13 September 2013

My Assistant, Sarah Hendrix



I just wanted to introduce you to someone who has been an absolute gem to me in the last bit. Her name is Sarah Hendrix and she has been helping me behind the scenes.  She'll do a bit of research on something if I need it, or reach out to various vendors, or send me great links and things that you all might like.  She has been a dream to work with.  

She is looking for additional opportunities to be a virtual assistant.  If anyone is looking for someone to help them, I can't recommend her enough.

Here is a note from Sarah:

Are you spending too much time doing administrative tasks when you’d rather be creating new content? Is your in-box overwhelming? Does your schedule feel out of control? Is social media taking up too much of your time? You need a virtual assistant!

I’d love to help in any of the following areas (& I'm open to other ideas):

- email & calendar (personal or editorial) management
- social media setup & management (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest)
- product development assistance (organizing a brainstorm!)
- content research (contact bloggers/companies for guest posts, product reviews, etc.)
- general research
- post preparation (editing, proofreading, formatting)
- event planning/online event management

Please contact me at sarahmhendrix (at) gmail.com if you are interested in working together or have any questions.  I’d love to get to know you and your blog!

P.S.  If you’re debating whether or not you could need help, please take a look at this post on Tips for Hiring a Virtual Assistant. You’ll be glad you did.

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And just for fun...

The photo above is where I work.

And this is where Danny works:


Now, if you could hire someone to help you in your life, who would you hire???  I think of this all the time! :) 

I would take a graphic designer to change my blog completely.  A local assistant to help with errands and tasks. A tech support person.  An editor to proofread my posts.  An SEO expert - because making our posts SEO friendly might actually be helpful to some people out there.  A film maker.  A housekeeper to come once a week.  And...someone else to manage all those people.  ;)  Ha.  That would be heaven.  And I'd definitely want Sarah on board.

My problem?  I do this blog the old fashioned way and write all the posts myself.  I am realizing that if I want to make any improvements to the blog - even the basics - I will need to step back from writing posts as much as I do.  We'll see what I can work out.  

xo,

Mara

P.S.  Sarah Hendrix is going with me to Alt Summit in Salt Lake.  I'm so excited to meet her for the first time.

36 comments:

  1. I would suggest posting less frequently instead of having other writers post. Your readers became loyal because they enjoy YOUR writing and YOUR outlook on life. After Design Mom and Oh Happy Day hired additional writers, I lost interest in their blogs. Yes, I know I could scan Feedly and just opt to read the posts written by Gabrielle and Jordan. ..but, somehow, the experience has been changed and those two blogs feel diluted now. The voice and personal connection have been lost. It feels more like a consumer experience.

    Anyone else have the same reaction to blogs that hire additional writers?

    (Note, I do like it when blogs have sporadic guest writers, post letters from readers, do interviews, etc)

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    Replies
    1. I agree! Yes, post less frequently if needed because I would only like to see yours and Danny's writings. I also agree with not reading the other blogs mentioned because of the same thing.

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    2. I agree completely! I read a blog because the original blogger drew me in, and that's the perspective and writing style I want to read. Please, if it's too much to post daily, just post less often and your readers will still stay with you.

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    3. Thanks for your insights!! seriously. Keep them coming. It helps me a lot. My dream is that Danny could quit his job and work on the blog with me full time, write some more posts and plan events and speaking engagements for you all. We could even come to your city. And we could throw in some more on-line classes and some more written material for those who couldn't attend an event. We would LOVE, LOVE to do all this. I think of it all the time. It's our favorite thing to meet everybody - and good stuff always comes of it. I guess we need insurance for the moment....and not sure if we could take the leap yet with infertility/medical/adoption stuff coming up. Anybody know of a philanthropist who would like to donate to the blog cause for the short term? I should be more bold in asking for help.

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  2. Could I submit my resume/a bid for SEO work? I'm an SEO Consultant by profession but recently left my wonderful job to move to England (true love) and I'd love to pick up some work. I've run a diagnosis through SEO Quake (totally free software) and I see a lot of places I could improve for you. Depending on what you're looking for, I can provide tons of information/assistance re: SEO beyond preliminary fixes.

    uk.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-leavitt/41/47/313/

    my email: leavitt.elizabeth@gmail.com

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  3. Hi Mara,
    This is off topic but where did you get your clear side table?
    I've been looking for one forever! I don't live in NY, though, so it's been hard to find a reasonably priced one.
    Have a great weekend!
    ~Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah - the table. I love that thing. It's a vintage piece from a mid-century shop in New Hope, PA and it's very thick and heavy plexi glass. I don't remember the shop. Though I think I've seen something similar around since then...maybe CB2? Wish I could be of more help.

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  4. I would hire a traditional housekeeper to cook and clean. Yeah, that would be just fine for me ;-)

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  5. Those rooms are SOOOO CUTE! Love them clean, organized look!

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  6. A personal chef sure would be nice!

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  7. Mara, please don't write less! You have such a great message to get out to the world, and it is brilliant you can do it in a blog. So different from 30 years ago! Personally, I think your voice needs to be heard. I vote you keep writing, and let others do all the other work.

