Author Archive

The Internet, Only More So

Posted: January 7th, 2016

[by Colleen Wainwright] I’ve advocated using the internet to do business since I fell backwards into it myself with a blog, LinkedIn, and one of the first 10,000 Twitter accounts. Most of my work and many of the relationships I’ve made over the past 12 years are either directly, or, more usually, indirectly attributable to [...]

Let Your Vision Find You

Posted: April 14th, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] Ultimately, all of the interesting career shifts and cool projects I’ve managed to accomplish came at me sideways, while I wasn’t looking. I left ad copywriting to become a screenwriter–until I found out that while I wasn’t much good at writing movies, I had some skill (and a lot more enthusiasm) for [...]

Selfishly, Selflessly Interviewing

Posted: March 23rd, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] For most of my career, I’ve been the interviewee more often than I have the interviewer. And everything I’ve learned from being the subject has taught me that the easier and more interesting I make things for the person I’m interviewing, the more fun we both have, and the better the end [...]

No-Fly Zones

Posted: February 4th, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] I spent the first 10 years of my working life getting the best education in copywriting a person could get paid for, at a representative sample of major consumer ad agencies in 1980′s and 1990′s New York and Chicago. While I’m grateful to have had the opportunity, I am, as some kids [...]

A Way Back To Why You Fell In Love

Posted: January 27th, 2015

[by Colleen Wainwright] Back in the late 1990′s, I was a full-time, working actor with an active design hobby that fed my jones for display typefaces. To anyone standing on the outside looking in, I had a great life, both professionally and creatively. But I was dying inside. Because somehow, somewhere along the way, I’d [...]

Rejuvenation In Stealth Mode

Posted: September 23rd, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] After a few years of doing the same-old, same-old, I had reached an impasse. My work, giving talks on and consulting with small creative businesses about marketing, had grown stale. Worse, my ability to write had all but dried up, and I’d lost my mojo for the few collaborative projects I’d begun. [...]

Don’t just do something—sit there!

Posted: August 21st, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] Searching for the thing that has significantly changed my work life, I was surprised to find that it was not a tip or a tool or a tip on finding a tool, but a slow-acting, time-consuming, complete game-changer: sitting meditation. I started out using a guided meditation; then, two years ago, I got instruction in a meditation practice developed [...]

Three Reads of Varying Breeziness

Posted: June 27th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] I’ve been laid up with an annoying illness for about a month now, but my loss of ambulatory excitement will hopefully be your gain in interesting picks for summer reading. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt is peppered with excellent characters–scoundrels and angels and lost souls and an anxious killer–and a few [...]

To Get Past It, Get Down With It

Posted: June 12th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] You name it, I’ve blown it: marriage, career, the second-grade book report. (Note to self: do not start reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin the night before your report is due. Or, really, ever.) Nearly 20 years later, I can feel the sting of getting cut from my improv troupe’s “farm team”. If I [...]

Three Things That Have Made Me (almost) as Smart as My Phone

Posted: April 1st, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] Think outside the box when grouping Renaming folders–sometimes creatively–and eliminating capitalization when I do–keeps crowded screens slightly airier, while still keeping apps within easy access. It took me a bit of fiddling to figure out how to corral a mess of so-called productivity apps in a way that wasn’t forced or arbitrary. [...]

Planning to Fail

Posted: March 26th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] Almost eight years ago exactly, I took a design business workshop that changed my outlook not only on design or even business, but, in the way of all truly great classes on narrowly-defined subjects, on life itself. The teacher, Peleg Top, who later became a personal mentor and dear friend, said these [...]

Avoiding Donor Burnout

Posted: March 10th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] In my previous life as an actor, I was graphic designer of record for my theater company, handling every printed piece and web update for the four to eight shows per year that we produced. While I found the experience enormously gratifying in many ways (not least of which that it got [...]

Follow the #content

Posted: March 3rd, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] Chalk it up to burnout, complacency, or lessons learned, but in today’s mature networked-media landscape, I find my time is better spent creating and sharing exceptional content than in seeking out the newest—and, most likely, transient—methods for pushing it out there. So most of my research time is spent reading content that’s [...]

Guidelines Over Rules

Posted: January 16th, 2014

[by Colleen Wainwright] The pace of change in new media has so accelerated since I launched my own blog (in 2004! by candlelight! and steam-power!), I’m loathe to put forth any hard-and-fast rules of “netiquette”. However, I have developed some loose guidelines that work well for me, eliminating some of the anxiety inherent in deciding [...]

