Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan. More than a cliche’…

Time to Plan
Time to Plan

Well, here in the U.S. the July 4th holiday is over, and so is the first half of the year. That was fast! Way back at the end of December last year and the beginning of January this year, we were excited for the promises of a new start, new opportunities, and new goals! Now that the 2nd half of this year has started, it’s time to ask ourselves: How did we do? Where do we go from here?

Those are exactly the questions you and your team need to answer right now, today, before you get busy with the day-to-day operations and projects of your business. On the one hand, planning takes a lot of time, but on the other hand, proper planning actually saves time in the long run.

You have a choice for how you can manage your planning process: on paper in a paper planner, on a whiteboard, or digitally in an app or on your digital calendar. What is important is that you revisit and refocus your goals as needed, set achievable targets, and then make action plans to achieve each of your goals. What should your action plan include?

Key initiatives and actions that can actually be completed and directly relate to your goals. The operative word here is “key”. Remember you can’t do everything.

Your budget. You should be hard-nosed and realistic here, and your budget should consider the amount of both your money and your time that you can afford to commit. Both are finite.

Please, don’t ever be “too busy to plan”. Planning now will save you much time and money later, and the ROI (return on investment) will be worth it.

wirfy logo b-w short

Pamela Hilliard Owens is a former teacher, former college instructor, and former corporate and network sales leader and manager. Now a freelancer and business owner, Pam started her first company in 2008, Writing It Right For You (WIRFY), offering copywriting and editing services to individuals and businesses. After working with several authors, Pam and her husband and business partner started a second company in 2011, Detroit Ink Publishing DIP), to work with authors for ghostwriting, editing, and manuscript preparation. DIP is an independent publishing house that publishes books by Pam and Keith and also many for the authors they work with. In 2013, Pam added yet a third company, Your Business Your Brand Creatively, through which we offer branding and marketing services and online training specifically for creative professionals.

My team and I know that “It Matters How You Say It,” and I would love to talk you about how I can help you achieve your copywriting, editing, marketing, publishing goals. Please feel free to contact me via email: phowens@teamowens313online.com, or by filling out the form on the contact page for any one of the three companies.

exasperate vs exacerbate

ComputerManArrowsandQuestionsBoth of these words are rather difficult to pronounce, and they mean different things.

* exasperate is often used as an adjective “exasperated” as well as a verb “exasperate”, where it means to “irritate”. If someone is exasperated, they are irritated by someone or something.

* exacerbate is a verb that means to make a situation worse.

Credit for these “Common Errors in English” to the Common Errors in English blog and calendar.

If you still get confused with English grammar and usage, please contact us, the professionals at Writing It Right For You. We’re here to help!

daylight saving time vs daylight savings time

20130728-194957.jpgIn many parts of North America, the first Sunday in March is the official day to “Spring Forward” and set clocks ahead by one hour. The correct term for this annual event is “daylight saving time”, because that is the original purpose: to save an hour of daylight and use that hour at the end of the day in order to have more time to work. “Daylight savings time” is incorrect.
The English language experts here at Writing It Right For You look forward to work with you! Contact us today!

Three Reasons to Blog for Your Business

blog-discovery-computer_guy

 

 

What is a business blog and why should you have one? The most important function of a blog is to serve as a platform for you and your business; a blog is a way for you to easily, quickly, and consistently tell your story to prospects and current clients or customers.

Whatever your creative or business endeavor, you can be sure that there are thousands or even tens of thousands of other people or businesses like yours. So how do you stand out from the crowd? Writing and publishing regularly on your own blog will help to get you noticed and established as an authority in your field.

1) Establish Relationships with Your Readers

Unlike most “push-type” ads that only allow for one-way communication from you to your prospects, a blog allows you to have a two-way communication venue to actual conversations between you, your prospects, and your customers or clients. Building actual relationships with people helps to build your brand and your reputation.

2) Bring Traffic to Your Website

Publishing regular posts on your blog is a fantastic way bring attention and traffic to your website. (You DO have a website, don’t you?) As you become more proficient in your blogging efforts, you’ll learn how to use relevant keywords for your niche or industry, learn to share on your social networks, and to link to other similar blogs for greater exposure.

Sharing your blog posts via social media is accomplished in two ways: 1) you share via your own social networks when you publish your post, and 2) your readers share your posts via their social media outlets. By ensuring that your blog posts are shared far and wide, you will increase your visibility and your authority.

3) Generate Leads for Your Business

Each of your blog posts should include a CTA (“Call To Action”) that encourages your readers to sign up for your email list, contact you for further information, or “Like” your Facebook Page. Your email list will be one of your most valuable items, so getting contact information for your prospects and customers or clients will be so much easier from a blog post that also gives your readers valuable and interesting information.

