The Work Online and Travel the World Course – Bucketlist Bombshells Review

The Work Online and Travel the World Course – Bucketlist Bombshells Review

The Work Online and Travel the World Course – Bucketlist Bombshells Review

I currently have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world (with wifi!), whether I’m wandering cobblestone streets in Europe or confined to my house due to a global pandemic. But I wouldn’t have this freedom if it wasn’t for the Bucketlist Bombshells.

I first discovered Cassie and Shay, founders of The Bucketlist Bombshells (a life-transforming online education company), back in 2017. I signed up for their Design Skills (which I’ve reviewed on this blog in the past) and Tech Skills courses, followed by their main course, the Work Online and Travel the World Course.

Affectionately dubbed the WTC, this course does what it says on the tin – it helps you build an online business and then take that business anywhere you want to in the world! Many “work from home” opportunities are just that – locked to your location by product inventory or in-person clients.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to build a business with a little more freedom than that. If suppliers dry up and you can’t reach your clients in person, will your business still thrive? Cassie and Shay show you exactly how to build a business that is truly online so you can grow as the world changes.

This isn’t some instant business scheme. Right in the introductory module of the WTC, Cassie and Shay recommend that you set aside at least 3 hours a week to start building your business with a strong foundation.

Each of the modules contains video lessons and worksheets, as well as links to additional resources.

Module 1 – Defining Your Online Skills

This module mirrors the Bucketlist Bombshells’ free workshop (which you can check out here!), with helping you blend soft skills and hard skills to figure out which type of business is right for you. I am a huge fan of personality typology, so I love that they use Myers-Briggs to help students identify their soft skills.

Module 2 – Rock the Freelancing World

Take the first steps to build your skills and grow your experience with online freelancing sites. While I didn’t use this strategy, it’s helpful if you’re feeling a bit apprehensive about getting paid for your services. It also offers tips you can use outside of these freelancing sites.

Module 3 – Build & Launch Your Online Business

This module moves away from working for rates others determine to setting your own rates – with lots of help and advice! From researching competitors’ rates and finding out the cost of living in destinations both local and global, to using the calculator they provide to analyze your lifestyle and needs so you can know your rates will provide enough to live on (and not be surprised by business expenses and taxes along the way). There are also videos to help with two key aspects of signing clients – one lesson on deliverables and client expectations, and another on landing clients via video calls.

Module 4 – Find, Network & Land Clients

This is one of the meatiest modules in the entire course. Not only do you learn how to to set up your packages, Cassie and Shay walk you through everything you need to include on your website, and then offer an hour-long tutorial to get everything set up on Squarespace! On top of that, they show you how to start finding clients outside of freelancer sites, sharing the insider tips they used to build their own businesses.

Module 5 – Running & Rockin’ Your Online Biz

Setting up smooth processes is absolutely key to wowing your clients and growing your business (without going insane trying to remember everything)! Cassie and Shay walk you through SIX of their favorite programs to keep things organized, as well as outlining a workflow and a finance sheet (complete with tutorial) to track everything.

To be honest, I already owned or subscribed to different software than the ones taught within this module, so it wasn’t as useful for me. Also, many of these programs have their own video tutorials, which are keep more up-to-date. The biggest benefits of this module are that it helps you to figure out the types of programs your business needs (a way to send proposals, a way to schedule calls, etc.) and gives you tips on how to use these programs for your specific business (what features are important, what can you ignore for now).

Also, while the finance sheet will help you get a great overview of your business and its money, you’re going to want to invest in some other sort of accounting software soon after you get a client or two under your belt (or before).

Module 6 – Run Your Biz & Jet Set Around the World

Finally we get to the Travel the World part of the WTC! This is where the course differs radically from many other “start an online business” courses and programs. This module is full of practical advice like choosing where to go, how to book accommodations in your new place, how long to stay in one area, and more! They also keep you on track with your business during this transition – remember, you’re not on vacation here!

One of the main points of this module is moving somewhere with a low cost of living, so that you don’t have to worry about bringing in as much money while your business is still growing. Also, it’s up to you how soon you want to jump into the travel part of this after you start your business.

My situation was different. I have little desire to live in many of the locations they suggest (which are often in hot climates – I prefer 60F/15C weather!) and wanted to explore Europe more instead. While some countries in Europe are lower cost than others (generally warmer spots too), it still would be a big investment, as I was also planning to keep a shared apartment back in the US so I could spend some months of the year near my family.

Instead, I found a different option to make my specific travel dreams come true – house sitting! I have a whole post about it here. I’m watching people’s homes and pets (usually cats) while they travel. My sits can last anywhere from 4 days to 2 months, and I’ve stayed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and the US this way.

