Making Magic Happen with Sarah Von Bargen

Sarah Von Bargen Interview

We’ve all got different definitions of making magic happen. What’s yours?
For me, magic is having the time and freedom to live life on my own terms. In my case, that means a lot of travel, working anywhere that has an internet connection, and doing fun things when I want to do them – not just on the weekends.

Of the things that you’ve accomplished in your life, what are you most proud of?
Becoming self-employed, doing something I love. I’ve been telling people I wanted to be a writer since third grade. My parents lovingly told me that being a writer was a great idea – but maybe I could get another job and write on the weekends. And that’s not bad advice! I realize that a lot of people would like to spend their days writing and traveling. I’m really proud of myself for pulling it off.

When you’re taking on a big new project, or you’ve set your eyes on a new goal, how do you actually, you know, make it happen?
I break it down into little, non-overwhelming steps.  You know: “send email to friend who has done something similar,”  “check out book about grant-writing,” “buy domain name.” I just start chipping away at it, ever so slowly. When I take teeny, tiny bites I’m less likely to get burned out or overwhelmed.

What books/tools/products/apps have helped you on your journey?
I swear by to-do lists written out by hand and the Pomodoro technique.

Most of us living big, challenging, magical lives have met our fair share of naysayers. How have you dealt with that?
When someone challenges my work/ideas/choices, I try (with varying degrees of success) to step back and objectively evaluate their concerns. A lot of times, what they’re saying is about them and their values and has nothing to do with me.

For example: they like being married, owning a home, and having kids. They want me to be happy, and the fact that I don’t have those things leads them to believe I’m not happy. But I’m not them so what makes them happy doesn’t make me happy. While I appreciate their concern, I don’t need to listen to it.

Of course, sometimes I get useful, helpful constructive criticism. And I’m happy to hear that and change my plans, blog posts, approach accordingly.

When you have moments of doubt or get distracted, how do you refocus on your goals?
If I’m working towards something really specific – a best-selling app, a book deal, a trip to St. Petersburg – I make that my screensaver or hang a photo of it in my office. It helps me remember why I’m doing this.

What’s the most magical thing going on in your life right now?
Over the last year, I’ve sort of inherited three kids – through my sister’s marriage and my boyfriend. I don’t think I want to have kids of my own but it’s been so much fun to spoil these kids, read with them, and hear all of their awesome kid stories. I enjoy any opportunity to make ridiculous themed cakes or take kids to bookstores. It’s so refreshing and illuminating to see the world through a 7-year-old’s eyes.

If you could build a perfect day from scratch, what would it look like? (Where would you be? When would you wake up and go to sleep? Who would be with you? What would you eat/drink/do?)
I have a feeling that today is going to be pretty perfect.  Breakfast/coffee/morning co-working with my dude. Going to an aquarium with my BFF and cooing over seahorses. Making a pinata birthday cake. Writing blog posts for a client. Going out dancing with my girlfriends.



Sarah Von Bargen helps people + businesses become awesome on the internet. How? Through traffic-driving editorial calendars, step-by-step plans, and customized, targeted suggestions. She learned all this by writing five days a week on her own blog, Yes and Yes, which is read by 11,000+ people (and her mom).

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