Decisions, Decisions…


I’ve always thrived on how things change. As a child, I became used to our frequent moves from state to state (a natural consequence of having a father who worked for the federal government). As an adult, I rarely leased an apartment for longer than two years. My hair is always changing colors.

Change is something I’m used to, so it doesn’t necessarily freak me out to the same degree as it does for others.


Ah, this is something I’ve been schooled on throughout my life, even when I didn’t realize it. As a child, I took for granted the constancy of my family. When my parents divorced during my teen years, the upheaval probably wreaked more havoc than I would acknowledge. As a young adult, I spent many years putting my family on the backburner while mistakenly prioritizing friends and even acquaintances over them.

As an adult, I grew older and wiser to the importance of family. Getting married and then parenting two children has turned me into a different person than I was… which in itself is all about change. And even as my children get older and wiser with each year, and I know ultimately they’ll make their own changes to our family dynamic, I welcome them as natural consequences of being a human.


Toward the end of the 2017 summer, my husband and I sat down to discuss our family’s options. I had been throwing myself into building a digital marketing business since mid-2015, and amidst highs and lows I still hadn’t quite made it into a fully solvent and profitable venture. The possibilities were still there, but the timeline was beginning to feel pressure from our household budget.

Here’s the thing: I needed to draw a line. The line would tell me my limit for how long and how much I could sacrifice for my business (as well as how much I could expect my family to sacrifice). By the end of our conversation, a distinct line had materialized in the exact size and shape of our family’s 1,524 square-foot home.

Based on our budget, we had until the end of 2017 to try to make my business profitable so that our home mortgage would not be on the chopping block. So that day, I made a decision to keep pushing at my business, but I would also be active about applying for full-time opportunities. And oh, did I pray for the best and most rapid outcome? You bet I did. Serving two masters like that for a prolonged period wasn’t going to be good for me in any way.


So what happened?

Well, I applied to a position managed by one of my prior directors. From hitting the Submit button on the online application, through phone screens and interviews, to receiving a verbal offer for the opportunity… three weeks. That’s it. That’s IT. That was it.

Today, I work full-time in digital marketing out of an office in downtown Denver. My work serves Coloradans who need the most help at the worst times in their lives.

And yet my own business ventures are not fully dead or defunct. I am also blessed to be one of the weekly livestream hosts for an encoding platform which cares about its broadcasters and viewers, not just accumulating dollars. I get to share the screen with people I respect, entertain people I appreciate, and earn side income I can use to balance out all I put into my business since I started it.

My family is finding a new balance with my roles, and all is going well. My husband is thankful to be able to pay bills on time again, and in full. My kids are enjoying more times when I’m able to play a random board game, take them on a random shopping trip, or show them my new work digs downtown. I’m thriving on regular human interaction, meeting and surpassing work goals, and using all that I’ve learned through my business to excel as a team member again.

What about Really Social?

The full range of services provided through Really Social has been vastly pared down since these new developments rolled out. Currently I’m unable to take on side clients, mostly because there simply aren’t enough hours between working full-time, commuting to that work, and livestreaming on the side.

That said, if you need help with social media, I have a TON of amazing resources ready to work with you. It makes me thrill to be able to send work to a swath of professional and capable digital marketers. Plus, who knows where this livestreaming side-gig will lead? Just reach out to me via Messenger to let me know what you’re looking for, and we’ll make it happen.

9 Legal Tips for Online Businesses with guest Mitch Jackson

If you conduct business online, you have countless pitfalls to avoid on your way to success.

In our latest episode of Who’s Who in Social Media, Mitch Jackson with Streaming.Lawyer shared crucial insights and tips to help all of us avoid legal issues and conduct business like a boss.

To read more about Mitch Jackson and how he helps online business owners, get the full list of tips on his blog.

Would you like to be a guest on Laugh & Learn? Click here!

How to Use Instagram Analytics & Stories

Instagram isn’t just for foodies vying to get just the right angle on their plate while you wait with a hovering fork. While your friend ‘grams their way to fame, you can be checking your followers and sharing a story of frustration. Start today once you watch our latest episode of Laugh & Learn.

Instagram for Business:

Analytics and Stories

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to connect your Instagram Account to your Facebook Page (using Facebook Settings);
  • How to see and decipher your Instagram Analytics; and
  • How to view, engage with, and create Instagram Stories for your brand.

How are you using Instagram for Business? Let us know in the comments below… you may inspire someone in their own marketing strategy!

5 Tools to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder

I love technology. I replay in my head the scene from Napoleon Dynamite where his brother serenades his new bride.

“Work Smarter” is not always easy.

When I started my business, I knew technology would help me achieve the efficiency dream of working smarter, not harder. I knew there were tools, some of which I had not yet discovered, which would enable me to be productive and network my systems together.

However, finding and choosing the tools which are right for a business is easier said than done, am I right? In an effort to save you from trials by fire, I humbly submit the following tools would have made my life as a business owner easier.

Google Drive (logo)
Google Drive

Google Drive

Let’s start with an easy one! As a heavy user of Gmail, the Chrome web browser and its wealth of extensions, Google Photos, and Google reviews, choosing to go with Google Drive over other cloud storage services was a no-brainer.

