10 Lessons Learned From Releasing 10 Podcast Episodes - and Happy Birthday Bloggy Friends Show!



Happy Birthday BloggyFriends SHOW


What’s up you guys! Famous Ashley Grant here, and I’m excited to welcome you to the birthday episode of this show. Yep! My bloggy friends show is officially 1 year old today. And, of course, I HAD to release this episode on April 1 because that’s when it started...April Fool’s Day.

This is also the 10th episode of the show. I had these lofty goals when I first started a year ago that I was going to release an episode every Friday. I was going to go big or go home...and then, like the rest of the world I was told to stay at home… a lot. And things got weird.

My business got busy, my life got hectic, and then like any sane person would do, I decided to uproot my life of 35 years living in Florida and move to Kentucky in the dead of winter. Because that’s normal right?

Needless to say - a LOT of my goals for this show and my website and for my life in general took a backseat to everything else going on around me. And while I still have huge dreams for my podcasting future, I’m just going to take things one step at a time and not put so much pressure on myself.

So, in this birthday episode, I wanted to share 10 lessons from working on 10 podcast episodes. The truth is, I can't believe it! I can't even fathom the fact that at this point I've released 10 episodes of my Bloggy Friends Show! It feels like just yesterday it was April 1, and the first episode was coming out, but it also feels like April 1 2020 was ten years ago.

The crazy thing is this show is something I've been wanting to launch for YEARS! Seriously - I bought the Bloggy Friends domain in October 2016, and was talking about it even longer than that. The domain https://www.bloggyfriends.com/ sat dormant for a long time, and then I didn't even keep up with it regularly after I finally started posting to it.


I announced my master plans for the website in March 2017, and then posted 30 Conference MUST Haves for Your Next Blogging Conference in 2018, and then only posted 3 times in 2019. You can check out those posts here if you are interested:




All the while, I've maintained a vision for this website. I wanted it to be a place to talk about life as a blogger, spotlight people that are in the content creation industry, showcase blogging vendors, and basically share the news of the blogosphere.

So, what held me back for so long? FEAR! Yep, I said it. Fear plagued me and kept me from doing anything fun with this website and launching my podcast. So, now that I finally launched and have posted show notes as blog posts for the last 10 episodes including this one, let's dive into the lessons this last year has taught me...


10 Lessons Learned From Releasing 10 Podcast Episodes

1. The fear still exists

Yep! Every time I hit record, I get scared. I sweat bullets the whole time I'm recording, and then I get even more scared when I hit publish with my podcast host. YIPE!


2. Everyone was right about the importance of making a plan

Before I recorded a single episode, I brainstormed a very rough layout of my vision for the first 40 or so episodes of my show. I did this even though in my mind I had only committed to 10 episodes.

Doing so helped me to know exactly what I would talk about every time I sat down to record.


3. The equipment actually DOES matter

I released my first 4 episodes with a gamer headset.

Then, a client who believes in me was nice enough to sponsor the cost of a legit podcasting microphone for me. It was a win-win for both myself and the client. I got a nifty podcasting microphone for projects like the Bloggy Friends Show, and he got a better sound quality for podcast episodes and videos I recorded for him. Yep - I’ve been doing YouTube and podcasts for a client outside of the work I’m doing on this website and this podcast. I have to say - it’s been a lot of fun learning different aspects of the podcasting industry.

For example - did you know that there are lots of different jobs in podcasting that don’t even require you to have your own show? I got hired this year to write show notes for a podcast in the running niche. I’ve been recording YouTube videos, and then stripping the audio to release as podcast episodes for a podcast hosting company. And, you can also get work producing podcasts, managing social media for podcasts, and even being the voice of a podcast for businesses. One of my bloggy friends recently hired some freelancers to be the voice of his podcasts - he does all the research and lines up the guests - the freelancers just show up and do the interviews for the show. Then another freelancer edits all the audio, adds in the intro and outro and voila! Instant podcast!

But anyway - this was a long winded way of saying your microphone really does matter. You can get free editing software, and use the computer you already have, but you have to get a good microphone. I use the Blue Yeti microphone and honestly can’t imagine going back to my gamer headset now that I’ve heard the difference in the audio quality.

4. Batching is critical for consistency

I regret not recording all 10 episodes at once and scheduling them for release. It's why when it came time to release my 5th episode, I didn't have one for the week. A family situation took me away from my office when I had planned to record, and as a result, I couldn't make up the time and thus had nothing for my self-designated release date.

Then, when life got weird again, it became far too easy to just keep pushing it off to the next week and then the next month, and suddenly any momentum I could have gained disappeared.

