The simplest way to write your manifesto (and what to do with it)

A manifesto is a fun way to talk about yourself without feeling douchey. The corporate version is the mission statement, but we can have a little fun with it.

It’s a simple and easy to ready way to share some small tidbits of information about yourself when you don’t know where else to squeeze in that kind of copy without it sounding awkward.

Here are some writing prompts to get you thinking.

Try not to overthink your answers, just write the first thing that comes to mind.

I believe…

I started this business because…

What lights me up…

I do this work because…

People often disagree with me, but…

When I sit down with a new client I feel…

I love this work because...

I could eat this every day for the rest of my life…

I believe...

What makes smoke come out of my ears…

When I’m not working find me…

I believe…

 

Then, compile all your statements and reorder them however you like. 

Here's mine.

the Jacqifesto

I BELIEVE…

In spending more time with people than with screens
Working moms should never feel guilty
In bridging right and left brains
Most people are trying
Overtipping is a nice surprise
In short emails & handwritten letters
In writing the first thing that comes to mind
In changing my mind
Red wine is my religion
Purse-chocolate is a thing, so is eating it before dinner
In never saying you’re busy – we all are, and no one really cares
Kids have more to teach us than we have to teach them
A well-placed F- bomb goes a long way
Eat whatever the F*ck you want – no apologies
Dogs have human souls
Spelling matters
When writing, being brief and human are highly seductive
In white space

 

What to do with your manifesto when you’re done:

  1. Add it to your About Page. Mine is here at the bottom of the page.
  2. Post it on social media.
  3. Send it in your email newsletter
  4. Print it out, put it in a frame and set it somewhere where it’ll inspire you every day.
  5. Get it printed on a postcard and send it out to your clients.
  6. Create a flyer and post it at your local cafe.
  7. Include it at the bottom of every newsletter.
  8. Use one line every day to drive your social media themes.
  9. Read it aloud on a Facebook Live or Insta story.
  10. Add it to your email signature.
  11. Hire an illustrator to draw a picture that represents it.

And most importantly, just have fun with it! 

If you need a hand finding the right words for your manifesto, you can get this as part of Unsuck Your About Page.

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Jacqueline Fisch
6 easy ways to improve your writing skills

Sometimes clients come to me because they’ve done their own copywriting, did a killer job, and then realized they’re better off using their talents to do other things, they don’t have the time, or they just plain don’t want to. They’ll pass off all the writing to me, and my clients are doing the coolest things, so I’m happy to do it. Even if they don’t explicitly ask me to help them become a better writer, they tell me they notice a difference in their writing after working together. Their emails are better, and the words flow like wine.

Some, however, might like writing, or they’ve been writing for 20 years academically or in the corporate world and want to learn how to write for the web—a different beast. So they know how to write, but it’s often in a prescriptive and less conversational and accessible way. 

These smart folks ask me, how can I become a better writer? 

This is when you’ll hear me ooooh and ahhh and see my eyes light up. The only thing I love more than writing is talking about writing. 

Here are some fun ways to help improve your writing:

  1. Look to other industries. This is one of my favorite ways to get inspiration. Play with inspiration from a variety of industries and see what you can apply to your business. One of my favorite industries to learn from are sports entrepreneurs and coaches. A great read that's not about writing, but will change how you show up is Elite Minds by Stan Beecham. I've learned more about writing from hockey, specifically goaltending, than any other industry. Always be looking for what you can take away.
     
  2. Read a book on writing. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and her tools to tap into that creativity, The Right to Write, also by Julia Cameron, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. And not about writing, but to give you a push to just make some stuff and make a mess, especially if you're thinking, "It's all been said before, " Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon (also his TEDx). 
     
  3. Get in your client’s heads. Write down what your client is saying, thinking, doing, and feeling around a problem you’re trying to solve. Write these down in their language. If you’re not sure of their language, find where these people are hanging out online, in Facebook groups, at coffee shops, and the bar. Wherever your people are.
     
  4. Read website copy from others. But try to avoid reading from others in your industry. For instance, I only read copy from writers who write for a totally different industry than me. I don’t want to unintentionally become influenced or let in too many words from other mouths get in my head. It's all part of staying in your lane.
     
