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Creating An Optimized Life
In September of last year, I was interviewed for The Process podcast. To be completely transparent, the host of the show, Shannon, is a friend and close collaborator. This made the tone of the interview more conversational and less of a Q&A.
We discussed my journey into marketing; how I’ve learned to optimize my life as a parent, partner, and business owner; digital marketing tips; my art practice (which I don’t usually share much about publicly); and the creative process.
It can be uncomfortable to talk about these bigger picture topics (although, we got pretty tactical on the digital marketing stuff). And truthfully, I don’t love talking about myself. After the fact, however, I felt lighter, a release.
I think it’s important to reflect on how far we as people have come and what we’ve learned along the way. I hope our conversation encourages you to take a look at your own creative practice and the role it plays in your everyday work. I hope the marketing tips help too!
You can listen to the entire episode here or on Spotify or iTunes. Here are some of the highlights.
What Digital Strategy is and Why it’s Important
For Damalade, digital strategy is split into two parts. The first is internal strategy—the messaging that helps brands get clear on what they want to say and who they want to say it to (their audience). The second part is marketing and creative work, which defines how you’ll say what you want to say and how you’ll deliver it to the right people.
Many people want to skip forward to the marketing and creative part of the digital strategy. They want to jump into posting to social media and writing blog posts. But you have to get clear about your internal messaging, goals, and objectives first. Consistency in messaging and visuals that align with who you are as an organization are crucial when building and growing a brand.
SEO is a Key Component of Content Strategy
SEO is the act of making the pages visible to search engines and is essentially the groundwork of a content strategy. It’s crucial for being discovered online as a brand.
You have to optimize for exact match keywords to rank competitively. But in turn, Google’s algorithms understand semantics so optimizing for a keyword will assist in ranking for related searches. For more on on-page SEO, check out this guide.
Building a Comfortable Day as a Business Owner and Mom
I’m now at the point where I can structure my day to get what I need to get done and fulfill the needs of my family. I’m able to get the work done I need to get done within four to five hours. This type of focus has taken training and is also a product of necessity.
When your family (or hobbies, art, travel, etc.) are your priorities, you learn how to get your work done within the time available. This also means less time spent on what can be seen as distractions, such as social media.
Developing Systems Streamlines Your Workflow
A part of designing a comfortable day for me has meant setting up systems and routines. I know where I need to be when which helps me focus when I’m at my desk. I have morning routines designed to increase my creativity while also caring for my family.
What can be automated is, and I know what to expect when tackling different types of tasks. My systems are designed to require the least amount of decisions possible, giving me plenty of brainpower to tackle my client projects effectively.
Paying for Expertise
I’m a big fan of delegating work to those who are experts in their field. I want to trust them and pay them appropriately for the work they’re doing. And in turn, I want advice and direction given in confidence. I try to also embrace this concept in my own work.
Thinking About Retirement When Setting Rates
This one is for my fellow self-employed people and consultants. We’re taxed 30% in self-employment taxes, which should be included in your rates. But you also have to consider things like healthcare and retirement when setting your rates or projecting the volume of your work. We don’t get handed a 401(k) and we’re not matched for our contributions. This simple fact also helps with the focus mentioned above.
Telling a Full Story
Shannon got me to talk about my art, which I don’t do very often. I’m a believer in having a story to tell. I want there to be context and meaning to my work. I apply this concept to my client work as well. I encourage you to think about the full story behind your brand when developing marketing strategies and their accompanying assets.
The Creative Process is About Being Patient
We all want to strive for our personal bests, which is fine. But working so hard can teeter into destructive behavior, fast. I think if we all relax, take deep breaths, and be patient with ourselves, it will come together. Yes, we have to work hard but we can also take time to do nothing. We don’t have to growth hack our lives. We can grow and change while enjoying life and being happy with where we are and what we have.
Good Things Take Time
Whether it’s art, business, or family—good things take time. As long as it (whatever “it” is) is coming from a place of love, happiness, and peace, everything will come together. There’s not an ultimate point your life or business is going to come to. It’s about the process, so I suggest embracing every day because there will always be the next thing you want to do.
“The process is getting comfortable with yourself.”
Do you have a creative project you need help with? I’d love to hear about it. Get in touch.