A blog for your business is different than the personal blogs that many people have for journaling or family and friends. Your business blog is an invaluable tool for growing your company. If you would like help in setting up your business blog on your business website, we would love to work with you! Contact us!

Apps I Use: RescueTime Update

RescueTime Logo
RescueTime Logo

If you are a freelancer, it is important that you keep track of your own time and productive activities, yet you don’t want to spend all day tracking time. In a previous post, I wrote about an app that I use to track what I do all day: RescueTime, an online app that is also available on iOS, Android, and Kindle. Make sure to read my previous post to learn about all of the great features of RescueTime.

Just a few days ago, however, I discovered a wonderful and extremely useful feature of RescueTime that is available to premium users of the app: the ability to manually add highlights of each captured time and space during your day by writing a sentence or two about what you were doing.

Find out how RescueTime can help you track and save time every day by following this link.

In addition to tracking every website and app you visit or use during the day, RescueTime also tracks every website and app you visit or use during the day on all of your devices. If you do a lot of writing on software like Word or Pages, RescueTime doesn’t always list the actual document you’re working on, but it is easy enough for you to record that information manually.

Previously, I was trying to keep track of my “daily work journal” either manually in my Ecosystem notebook, or digitally on my Google calendar or my DayOne journaling app. However, now I can keep all of those notes in RescueTime along with an overview of how productive I was each day. I love it.

Learn more about out how RescueTime by following this link

Conjunctions: It’s All About Joining

School_House_Rock!“Conjunction.” One of my favorite words. As most of remember from grammar or primary school, a conjunction is a word that connects parts of a sentence. However, did you know there are several different types of conjunctions?

The original type of conjunction that we were all taught is called a “coordinating conjunction”: and, but, or, yet, for, nor, so. When these coordinating conjunctions connect two independent clauses (those that can stand alone with full meaning), they are usually (but not always) preceded by a comma.

  • My new puppy likes to eat, but his stomach is so small he can only eat a little at a time.

The next type of conjunction is called a “subordinating conjunction” which begins a dependent clause-a clause that depends on the rest of the sentence to derive its meaning. Well-known subordinating conjunctions (which can also be used as prepositions) include: after, as, if only, though, unless, whereas, even though, than, that, in order that.

Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs in sentences, joining sentence elements that are not right next to each other: both…and, neither…nor, whether…or, not only…but also, either…or.

  • “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
  • “Whether you win the race or lose it, what matters most is that you tried.”

Now that you have learned about all kinds of conjunctions, it’s time for a 1970s flashback, enjoy “Conjunction Junction” by School House Rock!

Pique, Peek, or Peak?

ComputerManArrowsandQuestionsThe word “pique” comes from the French and means to “excite”, as in to “pique one’s interest” [in something].

Use “peek” when sneaking a look at something.

When you arrive at the “peak” of something, you are at the top or uppermost point.

Still confused by the meanings of similar words in the English language? Let the professionals at Writing It Right For You help you out! Contact us today!

Three Reasons Why Brand Management Is Important

Branding Word Cloud

Your business is defined by its brand. The brand is how your clients or customers recognize your company, evaluate your service, and perceives your reputation. The loyalty and attachment to you and your company by your clients or customers are associated with the products and services you offer. By properly developing the marketing activities of your business, and by keeping control of the message of your brand, you will:

• Enhance the recognition of your company

• Differentiate your products and services from your competition

• Protect the reputation of your business

The recognition of your company’s brand is enhanced by the marketing and promotional activities that cause your clients and customers to think of you and your company first when they are ready to buy your products or invest in your services. The #1 way to maintain brand recognition is to be consistent with the photo and/or logo you use for all of your marketing materials, including your e-signature, your blog, your newsletter, your press releases, and all other forms of communication you use in your business.

Who or what is your direct competition? Every business has competition, and knowing who you are competing against can help you to grow your brand as well as your business. Knowledge about your competitors will not only help you to keep the customers you have, but it can also help you to improve the quality of your own products and services. One of the easiest ways to keep tabs on your competition is to set up Google alerts for your industry or business model. Remember to also set up a Google alert for your own company so that you can see what is being written about you.

When you work to protect and control the reputation of your brand, you have a two-pronged goal: 1) to ensure that your company promotes and maintains its “good name”, and 2) establishing continuous and positive online and offline visibility. Some branding techniques to put in place to monitor and improve your brand’s reputation include: Keeping your website updated so that it is listed near or at the top in search engines. Having a comprehensive and responsive social media marketing strategy, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Developing an online community that encourages two-way communications between your company and your clients and prospects.

Managing your brand should be a strategic and foundational goal for you and your company. Your brand and the messages it gives to clients and prospects will determine whether they will become your loyal customer base and help you to grow your business.

The branding and marketing professionals at the Writing It Right For You Companies can help you to develop an effective branding program for our small business or solo practitioner company. Contact us for your free 15-minute consultation; together we can assist you in determining the branding goals and objectives for your brand.

