This Is Your Year

Are you ready to make your small business the best it can be? Have you decided that the best use of your time doesn’t include website maintenance or social media marketing? Or maybe this is the year to turn your part-time dream into a full-time gig (congratulations you!). HeyAmyLou wants to help and we’ve got just the right tools and services to strengthen you and your business.

During the month of January many of our services are specially priced because we believe in you and want to be there when you succeed.

  • Website Design and Maintenance
  • Newsletter Production and Design
  • Mailing List Development and Maintenance
  • Marketing Audits
  • Client Scheduling Software Setup and Support
  • One-on-One Collaboration
  • Training – We’re expanding our trainings this year, including how to create the perfect social media plan for your clients / customers and emergency preparedness for small businesses. Trainings can be conducted in small groups or one-on-one.

And, you can receive 20% off any service Feb-Dec. 2017 when your friends hire HeyAmyLou.

Contact us today to bring your small business dream to life.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick


Unplanned Themes

Full disclosure: The newsletter comes together each week because I bookmark everything I come across on the internet. There’s never any planning as to how it will come together, or what will be included, right up until the minute I open my “bookmarks” folder in Google Chrome and click on what looks good right then and there.

So find it fascinating when an issue like today’s comes together.

Late last week I stumbled upon Escape From The Internet, by Virginia Sole-Smith, about the owners of the blog Young House Love. I read that particular blog infrequently. Although, I do remember the rather intense dust-up when they announced they were shuttering it in 2014. So the behind-the-scenes read on what led up to the decision promised to be interesting.

What I got was so much more than I expected, both as someone with a blog and someone who spends quite a bit of time reading the blogs of others (Seriously. It’s built into my Sunday morning schedule.) On it’s surface, it’s about the struggle to determine what we owe our readers.

Factor in the unintended consequences of building a career around the details we’ve decided to share, the reality that what we share never really gives readers a complete understanding of who we truly are, even though said reader may think of us as their “friend”, with all that entitles simply because they spend so much time (albeit online, behind a computer screen) with us and ta-da! As they say in the article, the lines between blogger, customer and best friend get very fuzzy.

Examining it from the other side, that of the reader, is no less complicated. Some of the anecdotes shared in the story, mostly comments from readers, were disappointing at the very least.

“You make big bucks from this blog and IT’S YOUR JOB.”

“I bought you your house.”

I’m not a commenter and I have more than a few reservations about comments in general. What makes people so brave, and often so mean, when safely sheltered behind some sort of computer screen? Well, apparently there’s a lot that goes into answering that question.

We Are Hopelessly Hooked by Jacob Weisberg points out that in our “always on” society, where the bulk of us check our phones an average of every 4.3 minutes, we’re truly never alone anymore. Solitude is what allows us to see each other as separate, as independent. A point quite possibly proved by Mike Murphy’s article (and subsequent “test“) suggesting that Facebook has decreased our six degrees of separation to roughly 3.57 degrees.

All of which contributes to a loss in our ability to empathize with others.

At some point during the previous week, I came across a Brain Pickings post on David Foster Wallace and was reminded of his commencement speech to Kenyon College in 2005, which I frequently play on on loop in the background while I’m working, hoping to retaining the wisdom of it through osmosis. Being accidentally exposed to that that video again, after having read all of the above somehow seemed fated.

That’s also about the time it occurred to me that this particular newsletter is about more than sharing trends in the industry, tools to make us all better entrepreneurs, and goofy stuff that might, for a second, provide a much needed break in our jam-packed days.

As my clients will attest, I’m a big believer (some would say nag) that we don’t depend exclusively our platforms to communicate with our clients. Offline interactions will always matter more than most anything we do online, because that’s where the real people live.

Be kind.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved
cross posted to Irish Yoga Chick

Super Bowl 50

Initial thoughts. I haven’t finished watching all the commercials yet, mostly because I didn’t see the Cindy Crawford / James Corden Pepsi remake, the only one I really wanted to see.  So here are some thoughts on what I’ve watched so far:

Snark in commercials – it works. At least for Budweiser. I honestly wasn’t paying attention until the words “Not A Fruit Cup”. And then I laughed out loud.

Steve Harvey, and T-Mobile, win the night.

click here to watch “Not Backing Down”

The Jeep spot also wins the night, for very different reasons. This spot was just good. No bragging, no gimmicks, just 75 years of solid.

click here to watch “Portraits”

Dollar Shave Club’s Zeek The Dirtbag Razor = Gross. Enough said.

Major Brands Airing PSA’s

Budweiser did it., did it. PSA’s are necessary, and I believe in them. PSA’s without a call to action, especially in a market with such a large and diverse market? No.

Budweiser’s Don’t Drink and Drive: Calling people who abuse alcohol a bunch of names and then admonishing them not to drink and drive has never worked. Paying Helen Mirren to do the same in her lovely British accent won’t make a difference.

NoMore.Org’s Domestic Violence: Better than Budweiser. Last year’s (their first ever) brought the room full of people I was watching the game with to silence, though. That was an effective PSA.

Colgate. Straight to the point. And relevant here at home, too, given the crisis in Flint, Michigan.

click here to watch “Every Drop Counts”

Their first-ever Super Bowl spot and they chose not to sell a thing. And the call to action is something we can all do. Doesn’t take a lot of effort, doesn’t require any additional steps, texting for more info., taking a pledge. Just turning off the faucet.

