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Pre-Marketing 101

So you've started a business, or maybe you have an existing business but you're not selling as many online courses, custom bicycles, jellybeans, etc. as you'd like. Is that you? Do you hear terms like "click funnel", "SEO" and "retargeting" and feel overwhelmed or confused? Are you wary of spending money creating Facebook ads, Google ads or hiring an SEO expert because you aren't sure it's going to pay off? Well, let's slow down for a minute and do a little pre-marketing work. Step 1: What is working/ not working on your website so far? If you don't already have a Google Analytics account, set one up now.  This is a free tool that will give you a comprehensive look at how many people are visiting your site, where they're coming from, how long they are staying on the site and what page(s)...

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Spotlight Article: The Jill of All Trades

No man (or woman) is an island and as a "solopreneur"/ freelancer working alone can be isolating. So I try to meet as many like-minded people as possible, attending networking groups, creating relationships with other small business owners & freelancers and join groups like the Jill of All Trades- A national organization based here in Madison that supports and promotes women in business. Recently they did a "spotlight" article on me and my business! Check it out. . . Jess Parvin fully embraces all the flexibility and fun that carving a freelance career has to offer.  After a successful experience as a museum curator at the Smithsonian, Jess now builds on her love of art and design by continuously educating herself and developing the latest skills to keep her on the cutting edge of...

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Is Your Site Secure?

Does your site have an SSL certificate? You will know if this is the case because your domain will have an https prefix (not http). SSL stands for "Secure Sockets Layer" and is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private and integral. If you don’t have the SSL certificate, a "secure connection" cannot be established, which means that your company information will not be digitally connected to a cryptographic key. Why is this important? Well, in the past I only suggested SSL certificates to clients who were asking for information from visitors, and especially e-commerce sites that accept payment online. However, this year Google (the Grand...

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What Makes a Great Website

Knowing when you need to hire a professional Ok, I'm probably a bit biased since I design websites professionally but I think anyone who is serious about their business needs to have a quality website that represents that. So often clients come to me who have built their own DIY site (usually with Wix or Squarespace) and after many, many frustrating hours, they hire me to build them a Wordpress website. Remember: your time is valuable and you should be using it to do the things that you do best to support your business. So most of the time, just hiring a professional off the bat can save you tons of time and money! Great Branding The first step to building a great site is great design, which starts with a logo and branding scheme (colors, fonts, etc). If you're not a designer and...

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Gaines & Wagoner

I love working with musicians. My partner, Josh, is a professional musician and we spent many years "on the road".  So even though I don't play an instrument or sing, I am intimately familiar with the lifestyle and the ups and downs of the profession. Chris Wagoner & his wife Mary Gaines are local Madison legends who have played with everyone, including being part of Josh's backing band on many occasions. They have also had their own bands, most notably the Stellanovas and the Moon Gypsies. Recently they came to me because they wanted to rebrand as Gaines & Wagoner- a duo project that features their original tunes as well as some classics with Mary on the cello and bass and Chris on mandolin or fiddle. As far as branding, we decided on a cool pseudo-retro vibe. We were lucky...

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New Client- Threshold

One of the most interesting things about being a freelancer is the way jobs can materialize from a series of random events. I am always vowing to myself to spend more time "finding" jobs, networking, etc. but in reality most of the time I find that the universe provides opportunity often enough. . .  I just have to be ready to say "yes". A few weeks ago I went to see my friend, Peter Mulvey, perform a benefit show at a new (to me) venue in our neighborhood called Threshold.  Truth be told, I might not have gone (as much as I love Peter & his music) but Peter needed to borrow a sound system and Josh was out of town. So I brought the equipment over to the venue and Peter put me on the list. I'm so glad that I stayed! Not only was it a FABULOUS show (he performed with an amazing duo...

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Photo Shoot!

Like most people (especially women, I would guess) I usually cringe when I see a photo of myself. Most of us are overly critical of the way we look and are especially aware of the awkward versions of ourself that are sometimes captured by the lens. So yesterday's photo shoot with my friend Bobbie Harte (of Bobbie Harte Photography) was something that I was excited and nervous about. Bobbie and I have have been on a similar journey- we're both creative women that didn't "fit in" to typical corporate/ desk jobs so we spent much of our young lives working in the restaurant industry. Lately we've had a lot of great talks about finding the courage and persistence to strike out on our own as creative entrepreneurs. Honestly, I never would have thought about getting professional portraits taken...

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Ballroom Basics for Balance

I just finished up work with a client that was so much fun to work with! Ballroom Basics for Balance TM is a local non-profit spearheaded by my friend Susan, who is an amazing masseuse and physical therapist (I have been getting massages from her for years). Susan had started building a website for BBfB by herself, but as so many business owners find out, it's a lot of work! So she asked me to come up with a new logo and branding for the non-profit as well as a functional and attractive website. I had to keep in mind, while working on the branding & site, that her main "customers" are elderly folks who are looking for a fun and affordable way to improve their balance. So the site features bold colors, larger fonts and an easy-to-navigate layout. It also features gorgeous photos by...

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Personality Type Test!

Ok, I know there are tons of these "personality" tests online. . . and most people probably don't need to answer dozens of questions to find out that they're awkward, indecisive or an extrovert. I LOVE these types of things though. I am someone who is always analyzing myself and my actions- curious about my place in the word, how others see me and how I can become a better, more well-rounded person. So I recently found a link to 16 Personalities (based on the Myers Briggs system) and I dug in. Sure 16 sounds like a reasonable number of categories, but when you think of the entire population of the planet, I think it's a bit limiting. Most people probably span 2, 3 or more of these "types". After taking the test I was told I'm an INFP PERSONALITY (“THE MEDIATOR”). . . INFP personalities...

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