“But I’m not a creative person!” Does this sound like you? Do you believe that you are not creative because you are not artistic, musical, or prolific with words? Creativity is far reaching and extends beyond imagination. There is much joy in finding passion for anything that is pleasing to do.
Everyone has the ability to be creative because it is a God-given gift. However, you may not recognize your particular form of creativity because it’s being measured against someone else’s creativity or accomplishments. Just stop that NOW! Instead consider how you might express your own brand of creativity in everyday ways.
You might be a person who expresses your creativity through your kindness. I read in someone’s Facebook posts that they made up little small bags of essential items (travel toothbrush/toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, lotion, tissues, etc.) that they carry in their car to give away to homeless people. That’s a neat idea if you have a heart for helping others. What about the gift of humor? Another person I know uses their improv comedy skills to create short sketch scenes to share with their friends to enjoy.
Perhaps volunteering is a form of creativity that brings you excitement when you are being of service to others. Or maybe you have learned to express your creativity by saying something kind to each person you interact with. Another person I know created a small artsy book of positive phrases that they give to people they meet.
Maybe picking out fabrics and making clothing or blankets is fun for you, or knitting or crocheting for yourself, family and friends. What about planning activities or trips for friends? Last year, I met a guy you planned a cruise for a group of friends, and it was so successful that he now has a million-dollar business planning cruises and group vacations. I also met a graphic designer during a workshop who enjoyed reading enough that she began to write and design books under her own publishing company. Today, she enjoys teaches people how they can do the same thing.
We all have many ways in which we can express our creativity, and expressing it is vital to our well-being and gives us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction with life. Creative expression will occur naturally when you open your heart to yourself and others, allowing the gift of creativity to flow through you from the spiritual source that is always available to you. New ideas are always waiting to be expressed through you – you just need to open to them and allow the time for them. When you do, you will experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from everyday creativity!
Enjoy (and Create)!
It is often challenging to find interesting ways to present business data. Whether it’s a live meeting or online presentation, customers expect to be engaged visually.
When I recently had the opportunity to experiment with Prezi Online Presentation Software using content from a previous Powerpoint, I was blown away with the ease of use and wanted to share what I learned.
Prezi is a visually appealing and engaging, motion-filled and fluid presentation format. I created a free online public account while I experimented with the software, but the cost for the software is very reasonable with a basic plan under $5 per month. As a freelance consultant and entrepreneur, I understand the need for finding affordable technology to remain relevant in a digital-driven social media marketplace. Prezi offers an easy, dynamic, and cost-effective method for freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners.
If you are already savvy with maneuvering PowerPoint or catch on to software quickly, Prezi is a breeze to use. I played around with it for a little over an hour using one of their templates until I had something I felt satisfied with presenting to my client for their preview. Obviously, you need to already have the content you want to put into the presentation. I used content from an existing PowerPoint to create mine, which probably made my learning curve easier. I would suggest using the same method until you are familiar with navigating Prezi, but otherwise it’s just a cooler and more effective way of formatting and presenting data and information.
So here are my highlights:
- Prezi works from an open canvas environment with options to use their pre-set paths or build your own.
- Once you set up an account (public account is free but your files are accessible to anyone), choose from a library of reusable prezis or templates, and just have at it.
- The software is simple to navigate with options to change backgrounds, shapes and colors to incorporate your company’s brand image.
- As you build your prezi, the graphic and visual features allow you to zoom and pan through text, emphasizing main points and key information.
- You can add and edit images directly onto the canvas.
- Because it is cloud-based program, the presentation can be accessed remotely on a tablet, phone or PC, and it allows for ease of collaboration with others in real-time.
