Getting Organized, the Sequel

Getting Organized, the SequelIt’s a miracle! I finally found a project management program that fits our needs, and that everyone on the team actually enjoys using.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about my efforts to get reorganized. I say reorganized because when I first started my business I had all of our collateral documents, bios, product descriptions, client processes and such up to date in their proper files. Over time, these documents have been revised and rewritten, and lets just say without version control, it is a mess.

We have been using DropBox for quite some time, but my team doesn’t like to download DropBox to their desktops since it slows their computers down when it syncs. It’s also awkward to use from the cloud since you have to download a file to work on it and then upload it again. [Read more…]

Use IFTTT to Automate Pesky Time Consuming Tasks

Use IFTTT to Automate Pesky Time Consuming TasksI have written about how to use IFTTT  (If Then Then That) to automate pesky time consuming tasks before, but it is time to roll it out again in case you missed the magnitude of this little program’s brilliance and the myriad of ways it can help you streamline some of the work you do.  IFTTT is a robust service that lets you create simple actions in the form of “if this then that”.

You can set it up and identify a first action called the trigger and then you specify what reaction should occur as a result of the trigger. The triggers and reactions [Read more…]

How To Direct Traffic on The Highway of Your Mind

How To Direct Traffic on The Highway of Your MindAfter putting on WordCamp in March, we were very busy here at New Tricks. We had to play a little catch up after the conference, and then a lot of people decided the time was right to have their new websites designed by the end of April.

The New Tricks team can handle working on multiple projects simultaneously because projects typically come in at different times and, therefore, are in different stages as we work on them.

When I am working on sites, I like to block out a group of hours and work on one project at a time. Normally, with a couple of projects at the same design stage, my mind is like a highway with a couple of cars on it, and the traffic moves along well. But, once there are more than a few projects, [Read more…]

Social Media Plan

Sometimes people don’t get started with a Social Media plan for their businesses because it seems so overwhelming. I found this Infographic that breaks down some specific steps you can take to develop an online presence for your business. I wrote down my take on the information in the Infographic, which does not take the place of a well conceived social media plan designed to meet your business goals.

Please don’t get overwhelmed by this to do list, because you do not have to do all of these things at the same time. But trust me, many of you spend more time on your personal Facebook sharing than these items would take in a week!

Social Media Plan

 

Download your copy of the Infographic.

 

Keep Up to Date: For 30 minutes per day, use your favorite methods- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterst or Blogs you follow, to find interesting information relevant to your business. Keep track of it using apps such as Evernote or BufferApp so you can find it again to use for research for your posts and to share it with your followers. The content you find can help you craft blog posts and that same information can be reformatted to be used in many ways such as creating videos or social media updates.

Blog Posts: Writing blog posts is one of the most crucial parts of a successful social media plan. Write one to two blog posts per week on your website. Create them on topics that people will search for to find your business. Use relevant keyword phrases in the title and content of your posts. Share these posts on Twitter, Facebook Page, LinkedIn and Google +.

Facebook Page: Update your page status daily with what is going on. You can ask questions of your community or answer them. Add one or two interesting [Read more…]

Be a GrownUp, Boost Your Business

Be a GrownUp, Boost Your BusinessI heard from one of my clients recently that she really liked working with grownups. Yes, I am a grownup but I happen to think that being a grownup is not necessarily age related. The behaviors that make a huge difference to our clients are simple, but they are the cornerstone of having a busy and lucrative business.

1. Be clear about your deliverables and manage your clients’ expectations.
2. Do what you say you will do or call and give an update.
3. Return e-mails and business calls within 24 hours.
4. If you have a task to do, get it done and put the next step back in your client’s court.
5. Remember you are the expert. Don’t just blindly do what your client asks for. Make sure they know the ramifications of their actions and possible preferable alternatives.

What a difference these five little rules make. That is all.

Nine Reasons I Have Been a Bad Dog

Nine Reasons I Have Been a Bad Dog I was writing a post today aimed at the many people out there who have their websites completed but are having a hard time getting started with writing blog posts. I was in the process of listing the reasons they might have for not getting them done and then I stopped. I realized that I am actually in a very similar situation. Not about blog posts. I get my posts written but I have find myself stuck on my next step in the same way many of you are.

I have known for a while, that I want and need to package up my knowledge in a information product or an online mastermind group,  that lets me get my methodology out to more of you.  I have so much information to share with you. I want to hold your hand and offer you the knowledge and support you need to take the steps,  that I know will work to get your business off the ground and grow beyond your wildest dreams.

