Sparkle Hustle Grow ● Unboxing a Subscription Box for Female Entrepreneurs ● *SPOILER ALERT*

I'm a tough cookie when it comes to getting free stuff as a blogger in exchange for a review. Ask any company or individual who's ever sent me an email. It's very hard (read: impossible) to convince me to promote your stuff to my audience if I don't think they'll benefit from it in some way.

But when this subscription box for female entrepreneurs sent me an email in March, it was a no brainer- you guys were going to love it!

DISCLAIMER: The Sparkle Hustle Grow box was given to me free of charge and I am an affiliate for the subscription. However, I’m giving my honest-to-goodness reactions here so you can have peace of mind that this is a genuine review. :) 

What is Sparkle Hustle Grow?

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me a free box to try out their product! Annnd they also sent a coupon code for you guys so you can save some money if you're interested in joining. 

Coupon Code!

Just click here and use the code LINDSTROM to get $5 OFF your first box!

Use my coupon code to get $5 OFF your first box!

The Unboxing Haul

I personally love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Pssstt...are you subscribed to my channel yet?

But you can keep reading if you'd rather just the text version of this unboxing... 

1. Be a Business Badass by Emily D. Baker, Esq

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$197 value

It's insanely important that you guys take precautions and protect yourself legally as you build your blogging business! This first item is perfect for helping you cross your t's and dot your i's because it's a online legal business basics course. Score!

2. 2 USB-Port Wall Charger

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$19.99 value

If you watched the video then you heard me squeal with excitement! I've been needing one of these (how does Sparkle Hustle Grow know this??) and I was thrilled to get it in this month's box.

3. Wireless Mouse

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$24.99 value

"Cute as a button." That's how I would describe this wireless mouse. And I laughed a little when I saw the little notecard from Sparkle Hustle Grow that said, "Get rid of that standard black mouse and level up with this fun, fresh and feminine wireless mouse by Winx." I'm pretty sure they were talking directly to me. 

4. Coconut Cashew Collagen Protein Bar, $3 value

If you fast-forward to right here in my unboxing video, you'll see my hilarious reaction to this next product. I'm either living under a rock or completely air-headed because I had no idea grass-fed collagen was a popular trend in health foods. Not sure I'm going to try this one but then again, I'm the type of person to choose tacos over protein bars any day.

My son is also super allergic to nuts so I threw it out right away to make sure he didn't accidentally touch it. Needless to say, I don't have a pic of it but you can always just click here and my video will show you what it looks like.

Sparkle Hustle Grow also threw in a Buy 1, Get 1 coupon (value of $6, I guess) so that's great if you tried the bar and loved it. 

5. Gold Mega Paperclips

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$3 value

This ain't your grandma's kind of paperclip. These things are huge! I'd personally use them for holding together larger poster projects.

Here's what I mean:

Run down to the dollar store and pick up a few of those large poster boards they sell. You can cut them down to size (or leave them large like that) and use them to draw your sales funnels, content brainstorming ideas, or any other strategic plans you might have. 

The paperclips are large enough to keep everything together and you can use the large space of a poster to get super creative and description with your plans. 

6. Hustle Notepad

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$10 value

I LOVE THIS NOTEPAD! You guys already know I was thrilled when I got a notepad in the last Sparkle Hustle Grow box so this was another win for me. 

The paper quality is out of this world. Did you see my Erin Condren unboxing for my 2018-2019 planner? The paper feels just like that, if not even better. 

This isn't the kind of notepad you'd write to-do lists on. This kind of quality deserves your best blogging brainstorming. 

7. Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

$16 value

Y'all already know I'm a major bookworm! I get comments about my color-coordinated bookshelves all the time. (Yep, I'm that nerdy!)

So this book was already a half-win as I pulled it out of the box. But then it became a full blown win when I started reading it. 

Lisa Messenger is the creator and founder of Collective Hub so she obviously has a lot of wisdom to share. 

If you want the book but weren't able to get April's Sparkle Hustle Grow box, you can find it available here. The subscription box said it had a $16 value but I found the book for about $11 at that link. Save yo money, girl!


