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One Word Workbook – Tips + Video Walkthrough

When One Word Workbook launched last week, I was cautiously hopeful. It's something that I've wanted to do and share for so long, I was really hoping that others would love it like I do.

So far, I've heard some great feedback. My biggest pleasure is seeing the workbook actually used by someone to find focus and inspiration.

To show that I'm actually using this workbook for my own One Word of the Year, I decided to do a video walkthrough (see below). It felt a bit odd, reflecting and writing 'in public' - my thoughts, feelings, and experiences laid bare. Granted, it's all sped up, but I still felt quite vulnerable. ūüôā

The great part: I'm absolutely certain that the workbook works! As I went through the exercises myself, I found my mind getting clearer with the words that mean something to me this year. And, ones that would help to guide me for the next year. I'll be revealing my Word of the Year in 2017, but you can see in this video now how I got to that point.

Thing is - I knew it would work. As I mentioned in my previous blog post and on the workbook, it is a process that I have been using for years. I even started writing it all up 3+ years ago, thinking I'd create an online workshop. But, I now think that the workbook format is a good one.

In any case, as I was filling out the workbook, I thought I'd share some tips on making the most out of the process:

Tip 1: Answer each exercise as best as you can.

Even if it's just a few words. You don't need to write in full sentences. If you notice in my entries, I used a lot of a just words and phrases. Incomplete thoughts. But, it's good to work on each concept in the process. It really helps!

There were a couple of times I thought I'd skip some, especially since I was doing a video capture. I thought people would understand. But, I also realised that it is detrimental to my own process. So, I kept at it. And I'm glad.

Tip 2: Don't get stuck!

Even if you feel like you only have one or two things to write for now, that's okay. Keep moving! Don't stop. Just allow your mind to unfurl and open itself up on the page. Don't overthink. Reflect, write, and then go to the next item.

Tip 3: Allow yourself to move forward and backward in the process.

Yes, One Word is not necessarily a linear process. If you filled out a box and decided to move on, it's okay to go back. Add some more words, phrases, or sentences to something you thought you've already completed.

Tip 4: Be open!

When I was collecting my words - I didn't discount my sources. I found words from books nearby, receipts, letters, poems, notes, boxes, Post It Notes, and such. I let everything speak to me.

And, in the process, I discovered words that I didn't think I'd even consider on a usual basis. The theme that emerged was completely unexpected, but not a surprise.

Tip 5: Use the resources available.

I've added links and such in the workbook. Make use of it! It's helpful to have an internet connection available, especially if you're filling the workbook out digitally.

If you decide to print out the workbook like Margo Min, have your digital resources handy. Or, at least, keep a dictionary and thesaurus nearby.

Oh, and yes - don't forget to save your work while you're filling out the workbook!

If you haven't got a copy yet, get your One Word Workbook here. And, please do keep me posted. I'd love to know how you're going with your One Word journey!

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Find Focus and Create Change With One Word

As the end of the year closes in, how do you start winding down and preparing for the new year?

Usually, there are holiday parties, family get-togethers, and glorious get-aways that take up a lot of our energy during this season. So, taking time for planning and preparation can be a challenge.

However, one of the things that CAN make a difference in how our year unfolds may be attributed to how we approach the coming days, weeks, and months.

That's why one of the many long traditions in our society is making New Year's Resolutions. We make them with the hope of creating the change we hope for in our lives. But, unfortunately, it's something that most of us inevitably break within a few days of stating our resolutions.

Goal-setting is also another practice that many undergo in the new year. Myself included. I love setting goals. But usually, what we hope to achieve at the beginning of the year may not be the same a few months into the year. Our situations change. Our viewpoints shift.

So, while a year's worth of goal setting is also great practice, this is actually something that should be approached with a bit more fluidity. We need to review and adjust our goals every few months or so to make them fit into the more current version of ourselves.

One Word. Find Focus. Create Change.

That's why One Word is better than New Year's Resolutions and Big Goals.

The practice of One Word is not one that you can break or fail easily, like New Year's Resolutions. It also doesn't need to be reviewed and adjusted regularly, like goal setting.

If you've given your One Word enough time and consideration at the start, it's an amazing tool to use as a guide throughout the year. And, if you commit to 'owning' your One Word throughout the year, it can leave a lasting, life-changing impact.

Blogger and fashionista extraordinaire Julie Bonner of MomFabulous.com has this to say about the One Word practice:

"Once I started doing a word of the year instead of resolutions, things started falling into place. It also made making decisions so much easier because I base them on my word."

Julie Bonner, MomFabulous.com

And, I wholeheartedly agree. One Word offers a simple and powerful way to find focus and create change.

That's why when people started asking me questions like: "How do you choose your One Word of the year?" or "Do you find that you lose touch with your One Word as the year goes on?" - I started taking notes and documenting my own One Word process.