5. I love this medium and repurposing it has been a lot of fun already

It's great that I can just speak and BAM - I've got content. Then, I can transcribe my episodes into blog posts, social media updates, and use the text to create short video clips too. I've only done the blog posts so far - using my show notes as blog posts, but I really like how sitting down to research and record one thing has the potential to yield content for multiple platforms.



6. I want to build a designated podcasting and video space in my home

Although I've released a handful of one image videos of my podcast, I want to actually film myself on video for YouTube, and create several different types of videos related to blogging for the platform. I've learned a lot over this past year, and I know I have a better chance of getting more viewers on my episodes if they are visual and audio instead of just audio.


While it's clear that YouTube is a visual platform, many people had me convinced that one image videos were all I needed to repurpose my content from my podcast on YouTube. I see now just how much I would prefer to have my face on camera so the audience can see and hear me. I confess this has me even more nervous, but I feel like it will be better for the ultimate goals of my show and websites



7. This is a lot of work


Yet another thing people were right about.... podcasting is not something you just do on a whim. It’s another big reason I kept putting off recording new episodes. Scheduling out several hours to write up what I want to say, record, and then edit, and then post, and then promote...it’s a lot of time and energy that goes into this. I am working a lot more with my husband now in my business, so we’re discussing plans to outsource, batch, and come up with better systems and processes, but for now...we’re just taking everything one step at a time.


8. I want to monetize my efforts

Because this is so much work, I do not plan on this being a hobby. I want to make it part of my business. I'm not quite sure what I mean by this yet, but in order for it to make sense to keep producing episodes, there will need to be some kind of monetization plan in place. I’m journaling and dreaming, and planning what the best steps for me to take will be. Who knows? I might just pull all the current content down at some point and start over again. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, but I know that I need to make a certain amount of money in my business for podcasting to make sense in my overall plans.

This could just mean turning the podcast into an experimental research lab used for coming up with better blog content. Or it could be a lead generator for my day job as a ghost blogger. Anything is possible, and I’m not ruling anything out as I keep going on this podcasting journey figuring things out as I go.



9. I'm glad I committed to 10 so I would just launch already

The fear held me back for years, as I mentioned earlier. Committing to just 10 episodes felt a lot less scary than saying I'd be a lifelong podcaster. In my mind, I thought of it as an experiment, calming the fears just enough to start. I accepted that I might hate the first 10 episodes, and that if they sucked, I could just move on knowing it was simply an experiment.

10. I've got a lot more work to do!

To make my visions for my business and my life a reality, I've got a lot more work cut out for myself! Like I said, I’m journaling and dreaming about the future. Trying to figure out where to go from here. I’m publicly committing to 10 more episodes now because though I’ve not moved as fast as I want to, I can see the potential here for something great. You know those moments where you kind of feel like your whole life is leading to something? I’m in that space right now and I’m not sure where this is all taking me, but I’m hopeful and excited for my future - where it’s going..



There you have it my bloggy friends. My first 10 lessons from working on 10 episodes of The Bloggy Friends Show. I can honestly tell you that this has been a whirlwind of a year. I have learned so much, and I know I’ve got a lot more to learn. I’m grateful to everyone who has said kind things about the show. The feedback I’ve been given. The comments and messages - it’s all been so special to me. I love how amazing the podcasting community is.


I am also grateful to places like RSS.com Podcasting for the content they share about how to start a podcast. I highly recommend their blog if you’re looking for some solid podcasting advice. And, if you need a podcasting host, I’ve been a subscriber for a year now and can’t say enough great things about them. 

You can actually start your podcast for free with them at RSS.com. They have created a freemium offer that allows anyone and everyone to launch their first episode completely free without even giving over your credit card information! Then, when you’re ready to release your second episode, it’s just $99 a year after that. Or if you are a student or teacher with a .edu email address you can get half off your fees! RSS even has free plans for some non profits organizations.

They aren’t paying me to say this, but in full disclosure I am a brand ambassador for them, and love that their mission is to give every podcaster a voice. I seriously love working with them, and think they are the best option for anyone thinking about starting a podcast.

7 Steps to Starting a Podcast:

Image courtesy of RSS.com

I look forward to releasing even more episodes and coming up with more ideas and sharing more of what I’m learning with all of you. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as Famous Ashley Grant. I’m also a LinkedIn Open Networker if you want to add me there. Let’s be friends! I’d love to connect with you. Until the next episode, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!


Episode 9 - Show Notes - Creating Products for Your Blog Readers

What’s up bloggy friends?!? Famous Ashley Grant here, and today I want to talk about Creating Products for your blog readers. If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from leveling up their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in creating and selling products. Sure, you think that new course, eBook, or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?