My Favorites

This wouldn't be a proper unboxing if I didn't choose favorites!

I was really thrilled by the techie stuff that's included. The wall charger is a no-brainer, the mouse will be great if it's comfortable for all those hours of video editing I do, and the book is already looking like it's going to be a great read. 

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!
Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!
Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

All around, this was a good box! Are you going to join Sparkle Hustle Grow?

Sparkle Hustle Grow is an online community and subscription box for female entrepreneurs, and they sent me another free box to try out their product! I love watching unboxing videos so I’m sharing mine too so you can see my honest-to-goodness genuine reaction to all the items. Annnd they’ve me a coupon code for you guys so be sure to get the description box below the video for $5 off!

Selling Products on Your Blog ● What Should I Sell? ● #MYBLOGMEANSBUSINESS SERIES DAY 2

If there's one place that I see a lot of women get stuck when building a blogging business, it's none other than SELLING. And, I totally get it. The idea of selling products on your blog just seems to irk some people.

I know you probably didn't get into blogging to sell products on your blog. But everywhere you turn people are telling you that you need to start selling digital products if you want to be profitable. You know why? It works. If you want to start monetizing your site, selling digital products is a really effective way to do it.

everywhere you turn people are telling you that you need to start selling digital products if you want to be profitable. You know why? It works.

Why you really need to sell

Before we dive into the types of digital products that you can start selling on your blog let's talk about why you should be selling in the first place.

You probably started your blog because you had information that you wanted to share. You enjoy writing and creating, but you aren't really interested in selling. I understand the frustration.

But if you want to be a professional blogger and run a professional blogging business where you consistently earn income, you need to think like a businesswoman.

The normal response to this information is, "Well, I can monetize my site with ads and affiliate marketing." You're right, you absolutely can, but it isn't the most effective way to monetize your site. I have personally found the same results that my peers and students are finding—selling your own products is the best way to boost your blogging income.

Your blog provides you with a platform to establish your authority and show your readers what you are capable of in your industry. Once you show them what an expert you are it's actually pretty easy to say something like "If you want to take [whatever it is] to the next level, then enroll in my course" or "buy my book to learn more about [topic]".

Remember, you aren't trying to sell your reader something they don't need. You are trying to sell them something that will be beneficial to them. You can actually help your reader while making money at the same time. As long as you deliver the value that you promise it's a win-win.

What should bloggers sell?

The options can seem almost endless when you start selling digital products on your blog. Professional bloggers are selling all kinds of things on their sites, but here are the most popular options. 

1. eBooks 

This is the most natural transition for bloggers because it's writing. Instead of writing a series of blog posts on a topic you can write an entire book. Each "post" becomes a chapter. This is an effective way to dive in a little deeper on a topic that your readers are interested in. 

2. Membership sites

Membership sites are becoming increasingly popular. It's a great way to build a group of like-minded people that are all after the same type of information. You simply determine what you are going to include in your membership site and then you continue to deliver that as promised on the schedule you created. 

In fact, my Business Blogging Club is a membership site. When you join my club you pay a small fee every month and in exchange, I give you access to a community of bloggers, in-depth lessons, and a roadmap to help you build your blogging business.

Membership sites are a great way to offer your readers something that is one step further than reading a simple blog post. 

3. Design goods

If you are a creative person, this is the option is for you! You can create digital products to sell.

If you enjoy designing logos, social media graphics, websites, or any other creative digital products, you should be selling them. Make it easy for people to hire you for custom projects on your site, or design general graphics that you can have ready to sell. 

Personally, I am more than willing to buy this type of digital product. I don't have the software or patience to do the work myself so I'm happy to pay someone else who is talented in the area. 

4. Photography

If you are a skilled photographer, you should be selling your images. Many bloggers don't like taking their own photographs to use on their site. This opens up an opportunity for you! 

If you are a talented photographer, you can monetize your site by selling your photography. You can offer custom prints, or you can simply sell stock photography. 

