On My Nightstand

My reading habits have steered into the business-ish aisle lately.

In January, I subjected my Book Club to this business gem: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior. I found it fascinating and many of them were actually interested enough to read it. Which is an accomplishment!

In February, a friend and I were chattering over lunch one day and she shared Gretchen Rubin’s year-long study of happiness, The Happiness Project. Dug it, too. I’d recommend this one to any woman out there who finds herself juggling wifedom, motherhood and a career. With all that going on, it’s easy to lose perspective.

Now I’m on Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. I stumbled across this one at the library last week. Just a few chapters in but liking it a lot. It’s converging a bunch of topics that I never really thought were linked: rented building,  once-robust parts of town and people’s need to amass large amounts of stuff. I am interested to see where all this goes.

If you have a book or two you’ve enjoyed lately, please share them in the comments. Always on the lookout for good reads!

Passion and Best Practices

I saw a great tweet earlier this week from Feedback Agency sharing a blog post from Jonathan Betz: a discussion of what he calls the Passion Gap. Here’s how he defines it:

“This, to me, is the difference between a product built by someone who is deeply invested in the in the underlying product idea, as compared to a product built by someone who is just trying to check off a set of feature boxes. This is what I think of as the Passion Gap.”

You can read the entire post here, but Jonathan felt some of Foursquare’s ongoing success in spite of Facebook Places’ introduction last year was founder Dennis Crowley. He’s so deeply invested in not just Foursquare, but the success of location-based marketing that he lives it and breathes it.

I thought that was a great observation.

In this day and age when so many companies spend so much effort analyzing others’ best practices in an effort to replicate success, there’s a key ingredient of the success they’ll never be able to capture.

The journey to a best practice is littered with experiments, ideas and results that never see daylight. There’s a level of immersion that adds depth to the work at hand. The journey can also include a “Dennis Crowley” who drives and pushes a “good” practice to the point where it evolves into a “best” practice.

All the information in the world is no substitute for passion. Today’s engaged consumers and clients can see and feel the Passion Gap so do what you can to close it. Or even better, make sure it never exists in the first place.

Billing 2.0

One of the items on my wordsmith to-do list last week was to look at FreshBooks. I’d seen the time tracking and invoicing program on a few other freelancer blogs so I made a note to check it out. Then I promptly threw myself into writing my first few projects and kept bumping my investigation down the list. Finally, I checked it out today and I am in love!

FreshBooks is built on offering painless billing and it’s free for up to three clients! Within a matter of a few hours, I filled in my client profiles, added all of wordsmith’s current projects and the accrued time to date for each. Then, I e-mailed my first invoice. No swearing. No complaining. No three-step process using three different programs.

FreshBooks makes billing and financials enjoyable even for a math-phobic person like me! John, who has a vested interest in wordsmith’s successful financial management, took a good-natured look at every “Ooo! Look at this!” and “Hey, check this out!” I’ve had in the account set up phase this afternoon.

Even if you’re not in the market for invoicing and time management software, take a look at the FreshBooks website and blog. It’s fun, fresh and injects some well-placed laughs into the blah-blahs of getting paid for what you do!

A blog post here. A blog post there.

I enjoyed blogging for the past few years for The Adams Group. It was a lesson in so many things.

Social media as it relates to hospitals, a modern house and the lift you get when a cycling demi-God gives your blog post a retweet. One of the most personal posts was one about a community uniting to search for a sweet lost dog named Elsa.

One of the biggest highlights was being a guest-blogger for Brains on Fire’s Lesson Eleven post series. You can read that post here or red their whole series for an extra dose of inspiration.

Observations. Celebrations. ConversationsNike nation.

I even wrote about writing and writing exercises that can help non-writers.

I’m the first to admit that blogging’s not for everyone or every company. For me, it’s been a great way to not only write more, but to learn more, too.


Day Three in the freelance writing business seems like a great day to set up a blog. It’s already been a great day for securing health insurance and a bona fide business license. It’s also going to be a great day to start writing an annual report and to “leave work early” to start training for the Bridge Run later this month.

If you’ve randomly stumbled upon my blog, here’s the backstory.

I’ve worked in advertising for more than 20 years. Most of those years in ad agencies. As of a few days ago, I got a new boss: me. I live and work in Columbia, SC. Wordsmith is me offering you great copywriting, content and creative services. If you need help while I’m getting my act together, call or e-mail. Or, tweet.

To all my friends who have supported, goaded and poked me in the side these past few weeks, thank you.

This is going to be a delicious adventure! Thanks for visiting!