You don’t even want to imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, video editing and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. You know that would feel frustrating. So today I want to talk about how to move forward without leaving it to chance.

There are plenty of ways to test your idea before spending the time and energy on a full launch. In fact, I tested a few ideas before spending time launching, and I think these insights will help you create and launch your own products.


The first and best method to get started is to Just Ask your readers.

This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your readers need and want. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. Or, if you don’t have a mailing list yet, but you have a very engaged community on social media – post your survey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


For best results, keep it short, but do ask things like:
  • What they’re struggling with
  • Their preferred learning method (video, text, audio, etc.)
  • What they feel the training is worth (what would they pay)
These three pieces will tell you a lot that you will need to know in order to create a program that’s practically guaranteed to sell.


By the way, as a blogger you need an email list if you want to do this full-time! That is unless you’re ghostblogging like I am – I’ve been very fortunate to skate by without an email list because of the type of work I’ve been doing for my clients. But even I recognize based on my work with them that the money REALLY is in the email list. In fact, it’s why I’m still planning on preparing an email acquisition campaign of my own for my own websites.


Alright – that’s enough on that. Back to the ways to test your product ideas...


Next, Listen to Their Complaints

If you have a community (or are part of one) of potential ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking about the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a craft blogger and your Facebook group is filled with questions about how to get started selling crafts on Etsy, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.


Third, sell a test offer.

If you have been thinking about launching a course or book, you could just announce it and put up a sales page to see whether or not anyone has an interest in it. I did this with a ghostblogging course and sold two seats in a workshop before I ever recorded a single lesson.

In fact, Amazon allows you to pre-launch a book. You can pre-sell it 90 days in advance. If you don’t load your book 10 days prior to it’s official publication date, the pre-orders will be canceled. Of course, if you don’t load something after launching a pre-order campaign you won’t be allowed to do pre-order sales for a full year after that. But, it is a great way to test the waters with your audience if you want to make sure that you’ll make money before putting in a bunch of effort.

Another way I’ve seen people pre-sell things is with GoFundMe and Kickstarter. One of my bloggy friends had a Kickstarter up before he ever even started working on his book. Once it was fully funded he then got to work on it, sharing updates along the way creating fabulous blog content to give his audience a front row seat to the behind the scenes work it took to write and publish his book. The possibilities are endless!


Finally, Study Others

One more way to test your idea before you launch is to study other bloggers and what they did when they launched products and books for sale. Hey, they might even have it documented and you can get an insider’s look into how they went about selling to their audience. If you don’t already, create a list of people – bloggers, social media influencers, even your top competitors and start reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them, but to discover what’s working, what’s selling, and what people are excited about.

Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but to get your feet wet you could start by promoting their product as an affiliate. This will not only help you test the waters of marketing and selling, but it will give you a feel for what’s missing and what you could do better.

From there you could create a better, more comprehensive version of the products you’re already selling. Or, if you don’t want to be an affiliate you could bypass that idea completely and dive right into creating something better than the competition. Who knows? You might be able to create a lite, lower-cost version of the book or course to hit the ground running with your target audience.

If you take nothing else from this episode, please here this – Creating products in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on books, workshops and courses that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your blog readers are already asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competitors’ offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling products for your blog readers.


I hope this episode inspires you to look into creating and launching your own products for sale my bloggy friends. We don’t have to be the smartest in the room. We just have to know a little more than the people we’re creating things for. I believe in each and every one of you, and I know you have greatness within you. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

Episode 8 - Mindset Tips to Blog Full-time

 




What’s up bloggy friends! Famous Ashley Grant here, and today I want to talk a little bit more about quitting your job to become a full-time blogger. We talked a little about Taking the Leap From Hobby to Professional Blogging in a previous episode, but this time I want to talk about the mindset tricks of bloggers who’ve turned their blogs into successful businesses. And p.s. that’s the first and most important mindset shift of being a full-time blogger – treating it like a business.


Okay, so do you want to know what sets the uber-successful apart from the wannabe entrepreneurs?


It’s not money, or brilliant ideas, or even powerful friends.



All of those things (and more) are nice to have, but they’re actually not a requirement of success. What is a must-have, though, is a good attitude. Without the proper mindset, you’ll constantly be battling your own brain, and that’s exhausting.


  • You’ll allow yourself to believe your ideas are no good
  • You’ll keep yourself from hitting publish on that killer blog post you’ve been working on
  • You’ll be too scared to turn your blog posts into a book or course you could get paid big bucks for
  • You’ll remain convinced that you aren’t smart enough
  • You’ll be certain that someone else did it (whatever “it” is) better
  • In the worst cases, you’ll quit before your blog has a chance to take off and become a massive success!

