Can I Pick Your Brain?

One of the amazing things that happens when you figure something out is that you have the ability to teach others.

What a gift!

Can I Pick Your Brain

I adore teaching because it reinforces what I have learned with the bonus of encouraging others.  I mean, if I can do it…you can too!

Teaching others is also an easy way to get to know someone and learn from them how they handle and react to different situations.

Teaching also increases your “expert” status in whatever you know.

Sounds great!  I am IN!

The drawback can be the time involved with the dreaded, “Can I pick your brain?”

3 Ways to Say YES to Can I Pick Your Brain

  1. Set up a free lunch/coffee schedule.  I have set aside one time slot a month for what I think of as a free lunch.  These are meetings that I expect will not benefit me in any way so that I am happily surprised if it turns out that they do!  This way when someone asks, I can say yes and lead them to one of the open dates on my calendar.  Often it is a month or so out, but that is fine.  If they wanted quicker information, they could hire me.
  2. Write a blog post or do a video about their question.  This is the best way to get content ideas because you already know that people are looking for the answer!  I have done several how-to videos based on questions that people emailed me and they are among my most searched videos on YouTube.  Also, people really appreciate that you took the time to answer their question in-depth and you get bonus content!
  3. Freely give step one.  One thing I often do is give someone step one of the process of the solution they are seeking and then ask them to return to me with their step one in place.  It is quicker than outlining the entire series of steps and I have found that only a small percentage actually follow-through.  This way you are generous with your information and even offering to give input on their finished step one.  Once THEY have invested their time in the outcome by completing what you ask, it is usually a simple and fun process to walk them through the rest.

Always Take the Meeting

I feel like one of the ways I have been successful is by always be willing to meet.  Sometimes I don’t know why, but have found years later that a contact becomes important – whether for me or someone I might meet.  The challenge is to fit all of those in a very busy schedule.

Be intentional.  Be generous.  Be careful.

Using Canned Responses in Gmail to Make Life Simpler & Richer

My email is overwhelming.

Does that sound familiar?

Turn Email Exhaustion into Time and Money - B2B

Sorting email is step one, but part of that challenge is that in that initial sort some things could be easily responded to in seconds when organized.

And then it is off your plate!

The way I do that is with canned responses in gmail.  I used to just have an electronic sticky on my MAC that had all these responses, but it is even quicker and easier {and move from device to device} to do it within gmail.

How to Set up Canned Responses in Gmail

The first thing you need to do is enable canned responses.  Go to your gmail settings:

gmail settings


You find these in the upper right hand corner of gmail under the little gear.

Click through to settings and then the tab called “labs”.

lab settings in gmail


Once inside Labs, then look for “canned responses” and click the “enable” circle.

Do not forget to scroll to the bottom of that page and save!

Now you are ready to set up some canned responses.

I noticed that about 60% of my email that needed responses could be responded to with 3 different emails {and the cool thing is that you can add a personal touch after you have the answer framework in place}.

The first step to a canned response is to write out the email you want to save.  When I know I am going to do this, I don’t add the person’s name or any identifying information – just make it general.  We can always add personality later.

Once you have your email written out, then go to the right bottom corner and click on the down arrow:

canned responses in gmail


The pull-up {get it?  It doesn’t pull down!} menu will now have Canned Responses as a choice.  Click on that.

set up canned responses


You will see the word “save” – and when you click on that, it will ask you to name it.  Name it something that YOU will remember – normally no one will see this!

Each time you save a canned response, you will see it in three sections:  insert, save and delete.

  • Canned Response Insert – click on this to add that canned response to your blank or partially written email.
  • Canned Response Save – if you want to update a canned response, then you can save OVER the last version by clicking on its title here.
  • Canned Response Delete – it deletes the canned response.

Whoo hoo!  You are now ready to save time when you are in the email trenches.

Using Canned Responses to Make Money

B2B has a little secret…things are changing for the better around here.  We can’t wait until you see everything we have in store.  It may seem a bit quiet at the moment, but give us a month or so.  And here is how you can get in on the ground floor.

Have you ever gotten a pitch for your blog that just doesn’t fit?  Then you can turn those mis-matched opportunities into CASH.

