Thursday, 19 March 2015

3 tools that are improving my entrepreneurship

I never saw myself as an entrepreneur. I thought I would be a worker bee, settled into a comfortable hive somewhere.

There are things in life beyond our control. Like your company laying off 400 people during a reorganization. Including you.

When I found myself holding an envelope with details of my severance package, I had no idea of what was to come. I missed being a worker bee. As I started doing temp work to keep engaged in the labour market, I discovered something else. I missed being a queen bee. Because that's what it felt like, having my niche and my strengths in my former position.

Part of the stress of job hunting is that so much is out of your control. You can have a great resume and have a great interview - but you can't do anything about someone else being more qualified.

So that's how I started putting together Enchanted Mermaid Treasures. I planned it as a source of extra income and a way to maintain my HTML and CSS skills, while celebrating my love of mermaids.

So I built it. And started building Angela Boyko Art, because I've been returning to my creative roots over the last year.

Sounds simple, right? Well, you can build the site, but that doesn't mean visitors will come. I have had some sales, but I discovered that there was a lot I didn't know about marketing and SEO. Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools have helped me see where my traffic is coming from. Now I need to know how to get better exposure.

I tried a Facebook ad - ended up paying $1 a click but no sales. I tried Google Adwords - averaged .15 per click but also did not produce a sale.

So now I'm digging in to figure out how I can improve my site and my advertising. These have proven to be valuable resources:

Wordpress SEO by Yoast
I had a love/hate relationship with this plugin when I started, because it was so hard to write at least 300 words per page! But now I love it. It points out specific things to update, such as putting the keyword in the title, URL, and alt tags. It tells me to have at least one image per blog post. And it's free!

Chapter 1 of "The Definitive Guide to Copywriting"
Yes, chapter 1. I haven't finished the guide. I'm including this because chapter 1 asks some really good questions about your product. The questions had me thinking about my sites from a different perspective, and I'm going to be revising a lot of copy.

Google AdWords courses
Google wants you to buy advertising. Google wants you to reap the benefits of advertising with them. So they've provided free online courses. I'm in the second course and the worksheet is asking some very thought-provoking questions. I'm not sure how to define my audience when I don't have much of one right now. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

And because every blog post should have a photo ...

Today I received my new business cards and new postcards for Etsy #cards #etsy

A photo posted by Angela Boyko (@angelamermaid) on

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

What's going on

I'm slowly putting together my artist website, Angela Boyko Art.

Progress is slow because:
  • I'm also looking for work
  • I had a job interview yesterday!
  • I'm also building a mermaid niche website at the same time
  • I'm also constantly creating new products for Zazzle
  • I went to Red Deer this weekend to celebrate my birthday
  • I'm also learning SEO and marketing
  • I'm also writing chapter 4 of my Crowen fanfiction Branching Out

  • I have three cats that demand my attention on occasion. Not today, because I clipped their claws and they're all mad at me.

  • I cook at home rather than eat out, so there goes some time.

  • I need to sleep. I need to practise good sleep hygiene. So staying up until 1am to code doesn't work for me.

One of my Zazzle stores is 12 Steps Serenity. I just added a Serenity Collection to the website. I forgot knitting! This is part of a group blanket going to the ICU at the Foothills hospital. Blanket What have you been up to lately?

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Thank you, Leonard Nimoy

My photo op with Leonard Nimoy

I had never been to a science fiction/fantasy/comic book convention prior to April 25, 2010. My buddy Phil, one of the organizers of the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, got me to go because Leonard Nimoy was going to be there and it was a Big Deal. He also said I should buy a photo op, because hello? Leonard. Nimoy.

So I bought a one day pass and a photo op, This is what I blogged about my photo op with Leonard Nimoy:
I stepped up, he put his arm around me and asked how I was, I said, "Great! How are you?", he said, "great, thanks!" And we smiled for the camera and I thanked him and bounced out of the way so the next person could step up. Short but very sweet. I enjoyed watching him while I was in line - he was really very gracious with everyone.

Because of a massive screw-up by the company doing the photo ops, I didn't get a printed copy of the photo. I didn't even get a digital copy until a week later. It's not the most flattering picture of me, but my excitement is genuine. When Leonard Nimoy put his arm around me, I felt special. And bold enough to hold up Star Wars toys with a Star Trek actor. Those toys have been in every photo op since.

Thanks for everything, Leonard. For your words of wisdom that have been prospering online, your kindness to everyone, your arm around me.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Parentverse - behind the scenes of fanfiction

Warning for teases about my next big Parentverse story, "Branching Out". I wouldn't really call them spoilers, your mileage may vary.

One of my hobbies is writing fanfiction. Specifically, Cristina/Owen "Crowen" from Grey's Anatomy.

I just loved this pairing so much that I started writing to fill in the gaps. If they were butting heads onscreen or not communication clearly, I could write a story where they work things out.

I had some little vignettes in my first story "Six Times That Owen Says Thank You to Cristina" and people told me that they wanted to know about what happened in between. Specifically, how did they become parents to the unnamed daughter at the end?

So I wrote "The Twenty-Four Months Before" to explain what happened in the twenty-four months before their daughter, Chloe, was born.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Noro waves scarf in progress

#knitting #noro #wool

A photo posted by Angelamermaid (@angelamermaid) on

Monday, 1 December 2014

Thursday, 27 November 2014