Write Exciting Mailchimp Newsletters That Sell

Have you ever read a newsletter and silently applauded the writers ability to say so much about so little? My favourite newsletters ever were about cleaning up. Once upon a time, somewhere on the internet, I was searching for ways to get myself into a daily cleaning routine. A very kind person recommended signing up to a particular newsletter that sent daily tips and kept you on track. Excited and raring to go, I duly paid with my name and ‘best email address’. Then the bombardment started.

A full 300 words about cleaning your sink. I shit you not.

After the sermon, an offer to buy some micro-fibre special cloths that make the task easier. Only $15 for 5. I’m looking at this absolutely dumbfounded. Not only because I can buy 5 for £1 in Home Bargains, but because I’d read those 300 words and actually considered buying the cloths. I mean, 300 words, they must be better than the cheapo ones, right?


And that’s the power of a newsletter. To show that what you have is different. It’s special. If you can find 300 words to write about a dishcloth, your reader will probably ask themselves at some point if they should buy it.

Don’t just write any old crap though. Compare and contrast, people:

Mr. Dishcloth Newsletter

My dishcloths are made of the most special dishcloth material in the world. You should buy these because they get a great shine on your sink. They come in a range of pretty colours. They wash really well too. I hope you enjoy my newsletters. Click this link to purchase,

Eurgh.

Cleaning Lady Tips Newsletter

My grandson came up to me last week and asked why I had so many tiny blankets in my cleaning basket. He’d used them to make beds for his teddy bears and tried to climb under one himself. After wriggling around and trying to squeeze underneath one of my special blend micro-fibre squares for 5 minutes, he asked me for a bigger one.  I explained that although they’re velvet soft they’re so small because they’re cleaning squares, but he still looked puzzled. He wanted to know why they were so colourful. When I showed him my Colour Coded Cleaning System™, he was amazed. ‘Wow! Cleaning sure is fun, Grandma!’

Try them for yourself – only $15!

Mr. Dishcloth sounds boring. I’d go to Home Bargains any day rather than buy from him. They’re probably just cheapo dishcloths repackaged. But a Colour Coded Cleaning System™. I’m in with both feet. The kids might even help me, or better still do it all while I watch Jeremy Kyle with a packet of biscuits.

So what’s the difference between the two newsletters above?

Storytelling. Conjure up a scenario. Don’t just keep regurgitating why someone should buy what you’re selling. Show your product in a real life situation, or talk about it in a scenario. Include it in the background of a funny story. But for the love of all that is sacred, don’t try the Mr. Dishcloth method because it sucks.

Did you find this helpful? Have anything to add? Leave a comment and let me know.

Create An Awesome Social Media Brand Theme

Have you ever looked at a Facebook page banner and been totally confused. I have. It’s usually because the brand theme isn’t clear.

It doesn’t seem like a major issue but when your potential fans ‘eat with their eyes’, it really is. That’s why major players and music artists pay so much for their branding and design (let’s not talk about The Life of Pablo).

Your Facebook, Twitter and social media headers are part of YOUR BRAND and you deserve more than a quote you found on Pinterest to represent what you’re about.

silly banner


If you find it difficult, imagine you’re designing a room. First make a list of the things you want in there, like your web address, a photo, an illustration or fancy writing (your furniture) – these are negotiable. Then think about the space you have (your room) – this isn’t negotiable. So we need to play with the furniture, and even send some back, until it fits nicely into our room.

But it’s not quite that simple. I mean, you have to know how to set that room up. You wouldn’t put a table upside down, or a TV on the floor. And you wouldn’t buy a red sofa, red carpet, red curtains and paint the walls green…(if you would, this isn’t for you, door’s that way —>>>).

With that in mind, here are a few ideas to hopefully stop the frustration setting in when it comes to designing your brand theme.

BRAND THEME TIPS

Before you do anything, design some placeholder banners for your profiles. Choose a colour you like and a classic typeface like Century Gothic. You can use whatever font you like as long as you’re not the type of person who thinks Comic Sans is nice. It isn’t. Just write your website name/brand name and your social media details. It won’t be there for long and it will take the pressure off.

an example of a placeholder banner

Gather all of the sizes you need designs for (Twitter and Facebook headers, Instagram and Pinterest avatar etc)  and draw them out on a piece of paper. It should be clear now how many variations you will need –  in this example, a long design and also a square design that will fit into a circular shape.

