The DREAM

Ahh. Not having to go into the office everyday. Kicking back, living life on your terms, and never having to answer to anyone else… I wish.

It’s the end of August, the kids are back at school and I feel like I never got a chance to really disconnect OR relax.

I’ve been in the office (sometimes the dining room table, other times my garage work space, and at times Starbucks or some cafe with great ambiance, good wifi, and not too noisy) for 8 to 10 hours a day or running around with my laptop figuring out how to get internet in the middle of the Grand Canyon (true story).

Why do I do this, you ask? The DREAM.

Surely you have an idea of what your dream job is. For many, that dream job isn’t even a job but a business. Your own business. Then you jump into the reality of your business and it hardly matches your dream.

My Dream

I love design. I also love efficiency, making things better, and helping people.

I sometimes think I missed my true calling when I decided not to become a designer or an artist or a photographer. I imagine myself making the world a more beautiful place by showing people what was possible through vision, perspective, and a little creativity.

So my dream “workday” would be writing a few emails, publishing a blog post, and sharing inspiration on my social media. Then I’d spend an hour or so improving on my business (i.e., making it more accessible, getting the word out, creating more value for my clients).

Finally, I’d spend another hour or two on coaching / strategy with my clients.

Someone pinch me. Please.

The Reality

My reality barely resembles the above. It’s managed chaos.

I wake up early (5am early) to get in a bit of exercise before I start my day. Client calls start as early as 9am and then there’s the fires that need putting out. Sometimes servers fail or people don’t do what’s expected despite so much research and planning … and those don’t follow any schedule.
If you know me really well, you may have noticed a few changes in the past few weeks. I’ve started dedicating myself to the dream part of my business.

I want to be able to focus more on creating and scaling because the truth is no one ever got rich charging a fair price unless of course they figured out how to scale — which is what I’ve dedicated myself to.

The CHALLENGE

Here’s my challenge. For the next 8 weeks, focus on achieving your dream.

Whether it’s being able to run a 5K (there’s an app for that), complete 100 consecutive push-ups (great regimen here), or starting that business you’ve always dreamt about, I challenge you to dedicate the next 8 weeks to making it a reality.

  1. Get a plan
  2. Take action
  3. Optimize your plan
  4. Keep your eye on the prize and stay on track
  5. Don’t make excuses (it’s only 8 weeks)

Setting goals is important but getting a plan and following it religiously is the difference between always wanting and actually having. You’d be surprised how much you could accomplish in only 8 weeks with a good plan and some discipline.

Set your goal and go for it. If you need help as you’re trying to reach your goal, reach out to me here and if I can help, I surely will. FYI, I know quite a bit about marketing and advertising and doing business online.

All the best!

Website Hosting For Schools

I get asked a lot about who I use and / or recommend for school website hosting… but first this important disclosure.

Some of the links below are affiliate links which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with these companies and I refer them because they are helpful and useful (not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something). Do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

Truth is, there’s not one perfect web host that I can recommend. Sorry 🙁

That said, the web host I use is DreamHost. I’ve been using them for years, they’re extremely reliable, affordable, and their customer support is among the best I’ve experienced.

All of my websites are hosted on DreamHost. Here’s why:

  • They make it incredibly easy to set up new website hosting for schools with their one-click automatic WordPress blog installation.
  • You can use your DreamHost account to host multiple domains so there’s no need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website.
  • They offer your own IP addresses which is important for promoting a school and getting your site found on Google.
  • Unlimited email addresses, email forwarding, and email catch-alls.
  • Finally, they provide outstanding customer service!

I highly recommend using DreamHost for your first website, your hundredth website, or pretty much any site that doesn’t require super specific hosting needs (and you can get started now at only $7.95/month, which is a SMARTER CLICKS reader deal)!

That’s not to say there haven’t been bumps along the way…

The one issue I have had with DreamHost is with their email system. It used to be great (now it’s just ‘alright’).

It just doesn’t run as efficiently as I’d like (i.e., sometimes when I delete messages I’ll get an error and it doesn’t always delete).

Setting up a emails for new team members is also a royal pain.

Are these deal-breakers? For me they’re not but if you’re constantly creating new email accounts for new teachers, etc., then maybe you should look into hosting your school’s emails with Google or Microsoft.

Other good hosts, but in my opinion not as great as DreamHost, are Host Gator and Blue Host.

I get asked about GoDaddy hosting all the time. DO NOT USE GODADDY HOSTING. EVER.

They are great for registering and managing domain names (I use them exclusively for this) but not good at all for web hosting.

The reasons they’re not good for hosting your school website are plenty but mostly, GoDaddy simply doesn’t offer the add-ons DreamHost, Host Gator, or Blue Host provide for free.

They offer some, but you have to pay for them and once you add everything up, you’re pretty much priced out of the discount / affordable web hosting market though still getting a discount service.

Imagine getting expensive steakhouse accompaniments with your fast-food value burger. Who does that?!

Workaholic’s Guide to Relaxing on Vacation [Infographic]

There’s a big difference between having a strong work ethic and being a workaholic.

When you have a strong work ethic, it means you have a strong sense of responsibility, you put in your best effort, and you care about the quality of your work — but you also cut yourself a break every once in a while to recharge. Workaholics, on the other time, have a hard time taking breaks, cutting themselves off from work, and relaxing.

But using your vacation time to relax and recharge is important for your physical and mental health and for your overall productivity at work. No one can operate on high all of the time without eventually burning out, and that’s neither good for you nor your team.

So if you find yourself having trouble relaxing and not working when you go on vacation, take a look at the infographic below from OnlineHealth. It’ll walk you through how to prepare for your vacation so leaving work won’t be as stressful, how to avoid the temptation to work when you’re supposed to be relaxing, and how to settle back into work again afterward without feeling guilty.

Follow this advice and I’ll bet you’ll feel happier and healthier in your personal life, and happier, more productive, and more creative at work.

See the infographic…