Releasing the Brakes with Jack Canfield

Today I have an article by Jack Canfield. For those who don't know who he is, he's the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, and co-creator of all it's trimmings. Along with this, he has built an amazing empire of coaching. I love this article because it deals with us getting out of our own way. And, all to often it's the individual who creates self-made road blocks to happiness, success, and even health.

Releasing the Brakes
by Jack Canfield

Have you ever been driving your car and realized that you'd left the emergency brake on?
Of course.  We all have.  But when we discover the brake is on -- do we press harder on the gas pedal?  Of course not!

We simply release the brake… and with no extra effort we go faster.

Going through life is a lot like driving a car.  But unfortunately, most people drive through life with their psychological emergency brake on.  They hold on to negative images of themselves... or suffer the effects of highly emotional events they haven't yet released.  To cope, they stay in a comfort zone entirely of their own making.

And when they try to achieve their goals, these negative images and preprogrammed comfort zones always cancel out their good intentions—no matter how hard they try.

Call them "blocks" or "limiting beliefs" or "being stuck" -- but these images and past hurts are nothing more than driving through life with the emergency brake on.
Successful people, on the other hand, continually move beyond their comfort zone -- not by using increased willpower, but by replacing their beliefs about themselves and changing their self image.
They release the brakes -- and, just like a car, they instantly go faster.


Think of your comfort zone as a prison you live in – a largely self-created prison. It consists of the collection of can’ts, musts, must nots, and other unfounded beliefs formed from all the negative thoughts and decisions you have accumulated and reinforced during your lifetime.

The good news is that you can change your comfort zone. How? In three different ways:

1.    You can use affirmations and positive self-talk to affirm having what you want, doing what you want, and being the way you want.
2.    You can create powerful and compelling new internal images of having, doing, and being what you want.
3.    You can simply change your behaviors

All three of these approaches will begin to shift you out of your old comfort zone.


An important concept that successful people understand is that you are never stuck. You just keep re-creating the same experiences over and over by thinking the same thoughts, maintaining the same beliefs, speaking the same words, and doing the same things.

Too often, we get stuck in an endless look of reinforcing behavior, which keep us stuck in a constant downward spiral.

It goes like this: Our limiting thoughts create images in our mind… and those images govern our behavior… which in turn reinforces that limiting thought.

This is known as the Self-Talk Endless Loop.

As long as you keep complaining about your present circumstances, your mind will focus on it. By continually talking about, thinking about, and writing about the way things are, you are continually reinforcing those very same neural pathways in your brain that got you to where you are today. You are continually sending out the same vibrations that will keep attracting the same people and circumstances that you have already created.
To change this cycle, you must focus instead on thinking, talking, and writing about the new reality you want to create. You must FLOOD your unconscious with thoughts, images and ACTION that match your desired reality.

Then suddenly, instead of your outcomes being predetermined by an endless cycle of reinforced self-doubt and self-talk, you’re free to pursue your goals with new determination and confidence.
If releasing the brakes is something you need to do, realize that it's difficult to do by yourself.
We need outside influences to break through our habitual ways of thinking and behaving to assist us in restructuring our beliefs, releasing our repressed emotions and connecting with our true selves.

Two of the most powerful methods for doing this are large group awareness trainings and therapy.  If I were to attribute my incredible level of success to any one thing, it would be the hundreds of personal development seminars I’ve attended over the past 40 years.

If you've discovered that you've been recreating the same outcomes, scenarios, experiences and endless loop of not getting what you want, I'd like to help you break free from this downward spiral.
In fact, one of the most important things I do for participants in my Breakthrough to Success training week is to help them identify these "blocks" that govern their behavior -- then replace those blocks with new thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and patterns.

Of course, there are literally hundreds of individuals and organizations that conduct seminars all over the world. Some are better than others, and in my experience, about 20% of them are highly competent and effective.

Visit their websites, call and talk to them, attend their guest events, and then make a decision about which one feels right for you.

The impact in all areas of your life will be incredible.
© 2010 Jack Canfield
Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

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You can Sell What You Write

Today, I have a guest article from the amazing writing coach, Suzanne Lieurance. While Suzanne's article is targeted at children's writers, it is applicable to any writing genre.

Writing For Children - The Secret to Selling More of What You Write
By Suzanne Lieurance

If you write for children, you need to know all the elements editors look for in fiction or nonfiction for kids.

But that's no secret.

You also need to be sure you choose to write about topics that are not only interesting for children, they are appropriate for them as well.

Again, that's no secret.

So just what IS the secret to selling more of what you write for children?

