Tag Archives: blogging

Does Your Business Have a PULSE?

When visitors land on your website or Facebook page, would they get the sense that there is a living, breathing person running things? Is your website bland or lacking in personality? Would your potential customers connect with your blog and social media content?

Breathe LIFE back into your online presence…Perform CPR (Content  Powered Rejuvenation) and bring your social media back from the dead.

Welcoming Websites

Think about your website as your store or home . . .  you want people to feel welcome and spend time there . . .You want them to leave comments, ask questions, go on a bit of a journey, visit other areas of your store.

Take a critical look at your website and the content. IS it relevant? Does it provide solutions and answer questions your potential clients might have? If you don’t ADORE your own site and enjoy scrolling through it and rereading posts . . . then no one else will either!

Sociable Media

Do your posts reflect who you are, what your values are, and what you do? Is the content entertaining? You need to draw people in, attract followers and make people feel welcome and let them know you are there to solve problems for them and share your insights.

HOW do you do this? Yep, it’s a skill, but you can learn! I’m all about teaching and empowering others to do their own social media, but I do manage platforms and ghost write blogs for businesses if time is an issue.

FACT: Over 75% of people on the internet are using social media, and many turn to their favourite platforms to investigate a business. If they check out your website, is it doing a good job representing you and your products and services?

AND most importantly: Does your web presence answer the following questions RIGHT AWAY?

  • Are you OPEN? . . . Surprising how many businesses do NOT post their hours or have recent info to show they are active and still in business.
  • WHERE are you?…Are you brick and mortar, or online only?
  • WHY should I TRUST you? Are you coming off as amateur, or professional. BE the expert.
  • WHO are you? And WHO is talking about you?
  • WHAT services do you offer, and WHICH problems can you solve for me?

If you have any questions, post below or message me on FB.

Interested in a FREE 30 minute consultation? CONTACT ME.

The Reclusive Solopreneur

Don’t treat yourself like a BOSS…treat yourself like a valued EMPLOYEE.

Let’s face it…most work-from-home solopreneurs slog away at a ridiculous pace, working god awful hours and forgetting to eat.

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You are the Employee of the Month!

If you treat yourself like a star team member, you will not ignore your basic rights to breaks, a hot lunch once in a while and conversations with other human beings. You also need to schedule time to learn new things and grow your network, and focus on your business marketing.

PLUS you need to get out once in a while, otherwise your social skills will wither away and you will convince yourself that wearing the same pajamas and not showering for four days qualifies you as a “green” business.

Launching a Business

After completing my education in editing, and trying to start my own business, I found it very hard to get up the courage to seek out others with similar goals and interests. It took quite a while to gather a group of supportive associates to share the work with and celebrate the successes.

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Meet new mentors!

I had to force myself to get out of the yoga pants and actually attend groups and meetings with other business owners and find events that were of benefit to me and my business. It takes time…no doubt about it. But you have to do it! There is no growth where there is no effort — I heard that somewhere, and it’s true.

Collaborating with Peers

Alphabetizing  business cards you received last year does NOT count as networking.

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Just to see if you’re paying attention!

For home-based business owners, it can be difficult to actually leave the house. I get it! But it ALWAYS pays off. It is important to hunt down business meetup groups and like-minded individuals who can inspire you and lead to possible business collaborations.

Find classes and lectures about the things you are weak on: social media, marketing, blogging, public speaking, bookkeeping and organizing.

There is something for everyone out there.

Breaks and Lunches

Staring at the wall, contemplating what to make for dinner does NOT constitute a break; chowing down on the candy you hid from your kids is NOT a healthy lunch.

It’s important to remember to feed yourself healthy foods throughout the day. I’m sure you’re like me: when I am focused on work and in the zone, I tend to forget to eat and then snack on the quickest food I can find (which is usually cheese strings and chips).

Set a timer or alarm if necessary. Treat yourself to a trip to a deli or bakery once in a while. Take a break and grab a coffee with a friend or business associate. You would do this if you worked in an office, so you need to take the time for a time-out.

Get CONNECTED

smartphone-1445489_960_720Search Facebook and LinkedIn to find pages, groups and events with a similar business focus and introduce yourself and your company.

