Find and Pitch the Perfect Guest Posting Opportunities

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Find and Pitch the Perfect Guest Posting Opportunities

Today ProBlogger Subject Matter Expert Ali Luke is guest posting about guest posting.

So, you’ve realised that guest posting has loads of benefits for you and your blog, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it.

Maybe you’re worried that you don’t have enough experience.

Perhaps you haven’t even got an active blog of your own right now.

That’s absolutely fine. Most host blogs just want someone who can write reasonably well.

(It’s also OK to guest post even if you don’t have your own blog: some authors do this to promote their books, for instance, and freelancers do it to promote their services.)

If you’re worried about whether your writing’s good enough, ask a blogger friend to help you edit your guest post: a second pair of eyes can be invaluable here.

Choosing a Blog to Target

Where should you post? It makes sense to aim for a well-known blog with a big audience, though if this is your very first guest post, you may not want to go straight for the top. (Some bloggers do, though – so if you’re feeling confident, try it!)

Great blogs to guest post for are:

#1: Blogs that you already read regularly. This is definitely the best place to begin: after all, you already know these blogs well, and you may have left comments or shared posts, meaning there’s a chance the host blogger is already familiar with you.

#2: Blogs that are new to you, but well-established in your niche. I’ve been blogging for 9 years and I still keep coming across great blogs I never knew about! Check out the blogs that big-name bloggers in your niche link to (either in posts, in their sidebar, or on social media).

I don’t recommend Googling “list of blogs to guest post for” and choosing a list with hundreds of blogs on it. Guest posting isn’t a numbers game: it’s much better to write one or two great posts for one or two great blogs.

How to Know if a Blog Takes Guest Posts

The first thing to look for is a page on the blog titled something like this:

  • Guest post guidelines
  • Submission guidelines
  • Write for us
  • Submit a post

(Check the navigation menu, the sidebar, the About page, and the Contact page for these. Or you can type into Google: guest post guidelines site:[URL of the blog] to find any page/post on that blog that mentions “guest post guidelines”.)

If there aren’t any guidelines visible, look to see who’s writing for the blog. Are there any recent guest posts? Anything written by someone who isn’t the blog owner / editor might be a guest post … though if the same names keep coming up again and again, they’re probably freelance writers.

Once you’ve found a blog to target, it’s time to come up with your idea.

Coming Up with an Idea

If you generally find it difficult to come up with ideas for blog posts, you might want to check out the six months of blogging prompts (free).

When you’re pitching a guest post, your idea should be:

  • In the right niche. I know this sounds obvious, but there’s no point in sending a post about credit cards to a blog about parenting toddlers!
  • A good fit for the audience. Copyblogger and Helping Writers Become Authors are both excellent blogs with an interest in good writing … but Copyblogger is about copywriting and Helping Writers Become Authors is about fiction.
  • Not too similar to other recent posts on the blog. You might want to find a category on the blog that hasn’t had many posts recently, and come up with an idea to fit that category.
  • Appropropriate for the tone of the blog. Most blogs, for instance, won’t be keen to publish an angry, ranty, sweary post. (Of course, on some other blogs, that would work perfectly.)

I’d suggest coming up with two or three ideas for the blog: personally, I like to offer one main idea and a couple of alternatives.

Note: We’ll be going into more detail about guest post ideas next week and providing extra guidance on how to shape these not only to the blog itself but also to your own objectives.

Developing Your Idea into an Outline

Before you pitch, your main idea should be fleshed out with a brief outline or idea of what you’re going to cover. A list (with or without bullet points) is fine here. For instance, for this post, that list might look like:

Title: Finding Great Guest Posting Opportunities and Pitching the Perfect Post

This would cover:

  • Where to find blogs to post for (and what NOT to do)
  • How to come up with ideas that are a good fit for your target blog
  • A sample email for pitching your ideas
  • The importance of following guidelines

A quick list like this makes sure that the host blogger’s expectations line up with what you plan to deliver.

Occasionally, you may find that a host blogger likes your idea but wants you to cover different or additional points – it’s always easiest to get this clear up front, rather than to write a whole post only to end up making substantial changes.

Should You Write the Whole Post Before Pitching?

Some blogs like to have the pitch alone (title plus outline); others prefer to see a finished post. Check their guidelines to see what they specify.

There’s nothing stopping you, of course, from writing the whole post before you pitch (and just keeping it to yourself): if you’re feeling a bit anxious about doing justice to your pitch, this can help! You may, though, have to make changes based on the blog owner’s response to your pitch.

Writing a Pitch Email to the Blog’s Editor

This is where many would-be guest post writers get stuck! It can be really daunting to sit down and email a big-name blogger who you’d love to write for … what if you screw it up?

If it’s any comfort, that big-name blogger probably gets dozens of terrible pitches from SEO companies every single week.

To stand out from the crowd, just:

  • Present an on-target idea (you should have that already!)
  • Be clear and concise (don’t give detailed paragraphs about your backstory)
  • Use correct spelling and grammar (ask a friend to proofread for you)

You don’t need to have any special credentials … you just need to show that you can write decent English and that you won’t be horrible to work with.

In case you think I’m setting the bar too low here, this is a real email I received a couple of weeks ago, for my blog Aliventures (my tagline there is “master the art, craft and business of writing”):

Hey,

I am content writer specialized in Health & fitness niche, and I chanced upon aliventures.com. I must appreciate that the content of your website is par excellence and exceptionally useful.

I’ve been a blogger for about 10 years, with special interests in Health & fitness, Ayurvedic counselor, and Sexologist. Today I am a recognized expert in the subject, and over the years, have consistently contributed articles and blogs to top sexologist related sites.

I am looking forward to attaching myself as a guest blogger to your site by contributing an article to aliventures.com. I assure that the article will be highly informative and educative to your audience. While I am not looking at any monetary benefits, instead we could consider the possibility mentioning my site/resource just once within the article.

