Monday, September 28, 2015

Writer Resources: SBDC, Think About It

By Stacy S. Jensen  

What do you have in your writing toolbox? Pikes Peak Writers is an obvious choice, but there are some non-writing organizations that can help you meet your writing goals.

Most of my writer friends are comfortable saying: I am a writer.

Most are a little fidgety when it comes to saying: I am a small business owner. We are writers and artists ... who let's face it need money to buy chocolate (and other things).

This spring, I stumbled upon a great resource the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center. I signed up for their newsletter months before, but it wasn't until The Digital Marketing Series: Driving leads for Business workshop appeared in my inbox that I had a light bulb moment.
I was staring at a list of skills I wanted to know more about to help in my writing career.

Cory Ostos Arcarese, of CArc Media, taught the workshops at a local Ent Federal Credit Union. The series was sponsored by Colorado SBDC and Ent. Each session cost $10 to reserve a spot. The fee was refunded after you attended the workshop.

I personally attended websites and blogging; Facebook; and LinkedIn sessions. Additional workshops were held on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms and Google+.

The series offered plenty of pertinent tips I can tailor to my needs as a not-yet-published writer and carry through when I cross the published threshold. Cory made a reference to the book Youtility by Jay Baer. This alone offered dozens of ideas for my blog.

I really like being a Facebook user, but didn't pick up on how my user decisions help advertisers reach me until this class. As an author, who wants to spend a small amount on Facebook, the network really allows you to drill down to a specific person — your reader — and to a very specific budget for your advertising campaign. Cory also shared you can schedule posts directly on your Facebook page. Since Facebook likes that better than third party apps, that was a very useful tip.

While I don't have a book to connect with readers, yet, I have already used several items from the sessions to share with friends, writers, and even my church's efforts to better utilize Facebook to promote its upcoming 60th Anniversary.

I also discovered the SBDC offers workshops online. You can watch webinars packed with information on your lunch break or in your pajamas. The website also has a Courses for Creatives page.

In addition to the information presented, the SBDC series gave me an opportunity to meet people outside of my writer tribe. It's fun and scary at the same time to hear people talk about bootstrapping her business. Wait. It's very similar to hearing a fellow writer talk about her latest book.

Sure there may be services you don't care about like writing a business plan, but if you decide you want one the SBDC has the resources to help you.

About the Author: Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and son.

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