The Trials and Tribulations of Business Travel (And How To Tackle Them)

The Trials and Tribulations of Business Travel (And How To Tackle Them)

This article was originally published in The TIREDGIRL Society Magazine, an online publication specifically for women with chronic illness, September 2018. Reprinted with kind permission from Abby James.

I’m a nervous flyer. Like; 3 Valium, an order of Scotch, and possibly a painkiller to top it off – that’s what I call my Cocktail of Coping. But, that’s not the worst bit about business travel for me. The hardest part is the seemingly endless quagmire of roadblocks and extra considerations I have to navigate just to ensure I get to my destination with the capability to actually fulfil my business duties and get home again. In one piece.

Recently, I travelled from Perth to Melbourne to attend a 2-day conference and awards event specifically for Mothers in Business.

The last time I travelled for PD was to ProBlogger in QLD and it took me a year to convince myself it would be totally worth it and I could go it alone. You see, my business expenses won’t cover me taking Mr Crow – super get-Jay-to-where-she-needs-to-be-with-a-spare-pair-of-shoes-and-the-right-cables extraordinaire that he is – even though he makes everything a gazbillion times easier. Nope, if Crisp Copy is footing the bill, I’m on my lonesome.

But, this was the 3rd year in a row I was nominated for the AusMumpreneur awards. Someone wanted me to go. Heck, I wanted to go. I said yes in a fit of confidence and then went about trying to make it all work. Here’s how I did it:

Firstly, I always like to sneak in a disclaimer. Although my illness is physical, I am not in a chair. I can walk up and down plane stairs and I can wheel my own bag. I can read without assistance and be understood verbally to ask for help. I understand that this puts me in a different space than some other readers.

1. I booked flights to give myself at least 24 hours “off” each side of the conference.

This can be a great idea and a terrible one. If you don’t have anywhere to go in that 24 hours and you’re wandering about in a city you don’t know with a whole lot of luggage, that’s not going to help you at all. But, I planned to fly in with enough time to do a bit of work, have a nap, get my hair washed, eat really well, and get at least 10 hours of sleep before the first day of the conference (which also happened to be the day I’d need to pitch for my category in the afternoon).  

2.  I paid for an early check-in and check-out at the hotel.

Fantastic, if you don’t organise it with the new intern. Usually works. Not this time. Perth is quite different to Melbourne when it comes to gambling and I had no idea I’d rock up at my hotel at 9am – after clearing with the lovely girl at the other end of an email that I’d be checking in early – to find out they legally couldn’t let me in until 11am. And then have to sit on the minus 2-degree concrete ground with all the jiggling, jangling folk waiting to feed their dollars to a machine for a couple of hours. So, I did get to check in early – an hour before ‘regular’ check in at 12 noon. Still, that buffer of hours gave me enough time to check emails, fire some off to the support system I had set up for the 4 days, and sneak in a large nap.

Also, if the budget allows, always go for the single room. You need downtime, lady, and having a sleepover with three of your new best business friends is not going to give you the rest you need.

3. I brought in the big-guns – my extended team – for extra support.

I’m not talking physically here. I’m talking about prepping a team of people who will help your business run smoothly while you’re doing all the pitching/meeting/networking/napping/gala dinnering you can fit in a couple of days. These are people who you’ve worked with before and who you can rely on. Who will take initiative if something goes sideways and who will be prepared to hear from you with weird time zone differences and in rushed typing (almost code!) between speakers. They also turned out to be the ones who shared my good news come award announcements with all of Facebook. Bonus.

4. I emailed the organisers!

If you’re like me, you’ve had years of pretending you are “absolutely fiiiiiiine” with massive ramifications for all that chin-up malarkey afterwards. No more. Tell the people you’re travelling to learn from/be with/work with that you’re planning to travel with extra considerations for a chronic illness or disability. They don’t need any extra details than necessary and you never need to say more than you’re comfortable with. I fired off an email saying, “Yes! I’m booking my ticket but I’m also letting you know this and this”, I guess, so if anyone found me napping in one of the swanky chairs near the loo, they’d know not to poke me.

