3 Tricks To Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

cold freelance pitch conversion

 

Hey #flashers,

If you’ve been sending out cold pitches to freelance prospects like crazy and getting crickets…

Today, I’m going to share the three things I’ve noticed help massively convert pitches I send out to clients.

You have two choices when you send out freelance writing pitches:

  1. Send them out, cross your fingers, and wait for people to get back to you.
  2. Be proactive about making your freelance pitches convert for you.

 

You’re going with Door #2, right?

Good, let’s see what’s behind that door than, shall we?

 

By the way, if you don’t want to read all of this, you can skip to the bottom and watch the video version;)

3 Ways to Skyrocket Your Freelance Pitch Conversion Rate

#1: The Follow-Up

So, I always write down the date I contact prospects on my pitch tracker (get it free here). Then, sometime between two weeks and a month later, I make sure I follow up with each and every one of them. I just send them a quick “Hey, I was wondering if you had a chance to consider my offer” email with the original email below it to jog their memory.

If I don’t hear from them on the second try, I follow up again. I follow up at least three times before moving on. And even then, I still leave the client “open” on my pitch tracker. Unless I hear a firm “no,” which never happens, I leave them open. You just never know.

You never know when a prospect might need you down the line, and they’re going to think “Hey, I remember a freelance writer approaching me awhile ago. Let me see if I can track them down.”

Remember, no reply doesn’t mean no. It could mean the prospect is busy, they’re considering your offer, your offer went to their spam box, or a million other scenarios. Following up doesn’t mean you’re bugging them either.

Following up increases the chances of hearing back.

It puts you back on your prospects’ radars.

It shows prospects you’re not a spammer. Spammers don’t follow up.

Following up is one of the ways I get major traction from my freelance pitches. If you want to learn from a successful freelance writer, it would serve you well to follow up;)

 

#2: Be Quicker

What the heck do I mean by being quicker? You already try to whip words together at the speed of light.

What I mean by being quicker is to respond to people’s requests or inquiries immediately.

If people inquire about your freelance services, make sure you get back to them within 24 hours. They have likely reached out to multiple people and will show favoritism toward those who get back to them first.

Now, I’ve had some major learning experiences with this. Learn from my mistakes!

One lady was referred to me through a big-name freelance writer. I got back to her right away and she said “let me know a good time to chat.” Well, I let it go for a few days and by the time I got back to her, she had already found someone else. I could kick myself!

Whenever you apply for a project on sites like Problogger [LINK] or Freelance Writing Gigs [LINK], you need to send your pitch immediately. These hunters get hundreds of replies. One of the ways to stand out is to be one of the first. After a day or two, you might as well not even apply.

Be responsive to your prospects and your pitches. This strategy should be a personal rule of yours.

 

#3: Add Personality to Your Pitches

People are so sick of salesy, boring, unpersonalized, or templated pitches.

They make your prospects’ eyes glaze over. They make your prospects wonder if you’re really even a good writer if you can’t even make your pitches a little bit interesting.

You’re a writer. Your pitches are one of the best places to showcase that writing talent, for crying out loud!

Give your pitches some personality!

What I mean by that is, put some energy and passion into your pitches. One recent example I can use is a pitch in which I admitted the “fire in my belly” for the clients’ subject matter and spoke to him like a human. He was impressed with the pitch and chose me over myriads of others because of the personality I allowed to shine through.

People can hear excitement in your pitches. Let them know you resonate with their subject matter. You don’t need to be unprofessional to exude that energy either.

 

 

Well, that’s it for today’s post on getting your freelance pitches to convert!

Let me tell you, if you use even ONE of these tactics for your next batch of freelance pitches, you’re going to notice way more replies. Use all three, and you’ll notice major changes in the way your pitches convert.

At least, that’s been my experience…

 

I just posted a video about this subject on my Youtube Channel. Make sure you subscribe to my channel to make sure you catch all my videos when they go live.

Want to learn more about pitching clients and building your freelance portfolio? Check out my free 7-day series, Freelance Freedom From Corporate.

How about you?

Are you going to give these strategies a shot? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you already use these strategies, what are some other ways you use to land more freelance writing clients? I’ll meet you in the comments!

Read This Before Buying the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan

Is the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan worth it?

So, you’re on the fence about purchasing the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. You just can’t see throwing $150 out there on a glorified recipe book.

That’s how I felt too.

Heck, if I wanted to, I could find all the recipes online somewhere. I could probably find a bootlegged copy somewhere, but that makes me feel dirty.

I followed Tone It Up for a good two years before finally caving. Those thoughts above are why I didn’t make the leap sooner.

But after finally caving, I realized that it wasn’t just a recipe book I purchased.

Oh wait, before we go any further, let me just preface this by saying, I’m not an affiliate of Tone It Up at all. I don’t even think they have an affiliate program, otherwise I would’ve signed up. Their word-of-mouth marketing is strong enough to not need one. This is just me speaking from my own experience of being a 5-year member myself.

 

What you’re actually buying when you buy the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan:

You’re not just buying a recipe book for $150. That’s preposterous. I wouldn’t do that either. Amazon has plenty of amazing recipe books for under $10.

No, what you’re actually buying is your ticket into the inner TIU circle.

When you sign up, you get all the member benefits and you get to play with all the other TIU girls. You don’t have to “wonder” anymore about the plan, searching Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Images for sneak peeks of the pages. Haha, I see you;) (I did it too.)

Along with the recipe book, you also get a nutrition guidebook. It teaches you some nutrient timing basics and reasoning behind the plan. It gives you the plan breakdown and walks you through the benefits of eating lean, clean, and green. It also makes eating this way really fun…and hot! It’s not a crazy serious “diet” like some of the other plans out there. It’s a way to have fun with good nutritious food and hang out with your girlfriends in the process.

