Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Look - Revamping for 2011 - And New Graphic Resources for You

I have been in an updating mode - a rework of "the plan" for 2011 for all things online: shops, blogs, profiles, etc... Here is IndieCEO's new banner look! I am rethinking shop banners and avatars too. It will take some organization to get all of them changed on all the networking profiles.

Large corporations will update their logos and look every 5-10 years. Even if they keep the same images, they will freshen them up a bit for a current look.

With the IndieCEO banner, I wanted to achieve an artistic look, but a current look and a bit edgy. The image of the hands reminds me of potter's hands. The grunge text adds to the edge and the great mix of deep colors contrasting with selected lighting adds drama.

Here are some free graphic resources I use for all my work and hope you will find some uses for these too!

There are many free fonts to be had online but I seem to keep going back to as they always have what I need - quick and easy.

For free textured backgrounds - especially the grunge backgrounds, I just love and use them frequently.

For your holiday shopping pleasure, there are new, awesome, "off-the-wall" earring designs in GalleriaLinda's loft shop on Zibbet. And, a 10% off - free US shipping promo too! These are great inexpensive "Secret Santa" gifts gatherings at work, clubs, groups, or church!

Wishing you a great holiday selling season!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Tis the Season to Know Your Customer

We are into the heart of the holiday selling season! Although I am prepared as I can be for my tiny business, it always sneaks up on me. Preparations in July for year-end holidays just seem unnatural, but necessary!

The concept of "knowing your customer" has been introduced many times in this blog, as this is the heart of your business. 

To make more sales, you must bring your product to your target customer - to where they work, play, and live. Through advertising and exposure direct to those who are interested, you eliminate the waste of effort and money.

IndieCEO recently wrote a guest post for the Zibbet blog about this very thing. Read more to find out methods you can use to figure out the customer profile for your product. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fun Software Training Even I can Afford

Oh my. Does software training sound dry and boring to you? Expensive even? Homework-esque? Drudgery?

Well, I have a resource for you that I have used since the late 90s and just love it. has been offering online video training for a long time and is well established. I have watched them grow over the years and am amazed at their current 910 courses.

Starting out with the basic business and graphic software, they now have a tremendous line-up of expanded titles that touch Selling on eBay, Making Money with Podcasts, and There is a treasure-trove of good, fun, video training to be had at Lynda's!

There are several payment plans but when I get a hankerin' for software training (and...I do), I will pay the $25 monthly fee (no contract) and have fun for a month then stop the subscription. Then, maybe I will pick it up for a month the next year. For that one fee, all 910 training titles are available to YOU!

If you do it this way, to get the most benefit, you will need to be organized for that one month. I actually schedule "appointments" on my calendar to carve out time to do this. Each course has a course outline that you can view along with free video peeks into certain chapters.

As small businesses, micro-business, and especially us "kitchen-table businesses," it gives us an economical way to keep up-to-date with software and skills that will help us manage our own businesses. It will also make us more marketable in the workplace. 

At Lynda's you can:
– Stay current and keep skills sharp
– Learn innovative and productive techniques
– Access over 910 online courses, 24/7
– Learn from experienced instructors
– Gain confidence and marketability
– Learn at your own pace: Stop, rewind, replay

Have fun!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Art Photography and Editorial Photography

(All photos in this blog post are ©2010 Copyright John Evans, All Rights Reserved)

There are many uses for interesting photos and just as many perspectives on how photography should be presented.

I wanted to share some great photos from a friend of mine, John Evans, who is a real estate agent, specializing in Florida land.

John amazes me with his "eye" for photography that allows him to capture the the real feel and flavor of the land he is presenting. You can read more about John's photography on the GalleriaLindaShowcase blog and view additional photos of John Evans' in this post.

Purists in the art photography community will say that these photos (or any photo) should be able to stand alone on their own with little or no Photoshop editing. I agree that is absolutely the goal for art photography. Art photography presents that highly creative and technically skilled photographer, who has the critcal creative eye for composition and knows how to capture rich colors, lighting, and focus of the subject. Art photography sometimes makes my jaw drop with appreciation of those skills.

Photos that come across my desk are used in my designs for glossy magazine property brochures, such as the one for John's Lake Disston, Florida parcel of over 3,600 acres. They are editorial in content and use. Some photos I receive from the agents are even "artistic" in the layman's definition, but require editing for print purposes. Many are questionable for use at all!

The photos you see here are indeed heavily edited in Photoshop for output on a variety of commercial printing equipment. The original photos would have had much less impact without the editing.

The photos we use have to look good to a layman's eye; satisfy the client, the agent, the marketing team, and the broker.  The photos in these brochures are the conduit that sparks the reader to want to see more.
I work with dozens of land real estate agents who take their own photos of property listings. Most photos are "ok" but must have Photoshop editing in order to be used at all.

John is one in a million when it comes to property photos. He is not a professional photographer, but is an emerging amateur photographer who can take his photography to the next level!