Herbed Brown Rice

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A wonderful recipe from myrecipes.com, for the steps and details visit this link

Featured photo credit: Pinterest via pinterest.com

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By |November 29th, 2016|Commercial|0 Comments

20 Excellent Reasons To Join A Yoga School

Posted from http://www.dumblittleman.com/yoga-school/

Have you ever wanted to join a yoga school?

There can be many different reasons why someone would register to a yoga institute. Their reasons may be different and personal in nature but a yoga teacher training should always be thought of as an inward journey.

There are a number of benefits and reasons to take part in a yoga course at a yoga school. I thought I’d write a few down.

* You learn proper alignment of poses

Every person learns differently. Some are more visual and some are more auditory.

In a yoga class, you will learn according to your brain. You will learn proper alignment and do efficiently on your yoga mat.

* You will receive physical assists during your practice

Your teacher will give you hands-on assists while you’re in many of the poses. When you feel uncomfortable, you should tell your teacher and he will assist you.

* You can learn how to modify poses in a way that is unique to your body

When we opt for modifications, our body is better supported. These modifications help you build poses properly. An expert can help with these modifications. These also help if you are injured but still want to practice.

* You can deepen your physical practice

This goes without saying. The longer practice sessions under the supervision of an expert and proper alignment of yoga poses will help take your practice to a whole new level.

You will work on more challenging poses and sequences. You will spend some time delving into different elements of yoga philosophy during your practice sessions. This is also a good chance to try postures you never dreamed you would be able to.

* You learn some skills

When you practice longer than in a regular class, you will able to learn and find new yoga skills. This doesn’t always mean working harder but working smarter.

You learn yoga poses and sequences in an expert manner step by step. You will improve your flexibility and strength with your yoga sessions. You can even become a yoga teacher after certification.

* You will learn challenging poses with one-on-one support

If you want to learn some balances and poses, then you can learn it with the help of your teacher. It can give you the support you need and boost your confidence. When you come with some challenging pose,s you will get a full one-on-one support.

* You can avoid injury and be safe

You will be able to predict the abilities of your body and thus will be able to stay safe. Through your practice, you will be able to move through your life without getting hurt.

* You can learn the art of expressing yourself

You will learn to communicate. The effectiveness of this communication allows you to express what you want to express. You will learn better communication skills that allow you to translate your thoughts and feelings more effectively to others during your course.

* You get to meet some lovely people and find your yoga family

You will find new people and know about them day by day. These include your fellow students, teachers, and your yoga community. These people will most likely become your yoga family with whom you will be connected long even after the finish of your yoga course.

From our experience, the people you meet in the course of yoga training will be your spiritual family who will support you on your journey.

* You can ask your questions

It is a very effective way to learn. You can ask your questions on the spot as you’re in a pose. This is very different from just learning from YouTube or from CDs.

* You become a teacher


You become a teacher and registered in Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) after you finish your yoga training course. You will be eligible to start your own studio, find new students and earn your own money. You can develop your own unique teaching style that is authentic and mindful after certification.

See Also: 13 Yoga Trends To Immerse Yourself In On Your Journey To Health & Happiness

* You can explore your spirituality

Yoga training rooted in a spiritual practice makes people very connected even if we share different beliefs. We live a more conscious lifestyle and focus on what matters most. You improve your awareness and feel connected to the higher power (God or Nature).

* You can take some time out just for you


Taking some time out from your busy schedule can be a guilty pleasure. This will give you a chance to relax, re-energize, and renew so you can be the best partner, parent, and employee.

If you feel that you don’t have enough time with a particular person in your life, you can join a yoga session with that person. You will enjoy your life during this time and feel happy.

* You can connect with your true self in a deeper way

When you learn how your unique body or mind works, you deepen your spiritual and physical practice. As a result, you walk away with a deeper sense of who you are as an individual. This will improve your confidence and help you sit easier in your own skin.

* You can discover your strength

You will test your will, ability to hold postures, your ability to speak in front of people and your ability to focus during your yoga practice. You will strengthen and stretch your abilities and you will feel mentally and emotionally stronger.

* You can try something new with yoga

A YTT gives you a fresh perspective on your practice. It will give you a chance to explore something completely different too. Whether you’re new to yoga or have been practicing for a while, there is always something new to experience.

* You can gain confidence in your abilities

You can learn the art of picking yourself up in a course. You will feel a new sense of how far you can go, how much you can do, and how amazing you are.

* Great food at yoga school

Yoga school offers a culinary experience, whether it’s the shared picnic lunches or the tea and flapjacks. Your yoga schools offer you healthy, fresh and great foods with fun.

Yoga teacher training programs are available in beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. If you want to grow spiritually and physically, give it a try.

See Also: 6 Steps to have a Stress Free Travel including Yoga. 

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Anxiety, Your New BFF: How It Can Help You If You Let It

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Anxious man

“Be grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~Rumi

Anxiety—a frequent, uninvited visitor.

It hovers; it comes and goes. It underlines. It overpowers. It stops you in your tracks. It pursues you as you run away.

My anxiety’s appearance is often marked by a buzzing, electric-charge energy. I used to jokingly compare it to a predatory yellow jacket. They used to terrify me. Since I was stung too many times, this insect was definitely not on my list of BFFs.

Once I was driving my then seven-year-old daughter and her friend to school when a real-life yellow jacket began to buzz in the enclosed car space. It looked fierce and angry and armed with a vicious stinger.

Repressing my panic, I pulled the car over.

“Okay, girls, there’s a yellow jacket in the car. I’m going to open the doors and we’ll all exit quickly!”

My daughter’s friend Evie remained in her seat. With a quiet calm, she extended her finger, beckoning the insect to alight upon it. When it did, she welcomed its arrival with a smile and escorted it outside.

The yellow jacket flew off.

“All you have to do is treat them nice and they’re your friend,” Evie informed us. “I love ‘em.”

Years later, I awoke one morning, the alarm of anxiety resounding in my ears. Unlike my phone, I couldn’t shut it off. Hearing the buzz of worry and gloom, I dreaded getting up to face the day.

Then I heard something else. A buzz. But this wasn’t coming from me; it was a yellow jacket flailing against my nightstand.

With mindful attention, I was able to escort the tiny creature to the window so it could fly away. The momentary connection with an insect and the cessation of the buzzing noise was a gratifying experience. Plus, the bug did not sting me.

I wondered, what if my anxiety were something I could “treat nice”? My usual approach is to eliminate or ignore it.

What would it take to befriend my anxiety?

What did it take to befriend a yellow jacket? Mindful caution and courage (they do sting), and a challenging compassion. A calm patience. 

Maybe I could treat my anxiety as my BFF.

Isn’t a best friend someone who reminds you of your past mistakes and helps you avoid a re-run? A friend encouraging you to take time to treat yourself better? A cheerleader excited for your success?

Over time I have discovered that anxiety can do that for you, if you’re willing to change your perspective. Below are a few examples that may surprise you.

Stop, Listen, and Engage

One of my closest friends was coming for a visit. We had a no-plan of fun, a goal of aimless walking around the city. I had spent the morning alone, writing and finishing up paperwork. All of it enjoyable productivity.

Getting ready for her arrival, I noticed an underlying stream of anxiousness. To be honest, I was furious that anxiety arrived during this completely stress-free moment.

Remembering my vow to welcome anxiety as my BFF, I began to ask “her” questions.

What are you anxious about?
I just am.
That was too broad a question, so I became more specific.

The apartment looks fine but are you worried it’s not neat enough?
Its not that.
I noticed that the reassurance calmed her down a bit.

Are you worried that we have no specific itinerary?
I smiled at the immediate response. Neither one of us is a planner.

I’m dressed, but I could put a little makeup on, would that help?
I did, it helped. But there was more.

Sitting down, I took a few breaths.

Can you explain what your nervousness is about? I waited.

In a rush, a torrent of talk tumbled out.
Its too much. You were quiet all by yourself and now you have to go out and do noisy things.

A light bulb went off. I saw the issue.

It’s about transitions? You find them challenging?

The clarity of the Aha! burst open in a single word:

Transitions, in any degree, represent change, which requires special attention. My habitual response is to move fast, to move without thinking, to move on now!

That doesn’t work for me anymore.

I summed up where I had been (quietly writing alone), where I was going (a walk in Manhattan with noise and bustle).

But above all, I checked into where I was NOW in the moment, which was not being able to connect the two.

A few minutes were all it took to regain serenity and gratitude to my BFF Anxiety. She had highlighted something I’d overlooked my entire life.

While your own inner dialogue may differ, it is possible for you to stop, listen, and engage in a conversation with these inner anxious voices.

It Doesn’t Have to Be a Big Deal

Sometimes, your anxiety is only asking for acknowledgment. A few breaths to clear your mind and give you more oxygen, a sympathetic word, or a short walk outside may be the answer.

I have a client who gets a manicure to ease her spirits. When her mom was in hospice, she had them done. “I know it may seem superficial, but I have fond memories of my mother doing my nails for me when I was little and feeling sad. I look at my hands and feel like at least one thing in my life is okay.”