    Sorry if I sound opinionated. :) Also, for what it's worth, I actually really like your design. It's nice to see visual whitespace on a blog instead of too much going on. There's a lot more of that on the internet. You stand out!

    Good luck with IVF. I so enjoy reading every day.

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  8. I too would love for you and Danny to remain the writers of your content. If you have to, just post less often, I would not mind :)

    I tell my husband that I want to have a Nanny for us two, but we have no kids! I would love for some lovely grandma type to come live with us, make us our coffees and maybe a few little meals here and there and hang with our dogs all day while we work, but that is pretty much it. Oh to dream.

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  9. I just love you, Mara!

    I'm a girl from Norway, reading your blog every week now, and I love it!
    I've never read any blogs that I chose to follow - it's true. True, until I read your blog about a month ago, it came up when I was searching for coconut oil+ skin on google. I had to read through your whole blog then and there - and I just have to tell you that I feel blessed to have found you! And even though I am not a believer (wasn't brought up as a believer) I feel so much comfort in your beautiful mindset, your writings and your ways of life.
    Thank you for sharing!
    So I just wanted to let you know, that whatever you feel you need to do to maintain the love you have for this blog - this beautiful cyberspace we all love to peek into, I'm sure it will work out great! I have faith in you!
    I know and hear the others who say they don't want you to change a thing, and I agree that the reasons why we love reading this blog is because YOU are so beautiful, and we are scared that the interference would not make it the same.
    But through all I've read these last few weeks I'm confident that whatever you decide to do, will work out just great.

    thank you, Mara <3

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  10. I'd hate to see anyone but you and Danny writing the content on here. That's the only reason I come to the blog. I think it would be better to grow slowly (or not at all) but to keep the site's current integrity. Perhaps eventually having an editor would help - your ideas are wonderful, but some good editing would help a lot.

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  11. I would totally hire a personal chef that cooks healthy and then a housekeeper!

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  12. Having lived overseas a couple of times, you get VERY spoiled with extra help around the house - housekeeper, nanny, chefs, etc all for hardly any cost! It is definitely something that comes up as to whether or not we should move back to the States at different times, but there are also pros and cons. In the States, I do hire a house cleaner to deep clean 1-2 times per month and that totally helps with 6 kids running around. Would be nice to not have to go to the store with them all in tow...sigh.

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  13. I too echo the sentiment that I would prefer you and Danny as the main writers of the blog. There is so much other stuff you can hire out, but the heart of the blog is you two...and you can't hire that out. :) I certainly don't mind when blogs hit it big time, but I like many others when their content and the original integrity of the blog changes I'm not as interested.

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  14. We too are doing our on SEO. Kind of painful to do all the speed optimization things recommended by google but learning slowly slowly...
    For the love bugs...our recent article on love:
    http://www.blueplanetjournal.com/love/like-a-phoenix-from-the-ashes-burning-through-the-barriers-to-love.html What happens after happily ever after? To continue on the path of love means to face your ego and all its creations; if you look it in the eye, it will disappear, evaporate like a vampire turned to ashes in the sunrise of your gaze.

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  15. To be honest, as someone who is an SEO copywriter, I wouldn't recommend you focus on that. SEO is VERY useful and has a great place and purpose if you are a business trying to sell a specific service in a specific area of the country, but for a blog, particularly this blog, it could really detract and take attention away for your message. In the end top quality content and active social media platforms will do more to drive traffic to your site in the long-term than SEO just for the sake of having SEO.

    If you want someone to help out with your social media accounts, and do proof-reading and editing for you, I would be happy to help out. And if you want a break from writing, you could share more readers' stories of how they have implemented your principles, or a few more guest posts. But like many people have already said, maintaining the personal connection is key!

    These are just my thoughts!!

    And by the way, I just want to affirm you on all the hard work and dedication you have put into this blog over the last couple of years. I know that this is something you are tremendously passionate about (that shows), but yet there has also been a sacrifice or opportunity cost involved too in terms of other things you have probably been unable to do because of your commitment to this. So on behalf of everyone I really just want to thank you both and acknowledge the impact it is having on people's lives.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle, and I like your idea about sharing readers stories. I'm actually very passionate about that idea and Mara and I have thought quite a bit about that and how we could make it an integral part of the blog and useful to everyone. We have a few ideas, but lack the time to implement them....some day soon I hope :)

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  16. Amen Amen Amen to what lots of other readers have said. please do not have other writers. Your's is one of the only blogs I read because it is one of the few that is genuine and EVERY post is worth reading. So many blogs have filler type stuff just to have more content and it's not worth it. I would much rather read a blog less frequently and have meaningful content that read a blog that posts everyday about nothing. And I do love the idea about reader stories too! You guys are the best! PS who cares if you blog is not a designy, it doesn't need a lot of frills to obscure the beauty of what you share.

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  17. I'm another who fell away from Design Mom once so many posts were written by others. Not in a conscious way, but I was attracted by Gabrielle's voice and...I think someone else said it best: now it feels diluted. So I would vote for not doing that.

