PP 060: Rikki Ayers from Be Rad Media
Rikki and I chat about business building techniques for millennial entrepreneurial, the role positive thinking has played in Rikki’s personal and business life, the evolution of digital media marketing and much, much more!
Stay tuned and discover how @beradmedia share her journey to @thekimsutton from being a freelance writer to an entrepreneur. Visit us at http://thekimsutton.wpengine.com/pp060/ #freelancewriter #coaching #PositiveProductivityPodcast #entrepreneurClick To Tweet
Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience
Seth Godin’s Books
Nancy Drew Books
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings
Anthony Kiedis’s Scar Tissue
The Baby-Sitters Club
KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host Kim Sutton and today I am thrilled to have “Rikki Ayers from Be Rad Media” with us. Welcome, Rikki!
RIKKI: Hi, thanks for having me.
KIM: Oh, I’m thrilled. Rikki is the founder of Be Rad Media and as a copywriter and content marketing strategist who helps clients develop on brand customer focused content strategies and write clear, concise and interesting content for their websites and other marketing channels. Rikki, how did you get on this path?
RIKKI: Yeah, it’s been a long time coming.. I’ve been a freelance writer for about nine years. I got started in my early twenties and until this year I’ve done freelance writing mostly very, very part time, um, and ended up specializing in web copy throughout the years because that’s what a lot of people were looking for, and in the past three years I’ve worked in various digital marketing and communications roles and slowly built my business, my business on the side and you know, I’ve done quite a few different digital marketing things, everything from like social media advertising to copywriting to graphic design, but copywriting is always the thing that I come back to. So I decided just to stick with that, and it’s been great.
KIM: Oh, that’s fabulous. I love that. So one of the questions that I ask on the screening sheet for guests is what role does positive thinking and law of attraction play in your life? And I loved your response. You said: “When I want something, whether it be a new dream client or a writing getaway, you focused really hard on it.” Can you give an example of how this has played in your business or in your personal life recently?
RIKKI: I have a funny ritual that I do. I don’t know if it’s that funny. It’s funny to me because I’ve always been kind of not as overly spiritual person, but it’s funny because when I do kind of tap into my spiritual side like things work, so there’s a bit of denial going on inside me when I’m really, really kind of struggling with something or I’m not clear about something. I actually do a meditation practice where I shut off all the lights I put on music, I’ll do guided meditation to start with, I might have candles or crystals or whatever I feel like I need and I do journaling exercise afterwards and I really just hone in on that one thing that I feel like I really need clarity on and I kid you not, after I do that and they get really clear and I get quiet within a week, something comes through like a kid you not. It’s so, it’s so strange and I’m so grateful for it. And so I just keep going with that. Um, recently I, as a freelancer, you know, you’re always kind of dealing with a lot of work. And then less work and you kind of never really get into this flow of being able to forecast your income months ahead of time. And so my recent thing was, “Oh, you know, I really just want to do a long-term project with clients that I can really build a relationship over time if that was my focus.” So I did my ritual and just a few days ago the answer came and things are great. So it works. I know it sounds a little weird to some people listening, but if you can find some kind of a ritual where you get quiet with yourself and get really clear on what your intention and what you need from the universe or whatever, um, is it helps so much.
KIM: See, that’s the hardest part for me is the quiet part. And I don’t even mean with all my kids. I mean, when I try to meditate, I have so much going on in my brain that it sometimes it’s just really hard to be quiet. Do you have any tips for that?
RIKKI: Yeah. Um, I have a trouble with it too, especially I think as a writer because I’m always thinking about stuff in like narrating situations, which is super weird, but I, I just got turned on to an app called “Calm”, so I put that on my phone. It’s short guided meditations and then I will just sit quiet after that. There are several apps out there. Tom, Deepak Chopra and Oprah have got a whole thing where they do 21 day meditations that I highly recommend because it helps you build a practice and then just putting yourself in the head space before you start to do it. So I recommend, you know, not being on social media or watching TV or something that gets you really kind of stimulated or round up beforehand. If you kind of have a bath before, make dinner before something relaxing and then get into it. It, it’s easier.
