There is no such thing as work/life balance. Your work is a part of your life. They are one and the same. It is your God given talent you use to sustain your life through work. It’s not your place to force the balance. Its your place to do what you are called to do, and then that work will seamlessly integrate with your life all on its own. When you stop trying to separate the two, you’ll find the ultimate happiness there.
“We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job.” – Steve Jobs
The same can be said for all businesses.
Pretty much feels like the story of my life these days…
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” – Eric Thomas
So, this post has nothing to do with business or marketing. Big woop.
I’m a pretty active person, but since starting my business in 2008, the only form of exercise I’ve engaged in has been raising my coffee mug to my mouth. A few months ago I received some behind the scenes images from one of our most recent photo shoots and in those pictures stood a pale, squishy “skinny-fat” girl. My inner, buff 21 year old threw up in her own mouth. Shocked that my 30 year old body had grown into itself, I logged off the computer, went straight to the gym and hired a 2x a week personal trainer.
I struggled with being so candid on this post because every single one of my friends and family is going to say… “Oh my gosh.. you’re so skinny, you don’t have anything to worry about…. blah, blah, blah” BUT, I’ll stop you right there and tell you this post has nothing to do with being skinny, but being strong.
I admit. I am a tiny girl. I don’t have a problem with my size or weight, but I do want to be fit (and hot)! In my mind I thought I was still fit, but truth be told.. my lack of physical movement these past few years has turned me into a light weight. I remember thinking back in the day of size 0 that I would never “let my figure go” (I just LOLed literally at this) and now my older, much wiser and harder working self is humming that Brad Paisley song “If I could write a letter to me…” and saying.. “you naive biotch…. you will be busy and lazy and wish you never uttered those words.”
Anyways, I’m happy to report that my personal trainer is kicking my butt and challenging me daily to lift more weight, run farther and be stronger. Which leads me to the origin of this post…. My younger and much more determined sister, Emily, is a fitness queen and truly she inspired my pledge to get fit. On a recent vacation, she hiked Barr Trail in Colorado all the way to the summit and proclaimed on facebook… “Strong is the new skinny.”
Dang right, girl!
I think we can all agree being strong, fit, confident, healthy and HAPPY with yourself will always make you feel like a size 0. So, Emily… here is your catch phrase.. made pretty. Pin away.
September is my favorite month. Not just because my birthday is on the 17th, but because September is the best month for magazines. Everyone knows that in the fashion magazine world, the September issue is THE issue of the year. It’s when all of our favorite fashion magazines take us from summer to fall fashion and advertisers flock to print medias to get there brands in front of all of us fashionistas. I mean… they even made a movie about it.
Today I bought the September InStyle Magazine and I’m proud as hell to say that this issue has 638 pages!!!! You might think that proud is an odd word to describe my feelings, after all, the only affiliation I have with InStyle is that I too am a magazine publisher, but proud is exactly how I feel.
I’m proud of the print magazine industry in general because even with the biased chorus of our internet adversaries singing to the tune of “oh print is on the way out” we’ve flourished, grown and continued to be a great marketing source for small and large businesses.
The advertisers you see inside of InStyle invest some serious money on those ads and they do it to better their bottom line. In return, InStyle delivers an incredible, loyal, captive audience. If it didn’t work, do you think you’d still see such fat magazines year after year?
InStyle may not be my magazine, but I feel like there is still cause for personal celebration of my own, because when I see it continue to work and thrive on the large scale, I only know I’m headed in the right direction with my magazine on a smaller scale.
Magazines – large or small, are alive and well – and in style too.
I’ve got news for you.. if you think this is the case for your business… you are widely mistaken. This may sound blunt, but sometimes everyone needs a little brutal honestly to get their attention.
Advertising is not a scam. In fact, if advertising didn’t work, the gig would be up by now.
So…. if the thought has crossed your mind “I don’t get anything from advertising,” here are a few things I’d like to ask you…
Are you tracking the performance of your ads?
How are you tracking the performance of your ads?
Are you using custom URLs or phone numbers in your ads?
Are you using Google Analytics to track the performance of your website?
Do you understand how to use Google Analytics?
Do you research where the traffic to your website comes from?
Do you research within Google Analytics what sites are linking to you, what people are “googling” to find you and how often people come to your site by directly typing in your website address?
Did you even know you can do all those things?
Do you have a custom contact form on your website that lists all the places where a potential customer may have found out about you?
If you did not answer YES to every. single. one. of those questions… you simply cannot speak intelligently on the matter of whether or not your are “getting anything from advertising.”
To say you are “not getting anything” from a specific media is a direct insult to the work that media does to generate a community around itself for their advertisers. It’s time to take control of your marketing and put yourself in the driver seat before you put the blame on anyone.
What do you think?
So it’s been a bit since I last posted and I do believe the cardinal sin of blogging is to not blog regularly and then apologize to readers for not blogging regularly…. so, sue me.