5. Online courses

If you have a talent or know something that you can teach other people, you can create and sell an online course. This is my #1 source of revenue in my blogging business. It feels good to help other women learn something new that benefits their life, while also growing my business and contributing to my family.

There are online courses available for just about everything that you can imagine online so don't be too quick to dismiss this idea. I've seen online courses on dog training, watercolor techniques, cupcake decorating, reading body language... you name it, I've seen it. 

6. Podcasts

While podcasts aren't something that you can really sell, they allow you the option to monetize. You can sell ad spots on your podcast and find sponsors. So you might not be selling your podcasts per se, but you will be selling the opportunity to sponsor or run an ad. 

Interested in finding out more about selling products on your blog? 

This is a BIG topic to cover in a short blog post. If you want to review my tips again, head on over to YouTube to watch my video on the subject and subscribe to my channel so you'll be notified when new videos are released.

If you want more thorough details about what it's like to actual sell as a blogger, my Blogging Business Club has a great lesson that goes further in depth. I cover how you can deliver electronic products (ebooks, courses, etc.), the financial investment you'll need to make to create a product, how you should price products, how much maintenance is involved, and what you need to think about for scalability.

If you are interested in all these details and are ready to get started selling digital products online, join the club today. You can start watching this lesson and many others as soon as you join!

How to Think Like a Professional Blogger ● #MyBlogMeansBusiness Series Day 1

Have you ever wondered how all these women claim to be making money with a professional blog? Maybe you have your own personal blog but haven't quite figured out how to be a pro blogger, or maybe you desperately want to have a blogging business but don't know where to start. I've been in your shoes before.

Whether you are wanting to blog in order to work from home or just want to start monetizing the blog you have, you are not alone. But you must know how to think like a professional blogger!

Are you thinking, "Sure, Allison, that sounds great, but what does 'think like a professional blogger' really mean?" Don't worry, I'm going to break it all down for you. And the best way to do that is to show you the difference between a hobby blogger and someone blogging for business. 

The things that I am going to share are things I have noticed in my own personal experience blogging, experiences with my students who are starting their blogging business, and even stories from my own blogging peers.

If you prefer video (and love to hear my voice!) then hop over to my YouTube channel to hear this information there. Don't forget to subscribe while you're there so you don't miss the future help coming your way.

Ok, let's get started with what hobby bloggers look like...

1. Hobby bloggers tend to focus on themselves

Remember when you were in school and kept a diary? It was a place for you to record your memories, reflect, and clear your head. You were writing from your own perspective, for only your eyes, and thinking about how the information impacted you.

Hobby bloggers tend to be like that. They write posts that are more like a diary. The purpose of the blog is not about how the information can change or shape the lives of others. It's more of a one-sided reflection. It's personal, shares their stories and is about them.

2. Hobby bloggers also lack a business plan

When someone is blogging as a hobby that is literally all they are doing. They're simply writing their thoughts and opinions into a blog post. They share the information with the world and leave it at that.

Hobby bloggers have no game plan for what they will share, who they will share it with, or how they will get the word out there. There is no formal, or even informal, plan in place.

How does that compare to a professional blogger?

Now that you know what a hobby blogger looks like let's look at what a professional blogger does.

1. Pro bloggers focus on helping others

Professional bloggers also might have posts that share parts of their story. They might be inspirational. But, the focus of the content is on how the information can change the lives of other people. If there are personal stories shared it also includes what their readers can learn from it.

Every single piece of content has value and a purpose. Their blog has a consistent stream of helpful content that is all based around the same topic.

2. Pro bloggers monetize their blogs

Professional bloggers are not ashamed to monetize their blog. They are focused on building a brand, which includes their voice, logo, colors, and whatever that "thing" is about them that separates them from the crowd. Then they find ways to monetize it with affiliate links, eBooks, products, courses, services, advertising, and so on.

3. Pro bloggers have a target audience

Hobby bloggers are writing for themselves, right? Professional bloggers have a target audience in mind they want to reach.

