Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winding Down and Gearing Up

By Sandy Penny, WritingMuse

As this year ends, many are cheering the fact that it’s finally over. It has been the most challenging year in my 58-year memory for more people than I’ve ever seen. For me, it has been a big zero (on the surface, but don’t be too hasty to judge it, fallow fields restore their rich minerals and grow better crops.). That being said, it has also been the best year ever for some who have been able to find the new plug-in for their Aquarian Age energy. They are prospering and thriving and sharing the wealth and their knowledge.

This past week, I’ve dealt with many powerful, spiritual people who are experiencing depression, anxiety, frustration, lethargy, and just plain anger with their circumstances. The laws of the Universe seem to have changed. My guides used to love to say, “Everything has changed, nothing is what you thought it would be.” Who are those mystical beings who voted for the changes and put new rules into effect? Geez, did they mess up our lives in so many ways or what?

Well, the truth is that we are those powerful spiritual beings who chose to be here for this amazing change. We saw it coming, and we signed up to be part of the process. What many of us did not know was how difficult it would be to make these changes once we were in human bodies indoctrinated to an outdated system, the Piscean Age. I am really tired of talking about the Piscean Age. Why can’t it just die out quietly and let the new age take over? Night and day do not struggle with each other, they easily flow from one to the other in a cycle of change that allows us to balance our lives.

But isn’t that what is actually happening? Old systems are failing and dropping away, making way for the new and better ones. Old ways no longer work. Only the best practices that fit into the new age systems can be funded by that energy. It’s a real dilemma for us. We want the new and better to prosper and grow, but we’re not willing to suffer through the shift. It’s hard right now to get our footing. The earth beneath us keeps falling away, like an earthquake. It can be very difficult to embrace so many new ideas and systems when we’ve just learned how to get what we want out of the old ones.

It reminds me of W. Edwards Demming’s Quality Process. Demming was the man who went to Japan and turned their image around from the idea that Japanese-built meant shoddy work to Japanese products having a high quality manufacturing process in place. He actually took the ideas from earlier American business ethics and got a whole country to embrace them through honoring the grass roots ideas from all levels of manufacturing. It was a bottom-up philosophy.

He brought the completely developed and proven system back to the US and reintroduced it into the American corporate world where they gave it lip service but kept undercutting it. Why? Because it took power away from the upper executive echelons. And, why wouldn’t they resist? They fought long and hard to climb that ladder, and to get to the top only to be told they have to share that power with all the lower level workers. It just flew in the face of their whole life of striving and clawing their way up. That’s what we’re witnessing now. The world at large is welcoming the power back to the people while the execs are fighting to get the last ounce of gold from a disintegrating system. The new age is less upward hierarchy and more circular, nuclear flow. Anyone can introduce something new and have a chance to develop it. The smartest money people are looking for the opportunities of the future that are sustainable in this new energy.

In the coming year, along with our president, we’ve got a lot of work to do to bring ourselves up to speed for the Aquarian Age life model. “Everything has changed, nothing is what we thought it would be.” It’s a powerful time, and a difficult time, a frustrating, hope filled, wonderful time.

The good news is that we who have wanted to be of service to this world have ample opportunities to claim our personal power and develop a niche that funds our lifestyle choices and fulfills our destinies. What do you want NOW? Where do you want to invest your time, energy and money?

I predict that Obama will introduce lots of incentives to small businesses during the next four years. There will be small business loans for sustainable technologies and services. Mental health services will start expanding their models of dealing with the stress of all this change and those who want to work to create new types of communities will find money available that was not there previously. Obama is the first New Age president in this country. He’s a forward thinker, a problem solver, and a caring human being who wants to truly improve this world. I know that’s a tall order, and it won’t happen through one man, but he is the symbol of the changes. It’s time to refocus on the people instead of the system. Systems have to serve the people, not the other way around.

So, gather together your ideas, desires, and inspirations and get started on your fast unfolding path this year. Jump in and make it happen. The time for talk is done. The time for action has come.

For those of you who don’t yet know what you want to do, I suggest reading my article on the Aquarian Age Business Model (Go to and click on 2005 archive on the right side of that page). It specifies some areas that will be successfully funded in this time period, for the next 1000 years.

