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Dandy Cast 045: How many new projects have you started this year?

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on October 06, 2020.

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Show notes

I’ve usually got a lot on my plate. I’m working hard at making my online time meaningful, I’m working on expanding my audience, and I’ve got the usual weekly work to accomplish. Lately, though, I’ve added something new: making the Conquering Your Calendar instructional series a downloadable e-book/pdf.

There’s a lot to consider when making something like this. How am I going to craft the thing? How can I sell it? Where am I going to sell it? Can I do all of this in a good amount of time and not go crazy while doing it? They’re big questions, but they’re part of the fun of creating something. I’m looking forward to working on this.

There’s also a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, 3 Helpful Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic.

We can be our biggest cheerleaders, but we can also be our greatest enemies. Our mind is a wonderful thing, but how do you manage self-doubt when it arises? Do you give up and hide away or do you work on silencing that damn destructive inner critic of yours? Let’s work on ways to do the second one. It’s healthier anyways.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

September 25, 2020 post | Dandy Cat Design - Twitter

Conquering Your Calendar, Part 1: Introduction - Dandy Cat Design

Affinity Publisher - Serif

Pages - Apple

EPUB - Wikipedia

Books - Apple



Freebies - Dandy Cat Design

3 Helpful Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic - Dandy Cat Design

The Jeremies (Fall 2020) | Connected Pro - Relay FM

Raised by Wolves - IMDb

Perpetual Motion People | Ezra Furman - YouTube

A Visit from the Goon Squad | Jennifer Egan - Goodreads

The full text

The Dandy Newsletter—10/06/20

A quick rundown of what I’ve got planned and going on as October starts:

  • I recently posted on Twitter about working hard at making my time online more creative, less stressful, and just all around happier. In other words, spending less time online, and especially less time on social media. I feel I’ve been making good strides with this. I haven’t been successful all the time, but the point isn’t to be perfect—you can’t be perfect at anything—the point is to be better.
  • I successfully avoided watching the first presidential debate and, from what I’ve gathered, this was a positive thing to do.
  • I finally finished making seven additional Pinterest images for all my past blog posts. That was a project and a half, let me tell you. Now, barring anything unexpected, I shouldn’t have to do that ever again. (Although, I am still planning on making additional pin descriptions.)
  • I’ll be gathering and organizing what I need to make an e-book version of the Conquering Your Calendar series.

Let’s talk about that last one for a bit.

Before even beginning to write that instructional calendar series, I knew that I would want to sell it as a standalone product, in addition to the version that’s available to the Dandy Cat Design subscribers. This plan has been in the books for months at this point. While I was writing the subscriber version, I knew I wouldn’t be able to create a purchase version simultaneously. It was important that I just get the thing out (especially when it started taking longer to produce than I had anticipated) before worrying about what else should be done with it. Gotta keep those priorities in line, you know? However, it left a hole in what I want to offer to my website’s visitors.

I think this will be a good project to focus on for the remainder of 2020. I may have other small things I want to do as well, but this is the one I should devote most my time toward until it’s finished.

So how am I going to do it?

The actual creation of the thing

At the moment, I’m trying to decide between using Affinity Publisher or just regular ol’ Pages. They’re both capable publishing applications and will do the same thing, but there are, of course, pros and cons to each:

  • Affinity Publisher has a lot of power under its hood, but perhaps I don’t need all that. Pages could do just fine. However, I’ll be frustrated with Pages if I’m unable to do something I can do without a problem in Publisher. Ease is an important consideration.
  • I spent about $25 on Publisher, so it would be nice to get my money’s worth from it.
  • Both programs can output a PDF file, but you can create an EPUB file with Pages, meaning this guide could be viewed as a real e-book in an app like Apple Books. Or, by using Pages, I could include a PDF and EPUB version with each purchase.
  • There’s not currently an iPad version of Publisher. I really like being able to work from anywhere and, currently, only Pages would allow me to do that. Likewise, I can use my Apple Pencil with Pages.

I’m pretty split down the middle at the moment, but I feel like I’m starting to lean toward Pages. There’s a lot it can do. Perhaps it’ll be best for me to do a quick test on both and see which one is less frustrating to use for this project.

I want this to be an enjoyable creative experience, you know? Who wants to have to talk themselves out of throwing their computer out the window? Not I.

Selling the thing

Ghost is currently focused on online publication and member-supported sites. They’re not about developing e-commerce features, nor do I think they should be; their focus is important to them and appealing to me. They’re not trying to be WordPress or Squarespace. They’ve found a great niche.

However, that does present the issue of trying to sell something on my site that isn’t a subscription to the site. I’m looking at their integration features to allow for this.

They offer the ability to hook into Gumroad and act as a sort of storefront for items you’ve listed there. Gumroad is a commerce service for creatives and they’ve got an astounding free tier. With them, I can list my products and then display them on my website. Sure, I won’t be able to include my domain or CSS with their free tier—meaning I’ll have to feature their branding—but that’s a small price to pay at the moment.

I think this is a good solution for this project and similar ones I may create in the future.

Displaying the thing on the website

As I just mentioned, I’ll be using Ghost’s Gumroad integration to feature this product, but where do I put this thing on the website?

I could just create a blog post for it, but that would fall off the front page after a few weeks. I could stick it in the sidebar, but that would start to look messy. It appears the best solution would be to create a separate “Guides” or “Shop” page and feature that as a link in my top navigation.

If my plan is to do more of these in the future, then they’ll need a proper home that can be found without any searching.

It’s also unfortunate that Ghost’s default layout tools aren’t designed to do much beyond display things in a top-to-bottom list. I wouldn’t be able to place the Gumroad integration next to a title and short description of the product. You can view an example of this limitation on my Freebies page. I’d love to have the title and description of those free guides sit to the left of the image, but that’s not possible without writing some custom HTML code.

Oh well.

Regardless of those limitations and challenges, I’m excited about debuting and offering this course in e-book form in the future. Make sure to look out for it!


There’s a new blog post waiting for you. Hip-hip-hooray! 🎉

It’s called: 3 Helpful Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic.

We can all be our own best cheerleader, encouraging ourselves to do things we’ve dreamt of and accomplish more than we ever thought possible. We can also be our own worst enemy, making ourselves feel like trash and discouraging any motivation and excitement we might feel. Yin and yang and all that, you know?

It’s a damn frustrating tug-of-war battle to be in.

However, while that terrible critic inside ourselves can be tempting, loud, and persistent, we don’t have to just take any of its nonsense. We can fight back and tell the thing to shut up for cryin’ out loud! It’s tough work and requires effort, but that voice is only going to create fear and uncertainty.

Click through the link above to learn about three powerful methods you can use to help silence that dang inner critic of yours. Just because that voice wants to be heard doesn’t mean we have to let it. We can instead focus our attention to our cheerleaders and be happier, more productive people. Give it a read today!

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then send me a reply to this email. They’re always wonderful to receive.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.

(Also, happy birthday to my wonderful fiancée!)


Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶

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