The plan also includes the infamous 7-day slimdown, Tone It Up’s proprietary slimdown-for-an-event plan that you’ll hear everyone in the community talking about.

Speaking of which…The level of FOMO that you feel in the community is enough to sign up alone, amiright? You see all the posts on Instagram of what everyone is eating, you feel the excitement when new plans come out, and you see everyone sharing their printed book pictures and you feel left out. There’ll be no more FOMO when you finally get it!

And it really works! You can see the evidence in all the transformation pictures out there. You see my own story! I have a seriously difficult time losing weight, and even I have been able to lose the weight when I follow the plan.

Another benefit of signing up is the member emails and exclusive discounts. Members get their hands on everything first. And they get their hands on some things that others don’t. There are some great members-only sales and discounts on TIU retreats, merchandise, apparel, and Perfect Fit.

 

 

You might say I have a (healthy) addiction. #toneitup #tiuteam #tiuplan #bbg #thekaylamovement #michellebridges #12wbt

A post shared by Jessica Collins (@jess_flashfit) on


Members also get access to all past and future editions of the plan and all the series meal plans. Every time Karena and Katrina launch a series, like the Bikini Series, a new meal plan comes out with additional recipes, along with weekly meal plans and grocery lists. You’re basically getting your eating plans for weeks and months at a time handed to you on a pretty coral and teal platter (probably with an etched mermaid on it to boot!).

It makes it a whole lot easier to follow along with their plans and get major results if you’re a plan member.

Another benefit: you’re only eligible for some of the series grand prizes if you’re a nutrition plan member. To be a Bikini Series grand prize winner, which is being selected right now, you must be a nutrition plan member.

You also get access to some exclusive groups in the community and on Facebook if you’re a member. They’ll only let you in if you are a paid member (and not a bootlegged one either, just FYI).

It’s a one-time fee of $150 to get you all.of.that!

 

As a businessperson, I can appreciate how TIU could’ve used a whole different business model and made a whole lot more money if they would’ve set things up differently. They could’ve created a membership program where members pay a monthly fee, which would’ve added up to well over $150 within a few months. That’s what a lot of other online businesses are doing.

Now it doesn’t sound too bad to pay $150 to become a plan member for life, right?

Do yourself a favor and just buy it already😉 M’kay? Call it an early (or late) birthday present for yourself.

Then come back here, and let me know in the comments that you did.

 

Those of you TIU babes who are already members, what is your favorite part about being a member?

Exactly How the Tone It Up Bikini Series Helped Me Lose 9 lbs (So Far!)

I showed you my transformation pictures in my last post (*shields eyes with hand*).

Complete TIU Bikini Series

And I’ve told you before how I will have a really hard time losing weight, despite working out 6 days a week religiously and eating *pretty* healthy.

Seriously, my weight after baby #2 has crept up past my highest weight ever, despite doing everything I know to do. I’m working out way harder than I did when I was at my heaviest (I was sedentary), more than anyone I know, and eating waaaaay more healthy than I did then (all-you-can-eat a lot).

It’s infuriating to say the least!

I’m still higher than my previous highest weight when I was sedentary, but it’s finally budging. Especially with the Bikini Series.

So, how was it that the Tone It Up Bikini Series finally did the trick?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.

I really wanted to get to the bottom of it, because I want to be able to help other people. And I want to be able to return to this whenever I need a jump-start again.

weight loss before after tone it up nutrition plan

How was it that the weight came off this time?