Peace, love, joy, abundance and lots of high energy for 2009. Happy New Age!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Do What you Love and Serve the Greater Good

by Sandy Penny, WritingMuse

If you have a passion for something, you will always be able to do a better sales job. I love to write, and I love to share with others, so my profession as a freelance writer and marketing consultant is the perfect combination for me. I get to do what I love, and my enthusiasm stays high while I do it. When I help others do what they love, I serve the greater good. When people are happy with their work, they tend to treat others better, and the benefit just keeps on rippling out.

I heard a staggering stat on Oprah the other day: 85% of the workforce is unhappy with their jobs. Wow, that's big. No wonder we have so many social problems with 85% of the people spending a third of their lives doing something they hate to do.

If you are trying to create a business that offers a product or service that you don't love, it's going to be more difficult to be successful. Take a look around and see if there's something you can do that you like better. Choose joy in your life and work.

Businesses always have aspects of the work that you may not like, for instance, deadlines, taxes, accounting. If you concentrate on doing what you love to do and tell other people about it, you can become successful enough to hire other people to do the jobs you hate that they may love.

What do you like to do? How can you incorporate more of that into making a living?


Back in the 70s when I was managing a secretarial service for someone else, I decided that I wanted to start my own business. Although I had experience managing a secretarial service, and I was good at it, I had no interested in that being the business I started. The problem was that I had no idea what I really wanted to do, so I started what I call my personal "program" to find out.

I wrote down all the things I love to do: Writing was top of the list, spiritual exploration was next, personal growth followed, spending time with my son, graphic design (also experienced), having enough money to pay my house note, car note, insurance, monthly expenses and some left over for spontaneous fun.

Hmm, that really didn't equal any business that I could think of, but I wrote it down and concentrated on it. I repeated it to myself and told others about it as often as I could (a technique from Think and Grow Rich). I even set a deadline for when I wanted it to happen, the end of November (only two months away). Some people might think that's a tall order, but I was new to the whole positive thinking movement, and as a Leo, I just thought I could do anything. At least I was willing to give it a shot.

In the middle of November, I was attending a spiritual/holistic event. Attendance seemed low, and I was wondering why. It was a great event. Several people came up to me and said basically the same thing, "We need a newspaper where we can advertise these events so we can get more attendance." After about the fifth person said the same thing, a lightbulb went on in my head, and I thought, "I could do that." I started going down my list, writing and spiritual exploration, I could attend events and write about them. Spending time with my son, I could work from home and be able to pick him up from school, and I could save the daycare costs. So far, so good.

The only thing was, I didn't have any money to invest in startup. I was making a good living, but not too much to spare beyond my bills. I knew there used to be a newspaper similar to what I had in mind, but it only had events listings, no articles and no resources. It had closed recently, and I wondered why, so I found an old issue and called the number on it. I reached the answering service and a woman who would become a mentor and encourager in this venture. She gave me the list of all the previous advertisers. I called them up and invited them to a party. At the party, I introduced the concept for my newspaper, The Rising Sun, and asked for input on what they would like to see in the paper, what it should look like and feel like, and what would serve them best. I presented a prototype I had designed and one article I had written. I sold enough ads that day to launch the paper. I just kept taking the steps as they came to me. I didn't question it. When people told me I couldn't support myself with a free paper, I ignored them and surrounded myself with those who encouraged me.

From the first issue forward, I supported myself doing what I loved. Everything on my list at the time was included in that paper, and I loved doing it. It was hard work, and some of it was challenging, like delivering 3000 bundles every month, but I even solved part of that problem. I had an advertiser party every month so advertisers could take bundles to their own businesses. The party was fun and built a solid community of advertisers who loved and supported the paper and who felt like their input was valuable. It was a huge success, and eventually I sold it when it was time to do something else, and when it stopped being fun for me.