KIM: Tom and then Deepak and Oprah. That is so fantastic. This will all be in the show notes, just so you listeners know, and you can find those in all the links that we’ll be talking about upcoming at TheKimSutton.com/PP060 for episode 60. So Rikki, when you are working on writing, do you have a set time that you sit down or do you sit down and write or stand up and write. I, I’d love to know how you write when the ideas come to you, what works best for you?
RIKKI: Yeah, so it’s changed over the year. When I first started doing my own business full time. I’m having worked for other businesses, you know, for my entire working life I had to really come to terms with – how to set my own structure and routine throughout the day. So I actually became a morning person as of this year before that, you know, mornings were the enemy and I would stay up until 12:00 or 1:00 and now I go to bed at like 10:00 at night and get up at 6:00 and it works for me. So I write from, depending on the kind of work that I do, I usually do my client work between 7:00 and new and then maybe a little bit in the evenings and then in the afternoons I do kind of other, more administrative or other marketing work that I have to do. Um, I do stand up and sit down. I have a little stand up. I don’t think it’s a stand-up desk. It’s like a thing you put on top of a table and it extends and I can put my laptop on there, which is great. Um, especially in the afternoons when I start to feel tired, go through the caffeine crash, I need to do some kind of movement and I can, you know, do squats from my stand-up desk while writing, which helps. And–
KIM: I just have to interject.
KIM: You just got me excited because that is exactly what happens to me every single day between one and two. I just hit that low and I’m in that happy lunch coma. Even though I work at home and I think I’m going to have to try that. I don’t have a standing desk, but I’m going to have to find something that I can put on my desk with my wireless keyboard and start doing squat. I mean,
RIKKI: yeah, even just a stack book, it works
KIM: oh, yeah, absolutely. And I know I’ve got plenty of those sitting here staring at me right now. So I’m definitely tomorrow I am starting that. Fantastic.
RIKKI: Do it!
KIM: Oh my gosh,
RIKKI: (laugh) it makes such a different. Yeah, I mean in the afternoon when I start to crash, it’s awful. Like I can, if I’m sitting down, there are times when I can barely keep my eyes open and I will write the same sentence or look at the same sentence, like for 20 minutes and not get anything done, so I have to move.
KIM: Oh, absolutely. So where do you find that most of your ideas for your writing comes from?
RIKKI: Oh, good question, for my personal writing and my business, it’s usually conversations that I have with people, um, whether it be clients. So for BeRadMedia.com. It’s all about content marketing and writing. And often my blog posts are inspired by conversations with clients that are kind of like common questions. So one that I recently did was how to do special, um, they’re called “UTM Parameters”, which is just a nerdy way of saying a special codes that you put in your links for your Google Ads so you know, where your website traffic’s coming from and that sparked an idea for a blog post. Other ones have been, you know, actually talking to people about the presidential election and kind of what that brings up for people in terms of a marketing sense and how we should market ourselves and portray ourselves in the world. Um, yeah. So it’s mostly from conversations that I have with people and the problems that they’re facing and the questions that they have about the kind of work that I do.
KIM: I can’t even imagine having a conversation with somebody about “UTM Parameters” because it’s, I do in my job as well. Can I just actually had to explain to a client why changing all the URL’s after the blogs had already been published was really not a great thing because there were about a hundred and 50 UTM that had been developed and had to be redone. Hand’s up.
RIKKI:Yeah, but I mean. There’s so useful, it’s not something that’s fun to talk about, but they’re useful, so that’s really what I want people to get out of my writing and want them to be able to do something with it.
KIM: Oh, absolutely. And just because it’s something that a lot of people aren’t familiar with, would you mind explaining really briefly what UTM’s do just so that they’re not out there yet? Listeners, I want you to be totally confused.
RIKKI:(laugh) So this nerdy UTM thing that we’re talking about, they’re basically little snippets of code that Google reads when you attach them to a URL and when you go and look in your Google analytics or your analytics software, it tells you where all your traffic’s coming from. So if I’m saying I’m setting up a special link for say, a blog, and I want to know where that person came, how that person got onto my blog, I’ll add a thing that says, oh, this, this blog coming from Google or this blog has came from someone’s searching for this keyword. It’s really hard to explain without being able to show it. I realized what I highly recommend if you’re doing any kind of content marketing or advertising online to look it up on Google’s website,
KIM: Oh, absolutely, and I will even put a link in the show notes to the UTM builder that I use. It’s probably this, I don’t know–
RIKKI:-If you can think of something else that it’s way better, (laugh)
KIM: but the way that I really love to use it is I’ll have different tweets going out with different graphics and I love to know which combination works best so–
KIM: –for say, tweet one with creative two or whatever, and then I can track which one is working best. You get up, you said at 6:00 and you go to bed at 10:00? Is that what you said?
