Monthly Archives: October 2014

Warning: SPAM

I do not mean Spam as canned precooked meat product, that’s disgusting.
Today I’m talking about email spam, that’s more annoying than disgusting except when you get that disgusting type of spam. You know what I mean!

No one wants to get spammed, but how awkward when you’ve accidentally spammed someone!
Do you feel that?
Shoulders go up and chest sinks. And the script starts to sing in your head.
I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to be rejected.
I don’t want to fail. I don’t want bug someone. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time.
So I don’t do it. I don’t send that email. I don’t create a newsletter.

The fear of creating something that people can reject (and reject you) is a block that will lead you to only see the rejection. This rejection with this idea block will lead you to see rejection as a sign of failure. To see you as unworthy or not good enough. When the truth is that this someone didn’t have time or interest. They might love you but not this email or message. That’s it.

I don’t drink coffee, but I love my friends who ask me out for coffee.

There is a fun role reversal that you can play in your head for quick results. A former colleague taught me this. I want you to picture you sitting in an aeroplane. You are traveling to some lovely city for some awesome adventures. OK? No it’s time for the complimentary drinks and the air hostess asks you if you’d like coffee or tea. ‘Coffee or tea?’ you can hear this hostesses voice coming closer. Nothing but ‘Coffee or tea?’ and sometimes pouring that coffee or tea (maybe few juices too).
Do you think this air hostess counted how many people said NO?

Not everybody want’s coffee or tea or juice. These people are going to say No. These people don’t have a problem with the person pouring their coffee or tea, but it’s the drink. That cup of coffee might be the best one that you can get on a plane, but if you don’t like coffee you really aren’t going to enjoy it.

No, thank you.

Some of your emails are going to go unread. That doesn’t mean they were spam.

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If you don’t like reading you could still love newsletters!

Are you curious about newsletters and would like to create your own, but feel guilty because you keep subscribing to newsletters, but never actually read them?
Or maybe you need to create a newsletter, but you don’t actually believe in newsletters because you don’t read any of the ones you’ve subscribed to.

Don’t worry.
First Of All you shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed. I think it’s great that you know what you like and what you don’t like. Stay true to your taste!

There are many different types of newsletters, but if you are a newbie (and even if you have subscribed to many) chances are you have seen only a few types and if you are not happy with them it’s OK.

If the reason why you keep deleting or unsubscribing to newsletter is that you don’t actually like reading you have the options of subscribing to newsletter with audios, videos or just images with minimal amount of text.

You could also try to create your own audios or even videos if you prefer them over written word.  A beautiful newsletter filled with gorgeous photos would be lovely too.

Not all newsletters have to be filled with minimum 1000 words and heavy with information and facts.

You might want to think about the subjects you are reading about. If you not liking to read it might be because you are not interested in the subject you are reading.

How to organize your inbox

Are you drowning in email and getting lost in your inbox?
Do you remember when was the last time you didn’t have a single unread new email waiting to be dealt with? I have around 85 unread emails and by main inbox folder is nearly empty. Those 85 unread emails can wait for sure and I’m not worried or stressed about getting to them. These emails have been organized in a way that doesn’t bother my work or flood my main inbox folder. I’ve created a system where I’m not overwhelmed with the amount of email I’m getting. But of course I love email and subscribing to awesome newsletters. If you don’t, we’ll need to work on that later if you would like. But today I could help you relieve that  stressful situation in your inbox.

Here are some tips to get you started and helping you get to the surface of that sea of of email. Take a cup of tea if you would like this might take a few minutes and a cup of good tea is always a good idea.

Steps for clearing and relaxing your inbox

Folder time
You should have at least one folder that you’ve created yourself for your inbox. You’ve got two choices for naming these folders: important or not important. Important folder means that everything that goes into that folder needs to be dealt before you can get to the rest of your mail. This works best if you have one email and lot of different types of mail coming in but very limited amount of time sensitive messages. Not important folder is for all the emails that can wait. These messages and emails are not time sensitive and don’t have to be answered in the next few days or at all. Everything that doesn’t go into ‘not important’ folder needs to be dealt within a couple of days. (I know there are people who don’t check their email this often and if you are one of those people and still find yourself being stressed and overwhelmed with your email, then feel free to leave a comment on this post and maybe I can help you) Later you can go deeper into the wonderful world of folders and get a little more creative with organizing your inbox. I’ll do another post just for inbox folders.

Get clear and find your focus
What is your main focus with this email account? Is it for business, school, work or just personal? If you don’t know you better find out. Not knowing where your focus is with an email account might lead to the drowning feeling all over again. You can use that same account for multiple purposes but it should have a main focus. Meaning that all emails that are related to this subject are more important than other mail regarding something else. Let’s say that you are a student, then school related mails trump subscription from Asos or your weekly email from Pinterest (these can wait). There are exceptions let’s go with the same school example. Let’s imagine that you’ve applied to some jobs and are using that same account. In these situations you want to be on top of your school work but also you don’t want to lose that important email regarding a job opportunity. Then you really want to keep your main inbox clear from unimportant not time sensitive mail.

