August 19, 2015

Winding down…

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Time Management — lidia @ 2:47 pm
chicago summer skies

Chicago summer skies…

Back-to-school photos are all over my Facebook feed (and probably yours too). Though I’m a bit out of the “back to school” loop (my little one is only 4 years old), I am starting to feel like things are “winding down” as summer nears to an end—and I start to plan and prepare for my upcoming maternity leave.

How am I winding down?

I’m wrapping up client projects, kicking off new projects (that will hopefully be completed by the time my leave starts in October!), doing last-minute prospect follow-up, and clearing the clutter in my office.

There is something about a new season—whether it’s back-to-school or fall—that creates the inspiration to wrap thing up and start fresh.

READ MORE: Are you a fellow expecting mom preparing for maternity leave? Read my tips for preparing your business for baby on the HOW Design Creative Freelancer Blog.

How are you winding down to prepare for a new season?

July 22, 2015

6 tips for an engaging organization newsletter

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

6 tips for an engaging organization newsletter

One of my favorite ways to keep in touch is through my newsletter. Every time I send one, I inevitably hear back from a client or prospect that has been “reminded” of me.

Would you like to have this same effect with your organization’s newsletter? Read on for my tips for a more engaging newsletter.

  1. Write for your target audience: The first thing to consider when writing a newsletter is: what do your members or supporters want to hear about? What are their questions, pain points or interests?
  2. Keep it short: The days of long newsletters are gone. There’s more inbox clutter nowadays, so you have to keep your message short and to the point.
  3. Create a simple and flexible email template: I highly recommend using one of the online email newsletter services (I personally use and love MailChimp). This allows you to create a template that can be easily adapted for each issue.
  4. Develop a basic editorial calendar: Having a schedule for your newsletter not only helps you stay on-track, but your readers will begin to expect to hear from you (out of sight really does become out of mind!) It can be a simple as an Excel file with monthly send dates and newsletter topics. Hint: make things ever easier and plan topics a few months in advance. See an example editorial calendar.
  5. Keep a file of topic ideas: One of the biggest blogging complaints I hear is: I have nothing to write about. Once you’ve considered your target audience (see #1), the ideas should start to come easier. Now, create a file where you can store all these great ideas (I use the app Evernote).
  6. Send it consistently: Readers tend to engage more with a newsletter that is familiar to them rather than one that is infrequent. I send mine monthly, however depending on your organization (say, if you host weekly events) you may need a more frequent schedule.

So there you have it… you’re on your way to a more engaging newsletter.

Have you put any of these tips in practice? Let me know, I would love to know how it works out for you!

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May 12, 2015

HOW Design Live conference recap: finding honesty, passion & kindred spirits in small business

Filed under: Creativity,Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — lidia @ 2:17 pm
HOW-Live-2015-recap

HOW Design celebrates 25 years; Janine Vangool speaks; Moms in Business Breakfast Roundtable; a beautiful sunny Chicago day

Last week was a whirlwind as I attended the HOW Design Live conference in Chicago, while juggling a sudden overload of work and a 3-year old’s schedule. HOW Design Live brings together print and interactive designers, as well as writers and other creatives for a week of speakers, workshops and networking.

I noticed several themes throughout this year’s HOW Design Live:

  1. Talking honestly about money: I attended several sessions which spoke honestly about money, sharing their billings, rates and/or project fees. Armin Vit of Under Consideration LLC even went so far as to detail “How to Spend $400,000 of Your $530,000 Billings” (the actual name of his session). It was refreshing to hear people talk honestly about money with their peers and encourage us to do the same.
  2. Rise above disappointments: It was also refreshing to hear design leaders such as Paula Scher of Pentagram talking about getting her ideas shot down. So, it really does happen to all of us! But it’s how you bounce back that makes all the difference. (Case in point: Pentagram’s redesign of Microsoft Windows 8, which had some bumps early on)
  3. Passion projects can pay off big: Artist Jeff Greenspan and Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh both spoke about personal projects which started off just for fun, but ended up garnering much unexpected press and success. See Jeff’s many personal projects here (Hipster Traps is my fave) and Jessica’s project, 40 Days of Dating here.
  4. You can find kindred spirits without even looking: I was looking forward to reconnecting with fellow moms in business that I knew—but I also unexpectedly met lots of new ones. What started out as small talk led to, “oh, you’re a mom too?” and a lively conversation about work or potty training. It was also exciting to meet some of my working mom heroes who were speakers: Bryony Gomez-Palacio of Under Consideration and Janine Vangool of UPPERCASE assured us that we can be moms and still follow our creative passions. Lastly, I had a great opportunity to swap stories with the “Moms in Business Breakfast Roundtable” I hosted (which included moms, a dad, and even a pet dad!)

Stay tuned for my upcoming post featuring insight from the fellow biz mamas I met at HOW Live

Want to be featured? Please email me ASAP!

April 7, 2015

F is for Friday

A to Z of being a mom in business: a daily blog series

F is for FridayF is for Friday

Or should I say, “Friday Afternoon Marketing.” Years ago, I started a tradition of setting aside specific time on Fridays for marketing my business. After having a child and realizing my time had become more limited, “Friday Afternoon Marketing” evolved into “10-Minute Marketing” (follow along with that blog series here). But the concept is still the same: setting aside dedicated time to focus on marketing.

When do you set aside time to focus on marketing?