  5. Review others’ writing. With a small group of trusted fellow business owners, offer to help them review some of their website copy, blog posts, emails, or sales pages. By giving others thoughtful feedback, you’ll improve your writing and editing skills. 
     
  6. Practice. You’ve just gotta do it! You have to practice. Write that sh*tty first draft. I cringe when I look at some of my old writing, and that’s a good thing because that means I’ve come a long way. I’ve long since taken down these very first blog posts since I was talking about veggie burgers, and this is not a website about vegan food. Practice in your emails, in handwritten letters, practice in your blog posts, website copy, newsletters, and more.
     

Just keep writing… and listening. You’ll tweak your style as you learn more about what your clients like to hear, and when you can combine it with your own flair and personal style, and do it over and over, this is when you’ll refine your craft. Here's the oldest post I could find from 2012 on my blog - less space = less stuff = more life.

A word of caution: I found myself with a stack of books on writing and wasn’t actually writing. It became an avoidance tactic for me. When I realized I was spending more time thinking about writing than putting pen to paper, I knew I had to sh*t or get off the pot. 

Get off the pot. Go write something.
 

If you want more inspiration to get writing, you might like these: 

10 lessons after 1 year of being my own boss

On this day last year, I handed in my corporate laptop and badge and trod barefoot into my new office. My home office—just steps behind my kitchen.

I had a handful of amazing clients I’d been working with for a few months, so I knew exactly what I needed to do on that very first Monday of my new entrepreneurial life. Except, I knew, and I didn’t. I had no idea what was going to happen the following week or the next month.

There were so many questions swirling around in my head. Uncertainty, creativity, and inspiration were my new modus operandi. This was a definite change of pace from rush, commute, meeting, do some work, more meetings, rush home, make dinner, get the kids to bed, and start working again.

In honor of my one-year-entrepreneur-versary, I spent some time reflecting on where I’ve been in a year, the lessons I’ve learned and where I’m headed next.

Here are the most important lessons:

  1. Just because you work 50 hours at an office job doesn’t mean you can do it at home. Working for yourself is very different when you work at home, mostly alone on most days. There’s no gathering around the craft beer tap or La Croix fridge to chat about the weekend or the weather. There’s me, my laptop, and my projects. I learned very quickly that my weekly max is 20-30 hours a week. If you’ve read the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, you’ll also learn that most of us can focus for 4-6 hours a day.

  2. Die Empty. Also one of my favorite books from Todd Henry—as much as I love my clients and the words I get to create for them, I dedicate a portion of every day to my writing. That could be my blog, a new book, writing for my website, or creating a new offer. I like to die a little each day… in a good way.

  3. Track your time. Having worked in management consulting where we had to track our time down to 15-minute increments, the habit stuck with me. And tracking my time is more important than ever. I know how long it takes to write a blog post each week, how long it takes to write a proposal, and how long it takes to write and edit a sales page, about page, or website. Time—track it.

  4. Get out. By the third day of being my own boss, I realized the only humans I had seen were my husband and the kids, and maybe the UPS guy. Now, I make it a point to work from somewhere else once or twice a week. Changing up the scenery with a new cafe keeps things fresh.

  5. Clean your desk off every night and at the end of each week. There’s something about the act of putting everything in its place at the end of the day to signal that it’s time to stop working. Same with the end of the week. Physically wrapping up a week’s worth of writing feels good.

  6. Plan your week on Sunday. Each Sunday, I look at the meetings for the week ahead and the work I need to do then figure out what I’ll do on each day to map out my entire week.

  7. Celebrate the wins. Every new client, fresh new project, opportunity, or surprise was jotted down on a special spot in my office. And each day, I write down all the things I’m grateful for, even if it’s a surprise check in the mail, a great connection with a potential new client, a mention on social media. Focusing on the wins constantly brings more wins.

  8. Have a plan. This one was hard for me because I’ve always been one who likes to wing it. It works out for me though, because I expect it to. More on this another time. When my business coach forced me to sit down and think through how much writing I was capable and willing to do each month, I could see what was possible.

  9. Get help. A long-time perfectionist, Jacq-of-all-trades, and someone who says, “I can do that myself,” more often than I should, hiring help is hard. But, you can only go so far on your own. In the past year, I’ve hired someone to do the tech stuff I hate on my website, someone to do bookkeeping, an accountant, and also a designer. By giving the work I don’t enjoy to people who do enjoy it, we all win, and I can focus on what I love to do.