Of course, my favorite part of Super Bowl commercial watching is what happens outside of the tv ads. Namely what’s happening on Twitter. For all of its ridiculousness this week, Twitter is still the place to be during the Super Bowl commercials. Brand-on-Brand tweets are where it’s at. Reminder, 2013 was and probably will be, my favorite year.

And finally (for now), a word about the half-time show. Not cool. I’m not a fan of Coldplay. Which makes me that much more objective: Do not upstage the main event. Not even if you are Beyonce or Bruno Mars. Shameless marketing, frankly. And then to go out and announce your tour immediately after? Makes me think you’re just out for the money. I lost a lot of respect for both Beyonce and Bruno Mars.

I’m off to find and watch the Pepsi spot. Meet me back here later, I’m sure I have more to say.

(I’ve had a lot to say in the past, too. My thoughts on Super Bowl 2013 are here, and Super Bowl 2012 is here. I wasn’t impressed with 2015’s Super Bowl Commercials and therefore completely skipped writing about them. I have no idea what happened in 2014.)

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Say Hello To AL

image © copyright HeyAmyLou 2016

AL is my timer. My most creative tool. Yep.  Setting a timer makes me infinitely creative. Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Forcing creativity? Being creative only between the times of “x” and “y”? That’s ridiculous.

Yes. That is ridiculous. Using a timer to get me through all of the minutia that crops  up throughout the day, giving myself set parameters in which to address it and forget it. That’s not ridiculous.

  • 30 minutes to go through my email inbox every morning.
  • 30 minutes to file the wayward documents on my desktop each evening
  • 1 hour Monday-Friday to listen to the podcasts and read the blogs I enjoy
  • A Power Hour* every Friday afternoon to tackle the things I keep putting off (contacting the attorney about the latest probate hitch, tackling that soon-to-be overwhelming pile of documents that must be shredded, to pay bills, to file receipts.)

All of this is set to a timer. All of the things mentioned above are important to keeping this ship sailing smoothly. They are also the very things that get in the way of creativity. Without a timer, 30 minutes of email becomes 2 hours of restructuring my inbox. 30 minutes of document filing becomes half a day of cleaning off my hard drive. 1 hour of podcast listening / blog reading becomes a whole day down a rabbit-hole. And without the Power Hour* every Friday, that shredding pile is soon taller than I am.

The timer reminds me. Not about the task at hand. About the infinite number of hours left in the day to create, to connect (truly, not via facebook or text), to stay present.  It’s my most creative tool.

*Hat Tip to Gretchen Rubin My New Habit For Tackling Nagging Tasks: Power Hour and her podcast about it here.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Vanity Metrics

Yesterday, I received a lovely message from Hootsuite indicating they were removing Klout integration from their dashboard.

Vanity Metrics. That’s what this is. An algorithm that allows a platform to determine social media “influencers.” Usually measured by clicks, shares and other arbitrary online actions.

From Klout’s Website:

The majority of the signals used to calculate the Klout Score are derived from combinations of attributes, such as the ratio of reactions you generate compared to the amount of content you share.

Attributes. Ratio. Reactions. All very sterile data easily manipulated by a third-party platform that doesn’t know you and has no vested interest in your success. None.

It’s the same with “likes” on Facebook pages. I’m regularly approached by potential clients whose main goal is to increase “likes” on their Facebook pages and friends on their Twitter, Periscope and Instagram feeds. To them it’s all about the perception of numbers.

Here’s my question: Do those high Klout scores cause more people to buy your latest book? Do those Facebook “likes” translate into tangible registrations for your next big event? Do your Twitter / Periscope / Instgram friends book you to shoot their next headshot package? A Klout Score of 95 “looks” good. A Facebook page with 5,000 likes “looks” good. An honest relationship with the 50 friends on  your Facebook page you truly know and authentically engage on a regular basis results in loyalty, revenue and referrals.

That’s how to become at true influencer.

My advice? Stay away from Vanity metrics that tell you very little, if anything. Spend your precious time connecting with real people in real ways that produce real results, for you and for them. “Looking” good isn’t everything.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

It’s 2016 And Apparently I’m Doing It Right

Spent last week immersed in 2016 HeyAmyLou business planning. I’m looking forward to sharing that process with you this year along with a few additional topics including some amazing TED talks and podcasts I’m listening too, some research about routines/rituals/habits I’m currently obsessed with, books I’m reading, and random things that pop into my head at odd hours. There might even be a few posts about yoga, how the brain works, and even a few recipes now and again.

I also spent a little time last week catching up on some reading. Among the things I learned, my aversion to making the bed is actually a healthy habit and swearing a lot is a sign of intelligence

My friends, it turns out I. Am. On. Fire.

Happy 2016 everyone!

© original content copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

This Week in HeyAmyLou’s Newsletter

In this week’s newsletter, The Obsessively Detailed Map of America’s Most Epic Road Trips.

Also? Google+ and YouTube are splitting up, 54 clear warning signs you work in social media, and Margaret Atwood’s latest book (is so cool) .

click the image and you’ll be taken to the newsletter

© design copyright HeyAmyLou 2015 – All rights reserved