Do let me know if this sounds good and works for you.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

[name removed]

Content Writer & Editor

I’m sure you spotted some of the glaring problems with this pitch:

  • It’s clearly been sent to lots of different blogs. You can tell because it doesn’t address me by name and it has my URL instead of my blog’s name in the first paragraph (which means the writer likely has a long long list of blog URLs that they’re contacting).
  • The topics are completely irrelevant to my blog on writing. I have never posted anything on Aliventures about health and fitness (or sex)!
  • The writer doesn’t pitch an actual topic at all, but they assure me the article will be “highly informative and educative”. I’m not convinced.
  • It’s pretty clear their aim in guest posting is purely to get a link.

Trust me, you can do a million times better than this.

Sample Email to Use When Pitching a Guest Post

Here’s an email you can use for your pitches: just fill in the [bits in square brackets].

Subject: Guest post submission:

Dear

11 Tips Presentation Anxiety Doesn’t Stand A Chance Against

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You're reading 11 Tips Presentation Anxiety Doesn’t Stand A Chance Against, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

It’s not just you. Presentation anxiety is a common feeling that comes from fear of public speaking, one of Americans' most common fears. It’s important to understand how to reduce and control these feelings before a presentation so your hard work doesn’t fall flat. Whether for work or school, you want to deliver a great presentation. The eleven effective tips below are designed to put you in control and help you deliver with confidence before your next presentation.

Map It Out In Advance

Mapping out each step of your presentation is a great way to kill uncertainty. Breaking down big jobs into small tasks is so helpful that Penn State crafted an online tutorial to walk you through the planning process from start to finish. The tutorial recommends focusing on your body content before crafting your introduction and closing statements.

Nail Your Introduction

After you know what you are going to talk about, public speaking coach Ellen Finkelstein recommends hitting three main points in your introduction to grab your audience's attention:
  • Who are you?
  • What are you talking about?
  • Why is the topic important?
Finkelstein suggests writing out each answer, then editing them and, finally, practicing delivering them. Doing so gives you the confidence to start your presentation because no decisions are left to the moment of delivery.

Practice Your Delivery

Bill Rosenthal, chief executive of communication training provider Communispond, says locking down your presentation will make you a more confident presenter than an inauthentic one. Ever heard of a dancer looking robotic because they practiced their steps too much? A sure fire way to crush some fear is to show yourself how capable you are by practicing your presentation a handful of times before the day comes. If you can, get in front of some friends you trust to get their feedback or record yourself on your phone to look for things to improve.

Establish Your Mindset

Understand that it's a lot easier to focus on negative things and overlook positive ones. For example, it’s easier to think you will give a bad presentation and not about the value the audience is will get only causes further anxiety. Communication coach Cher Gunderson explains that supporting yourself with positive reinforcement is one of the best mindset shifts you can take on. She writes, “shift hyper-critical, non-supportive, judgmental thoughts to supportive, balanced thoughts.”

Review The Situation

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had your own personal therapist during moments of distress? Well, now you do. Youper is an anxiety assistant you can use to analyze your thoughts to anchor them in reality and facts, not false expectations. In just a few minutes, you complete a mini therapy session and gain a healthy perspective on your trigger situation. Users report that the tool is just like interacting with a therapist.

Show Up A Little Early

It’s important to get comfortable with the location and the audience where you’ll present. Walk around, pay attention to the layout of the room, and look for things that could potentially distract you. This will help you feel more comfortable because you’ll snuff out the initial tension of being in a new place. Meeting a few people in the room establishes allies in the audience for you so you don’t feel like you are presenting to strangers.

Keep Water On Hand

Ever notice that presenters usually have a cup or bottle of water on hand when giving a presentation? Keeping yourself hydrated during a presentation is important because dehydration can trigger anxiety symptoms. That’s the last thing you want before you deliver a presentation.

Breathing Exercises

When you get anxious your breathing gets faster. Breathing calms anxiety by guiding you back to a slower rhythm, calming you down in the process. Research indicates that breathing exercises are an effective way to lower anxiety levels. For those that find it difficult to focus on their breathing, a guided exercise with audio or a visual to follow will help you focus on your breath through an entire cycle.

Visualize A Successful Presentation

Imagine yourself finishing the presentation and hearing the sound of applause. Visualize members of the audience thanking you, or colleagues congratulating you. These positive images help manifest a positive attitude, which will come out during your presentation. Visualization isn’t just for improving your attitude. Studies have shown that visualizing an activity can have the same effect as real-life practice. Moreover, if you visualize and practice in real life, you are even more likely to do well.

Remind Yourself Fear Is Normal

Fear is normal and helps us avoid danger. That’s great! However, is it dangerous to give a speech? As mentioned above, fear of public speaking is high on the list of most common fears. Being judged is not something humans are comfortable with, and giving a presentation puts you in a position where you can be judged. Remember that everyone feels anxious before they present, and you feel this way because the presentation is important to you.

How To Calm Down Before A Presentation

Use as many or as few of these tips as you’d like, but I don’t suggest trying to do all of them. That might be harder than giving the presentation! The important thing is to do what you feel you can without adding to the pressure of the presentation. If you have questions about what you feel before a presentation or other social situation, learn more about social anxiety symptoms.

You've read 11 Tips Presentation Anxiety Doesn’t Stand A Chance Against, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |January 19th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

6 Stepping Stones to Become Your Best Self in 2018

posted from https://addicted2success.com/life/6-stepping-stones-to-become-your-best-self-in-2018/

New Year resolutions are often wishful thinking. Being your best self is not something to be ticked off a checklist,  it is part of a never-ending continuum of learning and self-discovery.

What we think of as “self” is really a story we have strung together over time. What makes this an incredible masterpiece, is that given you created the story of who you are, you have the power to change it.

Being precisely who you are at your highest level is your greatest gift to the people around you, to magnetizing the things you want most in your life and a powerful contributor to this world.

Here are the 6 stepping stones towards your greatest self:

1. Letting go of negativity

Negativity can hold us back from many things in life. An attitude of ‘I have the worst luck’ or “nothing ever goes my way” infects the mind. Your perception creates your reality. When you invest all your energy in to what you don’t want, your brain conducts a transderivational search and conspires to provide the very thing you don’t want.