Well, it's this. Try to choose topics that haven't already been written about over and over again in fiction and nonfiction for children. Here's an example of what I mean.

I once submitted several manuscripts to Scholastic when they had an open call for submissions to their Rookie Reader series of beginning readers. One of the topics I wrote about was shoelaces. Specifically, I wrote about how shoelaces all work the same way, no matter what kind of laces they may be - boys' laces, girls' laces, laces with a name. When tied in a bow, they all work the same.

I figured that children who are just learning to read - and are the target audience for Rookie Readers - are also learning how to tie their shoes, so this would be an appropriate topic to write about for this age group. As I studied all the Rookie Readers I could get my hands on before writing my story, I realized that shoelaces - and learning to tie shoes - was not a topic that had been overdone. There were not dozens and dozens of other children's books out there on this subject.

When the editor called to tell me my manuscript had been accepted, she said that one of the reasons they bought my story (as opposed to over 900 other submissions they had received during this open call) was because it was the ONLY manuscript they'd received about this topic, whereas they'd received hundreds of stories about loose teeth and losing a tooth.

So there you have it. The secret to selling more of what you write for children is to look for topics that appeal to children and are appropriate for them, but haven't already been written about hundreds of times.

Find Suzanne at:


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Freelance Business Content Subcontracting Questions

You’re freelance business is moving along and you’ve been wondering if you need to hire subcontractors to help with the big jobs. You may not be making much money yet, and aren’t sure of the pros and cons of taking this step. Is it financially worth it to hire subcontractors?

To answer this question, you have to ask yourself these questions first:

1. How much do you want to make per piece, per hour, per job?

Without the answer to this question, you shouldn’t commit to anything.

2. Will you earn what you want on this job if you subcontract some of the work out?
Keep in mind that you will need to proof (and possibly edit) the outsourced content. In addition, if the job involves a lot of posts or articles, you will need to create multiple spreadsheets for each subcontractor.

3. Will the organizing and managing of the project with subcontractors on board still allow for you to earn what you want?

Aside from the actual content writing, the organizing and managing of the project will be time consuming. Each spreadsheets mentioned above will contain: what specific job they are doing; the specifics of that job; when it’s due; when the content is received, keeping track of all the titles or other information; when it’s submitted to the client; when you’re paid from the client, when you pay each subcontractor.

And, don’t forget about the all the communications between you and the subcontractors.

There is also the bookkeeping aspect of the job. You need to keep track of income and expenses—this is a must.

You may begin to realize that all the time spent on organizing and managing the project could be spent writing your own content.

4. Is it possible to do the work yourself? Or, do you feel you won’t get done on time without the help of subcontractors?
In regard to these two questions, it might be that you think you have less time than you actually do. Maybe the client wasn’t very specific; this is where you need to request a specific and definite amount of content per week, or time period. Another possibility is to negotiate with your client for an extended time period so you can complete the project on your own without being overwhelmed.

Communication is essential.

Karen Cioffi


Freelance Business Content Subcontracting: Is it Worth it?

You have a relatively new freelance business going and you’ve gotten a really big project, at least the biggest you’ve ever done. You’re excited, but also a bit apprehensive: can you get it done on time?

You decide to subcontract some of the work to take the pressure off of you, or maybe because it’s just not feasible for you to do alone. Well, before you make commitments with subcontractors, think it through.

New Freelance Business Food for Thought

Analyze and answer this question before you start outsourcing work:

Does the job pay well enough to warrant hiring subcontractors?

For example: you get a big article writing gig. It would be difficult for you to handle it alone within the specified time. Also, there are specific keywords that will need to be used for each article and it’s a concern that you will end up having articles that sound alike. These are valid concerns, but if you’re not making enough money on the deal, is it worth it to hire out, or even accept the job?

Get out a calculator if you need to, and determine how much you will make per article taking into account the time you will have to spend researching for your own articles,  proofing each outsourced article, and possibly even editing them. The last scenario is very, very, very likely if you don’t already have a team of subcontractors who you are familiar with, and who you know can produce quality content.

And, there is always the possibility that the client will ask you to edit a few articles after you’ve submitted them to him. This is more of your time and energy being used. If the editing is required because you didn’t do a good job on that particular piece, or your information was inaccurate, then it’s your responsibility to edit it with no charge. If on the other hand, the site your client submitted the piece to is just being picky, you should charge an editing fee.

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Tips for Content Subcontracting in Your New Freelance Business

This is Part 1 of a 3 Part series on Subcontracting and Your Freelance Business.

