• The first sign-up of an idea target audience member!
• A 17% open rate!
• ZERO unsubscribes from a legacy list I’ve kept since 2014 😊
• One rave review!
I put a TON of work into it!
I wrote it all of the week prior to its debut.
But I’ll be the first to tell you that spending hours on content won’t make it land. Work smarter, not harder. No one cares about the amount of work you put in. They just want to receive value.
This newsletter contained two exclusives for each intended audience:
I offered a download on how to reprogram your subconscious mind (worksheet) for the legacy list who love yoga, personal development, Reiki, and meditation.
For the new content creation/writing/solopreneur audience, I offered a Loom video showing how to evaluate companies that offer freelance writing gigs. It was a short-but-sweet video case study to help people spot green and red flags with a real gig of mine!
I also made promises about future content, which I’ll deliver in the next newsletter on Monday 4/11/22.
This is what building in public means to me. I’ve shared plenty of losses. Today, I’m glad to share a win!
You can see the first newsletter from 4/4/22 and sign up here.
When you’re ready to receive coaching on any of the above, you can book here.
This is one of those unspoken etiquette things to know, but I’m going to speak it.
It needs to be said:
No one is going to reach out and help you unless they see that you’re trying.
Try First. Do The Work. Ask The Questions Later.
This is one idea that proves itself true to me over and over again.
For example, this 👇
Just because I’ve been video editing for three whole months now with a fledgling YouTube channel (with 19 subscribers) doesn’t mean I can’t ask for help! It actually means this is exactly what I should be doing! I don’t ever want to be the “smartest in the room” or unable to humble myself and ask for help.
I may have made a lot of videos so far—but I know I can do much better.
What’s The Lesson Here?
Jordan reached out to help me because he saw I’d put in time and effort.
I wasn’t just another noob asking 20 questions before ever trying to get some points on the board. I’d been making thumbnails! Not all were this bad, but that was my worst one. I continue posting 5 videos a week to YouTube with various thumbnails.
You have to just begin without knowing all the things first and remember there are no free lunches.
I have friends who created pen names so they wouldn’t be “found out” for their side hustle. (Some still do this!) Which is fine, if you want to be a ghostwriter.
But if bylines and “getting your name out” as a writer / content creator matters to you, this is going to make you sweat 😥
The Problem With “Hiding” Your Writing
There have been many times I’ve chosen to take a writing job even though I wouldn’t be “seen.” I’ve done this in news and various forms of media. You do the work, but the world doesn’t know it was you who did it because someone else gets the credit—or no one does—but you get paid.
So you can eat.
But you’re hardly building a name for yourself. You are building a resume and getting paid, which is something to be proud of as a writer. But none of those gigs showed off that I am a writer with certain talents.
What Do You Want To Be Known For?
If you want to be known as the next great journalist, then you don’t want to write for a news service that will give your byline away to someone more visible. (Been there, done that).
If you want to be known for writing about 5-star dining options in your city, then you have to posture yourself to own that niche.
Don’t get a job for a homeschooling website, “just to get your start,” if they’re going to “let you get exposure” in exchange for your hard work. Start your own thing. Own it. Grow it.
If you’re a new writer and content creator, you can benefit from hitching your wagon to someone else in order to get a foot in the door, get paid something, or gain exposure. I’ll never knock anyone for that! I’ve done it!
There shouldn’t have to be a choice between getting paid and getting credit for your work.
The best employers will give you both.
The best employers will encourage learning and won’t be threatened by whatever you choose to do on the side. If you’re a full-time worker who’s attached to a 40-hour a week job in order to get health benefits, I’ve been there. I know that it sucks and finding a balance between paycheck and passion is hard!
Let them have you for the 40 hours a week, but no more than that!
Don’t let them rent space in your head for the other 128 hours of your week. Don’t let it ruin your side hustle and hold you back!
Here’s more on how to deal with the fear of having your content creation side hustle be “found out” by an employer 👇
How To Get Over The Biggest Fear You Have As A New Content Creator: The Fear Your Employer Will Discover Your Side Hustle
The biggest side hustle fear is that an employer will become threatened…
I started out side-hustling in 2014 as a morning radio personality with an interest in Reiki.
I had become a Reiki Master, made flyers, hung up my shingle, and started a blog. Of course, my employer didn’t want me to promote it on the air. I had to keep the two interests separate.
They hadn’t let me promote my charity work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society either.
So Began My Long-Term Fear Of “Showing Up Fully”
This “double life” led to a fear of success.
What if the blog takes off? What if people who come to me for Reiki realize I’m the moring radio chick? What if…
There were many ways my “paying gig” in radio held me back from showing up fully in Reiki, although I did well enough to subsidize my radio career.
Do You Have To Pick One?
Or can you live with each foot in two worlds?
When doing Reiki, my mind would wander to all I had to do “at work.” When “at work,” my mind would wander to ideas for my Reiki business. Or I’d end up exhausted from trying to do ALL the things.