A few tips to let go of negativity:

  • Give yourself a window to complain for five minutes, once a day and then bolt that window shut. Time yourself or partner with a close friend to allow the complaining, moaning and whining to occur for 6 minutes only. Then stop it.
  • When you practice gratitude, nothing else exists in that moment. Your brain cannot immerse itself in fear and be grateful at the same time. Try it on. Invest in a journal and start with writing one thing down in the morning and before you go to bed, identifying what you are grateful for. What you focus on, is what you get.
  • Self-reflection. Negativity stems from a place of unhappiness. Adopt curious questioning to unveil what is triggering your responses, what you would like to change. Edit the story to how you can improve to live a happier existence.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

2. Kindness costs nothing

Kindness is the easiest thing you can do to become a better person. Every person has their challenges in life and it can take a random act of kindness to impact another human being in a single moment. The simplest of things, holding the door open, smiling at a person walking down the street or asking someone at work if you could make them a coffee. Priceless.

3. What do you stand for?

Unveiling who you are and the values that underpin how you want to live, illuminate the pathway to becoming the best you. Values are the emotional states that you wish to experience every day. When you get clear on your code, decision making become effortless. Living your code, creates the person you are becoming.

4. Kicking self-doubt in the balls

Doubts, fears and accusations echo through. When your inner critic is amplified, it’s time to kick self-doubt in the balls, really hard. Remind yourself of all the things that you have achieved, the incredible people around you, the times that made you smile and the moments you felt alive. As long as you exist, there is potential within you to exceed every expectation, to upgrade your standards and step into your best self.

5. Investing in You

Whether you spend time reading, pursuing a workshop or walking along the beach, investing in you is the greatest gift. Detaching from the outcome and enjoying the moment can be unfamiliar however the more time you invest in discovering who you are, the masks you need to remove, and learn to dance with your fears, the more confidence you gain in becoming the best version of you.

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

6. Ikigai – your reason for being

According to the Japanese, everyone has an ikigai, although not everyone has yet understood, discovered or developed it.  To find it, it often requires deep enquiry of self. Ikigai literally translates “the reason for being”. It is often used to describe a healthy passion for something that makes you feel as though life is worth living to the fullest.

An intense internal desire to carry out a personal mission that you have a magnetic connection to. When we manifest whatever is pulling at you, you experience an intense internal satisfaction. You create a feeling of being fulfilled and adding new layers of meaning to your life.

Some questions to ignite your ikigai.

  • What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive?
  • Identify what you are great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What do you excel at even when you aren’t trying? What does the world need and how you can deliver?
  • What cause do you believe in? What change would you love most to create in the world? What would you give your life for?
  • What service, value or offering do you bring that adds value to others and people would pay for?

Reflect on how these elements relate to each other and ask yourself, what is one thing you could do today that would be an expression of your ikigai? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com


By |January 19th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Why I Now Appreciate Years of Pain and How Gratitude Healed My Life

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TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of abuse and may be triggering to some people.

“Hope is faith’s impoverished sister, but it’s a start.” ~Maureen Barberio, Gettin’ Out of Bullytown

My life wasn’t always easy. It’s not always easy now, as a matter of fact. But there was a very long period where it was quite difficult and painful. It is sad how many of us can say that, isn’t it?

I grew up in a dysfunctional home with two sisters. My father was an alcoholic and was physically and verbally abusive. My mother, herself a victim of my father’s verbal abuse, was very loving and complimentary but could do little about my father’s behavior. My mother, sisters, and I have always been very close.

Each time I was yelled at, and with each blow I received, a little bit of my spirit was broken.

Instead of gaining confidence during my grade school years, so I could enter the teen years ready to face the hormonal changes and roller coaster of emotions that go along with them, I went into the teen years feeling unworthy of anything good. I looked at my sisters and saw such beauty in them. I looked in the mirror and saw nothing but flaws.

In addition, I had done what so many children do: I assumed all blame for the abuse my father was heaping on me. I continued to look up to both my parents, as impossible as that may sound, and I took to heart every word spoken about me.

The fact that my father found me so imperfect and flawed meant it must be so. And being imperfect and flawed meant I was unlovable. The guilt and shame I felt about this was devastating, although at the time I had no idea that guilt and shame was what I was feeling.

While other girls in high school got prettier and prettier, while my sisters became prettier in my eyes, I viewed myself as less and less attractive. I watched the excitement others had about boys and dating, and I knew in my heart I would never have those things. I’d never fit in. I was different. I was unworthy.

There’s nothing like leaving a house of sadness on a sunny day, unable to enjoy the beauty of nature because your heart is so heavy that you want to die. There’s nothing like going to school and seeing how carefree your friends are, all laughing and having a great time, and joining in with them even though inside you feel like a piece of garbage who shouldn’t even have friends.

I felt phony because I had so many secrets, not the least of which was my unworthiness, which they either didn’t see or they recognized but never mentioned out of pity for me.

Even the most confident girls struggle in high school with all the changes they’re faced with. Imagine going into it convinced you’re nothing but a hideous thorn in everyone’s side. Those high school years magnify the negatives, but with the help of a loving, supportive family, young women come out of them feeling good about themselves and their future. I came out of those years just feeling worse about myself.

By the time I hit my late teens I was convinced I would never have what ‘normal’ people have in the way of a life where there’s a man who cares about you and you plan for the future and build a life together.

I was living in emotional pain, and to lessen that pain, I began drinking and using drugs. I wasn’t resorting to these things all the time, but I was using them as tools to help me instead of seeing the root of my problems and pain.

In my early twenties, I met a man I thought was simply wonderful. The attention felt incredible. I started feeling better about myself. He loved me! This was as close to feeling loved and carefree as I had ever felt before, and it was so different that I embraced it.

Six months after meeting, we began living together and then married when I was twenty-six, despite the fact that by that point he was drinking heavily and doing a lot of drugs. I guess it didn’t matter to me, because I was doing the same.

Somewhere along the way, he began being very critical of me, so I found myself on the receiving end of verbal abuse once again. I tried harder to please him, as I had spent my childhood and teen years trying to please my father while always missing the mark. The little bit of my spirit that remained was constantly chipped away.