Look at other pages that you regularly interact with. What does their branding look like. Do they all have something in common, maybe a fun photo of the page owner, maybe an illustration of some flowers, do they all have contact info in the same place, or use a similar font? Look for trends and patterns. Eventually you’ll gain a sense of what works and what doesn’t but until then, don’t be a maverick.

Think about the theme of your site. Going back to the room analogy, at this point we’d be thinking about colour, texture, aroma etc. It’s not that dissimilar with digital spaces. We can’t make people smell something but we can certainly give a sense of place by choosing the right colours, textures, fonts and images. If you wanted an Alice in Wonderland brand theme, what colours would you use? What kind of images would you source? Where would you find inspiration for fonts? Google is your friend.

Alice colour schemes
A simple search for Alice in Wonderland colour schemes, and some Alice inspired fonts, and you can start putting together a mood board that you can refer to. Once you start developing ebooks or products, go back to that mood board and you’ll maintain a successful theme that runs strong through your site, social media and products.

As long as you have a high quality image or two of either yourself, your products or something that relates to what you do, you’ll be fine. Just remember to keep your images in line with your theme and crop them/filter them to add some interest. If you don’t have any images, try using a stock agency or approach a photographer who’s images you like. You could negotiate an advertising deal with them or even licence a few of their images. Just don’t use without asking. That will bring bad juju.

If this is all a bit much and you feel totally overwhelmed, get in touch.

Did you find this article helpful? Leave a comment and let me know.

Start Blogging Without Spending Money

If you’re methodical and sensible, there’s a way to start blogging for free. The one thing that will determine whether that figure is zero is your domain name and hosting choices.

There are lots of free services out there but the downside to those is a lack of control over advertising. That isn’t a bad thing because you’re aiming to have lots of advertising going through your site. That’s how you’ll eventually make a passive income. You need control over those ads though, right?

The other problem with free domains is that they’re often sub-domains. That’s not a problem if you’re getting direct visitors by the truckload. It is a problem if you’re depending on search engines throwing more than a handful of visitors your way.

So what’s a sub-domain?


A domain name is like a home address. It leads directly to your online front door AKA your home page. It’s your house.

A sub-domain is a room within that house that has it’s own key and tenant. When someone types in your sub-domain name, the internetz has to look up the home address, then the specific room it’s been asked to find. When you’re getting a free sub-domain from a provider, the original domain (house) has LOT of rooms (sub-domains).

Search engines tend not to index all of the individual rooms very well, if at all, because that would be a nightmare. Imagine there’s a hosting company specialising in offering art prints. They’re called BLUE ART. They have 100,000 sub domains. Anyone searching for BLUE ART via Google would end up with a 10,000 pages of results all thrown back from the same domain.

This is why you really have to pay for your hosting if you want to be able to effectively work on your discover-ability through search engines.

By now, you’re probably wondering why people go the sub-domain path. Well, there are two reasons.

Lack of funds
Easy set up

But there is another way to start blogging. It’s not a free way, but it is a cheap way. You could have a set up just like mine up and running for less than $12.

How to set up your own domain and hosting

My background is fundamentally online media and web design. Since I first sat down to learn about this stuff in 2002, a lot has changed. Between then and now, I’ve set up a lot of sites and used lots of different hosting services (and domain registries).

The hosting I have now is pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good (if you don’t know Larry David, that probably looks a bit OTT. If you do, high fives).

The best thing about my host is their ‘One-Click Install’ system. When I made my first WordPress site to start blogging, I had to manually copy all the files over via ftp. So the concept of a one click install was like MIND. BLOWN.

They also have a 97 day money back guarantee, a phenomenal 99.97% uptime guarantee and unlimited bandwidth. Add their amazing customer service to the mix and they’re worth every penny (trust me, I’ve been burned by other companies in the past).