KIM: About um, what type of wind down routine do you have? Do you have one?
RIKKI: I do. Most of the time, sometimes that will work right until I go to bed, depending on what I’m working on, but I try to really be really strict about being in bed about 9:30 so I can slowly wind down. I’ve always had. I’ve always lived in kind of small town resort kind of places that are really quiet and dark at night and I moved to the city about five years ago and I have found it so hard to fall asleep here because of the noise, so I actually – do you have to have a routine? I usually have like chamomile tea before I go to bed. I’ll shut off my computer if I’m not working, I shut off my phone so I’m not distracted and I kind of just getting into that calm space and actually have earplugs in an eye-mask can I wear when I go to bed and when I’m falling asleep I go through a process. It’s like expressing gratitude because when you’re expressing gratitude you can’t feel angry or stressed out, so I find that’s really helpful. If I’m just for five minutes while I’m falling asleep, just reminding myself, but I’m thankful for about that day.
KIM: Oh, I love that. I’ve been trying. Actually just this week I started doing or adding gratitude to my daily journaling and it has really made a difference.
KIM: I’m sort of surprised that I hadn’t been doing it beforehand, but I, I found that I had to take myself away from the screen as well and I’ve been trying to do it about an hour before. The hardest part for me has been taking myself away from my phone because I use it as my alarm and um, and I was also using it to read books, so I’ve been moving back to physical copies of books, which I have to say I’m really enjoying. Um, even though I, even though you can highlight on e-books, I’m loving using old school highlighters again, except my kids get a hold of them.
RIKKI: Yeah. And everything’s highlighted.
KIM: Oh yeah. The whole book is highlighted by that point. I mean especially with three and two year olds. And then they start drawing all over each other’s faces. But that’s a story for another day. What topics do you especially love to write about? Are there any in particular?
RIKKI: Yeah, I have for my new project which is called “Own-up, Grown-up”. I’m writing all about the issues that millennials face, which are like the 20 and 30 something’s a generation. And it’s really interesting to me because, you know, I am of that generation, but I’ve also become much more observant about how different this generation is from any previous, especially with all the technology and things that have changed. So, I love writing about kind of like the cultural aspects of that and how I see different things in the world now affecting the way that people communicate, cooperate, and treat each other. It’s really interesting to me. I love psychology. I will, you know, I read a lot of psychology books and I love reading about psychology, so it got me interested in marketing as well because a lot of that psychology.
KIM: So what are you reading right now?
RIKKI: Right now? I actually just got a copy of Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” from the library, um, that I just started reading. I recently finished his book. Um, “We Are All Weird” and uh, loved it. I love all of his books and for some reason I’ve never read “Purple Cow”, which is kind of like his biggest book. Um, so I’m really excited to get into that.
KIM: It’s really fascinating. That was actually the first one that I read of his and just recently finished “Tribes”, but I have not read. “We are all Weird”..
RIKKI: Yeah it’s good..
KIM: -and to me that would’ve been like the first one that I would have read, but I got to be totally honest. I hadn’t heard about it.
RIKKI: Yeah. And I hadn’t heard about it either. I think I’ve found it doing an online search for the “Purple Cow” and that one I just happened to be able to get sooner. So I read “We are all Weird”. I’ve read “Tribes” as well, which is one of my favorite books. Um, purple cow was really cool. It’s all about building a remarkable business to how to be different in a way that’s authentic. So, uh, and I love reading his books. He’s the king of brevity and being able to write or stuff. So much meaning into short sentences. Something I think any writer aspires to do but has trouble with.
