Friday Newsletter: Making Money During Christmas, How to Improve Your Writing, Time Management Tips, and More!

Happy Black Friday!

Welcome to the first edition of the Work at Home for Moms newsletter! There is a lot to cover this week, including why I’m writing this newsletter in the first place.

As many of you may have noticed, I don’t mail my autoresponder lists all that often. To be very honest with you, it makes me uncomfortable to do so. When I do send something out, it’s because I’m very passionate about something. It’s either something I’ve bought myself or something I’m putting out (so I know it’s great ;) ).

When I do mail out, I get the nagging feeling that I’m not providing enough value to you all. That is NOT who I want to be as a marketer. I want you to know that I’m here to help in any way I can. You’re not on my list or reading this blog just so I can market to you…you’re here because, hopefully, you feel you can get something of value from me.

I love that! It’s my goal to help moms, dads, and anyone else who wants to comfortably work from home, to be able to achieve their own goals. It makes me exceptionally happy when I hear that I’ve helped someone. Marketing in and of itself is NOT at all fulfilling for me. What is fulfilling is being able to help people. Warm and fuzzy feelings all around ;)

So, this is the first edition of my newsletter. I’ve noticed that I really love being able to look forward to seeing newsletters and posts of value from people like Paul Myers, Dennis Becker, Tim Castleman, Tiffany Dow, and so many others I admire so much. They don’t just mail their lists to make a buck, they really care and offer a lot of value.

That’s my goal here as well :) I also love getting questions. It keeps me in touch with what you need and want. Feel free to send me an e-mail or leave a comment on the blog if you need feedback, want to bounce ideas around, etc.

Let’s get to it!

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Making Money During Christmas

Making money during Christmas is a lot of fun for me. First of all, I absolutely love this time of year. The air just feels better, vibrant, and more alive. People are just nicer to each other. It’s amazing! I also love that there is a ton of money flying around. If you’re even a little bit motivated, you can make money as an affiliate during Christmas.

My favorite way?

Promoting Christmas toys!

My father instilled a love for toys in me. In fact, he still asks for toys during Christmas — last year it was a remote controlled helicopter on his list. He’s a minister with a lot of serious things going on, so I guess it’s a fun escape for him. Anyway, this just proves the point that Christmas toys are fun for everyone! They are fun for the kids (and adults) who are going to get them, as well as for those who are buying the toys in the first place.

What’s even more awesome is that more and more people are turning to the web to buy their toys. They don’t want to fight the crowds and deal with the insanity. Heck, my cousin ended up needing stitches after her Black Friday experience last year! Staying home is a much better option — and people are doing it in droves.

Here is a quickie method I would (and do) use to make money as an affiliate for Christmas toys:

  • Look at the Amazon Toy best-sellers http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/toys-and-games
  • Decide which toy you would like to promote
  • Come up with a fairly generic, but highly related domain name. For example, for the Leapster 2 Learning Game System, I might choose the domain “learninggamesystem.com,” or similar. This helps you avoid any trademark issues.
  • Write 3 articles on this toy, with very tightly focused keywords. For the toy mentioned above, you might write articles on “Leapster 2 Learning Game System Sale” and two others containing the main toy keyword.
  • Post the 3 articles one at a time, over the span of a few days
  • Ensure you have Amazon, eBay, or whatever else you want to monetize with set up on the page (Adsense can work well!)
  • Start getting traffic — PPC is a GREAT way to do this if you have the cash. SEO can work quickly as well. Just last week I threw up a site with a single article on it, and it’s ranking on the first page already for a hot-selling toy. Act fast if you want to use SEO, though.
  • Rinse and repeat — do this with as many toys as you can, leading up to the holidays. One smart tactic is to choose toys/products you know will be hot sellers all year round

This method is very simple, and just plain works. Your articles should be well-written, informative, and helpful to the buyer. Picture them on the other end of the computer screen. What do these parents want for their children? Are they trying to find the best deal? Paint a picture of the joy on their child’s face.

Also, I’ve found that large, tightly focused graphics work incredibly well when promoting toys for Christmas.