I want to help others find the joy and empowerment that One Word can bring. That's why I ended up creating the One Word Workbook, as well as its companion resource, the One Word Projects mini ebook.

LEARN MORE About One Word Workbook

What's One Word Workbook all about?

In a nutshell, One Word Workbook is a 50+ page PDF document with tips, ideas, interactive ('fillable') pages, inspirational quotes, and check-in pages. It helps to guide you in a more thoughtful, considered way of choosing your One Word for the year. And, it provides some resources to keep you accountable and focussed, so you can really 'own' your Word and keep it top of mind throughout the year.

This type of commitment to your One Word helps to unleash its real power and potential in your life.

After all, what's the point in choosing a Word of the Year if it doesn't really do anything for you, right?

In my experience, such a commitment to my One Word helped to open an incredible array of opportunities and lessons that helped me to grow and find abundance in many ways. Amazing businesses, friendships, jobs… These are just some things that have come about through my words of the year over the last 8+ years. This is why I love sharing about this practice.

I know many others have found similar successes and joy. And, I hope that many more will find such rewards from the One Word practice.

If you're someone who wants to see what One Word can bring you in the coming year (or even many years to come), I hope that you'll give One Word Workbook a go. I look forward to supporting you in the process!

Words are powerful energies

What about One Word Projects?

One Word Projects is a 20+ page mini ebook in PDF format. It contains 10 projects, with tips and ideas on how you can maximise the use of your One Word. You can opt for simple or more elaborate approaches to the projects.

The idea is that you get to develop a relationship with your One Word, so you can experience its true value and impact.

So, remember: Choose your One Word wisely!

You will have to live with it for a year. And, if all goes well, even for longer than that.

Yes, you can choose it using a 'gut-feel' approach. This can work for a number of people. In fact, I've done it during the first couple of words I've chosen. It's only when I realised just how powerful it is to choose a word that I decided to be more careful and deliberate.

No matter how you decide to choose your One Word, it will attract certain people, situations, events, and opportunities into your life. That's why it's important to have that confidence in the word that you invite into your life.

So, if you would like some guidance on choosing and committing to your word, then One Word Workbook might be able to help.

LEARN MORE About One Word Workbook
Find Focus. Create Change. Choose ONE WORD for the Year! Click To Tweet

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100 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Life – A Free Checklist!

100 Things To Do To Improve Your Life

As I was working on a program to help clients and readers to take their ideas from inspiration to action, I started making a list of things that *I* want to do to improve my personal and professional life. I wanted the list to be a "no limits" list. The kind that would inspire me to take action. The only rule was: Each item on the list should be doable with a deadline of 12 weeks or less.

So, if I put it on the list, I have to believe that I can do it in that timeline. And, on top of that: I should be able to help others to do an item from the list within 12 weeks or less too.

As I created my list, I thought: "Hey, what if I made this list available for others to use?"

The terrible part of my brain answered: "Why would anyone want to be told what to do to improve their life?"

Well, dear terrible brain, I'm not really telling others what to do. I'm just sharing ideas on what I think might make a better life. That is, if they decide to do something from the list. The same way I'm hoping to improve the quality of my life when I choose from the list. And, yes. I have every intention to use the list.

Granted, I've already practiced and completed some of the items from this list. But, I'm hoping that those items might be helpful for others to try. Besides, I might consider taking on the challenge again.

In any case, if you would like to jump right ahead and download the "100 Things To Do To Improve Your Life" checklist, you can go to our content library and download immediately if you're already a member.

Now, if you're keen to find out more about the checklist, here are some additional information.

1. The checklist is in an interactive PDF format. You need Adobe Reader to access it. Most people have this installed already. If not, go here. You're missing out otherwise.

2. You can either print out the file or use it right on your computer. You can use the check boxes and the small journaling section by clicking on the check box to mark it. And, you can type write into the text box to journal.

3. You are encouraged to choose #OneThing from the list and focus your energy on it for 12 weeks or less. You can choose another thing if you wish, especially once you've completed your first thing. If you want to work on more than one thing at a time, that's totally up to you. Sending salutes and high fives your way.

4. If you use social media and you would like to share your #OneThing, please do. And, tag me @shaicoggins too! Sharing your goals help to keep you accountable. So, if you're up for it - share away!

5. You can use the checklist as a guide and choose things to work on. Or, you can use it as a way to mark things that you've already done. See how many you can finish within a set schedule. And, make sure you tell us all about it.

If you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear from you.

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More Hand Lettering Tools and Apps

Hand Lettering: Are you loving this trend?

More Hand Lettering Tools and Apps

When I first wrote the Hand Lettering Tools and Apps blog post in 2013, I didn't realise that the whole hand lettering practice would become a design trend. Now, you can find hand lettering everywhere on blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and more. And, I'm thrilled because I've always loved it.