KIM: Oh absolutely. And I subscribed to is his blog and I love getting his emails. I have to say too that I especially love the really short ones. Not that I don’t find just as much value in the long blogs, but there’s just always so much content, like you said, into the short little snippets. You can write a two sentence blog article and you’re just sitting there thinking: “Wow”. So listeners, if you’re not subscribed head on over, there will be a link in the show notes. So you actually just launched. I want to go back to “Own-up, Grown-up” did I got that right, right. We talked a little bit about this pre show, but could you share more about your program for that with the listeners?
RIKKI: Yeah, I mean right now it’s just a blog and I’m, I mean I’m going to do a lot more with it, but I wanted to start it out simply and start to really get into it before I started. Uh, building out pieces. In short, it’s, it’s, uh, it’s kind of like a social research project on millennials and how our generation is different in the context of the changes that have happened within the last, you know, 20 or 30 years. Um, mainly technology. So I’m really exploring things like finance, personal finance, career choices and things like that, and they would just want to really, really dive deep and figure out what’s different and if I can help people kind of get through this period known as the – Quarter Life Crisis, which is nothing new, but it’s something that I as a 30 year old thought ton of people go through within the last couple of years. Just people who had no real direction in their life. They didn’t know if they’d chosen the right career, they didn’t know how to start a business or if they want to start a business, they didn’t know how to deal with their finances. They weren’t saving for retirement. All these different things. And we’re kind of dealing with an age of too much information now or no one knows where to get the right information because there’s so much bad information out there. So it’s a huge undertaking. And I think, you know, I’d really like it to be a book or something someday. And then whatever comes out of that, I’m just kind of starting slow right now. But I really am in love with this project and what I’m learning from it.
KIM: What did you see yourself being when you grew up?
RIKKI: Oh my gosh. Well, when I was a kid I wanted to be like an Olympic figure skater, a professional horseback rider. I never really knew that I wanted to be. Um, and I struggled with it a lot when high school. I remember I really wanted to be an artist of some kind and I was really interested in looking at graphic design and art direction. Um, and that never really worked out because I’ve found the guy, I love art and I love being creative, but that wasn’t really the medium that spoke to me. And writing came to me. It was funny. It’s funny how you like reflect on things and you’re like, oh yeah, that makes sense. For years and years, like I tried to figure out what I was doing. I worked in tourism for awhile. I had a bunch of different jobs and then it just clicked for me and it was like the thing that I have always done is writing, you know, I was a journaler as a kid, I used to write like spelling tests for my little sister. I was crazy about grammar as a kid. My Dad brings us up all the time, which is funny and I’ve always been a book nerd. Like I’ve always had my face burning a book and I’ve always been reading two or three books at the same time. So yeah, it’s funny how you don’t realize that that’s your thing until it just clicks one day and you’re like: “Oh, that’s what I should do”. So it’s been a long process.
KIM: Do you remember what your first chapter book was?
RIKKI: My first chapter book. Gosh, I used to love when I was really young. I used to love reading. I remember I used to read “Nancy Drew”. I used to read like “RL’s Dime” like a lot of those kid books. Um, and I got really into like the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”. Um, and I got really into biographies as like a, an older teenager, which was strange. I don’t know if it’s strange, but I got really into like rock biographies, like “Anthony Kiedis’s Scar Tissue” in books like that.
KIM: That’s awesome. I remember listeners, you can go back and look up the original publishing date, but I couldn’t remember when I was in third grade. The Babysitter’s had the “Babysitter Club.”
RIKKI: Oh, I totally forgot about the babysitter’s club. Yeah, I think I read all of those. I was actually had the gold subscription service.
KIM: Yeah. Fantastic book club, I remember. My mom would, would buy us the books and we would read them that day. My sister, my sister and I were book nerds as well. She would take us to the library and we would carry home huge bags full of books.
RIKKI: That’s so cool.
KIM: I, I’m pretty sure the three of us, my mom included and I’m pretty sure that we kept the better part of the Rochester, Rochester, New York public library system going with our overdue fines.
KIM: Looking back though, I’ve thought about this myself because when I, when I was in high school I always thought it would be great to be an architect in outer space. Don’t ask me how I just wanted to go, so I got my interior architecture degree and by that time I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The outer space part, I just didn’t want to be stuck in a spaceship, but looking back everything that’s going on in social media marketing and how it’s such a big part of my career right now, people have asked would you do it differently in the interesting part is when I went through college, social media marketing wasn’t a thing. Like, AOL was just. Yeah, it was already launched and high speed Internet was just coming around so we didn’t need to do dial up anymore, but there wasn’t, you know, and a social media marketing per se program anywhere that could have been gone through. If you could go back and do things any differently in your past, would you?