  1. I followed the Tone it Up nutrition plan pretty closely. I chose Meals 1-5 from the nutrition plan and even had a nightly handful of dark chocolate chips. I had a few “off-plan” days for sure, but ate 95% on the plan. I really tightened up on the snacking, which was huge.
  2. I built my meals around veggies and lean protein: Start every meal with veggies and protein, because Lord knows we need more of those in our lives. If you’ve ever tracked your food for a few days, you’ve likely noticed that you don’t get enough veggies. That you eat too many carbs and too little protein. You likely just need to adjust that balance. You can do that by starting with protein and veggies at every meal and then building them out from there. Fats and carbs aren’t evil though. So, I had a lot of protein smoothies and egg scrambles for breakfast, salads and quinoa bowls for lunch, and chicken/veggie tray meals. Which leads to my next point…
  3. Don’t eat starches after 3pm. This is one of the recommendations on the plan. Our dinners tended to be chicken and veggies, sprayed with olive oil and peppered with seasoning. I tried to stay away from potatoes and noodles for dinner. Where I come from, that’s blasphemous. LOL. Meat and potatoes are dinner, not chickpeas and broccoli. But really. There’s something about starches at night that make your body hang onto it. I notice that I always weigh heavier in the mornings after I eat starchy dinners.
  4. Don’t think so much about food! Our culture has so many polarizing emotions around food. But food is just a thing that fuels our bodies. It’s important, but we don’t need to think about it so hard. I didn’t let thoughts about food get away from me in between meals. I prepped all my meals and I had extra snacks on hand, so I didn’t need to think about food all day. I knew what was coming and what to eat next, so I didn’t have to think about it. Without food on my mind, I didn’t feel compelled to keep eating when I didn’t need to.
  5. Don’t eat after 6-7pm. There’s something about eating late at night that makes our bodies hang on tight too. Allow your body to digest your last meal for at least two hours before bed. Your body needs to spend its sleeping time repairing and rejuvenating your body, not digesting. Any food left over in your system that you didn’t need for the day will be stored as fat. No thanks!
  6. Don’t “wing it” on the weekends. I have a tendency to prep meals for the workweek and just leaving the weekends to chance. Bad idea. During the challenge, instead of winging it, I had a plan. I prepped every meal for the week, even on weekends, so the weekends didn’t destroy all my progress.
  7. Build in backup snacks for your backup snacks. You know you’re going to be hungrier some days than others. Instead of assuming you just won’t eat when you’re famished (bad idea!), make sure you have some lean, clean, and green backup snacks. Then, a few backups for your backups. It’s way better to have all these extra snacks within reach than to assume you’ll be fine, only to end up desperately reaching for Lucky Charms or whatever other sugary monstrosity you have stashed away. When you’re hungry, eat. Just make sure it’s nutritious. Don’t starve and then cave!
  8. Jump into a fitness community: whether it’s on Tone it Up, Fitbit, Sparkpeople, Kayla Itsines, Lauren Gleisberg, Blogilates, or wherever else, find a tribe of fit-minded women you can join. The #tiuteam (that’s how you find them on Instagram) is super accepting and supportive of one another. Having hundreds of other TIU girls in my newsfeed and getting encouragement from them on my posts always energizes me. When you scroll through a newsfeed of women who’ve already worked out at 5 in the morning, you feel compelled to jump out of bed and get your own workout on. Several other fitness platforms have communities built around them too. Find one and jump in. The motivation works! They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Are those people fit-minded for you?
  9. Drink. Like, a lot. Drink until you aren’t thirsty. And then drink a little more. Honestly, if your body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t work correctly. Your metabolism can’t work correctly. So drink first before you eat to make sure your hunger isn’t thirst in disguise.
  10. Work on getting better every day, not just trying to be perfect on the first day. I think we have it backwards. When we start “diets” or any new goal, we tend to want to jump in with perfection on the first day. But that kills us! What if we started with better-than-normal and just got better every day from there? Do your best, do better tomorrow. When I had a bad day, I just jumped back in better the next day, and it paid off! Constant improvement works out a lot better than all-or-nothing.
  11. Move more. Besides your workout, make sure you build more movement into your life. I noticed that my weight went down whenever my Fitbit stayed in the 8-10k range every day. On days when I wasn’t quite that active, nothing happened. On days when I was over 10k, I woke up lighter. Get up from your desk every hour, stretch, walk around, and don’t plop down at night.
  12. Get your family on-board. My hubby is a trucker, so he’s been gone, and I made my family aware that I was following a plan to eat healthier. Otherwise, ice cream and donuts e’eryday, between my mom and father-in-law. And as much as I’m disheartened by my husband being away for long stretches, it has been really good for my weight loss efforts. Before, he was our chief dinner maker, which weren’t healthy. Hey, I can’t complain about a man who cooks dinner for his family, so I ate anything he graciously made. But once I had to start making dinner for myself and the kids, my weight started going down. I have control over what’s on our plates at night again, so I can make it healthy.
  13. I no longer have work temptations. Yay for freelance life! No more office donuts, vendor treat boxes, birthday treats, vending machines, and catered meals. Everything I grocery shop for and have at-hand are the only things I eat, and they are only healthy things. Makes eating healthy a whole lot easier.

Well, there you have it. My full analysis of why the Tone It Up nutrition plan worked when nothing else did.

To keep the momentum going, I’ve jumped into Round 2 of the Bikini Series, along with another group of women (more support!). So, I’ll be following the plan again for another 8 weeks to hopefully keep progressing from here. It’s working. I’m not going to mess with it. Plus, I love the recipes and the way I feel, so I figure it’s best to keep going. That’s what they mean about making a lifestyle change anyway, right?

 

How about you?

What are the tweaks that you’ve made in the past that have worked for weight loss? Anyone else have an extra EXTRA hard time losing weight?

2017 Tone it Up Bikini Series Transformation Results

So, the results are in for the 2017 Tone It Up Bikini Series.

Now, please be gentle with me, because I’ve never a posted a vulnerable picture of myself, like this, in a two-piece, on the internet before.

I hesitate….

But then again, I so BAD want you to know and SEE my results. I want that more than I want to hide.

 

So, here goes…

My results for the 2017 Tone It Up Bikini Series

 

Tone it up bikini series transformation picture

Before (April 2017) and After (June 2017)

 

tone it up bikini series before and after

 

Tone it up bikini series results

My happy “after” picture, after completing the TIU Bikini Series

 

 

Okay, okay I know the transformation in the pictures is hard to pinpoint. They don’t look that much different to me either.

For one, the distance from the camera is different, so that changes the perspective.

We don’t even need to mention the lighting.

But the real transformation?

You’d have to talk to me (or read this post;) to know more about the true transformation.

 

Let’s pull out the numbers first though:

Pounds lost: 9

Inches lost: 3.5″

Satisfaction meter: through the roof!

Non-weight changes: I did a cartwheel in the living room with my son (hehe, picture that!) without “seeing stars” and the lower back pain I was having from running outside went away! Must be all those deadlifts and ab work.

It never cease to amaze me that getting fit can actually make activities easier and that it actually alleviates pain!

 

If you’ve read this blog for awhile, you know I’ve been having a hard time losing any weight whatsoever. To be down 9 lbs might as well be 109. It felt impossible!

I’ve even been to the doctor to talk about it (And a nutritionist. And a wellness coordinator. And, and and…) Everyone said I was already doing what I should be, better than most people.

Yeah, but…

That’s not very helpful!

I’ve religiously worked out 6 days a week for forever and eat healthier than anyone I know (not to mention I’m a fitness professional), yet my weight wouldn’t budge, except to go up.