STEP BY STEP

I’m trying to pace this just right so if this moves too fast or isn’t explanatory enough, all you’ve got to do is comment and I’ll make changes or explain in more detail where I can.

Dreamhost are my provider and the first thing you need to do is sign up for their monthly hosting plan. Unless you’re feeling flush, their 7.95 per month plan is all you need.

Choose WordPress Hosting and choose one of the plans. As I said earlier, the 7.95 per month plan allows you to host multiple WordPress sites. That means you can buy as many domains as you like and host lots of sites. If you know another blogger, or maybe your partner or kids want to have their own sites too, you won’t pay anymore other than the cost of the domain names (which start at $0.99).

So here we go. You need to enter your email address and choose a password. Once that’s done, you’ll get a screen that asks you what domain name you want. For the purposes of my less than $12 claim, I’ll show you how to set up with a .xyz domain name.


If it’s available, just click the ‘Register Now for …’ button and you’re on your way. If not,  keep searching until you find a domain that isn’t taken. Then you click the button.

The next screen you’ll see asks which plan you want. Well it’s the $10.95 per month plan! Once you’ve chosen that one, you’ll be asked if you wan’t to add extras. The only one you’re interested in at this point, is the ‘Install WordPress’ option.

Now you have to enter all of your details and pay the monthly fee. That’s it.

You now own your own little place on the web.

I’ll be writing a companion piece on setting up your WordPress blog soon, so keep an eye open for that. In the meantime, familiarise yourself with the backend, choose a them and start getting your copy together for your ‘About Me’ section. That’s the hardest part.

I hope this has been helpful. Don’t forget to leave a comment letting me know how you got on.

Disclaimer: I know it’s 9.95 per month but it only works out to 7.95 if you take a 3 year plan, on a monthly billing cycle it’s $9.95 but still refers to itself as the $7.95 plan.

 

 

Organisation Is The Key To Regular Blogging

Do you ever wake up in the morning and suddenly feel like the go-getter you are? Like Rocky with his theme tune on loop, big band style. You hurtle to your office and skid across the laminate in your chair. Then you get a look at your desktop and forget everything because it looks like the devil’s sandpit. Five million icons just floating in space, all as duper-important as each other (that’s why you saved them there after all) with not one scrap of organisation.

desktop icons with no organisation from www.eatworklove.blog
You’ve been doing it wrong.

I know this because I’ve been doing it wrong too. I’ve procrastinated my ass off looking for files, folders, just moving that one there and this one here…But I’ve finally sorted it out.

I’ve been meaning to make my desktop pin-board for a long time.  Truth is, I could have made it instead of piddling about and procrastinating but I didn’t. So what is this amazing pin-board I’m talking about? It’s a background that will change your life.


Have you ever organised your icons into clumps and then forgotten what those clumps were for? I have. Then I make more clumps that I forget about a few days later. It gets a bit boring after the first couple of years but you carry on anyway, because your head hurts.

Those clumps are what I’ve based this pin-board around. With definite labels and ares for each clump, I know exactly where to look for my deadline related work, pending approval, inspiration, development…I can find them all in the blink of a cursor.

If you’d like to give it a try, I’m giving it away to you for free. I know this is going to change your life. In return, do something nice for me, follow me on Twitter or Instagram. I don’t mind which.

Click here and download away!

Do you have your own version of a desktop pin-board or one you think I should develop? Let me know in the comments!

Facebook Friends … The Ones You Don’t Want

I made a decision to get on top of the EWL Facebook account today. After hobbling along with a handful of friends for a few days I thought I should reach out and mingle. So I added a few carefully selected people that seemed to have similar interests and aims to me.

Guys, a literal shit-storm of friend requests started pouring in. Great I thought. People really want to hear my news and see my blog. I’ll be able to put my own Facebook ads out soon and monetise this baby. They are wild for me. But no. The first inkling I had that something wasn’t right came with a simple ‘Hi’ message that pinged into my inbox.

I replied in a friendly an polite manner. Then *ping* ‘I’m Kalim. I’m from Morrocco. Send me your pictures’.


It dawned on me that these new friends may not want to see my blog. They wanted to see something else entirely.