Short-term solutions to anxiety’s sudden appearances can go far to alleviate symptoms of unease.

Warnings to Watch

There are moments when a deeper dialogue with anxiety is required.

A friend had what seemed to be the perfect relationship. Sexy and smart, her boyfriend had a good sense of humor, enjoying his work and life. Together, they were happy, but separated, my friend’s anxiety skyrocketed.

She decided to focus on the nature of her anxiety and began a focused inquiry with this energetic.

“I wanted him to be the one, but I was the one making unconscious concessions. So I stopped and listened to what my anxiety was reporting back to me.”

Rather than eliminate or ignore her anxiety, she took a hard look at what was actually going on. She didn’t feel seen in this relationship. Her desires were overlooked, and, worse, they were de-valued if brought up. Her boyfriend was subtle about this exchange, as he could be quite charming. But my friend felt out of the loop.

She ended that relationship and started dating someone else. When, once again, Anxiety appeared, she was flustered. Taking on the premise that anxiety is her BFF, she listened. This time the message was different.

As it turned out, she needed to proceed more slowly, as she was suffering from relationship PTSD. In actuality, there was excitement about this new prospect.

Don’t your human best friends nudge you to practice self-compassion, encourage you to take risks, and then cheer your success?

Anxiety can do that as well.

Looking at Your Lifestyle

A client came to me for an acupuncture session. “Everything’s going great. My career has skyrocketed, my family is fine. But most mornings, I can barely get out of bed; the anxiety is that strong. I can’t figure out why I’m a wreck when I should be so happy.”

Going into further detail, it came up that he was sleeping barely four hours a night, overdosing on caffeine throughout the day, skipping workouts, and having a few drinks at night to offset the coffee. While his life was exciting, it was not sustainable.

We devised a plan that was workable.

He came in the following week, his anxiety diminished. “I’m good, but I’m in shock,” he reported. A colleague had dropped dead of a heart attack at the age of forty-five. “The timing is bizarre, and yet I have to look at what role anxiety plays in my life. I want to listen better.”

It’s not that you have to become a purist Spartan, but being aware of your relationship with your physical body and how that corresponds with your anxiety (another relationship!) is a key factor to your overall health and peace of mind.

You’re Not Alone

Life is scary at times. Tragedies, death, loss, rejection—suffering surrounds us.

When experiencing these challenges, anxiety can show up in full force, adding to the overwhelm.

If you listen, you will hear what you can do to buffer the harshness of events.

Perhaps the mere recognition of the situation’s gravity can bring relief. Maybe a few gentle considerations can change the terrain. Maybe you need support from others.

Maybe you need to get your nails done.

As a BFF, anxiety can remind you to slow down and take care of yourself. To have compassion and empathy for yourself and others. To remember your aliveness and your capacity to transform.

If you listen, really listen, you’ll hear what may help.

Treating anxiety as a friend, the messages will come to you in a whisper rather than a shout. This invisible force will align with you, if you align with it.

This friend may be an over-worrier, she may nudge you, she may even resort to scaring you. But this BFF (Badass Friend Forever) just may bug you enough to finally discover—and cherish—your magnificence in human form.

What magical messages is your new BFF bringing to you?

Profile photo of Therese Sibon

About Therese Sibon

Therese Sibon is a blogger, alchemical transformation coach and radical optimist. She believes that any obstacle in your life has power (it’s keeping you stuck, right?). When you focus and re-direct that energy ….. magic! Therese loves to share her magical resources with all of you. Visit her at www.TransformYourShit.com and receive a free gift to start you on your process.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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5 Interior Design Tips for Hammocks and Hammock Chairs

Posted from http://www.dumblittleman.com/how-to-set-up-a-hammock/

Are you thinking of putting up a hammock in your home? Do you know how to set up a hammock?

If you are interested in incorporating hammocks into the interior design of your home or using hammocks as seating, you should strongly consider some of the following interior design tips for incorporating these items into interior spaces:

Measure the ideal space


Finding an ideal size area for your hammock to hang is one of the first steps of interior design. You may have a great space for your hammock but if you have to hang the hammock using extensively long ropes, this can cut off a large area in a particular room and make the room look much smaller than it has to be. Measure the distance inside your room from wall to wall or from the pillar to the wall where you would like to hang your hammock and make sure that it can hang comfortably.

Measure the distance inside your room from wall to wall or from the pillar to the wall where you would like to hang your hammock and make sure that it can hang comfortably.

Try it out in a few spots

There’s nothing wrong with putting up your hammock in a few different spots without tying it. Just ask a few family members to hold it in place so that you can see how well it works with your space. Hammocks are great for corner areas as well as for accent pieces in the center of a room but sometimes it can be difficult to see how they will be functional until you put them in a few places. Figure out the area that looks best for the flow of your room and which area will present the most functional space for your hammock to hang.

Hammocks are great for corner areas as well as for accent pieces in the center of a room but sometimes it can be difficult to see how they will be functional until you put them in a few places. Figure out the area that looks best for the flow of your room and which area will present the most functional space for your hammock to hang.

See Also: Easy Decorating Tips for Bachelors 

Always use appropriate wall studs

If you are going to be hanging your hammock from a wall and you need to install a hammock hanger, always make sure to use appropriate wall studs. Finding the studs ahead of time will make sure that your hammock simply doesn’t fall out of the wall the moment that you sit down inside of it. Rather than risking your drywall you could also consider getting a hammock stand that will hold each end of the hammock and lay it out inside your space. These metal hammock stands work particularly well at setting up indoor hammocks without having to drill any type of holes or find studs. If you are nervous about the idea of finding studs or you simply want a hammock that can be moved throughout your interior space, a hammock stand setup could be a worthwhile investment.

Rather than risking your drywall, you could also consider getting a hammock stand that will hold each end of the hammock and lay it out inside your space. These metal hammock stands work particularly well at setting up indoor hammocks without having to drill any type of holes or find studs. If you are nervous about the idea of finding studs or you simply want a hammock that can be moved throughout your interior space, a hammock stand setup could be a worthwhile investment.

If you are nervous about the idea of finding studs or you simply want a hammock that can be moved throughout your interior space, a hammock stand setup could be a worthwhile investment.

Accent your hammock appropriately


Depending on where you set up your hammock inside, you can accent your hammock as you would any other piece of furniture. Add a comfortable blanket, a few accent pillows and consider setting it up in an area where you could comfortably read or watch TV.

Find a design that suits your décor

A hammock can be an excellent accent piece for your room. By finding a hammock that is colored in a fashion that matches your furniture or wall colors, a hammock can naturally tie in with the rest of your décor.

See Also: Top 10 Tips for Buying Stylish Furniture on a Budget 

Keep some of these top ideas in mind when setting up a hammock or hammock chair inside and coordinating it with your current design scheme.


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By |November 29th, 2016|Commercial|0 Comments

Top 10 Self-Discipline Techniques

Posted from http://www.dumblittleman.com/self-discipline-techniques/

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first. – Harry S. Truman

Self-discipline is the key to leading a healthier, happier and more successful life. However, it is easier said than done. The quest for self-discipline can often be difficult and discouraging.

We have shared some self-discipline techniques below. Follow these self-discipline techniques to start living a better life.

1. Be Organized


Self-discipline requires a personal or working space. All famous writers from Hemingway to Fitzgerald had a desk where they sat at and wrote. They didn’t spend hours rummaging for pencils or clearing their desks. The desk was exclusively for work.

Create a space that is organized and can be used for building further self-discipline.

2. Manage Your Time

Self-discipline is linked to effective time management. Self-disciplined people know how to best utilize their day.

To improve time management skills, prioritize your tasks. Do the most urgent and important tasks first in order to get the best out of your day. Time management is one of the hardest but most rewarding self-discipline techniques to master.

3. Exercise Well

Healthy bodies lead to healthy minds. An active lifestyle means lower stress levels and increased dopamine thus sharpening the mind.

The trick is to start simple, taking a 10-minute run every day and then slowly working yourself up to longer runs.

See Also: 8 Fitness Hacks That Will Make Your Life Better

4. Reward Yourself

This is an especially important self-discipline technique. It is important to reward yourself for all the good that you’ve done every once in a while. Completely abstaining from something makes it easier to succumb to a moment of weakness and undo all the good done so far.

5. Build a Support System

It’s always easier to do something difficult when there’s someone cheering you on! Find a friend who wants to build self-discipline as much as you do and team up with them. Set targets together and hold each other accountable.

6. Forgive Yourself

Failure and slipping up is inevitable. It will happen occasionally. Don’t let temporary failures derail you from the long term goal. Accept your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

7. Eat Well


It goes both ways. You need to nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eat brain foods that increase alertness and memory. If your brain and body are working at optimum level, it will be easier to follow self-discipline techniques.

See Also: 7 Great Foods to Boost Your Brain Power

8. Start Small

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step as the proverb goes. You don’t train for a marathon by running 10 kilometers on the first day. Instead, stamina is built up by doing a little more than the previous day’s target.

The same goes for discipline. Start by trying to implement self-discipline techniques little by little every day for big results. Increase your goals over time.