I’ve felt ashamed about it, often. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

 

But then it happened!

 

The scale started to move. I didn’t put my hopes in it too hard.

But then it started to move some more! What the actual…?

 

Somehow, over the course of 8 weeks, I lost 9lbs. That’s a tad over 1lb per week, that all added up. I even had a few “off” or “cheat” days in there. But that didn’t reverse my progress.

I just can’t even believe it!

I can’t even tell you how pleased this makes me feel. How light. How hopeful. How thankful.

I guess a few little tweaks really can make a heckuva difference. But not just any tiny tweaks. Really effective ones.

 

About that…

I will be back shortly with a follow-up post about what is it about Tone it Up that I think made all the difference in the world. Because I wanted so badly to “figure it out.” Figure out why this worked when nothing else did. Figure out what exactly helped, so I know what to do if I ever need another “refresh.”

But most importantly, so I can help you!

I know what to do now! I KNOW WHAT TO DO NOW!!!

Then, after that, I’ll be back with another post on what I think about the nutrition plan. If you’re on the fence about buying it, you’ll want to read this one!

 

So, what now?

I joined a group of women to do Round 2 of the Tone it Up Bikini Series. Since this plan is working so well, I might as well keep going with it. If it ain’t broke…right?

By fall, when my “baby” turns 3, if everything goes right, I plan to be down to pre-pregnancy weight.

You just watch! 🙂

Just think, if you lose 1lb a week, where you could be in three months. No, I mean, really think about that! That goes for anything. If you have a project you want to complete, weight or otherwise, think about where you could be in three months if you worked on it a little every day.

 

How about you?

What were your results for the Tone it Up Bikini Series this year? What are you going to work on a little every day for the next three months?

Backyard Nature Notes: Planting a Healing Backyard Garden

*This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend items that I’ve personally used and recommend.

 

This year, I improved my garden and expanded from not just an anti-anxiety garden from last year to more of a more generalized healing garden.

So full disclosure, the lavender and chamomile I planted last year died off. I had to replant them this year. Since I’m home every day now, I don’t intend to let that happen again. I am able to be much more attentive with the watering and weeding.

I usually take a walk around the yard every day, and that will trigger me to care for them for sure. So far, they seem to be flourishing, which makes me so proud.

Let’s start with the book that made this all come to life.

I found this little gem at a work book sale last year. What I did was page through to figure out what ingredients were pretty prominent and in the recipes I really wanted to make.

 

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I found that chamomile, lavender, and violets were in the bulk of the recipes. Sold!

So, those went on the list.

 

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Then, I wanted a small herb garden for some of my favorite flavors. We were going to replant some of the chives from our old house, but someone dug them up, so I added those to the list.

So, that’s basically how I put my list together. I wrote down the herbs and flowers I intend on actually using for homemade beauty products and cooking.

 

 

Plant a simple healing backyard garden with herbs and medicinal plants

 

So, here’s what we planted for our healing garden this year:

 

Chamomile and lavender: both are calming and aromatic. Chamomile and lavender also have a myriad of medicinal properties (just click those links to read more). I’ll probably make lots of chamomile tea this summer and hopefully some fun lavender-scented natural products. I’ve never grown either of these successfully from seed. So, I would suggest buying them from a nursery and tending to (i.e. watering) them every day.

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Asparagus: This superfood was already growing wild in a random patch in our yard. It just makes my heart so happy to have such a great healthy vegetable randomly popping up in your yard. It’s like my lawn leaves me little surprises;)

Lemon balm: This is one herb touted most for its anti-anxiety properties, but it has many other uses too. My plant came back nicely from last year. I still have some of the lemon balm tincture I made to last me through until harvest time.

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Violets: I just had to get these because they’re edible and they make a great addition to handmade lotions and potions, like the ones in the book above. They also have many health benefits. You can do so many things with violets!

Elderberry: We were just about to leave the greenhouse when I saw an elderberry plant inside the store. I keep seeing elderberry come up in the Insta feeds of some of my favorite herbalists, so I was like “why not?” Once I start getting berries, I will research more about how to use them and what they’re good for. I know they’re very powerful for cold and flu season.

 

Backyard herb garden (all perennials):

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Chives: we had chives at our old house, but someone dug them up. So, I was excited to find some at the greenhouse. We use these for everything. Scrambled eggs, loaded baked potatoes, potato salads, all the things.

Rosemary: I love how you can use the stalks as skewers for kabobs. We’ll be using this for cooking a lot.

Basil: Basil is another herb for everything. We’ll add it to soups, salads, everything.

Mint: I can’t wait to put some mint in my water! And I’ll probably make some refreshing homemade products with this too. Mint is great to have around and it’s so easy to grow. We also had mint at the old house, but one deep frost we had a few years ago choked it off.

 

So, this is where I’m starting this year. I don’t have a vegetable garden because I just don’t wanna. Haha. I’ve done all of that before and I just have no desire this year. There are plenty of farmer’s markets around here, so I have plenty of access to fresh homegrown food.

The herbs and medicinal plants, however, are harder to find. Which stumps me. Because they’re so miraculous and enchanting! Nature is just so freaking amazing! How come everyone isn’t growing them? Hehe.

Let me just tell you that I am not a professional gardener or herbalist. Far from it! I simply enjoy these green delights and try to keep them alive as best as I can. I just wanted you to know that so you know this is completely accessible to you too!

I’m not some guru.

These are not out of reach.

We could all use a little more green miracles in our lives.

So tell me, why isn’t everyone growing herbs and medicinal plants in their backyard? Because why not?

What It Means to Experience Full-Bodied Living

What is Full Bodied Living

 

I’ve been exploring this concept of full-bodied living lately.

