out this guide to getting back on track when life is hard.

Twin Peaks is coming back, with Lynch directing. Time to get weird… (This is definitely the good kind of weird!)

✖  I shared a lot of my favourite apps and resources with many of the the ladies at Designer Vaca, so if you’re trying to get more done in less time I thought I’d share them here too:

Services / Friendly Robot Helpers

TimeTrade: Let clients book appointments directly into your calendar, without 1000 confusing emails.

Xero: Accounting that works beautifully for multiple currencies, imports your Paypal feed, and lets you invoice clients directly. Integrates with nearly everything.

IFTTT: Stands for “If this, then that” and will let you automate a lot of your online life. Stop doing boring things! Start using robots.

Zapier: Zapier is automation between apps and services that you already use. It’s like IFTTT on steroids – and can do a lot of what you might pay someone to help you with, like recording sales or adding customers into your newsletter list. Basic plans are free, paid start at $20 per month.

ScannerPro: POOF! Your iPhone is now a scanner. This works incredibly well, and many of the illustrators and letterers mentioned that they only use this tool now. A simple, pretty way to track your to do list, and it’s Chrome browser extension turns your emails into tasks for free.

OmniFocus: Paid app that lets you turn your emails into To Do list items that you can organize, action, pause, defer and more. Personal favourite of mine.

Fancy Hands: Get support from a virtual assistant at a fraction of the price

Books & Ideas

Breaking the Time Barrier: Free download that will help you make twice as much as you do now.

The Art of Growth: by Tara Gentile, my business coach! I’ve been following her work for a long time, and this is a great intro to her work.

10 Ways to Make Waking Up Easier With a Seasonal Morning Routine

Is it just me, or is September is the new January? With back to school in full swing and the leaves changing (or thinking about it, at least!) I’ve craved healthy new habits, fresh starts, and changing the energy that I put into important areas of my life.

And I’m not just talking work!

This time of year reminds me that there’s still some summer sun to soak up, more farmers markets to take in, more bonfires to stir, more big questions to ask and dreams to dream, and more tiny adventures to fit in.

One of the ways that I love marking the change of seasons is to set aside an evening to look at what I’m craving, and how I can add in or pull things out of my daily and weekly routine that will nourish me, charge my batteries, and get me jumping out of bed for the coming months.

Seasonal Morning Routine Shake Up!

Your routine might be something you think about or something you’re barely aware of, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider what you typically do when you’re starting or ending your day.

Right now, my morning routine looks like this:

✚ Wake up
✚ Light workout or dog walk
✚ Get showered & dressed
✚ Have breakfast of overnight oats (With different toppings, this has been my breakfast most days since 2009!)
✚ 15 – 30 minute Pinterest spree
✚ Get down to work in my home office

Your shiny new routine might be just as good as what you did today, but changing your routine seasonally will give it newness that will make it more engaging. That “new & shiny” factor can make it easier for you to get out of bed because you have something new to look forward to.

If you live in a part of the world that doesn’t have sweeping changes between seasons, this is a great way for you to take the lead and make a change that will mark the new season.

(Aside from satisfying your PSL addiction, I mean.)

And if you haven’t created an intentional morning routine before? This is the perfect time to start.

Ways to shake up your daily routine in a beautiful way:

  • Brew a new special coffee or tea to enjoy
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier and write morning pages
  • Start rolling out of bed and into a workout or yoga practice as a way to care for yourself
  • Set an extra alarm so you have time to hit snooze, roll over & cuddle with a pet, partner, or little one
  • Drink warm lemon water in the morning to kick start your digestion & gently detox
  • Read a book you’re fascinated by as you wake up instead of turning on the TV
  • Write down 10 ideas, and don’t scratch them off your list when you’re done (you needed get through the “meh” ideas to get to the great ones!)
  • Join More Love Letters and send encouragement to someone who needs it before you start the day
  • Take yourself on a walk in your neighbourhood without distractions, to check in with yourself
  • Spend 20 – 30 minutes on a new skill you want to master, like calligraphy, knitting, or pole vaulting (whatever you’re into, my dear!)

Five ways to make this week feel more manageable

Ways to make your week feel more manageable

Sometimes by the end of Monday, I’m ready for it to be Friday. Even more frusterating is that it’s usually entirely about me and how I’ve started the week (or reacted to life!) that gets me tied up in knots. In case you’re having one of those weeks, I’m sharing a few simple ways that can help you turn a week around or keep it headed in the right direction.

1. Set a maximum on your daily to do list

At the start of the day, getting everything on paper is a great way to shake everything out of your beautiful mind. But the mistake that can drive you into overwhelm is assuming all of those things belong on your list for today… and then seeing the huge list of things you didn’t finish at the end of every day.

To get the most out of your list, make sure you have a maximum on what can fit into a day. I like to keep my work & personal to do lists for each day to 3 items or less each, and to prioritise things that will make it easier to do things done in the future.  This is a really practical way to make sure you’re not expecting yourself to be superwoman, and from feeling like you’re always behind.


2. Declutter your world for 15 minutes a day

I think that feeling like your world has slipped out of control (at least a little) and you have no time to make a big difference in your home life is much more common than it feels. Especially when you’re in the middle of it.

Instead of falling into overwhelm, set a timer for 15 minutes a day and work on a specific area in a specific room in your house.  Focus on the areas of your house where clutter has started to collect on open surfaces first, and then slowly expand out to take on one junk drawer, or one shelf of your books.

15 minutes a day is all you need to transform where you live into a tidy, stress free space, and for you to start seeing little victories everywhere. Don’t think about it, just start!


3. Make your phone to light up with fewer notifications

Push notifications can be amazing but if your phone is constantly flashing and beeping at you, it’s natural for your body to start bracing and anticipating interruption. If you use an iPhone you can easily change this by switching your application’s notifications from “alerts” to “banner” style, which means you still get all your notifications – but only when you pick up and unlock your phone.

One of the things that makes our lives amazing is getting into a state of flow, which is how psychologists talk about those stretches of time when we become absorbed in something that time seems to go by in a flash. The problem is that you’ll never get to that state if you let yourself be constantly pulled out of the present moment.

Re-learning to experience uninterrupted time is a skill, but it’s often also what we love about vacations or road trips. Less interruptions will make you feel less hurried, and will reduce the stress hormones your brain dishes out when your phone springs to life.


4. Journal your challenges & celebrations during the week

It’s often tempting to treat our well being and self care practices like it should happen on a perfect day, when we can really enjoy it… but we often need it most on the days when it’s least convenient! A habit that’s made a huge impact in my life is grabbing my journal a few nights during the work week, and writing out my challenges and celebrations at the moment.

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