Paring Down to What Serves You

Posted: December 16th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] My bookshelves are a testament to both my good intentions (I want to learn everything!) and my unrealistic expectations (time will expand itself to accommodate me!). So at the start of the holiday season, I began paring down my stuff—mostly, reading material—ruthlessly tossing, recycling, and regifting. (If you’re looking for a fun [...]

What All Marketing Is Meant To Do

Posted: October 21st, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] “Remind people that you’re talented.” ~Gordy Hoffman, writer-director of DOG BOWL, a narrative short that raised $22,855 (213% of its goal) on Kickstarter As part of my research for an ASMP talk on crowd-funding I gave recently at DV Expo, I interviewed a friend who’d successfully raised double the funds he’d set [...]

Welcome to the New Media, Just Like the Old New Media

Posted: September 24th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] A few things have changed across the media landscape since 2008, when I started giving talks on selling yourself online using blogs and social media. Mostly, though, they’ve just become more so. Online spaces are more crowded, with more people—and institutions, and businesses, and causes—vying for the same attention. And there are [...]

Write Like You Shoot

Posted: August 27th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] One of the most common pieces of advice I hear given to non-writers who want to learn the secrets behind writing well is “write like you talk.” It’s terrific advice, especially when you’re stuck (I reject the notion of “writers’ block”). What trips up many of us is this insane notion that [...]

Absolute Beginner

Posted: August 2nd, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] While I barely qualify as even a beginning hobbyist, photography-wise, I’ve been a writer since before I could hold a pencil. (Yes, making up stories counts.) The upside to this is that, when needed, I can bang something out with no problem: give me a word count, a due date, and a [...]

Get Outside of Your Own Little World

Posted: July 9th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] When I decided to take my design practice from hobby to business, my chief marketing challenge was finding better clients. While mine were lovely, creative people who appreciated my work, they couldn’t pay me a living wage for it. I’d designed for the people in my current world of acting–specifically, small theater, [...]

What You Can Learn On Your Summer Vacation (and beyond!)

Posted: June 4th, 2013

[By Colleen Wainwright] As a lifelong self-improvement junkie with more ambition than time to realize it, I was thrilled to get my advance reader copy of Josh Kaufman’s The First 20 Hours: The Toughest Part to Mastering Anything. At halfway through the book, I’d recommend it on the strength of the first three chapters alone. [...]

Don’t Rush to Right Wrongs

Posted: May 3rd, 2013

[By Colleen Wainwright] I hate it when things don’t go the way I want. Whether I let down a single client or a whole audience-full, delivering anything less than a stellar experience breaks my heart and bruises my pride. And that’s where I get into trouble. Because my ego really, really dislikes the hit, my [...]

Letting Go

Posted: April 8th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] Before I ever decided to become an actor, I’d heard people say it many, many times: “If you don’t absolutely have to act, don’t!” I followed this advice–reluctantly–on either end of my acting career. It took a good (and, sometimes, bad) 10 years of working in advertising to realize (and, finally, admit) [...]

When Things Go Wrong, Don’t Rush To Right Them

Posted: March 13th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] There are no feelings I dread more than the ones accompanying failure: anger, frustration, and especially sadness are far less fun than the fist-pumping joy of success. No wonder I always want to skip them and go straight to fixing the problem. What I’ve learned, though, is that when I don’t take [...]

Keep it Simple from the Start

Posted: February 26th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] When I started as a designer many years ago, I had an elaborate–and beautifully designed–series of forms that both the client and I had to sign off on: statement of work, intake, schedule, and so on. However, it took a while to understand that managing client expectations began well before those forms [...]

Clarity First

Posted: February 5th, 2013

[by Colleen Wainwright] I so hate chasing prospects that I’ve arranged my entire life–not to mention my marketing and branding philosophy–around not having to do it. But the one time I did a massive prospecting project, I learned the key to coming up with a great “list”: hyperfocus. The year was 2008, and I was [...]

Replacing the “Easy” Button with the “Pause” Switch

Posted: December 19th, 2012

Replacing the “easy” button with the “pause” switch Early in 2012, I came to the sudden and startling realization that my life needed an overhaul. While I’d accomplished a lot over the past four years of total immersion in social media marketing and speaking, I’d let too many other things slide: exposing myself to culture [...]