If you’re just starting a freelance business, you need to step back and learn some of the basics. Whether you use other writers for resources or to actually write content, you need to be aware of a few things:

1. Make sure you have a reliable team (2-5 writers, depending on your needs)

This is crucial. As a freelance business owner, you don’t want to learn the hard way the consequences of hiring a writer who just doesn’t get it, or isn’t capable of doing the type of work required. You will end up spending a great deal of time editing and even rewriting content so it is acceptable to your client.

And, unless you’re a tough business person, you’ll do the work and end up paying the subcontractor.

A solution to this, before you have a reliable team, is to ask for a writing sample, but this isn’t always a true indicator of a writer’s qualifications. If you do hire a writer, after an article or two you can determine if this writer is right for the job or not.

Another option is to let the subcontractors write on spec. If the submitted content is suitable, you accept it, if not, you return it. The drawback with this option is wasted time. If the content isn’t suitable, you still have a deadline and may have to rush to do it yourself.

2. Create a letter of agreement

You may want to create a letter of agreement between you and the subcontractors; while this is optional, professionals advice it.

Be sure to make the agreement very detailed. Be specific as to the word count, what can and can’t be used (such as particular sites, services, or products mentioned). Include how much they will make per post or article; when the article is due, particular keywords if any, font type required, and so on. You might not think that font type is important, but if you’re dealing with 100-200 posts, and you have to proof each one, and make them all uniform, you’ll be sorry you weren’t more specific.

It might be a good idea to provide a sample article so they can see what you’re looking for.

Note: Before you quote a fee per article, take into account the administrative and organizational aspects of the job. Also take into account the costs of mailing checks to the subcontractors—all this adds up in time and money. If your client is giving you $15 per article, and you subcontract the piece for $15, you’re losing money.

This goes for hiring out for research also . . . be specific in what you want, expect, and are willing to pay.

3. Let your client know you are subcontracting some of the work

This is just the right thing to do. If a client is hiring you for your expertise and the quality of your work, he doesn’t want less than what he thinks he’s paying for. Always be upfront.

He may ask that you proof each subcontracted piece before submitting them, but that should be expected. And, the same holds true for research you hire out, you are responsible for its accuracy. This is another reason I mentioned above to take into account all the work involved in a project before you give the subcontractors a quoted fee.

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What is Holding You Back From the Success You Want?

Today, I have a great article from writing coach and instructor, Suzanne Lieurance. Suzanne has a  unique quality for getting her message and instruction across. She knows the writing and marketing ropes and effectively imparts that knowledge to her members.

So, here's some writing insight from Suzanne Lieurance:

What is Holding You Back From the Success You Want?

Want to know what is probably holding you back from being as successful as you could be?

The answer should be no surprise.

It's YOU.

Yep. YOU are the one thing that stands in your way to living the life of your dreams.

And, the thing is, you might not even realize why or how you are doing that. But you must learn to recognize certain behaviors and patterns before you can change them, so let's take a look at some common methods of self-sabotage.

First, think about all the little messages you send to yourself every day. The ones that play in your head over and over again and say things like, "I'm afraid to do that," or "I'd better not try that, I'd probably fail," or, "nothing I do ever works out the way I want it to."

Or maybe you recognize another common pattern - you do many of the things necessary to succeed, yet once you do start to make progress you pull back. You're just too afraid to break out of your comfort zone.
Sound familiar?

Here's yet another pattern that can hold you back - you try a few things to get the results you want. But when they don't work quickly you stop doing them and try something else. In other words, you don't give yourself enough time to succeed.

Every day you send messages to yourself - and to the world around you - through your thoughts, actions, and feelings. Those messages are like a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, is it any wonder you don't live up to your true potential?

Stop holding yourself back.

Each time you hear one of those negative messages in your head today, acknowledge it. Then replace it with a new, positive message that will lead to the future you truly want.

Try it!


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7 Steps to Writing for Article Directories

Among marketing strategies, writing for article directories is certainly up there. It offers a large readership with the advantage of having those readers click back to your site.

While it is writing for free, it should be considered a part of your business expense, at least your time aspect of it. Just like any other form of marketing it is used to create and increase your visibility. It’s an investment.
I know it can get tedious having to write and submit articles to the directories, but the articles don’t have to be long. Here are 7 steps to writing for the directories:

1. Create a title
You want your title to be search engine friendly. Be sure you have your keyword/s in it–make it specific also.

2. Write an outline
This is optional, because there are many writers who can write with the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method. But, if you are more comfortable with an outline, that’s fine. It does provide structure.

3. Create List, How-to, and Step-by-Step articles
This is a popular way to go. Readers love to see simple 1, 2, 3 lists of what they should do or should Not do.
Be sure to include your keyword/s in the first paragraph and a couple of times throughout the article. Just don’t overdo it.

