Podcast: Powerful Marketing Tools That Attract Clients – Interview with Ace Businesswoman & Author Theresa Barnabei

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Interview with Theresa Barnabei, Author and Successful Consultant

Smart business owners take time now and then to tune up their marketing strategies. There are key tools that can be embraced to transform and update your marketing engine, to reach more clients and increase income in 2018!

In this episode of Home Business Radio, Richard “Capt’n” Henderson and Managing Editor Sherilyn Colleen interview Theresa Barnabei, co-author of Multiply Your Business: 10 New Marketing Strategies for the Real Estate Industry. Theresa started as a United Parcel Service (UPS) driver. At a young age, she had ups and downs, where she chimes, “I had to sell my jeans to make the rent and steal food to be able to eat. I was barely able to keep my apartment, which had no furniture.”

Theresa took a leap of faith and shifted her focus to live the life of her dreams. She worked her way up as a corporate marketing manager and had a fruitful 14-year career with United Parcel Service.

Theresa then shifted to the real estate industry, where she has mastered business management, real estate investing, REALTOR® sales, and management of a highly profitable 150-agent office. She now owns real estate school in Arizona and facilitates courses in California, and a personal development, coaching and training company.

Today, Theresa is a sought-out consultant and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. She shares personal inspiring stories and business advice – insights that will empower and deliver value to our listeners, especially to those who have the entrepreneurial spirit!

Subjects discussed in this podcast include:

* The initial marketing tool that she would advise listeners to institute first

* How to ‘work your database’

* The kinds of conversations you have with the folks in a database

* After that, the next powerful tool business owners should use

* Why differentiation is so critical

* Advice for those whom do not think they can write a book

So tune in and hear valuable advice on how to attract clients and differentiate to live the life of your dreams!

Episode Sponsor: Shane Douglas with Prime Time Network * www.BTHE1.com

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6 Tips for How to Accept Art Commissions and Stay Successful

Tips for Successful Art Commissions

Photo: Rawpixel

If you work as a creative, you will most likely receive a commission at some point in your career. Whether it’s as a freelance designer or a studio artist, receiving interest in your work is always a great moment. But as you embark on an art commission, it’s important to understand the best way to work with your client in order to be successful. It’s one thing to create for yourself and find a buyer, but completely another to work with a client who is commissioning something specific from you.

Of course, art commissions are a fantastic way to build your business. In fact, many creatives—photographers, interior designers, tattoo artists—work almost exclusively with clients. But even if commission work is only part of your business, it’s critical to get things right. If you’re a creative who doesn’t typically work on commission, you are most at risk of running into difficulties, mostly due to the fact that you may not know what steps to take in order to protect yourself and satisfy your client.

To set yourself up for success, we’ve pulled together six steps to think about when taking on commission work. This will make for a smooth ride—both for you and your client—and hopefully set you up for a longterm relationship that can continue to bring you more work and referrals in the future.

As a creative, it’s likely you’ll receive commissions, so we’ve put together 6 tips for artists, detailing how to execute art commissions successfully.

Know What’s Expected of You

One of the most critical aspects of receiving a commission is understanding from the start what is expected from you. It’s easy to rush over this step and dive right into pricing (due to excitement from having received a request), but it’s one of the most important areas to cover. Not only will it help you price your work correctly, it will also ensure that you won’t find yourself surprised later on—and the client won’t find themselves disappointed.

Here are some questions to ask your client when working out the initial expectations of a commission:

  • Does the client have a design brief? 
  • What is the timeline?
  • Is the client expecting sketches of preliminary designs? If so, will those be paid separately?
  • Is there an expectation of travel? And if so, who will cover this expense?
  • If the work is to be used commercially, where will it appear (web, print, etc)?
  • Am I free to interpret a theme or are there specific elements that need to be incorporated into the design, such as a client logo?
  • If the product is a physical artwork, what is the size and medium?
  • If the product is digital, what are the technical requirements (size, file type, number of images or files)?