Dare to be Vulnerable

Posted: November 28th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] At Strictly Business 3, I had the pleasure of participating in Sean Kernan’s workshops on creativity. No special skills were required, save a willingness to jump in and play. What transpired was fascinating. A roomful of astonishingly accomplished people were, with one stroke, stripped of all but the simplest of tools: the [...]

Branding & Marketing in the Attention Age

Posted: October 15th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] Branding and marketing have never been easy, but until recently, they were fairly straightforward. Given a decent product and investment of resources, any business could establish a brand–i.e., a way it wanted to appear to the marketplace–and a corresponding marketing plan to spread word of it. What’s more, the greater one’s resources, [...]

Cross-Pollination is Good for People, Too

Posted: October 10th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] It’s a huge gift, being a civilian (i.e., a non-photographer) with access to the amazing resource that is ASMP. Because while I can and do talk shop with my fellow writers, when I hear colleagues in an adjacent industry doing it, the ideas–and a-ha! moments–come rushing at me. Solutions seem more obvious [...]

Choosing Things You Can Make Your Own

Posted: August 14th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] As the years pass and the pile of tried-and-failed doodads grows ever higher, I’ve discovered that the apps I truly rely on are the ones that offer a great deal of customization–ones that adapt to my way of doing things, rather than forcing me to adapt to theirs. Here are some favorites: [...]

Timeline Cover Photos Hack

Posted: August 8th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] I love changing up my Facebook timeline photo, but hate the public trial-and-error. So I created a .PSD mockup with my current avatar on one layer and an 850x315p template on another, to test and crop my timeline cover shot. Saves time, allows me to keep a nerdy archive, and it’s actually [...]

A Picture’s Worth

Posted: July 24th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] Social photo-sharing sites look an awful lot like variations on the traditional portfolio. But if you view services like Instagram, Flickr, or Pinterest as places to push out content that pulls in business, your efforts are almost guaranteed to fail. First, because pushing in general doesn’t work in an attention-based, “pull” economy; [...]

Better Does Not Mean More Expensive

Posted: July 20th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] I maintain a “Doing It Right” file in both physical and digital forms to hold the best examples of marketing that cross my path (and to remind me that somewhere, every single day, someone is out there being awesome). While there are a few high-end mailers and expensively-produced pieces in both files, [...]

Showing Up is Not Enough

Posted: June 5th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] Think of the best classes you’ve ever taken–the ones that engaged you, challenged you, and stuck with you for years afterward. Chances are they weren’t just winners just because they were expensive or the teacher was great, but because of what you brought to them: a genuine interest in learning, your full [...]

Five (or Ten) Minutes to Awesome

Posted: May 16th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] It’s not news. In fact, it pre-dates most of today’s popular marketing vehicles. But that’s the point: in an era when we’re deleting the cruft from our email inboxes and social media streams faster than you can say “kudzu”, a hand-written, hand-addressed note cuts through the clutter like a hot knife through [...]

How Attractive Can You Be?

Posted: April 25th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] When it comes to building a great mailing list, size doesn’t matter–engagement does. I should know–last summer, my little list of 2,500 devoted newsletter readers helped me to raise (well) over $50,000 in 50 days, without my ever asking them for a dime. The open secret to engagement is two-fold: (1) provide [...]

Evernote: Your New Favorite Everything Bucket

Posted: April 3rd, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] I’ve tried as many tools for the heck of it as I have out of sincere need. Like most productivity nerds, I just really, really like playing with apps and widgets. But the one tool I’ve found that’s both fun to play with and really useful is Evernote. Available as a web, [...]

First, Manage Expectations

Posted: March 26th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] While I’ve test-driven all manner of vehicles for managing social media use, none have given me back more of my life and my sanity than something I created myself: a Twitter policy. Or rather, my policy; I was inspired to create it after stumbling on one created by Ike Piggott (who has [...]

Tracking the People Who Market For You

Posted: February 7th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] There’s no question that tools like email newsletters, trackable URLs and other digital tools with baked-in statistics are a boon to businesses wanting to market themselves. You can test different approaches and come up with meaningful measures of how comparatively successful your efforts have been. But one of the most effective [...]

