The Great Gmail Freak-out of 2013: An Open Letter To Email Marketers

Jul 24

It's A Flourish! Not much of a secret message, I know, but I can't be brilliant all the time.

Dear Email Marketers,

I wanted to share my experience from the last few days
with you. It went something like this:

“Oh look,” sez me, “Gmail has changed it up again; there are tabs on my inbox! Let’s see, here’s my main inbox tab, and here’s a ‘social updates’ tab for notifications of new Social Media stalkers — I think I like that!

“And what’s this one… Promotions? Oh, here’s a coupon from the craft store, great. A sales flyer, a newsletter, and, wait, what’s this?”

That’s when I saw it: a baker’s dozen of emails from various Marketers. Combined, they looked something like this:

Gmail Tabs: It's Like The Sharknado of Email Marketing, a viral unnatural disaster that's going to kill us all with bad CGI!

Seriously? I mean… SERIOUSLY?

For the love of MailChimp, take a deep breath and count to ten!  Remember who you are, remember the lessons you’ve been drilling into your audience for however long you’ve had an audience.

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The Beachify-Your-Biz-Kit: Everything You Need But The Booze!

Jul 17

Part of the Bring Your Business To The Beach project

Take The Beach To Your Business

So, you love the idea of taking your business to the beach this summer, but you’re landlocked, tied to your desk and you’re worried your budget won’t cover more than a few grains of sand? No worries, we’ve got you covered with a flip-flop….   instead of taking your business to the beach, we’re gonna bring the beach to your business!

Skip to the Gift:
Free! ($0! No Sign Up!) Beachify-Your-Biz-Kit

Please note that this is a beta version, because I over-achieved and ran out of time. But that means there’s even MORE coming soon. What kind of more? I’m glad you asked!

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I Am An Artist.

Jun 17

It's A Flourish!

imageI am an Artist.

By ‘Artist’, I don’t mean that I paint or draw well enough to win a fancy ribbon (although I have) or earn a buck or two (although I do).

I don’t mean that I am a master craftsman or even a participant in any of the other creative arts, like writing or dance or music or film (because I’m not).

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Of Writing And Challenges And Gold Stars. Oh, and Eating Them, Too.

May 22

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more
difficult than it is for other people.“
~Thomas Mann

Stars.I am a

Well, at least by Mr. Man’s standards.

I’m not so sure I qualify by my own standards.  See, I think that writers?  They write.But I’ve  dropped all of my of my writing habits this year, temporarily disqualifying me.  Getting started again is tougher than I expected.

Oh, there’s no shortage of ideas to write about. In fact, I think I’ve promised to write no fewer than 5,421 different articles.

This month.

Yet somehow, none of those 5,421 posts have been written, not this month, nor any other.

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When The Circus Is Not So Serene…

Jan 30

It's A Flourish!

Sometimes, serenity just doesn’t co-operate.

For most of 2012, the circus that is my creative life and business was anything but calm and placid – turbulent, demanding, and disruptive yes, tranquil and productive, no.   None of the business plans I had in place saw fruition, the blog fell silent, my freelance clients dwindled, and even the weekly #QuirkyBiz tweet chats suffered.

What’s behind the tornadic upheaval?

My husband and I lost 3 immediate family members in 7 months, all three of them after lengthy illnesses and hospice stays. As a result, I spent a lot of emergency nights, weeks and even months away from home.

There was simply no way to balance the new demands of family with the demands of a just-starting-up multi-faceted creative business.  Because both my family and my husband’s were involved, there was no one free to lean on for extra help.  And now, when things should be settling down, I’m having to take on a much bigger role with the estate than intended.  It’s keeping me off-balance, and all I can say is thank-the-circus-gods for safety nets!

I’m not writing this looking for sympathy.

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What, Exactly, Does Tori *DO*? Probably Not What You Think.

Jul 27

That’s a question I’ve heard all of my life.