While some questions may change depending on whether you are working with a private or commercial client, they will give you a good starting point for success.

How to Accept Art Commissions and Stay Successful

Photo by Helena Hertz

Set the Price for Your Commission

Once you begin to have an idea of the scope of work, you’ll want to give your estimate. Depending on the type of commission, the client may give you an idea of their budget, but they’ll more likely ask you to give your estimate going in blind. While it’s important to be competitive, don’t undersell yourself.

If art commissions aren’t your primary market, it’s often possible that you won’t think about the extra time working with a client may take. Initial sketches, possible changes, and client meetings are just some of the additional time you’ll want to incorporate into your final pricing. Many creatives have an hourly rate or pricing based on the size of the artwork. This is a great starting point, and if you are unsure, it’s always good to survey other creatives you know, whether in person or online, in order to understand market rates.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when setting your estimate:

  • What sort of client am I working with—non-profit, large corporation, individual?
  • What sort of images rights am I giving up? (Most artists retain copyright, so if you are being asked to give that up or for commercial imaging rights, you’ll want to raise the cost.)
  • Is the image usage permanent or for a limited time?
  • How difficult, and costly, is the work to execute and/or ship?
  • Is this something that I’ll be proud of display in my portfolio or does it not fall in line with my style?
  • Will I still be happy with my estimate if the work is more time consuming than I originally planned for?
How to Accept Art Commissions and Stay Successful

Photo: Kelly Sikkema

Protect Yourself with an Artist Contract

Right from the beginning, even if you are having telephone conversations or face to face meetings, everything should be put down in writing via follow up emails. One good technique is to submit your estimate in writing, outlining what you’ve discussed as the initial expectations and stating that the estimate is based on these terms and could vary if the terms change.

It’s perfectly reasonable—and standard—to ask for a deposit prior to beginning work and to build in a kill fee in case the client terminates the project before completion. Deposits are often in the 25% to 50% range, with kill fees varying from 30% to 90% depending on when the project is canceled. Of course, if you are working with a close friend or prior client who you have an established relationship with, these rules may vary, but it’s always a good idea to protect yourself from the client pulling out after you’ve put in work.

Once your estimate has been accepted, an artist agreement signed by both parties should lay out payment terms, timeline, image rights, and any other details that should be hammered out. For instance, will you be able to post about the work on your social media or place images on your website or print in future publications? If it’s commercial work, would the client like you to be available for interviews or an opening event?

Don’t feel uncomfortable asking for a contract to be in place, even if the work is last minute. Too many creatives end up not getting paid simply because they didn’t advocate for a contract and later had no recourse. A written contract is also essential for avoiding confusion as work gets underway and will allow both you, and your client, to rest easy knowing that the administrative details are taken care of.

If your client doesn’t have a contract for you to sign, it’s a good idea for you to have a standard contract handy that you can work with. Especially if it’s a first time client, you’ll want everything down in writing and a deposit taken before beginning your work. A little searching online will pull up art contract templates that you can modify to meet your needs. For instance, Template.net has a wide variety of artist contracts you can download for free.

Finally, if there’s anything in the contract you feel uncomfortable with, don’t be afraid to vocalize this. Many companies have a standard contract they don’t mind adjusting, within reason. And if you are still unsure, seek out professional advice from a lawyer who can help ensure you are not being taken advantage of, especially if you are working with a large agency or corporation.

Keeping reading to find out how to follow through with your art commission successfully and make sure your client stays happy with the final product.

The post 6 Tips for How to Accept Art Commissions and Stay Successful appeared first on My Modern Met.

What is the Best Time of Year to Form an LLC?

Have you been thinking of launching a new business or changing your existing sole proprietorship to a formal business entity type? Are you concerned that you might not be selecting the best time of year to form an LLC? So When Really is the Best Time of Year to Form an LLC? There’s never a […]

The post What is the Best Time of Year to Form an LLC? appeared first on Launch – the official blog of CorpNet.com.