There's a saying in the blogging world (kudos to whoever came up with it) that goes, "if you write for everyone, you are writing for no one".

You must have a specific audience if you want to make an income and finetune your brand. Think about the gender, age, occupation, and demographics of the person you are writing to. What are their hobbies, likes, dislikes, and fears? The more you know about your audience the more effective you can be in reaching them.

4. Pro bloggers have a business plan

If running a blogging business is your goal, you need to have a business plan. If business isn't your strong suit it can be really intimidating to sit down and write out a formal business plan. But you can still do it if you have help from people (like me - hint, hint) that have experience.  

Your plan doesn't have to follow a specific format, but it should include things like what products you will sell, what your content is, your marketing strategy, who your target audience is, how you'll handle taxes, and the things like that.

You know what they say... "Failing to plan is planning to fail," and if you want to go from blog to business you need to do the work.

You don't have to figure out professional blogging all by yourself!

If you want help with writing a business plan you can find all the answers at the Blogging Business Club. There is a lesson that'll help you take it one step at a time.

 
 
How to Think Like a Professional Blogger-- One of the biggest challenges I see new bloggers run into is that they have a hard time figuring out how to make pro blogger decisions and run their blog for business purposes. Instinctively, we just want to write and share content! But you can seamlessly combine the two worlds by 1) helping people AND 2) supporting yourself financially.

I also cover all the tasks that you can expect to have as a professional blogger. I provide you with quarterly goals worksheets, as well as examples of my completed worksheets so you can see how it really works. After that, I show you how to apply the lessons to your own blogging business plan.

Professional blogging is not easy, but it is achievable. You can start a blog that allows you to work from home! I know because I'm doing it.

There are plenty of resources online, including my YouTube channel and the Blogging Business Club where you can find the help you need to succeed at pro blogging. The best way to really grow a profitable blogging business is to invest in yourself and your blog. That could mean spending the time to learn new information or financially investing in the resources to help you turn a profit. But it all starts with transitioning yourself to think like a professional blogger!

Bloggers: How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!

Hey guys! Today I want to talk about working in different spaces within your home when you’re trying to be a professional blogger and beat procrastination at the same time—not an easy thing when you have children running around! #WAHMLIFE

(Psst! If you enjoyed watching the video version of this post, hop over to my YouTube channel  and don’t forget to subscribe!)

The two productivity tips I’m going to share are part of a lesson from the Blogging Business Club, an online membership club I run where I post monthly lessons on blogging tips and strategies. And understanding how to be productive is definitely one of them!

It’s hard work, but absolutely necessary if you want to actually run a business at home, day-in and day-out.

Home is where we’re most comfortable but also where we’re the most distracted. It takes a conscious effort every single day to ensure that we are being as productive as we possibly can. So you need to be really efficient to get as much stuff done for your business as you can for the day—especially if you have the duties that come with being a stay-at-home mom or having a full-time job (or BOTH)!

Home is where we’re most comfortable but also where we’re the most distracted. It takes a conscious effort every single day to ensure that we are being as productive as we possibly can.

In the Blogging Business Club lesson, I talk about the different roles you have within the home for those of you trying to start your business as a professional blogger or grow your already existing blogging business. If you’re like me, you’ll have important duties like:

  • Taking care of your well-being
  • Organizing your home
  • Taking care of your baby/babies
  • Everything else you need to do to manage your business!

If you’re not balancing those three different roles, you’re going to have a hard time being a successful home-based blogger (if that’s where you’re primarily working). You have to have just a little bit of harmony in order to consistently work and be successful in your business.

Cleanliness brings happiness, and that’s not to say that you need to deep-clean your house every single day, but you’ve got to be at least somewhat organized. Otherwise, things are going to be really chaotic, and who wants a chaotic workspace when they’re trying to be a professional blogger?

Okay, guys—let’s dive in!

It’s Not Impossible to Get Work Done at Home

Have you ever felt constantly distracted because the laundry hasn’t been done, toys need to be cleaned up, and the general chaos of your home just makes you want to run into an office for privacy and peace and quiet—but you don’t have one?

