This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
5 Apr, 2017

Ask Nicole: Are Newsletters Valuable?

By | 2017-04-05T09:55:45+00:00 April 5th, 2017|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Have a question you’d like to be featured? Let me know.

I have another question from Jocelyn, a reader from the Raise Your Voice community weekly newsletter. This time, it’s about newsletters. Jocelyn asks via Twitter:

I used [to] send a newsletter out to help maintain a professional/personal network. How do I decide how often [to send out a newsletter, and] if it’s valuable to others? I think I have a clearer focus now than a few years ago, but my work is still broad/not specialized. Appreciate any tips!

Ahhh, newsletters. Also known as email subscriber lists. I started my newsletter back in 2012, mainly because business people I follow would routinely say, “The money is in the list”. You want as many people subscribed to your newsletter so that, when you need to promote something, someone will buy it.

My relationship with my newsletter—everything from the design of it to the content I share—has evolved along with my business. I’m more comfortable promoting my business services as I’ve gotten clearer on what I do, how I want to show up in the world, and what value I want to give. Plus, I give priority to my newsletter subscribers over my social media platforms because social media is saturated and filled with noise. When someone gives their email address to you, it shows that they want to hear directly from you. Also, outside of posting my latest blog posts on my platforms, I tend to go on brief social media detoxes. If you don’t hear from me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, chances are my newsletter subscribers have.

Along with answering Jocelyn’s questions, here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

Figure out your purpose for creating a newsletter 

Since starting my newsletter, I’ve shifted the way I view my newsletter as well as my newsletter subscribers. I see my subscribers as not only people I want to share information with or people who may one day become clients or collaborators, but also as a larger accountability system.

My “why” for sending out my weekly newsletter is first and foremost to provide value. Outside of my weekly blog post, my subscribers get information on awareness themes (such as National Minority Health Week or World AIDS Day) and ideas on how to raise their voices in their community about these themes, resources and tools related to Reproductive Health/Rights/Justice, design thinking, program evaluation, and other things related to social justice and community collaboration that they can use in a variety of settings, and resources that promote self care and prevent burnout.

Also, my newsletter gives a behind-the-scenes look at all of the ups and downs of being a social worker running a business based on my passions. I may disclose certain struggles or successes in my newsletter than I wouldn’t otherwise mention “out in public” on social media. For example, my newsletter subscribers were the first to know that I was leaving my day job in 2016 to go into my business full time.

Be consistent

This ties into my first point because it’s through becoming clear on why I have a newsletter and what value I want to share that’s allowed the process of creating a newsletter to no longer suck. For 2017, I’ve decided to post a blog and send out my newsletter on a weekly basis, no matter what. If you’ve been a Raise Your Voice subscriber for a while, you know that I’ve been consistent, and not so consistent, so the point where I had to remove “weekly” on my website when promoting my newsletter list. By the end of 2017, I’ll re-evaluate if I want to continue on with weekly newsletters and blog posts.

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1 Jun, 2016

Ask Nicole: Did You Ever Leave Your Day Job to Run Your Business Full-Time?

By | 2017-01-03T23:22:11+00:00 June 1st, 2016|Categories: Reviews & Reflection|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Blog Post

In 2014, I wrote the blog post “Am I On the Right Track? Evaluating Nicole Clark Consulting“.

I received several reactions, summed up in these ways:

“I didn’t know you were working full-time!”

or

“How are you running a business while working full-time?”

Since that time, I’ve been asked about my progress on the goals from that post, primarily on this goal:

Transition into Nicole Clark Consulting full-time by January 2016

Starting today, June 1, 2016, I am running Nicole Clark Consulting full-time. Yes, I’m behind on my goal by 6 months, but better late than never.

I set the wheels in motion on October 1, 2015, and on the morning of January 1, 2016, while overlooking New York City skyline on the observation deck of One World Trade Center, I knew I was ready. Honestly, I had forgotten that January 1, 2016 was my original full-time date, and decided that June 1, 2016 would be the day I would be full-time in my business.

I submitted my resignation letter to my supervisor on March 31, 2016, with my last day being May 31, 2016. I didn’t mind staying in my position for the extra 2 months as it ended up taking 2 months for my replacement to be hired and trained.

Outside of some family members, a few friends, and some colleagues (both entrepreneurs and my office co-workers), the only people who knew about my resignation were my Raise Your Voice newsletter subscribers. I also wanted to make sure that all of my client contracts were finalized before submitting my resignation as well.

Let’s go back over my progress:

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17 Jun, 2015

Here’s How to Create Your Potential Client Questionnaire

By | 2017-01-03T23:20:25+00:00 June 17th, 2015|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

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Note 1/1/2017: I’ve updated my client questionnaire. Take a peek here.


Starting off on the right footing with a potential client is important. I do this is by using potential client questionnaires: one for potential clients that are interested in my program evaluation consulting services and one for people who want to invite me to be a speaker for their event. Today, I’m going to focus on the questionnaire I’ve developed for individuals who are interested in my program evaluation consulting services.

A client questionnaire helps you get a snapshot of where your potential client currently is, what problem they’re hoping you can solve, and how they see themselves using the final product in the future. A client questionnaire also helps you to gain clarity on what the client needs, so as to avoid repeatedly going back to the client throughout the project to for more information.

