May 2021: Highs, Lows, and Tip / Trick / Tool of the Month | Sarah Klongerbo
Sarah Klongerbo on a bench in Kansas City

May 2021: Highs, Lows, and Tip / Trick / Tool of the Month

Sarah Klongerbo's May 2021 recap

Are you feeling as distracted as I am?

I don’t know if it’s the warming weather or the lifting restrictions or some personal stuff on my mind, but I’ve been having a stretch of absent-mindedness. Just me?

(Psssst: New here? I write a monthly recap of my journey to becoming a service-based business owner. Along with my [very honest] highs and lows, I share a helpful tiptrick, and tool of the month. Interested? Sign up to get first access every month!)

Last month seemed to fly by. I’ll keep this email short and sweet… as May was, and as June is sure to be, too.

May Highs

I wrapped up a fun brand strategy project.

Although my specialty is website design and copywriting, I also dabble in some branding work.

Recently, I had the opportunity to create a comprehensive brand strategy guide for a client. Our goal was to clarify the heart, messaging, and visual identity behind the brand.

With this guide, all team members and partners will be on the same page (literally) about how to communicate the company’s values, benefits, and goals in future sales and marketing efforts.

This project was a fun creative challenge. It made me realize how much I wish every client would go through an exercise like this. It’d sure make my job easier, and it’d help the client better understand and convey their why (and their how) for months and years to come.

In fact, I’m contemplating making brand strategy a core part of my services going forward. Think it’d be valuable?

I received some good feedback from clients.

As a “words of affirmation” person (and, you know, a human), I love hearing compliments about my work.

Who wouldn’t, right?!

It was encouraging to get some very positive feedback from clients this month β€” such as this response to a 32-email sequence I sent for review:

“You absolutely killed it! Thank you so much for the great writing!! I really love so much of what you have written for our brand. I think the first drafts are the final drafts!! So great!”

– A happy client
Proud Andy Bernard

I calculated the time I tracked last month.

Remember last month, when I told you I tracked my time for three weeks straight?

I finally got around to calculating those totals, so I could see more clearly where my time was being spent.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I divided my time into 17 different categories that represent actions I typically take on a daily / weekly basis.
  2. I created a spreadsheet with a different column for each category.
  3. I added in each half-hour increment I had documented on my physical time tracking worksheets.
  4. I created a pie chart that visualized which categories represented the biggest portions of time.
  5. I included additional rows that added up my total work hours per week (since I had separated work into four different “types” of work), my total sleep hours per night, and any extenuating circumstances that may be skewing the numbers that week (e.g. buying a vehicle or family coming to stay with us).

I’m sure there are other, better ways of tracking your time, but so far, this is working for me!

Sarah Klongerbo's time tracking spreadsheet

In case you’re curious, I found that, over a three-week span in April:

  • I worked an average of 43 hours a week.
  • I slept an average of eight hours a night.
  • Week to week, my work fluctuated pretty wildly between freelance client work, part-time agency work, my own marketing efforts, and general admin stuff. To get a better grasp on where my work hours are spent on the whole, I’ll need to continue tracking my time over the next several weeks and months.

Overall, I wasn’t shocked by where my percentages lay. That encourages me that, despite a wonky schedule, I’m largely achieving the work-life balance I’ve sought since “going off on my own.”

(Of course, it’s possible that I was more intentional with my time during those weeks when I was tracking it so diligently. But hey, isn’t that part of the point of this exercise?!)

May Lows

Did I mention I’ve been distracted?

I don’t have any glaring “lows” that come to mind this month, but it’s true that I’ve been a little less attentive than I would like, especially when it comes to my inbox.

Between family events, social gatherings, client meetings, house projects, and upcoming plans, I’ve been a bit scatterbrained.

Which is no excuse!

Knowing the summer will only continue to swell with travels, golf tournaments, and other fun things, I am committed to trying to improve in my communication and my on-top-of-it-ness. (Is that a word?)

Tip / Trick / Tool of the Month πŸ’‘

Tip: The more you do it, the easier it gets.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about freelancers is that they never have to work with other people.

In my experience, freelancing is more social than many “regular” jobs.