Besides being the Publisher & Editor of Occasions Magazine, I’m absolutely over the moon for anything that has to do with marketing. I call it a way of life and small business marketing truly is just that. My advertising clients have caught on and I often get email asking for advice on nearly everything. A few weeks ago a fabulous client of mine sent me an email inquiring about whether she should have a website and a blog or one big site that includes both. Because I get this question often and just spoke yesterday on the topic at StudioWed in Atlanta, I wanted to answer her via this blog in case anyone else is wondering the same thing.
Q: I recently purchased a flash template website and I have a separate blog. I’m thinking about changing my website again so it can be one complete site on a wordpress platform. My only concern is that I cannot find a really creative template to use. Do you think I should customized the blog site I have and just keep this as the entire site? Any thoughts or recommendations?
A: I 100% am NOT an advocate of separate blogs and websites. Why, when technology enables you to have your website (with your about/services/gallery pages) AND your blog all on one platform, one login, one domain… would you want to have it separate?
Problem #1: Your blog will render your website useless
In the past small businesses had a website that they paid a web developer for. Then blogging became popular and sites like blogger.com make it extremely easy for just us regular folk to create blogs without having to pay the pros. Suddenly you had a website that you never updated and a blog that you updated all the time. Therein lies one of the problems. One of the ways Google decides whether or not your content deserves to show up on the first pages of search results is the frequency of your content. They want to deliver new, fresh content so your blog that gets updated more often, will beat your website to the punch. Also, WordPress contains a lot of “behind the scenes” features and optimizations specifically dedicated to improving your search engine ranking. It’s more than likely your website doesn’t.
Problem #2: Blogs are personal, websites sell.
Your blog doesn’t have all the fabulous sales-y content that your website has about your business. You have to link to your website which just puts one more step in front of getting a potential client to call you. While you may think that potential clients will hire you based on your friendly disposition and relate to your recently redecorated bonus room (which is something you’ll likely blog about because blogs are personal) chances are, potential clients who are shopping you want to see your work first…. and then feel good about hiring you because they relate to your blog posts. Combine the best of both worlds… all under one roof.
Problem #3: Link Confusion.
While Google does decide how legit your website is based on the inbound links to your site, your measily old 1 link from your blog to your website is not going to change the world. What will change the world is every time you are published on sites like StyleMePretty.com, OnceWed.com and OccasionsOnline.com… but if you have two sites…. which sites are they supposed to link to? And… when you DO decide to finally combine the two… all the links to your separate site that got the boot when you finally decided to combine them… will mean nothing now. Bummer. Don’t confuse Editors or even fellow vendors with multiple sites. Garner all the attention your website deserves and have one website on one domain.
Problem #4: Flash is the devil, wordpress rocks.
Chances are you have one of those fancy flash sites you got from a flash template website company and while it’s pretty, it’s pretty much useless when it comes to clients finding you on the internet. Yes, someone can type in your business name and find your flash site… but can someone type in your business type like “atlanta photographer” and find you…. probably not. Your competitor, however, that is using a VERY search engine friendly platform like WordPress is probably having much better results attracting that “Atlanta photographer” attention, no problem.
I have two suggestions….
First, make the commitment to invest in your business image and hire a graphic designer/developer to create a “blogsite” that combines your blog and website on a wordpress platform. The cost for this will start around $2500 depending on the company you go with….. trust me, you will recoup this cost.
Second…. if $2500 is entirely out of your budget, I suggest WordPress templates from ProPhotoBlog.com. They are user friendly and less expensive then a custom site. The downside: they may have limitations on the customization or “branding” you can do… but they are certainly a start.
Good luck and if you do make the switch.. send me a link!
I just have to spill my guts here… I hope you don’t mind.
There is much weight lifted off my shoulders as I write this post. I just uploaded the final edits to the printers for the Winter 2011 issue of Occasions Magazine. Let me just TELL you how stressful these past few weeks have been. Not just because putting together a 148 page magazine is stressful in itself (especially when you only have 3 people on staff) but, because putting together a 148 page magazine, with 3 people on staff, in 14 days is DAMN stressful. And, let me clarify it was not by choice, but by circumstance.
To make a long story short, in my attempt to delegate and take things off my plate, back in September I hired a design firm that I have worked with for years to layout this next issue of the magazine. Fast forward to late November, we weren’t meeting eye to eye on the project and I made the huge decision to stop production and start from scratch on November 30th building this next issue. I worked for 15 hours every single day until last Tuesday when I completed the first draft and uploaded to the printer. I made that entire magazine on my trusty Mac laptop…. faded keys and all…..Oy Vey.
This past few weeks have taught me a lot of things about being a business owner and though I was more challenged physically and mentally, I’ve got to tell you I’m really glad what happened did. As if I didn’t realize it before, what happened to me just reiterated that being a business owner is really hard! Oh to clock in and out… those were the days.
