A Week in the Life of Janna Maron, SPI’s Content Director

Take a peek into a week in the life of Janna Maron, SPI’s content director, including how content production and sprint planning works at SPI! Janna Maron June 24, 2019 Editor’s Note: This is a new series we are testing out here at SPI, and you know how much we love experiments! We’re inspired by other journal-like content we’ve seen around the web like the Money Diaries and Feel Good Diaries from Refinery29, as well as the standard format of the much-loved “How I Work” series from Lifehacker.com. In this series we hope to capture a vast array of not only different types of work that people do in the online space, but also the different ways we all work toward our goals and positive impact with our jobs, businesses, or brands. We’re starting off this series with the members of Team SPI and, if it’s a hit, we are kicking […]

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4 Steps to Finish a Practical Project Instead of Fantasizing about a Lofty Idea

If I set out to practice yoga for an hour each day, I would practice zero hours of yoga each day. Something else would always take priority over that hour of yoga. We all have other things to do. Instead, I consistently practice five to 20 minutes of yoga Monday through Friday. I had to find a routine I could fit in regularly — without making a big production of it. What have you turned into a big production? The long-term goal. Where you want to go. An ultimate objective. All of those thoughts can serve you well. The problem occurs when those thoughts stay thoughts because meeting your goal requires too much time or energy — time or energy you don’t realistically have. Overwhelm and disappointment cloud your hopes and dreams because you haven’t actually done anything related to them. Here’s a quick litmus test: You know you’re wasting […]

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How to Actually Make Progress and Grow Your Business—A Conversation with James Wedmore

James Wedmore: Commitment, and people toss this word around, oh, I’m committed Pat, I’ll tell you, I’m committed. Committed is not when I feel like it and when it’s convenient and when it’s not scary. Commitment is whatever it takes. And so when— Pat Flynn: Ooh, such powerful stuff we’re discussing today with my good friend James Wedmore, host of the Mind Your Business Podcast. He says that hustle and hard work are not essential ingredients for success. Success is created by mindset over strategy. And when it comes to who we want to be and how we can get to where we want to go, the biggest thing is the mindset. And how often do we say that we’re going to do something yet we don’t follow through? How often do we throw that word, “commitment,” around, I’m committed to doing this, whether it’s in our business for our […]

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For Courageous Content Creators Who Want to Do Epic Work

When I started blogging, a little over 10 years ago, one of my then-colleagues mentioned that she “didn’t have the software to read blogs.” Today, the landscape is a little different. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, and other content formats are being consumed at an astonishing rate — and an equally astonishing volume of new content is being generated to fill that demand. The content landscape isn’t some mythical blue ocean lacking in competition. It’s a teeming jungle — with plenty to eat, and plenty that wants to eat you. To make it in the content jungle, you need courage. The courage to stand out, the courage to get real about your values, and the courage to create over the long haul. This week, we’ve got fuel for your content courage. One reason creativity and self-expression are difficult is that we’re afraid someone will be mean to us over what we […]

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Why the Pomodoro Technique Is Failing You

The wildly popular productivity hack may be doing more damage than good. June 12, 2019 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. From replying to customer emails to planning the next marketing campaign, entrepreneurs are constantly juggling the various needs of their business to propel it forward. But by being pulled in so many directions, it is easy for a founder to lose hours, if not days, trying to get everything done. Related: Recapture a Few Precious Minutes Each Day With These 4 Tips To help with productivity, some have sworn by the Pomodoro Technique, a strategy that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. The idea is that by giving your mind a mini break, you can reset it and be able to focus more at the task at hand. A few CEOs who have […]

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Is Your Brain on Autopilot? Here’s How to Re-Engage and Think Big.

Train your brain’s autopilot mode to exceed your career goals without even thinking. June 7, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. It’s Saturday, and you’ve been looking forward to a friend’s party for weeks. You pile into the car, ready to unwind, but five minutes into the drive you realize you’ve zoned out and unwittingly taken the route to work. Has something similar ever happened to you? You automatically slip into a routine and start doing something and you don’t realize until a minute later you’ve done it? That’s called autopilot, and most of us are on it. Autopilot governs what we do every day and in many cases, it’s for the best, preventing us from wasting a lot of energy on reoccurring tasks. But as much as it serves us, it’s also the reason we miss out on new opportunities and fly through day after day […]

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Mixmax Transforms Gmail into a Powerful Productivity Hub

Use one-click templates and schedule meetings from your inbox. May 30, 2019 3 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. At the start of every day, millions of people grab a coffee, take a sip, and open Gmail. This increasingly popular email platform is easy to use, and packed with great features for handling the daily deluge of unread messages. But when it comes to taking action on those emails, Gmail leaves you hanging. Mixmax is an easy-to-install Gmail add-on that turns Gmail into a productivity hub. Instead of opening multiple apps and exporting data, this add-on lets you schedule meetings and close sales right inside your inbox. The streamlined workflow can literally save you hours each week […]

