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Do you ever get to the point where you’re involved in so many things you can’t decide if you’re coming or going?

You may have the same problem I have – knowing how to say “no, thank you”. When someone approaches me with a great idea that will help people, my first response is to say “Let’s do it!” The problem is, sometimes you are doing so many good things to help people, you’re not doing THE thing that you’re supposed to.

If you’re finding it difficult to get everything done because you’re over-committed, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to give you permission to say “No”.

One person can’t do it all- and if you’re trying to, you’re keeping someone else from getting a blessing by being involved.

Choose the things you KNOW you’re supposed to be doing – those things that God has given you a talent to do- and then find a way to excuse yourself from some of the commitments that have you overwhelmed.

I promise you, once you get lined back up where you’re supposed to be, you’ll feel better and you’ll be more productive.

Author: Beth R - Categories: getting things done,Living an intentional life

I had a friend comment on my newest Facebook profile picture (me in my motorcycle helmet, ready to ride), that she wished she’d learned to ride years ago. She seemed to think it was too late for her to learn- I hope my response assured her otherwise. Because until you can’t physically sit up on a bike, you can learn.  You might need a trike to do it, but you can do it.

It’s the same with any new thing you’re interested in… I have an 81 year young friend who has decided to learn how to use Photoshop to edit her pictures, add scriptures to them and print and mail to folks to encourage them. She’s made up her mind…. and that’s what it takes.

And if the good Lord has given you a story to tell… well I guess you best be about telling it. Write it down, record it on a tape recorder, share it on Facebook- tell it however you can. Someone else needs to hear it.

And if you decide it needs to be in book form- well, you can talk to me and we’ll see if we can’t figure out a way to make that happen, too.

I’ve talked to several people in the last few weeks who either have found out someone is using their work (photos, writings, etc) without their permission; or they suspect someone is doing so. Please remember when you see a beautiful photo or painting online, or a poem that really touches you – someone worked very hard to produce that, and they deserve the credit for their work.

I’m sure most artists would be glad to talk with you about using their work. And I’m equally sure they don’t mind if you share their work on Facebook, Pinterest or other social medias sites. Just remember that just because you can find it in a web search, it doesn’t mean it’s out there for free. Do the right thing- contact the owner of the work and make sure you give them the credit they deserve. Besides being the ethical thing to do- it’s the RIGHT thing to do.

And if you think someone is using your work, you can use Google to check. For your photography or artwork, go to Google Images and drag a copy of your work into the search box. Google will do its best to find duplicates or similar images; if you find sites using your work without permission, write a letter or email (make sure you document it) telling them that they are using your work without your permission and ask that they immediately take it down. If that doesn’t work you’ll need to contact a lawyer.

The same process works with written works too- just copy the first few sentences of the text and search on Google. If you get any results, follow the same process- contact them, ask them to take your work down and contact a lawyer if necessary.

In fact, it would probably be wise to include a statement in your original correspondence that your lawyer will be contacted if they don’t comply.

I’ve touched on this subject in the past, but I think it’s time to revisit it.

I had to learn the hard way to keep backups of my files. Several years ago, I had set up an external hard drive, and had all my files on it. I didn’t think about having that backed up anywhere- until one day when it was too late. All the pictures of my kids over a period of 2-3 years, all my working files- everything was gone.

The only upside at that time was that I was only working on websites, so I could download all the files from each site- but those precious pictures were gone.

Yes my other family members had pictures of them- but not the every day ones I had taken. It still makes me sick to think about it.

Now I have one external drive that I use to keep everything on, and once a week I back everything up to a second drive.

If you don’t have some kind of backup system in place, please do that this week! If you’ve got any kind of work saved on your computer you’ll be glad you did.

Author: Beth R - Categories: getting things done,time and money

Sometimes people want to know how and when I got started in this business; and to be honest, it wasn’t where I originally wanted to go in my professional life. But I believe this is where God intended for me to be.

I lost my job at a local university, but while I was there, I had learned about writing code and designing webpages. In fact, the man who was the technical person for our department taught me and actually asked me to help him create and maintain webpages for each staff member and department.

Since I had enjoyed it so much- both the design and the coding itself – I decided to start my own business.

About a year after I started, Dimple McInvale called me – she’d been in a beginning computer class that my sister-in-law Joanne had taught. She had written some books and needed someone to set up a website for her, and Joanne pointed her to me.

She was faithful to refer new customers to me and she encouraged me greatly.

And then the day came when she called me and told me that she really felt like I needed to help her get her books straightened out. She had been working with a local print-on-demand company, and was not happy with the arrangements.

After much strong encouragement on her part (as in she dragged me kicking and screaming), I decided to begin helping authors publish their books.  This wasn’t something that I had ever felt I could do, but again, with her encouragement, I have slowly and gradually built up a clientele of authors who might not have been able to work with a traditional publishing company.

As I tell prospects all the time, I don’t work like a traditional publishing company. I work with my customers to see what services I can provide and I help them publicize and market their book. They pay me for the services I provide and when the work is done, they don’t have to pay me any more money. They receive all the proceeds from the sale of their book, and they have complete control over the entire process.  I think it’s a process that benefits everyone, mostly the author, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

I’m very happy with the business I’ve built over the past ten years- I don’t think I’m through growing, of course, but I am pleased to be where I am. God has been faithful to lead me where I needed to, and one of the biggest blessings in my business has been Dimple McInvale.

I attended Renee Kelley’s first book signing for The Raising of a Prophet on Saturday night, and from everything I could see, it was a big success!