Now it is time to prioritize your emails and your email tasks and habits. With emails there are actions like read, answer, categorize and delete. If you are not on top of your habits and mindful about time spent on working on your emails, you might find yourself spending too much time and increasing your stress. What is the most important goal to with your focus subject? Maybe it’s work and you finding a new job. This might mean that you need to write and send emails. Then writing and sending emails are your top priority. Reading emails is only second and being careful about what emails you actually open and read is important. If it’s not work related and exceptionally important it can wait until you get your applications sent or whatever you need to do.

Extra tip
Reading starts before opening an email and opening an email can lead to time wasted. Most of the time the subject line and the senders information should be enough for you to know what to do with it without actually opening that email. If it’ isn’t top priority, don’t open it before you’ve done your most urgent email tasks, even if you might be curious. Just like reading, answering and categorizing and deleting messages have more to be noticed. Well talk about that later in another post. Setting different time for different email related tasks can ease your overwhelm.

Just few extra biscuits for your tea time with email
*If one account seems not enough don’t hesitate to add a second account.
*Get to know your inbox features
*Don’t be afraid to try out different email account providers they are not all the same If you liked this article and want more tips on emails and newsletters sign up for a weekly dose of inboxteatime 

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3 things that emails and cups of tea have in common

Emails are a lot like life and tea when it comes to the saying “life is like a cup of tea it’s all in how you make it…”

Cups of tea and emails
1. They are easy to learn how to make
You don’t have to struggle much to send an email and it’s quite easy to receive one. Also it doesn’t take too much time and require many appliances and stages (like maybe making a crockenbouche).

2. It’s hard to fail
You don’t have to be a trained chef to make a great cup of tea. You can learn at home at your own pace and experiment on different flavors and types of emails and also tea. If you know how to boil water and get a cup you are half way there. It’s the same with emails, if you know how to type even your name you are capable of creating some pretty good emails.

3. Making more its quite easy
Serving multiple guests a cup of tea doesn’t take an acrobat and so if you need to connect with many via email it’s almost as easy as pouring a cup of tea. Except when sending the same email to 12 people you don’t actually have to do it 12 times so maybe it’s easier than pouring a cup of tea!

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4 excuses that are not valid

Why should a small business owner start a newsletter

There is something wonderful in newsletters. It’s amazing how versatile and creative they can be. They are a great way to deepen customer relations and highlight your brand.
What a lovely way to get to know your customers and gain important insight so you can do your work even better.
Here are some reasons that are not valid reasons for not starting a newsletter.

Are you busy?

Then starting a newsletter might be one of the best investments of your time that you could do. With a newsletter you can do customer service, promote, do customer research and keep growing and deepening the relationship with your customers and clients.
You don’t need to spend 3 hours every night to have a great email newsletter. You can start with a couple of days in a month even. You can start with 15 min a week even.

Are your resources limited?

That’s not a problem or a reason to say not to starting your newsletter.
Newsletters work well with limited time and budget. Newsletters are flexible and they can be fitted to many needs. You can start a newsletter with very minimal budget.

You don’t like spending time on computers?

No problem. There are great time and energy saving resources like AWeber and Mailchimp.
You could even write your letters by hand and then type them out for sending.
There are even ways you could limit the time spent on computers and still have a wonderful newsletter.

You hate learning new technology?
That’s OK. You could still love newsletters. Emails are in a way very old school and very user friendly.

What is your excuse or reason for not starting your newsletter yet?

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Warning: Blank Page

As I’m writing this post I’m sipping tea from a mug that I got as a wedding gift. I’m sitting comfortably on the sofa under a blanket. I’m listening to music. I’m making these moments really enjoyable these days. What’s not enjoyable is the anxiety of facing a blank page and feeling empty.

Nothing to say.
Complete stillness. Without a blink it waits. It’s there for you.
Blank Page.
Do you ever get afraid of it?

I’m sure many do.
Even when I write every day I get scared of that white stillness. I’m sure it’s normal. It’s ok to be scared.

Are you postponing writing something because suddenly you don’t feel inspired?
Procrastination gnawing time away…
Or every time you even take a peek at that blank page you remember ten other things you should do?
Hiding behind “I’m so busy” veil.

Whatever the excuse is, the fact is if you want something you need to do something. If you want to get some writing done, some writing needs to happen.
Getting frustrated, angry or avoiding writing completely won’t help.

Using a pen might help, have you tried it? Not a pencil, but a nice pen with a good flow.
That’s how I start most of my blog posts – old school.
There is something wonderfully satisfying about observing handwriting and seeing that page fill up. Handwriting reflecting my emotions. I can see if I’m nervous, relaxed, confident or excited.
For some reason my fear of blank pages is much less when using real paper. Even when that paper doesn’t have any lines or grid.

It’s so much more satisfying editing a full post or an article than getting stuck on every sentence before the whole thought is even let out.


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Remember pen pals?