5. I bought travel insurance.

Notice how many of these pieces of advice end up costing you dollars? Sucks, doesn’t it? It costs so much to be a woman in business with an illness who wants to be part of things. (Some of the things, you know, not many of them!) Still, insurance is worth it not to lose the whole shebang. Perth Hills to Melbs is exxy.

6. I lived it up.

This is a once-every-year (if that) kind of event I was fortunate enough that my business could pay for and my family could cope without me for. I went wild. The Jay version. I attended most of the classes, I chatted to everyone who’d talk to me, I stayed for the cocktail party on the first night, I went out to dinner with new friends, I had my hair washed twice, I ate all the Melbourne food, I introduced myself to women I admire, I even had a dance after the gala dinner with the hanger-onners after midnight. I was a hanger-onner! If just for a night. I may have paid for it the fortnight since after I got home, but it has been worth it. Life’s far too short not to go your-version wild once in a while. Just because we’re fully sick, doesn’t mean we have to be totally sensible every day, right?

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

National WA Business Excellence Award – While Working From The Hallway

National WA Business Excellence Award – While Working From The Hallway

Do you know what? I suck at PR.

I suck so hard at it I don’t even do it for myself. This press release below? It’s a hurriedly updated version of a great one I got back from a dear friend (and past copy student) Anna, from CreativeIQ, when I became an AusMumpreneur 2018 finalist.

I wasn’t even going to go attend the AusMumpreneur Awards.

It was the third year I’d been nominated and the third year I thought, “I don’t really…fit”. I wasn’t a million dollar business. I didn’t have staff. I’d only just started to dig us out of living just above the poverty line. And I wasn’t sure I was a Mumpreneur, a decent Mum some days, or an entrepreneur at all. And it was in Melbourne. And what would I wear? And who would I talk to? And TWO DAYS of conference?! Could my raging introvert cope?

And all those other reasons I’m sure you’ve told yourself you shouldn’t try for something too.  

But then my husband said to me, “If this is a financial decision, think of it like this: if you go, and pick up just one client, that’s your airfare and accommodation paid for.”

I thought, “Hmmmmm”.

Then my business mate said, “If you’ve been nominated three years in a row, your people obviously want you to go, perhaps you should respect that”.

I thought, “Hmmmmmmm”.

My daughter said, “I reckon you could win that, Mum”.

I thought, “What if I could?”

So, I entered and am off to Melbourne to pitch to a panel of judges and answer their questions with (hopefully) statements that are carefully considered and make some semblance of sense. Thanks to my team, I have a fully functioning press release that I’ll share with you below.

*****

Parkerville Mother of 3, Jay Crisp Crow, has just been named AusMumpreneur Of The Year in the WA Business Excellence category.

Jay started Crisp Copy from her dining room table just 3 years ago whilst working at a local private school. With no business background, but believing she was capable of creating something tailored to her family and abilities, Jay devised a five-year plan to build a business that could generate enough income to allow her to leave her school hours job. Within 2 years, business had sky-rocketed and she took the leap early and left her safe (but limited) job and officially became a business owner.

Jay somewhat surprised herself by becoming a multi award-winning copywriter, editor, and copy coach working with brands and businesses around the globe. Building an incredible career based on the art of writing words that sell, Jay has turned her love of stories and people into something she never thought possible – a sustainable, thriving business. She regularly teaches, presents, and speaks in Perth and online on everything copy and words.

After receiving word she was a finalist in her category, Jay travelled to Melbourne to pitch to 3 independent judges against a range of diverse businesses in the WA Business Excellence category.

Judge Karen McDermott, owner of Serenity Press, said the decision to award Jay as the winner of the award was unanimous,

“Jay stood out as a clear winner because not only is she a high achieving businesswoman who has built a strong brand profile, she also has a very powerful story that will inspire many fellow mums in business.”