    HOWEVER, I may just not understand what you mean. For those among us who aren't blog savvy, could you explain what you mean by needing to step back and not write as much in order to make the blog better? That seems counter-intuitive, but I am sincerely sure it's because I'm misunderstanding something about blogs and blogging!

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    Replies
    1. I was wondering the same thing as the above commenter! What does that mean?!

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    2. I think she means the technical side of blog up-keeping (like sprucing up the site - as she mentioned she'd like a graphic designer, SEO expert, etc). If she spends time working on those technical aspects, then she won't have time to write; thus, her meaning of "stepping back and not writing as much" to accomplish other areas. Writing and coming up with blog articles/topics can be time consuming, esp. if there are certain expectations to upkeep.

      Delete
    3. Hello! Thanks Anon 2 - you are correct.
      The improvements I was referring to are the technical and administrative aspects of running the blog. Providing fresh content regularly is a huge endeavor and very time consuming (at least for me - and actually every blogger that I've ever spoken with.) This is something I didn't realize before starting a blog. I thought maybe someone could just whip a post together in 10 minutes or something. ha! But that isn't the case for me. I have to put a large amount of focus and planning into what I do. The topics we choose to tackle are not exactly light weight, so that probably adds to the level of time that goes into a post. There are also many other tasks - like planning for speaking engagements, reading and answering emails from readers, businesses, ad companies, etc., and responding to comments as much as we can. We LOVE interacting with all of you and so we do our best to keep up with the discussions. Unfortunately, that leaves no time to implement some of the improvements and projects we have in mind. I guess that's why many full-time bloggers have a large staff of people to help them run the blog and even create and produce the content. For this blog, I want to continue writing! And I'd love Danny to be able to write more posts someday. I'd also love to include more stories from some of our readers. So I need to figure out how to still make that leap and find the time to manage and interact with a small team of people doing the technical stuff. I guess I just love writing the posts so much that I haven't yet been willing to shift my focus.

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    4. To be clear, I don't think anyone (and certainly not I) thinks that the writing doesn't take a lot of time. In fact, I'm sure it does. I'm sure the better the writing, the longer it took to plan, draft, edit, etc. before we ever see it.

      What I'm still not clear on, though, is how you stepping back from writing would improve the blog. Because speakers and events are great for the folks who can attend, but the original and enduring attraction of the blog is your voice (and Danny's, too, to the extent it appears). Therefore, wouldn't taking a step back from the technical side make more sense? Why have people write content for you so you can do technical work? Wouldn't having people do technical work for you make more sense and free you up for more writing/planning time? Especially because there are people for whom the tech stuff is their profession and can do it for you more quickly and easily than you can do it yourself, whereas you are the only one who can share your own voice.

      Again, I may be missing something so sorry if I'm being dim!

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  18. as an editor - i'll proofread posts for you any time, Mara! :))

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  19. Hi I am seo services provider and I like to read and write article and blogs, through this we learn new things and get the new information, today I caught this nice article.....and Best of luck Sarah!!!

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  20. Hello - have been a fan of your blog since the beginning! Wanted to echo what others have said regarding not stepping back from writing to work on improving technical or design aspects of the blog. I might be wrong, but I would venture to say that your readers probably don't care all that much about the design of your blog - I don't mean that in a bad way, what I mean is the design seems perfectly fine and I think the readers come for the writing and lessons on love. I have noticed that the blog seems to be turning into more of a lifestyle, fashion and consumer focused blog as of late. There are still lessons on love but they seem to be becoming a bit more diluted and fewer and farther in between. I do realize that after writing so many substantive posts at the beginning that on some of the topics there is only so much to write and that is probably partially the reason. But I do hope that you keep those types of posts the main focus - there are so many other blogs that already do the lifestyle, fashion, beauty, etc. And the heavy consumer focus of many of these items is somewhat against some of the other lessons that are taught here in the substantive posts. Or maybe that's just my take. And I realize that as you have quit your job to work on this blog you need to get paid in some form, and maybe it is just me here, but I usually prefer ads on blogs as opposed to sponsored posts. And if there are sponsored posts, it helps if the products are relevant to the blog/message of the blog itself, so that it doesn't dilute the message of the blog. I imagine the financial pressure for blog revenue would increase if Danny left his job as well. I might be completely out of touch with other readers feelings, and I hope I don't come off as overly critical. I think that it is great work that you guys are doing and I do think that you deserve financial compensation for your work. I guess I just hope that the forest isn't lost for the trees if that makes any sense. Once a blog becomes more of a business, especially when the bloggers begin working full time on it, I feel like it's easy for a blog to become more about the blog and the business of the blog, and sometimes I think also harder for the bloggers to draw on real life experiences as they become more insulated in the business of the blog. If that makes any sense! My best to you as your blog I'm sure will continue to grow and you navigate all these issues. And I have been keeping you in my thoughts regarding your fertility journey as well.

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  21. I'm so excited you'll be at ALT SLC- I am going for the first time this year! I'd love to meet you and Sarah :)

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  22. Is it the girl from sarahmhendrix.blogspot.com? I was following her for a while now, but she made her blog private to bad! Her story was so inspiring! Hope she will put it back public soon! :) Good luck to both of you! :)

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  23. Sarahmayhendrix. *

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