Don’t get me wrong: I also use Dropbox and OneDrive (the latter comes with my Microsoft Office package, so why not?). Both are primarily for clients who already utilize those platforms; however, my internal team relies on Google Drive as our home base for homebase productivity tools and storage.

Really Social | social media content calendar template (screenshot)
Create a variety of useful files in Google Drive.

Each client has a dedicated Google folder, each with unique sharing permissions to staff who are authorized to work with that client. My mobile device’s images, videos, and screenshots are automatically uploaded to my Google Drive for easy use in other apps or content. I’m ridiculously proud of my Google Sheets social media content calendar template, which my team uses to generate each new month of content for our clients. We then download CSV files of the content to upload into our scheduling platforms. Even more beautiful is the accessibility to these files from any of our remote devices in case we need to work on the fly. If you’re looking for a great guide to upload your files into Google Drive, Cloudwards has all the screenshots and helpful hints you can handle. 

If you weren’t already aware, Google Drive also has tools to create complex forms and surveys and slide presentations. I even dictated this blog post into a Google Doc using Voice Typing. Any tool that gives me an “Aha!” moment regularly receives my ringing endorsement.

Todoist (logo)


For task lists, I veered between using Outlook Tasks and Google Tasks. I’ve never been a huge fan of using Outlook on my mobile device, so trying to manage and oversee my tasks from Outlook became a hassle—not a trait you want to have for your daily tasks. I already use Google Calendar, so I tried to use appointment and task creators to manage my to-do list. Alas, that didn’t work well for me since I use my Google Calendar to provide meeting availability to clients and viewing each task remotely was difficult.

Really Social | Todoist task list screenshot
Create detailed & scheduled tasks in Todoist.

Enter Todoist. Using their free subscription, I am able to add tasks which repeat themselves at specific times and on specific days, are assigned to a specific client or project, and can have notes and reminders assigned to them (premium version). The mobile app is a thing of beauty: I have a quick-add version to allow me to tap in a new task, as well as the full-fledged app which gives me management of the entire task list. The Business plan also allows additional team members to be added for task assignments.

Slack (logo)


Really Social | Slack mobile app screenshot
Slack’s mobile app is clean & easy to navigate.

If you’re like me you, you hate reply-all email chains with the fire of one thousand suns. It’s nearly impossible today to have a productive and timely

email conversation when the respondents keep missing each other because they’re tapping out replies. Plus, who really reads their email faithfully anymore? Some of us are so inundated with new inbox alerts, we simply turn them off or tune them out.

My familiarity and heavy use of messaging apps, like Facebook Messenger, are what drew me to start using Slack. The continuous stream of conversation makes it easy to follow, look back for context, mention individuals for a specific comment, add relevant files which are then saved in the sidebar, refer to other channels as needed, and even incorporate fun emojis as appropriate. Using Slack, I’ve created separate channels for each client and then given specific team members access to those channels so they are aware of new items or issues related to their client. I also use Slack to touch base daily with my team, which is made easier by the mobile app. (Don’t you love how mobile apps help the whole work smarter principle?)

Trello (logo


Ah, project management. This particular quest led me to try so many tools through so many trials and countless reminders that my “15 days” were up. I worked with project management tools before, but I really wanted one that wouldn’t break my budget, would be easy to use and understand, and would be accessible to external parties (namely my clients who might want to see how things are going).

Really Social | Trello project management screenshot
Each Trello board consists of Cards with custom content.

After over six months of trials and dissatisfaction, I did what I should have done when my friend Erin Cell first recommended it: I tried out Trello, and I’ve never looked back.

Trello’s free use is so powerful and versatile that I’ve never cared about the premium level for increased features. Since it’s web-based, any user can access it once they are added by email. While others may set things up differently, I created a template Trello board containing standardized cards and lists which are consistent for each of my clients. I can create checklists, upload attachments from my computer or a cloud-based storage platform (like Google Drive), mention a specific user to alert them to a specific comment or issue, and shift around items and cards with drag-and-drop ease. (For a truly paranormal drilldown into Trello and how it works, check out this great review and walkthrough from The Freelance Effect.)

Oh, and remember Slack? Anytime I add or edit a client’s Trello board, an alert Is listed in that client’s Slack channel so any relevant team members have a heads-up. Want to know how I set that up?

IFTTT (logo)


I am a terrible cook (no, really), but the recipes I whip up in IFTTT are to be envied by Martha Stewart.

Really Social | IFTTT recipe example (screenshot)
IFTTT lets you build recipes: if this happens, then that happens.

IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It’s a free website which connects your online profiles and platforms together through recipes (simple formulas) for a specific result. For instance, I connected my Trello account and my Slack account to my IFTTT profile. Once they were connected, I was able to create the following recipe for each client: if something is updated on my client’s Trello board, my client’s Slack channel will list the update.

This is simply the tip of the iceberg where IFTTT is concerned. I also have a recipe which recognizes when I check in via Foursquare using a specific hashtag; it then adds a new task to my Todoist list for that check-in. I also have recipes to add any new blog post to my Pinterest board for blogs and any new YouTube video upload to my board for videos. You can scroll through the available recipe and account options here; I bet you’ll find at least a handful of ones you can use today.

While this list does not provide all of the tools I use on a daily basis, here’s hoping at least one of these can help you work smarter instead of harder.  

I’d love to hear about the tools which help you work smarter. Please share them below!