Three Things To Consider When Starting a Podcast

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It’s been said that podcasts will soon become the most important storytelling medium. Not only have they gained popularity as a choice platform for storytellers, but their audiences have been growing exponentially.

Did you know that about 21% of Americans listen to podcasts regularly? This might seem surprising in the age of video, but it’s true! With the rise of connected cars and long commutes, it makes sense. From mystery shows to parenting discussions, people are tuning in more and more every day.

Do you dream of having your own podcast but not sure where to begin? We asked Lucrecer Braxton, a creative consultant, graphic designer and award-winning photographer and podcaster, what she thinks.

She firmly believes that before you dive into any project, you should be clear on your mission. Here are a few questions she suggests asking yourself before you open up that Soundcloud account.

  1. Why do you want to podcast? Your why will help you keep the theme of your podcast focused.
  2. Does your podcast solve a problem, educate, entertain or inspire? People listen for one of these reasons. Does your podcast fit one or more of these?
  3. Do you have what it takes to sustain at least 10 episodes? Not many podcasts publish past 10 episodes. Do you have content and stamina to maintain your show?

If you want to learn more about podcasting, follow Lucrecer over at SistaCast and check out her podcast Pick My Brain, where she brings together artists, designers, authors and other visionaries to answer the questions about all things creative.

Happy podcasting!

Lucrecer Braxton was born in Georgia and is a southern girl at heart. She loves on herself, loves on haters and has no problem calling out "hot mess" when she sees it. Lucrecer is a creative consultant, graphic designer and award-winning photographer and podcaster. She has graced the stage at many conferences, sharing passionate, motivating messages with her audience. She has led workshops on relationship building, photography, blogging, podcasting, building communities online and pitching yourself for maximum exposure. As the host of the Pick My Brain Podcast, Lucrecer brings together artists, designers, authors and other visionaries to answer the questions about all things creative. She also paints lovely watercolors and acrylics with the goal of bringing joy and happiness to everyone.

Setting Up For Entrepreneurial Success

SETTING UP FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS

 

Taking the plunge into starting a business can be very stressful. That's why it's super important that you take good care of yourself and create a daily routine to help smoothen out those bumps in the road. It's inevitable. They will happen. How you handle then is key. 

Here are a few things that have been helping me stay on task no matter what this crazy entrepreneurial journey throws my way. 

Create a daily morning ritual

The way you start your day is crucial. I used to wake up and check my phone right away. When I worked at #WeAllGrow Latina Network, we had clients on the east coast, which always made me feel like I was behind before I even started the day. It took me a long time to stop that habit. Now that I’m my own boss, the phone will not be (and has not been) checked until I’ve gotten up, meditated, got dressed (even though I work from home), and ate breakfast. Once I feel calm and centered, I can start the day. 

Starting your day with a nourished body, mind and soul will increase your productivity. Take care of you first (Yes, even if that means you need to wake up earlier than everone else. So worth it). 

Nourish your body

Back when I was checking my emails before getting out of bed, I was living on multiple cups of coffee. By early afternoon, I would crash. Sometimes my first meal of the day was in the afternoon!

I still need my cup of joe but if I don’t start the day with a veggie drinkor a light breakfast, I really feel it. Heavy food will make you feel sluggish. A green drink, yogurt, fruit, avocado toast, acai bowl – are all great starters for the day. 

Do not multi-task

I was guilty of this too. And sometimes it can’t be helped. But you will get far better results if you focus on one task at a time. Finishing a task and checking off that list feels great. Having too many balls in the air can leave you feeling like you got nothing done that day.

Get organized

When I made the decision to embark on this new chapter, I cleaned out and organized my home office. Emails, my computer desktop and papers get out of control quickly.  Remove all of the digital clutter. 

To keep my blog posts and editorial calendar in order, I swear by my Organizada planner from The Planning Collective. They also have a Jefa and Full Life planner, which I have my eye on right now. 

You have to treat your own projects with the same care you would if you were in an office working for someone else. 