Check out these Ultimate Networking Apps 

Here are some links to help you GET OUT OF THE HOUSE:

And of course LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups are great ways to network online and connect with people in your area.  FB Live Video seminars contain valuable information and give you an opportunity to interact in real time (just follow your favourite peeps and be on alert for those streaming vids)…or contact me on FB or LinkedIn and we can count it as a business meeting!

SHARE your favourite groups, organizations or ways to connect!

Top Blogging Tips for Business

“If you have something to sell, you’d better have a story to tell.”

I have been so lucky . . . as I built my business I had a lot of support from family, friends and colleagues . . . most of them women like me who began a new entrepreneurial career after raising a family or working for someone else.

GET YOURSELF A MENTOR is my biggest tip, or commune with other “like” people and businesses to see what they are doing. Attending seminars and meetup groups are so helpful – and you can learn A TON about marketing.

The best tips come from these mentors who have already done it . . . and learned how to market their business from other successful entrepreneurs. One of the biggest marketing tools they use is A BLOG! (SCROLL DOWN FOR INTERVIEW!) Continue reading Top Blogging Tips for Business

The 12th and FINAL Blog of Christmas

web pic with christmas tree 2Now for our FINAL post for the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the organizer himself, Martin Crosbie.

In a press release, Amazon called Martin Crosbie one of their success stories of 2012. His self-publishing journey has been chronicled in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. He’s the author of six books including the Kindle Scout winner “The Dead List – A John Drake Mystery”.

Martin was born in the Highlands of Scotland and currently makes his home just outside Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada.

HERE IS MARTIN’S BLOG POST:

Last year on the night after Christmas, even though it had been an exceptionally busy day, I drove a car-load of family members around the streets of our town. For two and a half hours we drove up and down roads searching out the brightest, most illuminating lights on people’s houses and lawns. My eighty-six year old passenger in the back seat, wrapped in a blanket and clutching a mug of hot chocolate, smiled the whole time and asked me pull over and look at every light on every street. Two days later we took her into hospital and three weeks after that we lost her.

Doreen Clark was diagnosed with cancer when she was thirty years old. It was a form of cancer that took ninety-five percent of its victims. She beat it. In the following fifty-six years she lost a kidney, suffered heart failure, lost the ability to walk without a walker and overcame it all. She beat everything that was thrown at her. Some people are resilient, she was more than that. She was unbreakable…Click here to read more…

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 11th Blog of Christmas

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When I was asked to participate in 12 Blogs of Christmas, I was thrilled. Not because it was about Christmas–which is awesome, but because I would be motivated to share a story each day. I hope you enjoyed all the posts by other writers and have a wonderful Christmas Season!

Here is my contribution for December 23rd, the 11th Blog of Christmas. And before you ask, there’s nuthin about 11 pipers piping!..

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My Christmas Mystery Man

There is a certain magic I experience right at midnight every Christmas Eve. The entire world seems to pause and the air is different somehow. I relax completely, despite the recent whirlwind of activity over the past few days and the maelstrom which is to come Christmas morning and continue until New Year. My spine tingles with anticipation as the hour and minute hands join; I almost want to cheer, “It’s here, it’s here!” I look forward to it every year. I cannot recall ever going to bed earlier than midnight on that auspicious night— especially as a child, as I waited for sounds of bells and scraping hooves on the roof.

When my son and daughter were young, it was the same performance each Christmas Eve; I knew my cues perfectly and waited until I heard regular breathing through my daughter’s bedroom door. She was always last to fall asleep. Her father had been the first.

I collect the presents hidden under my bed, in closets, above bookcases and wedged between storage containers. I tiptoe towards the tree with an armful of brightly papered boxes with colour-coordinated bows (and extra tape) . . . then freeze as the ball of my foot puts pressure on that squeaky floorboard I’d forgotten about in my excitement. I imagine the cracking of wood sending shudders through the hall, and under the beds of my sleeping children, jarring them awake.

“Mama? What are you doing? Did Santa come already?” they would whisper as they rubbed the sleep from their eyes. Christmas ruined! But my racing heart slows and I let out a breath as I chase that image from my head. The children sleep on.