Questions? Ask them on the blog! I’ll be happy to answer :)

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How to Improve Your Writing

Obviously, this is a very, very broad topic! There are countless ways people can improve their writing. I’m always trying to find new ways to do just that. Another consideration is that writing that moves me may not be writing that moves you. Some people are incredible sticklers for grammar and what is “correct” that they shiver with disgust at seeing anything less. I’ve had people write to tell me when I’ve made a mistake — I’m the first to admit it and welcome the help :)

It’s also important to consider that writing for the web is a very different thing than academic writing. In many cases, you’re trying to sell something. Perhaps you’re trying to sell a service. Perhaps you’re trying to sell a product. You might own that product or are an affiliate for that product. It might be the case that you’re a ghostwriter (like me!) and you’re writing in someone else’s voice to give their business a boost.

That calls for some great writing! I’m going to lay out some tips that come to immediately to mind for writing on the web. One or more of these tips might stand out to you as something you can latch onto. Writing for the web can be fun!

  • Always think about who is at the other end of the computer screen, reading what you’ve written. Who are they? What are their burning desires? What do they look like? What’s going to get them to take action?
  • Paint a picture for them with words
  • Systematize your writing — everything from the research, to the organization, to the writing and editing can be systematized for much faster writing
  • Don’t make your writing hard to understand — people are on information overload. If it’s complicated, be accurate, but interesting
  • Don’t just rewrite other articles you see on the web — you’d be surprised at how many people do this without giving it a second thought. You should be researching from high-quality sources, checking your facts, and synthesizing the research adding your own spin. What’s the something new that people are getting from your writing that you’re not getting in other places?
  • Don’t feel like you have to write like anyone else — write like you! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself, “boy, I wish my writing had spunk like hers!” Then I realize that we all have different styles and talents. It’s a great thing!
  • Study copywriting, even if you’re an article writer
  • People value writing because many of them don’t enjoy doing it themselves.
  • You really can become an “instant expert” as long as you proceed wisely
  • Systems, systems, systems — this will make you more efficient so you can become a better writer overall

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Time Management Tips for Working at Home

Working at home is an enormous challenge. This is especially true if you’ve got little ones running around. Recently, I was explaining what I do to a group of people. These people thought being a WAHM was such an alien concept. Surely I must be making $2 an hour? Surely my kids are just plopped in front of the TV all day?

Ugh. Ignorance is frustrating.

Anyway, that is not the case at all. I actually have about 2 hours a day to work — that’s it. I have an amazingly wonderful husband who is very supportive and helps me out, so there’s that. I’ve also had to develop some incredibly effective time management strategies.

Again, here are some tips I hope you can put to use right away to manage your time at home. I’d love to hear your tips as well! It can get overwhelming with 2 little ones, no matter how efficient you try to be!

  • The #1 tip I’ve gotten in my time as an Internet marketer comes from Jason Fladlien. I should only give myself 60 seconds to make a decision — that’s it. I need to choose a new domain name and stew about it for hours? Heck no! I make the decision in 60 seconds. Stewing over the little things was a HUGE productivity killer for me. In that time you spend going back and forth over relatively unimportant decisions, you could have moved your business forward in a huge way. This one is huge for me.
  • You need something to keep you on task. http://teuxdeux.com is a great one. The Apimac timer is a great tool. My favorite, however, is the Action Enforcer software. It’s amazing! Really and truly amazing.
  • Set office hours. Let your family know when you are working and when you are not to be disturbed. It takes 20 minutes to refocus on something, so having someone wander into your work space is a productivity killer
  • 15 minutes IS enough time to get something done. I used to be of the mindset that if I didn’t have a solid few hours to work, it wasn’t worth getting started. As a very busy mom running here, there, and everywhere, I now realize that it absolutely IS worth it.

I hope some of these tips have helped you!

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Suggested Resources

1. Earn 1K a Day — This is my #1 favorite Internet marketing purchase of all time. So much so, in fact, that I’ve been a member for 3 years! They’ve helped me buy a house, talked me through things when I’ve been stressed out, given me actionable business steps that have led to huge breakthroughs in my business, and have been some of my best ghostwriting clients. Here is a link to a $1 free trial :)

2. Action Enforcer — Seriously, THE BEST productivity tool out there for Internet marketers. You have to have it if you have productivity or procrastination issues!