To cope with the reality of increased disappointment and anger on the part of my husband, I went through periods of abusing drugs. During other points in our marriage I decided to live without taking substances, but my husband would push me to join him, and to keep the peace, I did.

Even though I was a fully functioning adult, had jobs and attended college, I spent more than twenty years in a verbally abusive, alcohol and drug-fueled marriage.

Each morning I’d wake up and tell myself I wasn’t going to drink or do any drugs, and each day that I failed I grew more and more disappointed in myself. I felt such intense shame about who I was and how I was living that it was difficult to even think about. I spent much time feeling depressed in a place of darkness.

Growing tired of our lifestyle, we eventually stopped drinking and taking drugs and discovered we had nothing in common. The verbal and emotional abuse continued. So at the age of forty-five, I moved out of our home into another property we owned. I had no faith that my life would ever be better, but I hoped it would, and as the quote above states, that’s a start.

There is something that is so satisfying about seeing a neglected garden of weeds and taking steps to clear them out to see what you can grow. Or watching a caterpillar move through various stages until a beautiful butterfly emerges.

There were many uncertainties I was facing, but I decided that the Universe gives us each a garden—our lives—and it’s up to us to tend to that garden to see what beautiful things we can grow. Each of us is a beautiful butterfly, and sometimes we must let ourselves go through the process of getting rid of a hard shell in order to emerge as our true, beautiful selves.

I was uncertain about who I was, what I wanted to do next, and had a million questions that couldn’t be answered. At the urging of a friend who had mentioned it numerous times, I finally gave in when she once again said, “Why don’t you try Centers for Spiritual Living? I think if you go it will help you.”

And so I went. As soon as I walked in the door I felt like I was home. I actually felt something within me that was so moved on an emotional level that I cried.

A wonderful speaker talked about gratitude and challenged us to spend forty days writing down everything we were grateful for, an exercise meant to shift our focus and put it on the good instead of what we felt was lacking in our lives. The Minister handed out a journal to each of us, and the person who walked out of the church that day wasn’t quite the same as the one who had walked in.

Over the next forty days I diligently did my homework by trying to find something I was grateful for. At first it was hard. I’d sit for five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and wonder what it was that I was grateful for.

Oh wait, I’m grateful I don’t drink and take drugs anymore. I wrote that down. I’m grateful to be out of an abusive marriage. I wrote that down. Those seemed a little bit like I was still putting my focus on negative things, however, and I had to ask myself whether or not I was grateful about anything positive.

Well, yes, I was grateful I finally took my friends advice and went to the Center for Spiritual Living. I was grateful my friend told me about it. Oh, and I was grateful for my friend! In fact, I was grateful for all the new friends I’d made. I was grateful to be living in a place where there was a Center for Spiritual Living to even go to. I was grateful to be living in a place that is surrounded by beautiful nature. I was grateful for nature!

This is how it went every day. I would struggle to write something I was grateful for, but once I wrote down one thing, it would lead me to another and another and another.

Sometimes I would close my journal and notice I’d spent thirty minutes writing and it felt like it was only five minutes. The floodgates would just open and I’d get lost in thinking about how wonderful my life had become. One more thing for which to be grateful!

I so loved this exercise that I did it for a second time once the forty-day challenge was up. What happened after that was nothing short of astounding. I became more interested in the spiritual aspect of life, and filled with a bit more confidence, signed up for A Course in Miracles. I was starving for this kind of information, which seemed to fill me up!

I began getting out more. I signed up for a couple of classes at the local university, in order to complete my studies and get a degree. I continued the practice of writing down the things for which I was grateful, only now it didn’t take five, ten, or fifteen minutes before I could think of something, I was already coming up with things while I was still reaching for my notepad and pen. I still found the flow to be the same though. I’d write down one thing, which would lead to another and another.

I continued spending time at the Center, signing up for classes, and reading books to be discussed. It was a whole new world I was being exposed to.

In the years that followed the dissolution of my marriage I achieved my goal and actually earned two degrees, graduating Cum Laude. Somewhere along the way, I began looking at my image in the mirror differently. I thought: Deborah, you’re not half bad! In fact, you’re pretty! You’re kind. You have a good heart. You’re lovable!!!!

I met a wonderful man and got married. I started my own business, and I love the work I do.

As I continued my spiritual studies and practice of gratitude, I came to be blessed more and more. I became a licensed Practitioner at our local Center for Spiritual Living, started a second business, and have become even closer to my two wonderful sisters, enjoying my time with them laughing and joking as though we’re three little girls.

My life looks nothing like the life I lived until I was in my late forties, and yet, I’m grateful for that earlier life because the pain of it has led me to so many wonderful places. My heart and spirit have healed, and I am committed to spreading the word about the blessings you will receive through the daily practice of gratitude.

This doesn’t mean my life is perfect, or without worry, or even absent from the occasional feelings of guilt or shame about something, but I am able to quickly deal with those feelings and put my focus back on the things for which I am grateful. And that has made all the difference in the world.

Can you relate? Just for today, write down some things you feel grateful for. There are plenty of things. Just look out the window, go for a walk, and you’ll find them. Keep doing that each day and make it a habit.

Think of some things you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t pursue because of fear, shame, lack of confidence, etc., and commit to doing just one of those things. Baby steps. That’s all it takes.

And when you start feeling down or worried, open up your journal and read through your lists. It will move the focus from the negatives to the positives. You’ll find that writing about gratitude will lead to feeling more positive about your life, prompting you to take action that brings positive results—and even more blessings and opportunities. I’ve noticed this snowball effect in many lives, starting with my own.

As I live a life that consists of gratitude, I see where every negative experience has molded me, taught me, made me compassionate, and led me to be the wonderful and best version of me that I can be today.

Isn’t that a blessing?

