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Just How “Transparent” Should You be Online?

I’m an editor. This means I delete, modify and replace words and thoughts for a living, in efforts to create a polished product intended to drive specific results.

Depending on the platform, these objectives will differ. From a journalistic perspective, the ultimate goal is to share the truth.

But as a storyteller and content marketer, the intentions are slightly skewed…

Website traffic.

And yet, when it comes to determining what to share in the online world, I am often preaching a life unedited; a life unfiltered.

It’s a difficult balance. I, too, edit the posts I share on my online profiles. In fact, sometimes I have to force myself to stop editing. It’s the perfectionist within me.

Every time I post something real, something vulnerable, I have a moment (or two) of panic, fearing the consequences of hitting the all-too-familiar “publish” button. I dread the judgments—from followers, colleagues and complete strangers— that play over and over again in my head. What’s interesting is, those anxiety-ridden posts are also the ones that inspire the most meaningful responses. There’s nothing more rewarding than when a subscriber sends me an email saying my blog post was exactly what he needed to read that day, or a colleague mentions a Facebook post over coffee, saying it helped her navigate a difficult decision. Read more

How Unplugging from the Online World Helped Save My Business

I have a confession to make.

I’ve spent the last two months questioning my business: Why am I doing this? What value am I bringing my clients? Where do I want to go from here?

I’ve gotten rather intimate with these thoughts in my head. Sometimes, I struggled to find any answers at all. Those were the days the self-doubt came creeping in. The days I questioned my worth, my direction, my ability to reach my goals.

Some days, I found myself lacking motivation. I was just going through the motions, hitting deadlines, checking items off the to-do list. But my heart wasn’t in it. And this was scary to me.

You see: I’m a builder. A creator. I love watching a new client website or email campaign come to life. I love getting my hands dirty, digging in to an entrepreneur’s story and helping them recognize how far they’ve come, and what it took for them to get to where they are now. I love helping them connect the dots, showing them how every step along the way served its purpose.

And as I continued to peel back the layers on other people’s stories, I forgot to appreciate my own.

Then I stepped away from it all. Read more

Start Living Life Unfiltered on Social Media

I received one of the greatest compliments a copywriter can get this past month: an author hired me to write the About page on her website.

Yes, even writers have a hard time writing their bio. It’s hard for us to talk about ourselves. Sometimes, we all need a little external perspective to help us see our lives, our businesses, our accomplishments, in a new light.

Fortunately, this is where Web of Words comes in.

I love working with other creatives, but there’s something extra special about working with other writers. It’s a new challenge every time. And yet I can’t help but notice how, no matter the situation, I still question my abilities when taking on a project with a writer. I ask myself:

Am I good enough?

What if she hates it? 

What if he re-writes the entire thing? 

These are the kinds of thoughts that go through my head. But each time, I seem to get a little better at turning them off. I refocus my mind. I tell myself:

I can do this. 

This will be fun! 

She hired me for a reason.

And guess what? I wrote it. She loved it. And I’ll even go out on a limb and say I think I’ve become a better writer because of it.

Sometimes, you have to take a chance. You have to give yourself permission to say yes before you know how you’re going to make it work. You have to believe you’ll figure it out along the way.

You have to remind yourself (again and again) you’re going to knock it out of the park. Read more

What To Do When Someone Copies Your Art

They say when someone copies you, that you should take it as a sign of success. Like you’ve been building your career only to let it be judged by the emulation of others.

It doesn’t make the fact any easier to accept.

As an artist, as an entrepreneur, your ideas, your words, your creations are what make you who you are. You feel this burning desire to share them with the world, because you’re told that is the only way to make them real. But who stops them from being stolen?

Of course, it’s 2016. Is there such a thing as an original thought any longer? Of all the billion ideas circling the planet every day, who’s to say which ones belong to me?

The truth is, imitation is unavoidable.

And yes, they say you should be flattered, but it’s also frustrating as hell. When the painting you created with your own two hands is sold under someone else’s name. When the lyrics you sing are claimed by someone else’s voice.

When the words you read on another website sound just like your own.

I am an artist. Words are my currency. I definitely didn’t invent the English language, but I like to think I have my own way of stringing the letters of the alphabet together. I have a “voice,” shaped by my perspectives, my experiences. My beliefs about the world.

It’s mine. Read more

When Being an Entrepreneur is Enough (Plus a Birthday Giveaway!)