(I even looked to see if the url was available. It’s not. But then I realized it fits right here on this site).

 

Full bodied living is…

Living with your full body…and spirit and mind and soul.

Allowing them all to grow and thrive and build upon each other.

Because if one system is wonky, they’ll all be out of alignment. You can’t focus only on one.

 

I talk a lot about fitness on here, but really mental and spiritual health are just as important. I feel more and more like I can’t discuss fitness without discussing mindset and spiritual progress.

It’s something that’s completely in alignment with this website, with my cause, with what I believe in.

Not only do we need fitness and good nutrition to feed our physical bodies, we need certain habits to take care of our mental and spiritual sides as well.

And rather than being drug along by agendas and responsibilities and expectations, we need to take control and follow our hearts and live in full expression of ourselves

I would say full-bodied living is about “living life to the fullest,” but that expression has been so overdone and watered down that it doesn’t feel right, even though it’s exactly spot-on if you really think about it.

Full-bodied living is about stretching and being intentional
about living each day to its full potential.

 

This past Memorial weekend was the perfect example of that, for me.

I went to bed each night utterly spent, in the most delicious way.

It wasn’t the deflated and exhausted type of “spent.” It was the fulfilled and full-bodied living type of spent. Stick around until the end of the post for my best tips, so you can live it too!

It started on Saturday, when we headed out for some good ole Memorial Day rummage saleing.

I love rummage saleing. It feels like a treasure hunt to me. I love finding things that no one else has, like vintage belts, handmade necklaces, and treasures dug up from half a decade ago.

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These two are just happy to be along

 

Some people see junk. I see unique one-of-a-kind treasures.

I also found some sporty clothes for my son and My Little Pony stuff for my daughter because My Little Pony makes her (and me) happy;)

Afterward, once we were home, I felt this overwhelming need to purge the house. Big time!

Bring new stuff in, get rid of even more stuff. It’s all about balance.

Plus, a tidy(ish) home makes me happy, so the clutter had to go.

What started as a small project turned into about 8 hours of tidying, purging, organizing, and scratching around until my home felt calm again. It was a thorough spring cleaning. It felt sooooooo good.

I also worked out my body in a way that you could call “functional.” My workout for the day was being functional. It wasn’t a workout that prepared my body for daily activities, the workout was the daily activities.

I have never seen this number on my FitBit before. The product of cleaning and going up and down the basement stairs a million and a half times. I even washed, brushed and braided the hair of all Rayna’s new dolls before dropping utterly spent into bed.

 

IMG_2859.JPGPure day fulfillment

On Sunday, since Hubster was gone, I invited my parents to take a road trip with us to Wisconsin Dells. I had been sitting at my desk last week, thinking about how amazing it is that it’s summer, wanting to do something super summery when I decided on the most summery place around here I know. Wisconsin Dells.

We took the day very leisurely, with no plans at all except to explore and just soak up the summery goodness.

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We started at the Deer Park, because if there’s one place we have to go every time we go to the Dells, it’s the deer park. We could spend all day there. There were so.many.babies. Like, super fresh straight-from-the-oven babies. Gheeeee!

 

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Super awwwwww!

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Where else can you get this close?

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An unafraid tiny human

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Spirit animal moment

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This monkey cracked me up. He would adjust himself and then slowly return to this “Om” position. Then he’d pluck something off his partner and slowly return to the om position. Zen monkey business.

After that, we found a nice park downtown to have our picnic lunch. We had quite the healthy spread. And the kids enjoyed the park. My dad had been up for nearly 24 hours at this point (third shift), so he took a little snooze under a tree. See. Slow and leisurely perfection.
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Then, we headed downtown for some casual strolling/people-watching/shopping. It was just such a beautiful day and soaking up the high energy of summer and travel and happy people. We didn’t buy much. Some of the stuff for sale there has been the same since I was a kid. But the buzzy, excited, warm energy? That’s exactly what I needed.

 

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Kayne and grandpa paint-ballin’

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That view though!

We made one more stop before we left. Kayne saved his allowance money to take his grandpa go-karting (precious!). And although he wasn’t tall enough to drive himself like he was hoping, the unadulterated smile on that kid’s face was everything.

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Monday, we headed over to High Cliff for a cookout with my sister and her family. Hubster and I watched the small kids while everyone else went exploring. We traded in the high energy of the previous days with a lower laid-back energy. I just relaxed and read on a picnic blanket. I did take one small leisurely hike with this handsome kid.

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Major forest therapy

But mostly I just sank into my blanket and thought about stuff. Even came up with a few great ideas while lounging. Afterward, on the ride home, I felt a peace like no other. It was exactly what I needed.

(Speaking of forest therapy, I just created a new website over at www.forestbathingcentral.com. I’m only getting started on it, but I’m putting together a program full of exercises for forest bathing or shinrin-yoku, because it’s become an integral part of my full-bodied living regimen. So stay tuned!)

 

So, let me give you a few tips on full-bodied living from what I’ve been learning.

 

My advice for full-bodied living:

Live your days with your entire body. Get the most out of your physical body. Take care of your mental wellbeing. Embrace your spiritual side. Do everything you can each day to live with your entire being: body, mind and spirit. Always work on improving yourself, mind, body, and spirit. Not from a place of inferiority, but from a place of growth. When you feel so deliciously spent at the end of a day, and you feel like you’ve accomplished so much, that’s when you know you’ve lived with your full body.

Take time for rest. After you’ve lived with your full body, you might feel the need to slow down for a bit. That’s OK. Sometimes the frenzy and high energy need a counterbalance to prevent it from turning into dissonance and irritability.