About Deborah Perdue

Deborah Perdue is the author of several books on Gratitude and a practitioner at her local Center for Spiritual Living. She owns a graphic design company and creates book covers, logos, business cards, etc. for wonderful people nationwide. Deborah lives in Grants Pass, OR with her husband and menagerie of animals. You can find her at illuminationgraphics.com and graceofgratitude.com.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post Why I Now Appreciate Years of Pain and How Gratitude Healed My Life appeared first on Tiny Buddha.


By |January 18th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life

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You're reading How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Sleep. Some of us can’t get enough of it, while others are in a love-hate relationship. For many years after becoming an entrepreneur, I was the latter. Like every human, my mind and body needed sleep to function. The problem was, I had trouble actually falling asleep in the first place. Now, I will say that there are variances of how one would define an insomniac. I wasn’t suffering from chronic insomnia that could do serious damage to my well-being. However, there were many periods when I would only get two to three hours of sleep during the week. If mild and periodic insomnia is something you face, or even chronic insomnia, read on. As my work, relationships, and overall energy began to decline further, I took serious action to research and ‘self-experiment’ on fixing my insomnia for good. I won’t bore you with the full journey, but rather give you the top 5 actionable tips that had the most impact in my sleep quality. Hope it brings you value.

1. Choose your ideal sleep cycle

I had no idea that there were different sleep cycles you could experiment with. My entire life, I just assumed that people sleep 7-8 hours then remained awake for the rest of the day. I found that there are four main sleep cycles that are well-known:
  • Monophasic Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: 7-9 hours (one sleep cycle)
    • Best suited for: 9-to-5 workers
  • Biphasic Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: 5-6 hours within the day
    • Best suited for: Workers that can leave work early or work at home
  • Everyman Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: One 3.5 hours of deep sleepwithin the day; Three 20 minute naps during the day
    • Best suited for: Those who want to explore polyphasic without going extreme
  • Uberman Cycle
    • Amount of sleep: six to eight naps (20 minute each)
    • Best suited for: Those who want the most out of their day without being tired
In the end, I decided to remain in the monophasic sleep cycle, but I often experiment with biphasic cycle to see how I feel. You should see for yourself what’s right for you.

2. Invest in the right tools

Just like finding the right tools in your work can make you significantly effective, finding the right sleep tools help you sleep better, faster. a. Bluelight blocking glasses Usage: During the day
Research show that we spend over 10 hours per day staring into our screens. Likely more if you’re in tech. Studies state that blue light exposure can negatively impact different parts of our brain and body. They include digital eye strain, headaches, and of course disruption of our sleep cycle. As an entrepreneur I spend late nights staring at my lap top screen. When I tried to sleep, my mind was still stimulated overflowing with thoughts and energy that made it impossible for me to sleep. I started wearing iGOTHAM's blue light blocking glasses and have noticed reduction in my eye strain. I normally wear these when I’m working, and make sure to put them on at night before I sleep (since I can’t stay away from my laptop at night!). Some harmful effects of bluelight can be found here.   b. Blackout curtains Usage: For the bedroom
Even a sliver of light that enters into our bedroom can impact one’s sleep. While I can sleep through some light coming into my room, there are other nights where I absolutely need total darkness. Using blackout curtains is the simplest solution, and installing it is pretty simple. c. Bonus: Hot shower Need I say more? All in all, taking a hot shower helps me relax when I’m stressed or stimulated before sleeping.

3. Leave any electronics out of the bedroom

A tip that has surprisingly been effective for me is: keeping all personal electronics outside of the bedroom. I know… it’s devastating. But I encourage you to try it for just one day.  Here’s what you do:
  • Just before you go to bed: Take your phone, computer, smart watches (and chargers) outside your room *If you don’t have any other space, then place it on the opposite end of where you sleep
  • Put all of your devices on silent mode (or turn if off completely)
  • Don’t check it until the next morning
Let me know how this goes!

4. The 90 minute rule

“You need 8 hours of sleep per day.” It’s one of the most common (and generalized) advice you get about sleep. Speak to professional sleep researchers and most of them will tell you that is baloney. Instead, the use the ’90 minute rule.’ This is based on the knowledge that our sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, divided into four stages of non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, followed by a stage of REM sleep (in which we dream). Each of these cycles takes roughly 90 minutes, followed by a brief interlude when we are relatively wakeful, before a new cycle starts again. This means that you will feel most refreshed when you awake at the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle because you will be closest to your normal waking state.  To maximize the chances of this happening, work out when you want to wake up, then count back in  90-minute blocks to find a time near to when you want to go to sleep. You can also use this sleep cycle calculator to make it easy for yourself. Let’s imagine that you want to wake at 8am and wish to go to sleep around midnight. Counting back in 90-minute segments from 8am would look like this: 8am > 6:30am > 5am > 3:30am > 2am > 12:30am > 11pm In this example, you should aim to fall asleep around either 11pm or 12.30am in order to feel especially refreshed in the morning. So next time someone tells you that you must get 8 hours of sleep, tell them about the 90 minute rule!

5. Change how you think about the bedroom

I used to work from my bedroom, and looking back. It was a mistake. Now, I only do two things in the bedroom: sleep and sex. That’s it. More importantly, there’s a few actionable things you can do today to transform your bedroom into the ultimate sleep cave. a. Go DARK And I mean DARK. Any sort of light that is seeping through can potentially disrupt our sleep cycles. That could mean
  • Shutting your curtains completely (or buying a better one that completely fills up your windows)
  • Pointing any electronics or alarm clock away from you
  • Turning off all warm lights
Then, when it’s morning time, you can start the day with bright lights and your body will be able to know that it’s morning time. b. Replace white light with warm light before bed  This option is great for preparing your body to calm down before bed time. Most of the bright LED lights trigger alertness when it’s turned on, and that’s the opposite effect we want before bed. You can find warm, orange light in just about any pharmacy store in your local neighbourhood. c. Light up a candle Similar to option 2, but the candle combines the warm lighting with a soothing scent. I recommend checking out the following aromas:
  • Lavender
  • Chamomille
  • Vanilla
d. Adjust your room temperature Sleep experts have shown that room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for the best sleep. A room with extreme temperatures leads to more frequent awakenings and lighter sleep. I hope this was useful for those of you that struggle with getting quality sleep in your life. As a fellow entrepreneur burning the midnight oil, sleeping better has been a game changer in my personal life and business. If these tips overwhelmed you in anyway, I recommend just starting with one of them. Once you notice the positive effects in your sleep, you can try another, and so forth. Best of luck and leave a comment below to share how it went!

