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Each day, we are bombarded by negative messages. It’s been estimated that between television, newspapers, magazines and advertising, about 80% of the messages hitting us every day are negative in some way, focusing on where we’re lacking instead of where we’re good to go. What are we to do, given it’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy, positive attitude?

 

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Because of  ceaseless negative bombardment from the media, the workplace too is filled with less-than-positive attitudes: negative thoughts about ourselves, out co-workers, management and customers, are all ever present.

Searching through a sea of negativity to find a positive attitude may sound impossible, but it isn’t. If no one else at your job has a positive attitude, you can start the trend. It’s as simple eliminating the sources of negativity in your life and replacing them with positive thinking.

Take my 30 Day Attitude Challenge, and for the next 30 days:

  1. Turn off commercial television. The ads mostly show you where you’re lacking.
  2. Stop reading the newspapers. They thrive on the sensational and the horrible. Remember the old newspaper motto? “If it bleeds, it leads.”
  3. Get rid of your magazine subscriptions. Some are good, but most are questionable.
  4. Start your day by reading a good book for 1/2 hour, like “The Power of Positive Thinking” or “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
  5. Learn to adjust your attitude moment by moment so you focus on what’s working, instead of what isn’t working in your life.
  6. Replace worry and negative thinking with positive affirmations. Repeat a phrase like “Every day in every way I am getting better and better” until the negative thought disappears. (For other affirmation ideas, check out the “Power Thought Cards” from Louise Hay.)

When you stop filling your mind with negative thoughts, especially when you first wake up in the morning and right before bedtime, you’ll see a marked change in your general outlook and attitudes. A certain recipe for disaster is to start your day with the TV news and end it with the 11:00 news! Take my 30 Day Attitude Challenge and you’ll find yourself thinking positively, getting more positive feedback, taking a thankful perspective on your life and doing things to the best of your ability.

If you’re still wondering why a positive attitude is so essential to your success in life and in the workplace, or why it starts with you, these 3 reasons might help:

  1. The positive vibes you bring to work create a sense of self-worth among your coworkers, while doubts and negative vibes bring down work morale and performance. Positive vibes give you new energy that you never knew you had. You’ll feel like you can accomplish anything and nothing can stand in your way.
  2. When you make the switch to from being negative, confidence and good behavior follow. The people around you feel appreciated and good work continues apace. It’s that new pep in your step that drives others to be their best too. Your coworkers will feel more comfortable asking questions or expressing concerns because of your positive attitude and general demeanor.
  3. Positive vibes encourage everyone to help one another. Positive attitudes are contagious—in a good way. The positive attitude you bring to the table will spread to co-workers and management, bringing out the best in everyone. You’ll feel better working with your co-workers in this new positive environment because fitting in is so much easier.

Though it may be impossible to be positive all the time, if you take my 30 Day Attitude Challenge and eliminate the media from your life while you begin filling your mind with good positive thoughts (the kind that come from good literature and positive affirmations) you’ll find that your life in general, and especially in the workplace, will flow easily and more positively. You’ll notice that good things will start to happen and you’ll witness a change for the better. Words like negative, doubt, and fear will disappear from your vocabulary and your life, and you’ll never look back.

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

 

 

All of us would like to increase our online search engine rankings. Free articles from publications and magazines can help us do just that. This article shows you what to do and how to do it.

 

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Occasionally you’ll come across a well-written article in a magazine, newsletter, or even some type of free online content and think, “I wish the readers of my blog or website could see this!” Well, that just might be a possibility! Getting permission from publishers to reprint their content online is a fairly simple process. You only need to write a letter or send an email to the editor of the publication and get permission to use the piece, thereby avoiding copyright problems.

Writing a Permission Letter

These types of letters should be simple and to the point. Here’s how to write a publication about using their content:

  1. Start by greeting the editor by name. Don’t use Mr., Mrs. or Miss. Use just their name.
  2. You should tell the editor why you loved the article and why you would like to use it. Don’t go on and on. State the point in a few sentences.
  3. Ask the editor who owns the copyright to the article. If the publication owns the copyright then permission may be granted right away. If the writer of the article owns the copyright, the editor will need to direct you on how to get in touch with the writer. Ask the editor for this information, nicely.
  4. Offer to mention the publication on your blog or website, or offer them free ad space for their time and generosity, if your site is set up to accommodate ads.
  5. Spell check the letter to make sure the letter sounds professional.  Reading it aloud will also help eliminate errors.
  6. Either print out your letter and snail mail it to the publication or email it.