I use a client questionnaire as a preliminary way of connecting with the client. Some people are good at responding to a request, getting on the phone, and taking it from there. I like to at least know a little about the organization/agency, their experience with working with external evaluators, and what programs or services they want me to assist with before I have contact with them.

I also use the client questionnaire as part of my client connecting phase before I start a project:

  • Client questionnaire
  • Phone conversation
  • Face to face meeting (this can be done in person if the client in located near you, or over Skype, Google Hangout, and the like)
  • If all goes well, review and sign contract
  • Get to work

If you don’t have a client questionnaire, I highly recommend you create one. You don’t need any elaborate software. Mine was created using Google Docs. If you don’t know what questions to ask, here are the questions from my questionnaire. Feel free to use the questions that work best for you, and update it after every couple of clients to address any recurring issues you’re having:

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3 Jun, 2015

You Didn’t Feel Like Blogging This Week Too? (and Helpful Ways to Ditch Your Blogging Slump)

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:00+00:00 June 3rd, 2015|Categories: Miscellaneous|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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(image courtesy)

Sometimes, when you know you’re supposed to do something and you don’t feel like it, you’ll get a little sign that confirms that you need to do it.

That came three weeks ago in the form of a blog post I saw on Pinterest by creative business consultant and brand designer Julie Harris.

And last week, I checked my inbox and saw this post by entrepreneur Christine Kane.

 

I know the benefits of having a blog: You have the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise, and you can connect with other people with similar interests. Having a blog is useful because, as speaker and entrepreneur Michael Hyatt says, a blog is your “home base”. In comparison to your social media networks (which Hyatt identifies as your “embassies”), you can have a consistent presence, but those networks can disappear at any time. Your blog will always remain (unless you don’t renew your hosting.)

But some of the gripes I have about blogging are the same gripes everyone else has: Not having the time, being consistent, not knowing what to write about, the fear of others not agreeing with your stance, not getting any comments (or getting too many trolling comments), or the idea that no one will read it.

Between social work, evaluation, and reproductive justice, there’s plenty I could write about, but at times it feels like a chore! I’m too embarrassed to admit to the number of times I started writing a blog post, and decided to close my MacBook and take a nap instead.

So, what have I’ve done in the past (that I know I need to start back doing) to help me step up my blogging game when I’d rather be doing something else? Here are my tips:

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10 Apr, 2014

Ask Nicole: “Why Do You Only Care About Women and Girls of Color?”

By | 2016-10-25T01:48:03+00:00 April 10th, 2014|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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Do you have a question that other Raise Your Voice community members can benefit from? Contact me and I’ll answer it!

I recently received the following question from a woman who is interested in starting her own nonprofit:

Hello, Nicole.  I am very impressed with your blog and I enjoy reading it for more ways to get inspiration.

I’m interested in creating a nonprofit organization for teen girls, focusing on empowerment, education, and sports. I am Latina, and while I enjoy working with young Latinas, I’m wondering if I should focus my business around working with all teen girls, regardless of race or ethnicity. I see that your business focuses exclusively on women and young women of color. Do you ever get asked, “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” Do you ever feel that you may be limiting yourself? I feel that if I create a business that focuses on all teen girls I will look more attractive to potential clients and will be able to grow my business more quickly, but if I focus on Latina teens, I would feel that I have more of an investment beyond getting paid for my services. I believe deep down that I know what I should do, but I don’t want to limit myself. And I’m afraid of overextending myself.

Thank you again for your inspiration! I look forward to your reply.

This is a really great question, and I’m happy to answer it!

I’ve been asked “Why do you only care about women and girls of color?” in a variety of ways for a long time. I think the first time I was asked was years ago, long before I could even envision what my business would look like today. But instead of being asked by a woman, I was being asked by men, who wanted to know what makes women and girls of color more important than working with entire communities of color. I was given advice on how I can include more men and young boys of color into what I wanted to do, how young men and boys of color “have it worse” compared to young women and girls of color, and how communities of color needed someone like me to provide inspiration to all young people, not just young girls of color. I’ve also be questioned on why I, as a Black woman, focus on all women and girls of color and not just Black women and girls.

(It’s always interesting how people who have the most ideas on what you need to do, never seem to have the time or interest in making these improvements themselves. But that’s another matter!)

I’ll answer this question in three parts: 1) Why I’m invested in all women and girls of color, 2) the benefits of creating a niche and 3) the fear of limiting yourself:

Like our reader, I’m invested in women and girls of color because I am one. While I don’t doubt that men and boys of color need services that cater to their needs, and while I believe that want I do as a program evaluator and speaker can lent themselves into working with men and boys of color, I tend to point interested people to organizations and people I know who are doing the work of providing services for men and boys of color (and to the organizations that serve them). I don’t believe that women and girls are superior than men and boys. My life experience as a girl of color and now as a woman of color just lends itself more to wanting to devote my time to improving the quality of life for women and girls of color in any way I can. Also, I feel that what I do with program evaluation and speaking works great for all organizations that provide services for women and girls of color. It helps me to be more culturally competent and helps me to recognize the strengths of all women and girls of color, not just Black women and girls. Communities of color are resourceful and there are many people (regardless of gender) who are on the ground offering their perspectives, talents, and insights that we are the better for.  (more…)