9. Measure Your Goals

Staying self-disciplined requires motivation. It can be hard to stay motivated if you feel like you haven’t made any progress so far. Tracking progress makes you aware of how much you’ve done and encourages you to keep going.

10. Exercise your willpower

Willpower and self-discipline go hand in hand. Some days, adhering to the task is going to be difficult but by reminding yourself of the end in mind and how much the goal means to you, you will be able to bypass temporary temptations for long term gain.

The above-mentioned self-discipline techniques, been proven to be extremely effective. Self-discipline is a trait found in many successful people and it is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.


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Think Twice If You Want To Be A Crowd Pleaser

Posted from http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/6t5o6IOGRRU/think-twice-if-you-want-to-be-a-crowd-pleaser


I think there has been a time in our lives when we have wanted to be popular. In school, the prettiest girl always got all the boys, was invited to prom by the cutest guy, was awarded homecoming queen, etc. There’s something very desirable about being popular and all the attention that comes with it.

Social media is a great way to give yourself a self-esteem boost. You upload a new picture and you get a lot of attention on it, and the more likes you get, the better you feel about yourself. I think sometimes people often believe that people who are popular are the happiest. Contrary to popular belief, that is not always the case.

Your number of “likes’ does not define you

Let’s just say you’ve had a pretty bad day. Maybe you and your boyfriend broke up, you lost your job, or something else happened that made you feel like you’re at a really low point in your life.

But, on the bright side, you feel like you look good today so you take a quick selfie and post it on your social media. Over the next 24 hours you get a lot of likes and comments. All of this will make you feel better temporarily, and the more likes and comments you get, the more likely you’ll be perceived by others that you’re up pretty highly on the social ladder.

What all these people don’t know is what happened during that day or how crappy you feel. It’s not uncommon to get lost in the completely fake world that is social media.

Do not envy those who are popular

“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.” – Buddha

You have to really sit down and think about this one. Think about a friend who you rarely see because they are constantly engaging in other social commitments. You would have to be okay with hardly ever having a moment to yourself, and you would have to keep up your image through social media.

Imagine how exhausting that must be. Not only do you have to maintain the life you lead off the internet, but then keep up with the one you have through the internet. You have to ask yourself this question, “what value will being popular add to my life?” The answer to this can be quite simple, we all want to feel a sense of connection and belonging.

By trying to maintain a ton of relationships with people, you will most likely end up feeling worn thin and become unhappy and miserable.

Dr. Brian Gillespie, who is an assistant professor of sociology at Sonoma State University, discusses that by trying to maintain a relationship with a large number a people compared to your small core group of close supporters, you’re setting yourself up to suffer from something sociologists refer to as a “role strain”. Meaning when a person has many social obligations such as their giving their time and energy, they become frustrated and are unable to meet the expectations of their social role, such as being a friend.

Gillespie says, “it’s stressful when you’re trying to be too many things for too many people.”

He further goes on to discuss three main attributes that a good friend should have:

  • emotional support (post-breakup talks)
  • instrumental support (helping you move)
  • companionate support (watching your favorite tv show with you)

Ideally, it would be great if a friend has all three, but it’s important to have at least two attributes. Friendships are about quality. When you surround yourself with people who have these, you will notice that your need to be accepted by many people will diminish. In fact, you may begin to prefer your circle to be smaller.

It could affect your health

As previously stated, by trying to maintain a number of relationships with people you not only tire yourself out mentally but also physically. In the short term, you may find that by always having plans to meet up with people throughout your day, you will eventually exhaust yourself. You lack sleep and resting time to recoup from all that exerted energy. Symptoms of depression can also set in when you’re always around many personality types and trying to attempt to keep up with the needs of those people.

Long term effects could be a bit more severe. The desire to try and please everyone can cause quite a bit of extra stress that is just unnecessary. You can become overexposed to cortisol as well as some other stress hormones that can disrupt most of your body’s processes. If this happens, you will have an increased risk of heart disease and digestive problems.

Social networks can just cause problems

Although many don’t want to admit how involved they are with social media, they are. Unfortunately, it’s the way we keep up with what everyone is doing. Can you remember the last time you went to dinner and didn’t check into the restaurant before even sitting at the table? Or do you remember the last time you ate your food before snapping a photo of it and posting it on Instagram?

Social media can become far more important and complicated than it needs to be. Instead of focusing on letting everyone know what you’re doing when you’re doing it, take the time to fully enjoy the moment you’re in when you are in it.

If you’re going out to eat, leave your phone in the car. This will allow you to fully engage in conversation with who you’re at dinner with while also allowing you enjoy the time spent at the restaurant. The next time you feel yourself pulling out your phone to post something on social media, ask yourself if there’s really a reason to post what you’re doing in your personal life. You will be surprised at how much happier you’ll be when you keep many aspects of your life private.

Keep track of your social activities

It’s important to keep track of your social commitments so you can be aware of when you’re about to tire yourself out. It’s equally as important to realize the drastic difference between a friend and an acquaintance. You, of course, will want to spend more time with your friends because they will provide you with the most support. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend time with those you do not consider “friends” but rather not spend time with them frequently.

Everyone is different. It’s strongly encouraged to sit down and decide for yourself what your own personal social needs are. Truly analyze your relationships with people so that you are able to see who is a friend and who is an acquaintance.

In closing, please remember that you are not defined by the number of likes and comments you receive on social media. You are who you surround yourself with, and you want those people to be a genuine and sincere group. How many you consider a friend? That is for you to decide.

Featured photo credit: www.shuttershock.com via shutterstock.com

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12 Ways to Take More Initiative in Your Life and Business

Posted from http://addicted2success.com/success-advice/12-ways-to-take-more-initiative-in-your-life-and-business/

Each of us is responsible for our own lives, our futures and everything in between. It’s not enough to simply sit back and wait for success to find us. We need to take initiative to seek out and create that success for ourselves, whether it’s in our daily lives or in business.

While there’s nothing you can do to control the things that happen around you, every aspect of how your life develops is the sole responsibility of you and you alone. It begins by taking the initiative to do something, to take action and to make things happen.

Here are a dozen ways you can start taking action to find success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ask lots of questions

We can’t learn if we aren’t asking questions. In addition to helping us gather information, being inquisitive shows others that we have a genuine interest. This means, whether it’s in a workplace setting or in day to day life, those around us will be more willing to teach and guide us, because we’ve shown them we are interested.

2. Make a list and get it done

It’s easy to put things off or forget what needs to get done when you don’t have a concrete list to follow. Even if it’s something as simple as household chores or errands that need to be done, having a list in front of you helps keep you on track to get things done. It also feels great to visually see things being checked off of your list, and keeps you motivated to do more.

3. Recognize your mistakes

There’s another list you can make – that’s a list of your biggest mistakes. It’s not a matter of dwelling on those things we did wrong in our past, but rather examining them and drawing lessons that we can carry forward. If we’ve made bad financial decisions in our lives, writing down and recognizing these mistakes, then learning from them can help you avoid making those same mistakes again.

4. Own those mistakes

It does take a lot of courage to not only admit you’ve made a mistake, but completely own it as your own. Trying to put the blame on anyone but yourself means you’re not able to accept the responsibility for those mistakes.

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba

5. Let your voice be heard

It can be intimidating sometimes to speak up, especially when we’re in a new situation or still learning something. But, putting your ideas out there can show great initiative in a meeting, where you can share your opinions and present your ideas. Not all of your ideas will hit the mark, but you have to take a shot in order to score.

6. Set goals

Milestones, both small and large, are great motivators for success. They set us up for successes and give us targets to keep in our sight. The small or short term goals keep us moving towards our larger goals. Whether it’s a scholarship you’re aiming to get in order to help propel your education or completing that education and walking across stage to collect your diploma, setting goals help build the steps along the way to the ultimate success you’re seeking.

7. Actively participate

No matter if it’s work related or in everyday life, don’t just be a wallflower. Participate actively and get involved in what you’re doing. Taking part in discussions and activities helps make your presence known and shows that you’ve got enthusiasm for what you’re doing.

8. Embrace new opportunity

New opportunities will always present themselves to you, in different situations throughout your life. It can sometimes be unnerving to consider change and new opportunities, but remember that progress can’t be made without change happening. A willingness to embrace new opportunities shows that you’ve got the initiative to accept new challenges and changes in order to find success.

9. Stick to your values

Think about the values that are most important to you, and hold them high. Upholding these values demonstrates that you are willing to work for the success you want, without ever having to compromise what you believe in.

10. Inform yourself

The greatest service you can do to yourself, while seeking out success, is making a well informed decision. It shows that you’re not just making flippant decisions or taking a shot in the dark, and that you’re actually taking the initiative to educate yourself in order to properly decide what moves you want to make.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

11. Ask an expert

A great way to learn is to ask someone who’s already been there. If you’ve got goals of working for yourself as a freelance writer, it’s a good idea to sit down with someone who’s found success doing that, in order to pick their brain.

12. Make a plan

You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. Laying out your plan creates a vision of your future as you see it, and gives you a road map to follow in order to get there.

Which one of these things are you going to focus on immediately? Please leave your thoughts below!