You have to market yourself, sell yourself, and collaborate regularly with clients, vendors, and other freelancers. (Not to mention all the “following up”!)

Starting my business, I knew I would have to go against my introvert tendencies and really put myself out there to not only book clients, but also exceed their expectations.

So I’ve been trying to pick up the phone, schedule the Zoom, and get my butt to the coffee shop when I think it will help.

And you know what? The more I do it, the easier it gets.

I’m certainly not perfect in this regard, but I’m trying.

If I can, you can too.

Trick: Escape Key Login on Squarespace

Was your website built on Squarespace?

(If so, I approve β€” Squarespace is the #1 platform I recommend to clients for its design, features, and ease of use.)

Here’s an easy hack for Squarespace users:

When Escape key login is enabled in your settings, you can simply press Esc while visiting your published website, and the login page will open, allowing you to edit your site quickly.

Alternatively, you can click into the address bar and add /config at the end of the website URL.

Tool: Creative Market’s “Free Goods of the Week”

If you’re a designer who hasn’t been taking advantage of Creative Market’s free weekly assets… how on earth have you been getting by?!

​Creative Market is a massive online marketplace where artists sell graphics, fonts, templates, and more.

Every Monday, the marketplace offers six “Free Goods of the Week,” which you can download (and get notified about) by signing up for a free account.

I’ve been snagging free assets since March 2017. Aside from Google Fonts and Typewolf’s “10 Best Free Fonts That Aren’t Available on Google Fonts,” Creative Market is where I’ve found all the free fonts I’ve used while designing websites.

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There’s my May recap for ya.

(Did I say it was gonna be short and sweet? Oops…)

Thank you so much for joining this business-building journey of mine. I hope you always find some helpful tidbits here.

If you want to help me make these updates even better, please fill out my three-question survey if you haven’t already!

Have a joyful June!

Favorite Photos from May 2021

Kansas City's Power and Light District
My husband, Troy, and I (and our dog!) took a trip to Kansas City at the beginning of May.
Troy Klongerbo and his dog Pali eating breakfast in Kansas City
Patios are necessary when you’ve got a pup along! We walked to Banksia for breakfast from our hotel.

Sarah Klongerbo and her dog Pali in Kansas City
Just the three of us, chillin’.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo shopping in Kansas City
Shopping at the Country Club Plaza.
Troy and Sarah Klongerbo shopping in Kansas City
Shopping trip = success!
Sarah Klongerbo enjoying happy hour in Kansas City
Happy hour reward for all our hard work.
Troy Klongerbo enjoying happy hour in Kansas City
Delicious app at Rye.
Troy Klongerbo and his dog at Town Topic in Kansas City
Had to grab one of the famous Town Topic burgers.
Enjoying Town Topic hamburgers
A good sandwich, indeed! (Even if I got mine plain.)
Farmers market shopping at the bustling City Market.
Another lovely patio breakfast with the pup!
Kansas City breakfast
Highly recommend The Farmhouse for brunch.
Sarah Klongerbo eating ice cream at Betty Rae's in Kansas City
Pali was a little impatient for her pup cup at Betty Rae’s.
Scootering to dinner!
Sarah Klongerbo at dinner at Lidia's in Kansas City
Sharing the pasta sampler at Lidia’s.
Troy Klongerbo at a Kansas City dog park
Found a dog park for a certain canine family member.
Arthur Bryant's BBQ
Can’t leave KC without some BBQ!

Sarah Klongerbo getting plants for their garden
Getting ready to plant our garden back in Sioux Falls.
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo getting ready to garden
Picking out plants is one of our favorite activities of the season.
Troy Klongerbo hanging with his dog in downtown Sioux Falls
A random photo op while walking downtown Sioux Falls.
An appetizer Sarah Klongerbo made for her book club
A “fancy” app I made for my book club. It didn’t taste all that great, but at least it looked semi impressive!
Pali Klongerbo sleeping
My office buddy, using her “Chewy Vuitton” purse as a pillow.
Sarah Klongerbo's business card
Finally got my shiny (literally) new business cards! Want one?!
Sarah and Troy Klongerbo on a walk
Taking a quiet walk on Memorial Day in a park we’ve never explored.

May 2021: Highs, Lows, and Tip / Trick / Tool of the Month

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