Get up and move

If you sit at a computer all day, it’s not good to be sedentary for too long. It can cause all kinds of problems from muscle pain to heart issues. Oh yes, sitting all day is really, really bad for you. In fact, my posture while working contributed to my TMJ issue. I used to sit in my bed at work at the computer. Not good. 

Get up and stretch if you’re unable to go for walk outside. Even if it’s just five minutes. My friends and I walk in the mornings before work. When I’m unable to walk with them, I do it in the evening. But I also stretch a lot throughout the day. It really makes a huge difference. Good circulation helps those brilliant ideas come in!

Rest

Sounds simple enough and it’s not groundbreaking advice. But if you don’t get your 8 hours of sleep, you’re going to feel it all day. You can’t feel calm, centered and successful if you’re running on empty. Make sleep time a sacred ritual. Take a warm bath, shut off electronics, drink tea or meditate. Clear your mind of the days’ noise and activities. 

(This post is an edited version of what I wrote at Perennial Chic). 

Crafting A Money Making Blog

Crafting a money making blog

What goes into a good blog? This week we spoke to Helena Osorio who has been in the influencer marketing and content production field for most of her career. After working with brands and agencies to pair them up with the best group of bloggers to complete a project, Helena knows how to spot a great blog and a perfect partnership. So what is in this magic formula? We asked and Helena shared her thoughts. 

Q: Before working with brands, bloggers need to make sure they have a few things in order on their blogs. What are your tips for a great homepage and first impression? 

A: To me, less is more, meaning clean design and an easy to navigate blog are very important. Also, the design of your blog should be in brand, it is after all the first impression people will have and they will draw a perception from it. What's your story and how are you telling through your photos, your content, the titles in your blog posts?  

Q: The bio. Often overlooked yet so necessary. What are absolute must-haves when crafting a bio? 

A: Lord! I know that writing your bio is probably one of the hardest things to do. You want to feature your strengths and your accomplishments yet you don't want to sound like you are bragging. Or is that just me? Again, I'm going to go back to your branding and your voice. You want your authentic self to come through, tell your story, engage with your audience. And, for brands or agencies looking at your blog include your heritage, include if you are a parent, include where you live and an email where people can reach you! 

Q: What do brands typically want to see when they land on a blog? 

A: It depends on the brand, of course. Remember that the brand is looking for brands that they can align with and will represent them. Brands are also looking for consistency in posting. If your last post was 6 months ago that may throw them off.  They also want a mix of content between sponsored and non-sponsored content. So, remember, you are also a brand and just like them you have to select who you work with. 

One more thing, have your contact information available (and use an email you check). If a brand or influencer marketing agency contacts you, they will be watching if it's easy to contact you, how and when you respond, so be super professional from the get-go! Respond to emails, be polite, be professional and if you promise something come through. Don't lose a good opportunity because you didn't check that inbox this week. 

Q: Numbers. How important are they...really? 

I think I'd be naive to say they don't matter. I also think how clients look at numbers is different and will probably continue to change in the ever-evolving world of social media. Companies are very much focused on the ROI, so the more you can measure that, the stronger your position will be. Again, this is an area that also depends on the brands, you have brands that are now looking more strongly at engagement, not just the number of followers. 

Q: In order to pass the Blog template 101 "course" what should the bloggers check off their list first? 

A: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, work on your branding. Research your target market, figure out where they are, what they do, what they like, what their passion points and needs are, and what are you offering? Stay true to yourself and your brand, this may be harder than you think because of course what's happening around you will affect you. Be flexible, learn from your mistakes and have fun with it. Oh! and when you pick a name, be sure it's something you'll be comfortable with for a long time. And, last but definitely most important, don't lose yourself in the glam and glitter of the blogging world, stay connected and true to reality. Your family, your learning, your path, your soul always comes first. 

Helena Osorio is a broadcast producer turned project manager and a storyteller enthusiast. In her years of experience working for international television networks, global advertising and boutique influencer marketing agencies she has learned to love and produce content in all its forms. Lately, she's into strategies, product + project management, and sewing. She jumps from the computer to the sewing machine, where she is trying to create a handmade accessory line one stitch at a time. Helena and her family are based in Illinois. 

You can find Helena online at handmandebyhelena.com and on Instagram @helenabosorio .

Step Up Your Networking Game

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In our city of Angels, where knowing the right people can be as daunting as knowing which freeway to take if you want to skip traffic (will we ever?), we’re often left feeling overwhelmed by that enchanting little word: networking. It holds the promise of getting you to your next step, if you can figure out how to work the damn thing. This is true regardless of where you are in the world, and it’s especially true if you consider yourself a creative or entrepreneur. So this week I spoke to Ashley Soto, a persistent networking master who has intuitively navigated all the stages in her career. 

What impressed me when I first met Ashley was how flawlessly she moved through these different phases in her career and how she made all of them work in her favor. My question to her has often been, how?! Don’t get me wrong, her intelligence and talent are evident right away. But my question stood, how does one make smooth career moves and jumps without missing a beat? Networking always came up which made sense, but of course it also left me with more questions. So I had to ask for her secrets and she graciously answered.

Q: To get us started, I want to ask what is your proudest networking moment?

A: My proudest networking moment? The first time I networked my way into a full time job. It was proof of concept: it worked! Now that I knew this method worked and that, once stripped down, it was really quite simple--a conversation--it opened up the door to the possibilities. Since that moment, all of the money I've made has resulted from sort of networking.

Q: What is your gameplan when you go into a networking event or function where you know there is potential? Break it down for us. Do you research beforehand? If there was no time for that how to select who you will approach?

A: I research the person/people/company of interest beforehand so that I know exactly who I will look for at the event. If the person of interest is a guest speaker, I will listen to what they say and angle my question(s) based on what they said. I usually have a general sense of what I want to ask about or what my goal is, but by incorporating verbatim tidbits from what they said, it comes across as if I have a curiosity about the topic. It works because it demonstrates that you paid attention and have an interest in what they specifically said. It's creating dialogue about a topic that they know more about than you do, which allows them to do most of the talking.

Q: You’ve networked as a marketer and as a creative. Now, you are putting your creative skills out there as opposed to representing a company. How has your “gameplan” changed since making that switch?

A: I'm selling myself as opposed to selling a product or service for a company. The pitch has changed, but the process is the same. The stakes are higher, so it does feel more daunting, but at its core, it's leaving with a business card and following up. If someone doesn't respond within 10 days, I follow up again.

Q: Any advice for creatives who don’t know where to start with networking?

A: Mine Eventbrite for events in your field of interest. Mine LinkedIn for people in your field, and send a message requesting an informational interview. If you already have a specific product, then include your pitch within the message--and make sure the pitch is tailored to demonstrate how it helps them rather than how it helps you.

Q: Let’s get specific. How do you organize your conversational pitch when you meet someone?

A: Show interest in the other person rather than dive into your goals. It's like a negotiation. You don't tell the other side what you really want. You almost want it to be their idea. By just having a conversation with someone and creating camaraderie, even from a short time together, the other person will eventually ask you why you're there. By the time you reach that point in the conversation, they already like you and are interested in you--because you've already invested in them by being the first to break the awkward networking silence. The ball's then in your court. That's the point when you can be transparent about your goals, and the person will offer to help.

This isn't always true, however. If you're pitching to the guest speaker after standing in a long line of other people pitching to the guest speaker, be direct. Get straight to the point. It's a tweet: 140 characters that reel them in and make them laugh or have an "aha" moment. Another approach is to literally wait till the chaos dies because they will have noticed that you waited. It's happened to me more often than not that someone will say, "You've been waiting awhile..." and they give me their undivided attention, which gives me time to deliver more than a tweet.

Q: Do you have any tips for someone who is more on the introverted side and dreads anything with the word “networking” in it?

A: I think people assume that you have to be the life of the party to get a lead. Leaving with a business card and following up the next morning with "It was so great meeting you at X" works just as well. It doesn't require a huge amount of effort, and the introverts don't have to worry about the face-to-face time. To be clear, regardless of introvert/extrovert, you should always be following up, but if you're introverted, you can wait till the e-mail for the ask.

Another strategy is to have 2 or 3 talking points ready at all times. It works best if they're questions. The goal is to get the other person talking that way the introvert can just (actively) listen. People like to talk about themselves, and if you were the person who encouraged them to do so, they'll like you. It's so simple that it's scary!

You can read more from Ashley at sotospeak8.com and find her on Instagram @sotospeak8 .

Pros and cons of working from home

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I’ve been working full-time from home for quite some time now. I would say I started somewhere around 2011. My son was about 12 years old. Even though my job had an office, I was given the option to work from home. I went into the office here and there, but not enough to really say I worked out of the house.

It was important to me to work from home because, as the primary parent, I wanted to be able to have the flexibility (which means working the hours I missed in the evening) to be there for doctor appointments, school meetings and so on.

I’ve been very blessed to have this opportunity, but it doesn’t come without its cons. Don’t get it twisted. I trade in long commutes for all other types of crazy. If you work from home (with kids), I’m sure you will relate to this list. If you’re thinking about it, here are the pros and cons of working from home. 

PROS AND CONS OF WORKING FROM HOME

PROS

No commute

I live in LA. Not braving traffic everyday is dreamy. I don’t have the stress that comes from sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.

Flexibility

Like I said, I’ve been able to work my schedule around my son’s needs, which has been amazing. Even if I get stuck working late, it’s worth it to me. No matter what, I’ve been able to attend many school functions and even serve in the PTA. Even if I looked crazy (we will get to that in the cons), I was there. 

Related: Setting up for success

Save money

No gas or lunch money expenditures. OK. Maybe some lunches (and coffee) because I have to get out sometimes. But it does not compare to eating out every day when you’re in an office. When I used to work at Montclaire Art Museum many moons ago, I could not wait to spend all my money at the local Indian restaurant. It was the highlight of my day (and a very expensive one at that).

I also don’t make a lot of trips to the gas station and I save money on work clothes. 

More ‘real’ work time

You can sit and plow through a project without being interrupted with meetings (depending on your job), office distractions, commuting issues, etc. I’m the most productive between 9:30am – 12:30pm. I can move mountains in this time-frame. 

You can wear whatever you want 

I’ve had a few jobs that required corporate attire, and discovered it wasn’t really my thing. I mean, times have changed but I still love being able to wear whatever I please. When I shop, I don’t have to worry about what to wear for the office. I can choose to dress up, down – the world is mine. Sometimes, though, that is not always a good thing. Because when you work from home, you can definitely fall into the yoga pants rabbit hole. I will get to that in cons!

CONS

Loneliness

It’s lonely. I don’t have the daily interaction with co-workers face to face. I chat all day long online with friends, but it’s so not the same. Sure, I can go to a coffee shop or work elsewhere, but it doesn’t compare to working with people (well, people you enjoy!).

No end in sight

You can easily keep working until your eyes close. I need to be productive the whole day. I have a hard time sitting to just watch movies or relaxing. If you leave it up to me I would work non-stop. 

Related: 5 characteristics of a boss lady

Self-discipline

This goes with what I said above. You need a lot of self-discipline to start your day and a lot of it to end it! I start at 9am. No matter what. I try to end at 5ish, but that never happens. I also have to work hard to remind myself to eat (healthy), exercise, take breaks, meditate. My schedule also includes a good amount of doctor visits and whatever my son is up to. I live off of my planners. I always have to keep things on track day to day. Fortunately, I have a pretty strong work ethic and get the job done (I thank my strict Irish Catholic education) but I do have my days where I would just rather nap with my cats. I mean, they’re insanely cozy little creatures. 

No one believes you’re working

My son always forgets something at home or I need to pick him up from somewhere. I have to remind him that I have a job. What would he do if I was a brain surgeon? He would have to figure it out, right? And I just have the one kid. My friends with multiple kids trying to build businesses at home have all my respect. Family members (and friends who need favors) really don’t get it. 

You wear whatever you want

This is the exact same title in pros. Because if you let me I would pretty much yoga pant through life. I love getting dressed up and all, but when I’m working I can’t be bothered with what I’m wearing. I just need to be comfortable. The problem with that is that when I do need to get up and meet the world face to face, I look like I’ve been trapped in a basement.