How about you? Do you love hand lettering too?

If you're just as crazy about hand lettering as I am, then this follow-up post on this trend is just the thing for you.

On Hand Lettering Tools

Over the last year or so, I've become more obsessed with modern calligraphy and hand lettering in analogue format. So, I've consumed blogs, tutorials, online courses, and more whenever I got the chance. I also started collecting pen holders, pen nibs, and inks. And, of course, I've been practicing my upstrokes and downstrokes.

Now, here are some useful hand lettering courses I found online:

  • Waterbrush Lettering Essentials - This is an analogue hand lettering class on Skillshare by Teela Cunningham. Its focus is using waterbrushes instead of the traditional pen and nib for hand lettering. I really enjoyed this class. I'm still able to use some of the techniques I've learnt here.
  • Hand Lettering Workshop - While I have yet to improve my hand lettering in the style of what you'll learn from Mary Kate McDevitt's Skillshare classes, I really enjoyed learning from her. I knew I wanted to know more about her process ever since I came across her work. In fact, I love her work so much, I ended up purchasing her book (see below).
  • Learn Calligraphy for a Latte - Lindsey Bugbee's series of worksheets and courses on modern calligraphy are great value and very helpful. I've bought two of her calligraphy lessons and used the worksheets as part of my practice. I've definitely seen improvement in my own hand lettering since I came across this website.

You can also check Skillshare's other Courses on Hand Lettering as well as CreativeBug's Hand Lettering Classes.

And, here are some cool books on hand lettering (affiliate links):

  • The ABCs of Hand Lettering by Abbey Sy. When I first came across Abbey's work on Instagram, I fell in love immediately. Her IG stream is so drool-worthy and envy-inducing. So, when I learnt that she had a book out, I wanted a copy. Unfortunately, the hard copy was only available in the Philippines. Thankfully, I just found out that it is now available on Kindle.

Also, here are some interesting collections of hand lettering tutorials:


One of the hand lettering projects I completed after taking the Waterbrush Lettering Essentials class.

On Hand Lettering Apps

Out of all the apps I've mentioned in my last blog post, the one that I am still quite in love with are Paper by 53 and ArtRage . Unfortunately, Paper by 53 remains to be an iPhone/iPad only app. However, while ArtRage was available only on Windows and Mac before, it is now also available on Android, iPad, and iPhone. Hopefully, it would one day be available on Windows Phones too.

Since then, I have added two new favourite digital hand lettering apps:

  • Procreate - This is an iPad only app. But, it's so robust as an art app on a mobile device, it can't be ignored. It supports layers and various types of 'pens' and 'brushes'. It can even use textures. It's incredible. Definitely a great app for hand lettering, though it may take a while to learn.
  • Adobe Draw - This one is available both on iOS devices¬†and Android. As a both an Adobe Creative Suite user and a Windows user, I definitely hope to see this on Windows phones too. I have hope because their Adobe Photoshop Express (another favourite app, for photography) is available across all mobile devices, including Windows.

If you know of other hand lettering tools and apps that you'd like to share here, please leave a comment below and tell us all about it.

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How Do You Find Your First Client?

Find out how you can book your first ideal client with these ideas.

How To Find Your First Client

So, you've started your ideal business. Hooray!

Now: How do you find your first client? This is one of the most popular questions in many business and freelancing groups that I take part in.

As an entrepreneur and freelancer for 20+ years, I've gained clients in different ways. And, with several businesses started, I've found 'first clients' through various avenues.

Here are some approaches to starting and building a client base:

Start with your network.

This is the absolute number one approach in my book when it comes to finding great opportunities. The best kind of people in your network would be more than happy to find ways to help you when you need the support.

So, yes, tell friends and family that you're looking for a client in your line of work. Let them know what you do. Start being comfortable in telling people your area of expertise. Be open about your need to find work or clients. You don't need to beg, just share. Just make sure you have samples of your work available for your friends and family to see.

When I first started freelancing, the internet wasn't mainstream yet. In fact, I didn't even know that such a thing could exist! So, I did my networking the old fashioned way. I started a small newsletter for my class that I edited and produced. Yes, using my trusty old typewriter and the university photocopying service! And, when a former classmate discovered my love for writing, she referred me to her cousin. That cousin turned out to be an award-winning writer who was starting as an editor at a new national magazine. They needed writers, so I started contributing stories. It was my first 'real' job outside of the family business.

This network approach to finding clients and jobs continue to this day for me. This time, on a much larger scale, thanks to the existence of the web, social media, and international contacts. For example, when I got laid off from a full-time job a few years ago, I didn't even need to ask my networks to send clients my way. As soon as people heard that I left my old job when friends and colleagues started sending work my way. Even helping to set-up appointments for me and giving me ideas on where I may be able to find work. I didn't even have any programs, business cards, and other promotional materials ready yet.