Bonuses

The Work Online and Travel the World Course includes a number of bonuses (more if you pay in full), but the best ones are included for all students – the student Facebook group and monthly live masterminds!

In my opinion, these outweigh the value of the course itself. Wherever you are in your business, it’s amazing getting personalized advice any time you have an issue! You can post within the group to get tips from other students, alumni, and community managers. This is great when you have more simple questions or those that could use a quick response. But the mastermind sessions are amazing when you have a more complicated or in-depth question about key parts of your business and life as an entrepreneur.

There are also literally dozens of past sessions full of helpful advice! And if you’re not able to make the live masterminds (which are generally at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern – so 1am or later when I’m in Europe), you can submit questions ahead of time and watch the replays.

Conclusion

I highly recommend signing up for the Work Online and Travel the World Course from the Bucketlist Bombshells if you want to start an online business! This course will take your from idea to packing your bags! However, there are some people who won’t benefit from this course as much as others.

  1. If your business is already established. This course is aimed at beginners, and while you may greatly benefit from the monthly masterminds, the bulk of the course is about setting things up in your business.
  2. If you’re looking to market products, courses, or coaching services. The focus is on setting up a business model for virtual assistant, design, web design, social media management, and similar services.
  3. If your focus is on being an influencer or blogger. If you want to make money with paid sponsorships or ads, this course won’t help you with that.

But this course is for you if you want to use the skills you already have to start getting paid by clients, if you’re willing to put in the work, and if you want a framework to follow to build a solid business!

If you have any questions about the WTC, leave me a comment and I’ll answer!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this review, however, my opinions are my own and I had already purchased and benefited from this course years prior.

3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

3 Things I Needed to Go From Wannabe to Successful Entrepreneur

I should be on a plane right now. Heading back to Pennsylvania, ready to resume my 8-to-5 on Monday.

Instead, I’m sipping tea at my lovely house sit in Oxford, waiting for my clothes to air dry (because dryers aren’t really thing in Europe), deciding what I want for dinner, and strategizing about how to grow my business.

Location independence was a dream of mine for so long, but I always had this fear in the back of my head that it wouldn’t happen. I was smart, but not special. Creative, but lazy. Great with ideas, but not ambitious in the slightest.

So I maxed out my two-week vacations with trips to Europe and NYC and Chicago, gradually started investing in better courses online from people who were living the life I wanted, and began hanging out in communities online with people who were starting businesses.

But I still had no clients, and it felt like I would never have a successful business. Then 3 things changed.

These are the 3 things that changed for me between “wishing” for location independence and it actually becoming a possibility!

1. I found a tribe. The Bucketlist Bombshells were all about having location independence, but not having to work for years and years to get to that point. Through their courses I rediscovered my love for design and learned the best way to start earning a steady income while traveling – an ongoing service-based business.

2. I found a niche. I was completely intrigued by the idea of being a Pinterest manager, but it seemed almost too good to be true. So I signed up for a course, and then a few others. We’re still bit of a newer thing, so Pinterest management often gets grouped with social media, even though it’s not very social. What I really loved about focusing on Pinterest was a) it used my design skills, b) I could do the work whenever I wanted due to scheduling aka complete time freedom, and c) it provided a tangible result for clients – more traffic to their websites.

3. I found a mentor/client. After a little success with Pinterest design, I knew I would need to have some ongoing management clients to bring in steady income. The problem was, while I knew so much about Pinterest from the courses I’d taken, I had no experience actually managing a Pinterest account for someone else! Enter Susi. I shared in her group promo thread an offer I was trying out – 50% off my services for 3 months – and she took me up on it! And she has shared about my work in her group several times, leading to additional clients. I’ve also gained so much from what she shares, from improving my mindset to making travel more affordable with house sitting!

That’s it. Those are the 3 things that changed for me, between being a wannabe entrepreneur to the beginning of an actual business!

How long did it take? I found my tribe in April 2017, and it took a bit before I bought their courses and started doing them. I first heard about Pinterest management in November 2017, and bought my first course in January 2018. I had my first Pinterest design client within a month, while I was still finishing up the course, and Susi became my first management client in March 2018.

Want to know more about my journey? Join the Create Wherever Female Entrepreneur Facebook group!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

My Experience Building a Quiz with Interact

My Experience Building a Quiz with Interact

My Experience Building a Quiz with Interact

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may get a small commission to fund my travels if you choose to purchase anything. I’m only an affiliate for products and services I’ve tried and loved, and will always be completely honest about any drawbacks or issues I find!