By |November 29th, 2016|Commercial|0 Comments

PB169: Single Author Blog to Multi Author Blog – How to Make the Transition

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Transitioning From Single Author Blog to Multi Author Blog

In today’s lesson, I want to talk about hiring writers for your blog. In order to do so, I want to share a case study of how I took my own photography blog from a single author blog, publishing 3 posts a week, to a blog that now has around 50 writers, and I don’t write anything.


Most bloggers start out blogging as single author blogs and many remain that way. Even so, I’m regularly asked by bloggers how to add new writers to their blog without putting off their readers.

So in today’s episode, I want to share a few reasons why a multi-author blog might be worth considering, and I want to share the 3 stages I went through to make the transition from single author blog to having a paid team of regular writers.

Some of the topics discussed today include:

  • How I found my first guest writers
  • Where I currently find new writers
  • How I transitioned from relying upon guest posters to having a writing team
  • How I took readers on that journey

So if you’ve ever wondered if you should consider adding new voices to your blog – this is for you.

Further Resources on Strategic Blogging Combined with Blogging from the Heart

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Hi there and welcome to episode 169 of the ProBlogger podcast.

My name is Darren Rowse, and I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger.com – a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of eBooks all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience to create great content, to build your readership, and to ultimately make money from your blog, if that is your goal.

You can find today’s shownotes over at problogger.com/podcast/169, and you can learn more about ProBlogger, the brand, and all the things that we do at ProBlogger.com.

Now in today’s lesson, I want to talk to you about hiring writers for your blog. To do so, I want to share a case study of how I took my own photography blog, Digital Photography School,  from being a single-author blog, where I published three posts a week, to a blog that now has around 50 writers and an editor working for me, in which we now publish 14 posts a week, and I don’t write a single one of them.

Most bloggers start out blogging as a single-author blog, and most probably remain that way. That’s totally fine, but I am regularly asked by bloggers if they should add new writers, and if they should, how to actually find those writers, without actually putting off their readers and disillusioning their readers.

That’s what I want to talk about in today’s episode. I want to share a few reasons why a multi-author blog might be worth considering, some of the costs of doing it, but I also want to share the three stages I went through to transition from being that single-author blog to having a paid team of writers. I want to talk about how I found my first guest writers and share some techniques in getting some user-generated content, content that you don’t have to pay for, at least not in financial terms. I want to talk a little bit about where I find my new paid writers, and I want to talk a little bit about that transition from single-author blog to multi-author blog and how I took my readers on that journey.

So if you’ve been wondering about whether you should add new authors to your blog, this is the episode for you. You can find today’s shownotes, where I will have some further reading, and there’s a full transcript of what I have a feeling might be a slightly lengthy show. There’s a lot of information I want to take you through. You can find those shownotes at problogger.com/podcast/169.

Grab a drink perhaps because this is gonna be a meaty episode. I’m going to walk you through a lot of information now. Let’s get into it!

This episode was actually stimulated by a question over at my Facebook page from one of our readers, Mantas, who said, “Hello, I know a lot of marketers and bloggers want to know: How did you attract so many people to write for DPS?” DPS being Digital Photography School – my main blog. “What were the steps that you made, and what was your position then? Were you working alone or with a team in the early days?”

Thanks for the question, Mantas. I appreciate that. If you do have a question, feel free to pop it over on the Facebook page.

Let me first take a step back from Manta’s question and just ask the question, “Is a multi-author blog right for you?” because I, by no means today, am saying that every blogger should have more than one voice on their blog. It’s not going to be right for everyone. If you have a personal blog, it’s probably not something you want to explore. You may wanna have the occasional guest post, or you might wanna interview someone to get another voice on your blog, but if your blog’s a personal blog or even if it’s a personally branded blog, you might find that it may not just fit with you. But if you do want to add more voices to your blog, it can add a lot of benefits to you and to your readers.

The thing I like about having a multi-author blog is that it adds so much more to the content. I think it helps my readers to get smarter, if you do it the right way. You can bring in a new mix of personalities, different experiences, different skills, different styles of writing as well, and this can make your blog more appealing to some of your readers.

It can enable you to produce more content, if that’s something that you want to do, but also more specialized content. This is something that will come through in the case study that I wanna take you through.

One of the reasons I added more authors onto my photography blog is that there were areas, where I didn’t feel comfortable writing. I didn’t know much about those particular topics, those aspects of photography, and I wasn’t at a level myself, where I was comfortable in writing advanced content. So it can allow you to do that.

It can also be great if you don’t have a lot of time to write, or if you take a lot of time to write. You may be someone, who really takes a lot of time to write content, and it may be one way that you can produce more content and not have to spend that much time.

Having said that, it’s gonna cost you. It may cost you time, because when you bring in people to write for you, there’s time associated with that, but also could be potentially money as well because you’re probably gonna wanna pay your authors. But it will take you time to find them, to hire them, to train them, to oversee them, and to, I guess, keep them accountable and maybe to edit their work as well, if you take on that role as an editor.

The other cost, of course, is that it could potentially – if you get the wrong kind of person – dilute your brand or impact your brand in a negative way. Bringing on an author is great, if that author is great. If that author’s not great, if it doesn’t work well, if you’re not willing to put in the time to oversee them, to edit their work, it could actually make your blog suffer in terms of the quality of what you’re doing. And it can also confuse your readers potentially as well, if you don’t find the right people.

So ultimately, what I want to talk about today is “How do you find those right people and do it the right way?” I will say again – if you have a personal blog, you probably won’t wanna move it to a multi-author blog, unless your readers are there really. They’re not really tied to you. Maybe they’re just tied to your topics in some way. Look, it probably can be done, but I would say, “Do it gently and slowly.” That’s part of the story that I wanna share today.

Let’s get into that case study. As I thought today about answering the question and of the own journey that I’ve been on with Digital Photography School, I’ve identified that there are being really three stages of the journey for me.

For me, stage 1 was that the blog was really just me writing on it. When I started Digital Photography School back in 2006, I was writing three posts a week, and it was very beginner-oriented content, which I had no problems writing because I was an intermediate kind of photographer.

The site is about how to help people take better photos, and I was at an intermediate level. I was an enthusiast as a photographer. I’d photographed a few weddings, and I was comfortable writing for people a little bit behind me in their journey.

I didn’t really know what the site was gonna turn out to be, but I typically start all my blogs in the same way. I write all that content. I start low and small-budget; I don’t have the dollars to invest into a writing team. I found a free WordPress theme for my blog, so I didn’t even invest much in terms of design. I just did it all. I did all the writing, all the social media, all the marketing – everything.

My goal in that first stage was really to build my traffic, to build up my archives of content, to rank in search engines, to hook people into subscribing to my blogs and email lists, to build my brand, and, I guess, to build a bit of engagement as well.

One of the best things I did, in terms of finding new writers for my blog down the track, was to start to build community because my first writers actually came from being readers. So if you do want to build a writing team, or if you wanna hire people, if wanna get guest posts – one of the best things I think you can do is to build your traffic, but to build engagement on your blog.

One of the best things I did in the early days was to start a group on Flickr. Now I would probably recommend you don’t start a group on Flickr because Flickr is for photographers, and unless your blogs are about photography, it’s probably not the right place for you. But a Facebook group might be the place, a LinkedIn group – somewhere where you can build engagement with your readers.

It may just be having a Facebook page. It may be engaging in some other network, but as much engagement as you can get because you are going to find it so much easier to get people to write for your blog, if you’ve already had some sort of an engagement with them and if potential writers come to your blog and see engagement as well – because that’s something that will attract them.

So one of the best things I did was to start this Flickr group. Today, it will probably be a Facebook group or some other kind of interactive space as well.

Now, I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t really even have the goal of hiring writers, but I was confident that I could produce probably around 200 articles myself on that blog for the first couple of years. And I actually came up with the topics for 200 articles, and if you listen to episode 11 of this podcast, you’ll know the exercise that I went through, where I kind of brainstormed these 200 topics. I knew that I had enough in me to write that blog and just really focused on creating that content in stage 1.

Stage 2 really came as a result of doing the hard work in stage 1. Stage 1 was building the foundations. The first couple of years in my blog, I did all the writing. I did all the marketing. I did all the social media. I did all the community management as well. And as a result of all that hard work, I began to see my readership grow. It took time; it didn’t happen overnight. It took a couple of years to kind of build it up.

I began to see that I was attracting readers to my blog, who were engaging in the Flickr group and engaging in the blog post comments, and I was beginning to see, in those comments and in that engagement on the group, that we’d attracted not only beginner photographers, but also a higher level of photographers. There were more intermediate level photographers like me. People were starting to leave some really good comments on the blog. I was very proactive about trying to get good comments. I asked a lot of questions. I asked my readers to add their tips a lot.

I began to also see in the Flickr group that people were starting to share really beautiful photos, so I began to wonder, as I saw these more experienced, regular readers, whether maybe some of them might be interested in sharing their knowledge. Now at this point, I kind of had in the back of my mind that I wanted to see them start to write guest posts, but it was a bit of a big leap. They were just leaving comments on the blog, and they were sharing photos in our Flickr group. How could I take them on that journey to get them writing guest posts?