Resting is good, but not all the time. Rest should happen after you’ve lived with your full body, and it should be temporary. The full-bodied living? That’s what should take up the majority of your time. Not the resting. Rest only long enough to feel the frenzy slipping away and the calm taking over, and not a moment longer. Sleeping all day is a sign of depression. Living all day is a sign of elevation.

Rest should be productive. Resting doesn’t mean spending an entire day in front of the TV streaming Netflix. Unless you’re sick. Rest should still be productive. You can still take a leisurely stroll or read or knit or do something. You know how one might take “active rest days” from exercise where they are still active, but not hardcore? You also need “active rest time” from overwhelm, but not too long. When you feel like you’ve been sitting too long, it’s time to move. That’s why I make it a point to get up from my desk once an hour, because an hour feels too long to sit. Rest shouldn’t feel depleting. It should feel reviving.

Figure out what your body needs and feed it that. When I felt like I needed warm buzzy summer energy, I made it happen with our road trip. When I feel like my body is being weighed down by sugar and fat and chemicals, I ease up and feed it clean ingredients (like what I’m eating on the Tone it up nutrition plan). When I feel like too much “stuff” in my house is stifling my energy, I make time to gut it. After I did all those things and felt I needed to slow down a bit, I rested. I lived the weekend in complete alignment with what it required.

 

What about you?

Do you practice full-bodied living, or has this post at least inspired you to want to? What was your favorite or most productive part about Memorial Day weekend?

How To Get Published On The Huffington Post

How to get published on the Huffington Post

 

Get published on the Huffington Post. That concept is a big intimidating beast that us freelancers shudder to think about. We’re unworthy. We’re not smart enough. We could never possibly think we’re good enough to get published on the Huffington Post!

Then, one day, you see a post like this and realize how approachable it actually is.

Wait a minute, what’s that? You can actually get published on the Huffington Post?

Yes, friends!

 

That’s exactly why I’m writing this. Getting published on the Huffington Post won’t be some big scary untouchable goal anymore! It will become possible.

Now, I will say, if you end up getting published on the Huffington Post, you’re going to have one of the most powerful writing samples for your portfolio. So make sure you’re strategic about this.

I ended up getting published at the very beginning of my freelance journey, so I had a superior writing sample for my portfolio straight from the starting line. It was genius!

 

Take a peek at my article: How Fitness Entrepreneurs Work Out When They Only Have 30 Minutes. (It’s a great read. Everyone learned something!)

 

Want the most kick-a$$ of writing samples for your portfolio too?

 

How to get published on the Huffington Post:

1. Come up with a killer pitch idea

Then refine it some more.

What I mean is, come up with a great pitch idea and then think about how you could make it even better, because that’s how you’ll come up with the best pitches.

When coming up with a pitch idea, make sure your post is niche-specific and of value to your ideal client to get the most out of this opportunity. Sure, you could write any old post that interests you. But if you can write a post that speaks to your ideal client, then you can maximize the platform to do some extra marketing work for you. It will become a great marketing piece for you and your business.

So, what do I mean by a niche-specific article for your ideal client?

It should be a niche-specific post directed at your ideal client.

Ok so, say you’re a healthcare blog writer for supplement companies. You are going to want to write a post that demonstrates your expertise to them.

But also remember, Huff Post is for the general public to find articles of interest. It’s not a platform for supplement sales or marketing.

So, write an article that interests the general public, that shows your ideal client your expertise. Something they could see sharing on their own blog or social media platforms that would benefit their own readers.

 

Instead of: 5 Major Marketing Opportunities Your Supplement Company Doesn’t Know About Yet

Try: 5 Questions You Have While Standing in The Supplement Aisle, Answered!

 

After that, I might even try to refine that headline even more or take an even better angle. That one sounds pretty good actually, but it will make your pitch shine if you refine it.

Cool, now that you have a topic, it’s time to work on the pitch.

 

2. Find out who to pitch

Next, you need to figure out who to send your pitch to. You need to find the right person, or your email will never be seen. Do NOT send your pitch to one of the Huff Post general email addresses. You can do better than that!

I sent my email straight to Arianna, but she has since stepped away from Huff Post. So, you need to sleuth out the proper editor and find their email address. Start with this page and find the name of the editor for the category your particular article will fall under. If I were pitching for the first time today, I would try to find the email addresses for Anna Almendrala or Erin Schumaker because they’re the Health Living editors.

Get Published on the Huffington Post: Find the right editor

Otherwise, you can use this Huffington Post blog pitch form. If you don’t hear back from one, try the other. After a few weeks, feel free to pitch again. If you get a rejection once, it doesn’t matter.

You can continue pitching until you get a “yes.”

 

3. Put together a killer pitch

Address your email to the name of the editor. “Hey Anna…” Then, create a compelling lead-in. A question or a very provocative statement is a great intro line.

The very first line the editor sees needs to make them read more. Make it good!

Try something like: “You’re doing your workout all wrong!” or “You won’t even believe what this mom did to put her special-needs daughter through college!”

Don’t gush and don’t lead in with a “why I should write for you” spiel. Lead right in with your pitch.

Next, tell the editor why this article would benefit them and how it would be different from the bajillions of other posts they see daily. “I think this would be a compelling read for your Healthy Living visitors.” Or “Everyone talks about how to save money for college, but this article has some ninja money-raising tips that your readers have probably never heard before!”

Be short and succinct. One lead-in line. One 2-3 sentence paragraph about why it’s an amazing post. Then, if you wish, you can include about two sentences at the end with your credentials. Even that is optional. The magic is in the pitch itself, not the bio. Your pitch will also speak for itself about your writing ability in how it’s written.

