My Favorite Things: Laugh Eat Learn
I'm terrible at meeting new people. Seriously. Terrible. I've always been an introvert and prefer having a few really close friends to scores of acquaintances. I'm the kind of person you find listening to conversations rather than asserting her own voice over the crowd (we were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, after all). I laugh about it now, but was asked by a classmate mid-junior year if I were mute. Mute. I think he was over exaggerating a bit, but I definitely was quiet. I've made incredible progress since then (I say that as if I'm a toddler learning to walk), and I'm definitely only that way until I get to know and feel comfortable with someone. However, meeting new people, striking up conversations, and connecting with others definitely are not my strong suits.
When I decided to jump into TPT full time, I never thought my reticence to assert myself would become an issue. After all, I'm working from home, my store is virtual, I communicate by email... what could possibly go wrong? Until you realize one day that isolating yourself isn't good for business. It wasn't intentional - it's not that I'm antisocial or dislike people. I just foolishly, but innocently, never considered the social aspect of running an online business. I truly thought I could spend my days creating resources and, if I worked hard enough and offered a quality product, I would be successful. But after months of stagnate sales and little growth, I realized that I needed to be known outside the walls of my own store. I needed more followers than my family and former teaching pals. It was time to branch out and make new friends.
Last year, I came across a new blog while participating in another blogger's linky party. Have you done one of these? There is usually a weekly or monthly theme, you write about it on your blog, and then link your blog post to the host's page. Typically, several people participate and the goal is to find new blogs to follow while spreading awareness of your own. In this particular party, I linked up under "Laugh Eat Learn" and her logo caught my attention. After all - what could be better than someone who loves laughing, eating, and learning enough to create a business with that name? I clicked the link and was introduced to Alexis Sanchez. Immediately I knew we needed to be friends. From her bio and stalking her posts, I learned that we had a ton in common - perfectionism, bi-racial relationships, and a love of food, photography, teaching, dogs, design, fall, movies, fashion, and organization. I became a follower that day.
But, how do you strike up a friendship with someone you've never met? Although I'm terrible at it, I know how to do this in real life. But, online? What - do you comment on their Facebook page for all the world to see and say, "Hey - I think we have a lot in common and should be friends!"? To me, that sounds a bit stalkerish with a touch of weirdo. (I'm just being honest here, friends.) Especially if the person is royalty in your line of work like Jen Jones of Hello Literacy. What - do you write to say, "Hey, I'm a big fan!" like a million other people did that day? Don't you come off sounding like a groupie? Ugh. Perhaps this is one reason why I've been slow to reach out to others and build relationships. There just doesn't seem to be a way to do it that doesn't come off as awkward in some way.
I guess the best way I've found to connect with others is by showing support for their ideas, products, and business ventures. Liking an Instagram picture here, commenting on a blog post there, and sharing Facebook updates whenever you can. Fortunately for me, I didn't scare Alexis away with my subtle hints at connecting and I'm happy to support her this week as one of my favorites. Recently, she turned her interest in web design into a new business venture. Completely self taught, she works virtual magic transforming boring blog and social media branding into eye-catching designs. If you're looking to update your blog beyond those basic templates that, quite frankly show no originality and creativity, I strongly encourage you to check out her design services.
1. Complete custom and unique blog design that includes:
- custom header
- page navigation
- custom background
- blog button with code
- social media buttons
- sidebar titles
She also offers all kinds of extras such as a welcome photo, page dividers, T-shirt and business card designs, and more.
2. Marketplace Makeover. Does your TPT store have just words in the quote box? Are you using a random family photo as your profile picture? It might be time for a Marketplace Makeover.
For only twenty dollars, Alexis will design a profile picture, custom quote box image, brand button, and banner for your TPT store. It will give your shop a cohesive, professional look that is sure to catch buyers' attention. Twenty bucks - that's a deal!
Thanks to Alexis's generosity, you can win your own Marketplace Makeover. Simply become a follower and enter to win. When you visit her store, I recommend you check out her other products while there. She has some great resources including these for homework:
... and these cute holders for TPT gift certificates, which are free!
Everything in her store is on sale right now as part of the TPT Teacher Appreciation site wide sale. So, be sure to stock up while you can!