I could’ve just emailed them and said, “Hey, do you wanna write a guest post?” Maybe that would have worked, but I actually thought I’d do it a little bit more gently. And this, I think, can be a good way to get your readers, your highly engaged readers to begin to think about creating guest content for your blog. There’s a few gentle ways that you can do that.

Let me just run through four or five of those, and these are things that I would encourage you to think about – how could you apply these on your own blog, if you do wanna have other authors?

Firstly, I saw people leaving quite detailed comments, and these were usually when I finished an article, “What would you add to this? What would you disagree with this?” Or I sometimes wrote posts that were purely discussion style, and I’ll talk about that in a minute. I began to see people slightly more detailed comments that were answering questions from other readers or my own questions.

What I did was begin to email some of those readers, and I would ask them if they would allow me to use their comment as a blog post or part of a comment as part of a blog post. Now I’d already put the content into a public forum on my blog, and perhaps I didn’t even need to ask that permission but I wanted to do that because I was interested in them knowing that I was using their content because it was a step towards getting them to write a blog post. Most of them were totally fine with it.

What I would do is either use their whole comment as a blog post. I might put an introductory sentence at the start, “Hey! Darren here. I saw this comment on the blog the other day about this, and I really loved it. Here it is.” Then I might write a sentence or two at the end of it, just to sort of wrap it up because the comment itself was really useful. It might have been a tip on an aspect of photography.

Or I might have used a part of a comment, so I might quote my readers. The idea here was that I was actually showing my readers that I value their thoughts. And this is partly to get our readers to start leaving more comments and to build that engagement, but it was also starting to get my readers used to the idea of seeing their content in blog posts themselves.

In the Flickr group, I also set up an area, where I ask my readers to submit a tip into the group. I made it really clear that I would use some of their tips as blog posts, and this worked really well. People were much more comfortable with adding a tip – might be a couple of paragraphs long – into a Facebook group than they were submitting a guest post.

What I would do then is to take some of those tips, and I combine them together into a longer post. I might say, “I need tips on portrait photography,” and 10 of my readers would submit their paragraph-long tip on taking great portraits. And then I’d combine that into a longer article. Again, my readers were writing the bulk of that content; there was 10 of them – all contributing to it. The other thing I might do occasionally, if a reader left a long, detailed tip in the Flickr group, is just to use that as a whole post in it of itself.

Another thing we used to do quite regularly was run weekly challenges with our readers. We still do this today – every Thursday or Friday, we would say, “Hey, the theme of this week is slow shutter speeds or large apertures,” or some kind of photographic technique. We’d get our readers to submit a photo they’ve taken using that technique.

What I would do if I saw a beautiful photo being submitted by one of our readers would be to email that reader and say, “Hey, I love that photo! Can I use it in a blog post? And would you mind answering a couple of questions for me about how you took it? What settings did you use? What’s the story behind the image? How did you compose it?” They would respond with maybe three or four sentences, and that would then become the blog post – the image, a few tips, a few thoughts from them behind that image.

Again, it was just about creating some user-generated content, that was inviting our readers to begin to see themselves in the blog posts, and this began to change the culture of the blog. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually over time, readers began to expect that other readers would be in the content – it wouldn’t just be me all the time. I began to weave this in.

Another thing I’d begun to do is to do these discussion posts. A blog post would purely be me asking a question, “What type of camera do you use? What type of lens is your favorite lens, and why? How would you go about photographing a wedding?” These types of question-oriented posts.

The discussions that would come in as a result of that. If it was a good discussion, I could then take those comments and weave them into a blog post and create a blog post on that topic. It was really the blog post – this is what our community thinks on this particular topic. Again, just about getting our readers’ content onto the page.

The last thing I did is I began to approach people who were engaging in the Flickr group and sharing photos or engaging in comments. I would approach those who I thought knew something about a particular topic, and I would ask them, “Could I interview you on that particular topic? I see you take a lot of really beautiful wedding photos. Can I ask you five questions on wedding photography?”

I would actually reach out to them and interview them on a specialised topic. Again, this is an easy way to create some guest content. They don’t have to come up with a structure for the article. They don’t have to think of the questions. “I just have to answer some questions.” This was the beginning again of relationships with a few people, who later on became guests posters – is getting them used to the idea of writing some content, as brief as it might be (and I would add in some of their photos as well), and get them used to being on the site and seeing some of the benefits of that.

All of these techniques that I’ve just talked about helped my readers to begin to feel like their ideas were important to my site, began to build a community and a sense of engagement as well, got them used to seeing themselves and other readers on the blog as well, and as I said, it builds this culture of interaction and reader involvement.

Now none of this happened overnight. It took months. It took actually years to do this, and it became something that, as I got used to looking for opportunities to get my readers into blog posts, it opened up all kinds of wacky ideas as well. As you begin to do it, you see more and more opportunities, and so that’s one way to kind of approach this.

Now a few people who was featuring in these ways enjoyed the process, particularly some of the people I interviewed. They enjoyed the process so much that I would then follow them up and say, “Hey! If you enjoyed that – our readers obviously enjoyed that – if you’ve actually got any ideas for a longer article that you might like to write, feel free to shoot me an email with the idea that you’ve got. We can work out whether you could write an article.” Often the interviews would lead to a longer form article – and some of the other techniques that I mentioned did as well.

I was writing most of the content, still at this point, but I guess I was looking for any opportunity that I could to involve people in writing posts, particularly moving them towards writing a feature piece content, a longer article in some way.

This whole process, after a while, a few people did start to write a few guest posts, and that led me to putting up an actual page on the site. I created a WordPress page titled “Write for DPS” (Write for Digital Photography School), and I actually called my readers to submit. I gave them a process where they could begin to submit ideas as well. I did this because a number of people were starting to contact me. They were seeing different voices on the blog, and they were like, “Well, I could write something. I wonder if he’d take my post.” After I got a few of those, I began to put this page together, and it was really just me saying, “Hey, we can’t pay you at this stage. We’re not making enough, but if you’re interested in contributing to the site, here’s how to do it.”

I put light at a few expectations and a contact email address as well. That generated some submissions as well. I actually put that link in the navigation area on the site.

One of the things I am really glad I did also around this time was anytime anyone wrote for us in anyway, whether it was a guest post or I interviewed them or I featured them in any other way, I would put them on a spreadsheet that I created. It was a spreadsheet of contributors to the site. Whether they’d just done an interview or written an article or was just someone I thought might be a good contributor, I would put this spreadsheet together.

I made it my goal that I would touch base with everyone I put on that spreadsheet at least every couple of months. Just keep in touch with them. And I would also put next to their name, any contribution that they’d done, any link, any topic that I saw that they were interested in.

I guess, I was building up this little bit of a database. It was a pretty disorganized database, but it was a database of people who might write. So if I did wanna write an article on some aspect of portrait photography, I could look on that spreadsheet, and I knew there was someone there who I could ask for a quote or involve in some other way. It really was about trying to just keep that relationship going in some way, so if an opportunity did come up to feature them, I could. I also would share the stuff they were doing on our social media accounts to build that relationship in some ways as well.

Now as a result of all this, I began to get a few of the people, who did eventually write guest posts, say that they were interested in doing more. By this stage, a couple of years into the site, the site was starting to get some traffic, and people who did contribute began to see that when they were featured on the blog, they were getting traffic as well. So some started to return, and they would come back and say, “Hey, I’d like to do one every couple of months or one every month.” That was great. That was, I guess, the beginning of the next stage, which was all about trying to build a team.

At this stage, I still didn’t have much money to invest into writing. We were beginning to make a little bit of money from AdSense. I hadn’t created our first eBook now, by this stage, so there wasn’t a lot of money. Paid writers weren’t really on my radar, but I did begin to form this idea that maybe I should get some regular writers into the site because I could see my readers were beginning to recognize some of those people who did come back again from time to time.

The other thing that I began to do, as traffic grew, was – traffic is great because it’s good for building revenue, but it actually makes it easier to find new writers for your site as well. After a while, people began to know the brand of Digital Photography School in the photography circles, so it started to make it easier to approach people. Up until this point, I kind of have been looking at my readers, but as our brand grew, I began to see opportunities to approach other photography bloggers as well. These were people who perhaps had a little bit bigger profile, they had their own network, and they had expertise as well; so I began to reach out occasionally to a photography blogger and say, “Hey, would you be interested in writing an article for us? Or could I interview you?” The interview was often the first step.

The same thing happened with other photographers – photographers who might be quite well-known on Flickr. Flickr was huge at that time. There’s other photo-sharing sites now, but I began to see some of the Flickr users really had big profiles. I began to reach out to them and ask, “Can I interview you or would you be interested in writing for us?”

Then I also started to realize that I saw the same names over and over again in photography magazines, and these are offline publications that people were writing in. I realized a lot of them weren’t actually employed by the photography magazines; they were just writing guest content or writing as freelancers. So I began to reach out to some of those as well, and I would usually approach all of these people, whether they be a photography blogger or a photographer or a freelance writer, by introducing the site, talking about our traffic numbers and how much profile we could help them to build, and then making a broad invitation to be involved in creating content in some way for us. I would give them some examples of what others had done, usually others who had a bit of a profile as well, to build a bit a of social proof.