All I wanted for Christmas was to get a Christmas Tree and go on the planned vacation I had with my husband but instead my 12 days of Christmas were spent behind this very computer…and I still don’t have a tree. As the business owner I had to put aside my personal vacation time with my hubs and hunker down to get the job done. I just kept thinking about my previous work at Debbie’s Day Spa in St. Augustine. I worked for Debbie Kresge for 5 years and I remember she would always talk about her role as the owner, decisions she had to make, being a leader, not paying herself and reinvesting in the business and I just took all those words with a grain of salt. I never knew what they meant. I would just clock in, do my job to the degree of not being fired and clock out. I think about the work I do now and how much MORE productive I could have been if I had just treated that business like my own. Now I know exactly what she was talking about all those years. Being a business owner means caring more than anyone else, working harder than anyone else, making hard decisions that no one want so make, saying no, putting your business before your family, and ultimately living, eating, breathing your business for the benefit of your clients and employees… and when you’re out of the red, one day yourself.
It’s so exhausting yet so rewarding to own a business. I wouldn’t give back the past two weeks for anything, because thinking back on it.. I needed that time. I’ve come out of what started as a crappy situation (surrounded by lots of curse words… I ain’t gonna lie) wide eyed and clear headed for 2011. There is light on my horizon for sure. As 2010 comes to a close I think about all that has been accomplished. Just with this issue we are up by 25 pages! My company has grown my leaps and bounds and while included in that amazing growth are challenges for sure, I’m so stinkin’ excited that I am making it happen every single day. Wow. Pinch me, please.
Are there any other business owners out there in utter awe of what they are capable of? Share your story with me! While I didn’t have any marketing advice to share with you today, I do want to share with you that you are not the only business owner out there doing great things, one item on your to-do list at a time. We’re in it together. Let’s make 2011 great and thanks for listening.
Hello from gorgeous LA! I’m up early for once in my life (eh hem, because my body thinks it’s three hours later than it actually is here) so for the attendees of The Party Goddess Uncensored, and everyone else who will read this post, I wanted to write a quick follow up to my session on Full Circle Marketing yesterday. Marketing may not be your specialty, but it’s absolutely essential to build your business.
Here are a few of my key points from yesterday….
Determine your Budget: Think about how much money you made this year, how much you want to make next year and take 10% of that number (which is generally 10% of your gross income) and go marketing shopping.
Determine your Client: You can’t know where and who to advertise with or even what SEO terms you should implement in your website until you know who your client is. Who is he/she. Where do they live? What do they like? Knowing this and targeting your message to this person will only increase the results your marketing has because you are speaking their same language.
Know your Market: Not all cities are created equally, and neither are the marketing opportunities within them. What works in one city, does not always work in another. Ask around, meet advertising representatives from all of your local medias and interview them.
Do the math: Compare your CPM (cost per thousand) and know the difference that each media brings to the table. One publication might have a smaller distribution, but if it’s more targeted towards your key client, that may be a better route for you instead of spending more money on a media with a higher circulation that is less targeted. Or the reverse, it may be appealing to buy into the cheap bridal show, but if it only brings 30 brides, you are better off investing in a higher prices show that delivers a higher number of attendees thus increasing your chance to put your business in front of more eyes. Do your research.
Spread the love: Remember a cookie recipe isn’t just made up of one ingredient, it takes several for the perfect taste. Same goes for you marketing plan. Spread your advertising budget across several medias that are targeted directly towards your perfect client. Those advertising efforts WILL cross promote themselves. Print leads to web searches, blogging leads to better rank in organic searches, bridals shows deliver leads which fuel your email campaigns. I could go on forever!
Make a Plan: Do not make advertising decisions on the fly. Begin two or three months before your fiscal year and do your research. Interview local medias, re-evaluate your website and collateral material, review the advertising you’ve done in the last year and take all this information and map out how you intend to promote your business next year. You will have a clearer vision of where you are going, what you are prepared to spend, and you can even pre-plan your follow up and sales strategies when those advertising methods start delivery new inquiries.
Make it Pretty: Friends don’t’ let friends have ugly websites. But it goes beyond websites… business cards, thank you notes, media kits, advertisements. If they look like they were made on your elementary publisher program, people WILL NOT take you seriously. Invest in a professional graphic designer who will get to know your business and rely the exact message you are trying to get across to the public in beautifully design custom artwork for you. Ugly ads are the devil and they will be counter productive to your overall marketing plan.
Remember, the advertising methods you choose for your marketing plan deliver impressions on your business, NOT new clients. While you are interviewing those medias, don’t forget to take a GOOD look at you. How polite is the girl who answers your phone? How quickly do your sales reps return calls/emails from new client inquiries? Does your staff know how to up sell your services? If you cannot confidently answer a resounding YES to these questions, you need to invest time and money in your company too.
Now that you have a plan, you need to know how to track and understand how all of the ingredients in your marketing plan are working for you. Next week I’m hosting a webinar on Getting to Know Google Analytics and I hope you’ll join me. Learn more here.