If I were a season, I think I would be spring.

I admire her strength – how after a few failed attempts at battling winter’s harsh wind and grey skies, she always finds a way to pull through. I love the way she brightens the day; even for those who see the world differently than she does.

I appreciate her vulnerability – how she’s not afraid to put herself out there. I enjoy watching her blossom under the touch of the sun. I love that she’s not afraid to get messy, realizing sometimes the most beautiful moments are only discovered after the mud has cleared away.

Letting Go

I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on the past year (my first one as an entrepreneur). I’ve reviewed what milestones were reached; what went well; what I could have done differently.

And for a while there, I was feeling a little underwhelmed at the results.

I kept hearing this voice in my head, telling me: It’s not enough. You can do better. You can do more…

Make more money…

Sign on more clients…

Reach more goals…

I started to realize my perspective was skewed. It was all in my head – the negative self-talk, the “busy” trap I kept surrendering my days to, the lack of focus and clarity.

I had to let go. Read more

To The Boss Who Fired Me: Look At Me Now

What’s your morning routine?

I love asking entrepreneurs this question, because I find the answer varies greatly depending on who is answering.

For me, I’ve always cherished my first cup of coffee. Every morning, I turn on my Keurig, place my favourite handmade mug beneath the filter, fill my reusable pod up with coffee grinds and press the button for my individual cup. After it’s poured, I like to hold my face over the steam, breathe in the rich aroma, and sip away at my desk as I browse the latest blog posts and articles on my Feedly stream.

But I recently made a change.

It started when my husband bought me a coffee grinder for Valentine’s Day (he knows the way to my heart). Now, I am buying fresh beans instead of grinds. I am adding a step to my morning routine. And it is all so worth it for the strong burst of the cocoa, earthy and smoky perfume that fills my kitchen.

When I was trying out the grinder for the first time, I suddenly found myself back in my first year of university, pouring beans into the large grinder at Second Cup, at six o’clock in the morning.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way certain aromas can bring back vivid memories. It’s the closest thing to time travel I’ve ever experienced.

And it got me thinking.

It has been 10 years since I dragged my ass out of bed four mornings a week to clock in at the campus coffee shop.

I’ve worked a lot of jobs since then.

I have also moved six times, got married, adopted a fur baby, and built my own business.

Times have certainly changed. But there’s more to the story than that. Read more

The Hard Truths About Your Business

Do me a favour. Take a moment to think about every step, every stumble, that has led you here. Revel in the journey. Appreciate each one.

As a society, we have this habit of looking at the outcome of change, and celebrating that. We tend to neglect the fear, the restless nights, and the sacrifices made along the way.

Being an entrepreneur takes commitment. It takes resilience.

Some days, the tasks ahead feel insurmountable. Your to-do list feels like a brick wall blocking your path at the end of a 10-kilometre run. You know the only way through it is to climb over it, but where are you supposed to find the energy; where are you supposed to find the time?

I’m here today to remind you to persevere.

Read more

The World Needs Your Ideas

You know the feeling you get when you have an idea inside you, just scratching at your insides, screaming at you to let it out?

Why do you keep ignoring it?

Why do you keep pushing it back, saying “now’s not the right time” or “that’s already been done” or “I don’t have the time or ability to do that”?

Take a minute to look around you – away from your iPhone or laptop screen. Look at the artwork decorating your walls. Look at the books on your shelves. Look out at the jackets and boots worn by the people walking by you on the street.

All of these things started with an idea. An idea someone refused to ignore. An idea someone believed in.  Read more

Make 2016 the Year You Carve Your Own Path

Somehow, I managed to wrap up 2015 with my arms clasped around the cold porcelain bowl in the ensuite of my home. Perhaps it was my way of clearing out any bad vibes from the year.

Personally, I would have preferred taking Elizabeth Gilbert’s approach, which involves writing down the negative experiences and emotions on small scraps of paper and then tossing them into the fire.

But instead, I was hanging face-first over the toilet. (And no, the situation wasn’t red wine induced).

The fact is: some things are just out of your control. Getting the flu over the holidays and cancelling your plans for ringing in the New Year in Montreal happens to be one of those things.

I spent the majority of the next four days moving from the bed to the couch and back again. It wasn’t what I had in mind for my holiday, but I accepted it. I took it as a sign my body was trying to communicate with me; it was trying to tell me something I had been too busy to hear in the weeks leading up to this point.

It’s time for a break. Read more