Here’s a nicely decorated and blurred screenshot of my inbox from earlier…


And they’re still racking up now. One every 2 minutes at least. I won’t show you my inbox but I’m sure you can use your imagination.

So just how do you weed out the Hi-Guys (aka pervs) from the genuine people looking to connect? Here’s my strategy:

Check who your mutual friends are and then delete them.

Once I’ve done that with a few of these guys, I can see that there are one or two names that keep cropping up as mutuals. I go straight to those mutual accounts and delete, delete, delete. The Hi-Guys are systematically going through their friend lists and adding them all.

Make your own friends list private.

So they can’t use your friends list and you don’t get deleted, or even worse, blocked. You can do this via your Facebook privacy settings.

Visit their profile and look at their friends, posts and photos.

If they have photographs of their penis on there, or a penis belonging to someone else, they probably aren’t interested in reading about your new shoes, hair or what font to use on their blog. This applies to dodgy handbags and sunglasses too.

Be vigilant and selective about your friends.

This also applies in real life. We all know that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet but I think that’s just a rumour spread by strangers looking for their next victim.

Anyway, I hope that was helpful…Can you think of anything to add?

Dark Circles aka Mascara Woes (AND A FREE GIFT!)

So I walked into a very big and popular high street chemist and asked about under eye concealer. Specifically the best one to use for dark circles and tear troughs.  I was sat in her little silver spinny chair before I had a chance to protest. She tinkered in her cupboard for what I assumed would be a wonder product, but no. She pulled out some cotton buds and eye makeup remover. I started to sweat. WTF was she about to do? The thought of walking around at midday barefaced made me baulk.

Before I could say ‘steady on’ she started wiping under my eyes and telling me how my problem was my eye make up, not dark circles. Pointing out how it had slid down my face and settled in the grooves, she made me feel like an embarrassment to the sisterhood. Her face contorted into numerous expressions before she eventually sold me what I asked for. And me being too polite to say ‘Well what was all that bollocks about my eye makeup then!’ reached for my credit card and bought not one, but two products that she initially said I didn’t need.


A few weeks later, I accidentally came up with my own solution. Waterproof mascara. Since then, I’ve been through shed-loads of the stuff and my dark circles are staying under my concealer. Meanwhile, the two tubes of gunk I bought are sat around gathering dust. If you’re struggling with dark circles and mascara bleeding into your base this is something you can try for yourself. The lovely people at Eyeko have a great deal on mascara right now and there’s a FREE MINI SKINNY EYELINER TRAVEL SIZE + FREE SHIPPING ON EVERY ORDER

“Eyeko is a name to know if you want your mascaras trustworthy and your liquid liner to stay put all day.” – VOGUE

Making Money Online: I Actually Did It!

Not millions, or thousands, so if you’re looking for a 007 lifestyle this is not going to help. But if you’re looking to to save for a holiday, buy yourself something nice every month, or pay off your credit cards, this is for you.

A couple of months ago, I was poking around the ‘Make Money Online’ type sites and shaking my head. The rates offered by some of these sites (most?) are grim. Even the benefit of being able to work in my pyjamas with unbrushed hair and last night’s makeup on doesn’t really make it worthwhile.


If you know me IRL you already know that my day job involves working from home anyway, but that’s something different. That’s  for my salary/wage/to survive. I want to make a supplemental income online with the time I’d usually spend filling online shopping baskets with stuff I don’t really want and never actually buy. So maybe an hour or two each day.

I trawled through some sites. I tried matched betting (on football…I hate football) and made a £100 but it felt grubby so I I ditched that after a couple of days. You can go and look that up if it sounds like your thing but I’m not going to link it here because there’s a lot of info knocking around on the interwebs about that.

I’m already signed up to  a few copy writing sites but the pay isn’t great. You’d have to bust a gut for silly hours every day to make a decent supplemental income from that alone. I keep my membership mainly because I exercise my brain every now and again by picking up a few Copify assignments.