B2B has an affiliate program!  You can earn 30% of whatever that company spends at Business 2 Blogger finding fellow bloggers that actually FIT their campaign.

Set up a version of this email for your first canned response:

Thanks so much for contacting me!  This is not a good fit for my blog.  If you are looking for bloggers who would LOVE to be involved in your program, please check out Business 2 Blogger.  <—-YOUR B2B AFFILIATE LINK!!!!

Business 2 Blogger has a job board where you can post about this opportunity and bloggers who are interested will apply.  No more cold emailing bloggers!

I hope you will check it out.  Thanks so much for contacting me.


Yes, you just sent your AFFILIATE link to someone who is LOOKING for bloggers.  Kinda genius.

Steps to Make Money from Bad Email Pitches

  1. Become a B2B affiliate.
  2. Create a pitch back email that includes your B2B affiliate link – canned responses make it super easy!
  3. You will earn 30% of what that company spends at B2B.

So, join me.

Let’s take control over our email inbox.

And REJOICE when we get a poorly matched pitch!

How to Get Non-Phone Photos & Videos Easily on Instagram

What I am about to tell you is something that will CHANGE your life if you are a regular user of Instagram.

Instagram Photos from DSLR

I don’t often make wild claims, but I promise this one is true.

Each one of these scenarios have created a huge stumbling block in my IG use:

  • I just took the most amazing picture on my DSLR and want to show it off on IG.
  • A sponsor wants me to publish on IG a snippet of the YT video I created for them on my video camera.
  • An email full of lovely square graphics just came in for an upcoming IG giveaway I am participating in, but I can’t get the pictures to download from my email to iPhone.

DropBox app to the rescue!

IG Giveaway image

I have been a reluctant user of DropBox for the last few years.  It is an amazing idea that I just can’t seem to master the actual USE of…until the app.

The DropBox app is AWESOME.

You can connect it with your DropBox account and then easily share files between your computer and mobile device.

I have created an IG photo and IG video folder on DropBox and just dump things into it that I think will do well on Instagram.

IG video upload

Once ready to post, I simply open my DropBox app and choose what I want to post and download it to my phone.  It is then in my photos library ready to publish.

I was first introduced to the DropBox app by Social Media Examiner.  They had asked me to record a little happy birthday greeting for the site’s 5th birthday.  I was at a conference without video equipment or editing ability and said I would do it if I recorded it on my phone, but then didn’t know how to get the file to them.

Oh lordy.  High-maintenance Holly.

She was quick to return easy instructions on how to create a share link inside the DropBox app.

Easy.  Peasy.

And ever since then I couldn’t live without it!  It is also great for longer videos that you might shoot on your phone that are too long to upload directly to FB or YT.

I just love it when technology makes things EASIER.



When a Blog Contract includes Exclusivity

I often refer to the state of the internet as the wild west.

We have rolled out in covered wagons and staked our claim, but don’t exactly know what the future holds.  Many of us are making this up as we go along.

Exclusive Contract B2B

The good thing about making it up as we go is that we learn a lot.  And we become the experts for the next generation of settlers.

The bad thing about making it up as we go is that there are a lot of problems where there are multiple solutions – and not obvious which one might be in our best interest.

I really feel like exclusivity is one of those things.

What does being exclusive mean?

That is our first dilemma.  It means different things to different companies.  When I get approached with a contract or spoken agreement that includes language of exclusivity, I try to initially understand WHY it is there.  What is the company afraid I might do?  Who are they trying to keep me from working with?

The second part of this issue is length of time.  We know that things can change drastically in a matter of months!  In one situation, I signed an exclusive contract for 2 years when I had 10,000 page views a month.  By the time that contract ended, I had over a million.  The opportunities I had at a million page views are VERY different than the ones I was given at 10K…but I couldn’t have predicted that!

The third thing I always make clear is WHAT platform the exclusive part pertains.  I would NEVER include my FB page.  A company couldn’t pay me enough to make that worthwhile.  I also make sure that they understand that my sidebar ads and on-image ads are NOT included – just blog content.  Or in another contract, I am exclusive for video to one company, but that doesn’t include my blog.