Here’s a preview of a Prezi template that you may enjoy. Would love to hear your thoughts or feedback from your Prezi experience; submit comments below:
As an entrepreneur, you could have the finest service or product on the planet, but if customers never discover it, your startup is going to face rough waters. Every business requires marketing, but it shouldn’t cause you to bust your budget. The following handy and economical suggestions will help you get your message out without squeezing you dry:
1. Conduct Your Own Market Research.
- Prepare a compilation of your customers’ questions, needs and issues. While you’re at it, record basic demographic information, such as gender, age and status. This will bolster your efforts to sharpen your marketing message so that it directly addresses your customers’ needs.
2. Ungarble Your Message.
- Don’t throw away resources on elaborate collateral without first developing a clear, concise message. If the average Jack or Jill doesn’t “get” your message, then simplify it. Clarity rules
3. Inexpensive Public Relations.
Do things that will burn your business’ persona into the public’s consciousness. Make sure to volunteer your services or products at charity events, publish blog articles written by you or by respected guest bloggers, write favorable comments on other blog sites, and get involved in civic and networking activities.
4. Try a Small Marketing Agency.
- Engage a small marketing agency and monitor its advice for effectiveness. A small agency well understands your budget constraints– it no doubt has its own constraints — but nonetheless must cough up innovative, exciting concepts that will goose your business. If you aren’t happy, give another agency a shot, but only after allotting enough time to the first one to fairly judge their results.
5. Marketing Advice for Free.
- Internet blogs like this one that you are reading at this very instant offer prized information freely. A library (real or virtual) is another cost-efficient resource. Here’s another idea: marketing agencies frequently provide a free initial consultation — you can learn a lot without making any commitments.
- Few types of marketing are more efficient than is word of mouth. Energize your customers to talk up your business by offering contests, raffles, and loyalty programs, as well as personalized solutions and superlative service. Recruit your happy customers to send out “the word.” Many people love to do this — you have only but to ask
7. Pamper Your Vendors.
- A happy vendor can enhance your business, but an unhappy vendor can be ruinous. Always pay vendors on time! In fact, a better tactic is to pay them in advance. If they want to be your friends, they will gladly endorse you, especially if you reciprocate.
- As you can see, there are many opportunities to adopt inexpensive marketing ideas for your business. You may experience slow results at first, but stay focused and intentional to reap benefits well in excess of the money you spent.
While freelancing has become very popular globally according to our freelance infographic, a September 2014 national survey shares that it is the new workforce normal attributing over 53 million Americans working as freelancers. The flexibility and opportunities as a freelancer, solopreneur, or independent contractor are immense. However, the greatest success comes for those who think strategically about their approach to ensure the greatest income potential and personal freedom. It is definitely doable and freelance business and financial writer Eric Bank tells us how below.
Add Some Zip To Your Freelance Business
Freelancing is a great career choice. You call your own shots, keep clear of offices (and the accompanying politics), and take time off as you wish. It’s also a terrifying choice — what if you can’t drum up enough business to support your lifestyle? Will you permit yourself time off, knowing that no income is, well, coming in?
We think the best defense against these worries is a good offense. Here are four tips to boost your revenue and allow you to enjoy the occasional day off:
Expand Your Solution
Your business offers solutions to clients. Why not expand the scope of those solutions by adding complementary services? For example, if you are a freelance content provider, leverage your skills into areas such as website design and implementation. You can offer a turnkey project to fulfill the client’s initial requirements and then provide long-term support that translates into steady income.
Support Tangential Services
Your client may have needs that you can satisfy by supplying additional freelancers with a wide range of skills. If you are developing marketing projects for a small client, offer to supply a telephone salesperson to handle some of the leads your promotion generates. As a freelancer, you may be in a unique position to network with many others looking to expand their businesses and willing to subcontract services through you.
Commit Your Expertise to Print
Some freelancers provide high-priced professional services not affordable by all potential clients. However, you may be able sell these clients e-books, manuals and videos that layout your expertise in a series of systematic instructions. This not only increases the size of your target client base, it also burnishes your reputation as a guru. Depending on the type of project, you might be able to sell your knowledge for several hundred dollars a pop to clients who can’t afford to hire you directly.
Some clients may prefer to bring you in to train their staffs. You can put together a set of training classes that you deliver as an adjunct or alternative to your main offering. By the way, did we mention that training is very lucrative?
The bottom line to freelancers and small business owners: think outside the box to increase the scope and scale of your offerings. Then, go take a day off! – EB
On a lazy Sunday perusing Netflix, I watched the movie, Chef, with Jon Favreau (actor and director of Ironman and Ironman 2) as character Carl Casper, a chef turned food cart owner. One element of the movie that caught my attention was Carl’s aloofness about Twitter, tweeting or what “going viral” meant. He soon learned just how easy “going viral” can be and found himself unexpectedly popular on the Internet. And so it is with the Web. However, after chatting with Gen Y Web Entrepreneur Ashley Gilbert of HonestyforBreakfast.com, she explained how entrepreneurs have propelled themselves into the Internet stratosphere overnight and made thousands, even millions, as web entrepreneurs specifically using viral content. May not be your cup of tea, but read on as Ashley shares how leveraging viral content can help to create lots of new traffic to your website, which may be of interest.
Digital media has sky-rocketed in the last few years as people seek their daily dose of news online versus reading a physical newspaper or magazine. And as such, viral media is easing its way to the forefront of the online media world. Viral media is simply a marketing tool that web entrepreneurs use to drive traffic to their websites from other social networking services such as Facebook. Those catchy, shocking, heart-wrenching articles you see every time you visit social media sites is what is known as viral media.
For instance, this article immediately grabs attention by evoking an emotion with a call to action. Nine times out of 10, if someone clicks the link to watch the video and they are impacted, they will share it to their followers and so on.
ViralNova is a site, run by a man in the middle of Ohio, that has previously generated 100 million unique views in a single month. The site’s viral success piqued within six months of the website launch, earning the Ohioan an estimated $400,000 dollars, according to Viper Chill.
Venture capitalists and angel investors are starting to see value in the viral craze, too, and have recently invested $7 million dollars into a ViralNova website copy-cat, Distractify, according to Bloomberg. Here’s a preview of their website:
So, just how are these sites able to maintain traffic success? It’s simple. They’re paying to play. That means that they are shelling out big bucks in Facebook advertisement to drive traffic to their sites. Before 2013, it was simple to share content with users. However, Facebook recognized a marketing and economic opportunity and changed its algorithm to cater to the companies that provided quality content and companies that were willing to pay them to keep their content visible to all viewers.
So, what are some must-have key components for web entrepreneurs considering a viral media website?
Don’t focus too much attention on web design
The web design for this type of website should be very simple. Pictures, video and endless content will keep visitor’s attention once they arrive at your website, not the design. Extra distraction are not desired nor recommended.
Headlines are everything
Have you ever been scrolling on Facebook and your eye caught an article headline that was too irresistible to not click? Then congratulations, you have just discovered the main ingredient to making viral sites successful: a compelling, eye-catching headline that moves you to response. Consider that if a headline doesn’t grab your attention, then its very likely not to grab anyone’ else’s either.
Facebook is your best friend
Twitter is nice, but most of your traffic will come from Facebook, so this should be where most of your attention stays. Facebook has such a large audience that eats up viral content daily and the statistics prove that.
Mix up your content
While it’s fine to re-create content, original copy will add balance to your website. Remember that copy-cat viral media sites are all over the web. To differentiate your website, there has to be a draw to keep readers returning. Consider that there have been sites that have generated tons of traffic one month and then completely fell flat the next.
The viral media niche is still fairly young and there’s still billions of dollars to be made on the Internet. If interested, it is wise to act sooner rather than later. I would also recommend a software called Bullet Viral Traffic to help get you off to a great start. The intent and purpose for these types of sites vary. Some entrepreneurs use them to spread news-like information, while others use them to re-create trending topics in social media. Again, it all depends on your niche and where you’d like to focus. it’s still fairly new and there’s still billions of dollars to be made on the Internet. -AG