 

4. Hit “Send” baby

Take a deep breath and hit send. The cool thing is, like I said, you can always pitch again or you can try pitching someone else next time. The hardest part is doing it the first time.

 

Whew! You did it!

That was the easy part! Gathering all the interview guests and their quotes and pictures was much more difficult. I ended up getting over 100 responses for my post, which was a good problem to have.

If you want to know how I did it…

I’m putting together a super in-depth study of how I got published in the Huffington Post. It’s part of a bigger Freelance Freedom from Corporate course I’m putting together.

This course will go into major depth, giving you the exact pitch email that got accepted and the exact strategy for how I got over 100 submissions for my post, including a few major fitness celebrities! I’ll also spill about the residual goodies that came out of connecting with these businesses.

To make sure you’re the first to find out about it and get a tiny taste for it, sign up for my mini 7-day intro course to Freelance Freedom from Corporate. Once you see how much value is packed into that 7-day series, you’ll want to make sure you get on that list. (Click this link or sign up in the bar at the top of this post).

 

If you get published on the Huffington Post or another big name, put that piece in your portfolio and share the heck out of it. You also earned the right to put one of those “as seen in…” strips on your website, featuring the Huffington Post. Cool, huh?

And not quite as hard as you were thinking, right?

 

If you use this guide to get published on the Huff Post, I’d love to hear about it and read it, so come back and post it here;)

Backyard Nature Notes: Collecting and Studying Caterpillars

*This post may contain affiliate links, at no additional cost to you.

Studying caterpillars

 

Caterpillars are one of those childhood pleasures that still make us giddy as adults.

Just me?

I didn’t think so.

So, when Hubster brought this fine fuzzy fellow to me, I had a gut reaction to say “can we keep him?”

 

Ctenucha Virginica caterpillar

 

We love keeping and learning about critters in this household. I always feel like the more we learn about nature, the more alive it becomes.

The more we understand nature, the more magical it seems.

We live in the country, so we’re surrounded by more natural wonders than we ever have before. In fact, we’re actively trying to cultivate a magical backyard. But with caterpillars, there’s not much we have to do. They’re just always around.

So, we try to learn about whatever we can. We’ve bought books to study bits and pieces of nature. And I don’t mean dry textbook types of study. I mean the “everything is coming alive” types of study.

 

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A few of our recent favorites from Amazon:

This really brings nature to life with the most beautiful pictures and page spreads.

Since we live in the Midwest, this book is helping us tune in to our own environment, identifying animal tracks, trees, wildflowers and butterflies.

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My Field Guide didn’t seem to show the caterpillar we found though.

So, whenever we come across something we don’t know about, we turn to our friend, Google. Like you do.

So, we used our good friend to figure out that this is the Ctenucha Virginica. I searched something like “fuzzy yellow and black caterpillar WI” and figured it out from there.

Then, we did some digging to learn more about the caterpillar. What does it eat? Where does it live? What does it look like when it changes into a moth?

Well, to answer those questions: grass, grasses and sedges, a black hornet with an iridescent underbelly.

Since the Ctenucha Virginica caterpillar has a yellow and black fuzzy pattern like a bee and will turn into a hornet-looking moth, we named him Sting.

We decided to give Sting a home in our house. We used a Chinese egg drop soup take-out container for him with holes in the lid.

 

simple caterpillar home

 

After three days of not eating, we considered sending Sting back off into the great outdoors to do his own thing. I started to question our competence in keeping him.

But then…

He created a cocoon! Out of his own freaking fuzzy hairs!

Ctenucha Virginica Cocoon

Ctenucha Virginica caterpillar cocoon

And now, I can see the black moth he’ll turn into through the fuzzy hairs!

And our home has now become his temporary home! The place his transformation will take place!

I feel like a proud momma!

Well, to turn this entire thing into a learning experience for my kids (and pretty much anyone who walks in our door–or clicks on my site–that I can show), I made a journal page for Sting and everything we could find about him. Because I love a good visual as a visual person.

 

Ctenucha Virginica journal page

Ctenucha Virginica nature journal page

 

So, using our own experience as a guide, here is a simple caterpillar study guide you can use with your own kids:

kids caterpillar study guide

 

This.

This is exactly what brings me alive!

To play in, learn about, nurture, get involved in, get excited about, study, touch, appreciate…nature!

Does it do that for you too?

Or haven’t you explored it yet?

Today I encourage you to get outside, study something, and then look it up and journal about it.

Then, report back here or tag me on Instagram (@Jess_Flashfit) with your pictures!

Third Time’s a Charm: Why Three Sets of Exercises are Optimal

3 sets exercise for optimal lean muscle mass

 

I love how Tone It Up has us doing three sets of all their Daily Moves for the Bikini Series. Because the third time really is a charm!

Three sets of each exercise is perfect for building lean muscle mass.

Let me show you what I mean.

The first set

The first set of an exercise is sort of a warm-up set. It gets your muscles used to the idea of a move. Your brain and muscle fibers start firing to meet the demands of the exercise.

The second set

The second set usually feels easier than the first set, because your body is warmed up now and your brain is ready for the moves this time. At this point, you’re starting to burn through major calories because all your systems are “go,” especially if you run through the sets with little rest in between moves.

The third set

The third set is what counts! On the third set, your muscles should be nearing fatigue. And if you remember this quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, you’ll know why:

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger quote last reps count

Share me!

 

The last few repetitions of the last set are where change comes from.

Those are the repetitions that you need to burn through to create change.

Remember that next time you’re struggling at the end of your workout. The last few reps are where change comes from, so push through! You deserve it!