Some Tips on Acquiring Free Content for Websites

The process for writing a permission letter may be easy, but there are a few things that you should keep in mind when trying to acquire free website content:

  1. The editor may ask you to pay a small fee for the article, so be prepared.
  2. If there is no response after two weeks, send a follow-up letter. A follow-up can simply say, “I was wondering if you received my letter about your article ‘XYZ’. Thank you for your time.”
  3. Don’t ask over and over again or get angry if the publication says no. The publication has that right. Just move on.
  4. Don’t use the article anyway. Doing so could open you up to a lawsuit.
  5. Don’t use articles that are already posted on the internet. This could make you website’s search engine ranking go down.

Acquiring free articles is a good way to beef up the content of your blog or website while providing helpful information to your readers. By following these tips, you should be able to get the information you need to extend your reach and visibility.

If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

5 Great Tips To Make LinkedIn Work For Your Business
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

 

Are you a specialist in your field who has an established LinkedIn profile? Excellent. But how do you generate leads, build your brand, and ultimately have prospects coming to you? In other words, what does it take to make LinkedIn work for your business?

 

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Here are a 5 great ways to help you make LinkedIn work for your business:

1. Review the connections of existing clients. Oftentimes, you clients and customers are connected to people who are excellent prospects for your specialty. Look through their connections, and when you identify a good prospect, ask your client how well they know the prospect. If your client says, “We’re great buddies. Our kids play together.” or some such statement indicating that they are on good terms, ask them if they would send them an email recommending you. However, don’t rely on them to follow through. Ask them if they would forward an introductory email that you’ve written describing your services.

2. Use searches to reach out to new prospects. LinkedIn has a great search feature. You can find prospective clients who are connected with people that you already know. This is a great way to generate new leads. You can even restrict your search by industry or keyword. Further, you can even save your search and LinkedIn will notify you (by e-mail) when people who match your search criteria are on the network.

3. Join groups that don’t just include people in your specialty. Sure, it’s great to network with people who are like-minded, but you’re also looking for clients. Join groups of people who share your interests. Lots of them need people with your specialty, too. Also, if you have a target market, don’t neglect to join groups specific to that market.

4. Don’t oversell. This is an across-the-board piece of advice for all service-oriented professionals on social media. If you come across like too much of a salesperson, you’ll turn them off. Instead, come across as someone who wants to connect with other professionals and people who share common interests.

5. Stay active. Don’t just set up your profile and then abandon LinkedIn hoping that people will reach out to you. Believe me, they won’t come begging for you services unless you have formed a working relationship. You need to maintain an active presence on LinkedIn:

  1. Make sure that you post regular status updates.
  2. Share interesting ideas and blog links.
  3. Comment on other people’s activity.

One of the best features about LinkedIn is that it lets you maintain visibility in front of prospective clients.

If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

 

Perhaps like you, I never know when I might meet my next big customer. When I do, I need to be armed and ready with a business card that captures the current business card etiquette and will make them fall in love with me and my brand.

 

The Sherwood Group, graphic design, web design santa clarita

Business cards have long been an important way to help professionals spread the word about what they do and drum up new business to help their companies grow. These small pieces of paper are often times overlooked for their importance. However, aside from your glowing personality, your business card in many occasions serves as the first impression of who you are and what it is you do.

Now, with do-it-yourself online business card design tools, as well as your trusted neighborhood graphic designer, you have the ability make your own for very little money. As you get ready to design your next business card, here are five tips to help you do so in a way that will attract more customers and make you and your business look professional.

Use your network

In your own business network, you undoubtedly have a number of colleagues and other professionals who have also given you their business card. Go through the cards you have received and consider what made one work better over the other. You may also want to talk to any design professionals in your network that can help you with their opinion and guidance on how your card should be designed.

Keep it straightforward

Some of the best designs are some of the most simple. When you keep your business card straightforward and clear, you make it easy for your customer to know exactly what you offer and how to get in touch with you. A simple design also lends itself to serving a deeper message which is the ease of working with you and your company.