Are you as addicted to quizzes as I am? Whether I’m figuring out which Disney princess I am (Belle, duh) or evaluating my business knowledge and preferences, I love finding out more about myself.

So when Interact offered me an opportunity to try out their quiz-building platform, I jumped in right away! Who wouldn’t want an inside look at how quizzes work? (Well, I suppose some people won’t care, but I’m a complete geek about stuff like that!)

Starting with Interact

I started with a video walk-through of Interact’s site, and I was immediately impressed. Not only is everything clean and professional, but they have so many integrations and options available for businesses and bloggers to use for lead generation. When you combine the viral possibilities of a great quiz with in-depth data gathering, it’s clear that Interact can be a game changer for marketing.

And with clients like the World Wildlife Fund, The Home Depot, and Greenpeace, Interact plays in the big leagues. But small and medium-sized businesses are not forgotten. One of my favorite tech education sites, Skillcrush (a connection I discovered by happy accident), uses their platform to gain 10,000 subscribers annually, and Interact’s Lite Plan is robust and affordable enough for almost any solopreneur or start-up.

Quizzes can be dead simple or extremely complex. Interact has a library of more than 100 pre-built quizzes in many niches that you can use as is, or customize to suit your business. I started out by choosing one of these templates and examining exactly how all the different parts worked together. The most popular type of quiz is the personality quiz, where choices/answers lead directly to specific result options, but they also offer assessment and scored quizzes. After a few minutes poking around the pre-built quiz, I felt confident that I could create a custom quiz on their platform!

Building My First Quiz

I started with a fairly simple concept for the quiz. As a Pinterest manager, I have potential clients wondering if hiring me is right for their business. And to be honest, many times it’s not the right step for a business to take just yet. If they have no way to convert the traffic Pinterest brings, have no content to promote, or have more time than money to invest in their business, it may be better for them to wait. But for businesses that are ready, this quiz would provide reassurance that a Pinterest manager can help grow their reach, and it would also educate them about some of facets of Pinterest management (design, scheduling, A/B testing). And like some of my inquiry forms, this quiz would give me information about where they stand, to be better prepared for client calls.

Two vital techniques helped me create my quiz easily: 1. Start with the results, not the questions. 2. Draft your questions and the answers they relate to before you start building in Interact. I used Google Sheets to draft my quiz, putting the results along the top as columns and the questions along the side as rows. I learned from the demo and sample quiz that each answer can lead to more than one result, and multiple answers. So I repeated answers a few times in the columns when they would lead to more than one result, and fit two answers in one cell under one result if needed. You may want to grab a sheet of paper to draft if your quiz is threatening to get unwieldy in a spreadsheet.

Interact recommends 5-10 questions for quizzes, with 7 being the sweet spot for people finishing quizzes and getting accurate results. I ended up with 8 for mine.

Putting the Quiz into Interact

Since I had everything ready, creating the quiz in Interact involved mostly cutting and pasting what I’d already written into the platform. I reworded and expanded things as I added them, and even added a few answer options. While drafting was very helpful for getting organized, it was a little tedious entering more than 30 different answers into the quiz – but I do believe that extra step created a more refined result in the end. As I get more familiar with Interact, I believe my drafts will be a little more rough/conceptual before I move them to Interact’s platform.

Also, while my quiz is text-based, you can also use image answers! CC0 stock images from Pixabay are integrated right into the quiz builder, and you can upload your own images as well (there is 2MB limit per image, so you may need to resize first). I did include photos for the cover/intro of the quiz and each of my results, and I highly recommend you do the same, at a minimum. You can also add images to each of the questions.

I added the results first, then put in the questions one at a time, with their answers. I clicked the “Edit Results Correlations” in each question/answer page to match up the answers to the results, which was super easy!

Branding the Quiz

I chose my brand colors and the Google font I use on my site to make the quiz look like it belonged. I also was able to add my logo/favicon, but I was a little disappointed at limited options related to the logo. I also added my photos at this point in the quiz creation.

Quiz Integration

This was probably my least favorite part of setting up my quiz – but it’s mostly because Interact has so many possibilities and I wanted to do it right. Also, connecting to an email service is inherently a lot less fun than dreaming up a quiz! I really love that you have so many options with Interact’s platform – customizing calls to action for each result (which you can do when you create your result options, but I ended up going back and editing them at this point, once I had a clearer picture of where I wanted them to lead).

You can force quiz takers to give their email address before they get their results, but Interact recommends that you offer a subtle “skip this step” option as well.