The result of this kind of training is lean muscle mass, exactly what most of us women want. Most of us aren’t working toward hypertrophy (muscle building) or athletic power. We’re just trying to lean out and build some definition.

 

How about you…

Where are my TIU girls at? How is the lean muscle building going for you?

How to Create A Freelance Writer Website From Scratch

freelance writer website

 

So, in this post I’m going to teach you exactly how to build a freelance writer website from scratch.

But I want to explain why you need one in the first place. Because not all freelance writers are convinced they need one for some weird reason;)

 

Why you need a freelance writer website:

It’s simple: you own a business. If you can’t be found online today, you don’t exist. You must not be legit. You must not be very serious about your business. (I might even go out on a limb and say, you seem a bit like a fraud or scam? Ever thought it was fishy when you couldn’t find a business’s website online?)

A website is going to allow you to market yourself in ways that nothing else can. First of all, it provides bona fide evidence that you know how to write website copy and can help others with theirs because your own web copy will prove it.

Also, a large percentage of clients require you to have working WordPress knowledge to write blog posts for them. Building your own website on WordPress is going to give you that working knowledge that you need for them. You’re going to need to know how to use it anyway.

 

Another way to think about this is, why would you not create a website?

The cost to start a freelance writing business? Is the cost of your website. That is the lowest startup costs for a business EVER!

Plus, all your website hosting costs are tax deductible business expenses.

 

So, if you know you need a website and you haven’t built one yet, take a few minutes right now to put one together. Do it while your energy is high and you’re excited about it. You can bookmark this page for later, but if you keep avoiding it, you’ll never do it. Right now is a good time. Got 5 minutes?

 

How to create a freelance writer website in under 5 minutes:

  1. Go to Bluehost’s Home Page and click on the “Get Started Now” button. See that? You’re doing it! (And it’s not as hard as you were thinking).

How to Start a Freelance Writer Website

[Click Me to Follow Along]

 

2. On the next page, it says to Select Your Plan. Select Basic. You can always upgrade later.

Start a freelance website in minutes

 

 

3. Type in the domain name you want for your business. If you’re not sure about your domain name yet, a popup box will come up allowing you to go forward without a domain name. You get one free domain with your purchase, so you don’t have to use a separate site for that.

How to create a website with Bluehost

 

4. Create your account with Bluehost. All very straightforward.

Create a freelance website from scratch

Then scroll down a little and choose your plan. You save money if you buy several years’ worth of hosting up front. That $3.95/month? That’s the introductory rate, so go with as many months as you can. You can also add any extra features like SiteLock, which hides your address from everyone on the internet (I talk about protecting your identity in this post):

step by step guide create website with Bluehost

Scroll down a little more and enter your payment information. Read through and accept all the terms and conditions. Remember this is an investment, not an expense.

Walk through how to create a website

Then, click submit. You’ll be asked to verify your purchase and create your password. That’s IT!!!

Congratulations! You have a freelance writer website!

 

Now, you’ll want to install WordPress right away, since you’re on a roll here. Get ‘er done while you’re at it.

 

How to install WordPress to your Bluehost Site

This is too easy. It’s a one-click install.

Now that you’re logged into Bluehost, click on the “cpanel” tab at the top of the page.

how to install wordpress on bluehost

 

Then, click on Install WordPress and follow the directions from there!

 

Install WordPress on Bluehost

Bluehost 9

You’ll choose the domain you want to install WordPress on (probably the domain you just created). Or just call that number at the top of your screen and have someone at WordPress walk you through the process. I have faith in you though.

domain to install wordpress to bluehost

 

The next page should just confirm your admin information and give you the terms and conditions. After entering and reading through that, simply hit “Next” and it will start happening. The top bar will show you the progress.

 

install wordpress on freelance writer website

 

Then, you’ll be all set! You’ll be able to log into your WordPress site with the login and password provided at yoursite.com/wp-admin.

 

What brand new WordPress site looks like

 

That wasn’t so bad, was it? You have a freaking website now!

 

Now, it may take a little while to figure out how to navigate WordPress, but it comes with playing around and maybe watching a tutorial or seven. And almost any question you have can be answered with a simple Google or Youtube search.

 

I will come back soon with a post about the Make Theme and how I use it to build pages on my website. Many entrepreneurs use Divi, but I’ve found Make to be satisfactory for drop-and-drag capabilities. You can simply search your Plugins for the Make Theme by Theme Foundry to get it installed. A plugin is just a tool you add to your website backend that makes everything easier for non-developer people to do. In other words, instead of learning code to design your website, plugins can do most of it for you.

The other plugins I would suggest having for your freelance writer website (just install them and figure them out later):

  • Akismet: spam filter.
  • All in One WP Security: security for your website.
  • Google Analytics: see info about your site’s traffic, most popular posts, and audience behavior.
  • Magic action box/optin forms/SumoMe: choose one of these free plugins to add an opt-in form to your website. I have all three connected so I can have multiple opt-in boxes.
  • Photo Express for Google: this is a lifesaver plugin that gives me access to my smartphone pictures for blog posts.
  • Shareaholic: adds icons to your posts to encourage readers to share them on social media.
  • Updraft Plus-Backup/restore: backup your website. Just do it. Websites gets hacked every day.
  • WP Edit: This allows you to put extra features on your text editing toolbar.
  • WP Google Fonts: Gives you access to a ton of fonts, not just the four WordPress comes with.
  • Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you optimize your blog posts for search.

 

That’s about it for the basics of setting up a website! That’s all there really is to it. Feel free to play around to get a feel for WordPress.

 

If you used this post to build your own website, would you come back and share a link so I can see it? I love to see what others are creating! Any questions, drop a note in the comments!