What should I do?

You have to step back and look at it with perspective.  What might be best for your blog?  Once you come up with what seems reasonable, then go back to negotiate.

Everything is negotiable.

I would ALWAYS ask for a shorter time frame.  I don’t care if they said 6 months.  I go back with the suggestion of 3.

I would ALWAYS ask for more money.  Depending on the time frame, it may be 3x my usual rate.  I have to protect myself from potential income loss based on this contract.

I would ALWAYS clarify terms and mention or ask that it be removed altogether.

The goal of negotiation is not to lose the contract or play hardball, but protect what I have built.  In most cases, the way I do business normally is what the company is trying to put in legal terms.  Am I going to post sponsored posts for Chevy and Ford on the same day?  Never.  But they don’t know that and they may have run into another blogger with another philosophy so clarifying your blog vision often makes it easier to come to an agreement.

I think it is easy to let our emotions get involved especially when it is a client that we adore, but this is business.  And how much are you going to adore them in 18 months if you feel like you were slighted?

Using Pinterest to Find Your Own Content

Blogging is a funny thing.  If you have been doing it awhile, you might forget what you wrote.

That happens to me ALL THE TIME.

Pinterest is a really good visual way to have that presented to you when you need it.

Here are three ways I use Pinterest regularly for finding what I wrote/published on Kids Activities Blog.

Pinterest Source URL

To find out what OTHER people have pinned in real-time from your website, then you want to use the source URL.  For Kids Activities Blog it is:

You can simply exchange my blog URL for yours in the end portion of the above link to find yours.

And this is what pops up:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 1.37.40 PM

These are things from my blog that people JUST pinned.  The cool thing is that Pinterest seems to favor some of our old blog content, so often I see things pop up here that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

For instance, I have a 4 pm spot reserved for a Kids Activities Blog parenting-type post on our FB page…that Raising Creative Kids post would be perfect!  It is a post I haven’t promoted in awhile, but is one of my favorites.

I also use the source url all the time when pinning or promoting content of my friend’s blogs.  If I can’t even remember what I write, I really can’t remember what they did!  But a quick search can visually give me ideas for super easy shares.

The other bonus of this search is that it is timely!  When Easter decor is hot, I find that my Easter-related pins pop up here…even if they are from Easter-pasts!

Blog Board

The first board I list on my profile is one named after my blog:

Holly Homer Pinterest Profile


I try and pin everything that is on Kids Activities Blog on this board.  I also don’t mind re-pinning things multiple times on this board…it is mine.  I get to set the rules!

Kids Activities Blog Pinterest Board


I think this works well to expose what Kids Activities Blog is all about to potential readers.  It also gives me a way to see how balanced our content is – if I were to go and see all recipes listed in the last 6 spots, I would know we are having some sort of editorial calendar crisis!

But you can see, we have a good sample of what KAB is all about – some simple crafts, free printables, easy DIY play recipe, fun parenting resource, some holiday food and a core kid activity – cereal bracelets.

Pinterest Analytics

If you click into your Pinterest analytics, the third box at the top of the page is the “activity” from your blog.

Click the more button!

PInterest AnalyticsAs you can see, three of the top 5 spaces are occupied with the 2 Ingredient Carpet Stain Cure post.  If I hadn’t noticed that we were featured as the first spot in a cleaning tips roundup on BuzzFeed yesterday, I might be off on a chase to find out where all these people are finding that post!

This gives me the feedback of what is hot right now from my blog.  People may be interested in spring cleaning.  Maybe I should re-pin that post on a few of my other boards over the next few days and post it to FB and other social channels!

I also like to look down the “clicks” column because my goal is traffic to KAB, not the glory of high re-pin numbers.  What I usually find is some hidden gems of pins down the list that are delivering the traffic.  For instance…

Pinterest pin with good click throughs


This pin is delivering the most traffic for the re-pin amount.  This would be something that I would want to re-pin to some other boards and might even send to a friend or two for a little help <—totally legal if you would do the same for them!

Pinterest to Source Your Content

I think Pinterest is one of the easiest and quickest places to find something that you have already written that might be in need of a little extra promotion.

Go forth and seek!