Drawing, Doodling & Business

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Dont Complain Lettering

It isn’t uncommon for you to hear me say I’m no good at design. While I don’t think I’m artistic, I do enjoy beautiful artwork. I enjoy drawing and doodling, particularly text-based art or letter art like signage. Here’s one I made last weekend. It’s far from good. I messed up on the work “willing” by using the wrong pen, the spacing probably could be better and it’s unfinished. Oh and forgive the image. Apparently I’m not a photographer either. Be that as it may, it gives me an outlet outside of code, it clears, refreshes, and relaxes my mind. I’ve even turned some of them into cards that I’ve snail-mailed out. Lately, I’ve been trying to do more and more sketchnoting. Some call it visual note taking or graphic/visual recording. Whatever you want to call it, it’s basically taking notes aided by visual doodles. In my visual notes, I tend to gravitate more towards lettering (you should see my Pinterest board). So I was quite pleased when I stumbled upon this video by Mike Rohde on drawing type. If’ve you’re into that sort of thing, take a peak at this video. Want to learn why you should doodle or sketch note? Here’s a

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You Want To Pay WHAT For A Complete Business Plugin?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
100% Useful Infobytes

I’m part of several WordPress groups on Facebook and every single day, without fail, someone, somewhere asks a question that goes something like this. “I’m looking for a plugin that can create a business for me, market itself, makes me a million dollars while I sip margaritas by the beach and oh if it can be under $20 that’ll be great.” These questions are also commonly echoed in various forums, groups, chats, webinars, seminars – everywhere people talk about WordPress and plugins. Ok… so that’s not exactly what they say but that’s pretty much the essence of what they ask for. That’s why I love Chris Lema’s post, You Can’t Afford The WordPress Plugin You Want. In the post, he nailed it when he said, [What you are looking for] isn’t a plugin. It’s a system. Exactly. A plugin that can do precisely what you want and do it well does not exist. It could but it doesn’t exist as an off the shelf solution. Kinda like you don’t go to the local super store to buy a custom closet complete with Teak wood imported from Bali. And that leads to the 2nd portion of the equation. The low price. Seriously?

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50 Amazing Business Cards You’ll Keep Forever

Monday, August 18th, 2014
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Have you ever received a truly amazing business card? Something that is so far out of the ordinary you keep it for ages? I only recall receiving one such card and it was a mini CD. It had the contact name of the person and a full presentation inside of what they do and how they can help. That doesn’t sound so amazing now but you have to keep in mind, I received that at the turn of the century (yes, 2000) so it was pretty neat then. Poking around my feed today I saw this post with 50 truly memorable business cards. I know a number of people attending live events this year and the near future so hopefully this will give you something to chew on when you create your card. I especially love the pocket wrench (Broke Bike Alley) and the Legos. It must be such fun to be able to give out such cards working for them. P/S: I use Moo Mini cards. While they aren’t as memorable as these, but I always get some great reaction out of it because of the size. Also, because you can individualize each card (100 different cards in a box

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Writing PPC Ads? Read This First

Saturday, August 16th, 2014
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This year, we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and done a whole lot more advertising. One thing is sure, I’m no longer deathly afraid to advertise but, writing ad copy is still tough for me. There are a lot of things you can outsource but for me, I believe ad copy isn’t one. At least not yet. Not where we are. Besides, I think the ability to write a killer ad copy is a valuable skill that nobody can take away even if you lose your business tomorrow, you can use this skill to build something new again. Thankfully, there are places like Unbounce we can learn from like this post showing you 5 ways to beat your competition at PPC Ad Copy.

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Change Your Frame of Mind Instantly With This Question

Saturday, August 16th, 2014
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Quick confession – I’m always nervous when our support desk forwards something to me. 99% of the time, it’s great things. Thanks, praise, and friendly conversations. Last week, I encountered a very unpleasant situation. From time to time, you expect this since you can’t please everyone. However, I was also entirely baffled because what we offered was more than fair, but this person was still unhappy and even tried to bully us. This sort of thing usually leaves me undone. I tried hard not to let it get to me and in some ways I did. It didn’t cripple me. It still left me very confused, even after a week. Then I came across Derek’s video today. He suggests we ask ourselves this ONE question and it’s been shown in a study to help improve your outlook instantly. I’m going to try this right now.