I lay each present just so, hoping the end result looks haphazard and not carefully strategized so the best gifts are near the back of the tree.

I finally ease myself quietly into my chair, sip on a glass of something laced with alcohol and breathe in the air which is almost vibrating with energy; and yet, there is a peace and eternal stillness about this evening that reaches on forever and as far back as I can remember.

There is one particular Christmas Eve which might have sparked the reverence I feel for this special night. I was about five years old and was jarred awake from dreams of being smothered by Christmas crackers and paper hats.

I crept out of my room and down the darkened hallway to use the bathroom. As I began my journey back to bed I heard something in the hall below.

I stood at the top of the stairs waiting for my blinking eyes to adjust to the darkness of the pit before me. There, at the bottom of the stairs, I noticed two glowing lights. They were still one moment, then danced about and made me jump. I was terrified and if I hadn’t already emptied my bladder I think I would have done so then.

A faint jingling sound made me giggle with relief when I realized it was my grandmother’s dog, Wimpy, shaking his head and collar. I could almost make out the outline of the black mutt down there on the rug.

I was contemplating creeping down the stairs to snuggle him when I heard another noise, this time from the kitchen. The house was as quiet and dark as could be, so I knew everyone must be in bed. I shivered in my nightgown and gripped the wooden spindles of the railing.

The door to the kitchen swung open slightly and the figure of a man emerged, lit from behind by a street light shining through the kitchen window. I gasped. The man turned his head slowly to face me and by now my eyes had adjusted well enough to see him give me a wink and a smile. He raised his finger to his lips to silence me. His other hand gripped a bag slung over his shoulder.

As the man moved below me towards the living room, I heard a low growl from Wimpy. We all froze for a moment: child, man, dog. Then the jingling sound again—Wimpy was wagging his tail! So, this midnight intruder was not a danger after all.

I relaxed and sat at the top of the stairs, and observed the man as he entered the living room. He was an older fellow, with a scraggly beard and a shuffle in his walk. He was dressed in a long coat, dark in colour, but not red as I had seen in the images on the front of Christmas cards. He wore a cap, but it did not have a white pom-pom on the end. His shoes were plain—not boots at all. And he definitely had not come down our chimney.

When he was done, he closed the door to the living room and left . . . just as silently as he had arrived.

I felt suddenly cold and I scurried back to bed and huddled under my covers, squeezing my eyes shut and wishing for sleep so I could wake up Christmas morning and see what the man had left for me.

As I drifted off to dreamland I heard the faint sounds of jingling bells . . . and was that the sound of hooves scraping the roof tiles above my head?

I will never forget that night. When we gathered around the tree the following morning, everything was just as it should be. No one believed my story. They all laughed and continued to nibble on chocolate caramels and dates.

This is a real memory to me—as real as any other memory I have of my childhood, so how can it not have happened? My children are almost grown . . . the magic of Christmas has dulled in their eyes, but not for me. Perhaps that is why I look forward to staying up late by myself every Christmas Eve, sitting in silence, waiting.

To read the 12th and Final BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 10th Blog of Christmas

Regaling us with a story today is Jordan Buchanan!

JBuchananJordan Buchanan was born and spent most of her life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Now residing in northern Michigan, she misses the Shenandoah Valley but living in the home state of the mighty Detroit Red Wings helps ease the pain.

4Play, her debut publication, is a collection of erotic romance short stories. She is currently working on two novels — For Love or Money and Xander’s Garden.

When she’s not reading, writing, or watching hockey, she enjoys time spent with her charming husband and their three Lab mixes.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JordanBAuthor

Blog: www.eroticablues.blogspot.com

Happy holidays to all and a huge thank you to Martin Crosbie for inviting me to be part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas. It’s quite an honor for me, a fledgling author, to be included in such accomplished company, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to share a tale of my Christmas past.

At an office holiday party a few years ago, I decided to forego the ubiquitous Santa hat and donned a fur-trimmed tiara instead. One of my co-workers dubbed me the “Queen of Christmas”, but I’m merely a pretender to the throne, a princess at best. The title was always owned by my mother who reigned over our family Christmas party like a benevolent dictator. She did all the decorating, the cooking, the cleaning—everything necessary for us to eat, drink and be merry. She provided the playground; we came to play. READ MORE

To read the 11th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 8th Blog of Christmas

LaurieHeadshotJuly2015It’s December 20th and getting closer to that magical eve! Today we are joined by guest blogger, Laurie Boris.

Laurie is a freelance writer and copyeditor. At one time, she was a magician’s assistant, although she was very bad at it. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of six novels including her latest, A Sudden Gust of Gravity. When not hanging out with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework.

Laurie’s Website

Laurie’s Facebook 

Emma Claus looked from the crackling log in the fireplace to the cheerful cards on the mantel and the string of twinkling lights she’d woven among them. But the yuletide trappings still left her cold. She’d tried everything to awaken her Christmas spirit: hitting the Black Friday sales online, reading letters from the children, baking tray after tray of cookies. Even the sappiest of holiday movies failed to lift her mood. Even the ones with Colin Firth.

Just to make sure she’d given Hollywood a fair shake, she clicked the remote to the Hallmark Channel, which was showing the same snowed-in romance brewing at the same over-decorated country inn. Emma merely clucked her tongue. “Fools,” she said. “Do those innkeepers ever sleep? All that work! Cooking and cleaning! Sweeping up pine needles, drizzling everything with tinsel just so, tending the fires in every room and dusting twice a day from all the ash…what kind of life is that?”… Read more here

To read the 9th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE!

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 6th Blog of Christmas

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RJ Crayton is a little young lady who writes fiction when she’s not parenting her two children or wifing her one husband. She writes about characters in peril, who sometimes find a moment for romance. Crayton is occasionally humorous, often right, and always curious. She loves the Christmas season and baking. Due to her severe cupcake addiction, Crayton tries to avoid baking cupcakes, except during the holidays. (As an aside, for the perfect mesh of holiday cheer and cupcakes, check out this recipe.) Crayton has published a three-book dystopian series (Life First), a book on self publishing and a short story collection about motherhood. She also is a contributor at Indies Unlimited, a site for independent publishers. In 2016, Crayton plans to release a novel about a deadly virus and a humorous book on motherhood. You can learn more about her at http://www.rjcrayton.com.

The Place for Humbug During the Holiday Season 

by RJ Clayton

Bah, humbug!

There, I said it.

I know. It’s the Christmas season. Everything is warm and fuzzy like in greeting cards, sappy viral videos and TV movies. Only, it’s not all warm and fuzzy all the time, because greeting cards and video specials aren’t real life. Everyone feels like saying, “Bah, humbug,” at least once during the holiday season. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s not that the season isn’t full of joy. It’s just that the season is also full of commitments — clashing office holiday parties, school parties, recitals, plays, church performances, family gatherings, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes you just want to shout, “Bah, humbug,” hop into bed, and huddle under the covers with a flashlight and your favorite book. (Those old enough to remember, may even want to hop into a tub, and shout, “Calgon, take me away.”*)

So, this is just a little post to remind you that you get to have a “Bah, humbug” moment or two this holiday season. Not everything will go the way you want it to. There’s someone you’ll want to see, who you can’t see. You’ll have family you don’t want to see, who you have to see.

Something you ordered won’t arrive on time. Or it will arrive, but three sizes too small. Something you’d been planning to buy will be sold out by the time you get to the store. The kids will break something they’re not supposed to. The kids will spill on something they’re not supposed to. The pet will get sick all over something you really adore.

Your flight will get canceled. Or a sudden snowstorm coupled with traffic will turn your two-hour drive to family’s house into a six-hour one. Your mother’s flight will get rerouted and she’ll have Christmas dinner with strangers at a Denny’s in the middle of nowhere.

And it will be OK, because the rough stuff happens. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you want to say, Bah Humbug. And that’s a good thing. Really. Because the bah humbug stuff makes you remember those times when things go right. You see, there’s a reason we love Charles Dickens’s classic, A Christmas Carol. We all have a bit of Ebeneezer Scrooge in us. We all have those moments when the bad feels really bad, and we have an urge to give in to that unpleasantness and go bah humbug. But, unlike Scrooge, apparitions don’t appear in our bed chambers intent on setting us on the right path.**

Like Scrooge, however, we do get moments that redeem us. Moments that remind us of the right path to follow. Those are the moments of joy that make up the greeting cards, sappy commercials and made-for-TV specials that pull our heartstrings. Your daughter will write you the sweetest apology note for her spill. Your son will reach into his piggy bank and present you with all of it because he’s really sorry about what he broke. Your great-aunt who you wanted to see but can’t because you’re going to your spouse’s celebration, will call you. You’ll have a long warm conversation and feel grateful that you got it. Perhaps, you’ll even be the one who feels a guilty twinge of gladness that your mother-in-law is stranded in the middle of nowhere eating Christmas dinner at Denny’s, rather than sitting across the table criticizing you.

So, take a moment to let out your Bah, Humbug. After that, take a deep breath, put on a smile, and wait. Your happy moment is coming. There’s a reason notions like yin and yang resonate throughout so many cultures. With the bad comes the good. And when you recognize that, you can remember that the Bah humbug is just part of the cycle, and rev up for that moment of good to follow it. Of course, you can and should put more weight on the good, and less on the bad, and enjoy the festivity and love of the season.

Merry Christmas,

-RJ Crayton

*As an aside, Calgon is still made. I looked it up.

**As a second aside, The Christmas Carol soured me on people named Marley. Jacob was obviously bad to the bone. Then Bob Marley went and shot the sheriff. So, I’m just done with Marleys.

>>>>This blog post has been part of the 12 Blogs of Christmas, hosted by author Martin Crosbie.  P.S. If you like holiday baking, as I do, be sure to check out this awesome Snow Globe cupcake recipe at SugarHero.com<<<<<<<

To Read the 7th BLOG OF CHRISTMAS, CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 5th Blog of Christmas

Our next featured blogger in 12 Blogs of Christmas is Gordon A. Long.

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Brought up in a logging camp with no electricity, Gordon Long learned his storytelling in the traditional way: at his father’s knee. He spends his time editing, publishing, travelling, sailboat racing and writing fantasy and social commentary, although sometimes the boundaries blur.

Gordon lives in Tsawwassen, British Columbia, with his wife, Linda, and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Josh. When he isn’t publishing, he works on projects with the Surrey Seniors’ Planning Table.

He has published two books this Christmas:

“Mountains of Mischief” Book 3 in the World of Change series,

“Storm over Savournon” a novel of the French Revolution

A Cold Canadian Christmas

My transportation for the Christmas of 1967 was Dad’s 1958 Mercury pickup. It was one of the first “full box” pickups, instead of the old “step sides,” and I thought it was pretty classy. Think of the picture above with a front bumper and a two-tone paint job: white above, teal below. I was home from university, and Dad was out of the bush because it was too cold to work, so I was pretty well free to drive it around. Loggers can’t work below about -30 because metal gets so brittle that equipment breaks. It’s rather hard on people, too.

Yes, the Christmas of 1967 was rather cold. I came home from visiting friends on Boxing Day, and the weather report said it was going to be -60F that night (That’s -51 for you Celsius types). I plugged in the block heater of the pickup and waited for that reassuring gurgle that told me it was working.

No gurgle…Read More

To read the 6th Blog of Christmas CLICK HERE

To read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.

The 4th Blog of Christmas

The Xmas Blogs continue with our fourth author.

IMG_9021_4044 WEB copyVirginia Gray is a bestselling women’s fiction novelist. A former university professor, she stepped away from academics to pursue a writing career. She is a great lover of humor, music, and all things food, and is best known for The Susan Wade Saga.

Website  and Blog

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I wasn’t always so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to believe—very badly, in fact. I also wanted to believe in the stories I read. I wanted to know for sure that there had been a Middle Earth, where hobbits and wizards and dragons ran amuck. I prayed that Narnia existed, and that I might be lucky enough to discover one of its secret passages—they’re everywhere, you know.  I truly hoped there were wrinkles in time, and that I might be called upon to save our very universe. I wanted to believe in magic! READ MORE

To read the 5th Blog of CHRISTMAS, Click HERE

and to read the 12 Blogs of Christmas from the beginning, CLICK HERE.