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8 Non-Work Related Activities That Increase Productivity

Productivity results from how you live your life. May 28, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Productivity can change the game for any type of work. But, achieving high daily productivity levels can be a challenge. There are days when you get in the flow, working efficiently and smoothly, leaving you with a sense of pride at the end of the day. Then there are times when it feels like you just can’t get started. Sometimes there are distractions, and other days it feels like there’s no solid reason why you’re struggling. Instead of feeling stilted and stuck at work, try out these activities to help improve your workplace productivity. Boosting Productivity at Work If you’re frustrated, tired or simply can’t get yourself into a state of productivity, it may be time for a break. A 2018 Gallup survey found two-thirds of American workers […]

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How to Make Exceptional Communication Your Winning Difference

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote this tagline: “Remarkable business begins with remarkable communication.” That was a bedrock principle for me when I was starting out as a marketer. I still find it a bedrock principle of marketing, particularly content-driven marketing. This week, we got into a When, a Why, and a What for the kind of exceptional, empathetic communication that builds great businesses. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared her experience and advice on when to send article pitches and other “cold” (or at least not piping hot) requests by email. She also gives recommendations for when and how to follow up gracefully if you don’t hear back. Because email inboxes can be scary, scary places. On Tuesday, Loryn Cole explored why effective communication — with colleagues, employees, clients, or anyone else — is a lot like a growing garden. You can pull up […]

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Why Clear Communication Mirrors a Growing Garden

If you work with a team or for clients, you probably wish you had better communication. Even with the best, most productive teams and client relationships, things always slip through the cracks. Meetings that should have been emails, back-and-forth IMs, long-overdue tasks that get ignored, and misunderstood intentions. In an ideal world, we’d all have exactly the right information at exactly the right time. But even with our arsenal of tools, including email, IM, project management platforms, and more, we never seem to be able to reach that information nirvana. I’ve been on several teams that struggled with communication — some remote, some in-person, some inherently dysfunctional, and others amazing — and I’ve realized that the root of the communication problems wasn’t about tools or processes at all. It was about mindset. You can’t just kill all of the weeds At the end of March, my husband and I bought […]

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Understand This Strategy and You’ll Get More Done

May 20, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There are countless articles written about productivity. There are courses, videos and coaches who teach entrepreneurs how to get more done. Productivity is important — if you don’t use your time efficiently, you won’t accomplish your goals. It takes a lot to build a business. There are a myriad of things to consider and different parts that need your attention. You’ll need to build your foundation, create a marketing plan, handle the paperwork, hire employees, farm out subcontracted work, partner with professionals, and much more. We built our digital marketing agency while working day jobs years ago. It took time but it allowed us to build a business that takes us to 15 countries every year for consulting training and projects at some of the largest companies in the world. There are a ton of entrepreneurs that […]

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11 Ways to Stay an Alert Copywriter and Content Marketer (If Taking a Nap Isn’t an Option)

Well, this week was anything but sugarcoated. We got right into it. How do you stay motivated to do great work when you’re burned out, bored, or busy? On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared what to do when your eyes are tired from more than 15 years of professional proofreading. The technique she teaches works just as well for any proofreader, no matter how long you’ve been at the error-catching game. On Tuesday, Nick Usborne outlined five ways to keep your copywriting skills fresh. Nick has been a copywriter for 40 years, so check out the post to discover how he stays interested in his craft. On Wednesday, Belinda Weaver dished out five excellent tips for anyone who has non-negotiable time constraints. Managing your time like a pro can transform any seemingly stressful situation into one that builds confidence in your work ethic. And you need a strong work ethic if […]

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5 Practical Time Management Tips for the Chronically Time-Poor

In 2009, I chucked my marketing job to become a freelance copywriter. I worked from home each day. I had a waitlist of clients and my business grew. Life was good. With a consistent stream of projects to complete, I thought I was under pressure, but looking back, I knew nothing. Ten years and two kids later, I know what it means to have constraints on my time. These days, I still write copy for clients. I also open my copywriting course twice a year. I have a private coaching membership program and regular one-on-one sessions. I publish a daily email about copywriting and co-host a copywriting podcast. Sounds like a lot, right? And I do it all with less than 12 hours of child-free time a week. Whether you’re running a business around family commitments or you want to do more in less time, so maybe (gasp) you don’t […]

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12 Mistakes You Might be Making in the First 10 Minutes of the Workday

