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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.

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.

Dream Killers

19/12/16

Sometimes friends,  family members, enemies, random people or just life works against you to get your discouraged from your goals and dreams. They may not mean to – they may just be trying to make sure you aren’t expecting too much.

Or they may be doing their very best to get you to give up.

Either way, don’t. Don’t give up on your dreams- whether it’s a job,  writing a story or a song,  living to your full potential,  starting a new ministry or non-profit, starting college – whatever it is.

Don’t do it. Don’t give up. Do not let someone steal something so precious from you.

If you’re dealing with a dream-killer, just do like David – he had to face his giant – a giant who was trying to destroy his dreams, as well as the dreams of all his people. He had to knock that giant in the head, lay it out on the ground, and chop it’s head off so it had no more power over anyone again.

Be a David.

Author: Beth R - Categories: faith and values,Living an intentional life

Are you the kind of person who loves to help others? I know God has given me a heart to help others, and to be a “fixer”… in fact, my pastor has to remind me occasionally that I can’t fix everything.

But oh, I want to.  If someone is hurting, I want to step up and do what I can to make things better. And if someone is working on a project and they look like they’re getting overwhelmed, my instincts kick in and I am helping them get back on track before I know it. It’s like I can’t help myself.

But I am slowly learning to hold back. It’s not that I don’t want to help, but I’ve got to remember that my time is limited – I can only do so many things in a day, and if I overwhelm myself in helping others, I’ll have to leave off something that I’m supposed to be doing.

So, the next time someone asks you for help, or you just realize someone needs help- think before you speak. Are you making the choice to help because God is calling you to, or because it’s just your nature? You need to remember that sometimes when you help someone, you’re taking away the blessing from the person who God wants to help them. And sometimes you’re only supposed to help in a very limited way- helping someone discover new ways to work out a problem is totally different than coming along beside them and working through the entire process with them.

Remember, God has given you things to do- and you’re limited in the amount of time you have- so use it wisely.

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life

From the time I was an older child/young teenager, I always felt like I was on the outside of most things, looking in.

Don’t get me wrong- I’ve always had friends, but I always thought I was a very “forgettable” person.  If I ever suggested an idea, or shared a story, folks could remember it, but they never seemed to remember that I’m the one who shared it.

I do have an awesome group of friends now who support me, believe in me and love me just as I am. When I’m with them, I never feel like I’m standing in a doorway, watching a party I know I can’t join. I know how fortunate I am to be a part of that “tribe”.

Please don’t take this post as a cry for attention, or a complaint, because it’s neither. I’m just being transparent about how I feel about myself, and I how I think others see me.

I’m sure others must feel the same way about themselves; and sometimes I do feel bad about it. I don’t really feel sorry for myself, but I do wish that I didn’t feel that way.

As an adult, I believe that those feelings are part of the reason I work so hard to make an impact on the world around me.

So, I’d like to challenge you- if you feel like an outsider, wear it like a badge of honor. You know what it’s like, and you can help someone else who’s coming along behind you- let them know they’re in good company!

Author: Beth R - Categories: family and friends,Living an intentional life

A New Life Phase

25/08/16

This week municipal elections were held in our county. Some of you may know that I was serving as acting mayor since December 2014. For ten years before that I had served on the town council. I had decided to run again, but my opponent beat me. (I don’t have any bad feelings towards him, but boy that’s hard to write!)

So, in November, I’ll turn in my keys and walk out the door of town hall for the last time as an official. It’s going to be bittersweet; I’ll still see the workers in town and I’ll still need to go from time to time, but I won’t have any duties to fulfill.  But til then, I’m going to continue to do my best to make sure things run as smoothly as possible- when the new mayor steps in, I want him to find things in order.

I know God has big plans for me- He’s already working things out. As you know, Randy and I have our own ministry, Three in One, which reaches out to the invisible people. We’ve got visions of where we want this ministry to go, and we’ve prayed over it, but above all else, we want God’s will to be done.

And of course, I will still be helping people get their books published, their websites built and any other projects they come up with.I’m excited about what the future holds.

As scary as it can sound sometimes, I’m looking forward to the next season of my life and what it holds for me!

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

In early June, I posted an article about moving over from a printed datebook to a digital task list; at the time I loved it. (http://aroundtheloopdesigns.com/wp/?p=298)

I figured now is a great time to re-visit and update you on how I feel about it now.

I realized yesterday, while sitting at my mom’s doctor visit, that I can’t even imagine going back to a printed datebook. You see, every time I went with Mama, I was toting that book, taking notes, keeping records of her visits in a section just for her.  Now I have an app (Weight Meter Free) on my phone that lets me log her weight as well as other info from each visit- blood pressure, temp, any problems or adjustments.

The task list app I’m using is called Todoist – and I am still crazy about it. I have a project set up for each client; under that client, I have a task set for each project we’re working on. You can have sub-tasks, and sub-sub tasks (I don’t know the limit- haven’t reached it yet).  As I tick them off, it keeps score for me, which is a nice little added incentive to get things done.

I also like how easy it is to move and reschedule tasks- one click will move the task up a day; or if you need to move to another specific date, two clicks is all it takes.

You can set priorities on tasks (4 levels). You can move tasks to another project.  Adding tasks and projects is very simple.

The overview is very nice- all your projects are listed in a column on the left and your tasks are in the main column. You can view just today, or for the next 7 days. That can be nice when you have something scheduled for next week and need to see what should be moved to another day. I keep one of my browser tabs set to todoist.com and then have the app on my phone and tablet.

One a scale of 1-10, I give this app a 10.  I can’t think of anything I’d change or add; lots of options make it very easy to customize.

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life,time and money

Becoming WarriorBecoming Warrior, the first book by Belinda Kamshuka Barrocks, is now widely available on Amazon.com and Books A Million.

This powerful book will ” elevate, empower and ignite in you a fire that will awaken your inner warrior.”

Check this book out today- and be watching for the release soon of the ebook version! (To check out a promotional video about the book, see this)

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When you were a kid, did anyone ever ask you, “What will you be when you grow up?” I’m sure most every child has answered that question.

When I was young, all I wanted to be was a teacher; I’m not sure I ever thought about what I wanted to teach, but I knew I wanted to stand before a class and help people learn.

Then as an adult, I decided to finally buckle down and get my degree teaching English and literature.  My thought was that because I love to read, I would love reading students’ work and helping them better their craft.

Life threw a few more curves and that possibility faded.

But then I started working from home. Sometimes I didn’t even realize I was still working towards that childhood dream, but it was always in front of me.  And all the things I thought I wanted to become as a child are now what I get to do every day! Not the way I thought it would- me sitting behind a desk with a room full of kids to whom I’m teaching grammar, math, science and spelling… but as someone who works one on one with clients to help them be the best they can be. Reading their stories and making sure grammar, spelling and sentence structure is correct, all while making sure their voice is still heard – which sometimes means using “bad” grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Because we don’t always speak correctly 100% of the time – sometimes we southrons drop our “g”s, or say “ya’ll” or “ain’t” or “gonna”;  the author’s voice is more important than being 100% correct.

I’m exactly what I wanted to be when I was growing up- how cool is that? I had to take the long way ’round, and it doesn’t look like what I expected, but I’m living the life I always wanted.

So…. what do you want to be when you grow up? And what are you doing to make that happen? Live life specifically and intentionally- and be what you want to be.

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