Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 50 20 Rule, Which Really Works!

Have you heard of the 80-20 rule? It goes like this. It is the top 20% of your clients who contribute to 80% of your wealth; or the top 20% of your hard work which determines 80% of your success.

If you are writing for peanuts, then you are obviously focusing on the 80%, when you need to be aiming for the smaller, higher paying projects.

But time is always so limited. Raise your hand if you can honestly say you find the time to write without distraction? Mine comes in the form of a 6 and 4 year old with boundless energy. Yours may be a home that needs repair, a job that is demanding, social networking sites to which you are addicted, or endless phone calls which need to be attended to.

This is when you need to apply the 50-20 rule. I learnt this from an article by Steve Slaunwhite who in turn learnt it from marketing guru Dean Jackson. Jackson calls it the 50-minute focus technique.

It is simple and it really works. Set aside 50 minutes for your writing. It could be a new article you are working on, or a blog post that needs to be created. Set an alarm to ring after the 50 minutes are up. And then, get to work. You are not allowed to do anything else. No getting up for water, to answer the phone, or to make that cup of coffee you feel you need right away.

You will write and do nothing else. When the timer goes, take a 20 minute break. During this time, you can work, but make sure it is on another project. Check emails, sort out your finances, make a cup of coffee, tweet, network with Facebook friends, or just get up to stretch.

Try to get in 3-4 of these 50 minute work sessions into your day. They really do work. Why? Because you know after your 50 minutes, you are allowing yourself a break to do as you will. This in itself can be motivation to get you to complete your projects at hand.

What do you do to work without distraction?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Pleasures of Reading was reading a book the other day, when my 6 year old bounded up to me and said - "Mum, reading is to think and thinking is to become."

Words of wisdom from her Grade 1 teacher and my pride knew no bounds that she remembered it and related it in the right context. The book I happened to be reading at that moment was Winifred Watson's Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. If you haven't read it, I recommend you pick up a copy. It's one of the most funniest, most thought provoking books I've read in a long time. And see if you don't identify with Miss Pettigrew in some manner.

Certain books are timeless in their storyline and writing style, and this one, first published in 1938, is one of them. By contrast, the movie is quite bland and the storyline, much changed. I know because ironically it was being aired the night I finished reading the book. So with the written words fresh in my mind, I sat down to view it. It stars Francis McDormand whom I believe to be a wonderful actress. So it's disappointing to find she can't do full justice to the role. And the fact the storyline is changed, as is the very essence of Miss Pettigrew's character, only serves to further dilute the film.

Which leads me to believe - yet again - that movies, no matter their star cast or budgets just can't compare to books.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


On Sunday I watched the Ghostwriter, which is a superb thriller which doesn't require much thinking. And with Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor in the lead roles, it can even be forgiven for not inspiring you to pick up a pen and paper and begin writing - or ghostwriting as it may be.

Having said that, ghostwriting is becoming more and more popular, not to mention lucrative, as celebrities and media gurus alike seek to free up their time, by outsourcing their writing needs to a 'ghostwriter'. I recently read an article in the Entrepreneur magazine, where popular (and millionaire) coach, author and motivational guru, Robert Kiyosaki's ghostwriter was interviewed. That's right  - she's the one who writes his blogs, twitter thoughts and facebook comments.

 A bit disappointing, but understandable as most coaches and speakers don't have the time to write their own marketing material. The same holds true for a lot of entrepreneurs. Most of them will like to market their brand, but poor communication skills prevent them from doing so. Step in the ghostwriter, whose job it is to make them look good. For a fee. Ghostwriting is not cheap and a good ghostwriter can command double the normal writing fee. If you can adopt your client's voice and take ego out of the equation, ghostwriting might be right for you.

While the debate rages on - is a client who uses a ghostwriter 'cheating' his audience, or not? - ghostwriters continue to take on growing challenges and prove their worth in an expanding and competitive trade.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Routine in Writing

Another glorious summer's day,and it's hard to believe fall (and school)is around the corner. But what I'm looking forward to most is getting back into a routine. While I've enjoyed the long and lazy summer days shared with family and friends, a routine helps me get more productive and stay on track.

And while much has been written on 'routines', the fact is only you can persist in sticking to one.

So, for the last few weeks, I've been resetting my alarm to go off an hour earlier each morning (resulting in a whacking headache today) because I know as of next week, I'll be working longer hours at a stretch. And has it paid off? Of course it has. I'm now working with a few 'steady' clients and it's always fun knowing you'll be getting a steady paycheck from them. Check them out here:

MN Interactive: and

The Netsetter:

Mind Body Sanctuary:

Greener Steps:

They are fun clients and working with them offers me the diversity I crave. Check them out and do leave me some comments -it's always fun having visitors.

To your routine!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do you Sell on Etsy?

Are you into crafts? If so, I need your help.

I’m writing an ebook for a company I regularly produce work for. They in turn have a network of clients who come to them with writing jobs. For this particular job, the topic is Marketing Your Craft on Etsy. I had suggested I include case studies or question /answers with Etsians who are already marketing their crafts successfully on the site. I asked if I could interview craft owners on Etsy and in turn, they would get their name/link showcased in the Ebook.

The company in turn got it touch with the client to run this idea by her and she has agreed to do this. However, I cannot provide you with any details of the ebook (name or author) other than to say it will be sold on her marketing site and via clickbank. Yes, that sucks. But that's the deal.

If you’d still like to go ahead, these are my questions:

-What kind of craft do you specialize in?

-How long have you been doing this craft?

-Is it a hobby or full time business, and if it’s a full time business, when did you set up shop?

-What made you go on to Etsy?

-Do you find yourself getting clients via Etsy?

-What marketing methods do you use?

-Is there anything else you’d like to try out with regards to marketing?

-Any special moments which stand out?

-Is there any other marketing advice you would recommend to a novice crafter?

-Your name

-Your website’s link or Your Etsy store link.

I hope to hear back from you.

With love and success,

Usha Sliva