4 Search Trends That Made Waves in 2017

For the past two decades, the pinnacle of search sophistication was talking to a search engine like you’re Tarzan. “What are the best hiking boots for men?” became “best hiking boots men.” “How many ounces are there in a pound?” became “number ounces pound.” Question words, articles, adjectives, or any such linguistical fanciness would confuse the humble algorithms.

But search is finally getting smarter. Search engines can parse whole phrases, decipher intent, zero in on results that will delight the searcher. And search is moving beyond the desktop or even the smartphone touchscreen, accepting new kinds of input, and displaying output in other formats than the standard ranked list of links.

In short: What consumers expect from search engines has evolved, and search engines are changing to meet these expectations. Marketers need to adapt to the new search ecosystem. If we’re still optimizing for Tarzan, we’ll miss an ever-increasing amount of traffic.

Here are five major trends in search that made waves this year, and will continue to reverberate in 2018 and beyond.

#1: Visual Search

This first trend is the newest on the list, but it seems poised to change the search landscape substantially in the future. When every smartphone has a built-in camera, why bother typing or speaking queries when you can search with a picture? Google Lens is an app that can identify buildings, products, text, and read barcodes – and it uses machine learning, meaning it’s going to get more sophisticated over time.

Right now, you can take a picture of a movie poster, book cover, or even consumer products like shampoo or mouthwash, and the app will serve up search results based on the image. The technology isn’t perfect yet, but it should be on every marketer’s radar.

#2: Voice Search

Five years ago, the only reason to talk while using a phone was if you were having an actual conversation with another human being (gross, I know, but those were different times). Now, a growing number of conversations are with Siri and the nameless Google Assistant. Voice search has exploded in popularity, rapidly approaching the tipping point when it will overtake typed search.

Studies say one in five consumers use voice search on their smartphones, and industry experts predict 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

Voice queries tend to be more complex, more like natural human speech, than a typed search query. Marketers optimizing content for voice search should think in long phrases, whole sentences, questions and answers, rather than short keyword phrases. Think of how someone would ask you in person for the information you’re providing, and make sure your content addresses that type of query.

#3: Home Assistants (Smart Speakers)

Voice and visual search ultimately lead to the same result: A screen displaying search engine listings. Search on home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo do away with the screen entirely. The entire interaction is verbal – you ask a question, the smart speaker responds with information.

There are over 35.6 million of these voice-activated assistants on the market right now, a 129% increase over last year. As these devices get smarter and cheaper, we can expect sales to continue to soar.

One of the reasons these home assistants are appealing is they simplify search results. Instead of a page of listings, they give a single definitive answer. To optimize for that type of search, marketers need to pay close attention both to local search and to sites that partner with home assistants, like Yelp and CitySearch for business reviews.

#4: Featured Snippets

For marketers, the point of a search is for the user to click on our link in the SERP and read our carefully-crafted content. For consumers, the point of search is most often to get a single piece of information. Google is on the consumers’ side in this case – they’re constantly adding new features to keep people from having to click search results.

Featured snippets occupy a “rank 0” space in search results, above the actual SERP:

Basically, Google pulls content from one of the top 10 search results and displays it, along with a link to the source. According to Ahrefs’ exhaustive snippets study, these little answer boxes can “steal” nearly 9% of clicks from the top organic listing. And Google is doubling down on the feature, displaying multiple snippets per query, increasing the length of text appearing in the box, even adding a carousel of options readers can browse without clicking through.

The good news for marketers is snippets most often appear for long-tail keywords. If your content is a comprehensive explanation of a topic with multiple sub-topics, you’re already optimizing for snippets.

Me Content, You Audience

Searchers no longer have to dumb down their queries, which means marketers shouldn’t dumb down content to please a search algorithm. Search is getting more convenient, more conversational, and accessible across a wider array of devices.  So it’s time for marketers to evolve our content to match. Unless, of course, your target audience is actually Tarzan.