I heard it most recently during an interview with The Word Chef, Tea Silvestre , while we talked about my award-winning branding. Not one, but two of her people asked exactly what I do—and as usual,  I stumbled out a vague answer — “It’s in flux!”

Seriously, I felt a bit embarrassed that my branding (while admittedly beautiful & effective) *still* doesn’t make what I actually do very clear.

That’s because what I do really *isn’t* very clear, much less concrete. Since I launched the Circus, the market has shifted and changed, and my direction has shifted and changed.  Most of the past year has been focused on developing the Quirkipreneurs concept and website – a project that has shifted me into a role of community builder and entrepreneur, and will hopefully lead to a lovely, clear answer to “What does Tori do?” very soon.

But I know a lot of you want to know just how I earn my moolah (Since it’s rather obviously NOT through the products & consulting I’ve never gotten around to offering ‘round the Circus.)

Ready? Ok!

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Of Red Dresses, Quirks, and Way Too Many Jennys.

Feb 02

Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know I’m a shameless fan of Jenny Lawson, @TheBloggess.  What you don’t know is that it’s not just her absurd humor, Texas-sized heart, or habit of adopting stray taxidermied animals that makes me feel so connected to her.

It’s things like this tweet:

This is a tweet from @TheBloggess. I screen captured it for you. Don't call the police. I'm not holding it against it's will.

And my twin brother:

My brother's best sexy, sultry look. I think he nailed it.

You’ll need a bit of backstory to see the connection, so bear with me, k?

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I Believe In You.

Jul 21

I Believe In You (mp3)

(And just for those who are audio-averse… look, a transcript!)
Even unicorns need to be believed in!

Yes, I believe in you…
Even when you’re whiny,

And so frustrated and cranky that you can’t stand yourself.

I believe in you.

Even when your disappointment bleeds out onto your desk, getting your keyboard so sticky that the caps lock key refuses to release, and you’re shouting at everybody.

And when that damnable caps lock key, and your own self-sabotage make me want to shake you and yell CUT IT OUT ALREADY, DAMMIT!?

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The Good & Bad of (business) Metaphors

Jun 09

So, Judging By My Emails…

I stirred up a quiet little hornets-nest-of-doubt in more than a few people last week. The culprits? This post about metaphors-gone-amok, and this other one, about murdering-your-darlings.

I apparently left some readers wondering if I meant their metaphors, mascots and witty wordplay were overdone.

Oops.  Sorry about that!  Let’s get this cleared up with a Q&A session, ok?

It's Another Flourish!

What’s A (Business) Metaphor?

It’s just a metaphor that’s used in your business… some sort of  symbolic representation or illustration that helps you or your customers better relate to what you’re doing.

I learned about the art of metaphoring from Havi Brooks’s blog, where she’s developed it into an awesome system. She in turn credits Suzette Haden Elgin for it.  But wherever it originated, it’s pure fantabulous for getting past the stuck of formal business terms and structures.

It’s also sometimes an awesome way to make your website or business stand out from the crowd, becoming what Hugh MacLeod calls Social Objects

It's Another Flourish!

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How I Dropped the Freelance Ball, and What You Can Learn from It

Mar 17

I’m not very good…

…at toss–the-balls-up-in-the-air-and-catch-them juggling.

Ok, I’m worse than “not very good”;   I can’t do it.

Before you can-do-ologists jump in with encouragement, sure, I know that with enough practice I’d  develop the hand-eye coordination, focus, and discipline required for basic juggling.  But I’m talking about my “right-now skills”, the marketable ones. Theoretically, I could learn to juggle, but practically, you do not want to hire me to entertain at your next party by juggling GeeMa’s china.

It’s ok.   I suck at actual juggling.  You can say it.

I’m rather bad at metaphorical juggling, too. You know, the kind that has to do with balancing various life tasks, skills and projects? The kind of juggling that is *crucial* for a successful freelancer?

Yeah.  I suck at that, too.

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