As I mentioned, many times I would reach out and say, “Hey, could I interview you? Or could I do a case study on one of your photos?” but sometimes they actually would come back and say, “Hey, I’ve written this article for a magazine. Could I rewrite it for you?” That was actually something that happened a number of times as well. Some people did prefer an interview ‘cause it felt easier, but some people who were writers actually found it easier just to write an article for us.

Now up until this point, everyone is guests on the site; they’re not paid writers. They’re all doing it for free, and they’re all doing it because (1) they want to give something back to the site if they’re our readers or (2) they’re doing it for profile and to grow their reach. By this stage, I was standing to earn money from the site, and I didn’t feel comfortable just taking guest contributions. Actually some of our writers didn’t want to be paid at all. They just did it because they enjoyed the process, but a number of our writers, I thought, “Maybe I could actually begin to pay them.”

That really is stage 3. Up until this point, stage 2 has really been all really about building guest contributors to the site. Stage 3 really is a time, where I was starting to have decent traffic to the site, starting to get revenue to the site, and I was starting now to think, “I need to build my regular writing team.”

By this stage, as I mentioned before, I have a few guest writers, who were writing submissions once a month, but when you’ve got a guest writer – even if they’ve committed to writing once a month – it’s really hard to keep them to that. You can’t put too many demands on someone doing something for free for you, so in the back of my mind, I was like, “Maybe I need to start paying people. That way, I might be able to enforce a deadline a little bit more.”

I wanted to increase the frequency of our publishing. When I started the site, I was publishing three times a week. I moved it to daily by the time I built this sort of little team of guest writers up, but I wanted to get to two posts a day. I wanted to get 14 posts per week, and to do that, I knew I needed a consistent stream of articles coming into the site. I knew I couldn’t write them all, so I thought one way to do that is to start to hire some writers.

I also wanted to lift the quality and the level and expand the topics that we were writing about. Some of our best authors, by this stage, were actually growing their profile so fast that their own projects were beginning to take off, so they weren’t writing for us anymore. To get a high quality of writer, I knew I’d probably need to start paying people to attract those high caliber of writers, and also I wanted to start attracting intermediate and advanced writers as well, and people who specialize in topics like post-production (how to use Photoshop) or people who were willing to write reviews of cameras, which take a long time to do. I knew to attract those types of writers, I was going to have to start to pay for those writers.

I also wanted to have regular writers. I didn’t want to just pay for one-off writers. I wanted people who would come back and contribute on a regular basis because I saw that when we did have regular writers on the site, my readers actually responded really well to them because I felt like they knew who they were and relationships between my writers and readers were important. So I made the decision, “I’m gonna put some investment into paying writers for all my sites.”

The first two people that I hired actually turned out to be people, who had been writing as guest writers. I probably could have gotten them to keep writing as guest writers, but I went to them and said, “Hey, you write once a month for us. I love the content that you’re doing. You’re writing on a topic that I don’t feel comfortable writing about. Would you be willing to write on a more regular basis?” I actually went to both of these writers and said, “Hey, I’m willing to pay you to write a weekly article. You’ve only been doing a monthly article, but I want you to do a weekly article. And I’ll pay you.”

At that time, I didn’t have a lot to invest into it, so it was 50 USD per article, while also giving them lots of exposure in the articles linking to their own projects. Both of them actually had their own products to sell as well. Both of them had eBooks, and so I allowed them to promote their eBooks. They were actually earning more than that $50. That’s where we started out. You’ve really got to work out what the right rate is for you.

This is like eight years ago. I acknowledge that really probably wouldn’t cut it today if you’re trying to hire someone at a high quality, but that’s what we started out. We’ve certainly increased since that time. Initially, I just hired the two, but gradually as I was able to drive more traffic and more revenue in the site, I was able to increase that group of writers and went to three, to four, to five. We gradually went from 7 posts a week to 10 posts a week and then to 14 posts a week.

I would usually hire internally, so my guest writers who might write the occasional article, I would hire them in the early days. I would only ever pay someone if they could commit to writing at least once a month. I wanted that regularity. I wasn’t gonna pay someone just to write a one-off article; I wanted the regular writer so my readers could get to know them.

Initially, it was all about promoting people, who were writing as guest writers, but at times, I began to realize that my pool of people that I could hire was not really that big. That was around the time I decided I needed to start advertising for writers for the site. Now it just so happens that on ProBlogger, we have a job board, so I was able to advertise on my own job board for writers. I wasn’t really sure the first time I did it, how it would work, because I didn’t know how many photography enthusiasts read ProBlogger and subscribed to those job boards.

I put up a job. I can’t remember exactly what year it was, but I was amazed at how many applicants we got. I think the first job I put out – must have been six or seven years ago now – got 80 applicants, and about half of them, I would have hired. They were incredibly high-quality.

If you haven’t checked out the job board, it’s at problogger.com/jobs. It’s a great place if you’re looking for work as a blogger, but it’s also a fantastic place to advertise for bloggers to actually hire. Seventy dollars ($70) will get you a job that lasts for thirty days. We get quite a few of our advertisers emailing us within a few days, saying, “Take the job down. I’m getting too many applicants.” Anyone can advertise there, if you wanna check that one out, if you are looking to hire people.

So I advertised there. I was getting quite a few applicants, and the quality was really great. Today, we probably put a job up there every two or three months, and these days, we get over 100 applicants to many of the jobs that we advertise. And as I said, a lot of them are very high quality. We typically will hire five people at a time. We kind of wait until some of our writers will have left and moved on. They only write for a period of time, and so we’ll wait until we need to hire a few more. Then we’ll hire in batches in that way.

If you do want to advertise on the job boards or anywhere else, the key is to be really clear about what you’re looking for. You don’t wanna just do a broad ad, or else you’ll get a broad number of applicants. You’ll get more applicants, but they won’t be as targeted so be really clear about what you’re looking for and the process that you will work through to hire them. We typically will put a job up – even though the job lasts for 30 days, we typically have a cut-off date of the week. We say, “You’ve got to get your application in within a week.” Then we ask them for examples of their work as well.

The other thing that I would encourage you to do is to think ahead of time, before you place your ad, about the process you wanna take your applicants through. We actually have this little process that we’ve developed now that we’ve probably done this about 8 or 9 or maybe even 10 times over the years.

This is the process. Firstly, we place the ad, but we also have two emails ready to go. The two emails are for different scenarios of applications. The first one is one that we send to people, who we just know straight away aren’t suitable – either they apply ignoring some of our criteria, or we can tell through their application that their writing isn’t great or they don’t seem to have the right experience for us. This is our “Thanks, but sorry” email, that we send out straight away as soon as someone applies that we know isn’t a fit. We just send out an email saying, “Thanks for applying. We’re really sorry, but we can’t progress your application.”

A second email is a “Thanks! We will be in touch,” email, because we typically have a deadline of a week. We know that we’re gonna get a lot of applicants in during that week, so we send this one out to anyone who we think we might be interested in, anyone who’s at least at a quality where we should consider them and we need to look a little bit deeper into them. We collect everyone’s emails that’s in this second category, and we send them a quick email just saying, “Hey, thanks! Here’s the process. From here, we will be in touch in a week or so.”

The next step is that we begin to sort those applicants into groups. I guess this is like a triage type scenario. The applicants, who we immediately feel are a good fit or could be a good fit, we put into a “great” pile. Then we put the rest into a “good” pile, and then maybe if there’s sort of a lower quality, we might put them into an “okay” pile. It really depends how many people we’re looking to hire and how many applicants we get, but we generally go to anyone in that “great” pile and maybe some of the people in the “good” pile. We will reply to them with an email that invites them to go to the next stage. Anyone who we don’t invite to go to the next stage, we of course send an email saying, “Thanks, but we can’t progress any further.”

Anyone we invite to go to the next stage, we send them an email. We tell them a little bit more about the job: what it entails, what it pays, what are the benefits they get. “We’ll give you links. We can promote your stuff.” And then we invite them to write a trial post for the site – a paid trial post for the site, one-off trial post.

We invite them to nominate a topic that they want to write about and to come back to us with that. We give them approval or we adapt it if we don’t think it’s a good fit. We may have written about that topic in the last week already, so we ask them to come up with another one. Then we set them a deadline and ask them to write that post and to submit it. Then we might go back and forth a little bit on any edits, and then we publish the post.

We do this trial for a few reasons. Firstly, it shows us the quality of their work. Secondly, it shows us what they’re like to work with. Can they deliver on time? Are they high-maintenance? Do they seem to understand what WordPress is and how to write for that audience? Will they follow up with comments that are left on their articles? Will they promote the posts on their own social networks? I guess, we’re really looking here to see, whether they’re just going to submit us a piece of content and then leave it, or they’re going to take it to the next level.

This gives us a chance to see whether their style fits with our audience – what voice they write in, how accessible, how inclusive they are, how clear they are. And it also gives us a chance to see how our audience will respond to them. Do they get a lot of comments? Are they writing in a way that is really engaging and gets lots of shares? You get a real feel for people through this process. And I guess the other side of it is that they get to see what we’re like to work with as well. What are the benefits of working with us? What are our systems like? That can give them a sense of what we’re like and whether we’re a good fit.