Remember to keep evaluating what you love about your work or business, and keep adding more of what you love and find ways to hand off what you don't love to others who do love it. The more you engage your passion, the more successful you will be, and you will live a life of joy. After all, it's all about the lifestyle, isn't it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Give It Away

by Sandy Penny,

People love getting something for free, and the Web has a strong tradition of offering freebies. When offering your products or services, offer something for free with a purchase, or offer something that will make you more valuable to a potential purchaser. These days, it's popular to offer a home recorded video or audio that gives tips or tricks to clients, and leaves them wanting more from you. If you're selling a book, offer a compelling downloadable sample of your stories and link it to the purchase site.

If you have a product, offer a small sample of another product with the purchase of your main offering. The more valuable you become to a buyer, the more likely they are to purchase your products or services. Once again, it is developing rapport and trust, and since you often don't know the clients who hit your site, giving them a taste of your work is often the best thing you can do. In my spiritual counseling business, I offer several free recorded meditations, check the samples on I also offer free articles on my spiritual blog, Musing with WritingMuse. On my HorseFly healing arts ButterFly section,

[Tip: always put a hot link to sites that you mention. It makes it easy for those who are interested to go there while they're thinking about it.]

For my writing, editing and marketing business, I offer this blog freely. Keep coming back, I'll give lots more tips and tricks as they come to me. And, better yet, on the right hand side of this blog, you can subscribe to get emails when something new is posted to remind you to check it out (email list not shared). If you need my personal assistance, contact me at My rates are great.

[Tip: This can be a mutually beneficial relationship, and when you create your blog, see if your blog host offers a subscription "widget" to add to your readership.]

Stay tuned for more of what I've learned in my 30 years in business, spiritual exploration, writing and marketing.

[Tip: By the way, if you have any great tips, post a comment on this site, and post your link to your info. If it's an appropriate tip, I'll approve it and share the connections. This is a good way to get your name around to potential clients using sites with similar but not the same products and services.]

Contact me if you need help with writing, editing, blogging, or marketing your small business.

[Tip: use color and font changes within your article to draw attention where you want it to go. it helps move the eye through the copy and keep the reader engaged to the bottom of the article.]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

To Blog or Not to Blog

As a corporate marketing writer for more than 20 years, I've seen a lot of changes in marketing strategies. One of the fastest growing concepts is blogging, the beginning of social network marketing. I posted my first blog on Geocities in 1998 and in 2005 posted on blogger when the concept was already well on its way to becoming the marketing venue of the future. The future is now. If you don't have a blog, you're just not making the most of your marketing opportunities.

COST EFFECTIVE: Blog sites are usually free, so you don't have domain name or hosting costs attached to them. You do, however, have to keep them current for them to helpful. The more you post, the more you show up on searches for the subjects you cover. Unlike the old days of the print newsletter (which I was a master of), you can't wait for three months to post to a blog or even once a month. Blogs are expected to have titillating tidbits every day or at least every week to maximize your return on the effort. That should not be daunting though. If you spend fifteen minutes writing a short client appropriate post every day or two, you'll quickly develop a following. People sign up to be notified when a new post hits their favorite blogs, and the more they know about you and your expertise, the more they will trust you as a vendor.

BE SPECIFIC: One of the best things about blogging is that the content is searchable by search engines, so the more you blog, the higher your products, services and opinions rank in searches. This is especially helpful to small businesses that don't have big budgets to buy higher positions on the engines, high-priced ads, or recommended site status. The more people search a particular subject and then choose your link, the higher you move on the list. Just be sure you choose subjects and key words carefully to get the right potential clients to your site. It does you no good to draw big audiences that don't really want what you have to offer, and readers get very annoyed by bait and switch tactics. So, choose your subjects carefully to contribute to your prestige.

SELL SOMETHING: If you are not selling something or linking to a sales site on your blog, you are missing the opportunity to take advantage of the "buy now in response to the article" syndrome. Even in the days before blogs, everybody in advertising knew that companioning an ad with an article was much more likely to generate buyers than advertising alone. Whatever you are touting in your articles should offer some kind of purchase opportunity. If you can't sell on your blog, you can at least link the article to a sales site where a purchase can be made.

That's my writing tip for today. If you'd like to blog, but don't think you're a writer or you need an editor to help define your content, I'm available. I'm available, affordable and knowledgeable. 

Click the book cover to get your FREE copy from Amazon. 
t's a big help to those who want to self-publish.

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