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Watch Out For The PPACA 3.8 Percent Surtax

Friday, August 15th, 2014
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Ugh taxes. Nobody wants to think about them let alone talk about them. As business owners with growing incomes (and growing quickly for some), that’s not an option. We have to know or the taxes will eat-your-profits-for-lunch. We had a tax issue this year that was the source of unbelievable stress. Something I don’t wish to repeat. Ever. Moving along, I was going through my feeds this morning and the issue of a 3.8% surtax thing caught my eye. Apparently, as part of the Affordable Care Act, there’s a new surtax for unearned investment income. Typically, this applies to investments in the form of capital gains and dividends, but what most don’t know is it also applies to business income. According to the author, here’s how… When you aren’t “materially participating” in your business, but you are still receiving income from the business, it is considered unearned income, and it is subject to the tax. He also gives you some information how to reduce the surtax and who else needs to pay attention to this. Worth taking a read to save you from leaking your hard earned money.

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Alert! Awesome Screenshot Users

Thursday, August 14th, 2014
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If you use the browser add-on Awesome Screenshots, you need to pay attention and uninstall it right away. At time of writing, it is leaking a lot of stuff – well basically every single website you’ve visited, private or otherwise. Admittedly, months ago, I had this very extension installed because sometimes, I’m too lazy to launch my screenshot program (Clarify & Skitch for different tasks). One day, while working on a plugin, I discovered a very interesting error. You see, when I develop plugins, I have all the error notices turned ON and I check for issues as it loads in the browser to make sure we’re using good, modern programming methods. So if an item doesn’t load properly, be it in my plugin or otherwise, I know it. As I was working, this one resource kept coming up with a 404 error. It was a URL to a page that I was 100% certain isn’t in my plugin. I had no other WordPress plugins installed and the theme was default so it had to be something else. I finally traced it to Awesome Screenshots. Each page I loaded, this page loaded too. What shocked me into uninstalling – it was some

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Just Wait Till They Find Out What You Really Know

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014
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Those are the exact words I often hear running through my head. It may sound strange to you, but I’d never heard of the term impostor syndrome until last week when I decided to load a presentation by Chris Lema into the Swift app for a listen. If you’ve haven’t heard of it before or are fuzzy on what impostor syndrome is, it’s thinking you aren’t smart enough, good enough, __fill-in-the-blanks__ enough for whatever you are doing right now. That could be in your current job, for a project or working on your own business. You feel like you’re just a faker, you’re not really sure what you’re doing and you feel guilty when you sell courses and products that you think make it seem like you have it together. Ever feel that way? Ever deflect when people pay you a compliment? Ever feel like one day you’ll be ‘found out’ how little you know? Well congratulations! You’re suffering from the impostor syndrome. So do I. Impostor syndrome can put a stranglehold on your business and personal growth. This video from Chris is made just for us. I’m comforted by the thought that even someone like him who’s further along than me, suffer

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5 Steps To A Consistent Brand Image

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

I love the whole topic of branding (did you know we have a sister site named Small Business Branding?). Having worked in the advertising industry where we serviced clients who demand consistency of their brand representation down to the littlest minutiae like color codes, it’s ingrained in my brain to take branding seriously. For us small, micro businesses it’s not always that easy. Besides, most of us aren’t designers to begin with. Neither am I. That’s why I love Canva. It’s a free online graphics editor. From time to time, they will create mini graphics and design tutorials that only take 10 minutes for you to work through. I love that they adopt the learn and do method so you can practice right there using their system. This is truly the best way to learn in my opinion. No, we’re not trying to be the CEO, the janitor and everything in between. However, understanding some basic concepts of consistent branding and design can help you better spot great design work. Take Canva’s 5 step tutorial.

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Get WordPress To Send Emails Through Amazon SES

Monday, August 11th, 2014
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It’s been a few years now since I started using Amazon SES to send transactional email and must say – best thing I’ve done. If you’re wondering… What are transactional emails What is Amazon SES Have no fear, here’s a quick explanation. Transactional emails are messages that get sent when someone creates an account, requests password reset, or when a comment is made. On a shopping cart system, transactional emails include order receipts and the like. Amazon SES stands for Amazon Simple Email Service. It is part of Amazon’s Web Services offerings, super cheap and has great deliverability rates. Why go through all the trouble? Very simply, sometimes your web host gives you grief over email sending and it’s not a good idea to use your personal email. So if you’re looking for an alternative way to send email for your WordPress sites, TutsPlus has a wonderfully detailed Amazon SES tutorial to help you.

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