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The post 4 Search Trends That Made Waves in 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

A Year’s Worth of Social Media Improvement Posts Blog Hop

As we move towards 2018, we look back fondly at 2017. With all of the uncertainties in the world, one thing is for certain: Changes in social media are constant. Instead of fearing change, here are a year’s worth of social media improvement posts in this week’s blog hop.

Over the holidays or in your spare time, we encourage you to embrace these posts and apply the knowledge from each to your own social media presence and goals:

social media improvement

January: “You’re a high achiever. You’re running a successful blog. You might be working a day job or taking on a side hustle to support your blogging efforts. And you’re probably constantly raising the bar on yourself,” says Maggie Marton, BlogPaws’ Director of Content. Learn how to Celebrate Your Wins: How to Enjoy Your Achievements Before Moving onto the Next Task.

February: “Could your Pinterest images use a little invigorating jump start? Maybe you’ve been pinning for a while with no clear strategy, or with all the changes on Pinterest, you need someone to guide you with the best way to create a Pinterest image. There is a way to make your Pinterest images rock…it just take some planning and a little insight,” says Carol Bryant, BlogPaws’ Marketing and Social Media Manager.  Learn How to Make Your Pinterest Images Rock here.

March: Video integration is a necessary part of a social media and blog strategy. If you are growing your blog as a business, video should be one of the tools you call upon regularly. Of course, anyone can pick up a camcorder, use an app, or shoot a video segment using a phone. Here are five advanced video tactics, and stay tuned for the bonus tips, too!

April: It makes sense to embrace a post about social media at live events, considering the BlogPaws 2018 Conference is in April of 2018.

May: “Repurposing your older work–blog posts, social media shares, video and even print (gasp!)–is the way to save yourself from writer’s block and frustration from trying to get everything done,” writes Nancy Hassel. Here’s How to Re-Purpose Content and Market it Consistently Online.

June: Twitter hacks to the max: Imagine getting some insights into how to grow a Twitter account beyond the basics. Here are 8 advanced Twitter tips to start using right away.

July: Gone are the days of posting content on Facebook and hoping people see it. Here’s How to Boost a Post on Facebook.

August: Here are 5 popular Instagram tips you must ignore (or suffer the not-so-pleasant consequences).

September: Love them or hate them, hashtags are a way of life on Instagram. Do you have a hashtag strategy for Instagram in place? Here’s How to Develop a Hashtag Strategy for Instagram.

October: Discover How and Why to Start a Facebook Group.

November: Take the BlogPaws’ 2017 Social Media Holiday Challenge, which is great for ANY time of ANY year.

December: Dive into advanced tips and techniques to drive blog traffic using Instagram Stories.

Don’t Forget

Get the Latest in Social Media, Pet Blogging and Pet Influencer Education at the BlogPaws 2018 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  If you want the early bird rate before a sell out, claim your BlogPaws 2018 Conference tickets here.

The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:

Image:   Monkey Business Images/ Shutterstock

The post A Year’s Worth of Social Media Improvement Posts Blog Hop appeared first on BlogPaws.

Does the Virtual You Byte?

Managing Your Digital Twin


“We were ready to make him the offer, but then I saw the domestic abuse arrests. With a quick Google search our clients could easily find the same information. I don’t need to ponder the larger risks because this problem alone is a showstopper.”

“Why would I buy from someone who chooses a middle finger shot as his Twitter profile picture? Goodness knows I made some bad choices early in my career, but clearly, he’s not ready to manage an account like ours. It’s too bad. I liked his presentation.”

“I couldn’t believe it when I came across what I did. She works for a great non-profit and I liked what she had to say, but that’s not her only career. The boudoir shots and escort activities are an interesting sideline. Call me judgmental, but I just don’t want to work for her. I can’t be associated with people involved in those kinds of activities.”

A little digging on the internet can reveal of wealth of information. Some of it’s true, some of it isn’t, and all of it is out there for the world to see.

Fair? Probably not, but it is what it is. Our digital doppelgangers have tremendous power, and as long as finding information online is easy, it will be found.