To avoid burnout, eventually, something needs to be taken off your plate!
Read. Your. Contract.
Get a lawyer to look at it.
The biggest side hustle fear is that an employer will become threatened and say that the content you create online is their property, or that they will release you because your online activity doesn’t represent them well. These aren’t the types of employers to stay with; get out as soon as you can.
The right employer will look with interest and admiration for your side hustle, not disdain.
I’ve wanted to bridge coaching & content for some time; this is a small step in that direction.
Check out my Ghost site in progress (as I like to build in public).
I’m experimenting to find out why.
My #ContentStorm experiment since 12/1/21 has brought me to a point where I am finding out what works for me and what doesn’t.
Patreon and Substack didn’t work out for me. Ghost replaces both. You can create a newsletter by subscription (free or paid), which replaces Substack. It also replaces Patreon because it gives you a membership site. Unlike Patreon, you’re not suck with its branding and Ghost doesn’t take a cut of your earnings.
Next Experiment: Trying Ghost for My Newsletters
I used to do a newsletter on Mail Chimp before I moved to ConvertKit. Then I found Revue, which made newsletters less laborious (but with fewer metrics available). I started a writing newsletter and saw how easy it was to drag and drop content I’d previously written on both Twitter and Medium.
I was sold.
That’s when I moved my email list for Destiny Architecture to Revue. Now I’ve been putting out two weekly newsletters during the entirety of my 90-day content storm!
Next week’s newsletters will be going out via Ghost. All I had to do was import each list and make labels for them to segment my audiences. (There are two now: Destiny Architecture for your life and for your business, the latter of which will be content-focused).
This is What Ghost Does On The Most Basic Plan
You can do a lot for $11/month. If you want to go hard and implement integrations, you’ll have to pay $25/month (obviously you’ll save on annual plans).
Yes, I checked; they don’t offer a way to migrate from Squarespace to Ghost at this time. Migrating to Ghost from Patreon is something they will help you do and they told me that would cost ~$300. Since I’ve already been repurposing that content to Medium, I decided not to do that.
But Ghost is open-source, so who knows what they’ll end up adding over time? I’m already loving my site. For the next cohort of Ship 30 for 30 in March, I’ll be experimenting with it.
If you’d like to join the March ’22 Ship 30 for 30 cohort, please consider using my affiliate link and I’ll see you on the ship!
Bonus: Writing in Ghost is much less clunky than writing in WordPress or Squarespace. It’s a much better experience! The interface just works.
To This, I’ll Add A Few Things Now That It’s Day 75
The more you write, the more ideas you get.
The more you write, the more you find your niche.
The more you write, the more you seek inspiration.
The more you write, the more you find inspiration.
The more you write, the better you get.
The more you write, the more you realize you suck.
The more you write, the more you learn that you’re not half bad.
And so on…
Now, I’m Looking at Optimizing Performance
I’ve hit that point where I’ve written a ton now but still feel like I’m only getting started.
Clearly my niche is personal development. There’s long been the idea of Destiny Architecture being for your life. Now, I’m segueing into bringing out more of Destiny Architecture for your business. (There will be both!)
• I started a site on the open-source platform Ghost to replace prior experiments with Patreon & Substack (neither of which worked out).
• Niching down on what exactly Destiny Architecture for your business means—spoiler alert: it will focus on your content.
• As I improve my skills as a lightning node runner, I’ll be writing a little more about my lightning network learnings. Next up: tackling BTC Pay Server.
Yes, I’m Staying on the Ship!
I loved Ship 30 for 30 so much, that I accepted the Captain’s Table invite and signed up for the March cohort!
If you don’t yet have a daily writing habit, it will give you one. But I use “give” lightly as you’ll have to actually do the work. Not clean the house, not re-arrange the furniture, not get sucked into March Madness or spring weather—you will have to sit down at your laptop and do the work.
Ship 30 will also give you new friends and connections you wouldn’t have made otherwise with fellow shippers around the world.
It will begin to break every poor digital writing habit you have.
Ship 30 will break your ego and make you a more effective writer.
I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments or on Twitter!
This was my top post for the week of January 17, 2022 👇
I’m Really Enjoying 🚢 #Ship30for30
I’m at a point where learning this way of digital writing is ruining my online reading.
I’d felt for a while that online articles were too hard to read because they lost my attention so quickly. So many articles fail to deliver on the promise of their headline at all, let alone quickly! (And this is true for all publications I read, no matter how “reputable” they may be).
In short, here’s how you can improve your digital writing the Ship 30 way:
Deliver on your headline’s promise up front, don’t make people wade through endless blocks of text to get it.
Also, don’t use big blocks of text.
Tell your story in the subheads.
Also, you MUST have subheads!
Your subheads can’t be clever; they need a point.
Realize people don’t read the entire piece. You have mere seconds before you lose the reader.
Put the reader first, not your ego.
Think about the reader. Who are they? How much time do they have to read this? Are you giving them actionable steps? Because they care more about what’s in it for them than they do about cleverness or flowery language.