3. Black Friday Bundle — This is a HUGE deal that includes WP-Twin too. I own most of these products and they ROCK!

Questions? Comments? Just let me know!

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9 Responses to Friday Newsletter: Making Money During Christmas, How to Improve Your Writing, Time Management Tips, and More!

  1. Glenn says:

    Hi Jenn

    Wow that’s a lot of newsletter. Looking foward to what’s to come.

    Your right as far as systems and productivity go. This is my biggest challenge at the moment creating systems and routines and actually sticking to them. And thanks for the reminder about Action Enforcer it’s a great tool…. when I remember to use it.

    Glenn

  2. Hendra says:

    Hi Jenn, glad that you’ve finally going to write something continuously for your blog!

    I have built plenty of Christmas sites this few months.
    Most sites got traffic from PPC.

    However I did some SEO effort to get them ranked in SERP. Some of the sites do rank but some of them flop.

    Do you have any specific strategy that you followed to get them ranked in a week or two?

    I am looking forward for your next newsletter :)

    Hendra

  3. admin says:

    Hi Glenn! Action Enforcer is awesome!

    One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had is not only finding systems but sticking to them — just like you mention! I’ll get pumped up about an idea and then it falls by the wayside :(

    It’s been out of necessity that I’m “sticking” with the system I have now — and AE knocks it out of the park.

  4. admin says:

    Hey Hendra,

    Yeah, I’m so excited :)

    As far as ranking, I’ve found that it’s all about the “tightness” of the content. Of course, there has to be fairly low competition for the exact term you’re going for. No matter how great your content is or how many backlinks you have, you’re generally going to be beat out by someone who’s had time or money to do more :-P It can be so frustrating!

    So, I do a scan of the results page before I build a site. If it’s all product listings from sites like Amazon or weak little article pages, I feel pretty confident that I can beat them quickly.

    Also, try to concentrate on something others’ aren’t necessarily thinking of or going for. If it’s a popular Christmas toy, try going for “your toy lowest price” or “buy your toy”… or whatever. Even if it doesn’t show up in the keyword tools, things like that do get searched for this time of year.

    It never hurts to start early, but I did a bunch of sites in early December last year that did pretty well.

  5. Jesse says:

    Hey Jenn,
    That’s quite a power-packed first issue! You always deliver valuable content.

    What would I like to see? Research tips. How to research faster. Maybe a few things that go beyond the traditional advice I’ve heard before. I know you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve!

    Thanks for all you do. Merry Christmas.

  6. admin says:

    Thanks so much, Jesse!

    Awesome — I love the topic of research. I’ll see what I can do ;)

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Greg says:

    Hi Jenn,
    As far as quality goes, u don’t need to produce reams of content. As long as U feel that what u have to say is valuable, and believe u have said it well. There will alays be some people who will appreciate it and enjoy it; and some who will carp. Anyone, only needs to feel it was worth their time reading it, to have gotten some value (at least) from it I found it worth my time, AND got several things from it. Thanks.
    Some mall criticisms. Font size is too itsy-bitsy. TOO SMALL. hehe, Also I know some web writers have stipulated 72 (is it) characters/line. I think this is too short. I.e I have never seen an adult book or novel with such short lines. Have u tested this at all?

    For those who r such sticklers for grammar….. how do u think I would be judged? if they r so pedantic, then y don’t they write english like Shakespeare? What about the flavOUr and the colOUr of the written words. Do THEY proscribe them correctly?
    Copywriting. Do u know where I can learn NLP copywriting?
    Keep to ur standards.
    Best wishes
    Greg

  8. admin says:

    Hi Greg,

    I’m thinking they won’t all be nearly this long. I just had a lot to say last week.

    The font and character counts are set in the Copyblogger theme I’m using.

    I love your suggestions and thoughts — thanks!

    Paul Hancox has a copywriting product that talks about using NLP in copy. I can’t seem to find the link right now, but a search on the Warrior Forum might turn something up!

  9. Greg says:

    Hi Jenn,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I wasn’t talking about the length of YOUR copy, but copy in general.
    I acknowledge your comments about the problogger theme. I’ll remember not to use it.

    I know of Paul Hancox, and am interested in his products, ut I did not know he was also using nlp. I will look for that.
    Regards
    Greg

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