And before you know it, you’ll have talked yourself right out of launching your new program, applying for an affiliate program, or pitching sponsors for paid posts. In no time at all, you’ll be back at your day job, working away on someone else’s business because you don’t have the confidence to create your own from your blog.


But a simple mindset change can make all the difference.



Dress for Success


Ladies, this one is for you. When we work at home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of wearing sweatpants and T-shirts to the office. After all, why dress up just for the dog?


But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to instantly shift your mindset in the right direction, ditch the graphic t-shirts, and break out the nicer outfits. Some bloggy friends of mine even go so far as to put on make-up and do their hair.


Now look, I am a full-time, paid blogger and I wear yoga pants, every day! But, when I want to feel more confident, I add a nicer top and put on my shoes to sit down at my computer. Sometimes that simple act of pretending I’m heading to an office instead of commuting from my bed to my desktop makes all the difference in me feeling like a business owner.


When you do put in a little extra effort with your appearance, you might suddenly find yourself feeling more professional, more confident, and sexier, too. Okay so feeling sexier might not help your business, but it could be helpful for your overall self-love and relationship with your partner.



Never Let Fear Drive Your Decisions

Too many would-be blogger bosses operate with a scarcity mindset rather than approaching business from a place of abundance. Rather than telling yourself that you can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant to help with your Pinterest pins or use a paid WordPress theme for example, try reframing your thoughts.


Rather than thinking, “I can’t afford to buy that website hosting and SSL plan,” ask yourself, “How can I earn the money to invest in this business upgrade?”


Rather than saying, “I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire a VA,” remind yourself that your hourly rate potential is much more than you’d pay a virtual assistant. Then fill those hours you’re saving by outsourcing with money-making tasks of your own.


By reformatting your thoughts, you’ll turn that negative money talk into positive solutions that help you grow. These ideas are of course, only the beginning.


But here’s one thing I will tell you my bloggy friends – you are smart enough. Your blog is awesome enough. You have wonderful post ideas. Once you get your mindset right, nothing can stop you! Start treating your blog like a business, and before you know it you’ll be making enough to quit your day job and create your dream life. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

Episode 7 - Show Notes - Systems for Blogging

 




Prefer to listen to this? Click here to listen to Episode 7 - Systems for Blogging
What’s up my bloggy friends?!? Today I want to talk about systems for blogging. Here’s the thing – we all have to do so many things for our blogs, and the truth is with all the moving parts of blogging it can get overwhelming FAST!


If you’ve ever looked at another blogger and wondered how she manages to get it all done, the answer might or might not surprise you. She’s got good systems.


It’s true. The most productive people all have one thing in common: they don’t reinvent the wheel every day. Instead, they’ve figured out the best, most efficient way to do every task, and they create a system to do just that.

No matter what you’re blogging about and what projects you find yourself tackling, a systemized approach will help you:

Work faster and produce more

Produce higher quality results with fewer mistakes

Easily outsource the tasks you don’t like to do

Enter The Magic of Templates


How many times do you answer email from potential sponsors or pitches from people wanting to collab? What about responding to readers who want to tell you what they loved or hated about your last post? Or mailing your JV partners about an upcoming launch if your blog is at the stage of course or book creation?


All of these tasks and more become effortless when you create fill-in-the-blank templates that can be repurposed for specific cases/people. Templates can be as simple as a “canned response” in your email client or help desk, or you can use software such as Text Expander (for Mac) or Phrase Express (for Windows). You might even create a template document in Dropbox or Google Drive to house all your templates for easier access. And hey, you can even create templates for your blog posts so that it’s easier to write your posts each time you’re ready to publish something new for your readers.


While templates will undoubtedly save you time, the real beauty is that once they’re created, you can easily outsource things like email and eventually sales. Simply instruct your assistant on the proper use of your templates, and you’ll be free to do other, more important things.



Checklists Prevent Mistakes


It might seem counter-intuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. For example, you might think your sponsors all paid you this month—you might even remember invoicing for it—only to look back and see the invoice wasn’t actually sent.

But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task like creating all the deliverables for sponsored content or remembering to pin the latest blog post you published.
 

You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.


Templates and checklists turn smart bloggers into productivity superstars, and it’s easy to get started. The next time you answer an email you’ve answered before, save your response. The next time you apply for a new affiliate program or create a new opt-in page, take the time to record the steps. These documents will make future projects easier and faster to complete, and best of all, you can hand them off to your assistant to do instead.