I still love putting pen to paper and writing like that

I do. I remember even who I was writing nearly twenty years ago. I remember the excitement when our 3rd grade english teacher gave us the opportunity to get a penpal from a different country. I remember reading horse magazines and scanning through the sections where people were looking for penpals.
Few years later I got my first email address and immediately I wanted to get a “penpal” to write emails with. I subscribed to some early day newsletters and was so excited to get email.

Some more years later I was starting my first business. I spent too much time online, subscribing to tons of newsletters and trying to figure out what was the key to success.
I slowly (or not that slowly) started spending more time on figuring out communication aspects of a business and online marketing, social media. This was not good for my business! A surprise and a defining moment.

Most of online marketing experts tell that it’s good if you take your business online. Most of any kind of business coach, mentor or even the kids at middle school know that online and social media is where everything happens.
Yes, and no. My business was local and I had to meet clients face to face, facetime or Skype wasn’t enough. My clients meetings were offline and I was spending more time online.
This was a route that led me close my first business. There were other factors involved (Like the fact that I hate phones) but now I do know this was the best that could have happened.

After closing my first local business I started to explore opportunities to soak myself in communication, technology and online media. I enrolled to school for a year and that year clarified to me that this is the right path.
Starting the Inbox Tea Time journey gets me excited like that little girl got excited on writing a new letter to a penpal. I hope you find a way to have a good time with emails and newsletters. Maybe inbox tea time can help you find that good time.

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How to End the nagging feeling that you are a copycat

No kittens were hurt!

That nagging feeling or the annoying voice in your head whispering that you have nothing original to say or that you feel like a copycat. Know what I’m talking about?
Or maybe you are hiding behind other peoples content and instead of creating your own content and making space for conversation you keep just shyly linking to blogs and websites with great content.

Surprisingly a little guilty pleasure might help.

First I’ll tell you a secret: I’m hooked on essiebuttons youtube videos. Behind essiebuttons is Estée, a fresh and sweet youtube and blogger professional, creating videos and writing about lifestyle but focusing mainly on the beauty side of life. She is one half of a sweet couple living in London, with a cute and modern love story. Together they own a gorgeous and silly greyhound.
I’m a busy modern day woman who shouldn’t have time for light amusement like the sorts. Oh, but I do have time and I make time because it’s helpful and it fuels my creativity.

What’s the helpful guilty pleasure that can help you too?
– Relaxing by reading blogs outside your business field!

Getting a nice mug of freshly made tea, getting a soft pair of wool socks or slippers, then getting comfy under a throw blanket with your laptop. Soak up that passion of people who are completely in a different field. This is helpful because it’s guilt free inspiration time.
Curling up on the sofa with my dogs, latest knit project and watching Essies videos is my idea of a relaxing evening.

I feel that is refreshing to even look at blogs and websites that have a completely different feel and visual vibe than what I see in online marketing or communications sites. But the content is inspirational too!

My guilty pleasures are beauty and style blogs. Choose yours by visiting blogs and websites that do not participate on your field of business. Something that you will enjoy but seems to be completely a waste of work time. Something that an annoying voice might say “you have better things to do”

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from beauty bloggers

1. Share your excitement unapologetically

Are you familiar with hauls and unpacking?
These hauls are videos or blog post about someone getting excited about new products they just got. Unpacking is a way to share first impressions. This type of content might seem crazy, random or even lazy. But sharing honest feelings helps your audience to connect with you.
Share something that you are excited about and fuel your content with that emotion.
In the beauty blogger world you can’t really crown yourself the perfume queen and forbid anyone else talking about eau de toilettes and scents. In the same way in your field there are plenty of topics already covered but a fresh point of view is warmly welcome.

2. Embrace your weirdness by giving it a warm hug

Do you love eating something a little strange like salad with cheese flavored crisps for lunch or maybe your morning routines are a little different and something your friends might describe weird. Gently guided curiosity can be turned to a creative tool.

What’s in your bag? Yes there are people both interested to find out what others carry in their purses and bags and people happy to share the insides of their bags. Yes that is weird. But that’s cool. The willingness to be open is awesome!

Being this comfortable with your community is amazing.

Share your weird curiosities and learn something new about your customers. Your weirdness might be helpful for them. Instead of always playing safe get comfortable in the “why not”.
Sharing your weird habits is something that often comes with a unique story.
Curiosity did kill the cat, the copycat!

3. Sharing is caring

Getting free products is cool but it’s much more convenient to actually learn something.
Beauty bloggers are very generous in their how to guides and giving information about what they have learned.

We’re here to help and giving something for free can make you be kinder to yourself.
Being friendly might relax you and take the pressure of from creating “professional” content and checking if there’s enough value to meet the price tag. Sharing your wisdom and even your mistakes and regrets is caring about your audience.

There are different ways to share your knowledge and lessons learned. If you are stuck in the same way of doing it, then take a peek what others are doing in a different field.

And you can get to know my favorite beauty blogger by visiting her website

What is your guilty pleasure blog?

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