Jay said, “Business is not easy and Crisp Copy has not always been a smooth ride – I’ve battled with the juggle of business and family, copycats, and creating a business structure around a long-term chronic illness. But overcoming these challenges have allowed me to embrace opportunities and experience greater success.”

Aside from delivering brilliant results for clients and creating a consistent income stream, one of Jay’s greatest successes has come from recognising the opportunity to leverage her natural skills as a teacher and sharing her knowledge and experience with other copywriters and business owners to allow them to elevate the quality of their own communications.

After all, the world needs more delicious words.

The AusMumpreneur Awards, presented by The AusMumpreneur Network, celebrate and recognise Australian mums in business achieving outstanding success in areas such as business excellence, product development, customer service and digital innovation. The awards are designed to recognise the growing number of women who successfully balance motherhood and business in a way that suits their life and family.

Peace Mitchell, co-founder of AusMumpreneur said, “These awards are all about recognising the growing number of mums who are achieving outstanding business success while balancing motherhood.”

“We are delighted that Jay has won this award, she has created an outstanding business and is an inspirational role model and ambassador for mums in business everywhere. We wish her and all our amazing Ausmumpreneur Award winners every success in the coming year,” Peace said.

AusMumpreneur Network co-founder Katy Garner said, “The number of women starting businesses has continued to grow in the last 12 months. Of the 668,670 women operating a small business in Australia currently, a total of 47 per cent are mums with children at home.  We are thrilled to be the number one community for mumpreneurs and proud to showcase the best and the brightest each year through these awards.”

It can be challenging to run a successful business whilst raising a family and Jay gives this advice for others thinking about starting their own enterprise,

“Know your values (and your family’s values) and stick to them like honey sticks to toast. Always, always check in with yourself and whether what you’re doing aligns with them – when there’s a mismatch, that’s when you can end up in the wrong place. You need to be ready to pivot when things aren’t working and try something different.”

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

The Business Of Mummy Shaming Or – I Forgot The Bloody Library Books

The Business Of Mummy Shaming Or – I Forgot The Bloody Library Books

You know how all the marketing people tell you that Facebook lives will change your life?  I believed them, but I just never really had anything to 'live' about. Until a day, last year, when I forgot my Kindergartener's library books. And when I got home I was so ashamed, so guilt-ridden, and so embarrassed that I'd been mummy shamed in front of other adults I suddenly found I had quite a bit to say.

Only, it wasn't about copywriting.

In many ways, that Facebook live (which has since been deleted, more below) was the first step to separating the Crisp Crow and Crisp Copy brands. I'd developed a brand voice I was proud of for Crisp Copy, and then, sneaking out like an excited kid at 5am on Christmas morning, came my personal voice. The one I'd been stifling. And she was ready to SAY SOME THINGS.

The following is a transcript of my very first Facebook live. One that was available for an entire 12 hours until I got a message from a Mum at school and died all over again and took it down. I never professed to not being a chicken.

 

Top o’ the morning to all you good Crisp Copy People…

Firstly, this is NCR

...which is Jay slang for not copy related, so if you are only here for the copywriting tips you now have permission to back up in your browser. But! This is about being a Mum in business, so if that interests you and you want to hear a story that makes your morning look like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, stick about.

Disclaimer: I turn 40 tomorrow so there’s a very slight possibility I have been triggered by this morning's events and because I'm about to be officially middle-aged, am taking the whole thing too seriously. 

I want to have a chat with you today about mummy shaming

This just happened at Kindy drop off at my little boy’s school.

If you’ve ever tried to book a one on one with me through Crisp Copy you’ll have noticed my business day doesn’t officially start until 9.30am. That’s because I take my youngest child to school, watch him do his letters, read a book or do a puzzle with him, then squeeze him super tight as the bell goes.

I am terrifically aware of how fortunate I am to be able to structure my business around this important part of my day. I am also humbled and honoured that this is because of small business women (and some men) like you - you who have used my services enough over the past three years to make this flexibility a reality for me and my boy. Thank you for that; it really sucked being an employee.