Now I want to bring it over to you – what can you do with your own blog to create systems that make it easier for you to, well, be a blogger? I’d love to know your thoughts! Tweet me at @bloggyfriends and tell me what you’re going to start doing to increase your own productivity. Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low!

Episode 6 - Show Notes - Taking the Leap From Hobby to Professional Blogger





Is it time for you to go pro as a blogger my bloggy friend? Perhaps! In this episode, I'm sharing my key indicators to look out for that will tell you when it's time to take the leap from hobby blogging to professional blogging.

Want to listen on Youtube? You can do that here:


Prefer to download and listen? You can do that here

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is when it’s time to take the leap from hobby blogging to professional blogging. Although this answer is different for everyone, I thought I’d share my key indicators that it’s time to jump off the hobby blogger train and into the glorious world of professional blogging.

You have more than a love for writing.

When you go from enjoying the act of writing to living it, breathing it, not being able to imagine a day without it, you’ve found that sexy, passionate kind of love that tells you this is something real. Perhaps you and writing started dating casually; suddenly, everything in your life is giving you reasons to write more. So you bump it up to seeing each other on the regular. Before you know it, you can’t stop. You don’t want to do anything else but write. You’ve totally found the one and you can’t go back. 




You catch yourself making a plan.

You used to post on your blog when the urge struck, but for some reason you sat down and created an editorial calendar in Excel. You started thinking about what topics would get your readers attention, and you even pondered what the best headlines were for clickability.

You’re making enough money from your blog to quit your day job.

Seriously? If you’re already making enough to pay the bills, why are you still working that pesky 9-to-5? It’s quite possible that you could just do this full time — and perhaps make even more money!

You have to claim blogging income on your taxes.

When you start making serious money and accountants have to get involved, you’re a pro, dude! Just make sure you don’t blow this chance to work for yourself doing what you love — be smart about bookkeeping.

Also see - Big list of potential tax deductions for bloggers

A post or two has gone viral.

OK, this might not mean it’s time to go pro, but a viral post could be the perfect catalyst to shift into being a pro blogger. You know that saying, strike while the iron is hot? Well, do that!

You ooze expertise.

What happens when you become an expert on something and start posting a bunch about what you know? You’ve found your niche, my bloggy friend. Good for you! If people are picking up all that knowledge you’re laying down, then I think you might be flirting with professional blogger status.

Ideas flutter from your brain like migrating monarchs.

Even though it might not seem like it, the fact that your mind just keeps churning out blog ideas is HUGE! Some of the best professional bloggers can go into any situation and come out with one if not five different blog post ideas. 




Self-starting is no problem.

As a professional blogger you have no real boss telling you what to do. Your only boss is you. You have to have the self-discipline to create a schedule and then stick to it — or your readers will tire of your inconsistency and head over to some other blog.

You’re good at interacting with your readers and other bloggers.


The more you engage with your community, the more traffic you’ll drive to your blog. Period.

Words like branding, marketing and reach are in your vocabulary.

When you start treating your blog like a business, you’ve definitely gone pro. Before you know it you’ll be creating spreadsheets of income and expenses, buildings lists of potential sponsors and reviews you want to pitch, thinking of guest post ideas for other blogs, and even having meetings with people to develop your blog into a household name.

Obviously, this is by no means a complete list of indicators that it’s time to take the leap from hobby to professional blogging — but these items scream pro to me.

Resources I Recommend Checking Out:

Bloggy Friends - Keto-Friendly Desserts Roundup

 Recently, I was talking to a friend about dieting, and the subject of desserts came up. See, I'm the type of person that when I'm craving something sweet, the diet typically flies out the window. But, with keto-friendly desserts, you can stay on track and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Naturally, this lead me to a rabbit hole of looking for the best recipes of keto-friendly desserts. I didn't know which ones were the best, so I went to my bloggy friends and asked them for their favorites. Below is a roundup of the ones they sent my way. Check them out. Enjoy!

Simply click the titles to get the recipe 😉

41 Keto-Friendly Desserts


2 Keto-Friendly Desserts- Low Carb Cheesecake With Raspberry Jam

3 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe for One

4 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Salted Caramel Donut


5 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies


6 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Cookie Dough Bombs


7 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Single Serve Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for One


8 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Birthday Cake Chaffle


9 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 4 Ingredient Keto Chocolate Frosty


10 Keto Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream


11 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 3-Ingredient Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies


12 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons


13 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies


14 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 3-Ingredient Keto Peanut Butter Balls


15 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Pecan Cookies


16 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Covered Strawberries


17 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate-dipped sugar-free marshmallows


18 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar-free brownie bites


19 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Strawberry Lemonade Bai Sorbet


20 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Truffles with Bacon and Maple