November 3, 2014

10 lessons learned at the 2014 Founding Moms Conference

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — lidia @ 10:00 am
Jill Salzman and Christie Hefner at Founding Moms Conference 2014

Founding Mom Conference founder Jill Salzman chats with Christie Hefner

I recently attended the inaugural Founding Moms Conference in Chicago, a gathering for women (and men) running businesses, with a focus on mom-owned businesses. There were fabulous speakers on topics such as sales, marketing, communication, and work-life balance.

The overall takeaway for me was: make a difference, get out of your comfort zone, and charge what you’re worth (i.e. raise your prices).

10 lessons learned at the Founding Moms Conference

  1. Raise your prices. (Brad Farris)
  2. If you don’t deal with your money, it will deal with you. (Barbara Stanny)
  3. It’s not about making more money, it’s about making a difference. (Barbara Stanny)
  4. Take something that scares you, remove the “but” and replace with “and” (Jamie Migdal)
  5. You’re educating, not pitching. (Darin Adams)
  6. Build networks instead of searching for one mentor. (Christie Hefner)
  7. Schedule a 4 o’clock tea. (Sandee Kastrul)
  8. What can you do that makes your clients/customers say “wow”? (Darin Adams)
  9. Price is not a POD (point of difference) — your POD should relate to an unmet need. (Susan Silver)
  10. Everything you do is either making a deposit into or withdrawal from your brand. (Christie Hefner)

Heading to a conference soon? Read my tips for designing the perfect conference experience.

October 28, 2014

5 tips for making your business card work for you

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — lidia @ 2:15 pm

a collection of business cards

Ah, the lowly business card. We all have them, but do we know how to make them stand out? Here are a few tips to make sure your business card doesn’t end up in the recycle bin…

  1. Make it unique and memorable: whether expressed through format (size, shape, folds), paper stock (heavy, textured, plastic, wood) or design, a memorable business card will stay in your recipient’s mind—and on their desk.
  2. Include clear and complete contact info: start with the basics: name, address, phone/fax number, email, URL. Then consider adding “extras,” such as twitter username, blog URL, hours of operation, product offerings, etc.
  3. Express your business personality: incorporate an aspect of your business or personality into the card. If you’re a home builder, print your card on wood. If you sell a product, include a photo of it on the card.
  4. Don’t overwhelm the recipient: don’t cram everything you do onto a tiny card. Consider creating a second business card for your ancillary business offerings or sideline business.
  5. Make sure it’s well-designed and thought-out: a good business card—just like a good business—is not thrown together quickly, but thoughtfully considered, planned and executed. Need help? Reach out to a graphic designer experienced with branding and identity for expert assistance (hint, hint)

 

July 2, 2014

Why I love Trader Joe’s flyers

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — lidia @ 2:28 pm

Trader Joe's  Fearless Flyer

As I was staring at a recent Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer” (ie their mailer with featured products), I wondered: Why am I (a visually-driven person) so engrossed in this when there are hardly any images? Answer: it’s the writing!

Through their stories, colorful descriptions and unique pairings, the Trader Joe’s writers manage to capture the unique and “buyable” qualities of every product—basically, making you want to run to the store and buy it without even seeing it. I find this to be a great example of effective copywriting (and a useful case study for small business owners).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Trader Joe’s…

June 3, 2014

Round-up: kicking LinkedIn up a notch

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Networking,Round-up — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

This week’s round-up features my latest obsession: LinkedIn. I never thought much about my profile, however after talking with a marketing coach, I decided to revamp mine and use it more actively—and found lots of great resources along the way.

  1. 10 Insights: How to Use LinkedIn to Build Business Success Faster than Your Competitors [Jeffbullas’s Blog]
  2. How to Use LinkedIn as an Effective Prospecting Tool [Smarter Freelancing Podcast]
  3. How to Attract Great Clients With LinkedIn [Smarter Freelancing Podcast]
  4. How I Used LinkedIn to Get a 41 percent Response Rate and 6 New Clients [biznik]
  5. How to Create a Compelling & Optimized LinkedIn Profile [Top Dog Social Media]
  6. Build a Killer LinkedIn Profile | Think-n-Drink, Chicago – LIVE EVENT TONIGHT 6/3

Have you found ways to maximize LinkedIn? Share your success stories.

Our Round-Up features useful business tidbits we’ve collected. See past Round-Ups here.

March 12, 2014

Marketing tip: decide who you will NOT target.

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:07 pm

A key part of marketing is deciding whom you will NOT target.

From Tips & Traps for Marketing Your Business Tips and Traps for Marketing Your Business by Scott Cooper , Fritz Grutzner and Birk Cooper

December 31, 2012

Things I want to learn in 2013

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:07 am
2013 greeting card by Laura Berger

2013 greeting card by my friend Laura Berger. Buy in her etsy shop! 

So, at the beginning of every year I make a list of things I want to learn. Apparently, I skipped 2012’s list—but I was already busy learning how to be a new mom! (see 2011’s list here).

Things I want to learn in 2013

  • How to create an eBook in Adobe InDesign
  • How to use Google Analytics effectively (admittedly, this has been on my list for several years!)
  • How to narrow down all of my personal creative projects
  • QuickBooks
  • Recipes for my slow cooker
  • Fitting in exercise into my biz mama schedule
  • A fun DIY holiday gift for friends
  • Sewing

What do you want to learn in 2013?

 

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