While I was scrolling through those forum posts, I noticed people were referring to LF and just making the assumption that everyone on there was signed up to it. I dug a little deeper and found that they were referring to Leapforce (which to my own shame I thought was a children’s learning device). Turns out that this particular company pay a fair bit more than the other avenues I’ve looked at. And you get a job title that sounds pretty nifty too – Search Engine Evaluator: put that on your CV and smoke it.

So I’m sure the big questions are:

What do you have to do?

You have to evaluate information that is presented to you, like ads in a social media channel. Depending on what LF offer, you can work as many hours as are available to you. And when you get paid $14 per hour, that soon racks up.

Is it a scam?

I did wonder. I waited until after I’d been paid for my work to write this post. And yes, I did get paid. I worked an hour each day for around 18 days and ended up with almost £200. And I didn’t have to move out of my chair. And when I did, I used my mobile.

Where do I sign?

Well, you may have a bit of a wait before you hear anything, then you have to take a test online. It’s nothing too taxing as long as you read through the notes and guidance about what they expect from you. That said, it’s worth it. For an hour a day I’m paying off my credit cards in pretty big chunks and adding to the shoe collection without any guilt at all.

You can make an application to work for Leapforce here if this sounds like your thing.

Dermaroller Needling For Photoshop Style Beautiful Skin

The concept of Dermarolling or micro-needling is quite simple. Dermaroller works by creating tiny punctures into the skin to stimulate skin repair and cell regeneration. When the body sustains an injury or wound, it heals itself by creating new collagen.
That’s the concept in a nutshell, taken from here.

 

The first time I used one of these mini torture devices was 2012. After a stressful year I’d lost a lot of weight quickly and my snaky skin was kept catching my eye in the mirror. After browsing Youtube, watching people making their own skin bleed, I decided this was for me. I set off to find a good quality roller that wasn’t going to ultimately cause my death.

METHOD

So it’s pretty simple, you can buy some numbing cream to ease your suffering (apparently). I bought Emla cream. I’m not convinced that stuff works, even when the hospital use it, but it could have a positive psychological effect. I noticed others have had success with this one from Amazon. After you let the cream do it’s work, you roll backwards and forwards in asterisk shapes all over your face. I suggest watching a few Youtube videos first. Once you’ve applied pain all over the area you can splash with cold water to remove any blood before applying your collagen cream. If you don’t apply a face cream with collagen, you’re not going to get the full benefit. Any cream with collagen will work. I use L’Oreal Paris Wrinkle Expert 35+ Collagen Day Cream 50ml because it’s cheap and doesn’t irritate my face. Something else you will need is Surgical Spirit to clean your roller before and after every time you use it (you have to soak it  for 20 minutes in this stuff to stop infection). While we’re on the subject, you mustn’t ever, ever, EVER share your roller with anyone.

My intention was to use one on the backs of my hands, one on my neck, one on my face, and one on my stretchmarks. I bought a 0.5mm, 1mm and 1.5mm The biggest is scary looking. It falls somewhere  between a tiny lawn aerator and a mace. This is the one I chose for my stretchmarks. It’s been out of the packaging once. I was confident I had a high pain threshold until I tried rolling my hips with this thing. You will need numbing cream by the shitload, my friends.
I had the same experience with the 1mm and the back of my hands. Way too painful to just go right in there and start puncturing at that depth.
0.5mm is better. It still hurts, but it’s not a bad hurt. It’s tolerable in most places on your face. The bad bits are the bony bits and between your lip and nose. My eyes stream and I have sneezing fits but I can do this. The feeling after Dermarolling is weird. Your face burns and turns bright red. It looks like you’ve been asleep in the blazing sun and it feels like that too. I quite like that feeling, I’ll be honest. The ‘no-pain, no gain’ principle is something I strongly believe in.  Once you’re done, you slather the cream on and repeat a week later. Let me know what you think if you try it. I love it, my favourite skin routine. It just takes a little getting used to and finding your own way. Does it make my skin look better? I think so. Does it make my skin feel better? YES!

Remember to read the instructions and use your own common sense – I’m not a doctor, this is just my experience with these products.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bloglovin’!

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18907205/?claim=5xsrvt3crfs”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Just in case you forgot…

Lose Weight: How I lost A Stone in A Week

Well…Almost.