But have I done this?  No. I have not.  I am still working with you one by one, which I love, but that is not going to get me or you our goals.  Oh, I have many excuses: [Read more…]

Google Yourself

Google YourselfDid you know that if you get arrested for anything you may find your mug shot in a Google Search of your name?  How bad is that? And to make things worse, most mug shots look like hell. This happened to a friend of my son’s. He realized his mugshot was online when he was applying to a Grad School, and the head of his department told him “You should try googling yourself…”

Hopefully you won’t find anything bad when you Google your name or your business name. But the other extreme, not showing up at all, is not good either.

The remedy to both issues is the same. Set up some social media accounts and fill them out completely. If you don’t have a website, set up a one page About.me account. If it is your business [Read more…]

Some Answers to “What Are You Struggling With?”

Your QuestionsMy Answers

Some Answers to What Are You Struggling With?How to Make My Existing Websites Mobile Friendly?  If the site is not built with WordPress and doesn’t look good on a mobile device, now may be the time to port it over to a Responsive WordPress Theme that automatically adapts the site presentation for each display size. StudioPress and Woo Themes have a growing number of responsive themes to choose from. For an existing WordPress site not built using a responsive theme, there are some plugins such as WP Touch, that will present your site content into format that shows the posts. I prefer seeing the whole site rather than just the posts, and many of the existing themes look and work fine on iPhones and iPads.

I got laid off last year so I am working in someone else’s production company and helping them grow their business rather than grow my own. I want to start my own business but I don’t have start-up money since the Mac I want is $4,000.  Sorry you were laid off and I am glad you found employment in your field. However, I encourage you to go ahead and start working on your own business in your free time. Get everything prepared: your branding, your website, your social media accounts and then get any computer that can do the job. Put on your powers of positive thinking and attraction. You will be able to find a computer that you can use for less than $4,000. You have to start with gratitude for where you are and start the ball rolling by doing the things I suggested. Put your desires out there and get a piece of paid business and then keep it rolling. The small things will [Read more…]

5 Tips for a Professional Headshot

5 Tips for a Professional HeadshotSpring is a great time for a new headshot for your website and social media profiles. Your profile photo should be focused on your head and shoulders, because we want your face to be visible. If your body is in the picture, then we can’t get a good look at you.

If you want to build “Know, Like and Trust,” people need to be able to see your face. And no, don’t go trying to sneak someone else into the pic. Not you and your child, or you and your wife. And no, you can’t just wimp out and use your logo. It is hard to build a relationship with you, if you don’t show up. We want to see you!

I have clients that are concerned that they are not going to be accepted if they put their real photo on their website. They think factors such as their age, race, size, and attractiveness are going to affect their business. Yes, discrimination is a real thing, but when we are doing this kind of relationship marketing it is essential to be who you are, and guess what? In real life, people see exactly who you are.

People want and expect authenticity. If they have a real prejudice, better to go ahead and deal with it. You will attract your right people that you want to do business with.

Five Tips To Not Waste Your Money When You Have Your Headshots Done

1. Hire a Professional – It does make a difference. I wish I had not waited so long [Read more…]

Tips To Bring Your Blog Out Of Hibernation

Each Spring, I like to give you some blogging tips to help get get you and your blog out of hibernation. If you have a business, it is essential to add fresh content to your site that is helpful to people in your niche market (blog). Adding this content helps to build “Know, Like, and Trust” and also helps with search engine ranking.

Tips To Bring Your Blog Out Of Hibernation

Here are some tips on creating content and some more about how to structure your posts to help get them read.

Content:

1. Think about your over-riding belief about what you are doing and why. That belief will tie seemingly disparate subjects together so you can write about more than just your subject matter. In my case,  it is our motto that it’s never too late. You can see how that credo allows for a lot more blog post topics than pushing new websites.

2. Topics for blog posts can come from [Read more…]

MailChimp Offers "Tiny Letters" for Tiny Newsletters

MailChimp Offers "Tiny Letters" for Tiny NewslettersI am very excited about the new product MailChimp acquired called, Tiny Letter. It is a very, very simple e-mail newsletter program that is much needed by most of my tiny clients. My team spends a lot of time teaching our small business clients how to set up the whole newsletter sign-up and templates in MailChimp so that they can send out a newsletter. MailChimp does offer tutorials, but there are so many options that my clients don’t even know which tutorial to watch.

Most of my small business clients don’t need anything fancy. They are never going to do fancy internet marketing and A/B testing of their content. But they do need to get a newsletter out to their clients/customers every so often with a great offer or an upcoming event. Love the Chimp, but MailChimp is pretty overwhelming for the very new blogger or small biz owner who is struggling just to get up to speed on their website and all that comes with that.

MailChimp is so smart. The Chimp knew this. Because they are free, people wanted to use them, but then some people were fussing that it was too much to learn and MailChimp didn’t have a stripped down version. They give away their Enterprise level program for free to people with lists less than 2,000. But what to do for the Mom and Pop shops? They bought Tiny Letter to give people for free!