You've read How I Went From Insomniac to the Best Sleep of My Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |January 18th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

5 Effective Tips to Get the Job You Want Without Experience

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You're reading 5 Effective Tips to Get the Job You Want Without Experience, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

You might think that because you don’t have any experience in a field, the jobs there are out of reach. You’ll be glad to hear that’s not necessarily the case. As plenty of fresh graduates discover every year, there are ways around the no experience barrier. You just have to learn how to play your cards right (and learn what cards to play, of course). Here we’re going to cover some of the best ways you can still get that job you really want despite your lack of experience. Taken together they will make all the difference.

Get an endorsement

Experience is a way that companies know that you actually know what you’re doing. But that’s not the only thing that matters. As the saying go, ‘hire attitude and train skill’ and that’s a rule that many companies follow. But how can they see you have the right attitude? Well, one great way to do exactly that is for you to get an endorsement from somebody that’s well respected. Now, there are a lot of ways you can go with this. If you know somebody that’s well respected in the industry then obviously they would make a great choice. Ask them to write you a letter to open up the door. If that’s not possible then look for somebody further afield. You can get somebody like a professor to help you. Otherwise, get somebody famous to do so. Just getting a recommendation from somebody that everybody knows might well be enough for a company to give you an interview – even if it’s just to meet you. From there, your personality can do the rest.

Use your network

You may think that the way people get jobs is by sending out resumes and applying through official channels. And some people do get jobs that way. But it isn’t many. According to one survey, only 15% of people get their job through these channels. The rest? It’s all down to your network. So use it! Make people aware you’re looking for a job. And when I say ‘make them aware’ I don’t mean ‘put it on Facebook’. I mean, reach out to people on an individual basis and ask them if they might know any leads or anybody. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while. What’s the worst they can do? Say ‘no’?

Apply up and down the ladder

If you want to be a manager at a IT company, say, but you don’t have any experience, then why not start out a little lower down? Perhaps that manager needs an assistant? Or perhaps there are some internships that you can start at. Yes, those positions are much lower down, but once you’ve got your foot in the door of the company and of the industry it suddenly becomes a lot easier to apply somewhere else. After all, now you do have experience. It doesn’t matter if your manager yelled at you to ‘write my essay for me please’ or if you had to do the photocopying. The next place you’ll apply at won’t know that. All they’ll see is your experience. And that will get you an interview – which is where you really make your personality shine.

Your resume and your cover letter

Even though a lot of jobs are landed through your network, people will still ask to see your resume. So you have to make sure yours is ready. A well-written resume might not get you the job, but a poorly written one will make sure you don’t get it. What do I mean with a poorly written resume? I mean one where the spelling and grammar aren’t perfect. I mean one where things aren’t aligned properly. I mean one where you use commas in one place and then periods in another. Do these sound like nitpicky things? Well they are. There can be no doubt about it. The problem is, when people have a job they often get dozens (if not hundreds) of applications for that job. And as they need to narrow down the field, they’ll use whatever criteria they can. A poorly written resume is such a criteria. After all, their reasoning will go, if you aren’t careful enough to write an error free resume, then how can you ever be careful enough to not make mistake while you work for us?

Connect

You should always be looking to make new connections. You never know what they’re good for. A big part of being lucky is the people you know. So make sure you know a lot of people. Also, be aware of how you network. People can see straight through a phony. So don’t just network with people because you want to climb up the ranks over their backs. Also connect with people to see if you can help them. People remember who helped them. And down the line that can pay serious dividends. Because the truth is, when you’ve got this great job, then you’ll find that it’s something else you’ll want next. And that will require more connections and people.

Last words

Experience will come with time. So don’t despair. Just start trying. And don’t be afraid of people that say ‘no’. A lot of people will do that in your life. But they don’t really matter. The only people that will ultimately matter when you’re hunting for a job is those who say ‘yes’. So focus on them. A good strategy to use if you’re afraid of failure is set out a goal to get this many rejections in the next six months. If that’s your goal, if you set out to get this many rejections every week, then you know you have to push hard to send enough applications out there. And when you’re sending out that many applications, it’s almost inevitable that some of them will come back positively. That’s a good strategy for getting the job you want. That’s a good strategy to get anything you want.5

You've read 5 Effective Tips to Get the Job You Want Without Experience, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.


By |January 18th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments

Seven Types of Product You Could Sell From Your Blog

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7 types of product you could sell from your blog

It took me nearly seven years of blogging to create my first products: two ebooks, one for ProBlogger and one for Digital Photography School. They made me more than $160,000 in 2009 alone and changed my business.

Back in 2014, I wrote about the experience, and how it nearly never happened:

My big issue was a severe lack of time. Between juggling two growing blogs and a growing family (we had just had our first child), I wasn’t sure how I’d ever write an eBook. I also had a long long list of other excuses to put it off.

I’d never written, designed, marketed a product of my own before… I didn’t have a shopping cart system… I didn’t know if my readers would buy…

In short – the dream of creating and selling an eBook of my own stayed in my head for two years until 2009. Ironically by that point I’d become even busier (we’d just had our second son and my blogs had continued to grow) but I knew if I didn’t bite the bullet and do it that I never would.

Does any of that sound familiar to you? Perhaps you’re blogging alongside a busy day job, or you’ve got young children at home, and the whole idea of creating a product seems very daunting.

You’re definitely not alone. But creating your own product – even a simple one – can bring in money much faster than affiliate sales or advertising. After all, your audience trusts you. And if they like your writing, they’ll want more from you.

In this post, I’ll take you through seven different types of product you could create. Some of these require more time and initial investment, while others you could plausibly create in a weekend.

But First, What is a “Product”?

What exactly do I mean by a “product”? It could be something virtual (like software or an ebook) or something physical (like a t-shirt or a paperback book).