This trial process – and we do pay them. We pay them the normal rate that we would pay them normally. It helps us just to really work out whether it’s a good fit or not. So we might invite 10 or 15 people from all the applicants to go through this process. Then we might hire the best 5 or 6.

The other beauty of this is that it gives us some other content that we can use on the site as well. Even if we don’t go on to hire these people, we’ve got a piece of content that we can use as well. That’s nice to get some extra voices on there as well.

We publish pretty much everything that’s submitted. We do go back to some people and do some edits and revisions on it, but the process really does work very well. It takes us a couple of weeks to go through that process. From the time they see the ad to the time we hire them might take three or four weeks. It is quite a long process, but it does tend to get quite good quality of writers.

As I mentioned before, the people who we do offer the job to, we always ask them to write regularly. We won’t hire anyone to write less than once a month because it’s gonna take an investment of time to get them trained and integrated with the way that we do things. So we don’t wanna train someone who’s just gonna write one article for us every couple of months. We usually ask them to write every couple of weeks or at least once a month. That’s quite good.

Once we’ve hired someone, we’ve got a bit of an initiation process, and this is something that’s come in the last couple of years as I’ve hired an editor, who I’ll talk about in a moment. We send them out a handbook, and the handbook’s a nine-page document. It’s got a lot of guidelines about how to use images, what size images, whether they can use watermarks, how they should name their files, their image files. We give them some tips and guidelines for writing articles (US spelling versus UK spelling, how to format posts, how to use headlines) – sort of a style guide in many ways – some information on how we title our posts, some tips for using WordPress and formatting the posts, some tips on how to write their author bio, other expectations that we have for them, as well as some contact details for us as a team, a little bit about who we are as a site, and also some information there about our readers because we want them to be writing for the right level of readers.

This handbook has been really great, and it’s evolved over the years. It started out very simply. Now when someone comes onto our team, where I would hand this to them and walk them through this process, it really helps them to be lifting the quality of their articles, but also helps us in our editing. If we’ve taught them how we want them to submit our content, we don’t have to spend as much time fixing the things that aren’t formatted in certain ways. We also have a little Facebook group for our regular writers, where we build a bit of community. If we’ve got a camera that we want someone to review, we might put it in there. We call out topics; we brainstorm as a group, and a little bit of community going on in there.

Some of our authors that we hired have worked out brilliantly. We’ve had authors that have written for us now for five or six years, and others stay for a time. They might stay while they’ve got extra time on their hands and then they get busy and move on. Some of them don’t work out at all, they might last three articles and then think this isn’t for them or we might look at their articles and think this isn’t really right for us as well.

Because we don’t have people who are relying on us for their full time income, we don’t have to give them three months notice or anything like that. We’re fairly quick to work out whether we’re a good fit and they are as well. Typically, things do tend to work out well as a result of the process that we’ve got.

As I look at our Facebook group today, I think we’ve got about 50 members in that group, 47 of which are writers. There’s myself, our editor, and our site manager as well in that group. There’s 47 people in there who are writers.

I mentioned our editor a couple of times in the last few minutes. Eventually, it must be three years ago now, I realized that I could not manage this whole process. It actually had gotten to a point where having 40 or 50 people to manage, that’s too much for me to do as well as all the other things that I do. I’ve got Digital Photography School and ProBlogger. I decided I needed to step up and hire an editor as well as writers.

We hired Darlene who lives in Canada. She actually started out as a writer who I promoted. I saw in her an attention to detail and some of the skills that we would need as a writer. She was also someone who’s a photographer, so she is operating at a higher level of expertise in photography which I knew would help as well.

The idea here was that she would be able to take things to the next level in developing a team of writers to be able to communicate more regularly with them and better with them, to streamline some of the processes that we had, to keep our writers to the deadlines that they committed to, to think a little bit more strategically about the editorial direction and to increase the quality of the articles as well. I’m not a details person, the idea of me editing someone else’s work is kind of laughable because I’m really in need of that myself. I’m not the best speller or the best in grammar. It really has lifted the quality of our articles quite a bit. As I mentioned, she’s a professional photographer.

That’s kind of the process that I’ve gone through. Just to give you a bit of a sum up, a few other tips that I give, and just to recap a couple of the things that I think have been important.

In terms of taking your readers on that journey, some of the people I talk to who are thinking of having other writers on their blog are really worried that their readers will push back. I was too. I was worried when I did this on ProBlogger as well as on Digital Photography School. To be honest, there were some readers who did push back. Some readers started reading my blog because I wrote every post on the blog. It was less so on Digital Photography, more so on ProBlogger. ProBlogger is a bit more of a personal brand. Digital Photography School, I never really injected my personality into that content. It didn’t really get so much push back there. I did get some readers who are all these other people.

One of the things I would say there is the thing I like on Digital Photography School about the work I did is that it really did take a few years. It actually probably took me about two years from the time I had my first guest post to the point where my guest posters were writing more than me. For those two full years, I was still writing three posts a week. I didn’t change how much content I was writing over those two years, I just added in some other articles. It was a bit of a transition.

Today, I don’t write any articles on the site. Again, that was a bit of a transition. I went from three posts a week to two, to one, to none. That, again, took several years to get to that point. Take your readers on that journey and introduce new voices slowly, that can work quite well.

Build a sense of community and collaboration on your site. You’ll see back in stage one, I found it was really important for me to be asking my readers questions, having discussions, getting them into a Flickr Group, getting them engaging with me in some way. Even if it wasn’t creating content, it was so much easier to get people to create content for me because they felt like they’re in a relationship with me in the early days. That was really important.

The next thing I’ll say is some of your best writers down the track will be readers today. Look at your readers, start with your readers, take them on a journey. Look for the people who are contributing at a higher rate than other people in the comment section in your blog. Look for the people who are being helpful on your Facebook page or in the groups that you have. Actually really pay attention to your readers because in your readers, you probably have potential writers.

Always be on the lookout for ways that you can promote what they’re doing in your comments into blog posts, even if it’s just adding a quote or showing something that they’ve done or doing an interview of them in some way. Look for those gentle ways to help them to create content for you. It does take more work to do that. To do an interview with someone, you got to think of the questions, you’ve got to edit their answers, you’ve got to format it all. But in the long run, if that person ends up becoming your writer and that process is well worth the time. Do look for gentle ways of promoting your readers into creating content for you.

When you’re hiring people, be careful of the voice. This is one of the things I noticed. In the early days, I did hire a couple of people who wrote in a very different style to me. That can be good but it can also clash. There are a couple of people who I hired in the early days who had a much more aggressive tone. I’m a much more gentle conversational kind of person; I don’t like to offend people, I’m not really opinionated. Whilst I think having people with opinion can be a good thing, it can actually clash as well.

Be really careful of the voice. Watch really carefully to see how your readers do respond to the different styles of people that you write. You’re never going to hire someone who’s exactly the same as you. Be careful when you do hire someone who clashes with your voice and see how your readers respond to that. It could end up being a good thing but it could also be something that really hurts your brand.

Be careful of voice, be careful of values, you want to hire people who share values with you, who have the same kind of goals as you. That’s something I’ve really paid attention to.

Having said all that, variety can be good too. I’m a guy and my first two hires were women. I didn’t do it because I wanted to add women into the site, but it actually benefitted my site. It made my site a little bit more inclusive and I started to notice that we attracted a different audience. Gender might be one of those things.

The location of your writers might be another thing. I’m in Australia, I’ve hired some US writers, I’ve hired people from the UK, I’ve hired people from different parts of Asia and Africa. I think that can have an impact upon your site as well. Maybe that’s a positive impact, it has been for us, but again it’s got to be something that you watch to see how people react to that.

In terms of the topic, variety can be good again then too. I didn’t know much about how to use Photoshop, so my first hire was a woman who wrote about the topic of Photoshop. That broadened our topic and that went down really well with our readers. Think about variety in terms of the level that you write at, I’m an intermediate kind of photographer, some of my early hires were people who were at a more advanced level, one that again went down really well with my readers.

Be careful of voice, be careful of value, you want to hire people who are going to add to your site and take your readers and your site towards your goals. Be also open to variety because hiring people who are different to you can actually add a lot of depth to your site as well.

The last thing I’ll say is that if you hire someone or if you bring someone on as a guest and it’s not working, and you’re seeing that there’s a real pushback from your readers, you see a clash of values, of voice in those kinds of ways, be quick to end that relationship. You don’t want to have someone who is on your site for years to come just because you’re a bit nervous to say this isn’t working out. You want to be really clear right upfront that you’re hiring people as a trial and that’s one of the things I probably should’ve mentioned earlier.

We generally say to people let’s start this paid relationship out for three months and then we’ll assess how things are going, and then they become permanent. That gives you a chance to have an out if it’s not working for you and to have some expectations around that. I’ve certainly made that mistake, I’ve had people who have worked on my sites over the years. I really should’ve ended those relationships faster and it would’ve benefitted me and my readers, and it would’ve benefitted them in the long run as well.