A lot of people that should send out a newsletter, don’t. They might even have a sign-up form on their websites but [Read more…]

Process Your Business Cards!

Process Your Business Cards!The tip today solves a terribly annoying problem, how to input the information from all those business cards into your contact on your phone/computer. Business cards are still the most practical way of exchanging contact information in real life and yet we want that information to be available at our finger tips from our phones and computers. After a networking event, most of us have a hard time making ourselves enter in all the data from the cards we collected, much less, follow up with people we have met.

There is now a fantastic and fun solution. CardMunch is a free iPhone app (Blackberry and Android versions to be coming soon) that will process your business cards in a matter of minutes. Just hold your phone over a card. When you see the card information come into focus, tap the screen and it will take a photo of the card and send it to be transcribed, right into your contact list. You will see the the image of the card photo as well as all of the relevant contact information in the appropriate fields in your contact list.

How does it get it right? Instead of using an optical scanning service, CardMunch uses a real humans to transcribe each business card and verify the accuracy of the transcription before returning them to your mobile phone as a contact. You can imagine that process sounds a bit spendy and in fact, Card Munch use to cost 2.99 for the app and 25 cents for each entered card, but a year ago, in a genius move, LinkedIn bought CardMunch and now offers it at no charge. This brilliant acquisition also allows us to have instant easy access to our contacts’ full LinkedIn profile information. And do you want some icing on that cake? With a tap of a button you can send the contact an e-mail or an invitation to connect via LinkedIn. How great is that?

And They Say Social Media is Impersonal? Love and Support Abound.

I am still reeling by the outpouring of love and support I got last week when I wrote about my dog, Clyde’s unexpected death. Sometimes, when I write my posts and newsletter I have to just “know” in an intellectual way that you all are out there reading my e-mails.  But this week, I got to experience the huge power social media has to reach out and touch us so deeply. I got  almost 400 e-mails from you all telling me you understood, sharing your stories about your pets, your losses, your businesses and so much more. What a huge gift this sharing was. I thank you for this.

If I was the truly savvy social media maven I would have thought to include the “Read More” tag on my newsletter to bring people back to my website where you could leave the comments there. Then, I could share all of the messages with you. But, I didn’t do that and maybe it was just a little more personal that way.

One of my friends wrote a little Haiku. Since it is not a 5-7-5 true Haiku, we called it a Joeku (my friend’s name is Joe)

Clyde died
from a pecan inside
I cried

And on a roll, I made a little modification to a t-shirt that I had.

And They Say Social Media is Impersonal? Love and Support Abound.

I think it always helps bringing a little love and lightness to a sad situation.

Again thank you so much for being there.

Love,

Judi

Monkey Talk, Down Dog and the Honey Badger

Monkey Talk, Down Dog and the Honey BadgerFor those of us in a creative field, it can be a bit unnerving to present our ideas or designs to our clients or employers.  I most always have some anxiety around this process.  And like anything in life, sometimes I hit the nail on the head the first time,  and other times, well,  it can take more than a bit longer to get it right and I really do want it to be just right.  This week, I missed the mark with one of my new clients. I know, I will be able to get it right and I think she knows it too.  But, nonetheless,  I really hate when I get it so wrong.

After getting the disappointing e-mail, I went ahead and got myself out the door to my favorite yoga class rather than  reacting to the “monkey talk” going on in my head encouraging me to stay home and work on it,  right then and there.  I saw it for what it was, just my people pleasing anxiety telling me to stop what I had planned and take some action that might calm the anxiety. I know better and sometimes am able to overcome  acting on the “feeling” and do the thing that is better for me.

So there I was in my yoga class, doing the Down Dog and watching those pesky thoughts creep back in with ideas about how I was going to change the design when I got home.  Oh, so relentless.  However, yoga teaches us to bring our thoughts back to the breath and to be there in the posture you are doing right then and there. It teaches us to stay in the room, stay in the moment,  breathe in, breathe out and to let go of all judgement about it. Easier said than done, but overtime it does get easier.

Then I started thinking about what the Honey Badger would do.  [Read more…]

Go From Knowing What to Do to Doing What You Know

Go From Knowing What to Do to Doing What You KnowThe other day, I helped one of my clients get her newsletter sent out and by the time she returned home, someone called and engaged her services and five people signed up for one of her workshops. Now,the thing is, she knows how to send the newsletter herself, but her life is so busy, she just kept letting her newsletter get pushed to the back burner.

I sure know how that is. I have learned to employ a few cognitive tricks to help me out.  For example, If I didn’t schedule an appointment with my bookkeeper for every Wednesday morning, I know what would happen. I would mean to get to it tomorrow, and then tomorrow, and then the next thing I would know, it would be two weeks later with bills overdue.