A product might involve an element of ongoing commitment from you, but it isn’t only about the hours you put in. So I won’t be covering freelancing, virtual assistant roles, or other services here.

Seven Types of Product You Could Sell from Your Blog … Which One is Right For You?

The seven types of product I’m going to run through in this post are:

  1. Ebooks: these might be positioned as “guides” or even self-study courses. Essentially, they’re written downloadables, probably in .pdf, .mobi and/or .epub format.
  2. Printables: these are designed to be printed out. They might be planners, cheat sheets, party invites, worksheets—anything that someone might buy to print and (probably) fill in.
  3. Digital subscriptions: these are normally delivered by email, and are often relatively cheap compared with some other products (making them attractive to first-time buyers).
  4. Online courses: these could be text, audio and/or video, although video is increasingly becoming the “default” expectation.
  5. Membership of a private website or group: this might be a membership site you host yourself, or something as simple as a closed Facebook group.
  6. Software or a phone app: unless you’re a developer, this probably isn’t the product you’ll go for first. But it could be a very lucrative one to try later on.
  7. Physical products: these could be almost anything from books to t-shirts to one-off pieces of art. But unless you’ve already got a business selling them, they aren’t the best products to begin with.

Let’s take a look at each one  in more detail. I’ll be giving examples for each one, so you can see how different bloggers are using these different types of product.

#1: Ebooks: Are They Right for You?

The first two products I created back in 2009 were both ebooks: 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (since updated) and The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography (now superseded by a range of portrait photography books)

That was almost a decade ago, which is a long time in the ebook world. Amazon had only recently launched the Kindle, and the first iPad didn’t appear for another year.

These days, there are a lot more ebooks out there. But don’t let that put you off. A well-positioned ebook can still be a great starter product. If you’re really pushed for time, you might want to compile some of your best blog posts into an ebook (that’s what I did with 31 Days to Build a Better Blog), then edit them and add some extra material.

Example: Deacon Hayes’ You Can Retire Early!

You Can Retire Early Deacon Hayes

Many bloggers sell ebooks via their own platforms, charging premium prices for specialized information. But it may be a better fit for your audience if you sell your ebook through a well-established ebook retailer such as Amazon, especially if:

  • your ebook has a (potentially) large audience
  • they’re unlikely to pay more than $9.99 for it
  • they’re a bit wary about buying online.

This is what Deacon does with his ebook You Can Retire Early! It’s sold through Amazon, but to make it a great deal and to capture his readers’ email addresses he offers a free course for readers who email him their receipt.

If you’d like to see more examples of ebooks, we now have 23 ebooks on Digital Photography School.

#2: Printables

Printables are becoming increasingly popular. They differ from ebooks because they’re designed to be printed and used/displayed – and they’re unlikely to contain a lot of text.

Printables could be almost anything:

  • Planner pages
  • Party invites
  • Pieces of art
  • Greetings cards
  • Kids’ activities
  • Calendars
  • Gift tags
  • Adult colouring sheets

In fact, it can be whatever you can think of that suits your blog and audience.

Unless you’re skilled at design, you may need to hire a professional designer to create high-quality printables for you, depending on what you’re creating.

Example: Chelsea Lee Smith’ “Printable Pack”

Chelsea Lee Smith printables

Many of Chelsea’s printables are available for free on her blog. But this pack adds five exclusive ones, and brings everything together in one place. Most of her printables are simple and straightforward (which could be a bonus to readers not wanting to spend a fortune on ink). She’s priced the whole pack at $4.99, making it an appealing purchase for busy parents.

#3: Digital Subscriptions

A digital subscription is information or a resource you send out to subscribers on a regular basis. Depending on what it is, they might be paying anything from a couple of dollars to a couple of hundred dollars each month.

Delivering the subscription could be as simple as adding paying members to an email list (which you can do by linking PayPal with your email provider). You won’t need to create all the content up front, although you’ll want to get ahead so you always provide your customers with their resources on time.

Depending on the type of subscription, you could either:

  • provide all subscribers with all the same content in order (e.g. they start with week 1, then week 2, and so on)
  • send out a weekly or monthly email to everyone at the same time, so they get the same content whether they’ve been with you for a day or a year.

Example: $5 Meal Plan, by Erin Chase  

Erin Chase 5 dollar meal plan

Erin’s product solve a problem that many parents have: how do you get a tasty meal on the table each night quickly and cheaply without spending hours every week writing a complicated meal plan?

This weekly subscription costs $5/month, with a 14-day free trial. Like Chelsea’s printables, it’s priced at a point where it’s an attractive offer for busy families. We recently had Erin on the ProBlogger podcast, so you can hear more about how she started blogging and went from zero to a six-figure income in two years.

#4: Online Courses

An online course can take quite a bit of time to put together. And for some bloggers the technology can be daunting.

At its simplest, an online course might be essentially the same content as an ebook, only split into “lessons” or “modules” instead of chapters. But many courses include additional features such as:

  • Video content: courses based around videos normally have transcripts (or at least summaries) to help students who prefer not to watch video or who want a recap to refer to.
  • Audio interviews: if you don’t have the tools to create high-quality video, audio can be a good alternative (and some students prefer it to, as they can listen while commuting or exercising).
  • Quizzes: depending on what you’re teaching, it may be helpful for students to test their knowledge at the end of each lesson or module.
  • Interaction: you might choose to offer feedback to students, or you might have a closed Facebook group for students to join, where they can talk with one another and with you.
  • Certification: this is more appropriate for some topics than others, but offering students some sort of certification at the end of the course can be helpful.

Example: ProBlogger’s New Courses

ProBlogger Courses Example

At ProBlogger we’ve just gone through this process to launch our first ever course. We decided on the self-hosted route and use Learndash as our Learning Management System. You don’t necessarily have to host your course on your own site, though. There are plenty of online platforms such as Teachable and Udemy that you can provide your course through instead.

Learndash (partnered with the Buddyboss-friendly Social Learner theme) allows us to offer all of the features I mentioned with our courses. Whilst our first course is free, we’ll be using the same platform to sell our first paid course, an update of my popular eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog in March.