In the process, a couple of friends ended up hiring me through their companies at the time. And, someone in my professional network became my most valuable first client. This client even ended up helping me to secure another great client.

So, in less than a year, I was making more in my business working less hours than I did when I was employed full time.

Look at job ads/classifieds.

I'm not sure if I do this out of habit, as I've always loved looking at the classified section for as long as I can remember. Some people enjoy the sports section in a newspaper, others enjoy the puzzles, comics, and crosswords. There are those who love the gossip and celebrity section. Me, I loved my classifieds even from a time when I wasn't even allowed to apply for jobs (I know, I was a weird kid. Still a weird adult.).

But, strangely enough, I have found some good clients through the classifieds and job boards. While most of them turn out to be just small, short-time clients, others can be quite lucrative. I landed writing/editing jobs at online publications through job listings. I even found my first book publishing deal (a tiny deal, mind you) through job ads many years ago.

Nowadays, you get a lot of good sources like LinkedIn Jobs. There are even job-specific groups on Facebook. In my line of work, I've opted to join these Facebook groups: Social Media Jobs (Worldwide, but mostly US-based) and Australian Social Media Jobs.

Apart from looking at general classifieds and job boards, one of my favourite ways to go about doing this is to look at "Jobs Available" or "We're Hiring" links on company websites that I like. If I already like the company, chances are, I can promote myself better.

But, do note that advertised jobs get more competition. So, it's harder to stand out. But, it doesn't mean it's impossible.

You can also look into freelance job sites like Upwork.

Client Readiness Checklist

Ready to find your first client? Here's a free checklist to make sure you're as prepared as possible.Download From The S Squad Content Library

Directed cold calls/email pitches.

This is possibly one of the scariest approaches to landing a client or a job. But, they can also be the most exciting. I don't do this often, partly because as an introvert, I tend to be a wimp in these types of situations. Also, thankfully, I haven't felt the need to cold call all that much.

In the few times that I did, I started off by identifying a company that I wished to work with. For example, when I was living in Singapore, I came across Elle Magazine. It was a women's magazine that I wished to contribute to, so I contacted the features editor and asked if they would be open for me to pitch some article ideas. I was thrilled when she responded positively. It was tough to get an article get to print to start with, but once I found my groove, I ended up getting paid assignments on a regular basis.

Of course, this doesn't always pay off. I've been turned down a few times. And sometimes, in difficult and embarrassing ways. That's why I'm not so crazy about this approach. But, I do acknowledge that there are times when you do have to hustle and this is the only way to get yourself out there.

Usually, the best types of companies and organisations to cold call are those that you're already familiar with. So, if you don't know the business all that well, make sure you do your research first.

Your blog/website.

Building your online presence can definitely pay off in a big way, if you know how to manage your personal brand. That's why you need to make sure that your blog/website can represent you and the work that you do.

I've had various clients through this avenue. Some have hired me after watching me online for a period of time. Others have hired me after coming across a few of my written pieces and reading about my work experiences.

One editor of an in-flight magazine by an international airline once contacted me for a monthly travel writing job after they came across my work online. I believe I was blogging about travel and they found that post.

My blog/website was also the reason I ended up being a part of a VC-funded business that gained a lot of media attention.

So yes, you never know who will end up finding you online. The important thing to remember is that you first need to be found.

Social media networking.

As an extension of having your personal networks and your blog/website, using social media effectively can lead you to your first client. And hopefully, more clients in the future too.

If you take part in online communities where you are able to showcase your skills, personality, and expertise, it is easier for people to see your value.

For example, when I did a call-out for coaching clients at one stage, I was surprised to hear from so many people. Even people who don't usually 'like' or comment on my posts.

That's one of the times when the importance of being a contributor on social media on different levels was highlighted to me.

When I say contributor, it's not just about sharing our work. In fact, it's important not to just ask for help or get people to 'like' or comment on our work. We need to be as generous as possible with our time for other people. We need to comment on, like, and share people's posts. It's good if we can contribute to fundraising calls whenever possible. And, to respond to those who leave comments and say thanks to those who give their time.

It all seems pretty simple and mundane, but all these things go a long way in establishing your personal brand online. And, ultimately, in finding the right first client for you.

Also read: 45 Secret Ways Social Media Can Land You A Job (Forbes magazine)

For Beginning Entrepreneurs and Freelancers:

Do you need help in finding clients for your business? Let me know if I can help you as a coach. Send me a message and we can discuss your specific needs. If you have other questions about your business, leave a comment below or send a message.

For The Experienced Entrepreneur or Freelancer:

How did you get your first client? How are you continuing to find new clients? Do you have other tips you'd like to share?

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