Back to the story. I complete most Kindy drop-offs, except for yesterday. Mr Crow took a day off to attend a funeral and so was available to take our critter to school.

But, he forgot the library books.

No biggie, am I right? I didn’t haul him over the coals; the reading had been done and I’d signed the ledger to prove it.

Plus, our family is big on reading. We are. I am. We do the reading.

This morning, I’m back at Kindy with the school bag, the hockey bag with freshly washed (but not ironed – even I’m not that good) uniform and all the paraphernalia, plus the vouchers I’ve collected from a local business for the kindy raffle and…

THE LIBRARY BOOKS!

Yes, I have them. I've remembered them, even though I'm already half writing in my head the new tagline for this morning's client and the old dog lifted his leg to the shopping bag I put down momentarily on the front porch before we left. And I'm not even smug about the fact that I was the one who remembered them when Mr Crow was supposed to return them yesterday. I'm just glad I have them in my hot little hand because, well, I've been in a bit of trouble about the library books before.

We're "that family".

So, little Crisp Crow and I pop everything in the requisite spot - lunchbox, piece of fruit, water bottle, bag, and library books, and wait for the door to open.

And the Kindy teacher – she’s tremendously organised and fantastically wonderful at Kindy stuff, pretty much the best Kindy teacher you could ever want in front of your child – she opens the door and greets the children as cheerfully in November as she did at the beginning of the year. Bless her and her perennial smile.

Then, she turns to one of the Dads and says, “Did you remember the overdue library books?” and his little girl has them in her hand. “Ohhhh, good work,” she says laughing, “you’d get in trouble…” (I assume that means if he forgot them, and I’m assuming she means from his wife).

Then she says this to the Dad:

“That's OK, you probably have a lot on your plate, you’re excused.”

Cool, it’s good to get a leave pass for bringing back library books a day late. And you know, he runs a business, is a hands-on parent and has a younger child too, so really, good on him. I mean, he even has product in his hair. I’ve brushed mine, so we’re both rocking the day already.

Then she turns to me and her smile drops as she asks, “Did you remember the library books today?”

And just like that, I find myself standing up straighter and in my clearest voice let her know I’ve popped them in the pigeonhole. (Which is the exact right spot, by the way.)

“Oh, you need to bring them...”
“Shall I bring them inside?” I stumble over myself trying to please. For god’s sake, have some spine, Jay.
“Yes, they need to be in here.”

And she turns and walks away

Surprising myself with my chutzpah,  I mumble, “Well, it seems I’m definitely not excused. EVEN THOUGH I have three kids, run a businesses and still remembered the library books.”

Yeah. Brave.

She doesn’t hear my mutterings but some of the mothers around me start to titter nervously.

Because what the ever loving heck is the difference?

OK, let’s be sensible for a moment. There’s the distinct possibility that the Kindy teacher knows something about this Dad that I don’t: sick parents? Child unwell? Maybe his wife nicked off to Borneo with the pool man? There simply may be things I don’t know about this situation that she does.

So, by the same logic, there are things the Kindy teacher doesn’t know about me.

For example; I manage (sometimes fight) a 25-year longstanding illness on a daily basis just to get out of bed.

But none of that should matter. Because what matters is that my kid is here, he’s clean, he’s fed, he’s so so happy and can read at age 5. He also knows how to count the syllables in ornathacaurus; some kids don’t even know what the heck an ornathacarus is. And because we are not about comparisons I’ll just leave that one there.

You know what? We both have a Kindy kid, we both have other children, we both own and run our own businesses, and we both obviously want the best for our child which is why we read books to our kids (even though we occasionally forget them at home).

I could be wrong. Yes, there could be two very different reasons we forgot our kids library books this week. Yes, there could be every reason in the world she treated us so differently this morning.

But…I have a sneaking suspicion there’s not.

I think the only difference is that he is a Dad.

And I am a Mum.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I'm a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else's. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t'internet. Yay for that!