I completely understand, and I’ve totally been there before.

The fact of the matter is, I started my blog back when my husband and I were living in a different place. I did not have an office, and it was a long while before I even had my own desk to use.

So instead, I did all my work in the living room—and it was so distracting!

I have my young son James at home with me, and while he does go to a school program, it’s only a couple days a week for a few hours. Eighty percent of the time, he’s at home with me. I definitely know how hard it is to work when you’ve got kids at home or if you have other distractions.

Not to mention, running off to Starbucks or a library is probably not an option for you, and if so—no worries! It isn’t for me, either. I mean, I’d have to take my kid with me, and I’m sure Starbucks would appreciate not having a 3-year-old boy in their store for a couple of hours!

Luckily, there are still some ways to be productive—here’s what I do.

TIP #1 – Keep Your Favorite Workspace Clean at All Times!

The first thing I try to do here at home is make sure that any designated space I typically have is kept very clean, regardless of how large the space is.

Our previous place actually did not have an office. My new home does, but ironically enough, I don’t actually use it to work most of the time! It sounds really ungrateful and wasteful…but the office actually also doubles as a work-out space. It’s got a treadmill and weights, and then on the other side of the room it’s got my desk and other office stuff, so it just feels like there isn’t a whole lot of space for me to really spread out, which is how I work best.

So when I want to get work done, I’m actually at my dining room table about 85 percent of the time, and it works just fine for me. But to make it work, there are a couple of things that I have to do.

The number one thing is that I have to keep the space clean. I am not folding clean laundry here, and I don’t have random, non-blogging related papers spread about. Everything is kept really clean so that I can work anytime I find even a little bit of peace and quiet.

If you wanted to put it in one sentence, I have run a full-time business from a tiny portion of my dining room table just fine.

If you wanted to put it in one sentence, I have run a full-time business from a tiny portion of my dining room table just fine.

And if I can do it with being distracted as constantly as I am—I feel like I have a very short attention span—you can do it, too.

TIP #2 – Take Advantage of Any Downtime You Can Find

The second tip I have for you ties in to keeping your workspace clean, and that is to always, always, always take advantage of impromptu downtime.

Keeping the dining room table clean as often as possible is vital in helping me to stop procrastinating my work. This is so that when I have an unexpected 20, 30 minutes to myself—it doesn’t even have to be a couple of hours—where I feel like my son is playing quietly, I can go ahead and write up blog posts, scripts, outlines, and other things. It’s all about taking advantage of the moment.

Procrastination.jpgHow to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done-- It’s almost February and you need to stop procrastinating and get work done! In today’s video I’m talking about one of the #1 excuses I hear people say when they can’t get any blogging work accomplished.

And since I already have my favorite workspace clean and ready to go, I’m not drawn to procrastination. Cleaning up doesn’t cut into the little bit of time that I have, and so I can go ahead and get work done.

I wouldn’t even say that these are the niftiest, most elaborate productivity hacks of the year. They’re basic things, but they work for me.

Sometimes I feel like we block ourselves when we say, “Dang it, I really want to run a business at home, but I don’t have an office, and I don’t have a desk that I can go sit at.”

But you can do it without that.

The Bottom Line

It’s all about keeping your area clean, wherever it is you want to work, and grabbing those free moments when you can. It could be the dining room table, it could be the couch, it could even be a couple of bar stools at your kitchen counter for all I care. As long as you’re keeping them clean and ready for you to go and work there any time of the day, you can definitely improve your productivity.

These are just two of my small productivity tips, but I encourage you to find the strategies that work best for you.

If you’re interested in watching the lesson on other tips that I have on how to stop procrastinating and juggle the different roles that you’ll have as a professional blogger, then be sure to head on over to my YouTube channel or the Blogging Business Club, where I share the different strategies I use to run my own business.

Join with the coupon code YOUTUBE16 and you’ll get $5 OFF every single month too!

Now take action, set up your workspace, and get to work!