21 Keto-Friendly Desserts - 5 Minute Keto Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake Mousse


22 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Peanut Butter Pecan Bars


23 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Coconut Cream Stuffed Strawberries


24 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Cheesecake Recipe


25 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Keto Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe


26 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Brownies Recipe

27 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low-Carb Cheesecake

28 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Low Carb Belgian Waffles with Coconut Flour


29 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Crustless Pecan Pie without Corn Syrup


30 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Decadent Chocolate Fudge

31 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bark


32 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Oreo Cheesecake Bites


33 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies


34 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Creamy Ricotta Coffee Mousse


35 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar Free Raspberry Jello Cups


36 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Strawberries and Cream


37 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Sugar Free Cheesecake Mousse


38 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Edible Cookie Dough

39 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Cookie Dough Fat Bombs


40 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Cheesecake Fat Bombs

41 Keto-Friendly Desserts - Chocolate Fat Bomb



Episode 5 - Show Notes - The Mental Health of Bloggers | Mental Health Awareness Month

One thing not enough people talk about is the mental health of bloggers. In this episode, I'm discussing it along with what I do to cope.




Prefer to download and listen to the audio? You can do that here!

Here's the YouTube Video of this episode:


The Mental Health of Bloggers


Today, I want to talk about the mental health of bloggers, and the importance of staying mentally and emotionally healthy. I want to cover a few things related to this topic because it’s so very important to me.

Interestingly enough, my own mental health is why there was a gap in my podcasting release schedule. Even though I’m new to the game, I had planned to release a new episode every week for 10 full weeks, at least in this first season of my show.

But, last week, I just could not bring myself to record.

Due to some personal issues, I simply made the tough decision to not even try and record. I now understand why so many podcasters tell people that if they're going to start their own podcast they need to record several episodes ahead of time.

This way if they wake up one day and don't feel like recording or they can’t record for some reason, they still have something to release on their scheduled day. Even though I did a lot of research and I had read that little nugget of wisdom from many experts that I admire, I was naive in believing that I could commit and just record once a week anyway.

How hard can it be to record and release a single episode I thought?

Well, when you’re dealing with anxiety and situations beyond your control, and there’s a pandemic going on, yeah….it can be really hard to record and release weekly.

Needless to say, I will be doing things differently by the time season two rolls around. But I digress. Let's get back to the subject at hand, shall we?

The month of May has been designated Mental Health Awareness Month. According to Wikipedia, “Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health)...Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. ”

My father committed suicide in December 2016 - just two days after Christmas. I don’t tell you this because I want pity, I tell you this so you can understand taking care of our mental health is so important to me.

My dad struggled with mental health problems all of his life, and many of the issues that plagued him, I see in myself. Witnessing his struggles lead me to leaving home as early as I could, and committing to trying to be as positive as possible for the rest of my life, despite everything he displayed.

In the days after his passing, I doubled down on that commitment to try and be more positive, and always look for the light in life. I know how easy it can be to sink into darkness, and fall down the rabbit hole of negativity…

And, I gotta tell you… being a stay at home blogger - it can be damn lonely. In fact, that loneliness, and solitude from the outside world can trigger many of my mental health woes.

Several of my bloggy friends have told me they struggle with mental health issues too. Interestingly enough, I’ve heard it said that creative people fight the most with inner demons. Depression, anxiety, feelings of low self-worth, lack of confidence - the list goes on.

Maybe you can relate.

So what can we do about it? While I’m certainly not a mental health professional and I would never claim to be, I can tell you things I’m doing to try and improve my own mental state.

What I Do When I’m Lonely

I go out and find friends. Okay, so it’s not as easy as going to the store to buy eggs, but when you put in some effort, you can find likeminded people to chat with.

The first place I look is Facebook.

There are literally thousands of Facebook groups for virtually any hobby or interest you can think of.

I love to craft so I joined a bunch of crafting groups.

I love blogging, so I’m in several blogging groups.

I love cooking so, okay...you get the idea.

What I have found in these groups, is that there are several people in them who just want someone to talk to as well.

Another place I look for bloggy friends is networking events and conferences.

I’ll be the first admit, this was easier before coronavirus. But I like to think we’ll get back to having live events soon.

I have met some of my favorite people in the whole world at live events.

The trick with these is to have some questions prepared ahead of time so you can engage with people.

And, don’t try to show off. I’ve learned the hard way that asking more about them than talking about yourself is the best way to go about meeting new people.

Finally, I look in my own backyard.

During the stay at home orders, I found solace in our neighborhood’s dog park.

I found a few women with adorable little dogs and I started looking forward to bring my mutts down to play with them every day.