Daily Grammar Tip: cowered vs coward

The verb “cower” means to crouch down in fear, and “cowered” is the past tense of cower. A “coward” is a fearful or weak person; the word is a noun. Therefore, cowered (with a Nordic root) and coward (with a French root) may sound similar, and they may even have similar connotations, but they are different and should not be confused in your writing.

Credit: Common Errors in English Usage

If you would like the professionals at Writing It Right For You to assist you with your writing and editing projects and the very confusing English language, contact us!

Start 2015 with Great Courses from the EFA!

The Editorial Freelancers Association Logo

The Editorial Freelancers Association offers courses just for YOU every fall and spring. Here is a list of some of our upcoming classes:

Editorial Freelancers Association

December 31, 2014
 
 
QuickBooks Online for Freelancers
Webinar Series, January 8 – 29
EFA’s newest webinar series introduces users to QuickBooks Online.

Session I-Introduction to QuickBooks Online

  • Product overview and tour of QuickBooks Online
  • Your Internet browsers-Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari
  • Set up your free trial account to take a test drive
  • Intuit App Center overview

Session II-Setting up QuickBooks Online

  • Starting fresh or converting from a desktop program
  • Your chart of accounts-the most important part
  • Your preferences and selections
  • Setting up your banks, credit cards, and PayPal account

Session III-Recording Transaction in Quickbooks Online

  • Money in
  • Money out
  • Journal entries
  • Other transactions
  • Bank feeds and importing transactions

Session IV-Reporting, Taxes and Other Considerations

  • Financial reporting for your business
  • Customer and vendor reporting
  • Payment solutions-Go Payments
  • Payroll-if you need it

Benefits for attendees:

  • Each attendee may submit a question to the instructor by email that relates to their specific QuickBooks situation if they prefer to not ask it during the webinar.
  • Each attendee will receive a PDF copy of the course material for each class session to use as a permanent reference.
  • Each attendee shall be entitled to a 20% discount on any service they receive from Bayview Services Group, Inc. during 2014-2015.

Instructor Dave Venard presented our popular Fall 2014 webinar on taxes. He is an enrolled agent, admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and a member of the prestigious Intuit Trainer and Writers Network. Dave has more than 37 years of experience with income taxes, accounting, and business management and a master’s degree in human resource management and organizational behavior. Dave is president of Bayview Services Group, Inc., a professional services firm that specializes in income tax preparation services, income tax representation and resolution services, QuickBooks installation, setup and training services, payroll and payroll tax services and bookkeeping services. He maintains a client base from New York to Hawaii.

Email questions to Dave at: dvenard@bayviewservices.net.
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Click below for full information about our other Spring semester classes. Start the new year with a new or newly polished skill!
Jennifer Maybin
Education Chair



Editorial Freelancers Association

866-929-5425 Phone · 866-929-5439 Fax
www.the-efa.org · office@the-efa.org

Daily Grammar Tip: everyday or every day?

Writing It Right For You - English Grammar Usage TipsThe word “everyday” is an adjective; it modifies a noun, as in “…my everyday clothes.” However, when you are using the adverbial phrase “every day”, make sure that you write it as two words. How often do you eat breakfast? Hopefully, you eat breakfast every day; but you might set the table with your everyday dishes.

Credit: “Common Errors in English Usage”

 

The experienced professionals at Writing It Right For You are ready to help you with all of your writing and editing questions and projects. Contact us!

 

Apps I Use: RescueTime

Time. It seems we never have enough. However, that is especially true when you run your own business as a freelancer or a solo professional. I enjoy using an app called “RescueTime,” which is a web based application that keeps track of all of your online and off-line activities.

The RescueTime app says that it will help you “find your ideal work-life balance,” and I have found that to be true. The app runs seamlessly in the background on your Mac or PC computer, and is also available on all of your devices including iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire. For someone who works on more than one device, as I do, the fact that RescueTime keeps track of every device you’re working on, and every gadget you have, all at the same time is a big plus.

When you’re when you are busy working all day, it is very often interrupt your workflow to have to stop and write down what you’ve done and try to remember or try to remember at the end of the day what happened with all of your projects and activities. With RescueTime, you can review every single website and installed application that you use all day long, and the app even allows you to manually add activities that are off-line so that you get a more accurate picture of your day.

To really track your productivity, RescueTime also allows you to set your goals for different activities, and lets you know when you are on distracting websites.

The RescueTime app comes offers two basic pricing options: “RescueTime Lite,” which is free, and RescueTime Premium, which is priced at $9.00 a month, after a 14 day free trial. If you have a large team or organization, larger packages are available.

If you are looking for an easy to use, highly accurate, productivity-boosting, web application I would recommend that you try the RescueTime app.