I am aware that I’ve talked a lot today and this is probably one of the longer episodes that I’ve done. It is a question I get asked a lot, how do I find more writers for my blog? I really wanted to really walk you through that process because it’s not something that’s just happened over night. I started Digital Photography School in 2006 and ten years later it’s very different to how it started. It actually took me probably nine years to really make that journey from being a single-author blogger to having a team of paid writers as well. I should actually say that we do still have some people who prefer to just be guest writers. We do have some guest content still on the site, but the bulk of our content on the site now is from our paid team.

Hope that’s been helpful, I would love to hear your insights on this process as well. Perhaps you’ve made that transition or perhaps you’re mid-way through it. What have you found worked? Where have you found your writers? What tips would you give in integrating those writers into the system and actually initiating them into writing for you and taking them on that journey? How have you taken your readers on that journey? Have you had pushback?

Any of these questions that you feel like you want to chime in on to help us all to learn a little bit more about this whole process, head over to problogger.com/podcast/169 where you can get a full transcript of today’s very long show but also leave any questions or comments that you have.

If you are looking to hire bloggers, of course head over to problogger.com/jobs where you can place an ad for a writer for your site. We just actually redesigned the job board in the last few months, I hope you liked some of the added features we have added there. We actually have a new feature there where you can pay a little bit more and get a featured ad. Unfortunately, they’re all taken though, they got snapped up within a couple of weeks. There will be some more ones coming up in the coming weeks as well.

Thanks for listening today and I will be back with you next Monday night for the next episode of the ProBlogger Podcast.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post PB169: Single Author Blog to Multi Author Blog – How to Make the Transition appeared first on ProBlogger Podcast.

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7 Ways to Save Money while Earning a College Degree

Posted from http://www.dumblittleman.com/save-money-while-in-college/

Is the high cost of tuition and expenses keeping you from that college degree you want? All you need to do is to earn and save money while in college.

It’s no secret that the cost of higher education keeps climbing at a staggering rate as each year passes. It’s now routine for many to graduate with six figures in student loan debt. This is money that must be repaid since bankruptcy law currently makes it extremely difficult to discharge student loans.

Good news: You don’t have to face a mountain of student loan debt when you graduate.

There are several things you can do to dramatically lower your college expenses. You could save a bundle by implementing just one of these simple strategies, or you can really save big by using several of them simultaneously.

Use Challenge Exams in Place of Lower Level Courses


Most of the courses you take in the first two years of college are essentially a repeat of many of the courses you took in high school. So why do you have to take them again to earn college credit?

You don’t. It’s possible to earn college credit on many common subjects by taking and passing multiple-choice challenge exams.

There are three different types of exams you can use for this purpose: AP, CLEP, and DSST. Most schools will accept up to 30 credit hours of challenge exam credit, while some will accept up to 60. Exam study guides are available to help you prepare.

All three types of challenge exams are available for under $100 each and are routinely accepted by nearly 2,000 colleges and universities in the United States. Most challenge exams are worth three credits each, but some are worth up to six, making it an amazing deal.

See Also: 6 Low Paying College Degrees to Avoid 

Rent Textbooks Instead of Buying

College textbooks often cost hundreds of dollars each, and your total book expense each semester can easily top $1,000. Did you know you can rent textbooks instead of buying them for just a fraction of the cost?

There are now several online companies that rent college textbooks. Finding them is easy. Just do an internet search for “textbook rental.”

How do you know you are renting the right textbook for a course? You may have to contact your instructor to find out for sure. The information you will need includes the book title, author, edition, and a special identification number known as the ISBN.

Use Affordable Community College Credit

Community colleges represent one of the best deals in all of higher education. And if you qualify for the PELL Grant, you can even attend a community college for free.

Many community colleges have agreements with four-year schools that guarantee all of your credits will transfer. Why pay much more for the same courses at a four-year school when you can get them at a discount at a community college?

Take Advantage of Dual Enrollment Credit

There are many high schools across the nation that have made agreements with local community colleges to award college credit for the completion of select high school courses. These arrangements are known as dual enrollment and represent an amazing way to earn a lot of college credit before you even graduate high school. As affordable as community college credit is, tuition is often discounted substantially for high school students.

Attend an In-State School


Colleges and universities usually charge one rate for students living in-state and a much higher rate for students living out-of-state. There’s actually a good reason for this financial disparity. Schools are heavily subsidized by the taxpayers of each state. Naturally, they don’t want their tax money subsidizing students who live across state lines.

You can save big on tuition and other expenses by attending a school that is located in the state you live in. But if you absolutely have your heart set on attending a school in another state…

Take a Gap Year to Establish Residency in Another State

If you do plan on attending a school in another state, why not take a gap year in order to establish residency in that state before enrolling? You only have to live in a state for one year to qualify for in-state tuition.

It’s only one year.

You could work a job during this time, take some inexpensive online courses from a community college in your home state, or even take a few inexpensive challenge exams for college credit. There’s no reason why you can’t be productive in a gap year.

Work Full-Time for a School in Exchange for Tuition

Although schools usually don’t advertise it, many have policies that allow full-time employees to take classes either for free or at a deep discount. It’s definitely worth checking with a school you are interested in to see what their policy is on employee tuition before enrolling.

One way you can take advantage of this is to work full-time at a school that offers free employee tuition that also offers online degree programs. You can then take online classes during your spare time and graduate either for free or owing very little. It usually doesn’t matter what type of work you do to qualify, as long as you are a full-time employee of the school you are attending.

Combine Strategies for Maximum Savings

To really save big on college expenses, you can easily combine two or more of these strategies. You could, for example, use challenge exam credit for your first year and community college credit for your second. This allows you to complete the first half of a bachelor’s degree for very little money.

See Also: How a 529 Plan Can Help You Save for Your College Education

Earning a college degree doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. By taking advantage of some simple strategies, you can graduate owing much less than your peers. All it takes is a little planning to make it happen.


The post 7 Ways to Save Money while Earning a College Degree appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The 5 Best Podcasts on Creativity

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You're reading The 5 Best Podcasts on Creativity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

The 5 Best Podcasts On Creativity

best podcasts creativity An idea without action is imagination, not creativity. Creativity often feels like you are experiencing a finely tuned sense of self, a realm of consciousness that sparks the flame of an idea or an innovation. There is an amalgamation of patterns, connections and perceptions that precede the rush of creativity, yet it can be so elusive to achieve. The act of discovering and producing solutions is also at the core of creativity. These 5 podcasts illuminate what exactly it is to embody creativity.
  1. This is a podcast by Brian Koppelman who speaks to author Seth Godin as they tackle the topic of inertia and writer’s block. One must begin with the question “who is it for?’ He feels there is no such thing as writer’s block, only bad habits and fear of what someone else will say. The inventions of judgment is not fuel it’s sabotage’. All is in the act of practice.
  1. This podcast ‘Show up before you’re ready’ features Glennon-Doyle Melton, and is such an honest conversation to listen to. She posits that the deeper you go the more other people see themselves in you. So, there is no reason to worry about showing people who you are, which is a big obstacle for most creative people.
  1. How do you know you’re creative? There is not one perfect measure to find it, but there are several correlations that point to that answer. Cultural knowledge and the moment in time enter into the equation. Creativity is routinely equated with the arts, but other skills relate to ingenuity as well, such a science, that draw on perception and problem solving. There is courage involved in being able to color outside the lines.
  1. This podcast interviews Justine Musk, as she discusses her journey of discovering her true purpose in life after an identity crisis. When you ask yourself different questions such as how to live a meaningful life, how do you then create that for yourself? Creativity in this broader scope of your entire life’s purpose is a question about tuning in to your intuitive voice. Ask yourself what is working in your life, dissect it and discover emotional resonance, that is a result of creative expression and communication.
  1. In this blog, they discuss the question that with the knowledge that the old guard of ‘left brain, right brain’ ideas are overturned, where does creativity actually come from? The answer is ‘it’s complex’, and points to multi faceted traits such as behaviors, cognitive processes, how our brain makes associations, etc – these are all factors. Creative people tend to daydream, all the work is in your head. Identify when you work the best and hold on to this to foster your best creative effort.
http://creativecommoners.net/?p=2717 Creativity begins with a drive, a conviction and a sense of optimism about a particular point of view. However, it is not necessarily always an innate or inherent quality, creativity is something that can be cultivated to a certain degree. Creative people utilize different ways of processing experience, make unique connections between things, and form new insights. There’s a need to reach out and make contact with others who may acknowledge the impact of the creative outlet. To be creative is uniquely human, and over the ages, humanity has produced astonishing works that display the depths of our mystifying imagination. Do you read a great blog about creativity that’s not on the list? Leave a comment on FB!
Larissa Gomes is a breast cancer survivor and single mom to her spirited baby boy! Originally from Toronto turned Angeleno, she has worked in roles from writer, actor and producer for well over a decade. In that time, she's developed concepts, film and television screenplays, short stories, along with freelance articles, blogging and editing work.

You've read The 5 Best Podcasts on Creativity, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

By |November 29th, 2016|Commercial|0 Comments