With all the content out there that’s screaming for your attention, it’s important to determine sooner rather than later if you’re in the right place.
So let’s cut to the chase and get right down to who I am, what I believe in, and who this site is for. If you find yourself nodding as you read, you’re in the right place!
I Believe In. . .
When it comes to content creation and everything else in life, I believe in using a minimalist approach. If 2 apps suffice, why use 10?
Stop. Chasing. Shiny. Objects. There's no reason to buy the "next big thing" or to spend a ton of money on unnecessary monthly subscriptions.
Rather than being a Jack of All Trades, Master of None, I believe in mastering one suite of tools you use extensively in your content creation.
Microsoft Office for Creatives?
If you’re a creative, and you blog, write books, or create online courses, I want to introduce you to a content creation creativity powerhouse. Microsoft Office. I believe that if you create content and you want to keep things simple and save a ton of money, you should focus on mastering Microsoft Office and other Microsoft apps.
I know what you’re thinking. Aren’t Microsoft and creativity opposites? And besides, everyone knows that Macs are better for creatives, right?
Hmmm. . . I’ll tell you in a minute why I disagree with that. But first, I want to tell you where I started, so you’ll understand how I got to where I am today.
My Self-Employment Beginnings
I started off creating content and providing virtual assistant services for amazing people in the content marketing and social media space. People like Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, Michael Hyatt, and Marcus Sheridan. I worked with the best of the best, and I’ll always be grateful for what I learned during my time working for them.
My Life was Incredibly Complicated
But I had a problem. My life and workday were incredibly complicated. My days were filled with logging in and out of various programs. It wasn’t unusual for me to log into dozens of dashboards a day. Not only was this inefficient, although I was functional in all of the programs, I never truly mastered any of them.
There are three principles that have led to me embracing Microsoft Office for content creation.
Principle #1: Simplify Your Content Creation and Creative Business
At some point, in spite of how much I loved my clients, I realized that I just didn’t want to do that anymore. I longed for a more simple, less cluttered life. I also wanted to focus on creating my own content. One of the biggest draws of transitioning from doing client work to creating my own content was the opportunity to use fewer programs.
A Visit to the Microsoft Store Changed Everything
I’ll never forget the moment I walked into a Microsoft store, and encountered my first 2-in-1 PC, a computer that functions as both a full computer and tablet. Visions of whiteboard videos, sketchnotes, and more filled my imagination, and the thought of having two devices in one appealed to my desire to simplify. Why have both a laptop and a tablet when you can do the same things with just a laptop?
As I logged into my shiny new computer for the first time, I was prompted to install Microsoft 365, a subscription that came with the new computer.
When I started poking around, I was surprised to see that apps included in my subscription covered the bulk of what I needed to run a content-based business.
Not only would the ability to spend most of my day in a single dashboard simplify my life, it would also save me a ton of money, which brings me to my next point, frugality.
Principle #2: Frugality – Don’t Spend More than You Need On Your Content Creation
We’ve all heard about those million-dollar launches. What people often don’t reveal is how much they spent to make those dollars. When it comes right down to it, how much you net is far more important than how much you made. Who cares how much you made if at the end of the day you still can’t make your mortgage payment?
Because of that, I want to encourage you to take a long, hard look at the money that flows out of your business bank account every month.
Before I dive into how using Microsoft apps can save you a ton of money, I do want to make one thing clear. You do need to spend money to make money. Frugality in the most extreme sense isn’t the best way to build a business. But at the same time, I don’t believe in spending money unnecessarily, which is why I was thrilled when I discovered how using Microsoft apps not only simplified my business but also saved me money.
Programs I No Longer Use (and the Money I Save)
Here are some of the programs that I no longer use, and the money I now save because I use Microsoft apps that are either free, or that come with my Microsoft 365 subscription.
- Grammarly – $139/year. As a writer, I’ve subscribed to Grammarly for several years. It’s a good tool, and in the past, the grammar tool built into Microsoft Word was subpar. However, the latest iteration of the Microsoft Editor is now equal to, or better than Grammarly.
- Dropbox – $150/year. My Microsoft 365 subscription provides 6 users with 1 TB of storage on OneDrive, for a total of 6TB of storage. I’m still working on that first TB in spite of having tons of videos and other content stored in my OneDrive account. In addition to that, I love that I can create and edit the documents inside of OneDrive, so the latest version is always there. As is true with Dropbox, I can also share and collaborate on any file with family and team members.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – $635.88/year. Now let me be clear. If you’re a professional graphic designer, you’ll likely still want to use Photoshop, and you may want to use other Adobe apps. But since I learned how to do graphic design and video creation in PowerPoint, I no longer use Creative Cloud.
- Kanbanflow – $120/year. I used to use Kanbanflow for task management, but since Microsoft acquired Wunderlist and eventually merged its features with Microsoft To Do, I found that I like To Do better than Kanbanflow. The fact that its a free Windows 10 app is another cost-saving bonus.
The amazing thing is that as I learn more about Microsoft apps, the more I’m able to let go of other programs. Just looking at the above, I now spend $99 a year on what used to cost me over $1,000 a year, and I didn’t even list all of the subscriptions I’ve cancelled since switching to Microsoft 365.
Principle # 3: Master One Set of Tools Rather than Being Mediocre at Many
One of the things I like most about using Microsoft Office apps for most of my content creation is that the skills I use in one program often also apply to other programs.
As an example, all of Microsoft Office, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Publisher use the “Ribbon.” Now it’s true that there are different features available in the ribbon of each program, but the general way you work with it remains the same across all programs. For instance, you can go to the file menu to change what is included in the ribbon regardless of the program.
Also, if you focus on mastering one program, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, you’ll find you already know how to do a lot of things (or can easily learn them) in Word or OneNote.
Microsoft Office Drawing Tool Comparison
One example of this is drawing tools.
As you can see, while each of the programs has a few extra or missing options in drawing tools, for the most part, the features are the same. This means that if I learn how to use drawing tools in one program, I can easily apply that skill to the other programs. This same idea applies in many different functions in Microsoft Office apps.
How I Use Microsoft 365 as a Blogger, Author, and Online Teacher
Here’s a snapshot of just some of the ways I use Microsoft Office as a blogger, author, and online teacher.
OneNote is my tool of choice for research, brainstorming, and planning out my content. In this post I dive deeper into the various reasons and ways I use OneNote almost every day.
If you’re an author, chances are you can’t live without Word. At one point I tried switching completely over to Google Docs, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t format my books properly in Google Docs. If I wrote my book in Google Docs, I had to copy and paste the manuscript into Word and then fix the formatting. Once I learned how to use styles in Word and started writing my books in Word, my books are essentially formatted by the time I finish writing and editing them.
Excel is the tool I use the least, but I do find it helpful for tracking important business metrics.
PowerPoint is by far the tool I use most often in all of my content creation. I use it to create all of my blog post images, videos for my online courses, and various types of low content books such as journals, workbooks, planners, children’s books, and coloring books. Here’s just a sampling of some of the pages I’ve created in PowerPoint.
Use Microsoft Office to Simplify, Save Money, and Master Your Creative Business
To recap, Microsoft apps simplify your business by keeping you in a single dashboard the majority of your day, and save you money by reducing your dependence on other subscriptions. It’s also easy to master one set of tools when you use them repeatedly. This mastery not only improves the content you create, it also speeds up your content creation efforts.