4. Parts of the article
Your first paragraph should be interesting and let the reader know what the article is about, but don’t give away too much–you want the reader to continue reading.
Your second paragraph or section should inform and elaborate on the first paragraph. This part should fulfill the reader’s expectations.
Your last paragraph should sum up what the article is about and conclude with a lead-in to your resource box.

5. Write the minimum word count or just above
Check the guidelines for each particular directory. The minimum word count is usually around 300-400. But, check the site to make sure. Burn-out is easy with article marketing, especially when you’re writing for your own sites also. Keeping the articles short and to the point helps in this area.

6. The resource box
Some sites allow you to include a resource box which is about you and what you can offer the reader. Check the site’s guidelines because they may have specific requirements for the length of the resource box in relation to the length of the article.

Once your article is complete, submit to a number of article directories. A couple of the most popular are Ezine Articles, Associated Content, Suite101, and Helium.
Note: If possible change the title of the article and at least the beginning content a bit. This will make the search engines think it’s new content.

That’s about it. Write, write, write . . .


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Article Reprint Strategy: Good or Bad?

Offering your articles/posts to be reprinted by others…might be a valuable marketing strategy . . . a writer's recycling tool.

While it seems most writers don’t allow their articles/posts to be reprinted by others, I have come across a couple of writers/marketers who generously do allow this practice. They allow their posts to be reprinted by other writers to be used on their blogs or in their FREE newsletter. Obviously, anything being offered to reprint should never be reprinted in something you are selling, such as an e-book or report.

I’m surprised that more writers don’t take advantage of this reprint strategy. The benefits seem obvious – let’s look at four of them.

Four Benefits of Allowing Reprints

1.    You have written something that someone else views as valuable.
2.    You increase your visibility.
3.    You increase traffic back to your site.
4.    You never know who will see that article/post or where it will end up.

What About Giving Your E-books Away?

I have also seen this reprint practice utilized with e-books, and it peaked my interest. These informational e-books plainly state, in the beginning of the content, that readers may freely pass it along. This technique generates additional visibility and is a great promotional tool and marketing opportunity.

In fact, I recently started taking advantage of this practice with one of my e-books. All the writer needs to do is request permission to offer my e-book as a freebie on their site.
Yes, at present I require permission, but that may change as I begin to write more e-books.

Word of Caution Here

Please remember, it’s essential, when taking advantage of a writer’s reprint offer, to always keep the article or e-book intact. Be sure to use the author’s byline and/or any other text and links that they have as part of the bargain.

It’s a win-win situation: the author increases his visibility and you get an article to use on your blog or in your newsletter, or you get a free e-book to offer on your site.

Drawback to Using Reprints or Offering Them

Obviously, there are a couple of circumstances in which offering or using reprints isn’t advisable, such as: you wrote the article specifically for a magazine or ezine and publishing elsewhere is restricted, or you may not want to use an article with a byline that will send your reader to a site that offers the same services you do (a competitor’s site).

One other possible drawback is dilution. What this means is that if you have your article available on a number of sites, when someone does a search for the topic of your article, it may not be your site they end up going to.

But, all-in-all, this is a practical marketing plan.

Why not try this practice. It will be a supplemental tool to be used along with your ezine article marketing. These two strategies combined will certainly generate and increase visibility and traffic back to your site.


The Google Panda algorithm doesn't like duplicate content on a site. This included copying and pasting a post that has already been published. So, use this practice with caution, if at all.


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Does Marketing Really Matter with VS Grenier

It's my pleasure to host a talented author and entrepreneur, Virginia S. Grenier. Virginia has graciously prepared an informative guest article for us, but be sure to read to the very end . . . you won't want to miss: A Bit About Virginia S. Grenier and her wonderful children's picture book, Babysitting Sugarpaw.

Does Marketing Really Matter with VS Grenier

Karen thanks for having me as a guest blogger today. I gave the topic a lot of thought over the past couple of weeks. For those who do not know, Karen asked me share with you about marketing my book, Babysitting SugarPaw while I was pregnant. So without further ado here is my story.

When I first got the go on my picture book, Babysitting SugarPaw being published, I started my email blasts. I had press releases sent out, I posted on all my social sites, talked about it in SFC Newsletter for Writers, did radio interviews, etc. I wanted to build the hype about my book before it even became available. Once it did, I did not stop my marketing campaign. In fact, I stepped it up a notch once it came out.