Here’s how to avoid these pitfalls and set yourself up for success. May 14, 2019 6 min read This story originally appeared on Business Insider The first few minutes of your workday are critical to your productivity for the next eight hours. If you show up late to the office or get sucked into an overflowing inbox, you could easily get thrown off and have a hard time focusing for the rest of the day. We did some research and rounded up 12 common traps that can ensnare you within the first 10 minutes of your workday. Read on to find out how to avoid those pitfalls and set yourself up for success. Yu Han contributed to an earlier version of this story. You’re showing up late to work. Image credit: Flickr / cvogle You could be sabotaging your workday before it even begins. A study cited by The Huffington Post found that bosses tend […]

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The Truth about “Work-Life Balance”

When most people think about work-life balance, they imagine a perfectly balanced scale. I’ll tell you why this idea is flawed—and how to think about work-life balance instead. Pat Flynn May 13, 2019 Let’s talk about work-life balance. When most people think about work-life balance, they imagine a scale that can only be perfectly balanced when there is equal weight on both sides. But I think this idea is flawed, and I’ll tell you why—along with how you should be thinking about work-life balance instead. How I Like to Think About Work-Life Balance First, realize that in life, things rarely fall cleanly into one category or another. There are many aspects of “business” that are only “business”—but there are other aspects of “business” that also bleed into “life.” So when you’re trying to build a work-life balance, how do you know what’s “life” and what’s “business”? There can be a […]

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Fire Up Your Creative Courage and Reach Your Audacious Goals

It’s a funny thing — so many of the most gifted and capable people wrestle the hardest with impostor syndrome and self-doubt. And often, the biggest barrier between you and your ambitious goals is your own head. This week, we offered resources to get your confidence kickstarted and your creative brain humming. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman explored why the hardest working, most professional writers aren’t always the ones who jump into freelancing. (If this is you, you might be a lot better at it than you imagine.) On Tuesday, Pamela Wilson shared eight effective ways to bring powerful visual elements to your content — even if you don’t think of yourself as a “visual person.” This is a great way to add polish and impact to your work, and it’s easier than you think. And on Wednesday, I announced our new book club selection — Austin Kleon’s Keep Going. If […]

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Plutio Helps Increase Productivity and Grow Your Business

Manage everything from projects and tasks to invoices and proposals all in one app. May 1, 2019 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. If you’re fortunate enough to earn a living from your freelance business, the last thing you want is to be juggling multiple apps and subscriptions in order to operate. Enter Plutio. This intuitive platform is a one-stop-shop for freelancers. Manage everything from projects and tasks to invoices and proposals in one single app. So whether you’re knee-deep in clients or just starting out, Plutio gives you the proper tools to start, run and manage your business. Similar to most startups, Plutio was born out of frustration in the industry. Founder Leo Bassam started […]

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Copyblogger Book Club: Stay Creatively Productive (Even on Crappy Days)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but keeping your creative confidence going is hard. Our friend Austin Kleon has one of those creative practices we all envy — a robust, consistent work ethic that’s paid off in a New York Times bestselling book and the kind of audience that would be a “cult following” if it wasn’t so darned … huge. His latest book, Keep Going, is really good, and I was lucky enough to catch Austin at a book signing in April. I knew Keep Going would be perfect for the Copyblogger book club. The book isn’t about making the creative life easy. “Everything got better for me when I made peace with the fact that it might not ever get easier. The world is crazy. Creative work is hard. Life is short and art is long.” – Austin Kleon, Keep Going It’s about … well, keeping going, even […]

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Creative Self-Care to Keep Your Writing Mojo Strong

We content marketers are strategic types — but we’re creative as well, and that creative side needs nurturing. This week, we offered tips and practices for creative self-care, so you can keep producing extraordinary work. On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman shared five unconventional ways to meet your deadlines — and banish the “flaky creative” stereotype for good. On Tuesday, Claire Emerson outlined 10 ways to make progress on your big projects — even when paying gigs or daily obligations seem like they’re gobbling up every second of your time. (I’m a big fan of the second item on Claire’s list — it seems like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how you approach those intimidating projects.) And on Wednesday, author Karl Staib swung by to suggest a creative self-care 30-day challenge — using a practice you might not associate with professional productivity. On the podcast, I […]

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The Missing Ingredient in Your Workday: A 30-Day Challenge

I sat there staring at my list of tasks and projects. A stress-flash shot down into my chest. I’d never felt this before. Was I having an anxiety attack? Why was I worrying about my “to-do” list? Then I realized an important fact about being an entrepreneur: The more you do each day, the more you add to your list the next morning. I was overwhelming myself. I wasn’t enjoying my work. I was working to cross things off, but also procrastinating more and more. I knew my mindset was trending in the wrong direction. I was hurting my ability to enjoy my work and get things done. How do you become more productive with ease? Last year, I did some research on productivity that I had forgotten about. Researcher Edward Deci noticed a trend in positive interactions vs. negative and how they influenced productivity. In his book, Why We […]

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