Crazy how that happens. I can chase shiny objects all day doing the things I like or that are [Read more…]

Go Out On A Limb and Discover Your Creativity

Go Out On A Limb and Discover Your CreativitySunday morning, I was talking to one of our Bed and Breakfast guests about creativity, madness and business success (interesting breakfast convo huh?). The discussion was about creative potential and how some believe you have to have a bit or a lot of “crazy” to be creative.  I believe that most of us have creative potential and it is a matter of learning to access it. We don’t need to be living on the edge, manic or schizophrenic to get there.

But when our lives are chaotic or over-structured with obligations, or we are so busy doing the “right” thing or the “safe” thing, our creative inklings and desires do not have a chance to rise to the surface.  I like what Will Rogers said, “You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is”.

I speak from experience. I never knew I was an artist. I went barreling along my life getting a my doctorate [Read more…]

Share Your Brilliance with the World

Share Your Brilliance with the WorldI just got back from a conference last week where we were to “speak from the stage” about a truth about our business. My statement of truth was, “I help entrepreneurs and small businesses uncover their brilliance and bring it to the world”. I call myself a WordPress web designer and I know how to help my clients with the social media to get their message out. But with my background as a clinical psychologist and my hard earned business expertise from owning and ultimately selling a software start-up, I bring a lot more to my clients than most web designers do. I do this with the tools of coaching, web design and marketing and it is difficult for me to see people who are passionate about what they do, but fail to powerfully connect with the people seeking their services.

I recently had two experiences that I’d like to share with you. The first, a client I am working with also has a project that he needed a graphic designer for. He asked me to recommend someone with a [Read more…]

A Business Tool I Can't Live Without

A Business Tool I Can't Live WithoutDo you hate the process of creating proposals? If you have a service-based business, make it easy on yourself and use Freshbooks to create detailed estimates (proposals) and invoices for your clients. Freshbooks does not take the place of an accounting program. We need to use a program, such as Quickbooks, to track our income and expenses for our businesses, but the invoicing system in Quickbooks is terribly cumbersome. Freshbooks is an online application that I use to create my project estimates, turn them into invoices and track the hours I spend on each client project.

You can log into Freshbooks from anywhere. When you create an estimate for a client, you can send it to them by e-mail. They can click the link, which takes them to Freshbooks to see their invoice. They can save it or print it out. If they are ready to proceed, they can accept it, which turns the estimate into an invoice. If you like, your client can pay their invoice by credit card using PayPal all from the Freshbooks invoice. [Read more…]

Marketing is Not a Four Letter Word.

Marketing is Not a Four Letter Word.I spend most Sunday evenings on Twitter taking part in #blogchat. I spend an hour Tweet chatting with people about blogging. It is interesting to me that there is always a group of people that when the topic comes to making money or driving traffic to their sites they say they are not interested. They are not interested in SEO and they are not interested in anything to do with selling as if money was a dirty word and would taint their pure art.

Really though, when we are blogging we do need to care about our readers. The writing is a relationship of sorts. And if you want to people to read and connect with what you are writing, even if you are not selling items then you are “selling” your writing in a manner of speaking.

There are others on #Blogchat who know and are not ashamed of the fact that they are in business. This group knows and understands that our writing is actually a form of marketing. Hopefully, our posts have some intrinsic value and offer our readers some great content, but basically they are geared towards developing a relationship with our readers where we would like at least a portion of them to work with or buy something from us. Yes, I am here to say we are doing business and we want to be paid for our services or products and there is nothing wrong with that at all.

Even those of us who are clear that we are out to make a living, and that there is nothing wrong with that,  sometimes make it hard for people to know what they do and  how to work with them. Seriously. My husband comes into my office when I am working on a site and I know we have to go back to the drawing board if Duane says, “But, Judi, what do they Do?”

I have heard it said that marketing is a bit like plastic surgery; you only notice when it is done badly. If our marketing is done well, we will know all about [Read more…]

Want More Money From Your Business? Boundaries are Key.

Want More Money From Your Business? Boundaries are Key.Want to bring in more money from your small business? The habit of setting and,  more importantly, keeping boundaries is one of the most important skills  you can develop to create a thriving and sane small business. You are in business to make money and that is okay. I am surprised by the numbers of people who somehow think that there is something wrong about doing our work and getting paid for it. But that is for another post.

When I was first dating my husband I had two Basset Hounds. Although they were pretty good dogs, they had the run of the house and I have to admit they were pretty much did as they pleased. One day a friend brought me yet another  hound dog she found running in the street without any ID. I agreed to take him long enough to find his owner or a new home. I could not find his owner and he schooched right into my heart ( can you see why?) and I couldn’t give him up.  My now husband was appalled at the idea of me taking in another dog. He said a dangerous thing to a newish relationship, [Read more…]

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