Be cautious about going too far outside the box

Unless your business is one that focuses on design, art or any other out of the box product, it is a good idea to limit your business cards to the traditional size and design of 3.5 inches by 2 inches. This way, your business card will fit more snugly into the card holders many professionals carry and making it easier to find again when they are ready to contact you.

Carefully consider what information to put on the card

While you do not want to give too much information and make your business card look and feel overwhelming, you also do not want to give too little. Carefully consider the most important information you need to put on your cards so that people can easily contact you in a number of ways, see what you do, and find your name and position quickly.

Leave blank space for notes

Many professionals like to write down their own personal notes about you and your company somewhere on the business card when they receive it. This is best done in a blank space. Therefore, proper business card etiquette includes leaving some blank space somewhere on the card. While most people leave a blank space on the back, you can put yours anywhere you wish. By providing a blank area for notes you will give your recipient an easy way to track you and your business.

As you get started creating your own do-it-yourself business cards, use these tips to create ones that will be well received by the person you are networking with. This will help you to earn more customers and create longer lasting relationships, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.

About the Author: Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and finance blogger. He works as a business ninja at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of diploma of management and small business courses. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writing on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick (at) oc.edu.au.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

55 Business Card Designs for Your Creative Inspiration (With Tutorials)
45 Fun and Creative Examples of Print Advertising
35 Amazing Ads Created in Photoshop
25 Websites with Stunning Big Background Photos
Showcase of Creative Magazine Covers

Presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Whether you are charging enough is a question that haunts virtually everyone who ever sells anything. But the question shouldn’t be; “Are you charging enough?” The real question should be: “Does your hourly rate cover your non-billable expenses?” Think about it. These are two very different questions.

 

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A common mistake people make, especially if they’re new to business, is to charge an hourly rate that is the same as, or close to what they previously made as an employee. They forget to consider overhead time and expenses they have as business owners that they didn’t have as employees. In the process they confuse the market as to the real cost of professional services.

Cameron Foote of Creative Business Magazine has said that any freelancer or firm (in the United States) that charges less than $100.00 per hour will either be out of business within a year, or will have to rely on other sources of income (like a spouse’s) to survive. He goes on to state that folks should multiply the hourly rate they hope to end up with by 4 to 5 times.

Here’s how this works:

If you want to end up with $50,000 per year ($25.00/hour x 2,000 work hours in a year), you’ll need to multiply the $25.00/hour times 4 or 5 = $100.00/hour or $125.00/hour for the billing rate.

In other words:

Employee minded Bob sets his rate at $20.00/hour, thinking that he’ll earn $40,000.00. However, at the end of the year his income averaged $4 to $5 an hour after expenses and overhead. He wonders how anyone stays in business.

However, business savvy Linda charges $125.00/hour in the hope that she’ll end up the year with around $50,000.00 in income. And as a result, at the end of the year her income has averaged $25 to $30 an hour. She’s happy she went out on her own.

Bottom line: Most people forget that their employer paid for much of their down time, vacations, and overhead expenses. The money needed to cover overhead time and expenses must be included in any hourly rate or flat fee you charge. Otherwise, you won’t be charging enough for your service, and you won’t be in business very long.

Take-away #1: You can’t charge for the following items when setting your hourly rate. It’s these items that need to be accommodated in the 4x to 5x multiplier:

Non-billable time (up to 50% of your time):

  • Marketing and sales
  • Promotional materials
  • Vacations
  • Sick days
  • Down time
  • Administrative time and personnel
  • Chores

Non-billable overhead expenses:

  • Licenses
  • Insurance
  • Office space
  • Vehicles and fuel
  • Computers and software

Take-away #2: To succeed, you’ll need to strive for a minimum of 50% billable time.

Bonus Take-away: To succeed, you need to invest 20 to 25% of your time in sales and marketing. (You probably hate hearing this, but it’s true, and I know it from experience.) Also, if you have 4 to 5 employees, you’ll want to have a full time sales person.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

7 Secrets to Doubling Your Efficiency
8 Secrets to Being Awesome at Everything
The Power of Telling Stories and Anecdotes in Presentations
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

 


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