Are You A Dodgy Wife? I Thought I Was Too

Are You A Dodgy Wife? I Thought I Was Too

In my spare time (ha!) I stalk the Duggars and read blogs of polygamist Mormon women.

I know.

(If you’ve never binge-watched Big Love while considering which of your girlfriends you could bear to live with, you’re missing out!)

OK, it’s partly because they DOWNRIGHT FASCINATING, but I also think I’m hunting for something.

Something between the dogma and the religious righteousness. Something wholesome. A secret. Something about being a good wife.

A good wife.

I don’t think I’ve ever been one of those

I’m a second time ’round wife, who lost her first husband because she wasn’t quite enough (or too much, or not right, or something…)

I don’t bake. I can’t even drive a manual.

I am sick more than I am well.

I clean the house in fits of fury and indignation in an irregular fashion.

Our last wedding anniversary I even forgot to buy a card. (I hate cards given on actual events. I have some reaction I don’t have on any random dates, just like with flowers.)

Above all, I think I’m just Really High Maintenance. 

I want spontaneity in my love life and stability for my children, total devotion without being suffocated, swinging from the chandelier afternoons or macaroons, but you have to guess which one with no indication and if you get it wrong I’ll be sulky and stroppy, but you can’t ever be cranky.

I’m the antithesis of the perfect wife.

 

I’m one dodgy wife.

So, why do I fill my spare moments up with this waterfall TV family viewing of everything I’m not?

As someone who was formerly married to a man from a strict religious background, I have absolutely no desire to ever be married to religion again. I believe, in what I believe in. I have a church, and a Father who wears Converse. My relationship with the Almighty is tight. So, it’s not that.

And, unlike after a session with Country Style mag on the daybed, it’s not like I bounce up from a binge stalk and get all homemaker. I don’t suddenly cook my husband a roast in a similar vein to when I decide the house needs to be full of peonies (my favourite, by the way) after a CS wallowing.

I think I need to look at this stuff because I actually don’t know what marriage looks like at 8, 12, 17 years. My husband and I found each other pretty late in the game.

We won’t ever get a 50 year anniversary, because we wasted all that time before the night we met, sighed with relief, laughed until we nearly cried, and traded hearts. What’s more, my first marriage only lasted three years. When my (now) husband and I got to our fifth year, I panicked.

My Mum and Dad were only married for 7 and I’m pretty sure I heard the phrase “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” every day from the time my Mum stopped crying until, well, yesterday.

I have NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING HERE, PEOPLE!

But my husband does. He’s done a 12-year stint before.

He thinks I’m lovely.

He says being married to me is constantly interesting.

He once told me the most exciting thing about being my husband is that I wake up every day and don’t need him. Which means I choose him. Which he finds comfort in.

Let’s thank goodness for that because there’s not much comfort in my culinary skills, my homemaker capabilities, or even my capacity to be selfless in my marriage.

When we got to six years married, and I didn’t know what to expect next, my husband arranged for us to be married again. I got an invitation to my own re-wedding. I rocked up in my cowgirl boots. Our Converse-wearing Father smiled his way through another ceremony. Our baby slept through it on his sister’s shoulder

My Mother rolled her eyes.

I may not know what I’m doing, but I’m sure doing it with the right man.

Maybe I’m not one dodgy wife.

Maybe I just wasn’t married to the right husband.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job… Yet

Don’t Give Up Your Day Job… Yet

Let me say this up front:

I’m calling BS on a lot of those “I quit my job and within 6 months I’m making 7 figures a fortnight” stories.

Who ARE those women? Some kind of entrepreneurial bandits?

And what kind of message are they perpetuating? That if we only TRIED harder, worked smarter, (invested in their program, perhaps), changed our mindset, BELIEVED in ourselves more, we could have that too?

Enough.

We’re women. We’re glorious and clever and capable and full of brilliance.

But we’re not bloody circus performers.

And you, Femmepreneur of the Year, with your fabricated fairy tale pitching your online course and your husband who really works FIFO so you can write your passive income attracting content all day, you’re hurting us.