So, what’s a person to do to get control of his or her online image without spending a fortune? By following seven simple steps, you can take charge of your digital reputation.

Step One: Understand Your Digital DNA

The first step in managing the cyber you is understanding who creates him or her. If you use social media, you’re contributing to your footprint. If you have ever owned property, had a land line, donated to charity, sat on a board, or participated in any activity where information is published in an online newsletter, that information is part of the digital you.

You need to understand your digital twin has lots of parents, and some of them are more concerned about presenting him or her in a positive light than others. Google yourself, and make a list of from where information is coming.

Step Two: Choose a Strategy

The key to an effective online presence (or absence) is planning. Without a strategy, you have no plan. To manage the online you, you must decide what you want people to find. You might choose to present yourself as a well-rounded candidate for a job, define yourself as an expert on a particular topic, or align yourself with a cause that means something to you. Whatever the choice, have a goal for presenting an online picture that matches your offline objectives.

Step Three: Remember, It’s Not All Bad

In most cases, a well-managed digital presence is better than no presence at all. Think about it; if you were in a hiring manager’s chair and could find nothing in cyberspace about a candidate you were considering for an important job, would it concern you? Maybe.

What most likely wouldn’t concern you, however, would be the discovery of a professional LinkedIn page. In fact, the existence of such a page would probably serve as additional evidence of the candidate’s qualifications and suitability for a job.

Step Four: Put the Best You Out There

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a lot of what people say about themselves when choosing a profile photo isn’t too good. The photos are blurry, old, or just inappropriate. Get a professional photo taken and use it.

Your virtual you should be congruent with the real you. In other words, don’t promise one thing and deliver something else. Update your photo every five years or after you’ve had any significant physical transformation.

Next, check your privacy settings on all social sites into which you opt in. Do you really want people knowing what you’ve “liked” online, what your following, and so forth? If your brand strategy isn’t to be political or provoking, think before you comment on anything controversial.

Also, don’t forget that privacy settings change, people share comments, and so forth. In short, what you say among friends may at some point be seen by people you wouldn’t expect to have access to your conversations.

When it comes to social media, be disciplined, and make choices that fit with your strategy.

Step Five: Manage Unflattering Information

If you’ve got information out in cyberspace you wish weren’t there, and you are blessed with a common name, your dark data is probably buried pretty far down in the search results – especially if you actively publish other information about yourself.

If you have a rather unusual name coupled with a bad PR problem, you’ll need to be more proactive. Make site-by-site requests for information removal, and start publishing. Comment on reputable blogs using your real name, leave product reviews also using your real name, publish articles, and so forth. Your goal is to create noise and push negative information to the bottom of the pile. The stronger the sites where you post “good” data, the more likely those items will appear at the top of the results.

For most people, a do-it-yourself approach is sufficient, but if you’ve tried and are still struggling, you can always hire an expert. Prices vary widely, so shop around.

Step Six: Set Up an Auditing System

Online reputation management isn’t a one-and-done activity. It’s ongoing because the internet is fluid. What’s there today could be gone tomorrow and vice versa.

As your own reputation manager, this means you must be on your toes and aware of what’s being said about you. An easy way to stay in the know is to set up a Google alert for your name. Then, as that search engine finds new mentions of you, it will let you know.

Next, search the top engines for your name once a month. Check the first two pages of results for anything troubling. Finally, once a year, do a deep dive and look at every result. It’s time consuming but worth the effort – especially if you’ve encountered problems in the past.

Step Seven: Remember Why You Care

When you work hard to make the real you great, your digital twin shouldn’t be allowed to ruin your reputation. In other words, the online you should be your advocate, not your adversary, and if you don’t manage him or her, you roll the dice and take your chances.