It gets me away from home, and into nature. And, the conversations that ensue are enjoyable.

In a pinch, if I’m feeling really lonely, and can’t go out, I’ll call family members or friends on the phone just to chat about everything and nothing.



This image was on the top of the Google search results page for “Mental Health Awareness Month” and they had a statement that said Public Service Announcement.



What I Do When I’m Feeling Anxious

I have really bad anxiety sometimes. To the point where if left unchecked, I’ll have a full-blown panic attack and be pretty much useless for several hours if not the entire day.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with two things to help me through it.

The first is guided meditations. I love them. My favorite app for finding amazing guided meditations is Insight Timer, but I’ve also found some pretty good ones on YouTube.

The reason I used guided meditations in lieu of just trying to meditate on my own is that I have trouble with my mind wandering, and the guided meditations make it easier for me to focus on relaxing and let the world go.

When I can’t access a guided meditation for whatever reason, I’ll sit silently and just repeat the word release over and over again to myself. It may sound silly, but it was a trick I picked up I think from Brendon Burchard years ago, and in a pinch, it’s really helpful to me.

The other thing I do frequently is what I call my word vomit sessions. I open a Google Document in Chrome and I will turn on the voice typing feature and I literally just start talking about everything going on in my head.

I don’t set a timer, though some of my bloggy friends have recommended that. But, I just sit there and talk out everything I’m thinking at the moment. I don’t censor myself, and I don’t try to have any rhyme or reason. I literally just word vomit all over the document.

Within a few sentences, I already start feeling better in most cases. Other times, I’ll have to sit there for a while and just keep word vomiting until everything is released from my brain. Occasionally, I’ll re-read what I’ve written because good ideas for my business or blog posts I have to write will end up on the page. However, more often than not I will instead release it all, and then not read it again.

I keep this word vomit document on my computer and I’ve dated each entry. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll go back and read it all and it will make for good material for my memoirs. Then again, it might sound like the ramblings of a person who doesn’t have all their crayons in the box. I’m not sure.

Other Things I Do When I’m Feeling Anxious

Meditation and word vomiting are my favorite things to do when I’m feeling anxious, but other things I do to calm myself down include, but aren’t limited to:

-- Going on long walks - I call it pounding pavement. When I’m incredibly anxious and can’t stop fidgeting, sometimes I’ll throw my sneakers on and walk until it hurts. I sometimes won’t even bring my dogs. I’ll just walk and try to focus only on the scenery around me and let go of everything else. I make a point to look at everything I see and really think about it so that whatever is making me anxious is not the focus.

-- Taking a long shower - I’m talking the kind where you just stand in the water and don’t even actually soap up. Have you ever done that? There is something about the hot water just flowing that soothes me. I would take more baths, but our bathtub is small and because of that, it doesn’t give me the feel I want from a bath.
-- Cooking - I love to cook. But I hate doing it unless the kitchen is spotless, and my husband agrees to clean up after. When I’m feeling anxious I’ve been known to make incredibly elaborate meals just to have something to keep my mind busy, and off of whatever is making me anxious.

-- Do a craft - I love working with my hands and creating something from nothing. Lately, I’ve been pretty obsessed with some Dollar Tree craft groups I found on Facebook. The members come up with some of the most creative crafts I’ve ever seen and they mainly use products from the dollar store to make them.

Facebook Groups for Dollar Store Crafts:

-- DIY Dollar Tree Crafts

-- Dollar Tree DIY Projects

-- Dollar Tree Projects & Money Saving Ideas


-- Take naps - I know - this one isn’t possible for everyone, but when I’m so anxious that nothing else helps, I go take a nap. I’ve recently found a great trick for falling asleep quickly. Here's the video that explains the trick:



What I Do When I’m Feeling Sad

One of the first things I do when I’m feeling sad is pray. Whatever you believe in doesn’t matter, but for me, praying helps me a lot. I often will begin by saying something like, “Spirits show me another way.” Or “Spirits help me transform this sadness into love.”

Often times when I’m feeling sad there is a feeling of being unloved under the surface. When this happens, I just pray to feel the love that I know deep down is in my life. I remind myself of my husband who loves me, my family and friends, my dogs, and so on and so on.

Other times, I just have to love myself and tell myself it’s safe for me to feel loved. It’s safe for me to be happy.

One thing that helps me when the sadness is just unwavering is to search for comedy videos, memes, photos, and even clips on TikTok. I keep a file on my computer called my smile file. It’s filled with silly images that make me laugh. And, when I’m in a rut, I’ve been known to open it up and go through the images and laugh until I cry.