Interact offers a number of different ways to incorporate the quiz on your website, complete with a WordPress plugin. However, I had several issues with trying to set up an announcement bar for the quiz. First, the color picker was extremely buggy, and I had a hard time adding my color hex codes, as most times I clicked on the popup it would disappear. I also wondered why it hadn’t carried over my brand colors from the quiz. Sure, I might want to switch them around, but it would save a few steps. You can’t change anything but the colors and the text – no font, sizing, button shape/shadow, etc. options.

You also can’t build more than one announcement bar option for each quiz. So with wanting to promote my quiz both here on Create Wherever and on my Quite Katie site, I was faced with a dilemma – which branding should I use for the announcement bar? The navy, light blue, and bright pink of Create Wherever would clash with the peach, teal, and burgundy of Quite Katie. But that was rendered moot by the next issue I faced.

Interact’s announcement bar covers fixed headers. Instead of sitting nicely above all your content like hello/announcement bars are supposed to do, it clumsily overlaps your vital navigation. When my announcement bar didn’t look nice with either of the two options they offered for placement, I researched the issue, and all their help files had was “oh, your site must have a fixed header” – no options for solutions. I reached out to them regarding this, but haven’t heard back.

Since my Quite Katie site has the navigation underneath the main header image on the home page, I was able to incorporated the bar properly on that page of the site only. I changed the branding to match that site, and it was good to go! But I still wanted to have the announcement bar integration here on Create Wherever. I tried searching for Interact and Divi (my site’s parent theme), but came up empty. I then began to look outside of Interact integrations and see how others had included hello bars with Divi. I found a fairly expensive plugin and a free Divi announcement bar generator. The generator had some styling issues (putting the button flush with the bottom of the bar instead of vertically centered) and it, but fortunately I know CSS and was able to fix the issues in the generated code.

So far, my solution works, but I would love to see Interact bring their announcement bar up to the level of the rest of their service. Perhaps they assume that larger companies will already subscribe to a hello bar option?

Conclusion

I’m super impressed with Interact so far, and it has great potential to help businesses grow!

As I just created my first quiz with Interact, I don’t have results to share yet! Look out for an update to this post, or (more likely) a link to a follow-up post after I’ve used Interact for a few months!

I do have one positive story already though – the day after I finished the quiz, a potential client was unsure if she needed a Pinterest manager. I sent her to this quiz, and her result was Yes! Her business could benefit from a Pinterest manager. We have a call scheduled next week!

Try Interact out yourself, and I’d love to hear about your results with the platform!

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

Brand Consistency

Brand Consistency

Brand Consistency

Brand consistency is a topic I’ve been reading about a lot lately. Basically, when a business (or even a blog) keeps certain elements the same across their site and various platforms, people are more able to recognize the business, become familiar with it, and eventually start a relationship with the business by following them via social media or email, and by buying their product or service.

There are three aspects of brand consistency that businesses can use in varying degrees.

Visual Consistency

This is what most people think of when you talk about branding, and it’s the easiest one for potential clients and customers to spot. It’s also where my focus has been for the past month or so as I build my own brand’s visual components and study how to create them for others.

Every business should have the basics, such as a consistent logo, fonts, and colors. Photos are one area that can get tricky, since new ones may need to be added constantly for some businesses. I know some businesses use the same photographer for all of their main photos. Others use the same Adobe Lightroom preset or the same Instagram filter to achieve a cohesive look.

When I was selecting my new header image to go along with my new logo (please, leave a comment letting me know what you think of it!), I bookmarked the page with all of that model’s other images so I could have some variety while maintaining a very consistent look.

Also, in my blog’s theme, Divi you can set up every single blog post to have a different look, if you want. But that doesn’t make a site look like it belongs together. Instead, I set up a global header that I can add to every post, and if I decided I need to change it as I refine my brand, I can go to one place and it will be updated everywhere.

Tone Consistency

Not only should the visual elements of a business be consistent, the tone of the business should be as well. This applies to not only the written words, but spoken, if a business is holding webinars, doing a podcast, or even has a simple welcome video on their site. Writers talk about “finding their voice” and a business should have a distinctive voice as well, especially if they produce a lot of words – like bloggers, content writers, podcast hosts, and online learning instructors.

If you are blogging or wanting to start a solo business, the advice is often to “just be yourself”. While I agree that authenticity is key (and you may be found out quickly if you add in audio or video and who you are doesn’t match your writing), being yourself could meanĀ about 50 different things for one person. We are all a bundle of contradictory traits.