I’d like us to all embrace the idea that we are NOT failing at business if we take a moment, build a bridge between employment and small business ownership, and run a “side hustle” for a while.

Although the fierce female Facebook forums would have you believe otherwise.*

I’d like to encourage you to QUIT MAKING IT SO TOUGH FOR YOURSELF.

Yes, shouty capitals. They don’t happen much here.

Are you juggling a job, contributing to or paying a mortgage, supporting children, negotiating with a husbeast or significant other, and wanting to branch out and work your passion for profit?

Can you see how you might need to take a slowly, slowly approach to the entrepreneurial life rather than chuck yourself in the deep end (even with that fab program you purchased from the internet?)

And look, there’s nothing wrong with the deep end.

I know for me, the pressure of having to be a substantial provider (my husband would like me to mention a little less the fact I out earn him) to the costs of running our family ensures I am not taking any mental health days. Every work day is a work day, and I treat it as such. I am the toughest boss I’ll probably ever have.

The deep end works for me.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t build a bridge.

Here’s what my bridge between day job and queen of copywriting looked like:

  • I negotiated less time and duties at work, with their support, because they wanted to spend my income on a Deputy Principal position.
  • I figured out the numbers to replace my employment income, and how I was going to make that happen. (Turns out I was wrong about a lot of this, but I learned that fast!)
  • I booked two clients at hugely reduced rates for 4 and 6 months, to ensure I had a stable income for at least half a year.
  • I consoled my mother, who has worked in education since she was 22 and couldn’t imagine why I’d give up a steady income after 13 years of rocking private school administration.
  • And I hit up all my business owning friends to keep an ear to the ground for good office jobs for me, in the case I needed one fast.
  • Then I cut right back to 6 hours a week, which I still complete at my old job, directing all their community communications. My two “jobs” are now completely symbiotic. I try out new things at work, and implement them in my business, and I learn amazing things being a business woman, and bring them enthusiastically to my employee role. (And the Business Manager makes the best coffees!)

Now, I’m sorry if that seems a little less exciting than “I found my passion, quit my job, and now I’m a WonderMum with a perfect blow dry and good skin”. But with life comes responsibilities, and I wasn’t going to risk my sweet faced responsibilities without a good chance I was going to be able to make my small business work.

I don’t know how it is that I came to be the kind of person that suggests a sensible financial plan and adequate resources to quit your day job, because money and I kind of used to be allergic to each other, but I’ve gotta say; you’ve just gotta do it.

 

There ain’t nothing sexy about taking your 5 month old laptop to Cash Converters

because you couldn’t afford the never-ending insurance (you need PI if not PL as well to be a me), the web presence, the dosh to keep learning new skills, increased electricity, association memberships, start-up costs, stock and inventory, tech support… and the space to build a brand so that you can actually charge enough to cover all that (oh, and still feed your family in the way they were accustomed to when you were working for someone else).

And if you’re not going to fit in with the aforementioned FOTYs because you’re “side hustling” *gasp* – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life anyhow.

There are plenty of women in business out there right now ready to be your biz buddy, give you guidance, help you when you get stuck, and steer you clear of business coaches with expensive hair dos. I found some in my wee corner of the backwaters of Perth, both locally and online, so you will be able to too.

Late last year I was invited to sit on the Committee of my local Chamber of Commerce. I was introduced at the AGM as “our local success story”. It gave me real pause because I am a one woman show figuring it out week to week who has so far been able to cover my costs.

Is that “successful”?

I guess so; 18 months after I started I am still in business and it’s growing. I know lots of small business folk that weren’t that fortunate their first time around.

Luckily, we’ve never been a FIFO family so my kids were used to baked beans for dinner and holidays in Mandurah, rather than Mauritius, so we’ve not taken a big step backwards for me to be able to follow this dream.

Because I am “our local success story”, I feel qualified to give you this advice:

Don’t give up your day job. Yet.

