Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the upcoming year. 2016’s word was REGROUP. In 2015, my second child arrived 7 weeks early (requiring a 3-week hospital stay) so my priorities understandably shifted to my new baby. Once I was back to work, I felt that I needed to regroup and focus on my business again. I also joined an accountability group and used my word regroup to guide my goals progress.
I like to choose a word that applies both to my personal and work life, so this year’s word is PRIORITIES. My creative brain tends to jump from project to project as inspiration strikes. Now that my work hours are dictated by my kids’ schedules, setting strict priorities and staying on task each day is crucial.
I also want to set my priorities at home, for example making after-school time more focused on my kiddos (my 15-month old literally cries when I open my laptop and try to finish up work!)
With the year drawing to a close and projects slowing down, it’s a great time to reflect on this year’s goals. I’ve talked about making a list of this year’s accomplishments, but now let’s look specifically at the goals you set and see how you did.
A few question to ask yourself as you review:
What were my goals?
Did I achieve them?
What made it easier to achieve them?
What prevented me from achieving them?
Are there aspects of this year’s goals that I should carry over into next year?
This year’s word was REGROUP. After taking some time off to focus on my new baby last year, I wanted to regroup and get back to business this year—which I successfully did. (Stay tuned to hear my word for next year…)
This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:
Choose a word for the upcoming year. Print it out and post in your workspace.
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.
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…
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.
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:
Congratulate a connection on an anniversary or new job
Reach out to prospects or past clients who have viewed your profile or liked your article
Assess if your profile is attracting your ideal prospect
Engage with people who are reading your articles
Comment or like a connection’s article
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.)
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
Address (or just city/state)
Tagline (or short blurb about what you do)
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.
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.
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.