My publisher sent an email blast about my picture book to their contact list with the cover art, my photo, a blurb on the book. I had them send me a copy of the blast so I could do the same with my contact list. I also had post cards made up of the blast to send out. I sent them to every school, library, preschool, daycare, children’s store, doctors, dentist, and bookstore I could think of or find in my phonebook. I did give-a-ways. I had free coloring pages available on my site. I did contest. I sent copies to blog review sites. You name it . . . I pretty much did it and I was not even done yet with the ideas I was coming up with either.

But then things changed, I found out I was pregnant and I was only just getting warmed up with my marketing campaign. I knew this did not mean the end, but it did mean I would have to stay local with most of my in person promos and change some of my strategy a bit. No big deal. We have a pretty big county here in Southern Utah. Plenty of schools I can visit. Lots of kids to share SugarPaw’s antics with at local events. That was until the H1N1 virus decided to show up.

Talk about putting the breaks on my marketing strategy. My doctor did not want me anywhere near public places being pregnant. Heck, he did not even want to me to shop for food if I could help it. That meant no school visits in the fall. No book signings, no library visits, no nothing to help promote my book in person. I was missing out on a lot of local events in my area. Just my luck. Okay, but I still have the internet . . . right? I could still do interviews, guest blogging, radio interviews, Skype visits, blog talk radio, or blog tours, etc. At least that’s what I was hoping for. But I guess the rain wasn’t enough. No, it had to storm on my book campaign.

I ended up sick, even though I avoided all public places and my hubby did all the shopping, with . . . you guessed it H1N1. I was down for the count. Between being pregnant and sick as a dog, there was nothing left for me to give to my book, Babysitting SugarPaw. I watched as my book sales dropped off the charts.

My book, Babysitting SugarPaw came out July 2009. I have actually ended up only selling a couple hundred copies over the past several months. But do not think because my marketing campaign not going the way I would have like when the book first came out is going to stop me. Just because it has almost been a year, I am not going to give up on my book. Now that I’ve had my baby girl and I’m not sick anymore with that awful flu, it’s time to dust off my marketing strategy and get the hype going again about, Babysitting SugarPaw. Just because a book campaign did not go the way you would like does not mean you should give up on you book. It just means you need to rethink, redo, or adjust it. In my case, it means do all the things now I could not do before.

Books can only do so much on their own. A great book cover and blurb will help if someone picks it up at the store, but it is the author who really makes the sales happen. A long time ago, publishers used to put effort into marketing new releases. Now they focus on their best-selling authors. But if you want to be a best-selling author, you are going to have to work at it because no one is going to do it for you. If you want to see thousands of your books selling, you are going to have to work at marketing your book and building your name.

If you really think about it, why do you know the names of Hollywood Stars, Singers, Book Authors, or any celebrity for that matter? It’s all about the marketing.

A Bit About Virginia S. Grenier

VS Grenier is the Founder & Owner of Stories for Children Publishing LLC. and Editor-in-Chief of Stories for Children Magazine, SFC Newsletter for Writers, and SFC blog Families Matter. She is also a children’s author and freelance editor for Halo Publishing; in addition, to running her own editorial and critique services.

VS Grenier was voted one of the Top Ten Editors of 2007 and 2008 in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll, won 2nd place for her article, “Yes, Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2007, and won 7th place for her article, “Dinosaur Tracks in My Backyard” in the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll for Best Nonfiction of 2008.

VS Grenier learned how to hone her writing skills at the Institute of Children’s Literature, and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI), the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), and Musing Our Children. Her works include Babysitting SugarPaw, the Best of Stories for Children Magazine Volume 1 anthology and over 30 short stories, articles, and crafts for children along with newsletter articles for writers.

“Having others read what you have written and giving feedback not only makes you a better writer, but you start to understand how a well written story’s voice captures the reader, drawing them into your world of ink,” states VS Grenier.

A California girl at heart, she currently lives in Utah with her husband, their three children, and the family’s big fat cat Speed Bump and miniature schnauzer Taz.


Now for a look at a great children's book about friendship and honesty, Babysitting Sugarpaw:

A little bear named SugarPaw hopes to get rid of his babysitter, Bonnie Whiskers, by getting her into trouble after making changes to his rules chart. As this loving story unfolds, SugarPaw learns about honesty and friendship. Babysitting SugarPaw, with its child-centered plot on getting to know others, is the perfect book for little ones scared of being left alone with a babysitter for the first time. This book will delight three-to-eight-year-old readers, especially those who like to create mischief.

“The prefect book for children who will have their first babysitter soon and also for someone who is going to be a babysitter for the first time.”

You can get your very own copy of Babysitting Sugarpaw at:



Virginia, this book sounds delightful; it's on my to get list for my grandsons. Thank you for being my guest today!



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