It’s perfectly OK to want to create something of your own. But do question the kind of CEO you will be. Perhaps you can launch something spectacular without telling the boss to go take a hike. Or, do what I did, and check out the possibility of getting a different job with no “take home” work – something simple and in and out you can do just to keep the dollars ticking over.

  • Don’t give up your day job because you dislike your boss, or think you can’t craft an extraordinary business that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel good about your work.
  • Don’t give up your day job because you think small business ownership is going to be glam. It’s not. And the superannuation is crap.
  • Don’t give up your day job in terror you’ll never be able to go back. There’s no shame in trying, slipping up, and re-entering the workforce as an employee while you psych yourself into a position where you’re ready to leap again.
  • Don’t give up your day job because someone trying to sell you their services bullied you into believing you have a ‘lifestyle’ or ‘hobby’ business because you’re not working it full time or earning over a certain amount of money. Hair flick to them.
  • Don’t give up your day job until you are really, truly certain of your plan, yourself, and what you want to get out of the whole shin dig.

Consider the risks, minimise the dent, build a bridge and start making your way across to Business Owning Woman.

You might get half way across and find that sweet spot between part-time work and side hustle that is the exact right fit for you.

If you want to live there, go ahead and do that, bugger the business “should” FOTY. (And their hair. How dare they?)

OK, yes, I have hair envy.

It’s only a failure if you hate it, or the kids starve.

Whatever combination of hustle/job/empire building you need to wrangle to make it work for you, that’s the right one.

* I run a fierce female Facebook forum for women in business. My girls are smart, savvy, kind business women so I know I’m painting with a broad brush here. And not all business coaches are dodgy, not by far. In fact, if you want a recommendation of a couple of smashing ones, you can email me.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

Why And How To Communicate With Newsletter Subscribers (So They Don’t Yawn Or Delete)

Why And How To Communicate With Newsletter Subscribers (So They Don’t Yawn Or Delete)

In this day and age, there’s probably a million ways to talk to your clients, so you’re probably wondering: “Jay, what’s so special about an email list?

 Why can’t I just use social media?

Word of mouth is working for me AOK, I don’t need to bend over backwards emailing a whole lot of folk who haven’t even hired me yet.

Plus, I don’t even know where to start with how to communicate with newsletter subscribers.

Plus, I have 8 of them.

Really. EIGHT.”

OK, OK. Yep, I get it. It seems like a bit too much hard work, a touch too much direct salesy, and what the heck do you talk about into the void? What if no one responds? Why are email lists important anyway?

Because, lovely one, you want to keep the ones you have, rather than just have them.

That might sound a bit convoluted, so let me explain what I mean.

In this day and age, there’s probably a million ways to talk to your clients, so you’re probably wondering: “Jay, what’s so special about an email list?

 Why can’t I just use social media?

Word of mouth is working for me AOK, I don’t need to bend over backwards emailing a whole lot of folk who haven’t even hired me yet.

Plus, I don’t even know where to start with how to communicate with newsletter subscribers.

Plus, I have 8 of them.

Really. EIGHT.”

OK, OK. Yep, I get it. It seems like a bit too much hard work, a touch too much direct salesy, and what the heck do you talk about into the void? What if no one responds? Why are email lists important anyway?

Because, lovely one, you want to keep the ones you have, rather than just have them.

That might sound a bit convoluted, so let me explain what I mean.

OK, so let’s play pretend for a second.

Tomorrow Facebook closes down.

(Feel that tremor in your heart?)

Yep – Mark Zuckerberg packs up his bags and moves to New Zealand to become a sheep herder. Facebook is over. Overnight, you’ve lost all of your Facebook followers*.

You might be saying;

but Jay, there’s still Instagram and Twitter, I have plenty of followers!’

Yes – but not all of them are going to cross platforms.

Let’s face it: there’s a lot of stuff on the Internet and a lot of people vying for attention.

Users these days have a pretty short attention span. We’re deliciously spoiled for choice. Just because you hook them on Facebook doesn’t mean they’re going to take the time to go to Twitter and Instagram and find you there, too.

In many cases, they’ll ‘Like’ your page and keep scrolling, and forget about you by the time they’re on Instagram. And who can blame them? There are a million things to which a user can pay attention and most of them polished and fabulous.

The problem is, if you lose a social media account, this might be the case – you might stand to lose a lot of followers.

So while Facebook is active, you have followers.

You want to keep them in case Facebook tanks tomorrow. And the best way to do that it via email. Even if Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all go down tomorrow, most (if not all) of your followers will still have their email address.

*You might be saying ‘no way, Facebook isn’t going anywhere!’. Yes, and that’s what people were saying about Myspace and Livejournal. What? You don’t have a Myspace or Livejournal? That’s okay, nobody does anymore because those sites went the way of the Dodo, and practically overnight.

how-to-communicate-with-newsletter-subscribers-boring

Sorry about all the cats, but they’re bored of being asked to subscribe to newsletters with no meaty incentive. 

There’s another element as well.

How many emails do you think your followers receive in a given day? Let’s say 100.

Now, how many Twitter updates do you think they see in a day? 1000, maybe more?

Even though you’re addressing the same number of people, you’re going to have better luck standing out against 100 than 1000!

Plus, there’s all this research to show how the act of giving an email address take the relationship to a new level of trust. But we’re moving into strategy here, which isn’t my gig so much. I focus on the part where we turn the new subscriber into a loyal advocate.

Now that you know WHY it’s important, it’s time to explore HOW to make an email list. It’s easy as pie.

How To Get Started

Step 1: You can do this the old-fashioned way. You can copy-and-paste all of your subscribers into a mass email every time you send one out. (Um. No! You can’t really, as it’s against anti-spam laws in Australia and in various places around the world.)

Or, you can outsource the whole ‘keeping track’ bit to a convenient website. All you have to do is write the email, and it’ll automatically go to all of your subscribers!

I use Mailchimp. Mailchimp is totally free for your first 2000 subscribers or until you get confident enough with it to start really making it work for you (with added benefits), at which point it will start costing money.

Let me tell you something: if you have 2000 subscribers, your email list is probably paying for itself.

Mailchimp is one of the more popular ones, but there are a bunch available. Just search ‘email subscription services’ and find one that you like.

Step 2: Create an ‘Opt In’ (or a Landing Page). An opt in  is simply the spot where your new friend gives you his or her information. If you’re putting an opt in landing page on a website, there are four places you’ll want to put it: in the top header, along the sidebar or in the footer, on your About Me page, and on a popup. You know, one of those ‘but wait!’ popups that appear when you’re about to leave the page. (Not one of those in your face things that whams itself into your consciousness as soon as you get onto the page!)

You now have something to which you can direct new users. Make sure you pimp your awesome new landing page on social media (turn those followers into subscribers!).

One thing you may want to consider: ask for as little information as possible.

Most of the time it’s just name and email. If your users feel like they’re filling out a mortgage application instead of an email list, you’re going to have a tough time getting subscribers.

Step 3: Offer a lead magnet. Quid pro quo in action!

Don’t just ask for emails, offer something in return.

This is exceptionally important. Because no one really wants to “subscribe to your email list” just because. In fact, most days many of us want to blow up our inboxes, just to see the emails fry.

  • Are you a writer? Offer the first chapter of your book for free.
  • Offering a product? Offer a 25% off coupon.
  • Have a great service? Offer a free trial for signing up.

In short, you want to create a situation where your new friend is giving you their email, and you’re giving them something in return. And make it a good something. 

Step 4: A ‘thank you’ page. Good manners are always appreciated! You want a ‘thank you’ page just to thank your new friend for their email, and to assure them that their lead magnet (free chapter, coupon, etc) is on its way.

Step 5: A welcome email. Just a quick note to say ‘hi’ and to deliver whatever it was that you promised they would receive in exchange for their email.

There you have it! A fairly basic guide to the creation of a subscribers list. There are a lot of juicy content options at every one of these steps, but to get going you’ve got to start. So, get cracking.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!