The Frequent Writer’s Secret Weapon

Posted: February 1st, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] I measure the usefulness of any piece of software on my computer by how much I miss it when using someone else’s machine. By that measure, easily the greatest item I’ve ever bought has been the text storage and expansion utility for the Mac, TextExpander. (Full disclosure: four years after becoming a [...]

How You and Your Best Friends Can Make $100,000 (for someone else)

Posted: January 26th, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] For an introvert who’s generally happiest holed up in a cave, flailing away at a keyboard, I’ve racked up a surprising number of creative collaborations–everything from a TV pilot for a major network to a comic play (with music!) about two of the world’s least sexy chronic illnesses. Most recently, I completed [...]

Stop Marketing in the New Year

Posted: January 3rd, 2012

[by Colleen Wainwright] While no one can predict what the next 12 months will bring, there will almost certainly be too much of it. Too many “dig-me” blog posts. Too many pointless newsletters. Too many tweets and re-tweets and status updates. Way too many inspirational quotes. Altogether too many requests for the least little bit [...]

Slow-Blogging for a Fast-Paced Age

Posted: December 9th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] Blogging hit the mainstream about four years ago, but much of the advice I encounter around how to do it well still seems written for the “Wild West” era of 2004-2006. Yes, you need to stick to your area of expertise. Sure, “Top 47 Ways” posts will still draw wandering eyeballs. And [...]

Picking the Perfect Personal Project

Posted: November 1st, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] As a lifelong sufferer of Shiny Object Syndrome, I’ve generally chosen my non-work pursuits based on whatever glittery thing grabbed me. While it’s fun yielding to serendipity now and then, bigger projects requiring lots of my precious time/energy/attention tend to work out best when they’re rooted in some deeper longing and aligned [...]

The Magic Happens Between the Notecards

Posted: October 26th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] While I get that the “sh*tty first draft,” as Anne Lamott calls it, is a necessary step on one’s way to beautiful, polished prose, the perfectionist in me still balks at throwing a bunch of words on a page with the faith that I’ll be able to sort them out later. What’s [...]

Pushing the Boulder up the Hill

Posted: October 13th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] “There are no short cuts to any place worth going.” –Beverly Sills One of the gifts of the internet can also be one of its curses. Every minute of every day, we’re exposed to amazing achievements–all of which, because of context, seem to have sprung fully formed, like Venus on the half-shell. [...]

Fall’s Hottest Look? A Marketing Makeover!

Posted: August 22nd, 2011

Photo by Shawn G. Henry.  Photoshopping (R) by Donna Barger [by Colleen Wainwright] While I always treat myself to a few new “Back to School”-style supplies to ring in the change of season–a fresh box of Sharpies and maybe an iPhone 5, both in black, please–mostly I’m viewing this particular fall as an opportunity to [...]

Belly Up to the Bookmarks Bar

Posted: August 16th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] There are dozens of useful Internet sites I visit daily (and yes, I realize this means I spend too much time online), but to know the ones I find most valuable, I need look no further than the bookmarks bar itself. Because it’s on that precious, narrow landing-strip of browser space that [...]

Rebooting Your Brain on the Fly

Posted: August 10th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] When you solve problems for a living–i.e., when you’re a creative–it’s dangerously easy to let the well run dry, especially since it seems like we have fewer and fewer opportunities to take the down time we need to stay juicy. While my absolute favorite way ever to unsnarl a knot in my [...]

Whisper (three) Sweet Nerd Things in my Ear

Posted: July 19th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] I’m not sure how I got anything done before computers, but I’m sure it involved a lot of sweat, confusion, and long walks to school five miles each way in the snow. Now that I’m a full-on digital junkie, here are three of my go-to resources for making life easier at the [...]

Summer reading for the type-A personality

Posted: June 28th, 2011

As an overachiever who doesn’t do well with heat, I like my summer reading breezy, but not mindless (I reserve that for air travel.) For me, that means stuff that I can dip into easily a bit at a time and still learn from — think “bathroom reading”, only useful. The Personal MBA (by Josh [...]

You Talk to Your Grandmother with that Mouth?

Posted: May 20th, 2011

[by Colleen Wainwright] Some people steadfastly refuse to mix the personal and the professional. I admire their internal fortitude (not to mention their talent for establishing firm boundaries) but I think they’re missing out. First, because the inclusion of personal work in a professional portfolio can fill in the gaps when you’re starting out or [...]