A lot of branding says to “pick three words” but doesn’t give you much help as to deciding which three are best out of the dozens you could use to describe yourself or your business. So let’s try it this way:

 

What are 5 things you like about yourself? Think of things that would make you happy if people complimented you about them. Make sure that the compliment would feel genuine and make you think, “Yes, I am stylish”, or organized, or creative.

 

Now think of your potential audience, or customers, or clients. Which three of those five words would make them more prone to trust you, or like you, or consider your work high quality, if they knew that about you? If you need to, you can add one word that is more related to the business instead of to you specifically, or something you aspire to – but make sure at least 2 of the 3 words are firmly grounded in who you are.

 

Keep those three words in mind as you produce any content for your brand. Try to bring out those aspects of your personality a bit more, in a way that feels genuine. If you do that, you’ll be well on your way to having a consistent voice!

Content Consistency

This covers three areas – frequency, format, and subject matter.

Frequency is pretty basic – find your sweet spot for how often you can create excellent new content. As I’ve discovered, posting once a day with my current schedule leads to posts that only scratch the surface of topics I want to explore further, and takes away too much time I should be investing in other areas to build my business. So I’ll be trimming things back to around once a week in June, and see how that goes. Bottom line, people should know when to expect new content from you, not matter how frequently you decide to share.

Format can tie into some visual components, and it’s best to not have every type of content have the exact same format (all top ten posts, all video how-to posts, all review posts) unless the premise of your business relies solely on that format of content. But each similar format should have the same structure – not having some top ten lists in a slideshow and some in a list, for example.

Subject matter will depend on how narrow the focus of your content. Lifestyle bloggers can have a very broad area of subject matter, while a camera review site would have a more specific area.

 

Those are a lot of areas to consider when trying to build brand consistency (though I have seen FAR more extensive lists). One important thing to remember is not every business will focus the same amount on each of those areas. You can have a little leeway in one area if you make sure the others are strong. Some examples:

A lifestyle blog can talk about everything under the sun, as long as it has a very strong tone and good visual consistency.

A model train company can hire a few different hobbyists with very different tones to blog on their site, since the subject matter is so narrow, and can use formatting and visually to maintain consistency.

A designer can let the visual component of her business speak for itself, and focus less on her words.

 

Which area of brand consistency is most important for your business? In which area does it need the most help?

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

Consistency vs. Unpredictability

Consistency vs. Unpredictability

Consistency vs. Unpredictability

Some view consistent people as boring and unpredictable people as fun. Others have an opposing option, viewing consistent people as reliableĀ and unpredictable people as irresponsible.

I’ve heard of people using only one filter on Instagram to achieve a unified look. And designers cull their portfolios and only display projects that fit their overall aesthetic.

When building a business, you need to have some level of consistency. But as a creative person, doing the same thing day in and day out will stifle your inspiration.

I know I’ve always been more consistent at things when I force myself to do them daily. Whether it’s journaling or learning a language, some things just need daily tasks to add up to something great.

Other things, not so much. For example, you may have noticed that I have been blogging every day in May. I wanted to get back into blogging, and I knew a daily task would keep me accountable toward doing so. I also wanted to see what types of blog posts I enjoy producing. And while topics have varied, I have tried to keep them consistently aimed at creatives who want to work remotely, possibly in other countries. I have been successful in those goals.

But other goals related to this idea have been less successful. I really would have liked to provide more long-form, in-depth content for my readers. But when I require myself to churn out a post a day, there isn’t time (not that short-form content can’t be valuable – look at Seth Godin – but I have shortchanged many topics this way).

Also, because I work fulltime, blogging has taken away from the time I wanted to spend working through Bucketlist Bombshells’ Design Skills course. You may have noticed my last review post was of their logo design module – and I still haven’t completed the mini projects for that module. To be fair, it is a complex subject, and I have spent several hours in Illustrator playing with different logo designs and techniques. But my goal of launching my business would be a lot further along if I wasn’t blogging every day.

I do plan to finish the month (since I am not working the next four days, that will give me some time), but after that, I will likely be cutting back my blogging schedule to once a week. Still consistency, but a type that will give me more freedom to be unpredictable in other areas of my life, and better at providing quality content for you.

And maybe that’s the key for creative work inside a business – finding the level of consistency that works for you. If you’re visiting a new country every month or two, maybe having your work be a bit more rigid will leave you more energy for adapting. If you’re working from your home every day, maybe try something new with your business.

There will always be someone who thinks you are too unpredictable, or too consistent. Find the balance that works best for you, and seek out clients within the same range who will appreciate the exact blend of creativity and structure you provide.

Want to hire me as a Pinterest Designer and Manager to help you get more traffic, leads, and income for your blog or business? Check out this page to see what I can do to help you grow!

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