Easter has been and gone and so has all the chocolate.  My problem is the domino effect. I have one bar, enjoy it, and feel okay. The next day I’ll scoff two bars and a bag of popcorn. Before I know it,  I’ve got sweet wrappers strewn all over the place, chocolate around my mouth and popcorn stuck to my ass.

There are alternatives, I love fruit. All fruit except kiwi. I love it so much, I eat all of it.  Then I casually start eyeing everything and mentally ranking by sweetness.


Lose Weight Fast

 

Before Easter I already had extra weight to lose. So I’m sure you can imagine my face when I stepped on the scale and had gained another 7lbs. Experience dictates that I only lose weight when I strip back the calories to the absolute minimum. 1200 calories a day doesn’t work for me – I maintain at that number if I’m active. If I’m at a desk all day, I gain. So I started Googling ‘How to lose a stone in a week’. Here’s how it went and how I did it (along with the results).

The Diet

Some people have to mentally prepare themselves to lose weight. I’m not one of them, I prefer to jump in with both feet and drop everything else in favour of getting to the supermarket and filling my trolley with fruit. Grapefruit. Hello darkness my old friend.

I drank what I liked as long as it was sugar free (I use semi-skimmed milk and sweeteners). I used salt (sparingly) and pepper.

So here’s the plan I followed, to the letter (including my cheats):

MONDAY

Breakfast: Pink Grapefruit
Lunch: Apple, Banana
Dinner: Chicken Kebab with salad in Pitta (no sauce), 2 slices of Garlic Bread (takeaway)

TUESDAY

Breakfast: Pink Grapefruit
Lunch: 2 small slices plain toast, 2 boiled eggs, 2 fried tomatoes
Dinner: Chicken breast with salad
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast: Pink Grapefruit and a boiled egg
Lunch: grapes, apple, pineapple
Dinner: Chicken breast with salad
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

THURSDAY

Breakfast: 2 slices plain toast
Lunch: grapes, apple, pineapple, tangerine
Dinner: 2 egg omelette (eggs and tiny bit of milk) with salad and a grapefruit
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

FRIDAY

Breakfast: 1 slice plain toast
Lunch: Tangerine, apple, pineapple
Dinner: Cod loin with salad
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

SATURDAY

Breakfast: Pink Grapefruit
Lunch: Banana, apple, pineapple
Dinner: Chicken breast with spinach and tomato
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

SUNDAY

Breakfast: Boiled egg
Lunch: grapes, apple, pineapple, banana
Dinner: Chicken breast with carrots, and a grapefruit
Snack: Metcalf’s Skinny Popcorn (small bag)

 

The Verdict

I found this easy at the start but tough from day 4. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of starting again. And the fact that the scales were showing a good loss. I didn’t quite lose a whole stone but I did lose a pretty massive 10lbs. I’d have lost more if I hadn’t had a bag of popcorn every night and the chicken kebab with cheesy garlic bread to start.

I did this over a week ago. I’ve eaten pretty badly since (found another Easter egg, popcorn, chinese takeaway, apple pie and arctic roll). To be fair though, I’ve carried a few good habits through and have been eating mainly fruit for lunch and I really like the boiled egg and fried tomato combo for breakfast. So after another weigh in, I’ve gained 3lbs back. I don’t think that’s too bad considering. My plan now is to do this diet every third week until I’m at a weight I’m happy with. It’s not pleasant but I like eating sweet things and this is doable for me rather than cut out the sweet stuff for life or until I’m sick of fat clubs and convincing myself that cloud bread isn’t that bad (it is).

I’m not a doctor but this diet is apparently (according to the internetz) similar to one that is given to patients looking to lose weight before an operation. It also says that this diet works based on chemical interactions of the foods you eat and is also known as The Chemical Diet. Judging by how low my calorie intake was, I’m pretty sure I would have lost weight anyway. Partake at your own risk. The only thing I do know for sure is that you shouldn’t eat grapefruit if you’re on any meds without checking with your GP first.

I hope you found this helpful – leave a comment to let me know if you lose weight too.