RIKKI: Oh Gosh. Yes. I mean, I think in terms of – trusting my intuition I think has been the biggest thing. I think I fought my intuition a lot in my early twenties. Um, I always kind of knew I wanted to do a creative career, but I didn’t trust that I could be successful at it. So I would probably have gone to some kind of. I didn’t go to a communications I didn’t get communications degree until I was 27. I think when I finished, um, I think if I could have done that sooner, I’d be a lot further along. But who knows, social media marketing is an interesting thing. I remember even I only went to university, you know, I guess 10 years ago now. Wait, no, that’s not right. I think we learned how to set up a twitter profile and that was like our digital marketing course and now, yeah, it’s so much different. And I had to learn all of my digital marketing. Sounds like you did two by trial and error. So we would have been amazing to know how to do social media marketing or email marketing. We never even knew what email marketing was when I went to university. So yeah, I definitely. Those things that help you build a business from the ground up, I think it needs to be covered more.
KIM: No, absolutely. I mean when we – I don’t want to put a date on you because I don’t know how old you are. And I’m not asking. When I was in college, you know, those were the days when you would be thrilled if you had one or two emails when you sign in to your email and now I would love to just have one or two but now its about 550. I’m exaggerating. Just a little bit but–
RIKKI: Yeah, it’s crazy. I have a whole email account that’s just for newsletters and things because I was getting so overwhelmed and spending way too much time talking about productivity, spending far too much time on email every day. Even just deleting and like checking stuff out. So I just set up a whole account to send all that stuff too.
KIM: Thank you for that awesome segue. By the way, what other systems do you have set up to help you with productivity?
RIKKI: Oh yeah. Especially, uh, if you’re starting out and you maybe don’t have a team behind you yet, you need systems and I still have a pretty good and really simple system set up which works for me and I, for me, things need to be simple, otherwise it won’t use them. So I use “Asana” for all my project management, so I’ll put tasks with deadlines. I’m super deadline driven so that program really works for me, um, and it sends notifications to my phone when things are due so I can never miss anything. And I use “Google Drive” for most of my client work because it’s so easy to send stuff to them and they can add comments and track changes and things right there and we don’t have to email stuff back and forth. Um, I also use “Freshbooks” for all my accounting purposes because I’m not, I’m getting better, but I’m not really a numbers person. And having to do my own accounting was really stressful. So I have a payment system set up so people can pay by credit card. They don’t have to worry about chasing people down for invoices because they get reminders. Um, that’s been a really nice piece and I also use “MailChimp” from my email marketing and I have a paid account so that I can do automation and things like that.
KIM: I’m sitting over here laughing because I’ve actually been trying to get my lawn guy, the guy who comes in most our lawn to use “Freshbooks” or “Harvest” because we chat a little bit from the small business owner’s standpoint and he was complaining that sometimes it’s hard to collect money from his clients, not me. I mean I’ve got it or I’m going to get it if I forgot. I’m like: “You need an invoicing tool” and he just was like: “What’s that?”
KIM: I’ll text texted to you and it’s practically no, I mean this is not free, but it’s practically no charge compared to all the work that you’re putting in. I completely agree on that.
RIKKI: Yeah. And it’s nice. I like it because I can also fix your taxes way easier because you get all those totals. Um, and I just put everything through “Freshbooks” now and you can also track your spending. So I have accounts hooked up to there. So I can see how much I’m spending on my software for my business. It just helps you kind of put the whole business together and maybe cut where you need to or grow other things where you can.
KIM: Oh, absolutely. I actually was a “Freshbooks” user for the longest time and then switched over to “Harvest” because at the time that I switched “Freshbooks” didn’t have a retainer system. But I understand that. They’ve just added that, which was very coincidental. I’m going to have to research that. But again, listeners, if you’re frantically trying to write all this info down, you can find it all the links and all the information that we’re talking about at TheKimSutton.com/PP060. And I just want to apologize really fast. If you keep on hearing a click over here, it’s because a 40 pound cat has decided it needs to pace back and forth. So positive productivity, not always perfection and sometimes encumbered by fat cats.