The post Does the Virtual You Byte? appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

How to Create a WooCommerce Store: Step-by-Step Guide

Want to know how to create a WooCommerce store? No need to shout for help. Check out this step-by-step guide and get the store you wish in no time. To begin with, WooCommerce is one of the most preferred eCommerce platforms used for launching online stores these days. And that’s no wonder at all. Jam-packed with tons of innovative features and customization options, WooCommerce is a better option that may work for you. The point is, WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin allowing you to have your online store up and running in no time. For newbies it can be quite overwhelming at first, however, we’ve got you covered. Let’s learn how to create a WooCommerce store in this step-by-step guide.

Step #1. Why Choose WooCommerce?

Well, you can find lots of plugins for WordPress, allowing you to add an online store to your website in as little as five minutes. All of them work well for their purposes. However, with over 3+ million active installs, only WooCommerce stands out. In fact, WooCommerce powers over 42% of all online stores. So, if you’re on the lookout for the best solution for your online store, WooCommerce is right up your alley.

Among the main WooCommerce benefits, we’d like to mention that it’s free of charge, so you’re not going to burn a hole in your pocket. A great choice of extensions designed to encourage you to help you lead your customers through a buttery-smooth shopping experience. Not to mention that WooCommerce is easy to master and gives you full control over your online store and offers a big collection of ready-made design choices. You can check its staggering collection of beautiful WooCommerce themes and make your pick.

Step #2. How to Install WooCommerce

The installation process of the WooCommerce plugin is quite simple. In order to add an online store to your existing WordPress website you need to go to Dashboard > Plugins > Add New, and search for WooCommerce. Now, hit the ‘Install Now’ button and get the installation started. Once it’s installed, you need to activate it.

Step #3. Welcome to the World of WooCommerce!

The first thing is you are prompted to install a Setup Wizard to take care of the initial settings in as little as a few clicks. So, hit the ’Let’s Go’ button.

Later, there’ll be created the default pages like My Account, Cart, and Check Out, which you’ll be able to locate in the Pages section. Detail some important information about your products like your location, currency, units to measure your products, shipping, and payment options. After that hit the ‘Ceate Your First Product!’ button and get ready for your new store!

Step #4. Adding and Managing Your Products

Here comes the most interesting part where the real magic happens. To get started go to WordPress Admin > Products > Add Product.

This is the place where you can customize your products’ data. Thus, you can set physical dimensions, dates for sales and short descriptions. Moreover, you can enter in the regular and sales price of your products. If you wish to display numerous products on your page, you just need to create categories and assign products to them. With the collection of powerful shortcodes, you can display products by post ID, SKU, categories, attributes and more.

Step #5. WooCommerce Settings

WooCommerce settings give you the opportunity to explore various things about your digital online store. Thus, you can view orders, coupons and reports. In fact, this is the heart of your WooCommerce store. This is the place where you can experiment, try different settings like currency, admin details, base and selling locations, taxes and much more.

Don’t forget to check WooCommerce Addons to find necessary extensions you may need for your WooCommerce store. Go to WordPress Admin > WooCommerce > Add-ons. The point is there is a vast catalog of WooCommerce Add-ons available. However, you don’t need to get all of those extensions. Pick those that can grow the functionality of your store.

Step #6. Designing Your WooCommerce Store

The best part about WooCommerce is that you don’t need to invest $1,000 to make a difference in your online store. Even if you’re a newbie and have never gotten your feet wet in the web design industry, WooCommerce has made things easy. If you haven’t got a clue where to start, don’t waste your time and try out TemplateMonster, a place with the most staggering collection of website templates suitable for any kind of business.

Step right up and check out the collection of sleek WooCommerce themes ready to help get you started. Don’t chase success. There is a better way. Create a WooCommerce store and make it a roaring success.

Final Thoughts

Diving into the water of eCommerce can be quite a daunting task. However, there’s no reason why you cannot create a WooCommerce store and stay ahead of the game. Of course, it may take time, but even a little practice makes a big difference. Besides, if you’re a serious business owner there’s nothing that can hold you back from going online. If you need to create a WooCommerce store, get the job done. Have fun!

The post How to Create a WooCommerce Store: Step-by-Step Guide appeared first on Home Business Magazine.