  10. Unplug. I’m working on this one. The pull to work around the clock is always there. I very rarely work on weekends. If I do fire up my laptop, it’s to do some writing on a personal project. On most days, I keep my phone in airplane mode until I’ve had my coffee, written morning pages, and have done at least 30 minutes on a personal writing project.

Year 1 of being my own boss was pretty fantastic all around, and I’m even more excited and energized going into year 2.

Are you just beginning your entrepreneurial journey? Have you been on this ride a while? If you’re stuck and something’s not working quite as you’d expect, send me an email and let me know.

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7 of your biggest blogging questions—answered

“Ugh, I haven’t written a blog post in ages.”

“I know I need to blog, but I just can’t find the time.”

“How many blog posts do I need to publish my blog?”

 

I get asked questions about blogging a lot. I started my first blog back in 2012—a vegan food and lifestyle blog that also talked about minimalism and living with less.

I’ve been blogging since then, at least twice a month, and now, weekly. You won’t find the recipes on this blog anymore though, I’ve long since unpublished them and stopped eating tofu too.

But I’ve learned a whole lot about blogging and if you’re just starting out or if you’re looking for a gentle nudge or a kick in the pants to get back to blogging, here are my answers to the questions people ask me all the time about blogging.

 

1. How many blog posts do I need to publish or share my blog?
One. You just need one. Sometimes people seem to feel embarrassed that they only have one blog on their website. We all started with one. The more important thing to consider is consistency. When I first started blogging, I published every day for a few weeks, this got me in the habit, and also built up a good starting point for my body of work.

2. What do I blog about?
Start with what you know. What do you know more about than most people? What experiences have you had that can help people learn something? What makes you compassionately angry? (note this is different from steam coming out your ears anger.) For example, jargon and overly fussy makes me compassionately angry. Start with what you know.

3. How do I know what to write about each week?
There are a bunch of different ways you can approach this. You could choose a theme for each month, then write about topics that fit into your monthly theme. You could plan your blog around product or service launches, leading up to when you announce your latest project. You could write about whatever’s on your mind from week to week. I like to keep a big long list of topics (the list is at 57 topics right now), and every week, when I sit down to blog, I look through the list and write about just one—picking the one that I’m most excited to write about. In the past, I tried assigning a topic to each week in my Google calendar, but then I’d feel bored with that topic and would end up writing something different instead. Find the best way to work for you.

4. It’s all been said before.
But not in your way with your unique experiences and perspective behind it. The precise way you write about something could be totally different than someone else and could hit the right chord with someone who needs to hear your words in the exact way you say it.

5. I don’t have time to blog.
Do you want to keep positioning yourself as an expert and show your followers you’re here to help them? Find the time. Here are some ways to make the most of your blogging hours:

  • Blog in batches - block a few hours, choose a handful of topics and write a shitty first draft of each. Each week, you’ll just open one of your drafts, edit, and post.
  • If you don't like writing, record a quick video instead and write a brief introduction paragraph.
  • Talk it out. I spend a lot of hours staring at a computer screen, and some weeks, I want to get my blog done as quickly as possible. Or, I have so many thoughts that I can’t focus and get them all out. I use the talk to text feature on my phone to create an email. Then I email it to myself, edit, and post. I can talk out a blog post in five minutes.

6. How do I find my blogging voice?
If you’ve been reading other blogs from people in your industry—stop it. I don’t read the blogs of any writers in my industry. Instead, look to other industries and see if you can apply it to yours. When you’re writing, pretend every time that you’re sitting down to write an email to a friend. A friend asked you a question, and you’re simply replying to them. The more you practice, the less you’ll feel like you’re “finding your voice,” and you’ll be able just to write and enjoy the process.

7. I haven’t blogged in months!
That’s okay! Just start again. Chances are, no one will notice anyway, you can also remove the date stamp on your blog posts if you’re consistently inconsistent.


If you start to feel like you're talking more about your blog than actually doing the work, it's time to buckle in and just start. It's not going to be perfect, and that's okay. I say that as a recovering perfectionist. Also, when you're just starting out, it's the best time to get dirty, play, make a mess—because chances are no one will notice. 

For more inspiration, check these out: