December 2, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of this year’s accomplishments

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:39 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make a list of this year’s accomplishments

Now that 2016 is drawing to a close (whaaaat?) it’s a great time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year. We spend so much time focused on achieving our goals, so it’s nice to spend a little time basking in the glow of our accomplishments. And once you start writing it down, you will realize you’ve accomplished quite a lot.

You can do this is a few different ways. For example, I keep a running list of monthly highlights so that at the end of the year, I can review a few key areas of my business: client growth, sales growth and press/PR highlights. These highlights also come in handy for my press mentions, website copy and content marketing. I also recently made a list of my accomplishments related to the yearly goal I made in my accountability group.

However you do this exercise, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the end. Feel free to share here or on my Facebook page so we can all cheer you on!

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of your accomplishments this year.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

 

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November 30, 2016

What 100 days of art journaling taught me


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This summer I embarked on #the100dayproject, a commitment to 100 days of making. Some of you may know I’m no stranger to daily challenges: I participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge every year (see last year’s A to Z of Branding).

My daily creative challenge for #the100dayproject (after much careful consideration) was an art journal of everyday life. I had recently discovered a drawer of old art supplies in my studio and was anxious to put them to use again so this was the perfect excuse.

I bought several Strathmore mixed media journals (perfect for using wet and dry media), gathered my supplies and was ready to go! The first few weeks were inspiring and exciting. The warm summer weather encouraged me to draw and paint outdoors and provided a much-needed escape at the end of the day when the kids were in bed.

Doing #the100dayproject wasn’t without its challenges. Toward the end, I started to lose steam and doing a daily drawing became a late-night hassle. Some nights, I would just make a few sleep-deprived marks on the page. One page was left blank. But it was all part of the process. And by the time I got to the last few days—and started reviewing my finished pages— I started to realize my accomplishment.

But the best part of the project was collaborating with my 5-year-old, who was almost as excited about it as I was! After dinner each night, we would spread out our art supplies and just create without any limitations. He also had his first trip to Blick Art Materials to buy his own Cray Pas and colored pencils. I was both sad and relieved to see the project end, but I’m already thinking about my next art challenge…

What should my next art challenge be?

 

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November 23, 2016

16 years in business = 16 reasons to be grateful (and then some!)

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — lidia @ 9:45 am

16-things-i-am-grateful-for_2016

This year marks my 16th year in business. WOW. I started Lidia Varesco Design in November 2000 and quite a bit has changed. But as I reflect on 16 years, one thing is for sure, I’m truly grateful for all of you who are reading this: the clients, friends and family that offer me support, encouragement and inspiration every single day. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Every year, I like to share a fun list on my business anniversary (see last year’s post “15 reasons why I love having my own business”) so this year I’m sharing 16 things I’m grateful for (of course, there are many many more!)

16 things I am grateful for

  1. My family who offers support and encouragement
  2. My kiddos who inspire me daily
  3. Great clients (especially the ones who remind me to send an invoice!)
  4. Coffee dates with friends
  5. Warmer than usual Chicago fall
  6. My short commute to work
  7. Paying taxes because it means I’m earning income
  8. Piles of books around my home and office
  9. Sketchbooks filled with ideas
  10. A full-night’s sleep
  11. My “creatively-messy” studio
  12. A flexible work schedule that allows me time with my family
  13. Seeing the world through my children’s eyes
  14. Apple Store Genius Bar (after a recent computer crash)
  15. Having my business for 16 years…and counting
  16. Using my design talents to make a difference

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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November 18, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Respond to your LinkedIn notifications

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:25 am

10-Minute Marketing: Respond to your LinkedIn notifications

How often do you check in with LinkedIn? If you’re like me, perhaps not as often as you should. However, LinkedIn notifications can offer great insight into who is looking at your profile as well as an easy reminder to engage with your network.

TIP: The easiest way to do this is on a mobile device, see the “Notifications” tab in the LinkedIn app. On desktop, check the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” and “Your Updates” pages (under the “Profile” tab).

6 ways to make your LinkedIn notifications work for you:

  1. Congratulate a connection on an anniversary or new job
  2. Reach out to prospects or past clients who have viewed your profile or liked your article
  3. Assess if your profile is attracting your ideal prospect
  4. Engage with people who are reading your articles
  5. Comment or like a connection’s article
  6. Respond to comments on your updates

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Check your LinkedIn notifications and take one action (send a note, follow-up, ask a question, etc.)

LInkedIn_50x50 Connect with me on LinkedIn

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

 

November 4, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Create an email signature

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am
10-Minute Marketing: Create an email signature
With so many emails hitting inboxes, having a signature that includes all of your contact information is crucial. How do you know what to include? Think about how someone who doesn’t know you (or your organization) would connect with you: Would it by phone or in-person? Would they need to see samples of your work? Where are you most active (online, social media)?
Here are a few things to consider including in your email signature:
  • Your full name
  • Organization name
  • Phone number
  • Address (or just city/state)
  • Tagline (or short blurb about what you do)
  • Website
  • Social media links
  • Call to action (link to portfolio, newsletter, blog post)
Most email programs allow you to easily create an email signature. I like HubSpot’s email generator which does all the hard work for you.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Create an email signature.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

October 7, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Make your holiday card mailing list

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 11:50 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make your holiday card mailing list

It’s that time of year… are you sending a holiday card? Ive been sending my friends, clients and vendors a New Year card and calendar for several years now. Whether you send a print card or an e-greeting, it’s a great way to thank the people who support you and your organization throughout the year. TIP: Include a handwritten message of gratitude for a personal touch.

Sending a holiday card is a great way to keep in touch with clients or prospects you haven’t heard from in awhile. I always get at least a few “I was thinking about contacting you for this proejct and then I got your card in the mail…” emails after sending my cards. And nowadays, it’s just nice to get something fun in your mailbox.

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Write down your holiday card mailing list. TIP: If you are using a previous list, check if names or addresses have changed since last year.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

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September 27, 2016

FEATURED DESIGN PROJECT: Child Welfare Services Brochure

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

VOA of Illinois Child Services Brochure
I’ve been working with Volunteers of America of Illinois to develop marketing materials that are more cohesive and consistent with their mission and brand. This is the third in a series of brochures I designed to highlight and promote their programs, this one is for their child welfare services foster parent program.

See the entire series of program brochures I designed for Volunteers of America of Illinois.

Volunteers of America of Illinois is a national nonprofit organization providing local human service programs for veterans, the homeless, children and the elderly. Learn more about them here.

September 22, 2016

What’s my story?

Filed under: Featured Design Project — lidia @ 10:00 am

Lidia Varesco Racoma on The Story Exchange

I recently shared my story on The Story Exchange as part of their 1,000 Stories campaign featuring women with businesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits.  As a mom in business who works with nonprofits and social enterprises, I was thrilled to be a part of this community.

I talk about how I started my branding and marketing design studio, what my challenges are (hint: they involve businesses and kids!) and how I define success.

Read the full interview on The Story Exchange.

September 21, 2016

FEATURED DESIGN PROJECT: Benefit Invitation Branding & Design

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

RSSI Benefit Invitation Design

I worked with Renaissance Social Services (RSSI) to develop branding for their annual fundraising benefit event—which happens to be held right here in my West Loop neighborhood (at Wishbone Restaurant, one of my faves!) Our goal was to express their theme while getting across the organization’s important mission.

I designed the event logo, invitation, mailing envelope, reply card and envelope, and email graphics.

Buy tickets to the event on Sept. 26.

RSSI aims to find safe and secure housing for the men, women and families and to provide them with the services they’ll need to lead lives of health, dignity and stability.

September 16, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Make your “Top 3” to-do list

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 11:19 am

10-Minute Marketing: Make your “Top 3” to-do list

I’m a major list maker. I love making to-do lists and I especially love checking things off my to-do lists. However, because of my creative, spontaneous brain, I tend to make my to-do lists very long and detailed (don’t even ask how many side projects I’m working on). This can cause me to lose sight of the more important tasks.

That’s why I start each day with a “Top 3” to-do list: 3 things I must accomplish in that day. I jot these down on my calendar and refer to them when my creative brain starts to wander. BONUS: you are almost certain to check them off, i.e. get that great feeling of accomplishment!

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make your “Top 3” to-do list.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow the series here.

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