Think of it this way: you’re writing an article for another person. It’s not your article, it’s their article.
They aren’t thinking of you at all—only the info they want. Don’t waste their time.
Let’s take a behind-the-scenes (aka BTS but not the K-Pop group) look at my humble beginnings on Typeshare with Ship30. I didn’t know what I was in for at this point.
My first essay had grabbed 52 views and 0 engagement. The second day, I wrote the above essay to much different reaction.
“‘Rock Bottom’ Is A Myth…” pulled in 231 views and more than 4% engagement—plus, a response!
It was the critical response I expected, too. My experience-informed beliefs about the addiction field and recovery “community” oppose tradition.
What’s Really Going On Here?
I didn’t think he discounted my piece at all; I’d never written that “rock bottom” wasn’t a moving goal post. The only “rock bottom” goal post you can’t move is death. You can come back from any other “rock bottom” as long as you’re still breathing. I’ve seen addiction cause serious injury, stroke, coma, and even brain damage. But there’s still a way to go on, as long as one survives, though I’m sure none of us would consciously choose tougher lives like that.
Then, I felt bad for taking on such a deep topic like addiction in just a 250-word atomic essay. I hadn’t even mentioned how the ultimate “rock bottom” is death. That felt irresponsible. I shook it off the critique and moved on.
But it wasn’t over.
Then my friend and colleague, Timothy Hankins, agreed with me. Not a surprise though, I know his thoughts on addiction as he’s tried to help addicts, too. He’s had a similar second-hand seat like I did in social work.
The Problem with Addiction in the United States
Addiction here is rampant and staggering. It’s out of control. But are you beginning to see the varying degree of opinions we all have about it? Typical America. Can’t agree on anything. From the days of Henry Anslinger, this hasn’t changed. To understand Anslinger, you may as well read “Chasing the Scream” and take the red pill.
I’m definitely more of a red-pilled believer:
Screw the Big Book, 12 Steps, and the AA cult (yes, it’s a cult)
I’m not sure addiction really *is* a disease as I didn’t get sober by being “treated” for it
When treatment doesn’t work 17 times in a row, it’s not the treatment that’s considered sub-par, it’s the addict who’s considered a failure. Now how is that OK?
There’s always another “rock bottom” until you’re dead, so why do we say people need to hit it first in order to change?
Everyone in the U.S. worships James Clear and Charles Duhigg for their best sellers on habits (self included) yet we prescribe draconian means (12 steps, religion) for addicts as we browbeat them for failing. (BTW, I’m also a Christian).
Finally, some background: I worked 4.5 years in the field as a para-social worker within a detox, recovery center, and the country jail. I’ve also been sober from alcohol since 2013 and drugs since 2001.
But There It Was Again!
The original response came again through a different person:
2/3 of the responses to this essay brought up the same thing: “rock bottom” is “constantly shifting.” Do we count Timothy’s response as he’s my friend? 😉
I continued to say to myself, “Heather, maybe you shouldn’t pick something so tense and complicated for atomic essays. You should stick to the crowd-pleasers like the others…” I felt it was my own mistake—I should stick to lighter fare for 🚢 Ship30…
Today, I Decided To Unpack It Instead
My only goal in writing the piece was to prove that “rock bottom” is a myth we need to stop perpetuating because it’s harmful to the addict and unhelpful to all. I felt, due to the responses I read, that I’d missed that mark.
The responses did intrigue me because my essay never said that “rock bottom” wasn’t a moving goal post—only that we needed to stop spreading the “rock bottom” myth.
No one disagreed with me about how change is always possible.
Why did two men feel the need to make that point, still one more agreed with me—yet not one single woman spoke up? Women!? Who are affected by addiction just like (if not more than) anyone else? Where are you?
While writing this essay, I was thinking of women as my target audience. The women I once was, who tried to help an ex or a family member or a child over and over as they meet a new rock bottom each time. The women whom I also once was—the ones who kidded themselves into more drinking because, “It’s just wine! I haven’t hit rock bottom! It’s fine!”
Ladies, this was geared toward you but the men gave me a better response.
Which makes me think I missed the mark again.
Is there anything wrong with this piece of writing? Not really. On its own, it’s fine. But I question whether it’s reaching someone it could truly help. Now I feel like I’m in social work all over again… 😔
This is What’s Great About 🚢 Ship30
The point of Ship30 is to stop writing into the void on blogs you pay to own—but no one reads. Ship30 puts you out there, makes you show up, and get out of your own echo chamber. (And to also get you away from that one Karen friend who disagrees with everyone you say just to be contrarian on Facebook). Built-in feedback is one of the reasons why Ship30 is different.
Did men respond because I bring in some “masculine” (read: assertive) energy rather than the soft, apologetic, and traditionally nurturing energy women “are supposed to have?” Am I scaring the women off with my boldness? Is any of this a bad thing? Or is it helping me find my niche?
I’m onto something. Perhaps I should give the above essay another attempt…