For our free Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog course, we’re running a beta version in conjunction with our first ProBlogger International Start a Blog day on the 7th of February. And as part of the beta we’re also trialling a Facebook group. It’s common for bloggers running courses to also run a group for communication, but be wary of the time and attention this requires.

We’re closing registrations to the course on the 31st of January, and will then implement suggestions from the beta group. But once that’s done we’ll open it up again as an evergreen course (i.e. people can start it at any time as a self-guided group), and again in the new year for the next International Start a Blog Day.

#5: Membership of a Private Website or Group

For quite a few years now, “membership sites” have been popular. These are essentially closed websites where people have to pay and sign up (almost always for a monthly fee) to view the content.

The content might be text-based, or (more often) include audio or video. Sites might offer monthly “seminars” or “workshops”, or regular courses that members can take part in.

On a smaller scale, some bloggers offer Facebook sites with paid membership. This can be a quick and easy way to set up your product, though it’s worth remembering that if you’re banned from Facebook you’ll no longer have access to your group!

Example: Copyblogger’s “Authority”

Copyblogger’s membership site Authority focuses on the community elements as well as the teaching materials provided. It’s a fairly high-end community site aimed at professional copywriters, small business owners, and so on. It also gives members the opportunity for expert coaching, in addition to peer support.

Like most membership sites, it has a monthly subscription ($55/month). But there’s also the option to purchase a year’s membership for $550.

#6: Software or a Phone App

Unless you’re a developer, this probably won’t be an option for your first product. But creating a piece of software or a phone app can be very lucrative.

There are a lot of options here. Your software/app might be anything from a business tool to something that relates to your readers’ hobby. You might have a one-time price (especially if it’s a relatively simple tool), or pricing on a monthly basis (the “Software as a Service” or SaaS model, where you host the software for customers to log in to).

Example: Fat Mum Slim’s Little Moments App

little moments app fat mum slim

Long-time blogger Chantelle Ellem created her fun photo editing app on the back of her viral Instagram hashtag challenge #photoaday. When she released Little Moments in 2014, it went to number one in Australia and number seven in the USA. It was picked as the App Store’s best app for 2014 and has been Editor’s Choice {selected by the App Store worldwide}.

While it’s a free app, it has in-app purchases where you can purchase packs of designs to use in the editor – either per pack or an offer to unlock everything and get all the packs.

Little Moments in-app purchases

Chantelle shares some insights here about creating the app, including being prepared for the feedback from customers and creating a community around your app.

#7: Physical Products

Finally, even though blogging life revolves around the online world,  nothing stopping you creating a physical product. This could be almost anything you can imagine: bloggers have created board games, comic books, merchandise, artworks, and far more.

Physical products need to be created, stored and shipped (all of which takes time and money), so this probably won’t be the first product you’ll want to experiment with. You can sell directly from your own blog, or you can use an appropriate online marketplace: Etsy for handmade goods, for instance, or Amazon or eBay for almost any product.

Example: Kirsten and Co’s Skin Boss

Kirsten Smith Skin Boss

Personal and lifestyle blogger Kirsten Smith recently developed and launched Skin Boss, a range of facial oils in response to an issue she was experiencing with her skin. You can read the backstory on why and how it was developed. When you create something in response to a real need and have a strong connection with your readers and other bloggers, it’s an excellent platform for the success of a new product. Kirsten was able to reach out to her network of blogging friends to get media coverage for her new product.

I know there’s a lot to take in here. But all bloggers, no matter fancy and complex their products are now, started somewhere – often with an ebook, printables, or a simple online course.

Even if you’re pressed for time, could you set aside 15 minutes a day or maybe block out a weekend to create your first product?

It might just change your life.

The post Seven Types of Product You Could Sell From Your Blog appeared first on ProBlogger.

      


By |January 18th, 2018|Blog|0 Comments
,

Would you be interested in a guest post titled

? It would cover:

  • [Key point 1]
  • [Key point 2]
  • [Key point 3]

If that’s not a good fit, would either of these suit you?

I blog at [name of your blog] and I’ve also written for [any other blogs you’ve guest posted on, if applicable].

Many thanks for your time,

[your name]

If there are specific guidelines about how to submit, make sure you follow those: for instance, if you’re asked to include links to samples of your work, do that!

Tip: Some blogs have quite detailed guest posting guidelines, and I find it helps to print those out and go through them point by point so I don’t miss anything.

Following Up on Your Guest Post Pitch

If you don’t hear back (and there’s no Out of Office reply or similar), follow up after 2 weeks. Anything sooner looks a bit pushy – remember that big bloggers will get a LOT of requests, and if you press too soon, it’s easier for them to say “no” rather than take the time to review your post.

Don’t leave it forever to follow up, though: it’s embarrassing for a host blogger if they lose your email and only find it again two months later. (I’ve had this happen not only with guest post pitches but also a magazine article submission: trust me, it’s best for you and for the editor if you follow up politely rather than assume that they didn’t want it…!)

Here’s an email you can use when following up:

Sample Follow Up Email

Dear [name],

I just wanted to check if you received my guest post pitch on [date]? I’ve copied that email below just in case it went astray.

No problem if it’s not quite right for you, or if you need some time to think about it.

Thanks very much,

[your name]

(Make sure you do include the original pitch. Don’t expect the blogger to trawl through their inbox for it… and there’s always the possibility it ended up being eaten by a spam filter.)

Guest posting is one of the best ways to boost your blog’s traffic and to build your own profile within the blogging world. Pitching can be a little scary – but once you’ve done it a few times, it does get much easier!

Have you written any guest posts yet? If you’re nervous or if you’ve got questions about finding opportunities, coming up with ideas and pitching your post, just leave a comment below.

Guest Posting Series:

Next week, we’ll be covering writing the guest post itself: making sure you’ve got an idea that’ll work for your host blog and for you, using your bio wisely, including links, and even including visuals.

So far:

7 Powerful Non-SEO Reasons to Try Guest Posting

The post Find and Pitch the Perfect Guest Posting Opportunities appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

By |July 6th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments