Merging Pains, Twitter, and Autoresponders

When I decided to merge two (of my three) identities into one, I thought I knew what a chore it would be. I was wrong: it’s much worse. Well, not quite. It’s not like the “old days” when I had to cut and paste code or go through each individual page to change a name or attribute. The issue is, I forgot the other WordPress blog had different pages, links, menus, etc. At least this was a much easier transition than when I first arrived on the WordPress scene and transferred all of my Blogspot posts here … that was a nightmare. SO, if there is anything here that is broken, please let me know.

As for YouTube, that WAS a lot of cut and paste. I finally decided that if I forgot to transfer it, I don’t care.

But Twitter was awful! I love the way WordPress and YouTube deal with multiple pages (blogs or channels). You can just switch between them (if you are unlike me, and actually remember to switch). Twitter, if you are old and still using a computer, does not allow that. You have to log off, then log back in to the different account. I use a different password and login for just about everything I do and it would have taken much too long for me to figure out which was which. So, this is what I did.

I announced on my two other Twitter accounts that they would no longer be updated and asked them to follow my “Real Me” account (@brendanolen3). Then, I went through all those I was following on those two accounts and followed with my new account. Well, thanks to all the “Twitter for Business” advice out there, I have been receiving not only autoresponder private messages for the past three hours (from each and every person) BUT some who want me to verify I am a “real” person and click a link (immediate unfollow with those). I even unfollowed someone who was trying to sell their stuff by tagging every single one of their followers, individually posting on that person’s wall (feed … whatever it’s called) to challenge them to “review” their product (maybe I just ignored them before).

If Twitter was my go-to social media platform for business, I would not have the time (nor patience) to read (let alone respond to) all the autoresponder messages I am getting. I understand that I tend to be an “old fart” when it comes to some of the technology out there (heck, I just joined Instagram (brenda_nolen … if you hurry you can see my first and only photo on there) a few days ago and still don’t know what I am doing) but I have a request to all those doing business of any kind on Twitter:

Would you please either arrange for your autorespond messages to be sent at a later time (say, a day after someone follows you) or stop using them? 

I am so irritated, I almost want to turn off all notifications on my phone. All I want to do is learn and possibly share what I learn (and who I learned it from … as in send business your way). Please keep this in mind when you immediately spam someone who follows you (I can’t be the only one who feels this way). If I receive any “reminders” or “follow-ups” from anyone, I will unfollow them. I have also gotten into the habit of unfollowing people who autopost.

I hope this will all calm down, since I just finished “the merge” about an hour ago.

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Creative Badass Challenge – A Year Later?

 

Wow. It’s difficult for me to believe it has truly been a year since I posted about this challenge. It has also been a year since I put it on hold (that was the month of my husband’s cancer diagnosis and he is, so far, still cancer free). I decided to go back to it, see where I left off and get the ball rolling again. What a shock for me to discover that the challenge has disappeared from the web. The only consolation I have is I kept every email sent out and, thankfully, Dave Conrey did not delete the private videos from his You Tube channel. I am thoroughly disappointed that he chose to set that challenge aside, especially since it took very little effort (at least on the public side) to just park the entire project and let people discover it on their own.

On the other hand, look at me and what I have done. I have spent so much time over the past few years trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I have grown a lot but throughout that time, I have kept the majority of these changes private (unless you are my friend on Facebook). A while ago, I shared that I am a student and a teacher. Well, what did that mean? What does that have to do with “the price of tea in China”? That’s what I have been working on and I finally discovered what that meant to me.

I started by getting a real URL: www.brendanolen.com. I cleaned up my website a bit (it is still hosted on a friend’s server). Then, I thought I would start a business making things for people. I made some crocheted and knitted items but I also sewed some quilted bags. With each project, I learned more about my skills. Then, I got physically tired. For me, it is extremely tedious doing the exact same things over and over again. I got tired of counting and my hands got very angry with me (carpal tunnel). So, someone suggested the real money is selling supplies, not the finished product. There is no way I could ever compete with Hobby Lobby, Jo Anne’s, or Walmart, so I thought I would create patterns.  Well, guess what? I have to crochet or knit each size of each pattern to make sure I wrote the pattern correctly!  Didn’t I just say doing that made me tired?

So, I put all of that aside. I have had an idea for a book for a while (all it took was for my son to say one sentence and that sent my brain into a dance of ideas). While that idea was percolating, that’s all it did. I did nothing with the idea until about a month ago. That’s when I decided I needed to get busy and take this writing “thing” seriously. That involved (which it always does with me) extensive research. I have absolutely no formal education in the art of writing. I thought about taking a college course. Have you seen the price of community colleges today? WOW! So, I turned to my favorite research tool, Google.

I have been a podcast listening/webinar watching/information downloading fool! I have also begun my book (which became two), almost finished a compilation of some public domain works that I have fallen in love with, and have about 6 more books percolating in my brain.

The best thing about this process for me is realizing I don’t have to focus on one subject. I can publish whatever I want about whatever subject I want! Isn’t that fantastic? With all the knowledge I have gained over the years on a wide array of topics from low carb eating to cooking to crafting to business to surviving this life, I am so relieved I do not have to solely focus on one topic and cast aside all the other knowledge I have swirling around in my brain.

I will be sharing about what books I publish here (and my other two blogs if they are too subject specific). If you would like to be emailed when I release my book(s), be sure to join my email list. I just wanted to warn you that this blog, right here, is truly the heart of who I am and will encompass every aspect of me.

In the words of Cartman (from South Park): “Whatever! I do what I want!”

So, have you figured out what you want? What you are going to do about it? Let’s get busy!

The Importance of Preparedness

 

I used to be a huge proponent of preparedness (I still am but I just don’t shout it from the rooftops any longer). Food, water, emergency essentials are all important.  So, what kind of preparedness am I talking about?  Wills. No matter what age you are, if something were to happen right now, does anyone know not only what your final wishes are but have the legal authority to take care of them?  Now is the time to get these important matters dealt with.

As I may have mentioned, this year has been one heck of a year.  There have been many accomplishments made, some setbacks but mostly it has been a year of discovering what is truly important and a year of reflection.  See, my husband was diagnosed with cancer in June (as of right now, he is cancer free).  May 1st, my mom (step-mom) was diagnosed with liver cancer (she passed in August).  Then, in October, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He just passed November 1.  Our family is no stranger to loss.

My mom is the last of the children on her side of the family and both of my grandparents on my father’s side passed away, most of them before I turned 30 years old.  The one thing that remained consistent with each passing was the breakdown within our families.  Siblings who always had issues in the past let it all out.  There was no holding back for the sake of the family.  I don’t even really remember (in those instances) the offending parties allowing for grieving to take place.  Heck, when my husband’s grandmother was still with us (hospice) things were being stolen from the house during visits (we cannot confirm or deny exactly who it was but only someone extremely close would have know where she kept all of her valuable jewelry and that stealing just the stones made it more difficult to report/track).  As soon as the patriarch (or matriarch) passed, it was every sibling for themselves.  Well, that is now happening with my dad but it isn’t the children stealing from each other, it is another relative!  I am so livid that his brand of poison is infecting even more members of my family.

And this is why I am writing to you today.  Do you have a will?  Is it with a neutral party who will not take sides and favor this person over that one?  Do you have your valuables stored securely?  If you look at someone and say, “They will never steal from me” are you sure about that?  A death in the family can bring out the absolute worst in people.  Is there anything you would like someone to have that you can give them NOW?  If so, do it!  If there is someone (like a child or sibling) that you do not want to have anything, be sure to name them in your will and give them 1 dollar (or penny).  They cannot contest, saying you forgot about them or some other such nonsense. Does someone have an item of yours that you want back?  You better get it back soon or they may claim it for themselves.

I found this website with free wills and other legal forms that can help you if you have no idea where to start.

http://www.free-legal-document.com/how-to-write-a-will.html

 

Creative Badass Challenge – Dave Conrey

I know.  I talk about him quite a bit.  I swear, I’m not a stalker but he resonates with me.  I love his attitude, his delivery, and message.  I have been taking his Creative Badass Challenge (I could have sworn I posted about it before but I guess not).  I signed up to participate in this challenge on June 3rd (2015).  It’s a 28 day program to help you “change the way you live & work.”  Officially, I have completed Day 16.  It has been much longer than 16 days since I began this challenge but some of the daily challenges took me a lot longer than a day to complete (not to mention my husband’s surgery and other health issues).  As of today, I already have a business I am planning for (and thoroughly excited about), and you read my last post outlining my progress in other aspects of getting this business ready for lift-off.  I’m just so excited and, when I did the day 16 challenge I just could not believe my eyes: the challenge is to do something that I am currently doing already (began doing this a couple of weeks ago because of my “shiny object” affliction).  That’s when I knew I had to spread the word far and wide.  You NEED to sign up for this challenge (and complete it … and don’t put it on hold too long, like I did with my Public Speaking course on Coursera so now I have to repeat the last chapter).

Aside from the knowledge and insight you will gain, a great thing about this challenge is IT IS TOTALLY FREE!!!

Dave has been very generous over the years but this, by far, is one of the best deals around.  Take this challenge!  You will not be disappointed.

Here’s a video explaining the challenge:

 

Selling Yourself–The Art of a Winning ‘About Page’ with Melissa Cassera

http://www.amyporterfield.com/2015/07/about-page-melissa-cassera/

So, I have made some steps toward fulfilling my goal of figuring out who I am. See, in an earlier post, I mentioned I am a teacher and student. I love to share all the new crafty things I have been learning … well, no. I love sharing anything I learn, from how to fix your refrigerator to how to crochet this new-to-me stitch. I have also been a bit of a freak (for years and years) about business.

I have always had a voracious appetite for anything having to do with business. My interest was never in a specific business but business in general. I consume anything I can get my grubby little hands on that is even remotely related to business. This week begins a new chapter in my business education. I will be retooling everything. I have registered a new domain name, have come up with a business format (something I will truly love doing that is perfect for my Attention Deficit Disordered mind), and will (once again) be building a new website. I may also (though I’m not quite sure how the transition will happen) be consolidating this blog with one of my other ones and kicking that identity to the curb. I have been feeling that coming on for a long time, that need to break away from the identity I used for so many years on my website, forums and even online radio. I am no longer “Sustainablehome.” I am Brenda Nolen, happy to share who I am and what I have to offer with the world.

That’s where the link above comes in. I can’t tell you how many times I have stared blankly at my “About” page and had no idea what to type. Heck, despite just listening to this podcast, I still have not checked my “About” page here to see how well I did (that’s because that will distract me from my tasks for the day, so I will probably take care of that within the next few weeks).  You really need to listen to this podcast if you want to have a fantastic “About” page anywhere (whether it is your blog, web site, Facebook page, or just about anywhere you talk about yourself).

2 Articles to Share: One on Etsy and the Other About Social Media

This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.

In three years, this teenager has used her artistry, marketing abilities and time-management skills to rake in $100,000 on Etsy selling handmade jewelry on her shop DesignedByLei. Think: dainty layered necklaces, statement pendants, knuckle rings and her latest obsession: wire jewelry. Not only does it provide a creative escape from schoolwork but also is a way for Secor to pay for college tuition.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247609

And this interview on Fresh Rag:

Improve your Social Awareness With Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media

With all the different social media choices out there, it can be really difficult to separate wheat from chaff, and decide where to spend our precious time online. Some might have you believe you need to be everywhere, but is that really the case when it’s possible that some of your people may not be in some platforms?

http://www.freshrag.com/improve-your-social-awareness-with-caitlin-bacher-of-little-farm-media/

2 Articles to Share: One on Etsy and the Other About Social Media

This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.

In three years, this teenager has used her artistry, marketing abilities and time-management skills to rake in $100,000 on Etsy selling handmade jewelry on her shop DesignedByLei. Think: dainty layered necklaces, statement pendants, knuckle rings and her latest obsession: wire jewelry. Not only does it provide a creative escape from schoolwork but also is a way for Secor to pay for college tuition.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247609

And this interview on Fresh Rag:

Improve your Social Awareness With Caitlin Bacher of Little Farm Media

With all the different social media choices out there, it can be really difficult to separate wheat from chaff, and decide where to spend our precious time online. Some might have you believe you need to be everywhere, but is that really the case when it’s possible that some of your people may not be in some platforms?

http://www.freshrag.com/improve-your-social-awareness-with-caitlin-bacher-of-little-farm-media/

Be Everywhere – Smart Passive Income Podcast

No, though it feels like it, I have not fallen off the map.  I have been dealing (and thinking about) those trials I discussed.  Then, once I finally decided how to deal with them, I needed a release.  I began a tutorial on Adobe Illustrator (so, once I decide on a logo that represents me, I will be able to make it myself) but spent most of the weekend playing Diablo 3 with my husband.

Today, I needed something that would not require me to sit still, so I thought I would finally listen to this podcast:

Be Everywhere – Building a Profitable BRAND by Thinking Outside the Blog

I downloaded it a while back, thinking I would listen to it once I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.  Well, it turns out that if you even think about having a blog, podcast, or You Tube channel (whether it’s for money or not), you NEED to listen to this podcast!  He gives wonderful tips for everything from which programs are the best to how to tag/which key words to use!  I don’t know why I didn’t listen to this sooner!  I am writing my list (I’ve already had video camera and digital camera on my list for a while).

So, let me know what you think and check out the rest of his site.  There is so much information that I could (and have) get lost on it!

Personal Branding – Who Am I? – Passions

This is step 3 (Defining Your Passions) from Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and this is where my A.D.D. really kicks in.

Here’s the straight-up, actually written on paper list of what my passions are (I will elaborate on those passions that require it):

  • My husband
  • Business
  • Graphic Design – All Things Digital/Computer Related/Internet
  • Education
  • Self Improvement

Now, for the elaborations.

Business: I have been a total geek for anything related to business (in general) for as long as I can remember.  I love just about everything about the topic of business (except taxes).  I even have a diploma from a technical school (which is worth less than the paper it’s printed on but cost me $5,000) in Small Business Administration (I learned Lotus there … yes, LOTUS lol … in my defense, it WAS 1992).  From day to day administrative duties to marketing, I love it (heck, I even loved working with one office manager to develop the standards and practices that enabled the company to become ISO certified).

Graphic Design: So, the other day I stumbled onto this wonderful podcast (that I obviously can’t say enough about) Fresh Rag.  I began to browse through the podcasts when I noticed a theme (yeah, I’m a bit slow sometimes): The site focuses on artists (anything creative)… then he mentions Graphic Artists.  I decide to look up exactly what the term Graphic Artist is and that’s when I hear the angels sing.  🙂  Just about every area of interest I have falls under that category!  Take a look at the courses offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and you will get an idea of what I’m talking about.  I really had no idea that everything I’ve been learning (or wanting to learn) fell under one category!

Education: No subject is safe from my interests.  Anywhere from fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc.) to rebuilding a car engine, I have learned it and will continue to as long as I enjoy doing it.  This past year, I have strayed from my typical “only if it’s practical I can learn it” education to pushing more creative pursuits.  I completed (framed and hung) my first ever water-color painting and now that I’m sitting here, contemplating creating a logo that represents me, I guess I should learn to draw (I currently can draw a mean stick figure, though in high school I once read that the human hand was the most difficult part of the human anatomy to draw correctly so I spent months on that one subject).

My First (and only) Watercolor Painting
My First (and only) Watercolor Painting

Self Improvement: This really could fall under the subject of education but this is more personal.  We all have issues/hang-ups and if we do not learn to overcome them, we will never move forward in our lives.  So, looking at this more in-depth, I have been on the quest of “Personal Branding” for over two years.  I’ve been working on breaking through the self-built walls in my life, pushing past my comfort zone, and learning to embrace not only who I am but who I can (and will) become.

So, that’s where I am today. Step Four of Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand is Identify Your Ideal Traits.  This should be fun!  I will begin this today so, hopefully, it will be ready to post tomorrow.  This will be posted today.

California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses

I had no idea this state (California) actually did something that makes sense!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/01/29/california-legalized-selling-food-made-at-home-and-created-over-a-thousand-local-businesses/