RIKKI: Uh, I have a cat, she’s not fat, but she likes to. When I’m typing on my computer, she’ll just sleep on my arms – and my arms like sore all the time because she does that.
KIM: Yes. Well, I got this one is just one of three listeners have been blessed or cursed to hear more than once about fame and fortune. Who are my – this is my husband’s, but fame and fortune are my cats and yes, sorry, I will get rid of him so that listeners don’t have to hear this, but he has just worked himself into a bag on my desk as well. Oh, it’s a fun time. Always around here. What is – so you talk about finances and you just had a whole list of great things that you talk to millennials about. If there is one piece of advice that you could give to millennials right now. What do you think it would be?
RIKKI: Oh, that’s a good one. I think from my perspective, because this is something I’m just figuring out myself. Um – start dealing with your finances in your twenties. Start having a savings plan, having a budget. Uh, it doesn’t have to be super strict but at least know where your money is going and be conscious about the way that you spend your money and even, you know, start putting money into your retirement accounts and investing at a young age because the younger you start, the more your money can grow and the better money habits you’ll establish over time. Um, I was terrible with money in my twenties, like I was living paycheck to paycheck. I, you know, definitely went out a lot more than I probably should have. And I’m at a point now where I’m like, you know, ready to settle down and buy a home and things like that. I’m just not quite there yet. And I realize if I would have in my twenties, started to really deal with my money and become a better money manager, I probably would be at a much better place. So deal with your money.
KIM: I agree with that 1,000%, especially for millennial entrepreneurs because at least here in America, and I know you’re in Canada, I don’t know what it’s like up there, but when you’re trying to buy a home and you’re a small business owner and get a mortgage, it’s really hard as an entrepreneur in America.
RIKKI: Yeah, it’s the same here-
KIM: – unless your credit score’s like impeccable and you have plenty of money. So you are working on another new project copywriting course and I know all the details aren’t nailed out yet, but can you give any information about that to listeners?
RIKKI: Yeah, definitely. Um, so this came about from actually a couple of workshops that I did just locally in my town and people at the workshop or like you should put this online and I had never really thought about that for some reason because I just figured there were so many copywriting courses out there. However, I serve a pretty specific audience. I’ve worked specifically with people who are socially conscious and have like a social enterprise or a non-profit or some kind of a business model where they give back. So I’m developing a copy writing course specifically for people who want, who are in that segment of the population and want to learn how to do their website copy. I find, especially with people who are really cause and mission focus, they put so much effort into the work that they’re doing and then their website copy, which is kind of, you know, for a lot of people, the first place that someone gets to learn about you and I see the same mistakes over and over and over again. So in the copywriting course I’m going to address the most common mistakes, the easiest ways to learn how to do copy, a bunch of the tools that I use to make copywriting better and easier for people. And yeah, it just gives people some really, really good actionable advice. And then I’m going to offer people that do the course if they finish it in a certain time, I’ll offer to review a page or two of their website for them for free.
KIM: So fantastic. And I was going to ask you what some of those mistakes where, but I’m gonna just let listeners sign up for the course and the link for that will be in the show notes.
RIKKI: Great. Thank you.
KIM: Rikki, where can listeners find you and find out more about you and also find out more information about your copywriting course and “Own-up, Grown-up”?
RIKKI: Sure. So, um, my copywriting all goes through my business “Be Rad Media”, which is BeRadMedia.com and you can subscribe there if you sign up early. I’m going to offer a, an incentive for people to sign up for the course if they subscribe early. And also if you’re interested in learning about “Own-up, Grown-up”, which is the project I’m working on addressing issues for millennials, it’s exactly like it sounds ownupgrownup.com and we’ve got a private facebook group. If you look it up online or on facebook, you’re more than welcome to join. Um, it’s by invite and you can also find me on social media. I’m on twitter @beradmedia and facebook @beradmedia as well.
KIM: Fantastic. Rikki, thank you so much for joining me today and for all the great information that you gave to listeners. It has been absolutely awesome.
RIKKI: Thank you. I was such a pleasure being here.