Speaking of crying. Sometimes, when I’m feeling sad I will give myself permission to just be sad and cry it all out. I’ll go into my bedroom with a box of tissues and simply cry until I have no more tears left to give. It is often cathartic. But, while doing it, I do my best to not let my mind wander to more things to be sad about because then it becomes that much harder to come back from a downward spiral.

Many of the things I do when I’m anxious I’ll also do when I’m sad.

Another thing that helps me a lot is called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. It’s also commonly referred to as tapping. I’m so not good at explaining how EFT works, but you can learn more about it here. For now, the Reader’s Digest version of tapping is that you tap on pressure points to relieve stress, anxiety, sadness, etc…

I first learned about EFT from Denise Duffield-Thomas and she is incredible about transforming one’s thoughts about money. I’m sure she’ll come up on this show again soon because her trainings around money have really helped me to not be so afraid of making a living doing what I love.

One of the best resources I’ve found for tapping videos is Brad Yates on YouTube. Brad has videos on tapping through everything from anxiety to debt to unemployment to mending a broken heart. I highly recommend checking out his YouTube channel.

What Does Mental Health Have to do With Blogging?

Now, you might be wondering, what does mental health have to do with blogging? Well, if you’re like me, when you aren’t in a good headspace, you can’t be creative. Work becomes difficult. And everything just feels like you’re trying to run through mud.

Like any job, it’s hard to be a productive blogger when your mental health is suffering. Though buzzwords like self-care only became the popular thing to discuss in what feels like just the last five years or so, it really is important to take care of ourselves.

One of my favorite sayings in the whole world is “You can’t give from an empty cup.” Though I often fight it, I’ve been trying to remember and commit to this sentiment over the last several years because it’s so true.

If we are supposed to put our oxygen masks on first in a dangerous situation, it stands to reason that we must fill up our own cups first if we hope to have anything to give to others. It’s taken me a long time to realize that minding my mental health is not selfish. It’s about making sure there is enough of me to give to myself and others. It’s about making sure I’ll be here when people need me.

Other Things I Recommend for Help with Mental Health

To wrap up this episode, I want to share a few more things I recommend to help you with your own mental health journey. Some of these are things I can honestly tell you I still struggle with, but hey, I’m a work in progress.

First, get enough sleep. As adults, we should be aiming for between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. I will tell you that this has been a serious struggle for me in recent months. I’ve actually been sleeping in a broken pattern where I’ll pass out for a few hours, work, and then pass out again. I’m working on this one y’all.

Second, be mindful of what you put in your body. I’m horrible at this one, but what we eat has been proven to have a direct effect on our minds and hearts. We need to be eating a healthy, well-balanced diet to perform at our best.

Third, and this is a huge one for me is to seek counseling. I hate that the idea of therapy is still so taboo. I am proud to share that I’ve consulted with and sought help from multiple counselors or therapists. We don’t make a big deal out of going to get a physical with our primary care physicians, and we shouldn’t make a big deal out of seeing a therapist or counselor either.

I can honestly tell you, without a doubt, I would be in a much darker place today had it not been for some of the amazing mental health professionals I’ve spoken with over the years. And, there are resources for you if you can’t afford one.

When my dad passed of suicide, I couldn’t work for several months which meant that my income didn’t exist during that time. Here where I live, a nonprofit provided me with free counseling to get me back on my feet. They even helped me handle the financial blows that I dealt with as a result of being out of work.

If you take nothing else from this episode, please take care of your mental health and seek help and guidance when you need it. And don’t be ashamed if you need more help than others. I’d rather everyone go to a therapist and get help with their mental health problems than read another family member, friend, or acquaintance has taken their own life because they couldn’t cope.

It may sound cliche, but the world really does need you. You are loved. I love you. And, I want to see you succeed and thrive.

Conclusion

I hope this episode was helpful. It was meant to be inspiring and break away from the stigma that so many people feel about discussing mental health. I’ll be the first to tell you that I know I struggle with mental health issues and I’ll never shy away from seeking help for those issues.

We all deserve to be here, and we all have a mission and a purpose. But to fulfill that, we have to take care of ourselves first. Alright, that’s all I have for now my bloggy friends.

Until next time, may your page views be high, and your bounce rate be low.

Thank you so much for listening, and I’ll catch you guys next time.


Additional resources for mental health:

--- How to recognize symptoms of entrepreneur burnout and what to do

--- Lonely blogger? Find friends in the blogosphere.

--- Blogger burnout? Try these tips to reignite your passion.

--- National Alliance on Mental Illness

--- National Alliance on Mental Illness Video Resource Library

--- CDC - Mental Health and Coping During Covid-19

--- Mental Health America organization