Renee did a lot of planning to get the book signing off to a great start. First, she looked at several different locations before choosing Village Coffee, a great little coffee shop in Troy.  The staff there are always friendly and helpful, and it has a very relaxed, inviting atmosphere. She chose a place that locals already are familiar with, and like to visit- by bringing her friends in, hopefully she’s introduced some new customers to the coffee shop, and also got some new readers for her book by meeting new folks there.

She set her hours from 5 to 8, so that folks could stop in early on their way home from work and pick up their copy, along with some great brew, and head home; or they were welcome to come visit with friends while they warmed up, as several of us did.

Her table was set in the back – several stacks of books were already set out; she had someone ready to make change, and another person was giving receipts, and a third person was registering all the visitors for the door prizes that were given out through the night. (I did notice they used a trick I learned from watching Mad Men – the stacks of books were uneven, so it looked like folks had already been buying.)

She had invited a couple of young people to come play guitar and sing softly – the music was wonderful without being overwhelming to conversations.

Renee also made a point of visiting with everyone who came in- no high-pressures sales talk, just checking in to see if everyone was comfortable. She made introductions where necessary, and she signed each book with a personal note.  She made the rounds of the room, rather than sitting at her table and waiting for folks to come to her.

Renee got several pics during the night; she’ll be submitting them to her local paper, as well as a story.

Renee’s got some great ideas to market her book (and herself!); it’s a process that never stops, but she’s doing a great job.

Most small businesses have a very limited amount they can invest in advertising, so it’s very important to make each dollar count.

There are so many places to advertise, it can be an overwhelming job just choosing which will work best for you.  Here’s just a few of the places you can purchase advertising spots:

  • radio
  • television
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • Social media, like Facebook, Google, Yahoo!

Before deciding where to advertise, you need to decide who your targeted audience is, and then decide how to best reach them.  Then, start building your ideas for advertising.  And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. I bought a book several years ago on a whim and it really made a difference in how I look at marketing – it’s called “Off the Wall Marketing Ideas” by Nancy Michaels and Debbi J Karpowicz.  It gave me some great ideas to share with customers who needed something different to use; and it sparked my own “off the wall ideas” as well, which is really what the book is intended to do.

One example that I loved was regarding Ben & Jerry ice cream. They wanted to have their advertising banners in places that were restricted to political advertising only- so they made up banners that said “Ben & Jerry for President!”

Check this book out – I think you’ll see the small price you pay will help you spend your advertising money more wisely and efficiently.

I’ve noticed a lot of people now have Facebook pages for their business, book, ministry, cause or community. It’s a great way to get the word about whatever you’re trying to market.

But it’s like lots of other things- it doesn’t do any good if you don’t use it effectively.

I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on marketing on Facebook, but I have noticed some good (and not-so-good) things going on that I’d like to point out.

  • Always, always provide a direct link – if you are asking people to buy your book on Amazon, don’t just say “my book can be found on Amazon”. I was telling someone the other day that I love shopping on Amazon, so if I’m looking for your book and I just hit the front page, I’m going to be looking at camera supplies or sheet sets or a new kind of measuring cup before I know it (because the front page has links that distracted me), and I will have forgotten all about your book. But if you give me a link to go directly to the page, I’ll drop it in my cart before I head off to browse. Don’t give anyone the chance to forget what they’re there for- give them a link!
  • Offer something of value to your viewers. Every post doesn’t need to be about your what you’re selling; you can post occasionally about it, but you also need to give them posts that have value in other ways. For example, if you want to help people be more organized, maybe twice a week you post links to articles:  how about one giving me 5 tips on decluttering my house and office, or a better way to store my office supplies so they’re easier to maintain,  or maybe a new kind of calendar/organizer? I used a printed organized for years and I was always on the lookout for the perfect one.
  • If it fits your personality, share some humor or encouragement occasionally…I have a very quirky sense of humor, so I occasionally share things that make me smile and I hope it does the same with my followers. I also like to find quotes about writing that will help my followers be encouraged in their writing.
  • Finally- I have found that both on my blog and on Facebook, people are more likely to notice a post if it has an image of some kind on it. You don’t have to do it every time, but use images enough so that people continue to watch for your page’s posts.

I hope this helps! Now get busy!

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P.S. Just a quick note: no matter which social media sites you use, please consider saving your posts and articles offline. Just as Myspace was knocked from the top of the hill by Facebook, Facebook will go the same way at some point – and you don’t want to lose all the work you’ve done. Either something local like a thumb drive, or somewhere online, like Dropbox is a good idea.

Author: Beth R - Categories: getting things done,marketing

While it is a good investment to hire someone to help build your brand, if you’re fairly creative and have the time to work on it regularly, you may be able to accomplish this yourself.

We’ve talked about business cards- it’s very important to have a quick way to hand out your contact information to prospective customers, vendors and associates, and that little printed piece of cardstock can be gold. They’re easy to store in your wallet or a pocket and they’re an inexpensive investment if you.

But what are some other ways to market yourself? Some people like to use Twitter, Facebook pages, Google+ and other social media sites to get themselves noticed. The important thing to remember when you’re going to use any of these sites is consistency; if you’re going to use any of them, make sure you update regularly. (and please remember to be kind to your followers – don’t make every post a selling post – make sure you’re providing humor, encouragement or something useful).

And don’t forget one of the most important marketing, but easiest to ignore- face to face with other people. When you’re in a conversation, and you know you can help meet a challenge someone has, speak up. You don’t have to be bragging on yourself – offer your assistance. They can either say yes or no- but either way, you’ve reminded them that can provide a service they can use.

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Jewel of the Nile is where Danny DeVito is so intent on getting the treasure that he walks across the fiery coals without even realizing it.

His focus wasn’t on what was going on- it was on the final prize.

If you’re not focusing on your outcome, you may get distracted. Don’t get burned!

Author: Beth R - Categories: getting things done
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