I use these two truths every day of my life, and I recommend them to you too. The two together are so very powerful.

Truth #1: When you pay attention to something, put energy into that something you will move in that direction.  

Truth #2: Newton's First Law. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.  

RaceCar.jpg

Here's an example: When in training, beginning race car drivers tend to focus on NOT hitting the wall. And guess what happens? They hit the wall because they’re focused on the wall (even in a “don’t go there” sense). But if they ignore the wall and focus on making the turn guess what happens? They make the turn (sans wall).

Same principle applies to pilots flying from here to there. True statistic:  How much of the time is an airplane off course?  Most people guess numbers like 3% or 10%. Actually, they are off course over 95% of the time. They get there by course-correcting as they go along.  

These two truths work for everyone in every situation. Focus on what you want (not what you don't want) and get yourself in motion. Then, course correct as needed. You know, set some goals (the focus), get working on them (the motion). You WILL make mistakes. You will get off course. Remember that nothing is written in stone, you can always change what isn't working.

Stop saying things like "I don't know what I'm doing." "I'll never get there." “I’m a starving startup.” "I'm a starving artist." Guess what?  Poof!  You won't know, you'll never get there, and you'll starve. Say it long enough, focus on it long enough and you’ll get your wish. Seriously.

Focus on where you want to end up, think about it, write it down, talk about it, visualize it, expect it. Get r-e-a-l-l-y familiar with it. Marinate in it.

Try it, give it some time, see if this works for you!

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

Here's what we do for ourselves and our clients to help save money while getting top-notch products and services.

Review subscription fees yearly to save money. 

Every year (or every six months if we're feeling ambitious) we review all the recurring fees for products and services we use (both for business and personal), there are often quite a few. We ask if it's still needed, and if so, we look to see if how we use the service may have changed. Sometimes we can downgrade a plan because we don't need all the bells and whistles any more. Sometimes there are new ways to get the same service for free. Many companies add new, and cheaper, plans too.

Services to look at include software subscriptions, email broadcasting, video storage, backup systems, website hosting fees, phones, fax routing, magazine/newsletter subscriptions, cable/satellite TV, internet, and computer/equipment maintenance plans. The last time we did this we saved over $800 for the upcoming year.

I suggest adding a reminder to your calendar and then go for it. You'll be surprised!

-Robin

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AuthorRockin Robin
CategoriesWorking Smart

I have heard that artists and creatives live tortured, angst-ridden lives. I'm very creative but I've never thought of myself as either tortured or angst-ridden. Well, not usually. 

angst.jpg

So now that Harry and I have found ourselves working with lots of kindred spirits (creative types), which I absolutely love, I question it more. Does artistry alway lead to anguish and suffering?   

So with that question in mind I recommend to you this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love). She says,

“We’ve completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry, in the end, will always ultimately lead to anguish. And the question that I want to ask everybody here today…Are you comfortable with that?”

Nope, I am not comfortable with that. Neither is she. Watch this, it's a goodie.

-Robin

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesInspiring

Keeping your computer skills sharp is important and a smart thing to do. Surprisingly, most people don't improve their computing skills over time, believing that they can "get by" with what they already know. The problem is, they pay dearly for it in lost time, money, and productivity. 

Even if you have staff to take care of your computing needs, YOU still need to have good skills so you don't end up spending three days trying to print out address labels like a client of ours did. True story. Why on earth she didn't ask me to do it I'll never know. Three days of her time gone! It would have taken me about 30 minutes. Go figure.

So when you do it yourself, at least have the skills to do it in a reasonable amount of time.

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No, you don't have to know everything but you should have a solid grasp of the basics. Take a computer class at a local college or learning center (or at the Apple store if you have a Mac), use the tutorials that come with your computer and software, or learn everything from basics to advanced by using the lynda.com video tutorials.  Why? They're the best. They do a fantastic job, it's deductible (!), and it's really fun too.

I'm just sayin.  ;-D

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How much software do I need?

Recently Harry and I were shopping in the art supply store. I was drooling over paints, brushes, and everything else. I told myself that the brushes and paint were somehow different than what I already had. For Harry, it's those sets of screwdrivers and rachety thingys from the home improvement store (that look suspiciously like the four sets we already own).

Thankfully, we do (usually) realize that while we may want it, we don't need it, or it's a duplicate of something we already have. 

While we were shopping I had a realization: Many of our clients do the same thing with software. They believe that they need to buy more software to do certain things when they probably already have what they need. They just don't realize it.

A quick Google can yield an answer.  "What software will (do the thing you want to do)?"

Try it. You'll be surprised.

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart

Notice that I did not say "metrics" or "analytics" in the title. That IS what I'm talking about, but whenever I say those words people glaze over and exit faster than a wet cat. So don't you go running off just yet! Stay with me here. 

Website, email, and social media metrics - Sagara Development

Once you see how easy it is to view this kind of info, you'll be amazed at how helpful it is. You will be much better prepared to make good decisions about your online marketing which includes your website.

The info is called analytics, sometimes "metrics" or "stats" and they consist of information you can use to understand and optimize your website, email campaigns, and social media. It's the science of the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data.

Most websites and online systems will do all the heavy lifting for you and will assemble the info into graphs and charts, you only have to remember to LOOK at it.

Here's what I suggest you do:

  1. Set a reminder on your calendar for no less than once every three months. Set aside 30 minutes (or ask me or your webmaster/support person to do this for you and send you a report).
  2. Log into your website and social media accounts.
  3. Go to the place where they show you the analytics, metrics, insights, reports (or whatever).
  4. Spend a few minutes reviewing the info. You'll be surprised, I promise.
  5. Now, was that really so hard?

Want to see specific examples of what we use? Read on!

All of this type of info is widely available. What's covered here are the basics to get you started. You don't have to become an expert, but you should be able to find out if all your time and money is paying off, and if it isn't, why.

Websites / Squarespace

As with most website analytics, you can review an overview of activity, get info on popular content, see who is referring to your website, learn what search engines and words people use to find your website, what they are searching for once they are on your website, and much more.

Look at the overview graphic below. Did you do a big email campaign, a live event, a mailing, or some type of marketing in January? And now you see a big spike in views. Good! Whatever you did, it was effective. Do more of that! Did you do some marketing in October? Uh oh, something went wrong. It didn't work very well if you meant to drive people to your website. That's okay, now you know what IS working, so you can do more of it!

Metrics Overview of Squarespace Website

There is more detailed info if you want to look. It's important to know what website content is popular (see the graphic below). Did you do an email campaign and send people to a specific page? Check the info for that day, and see how it worked. 

Squarespace website metrics

 

Email Broadcasting / MailChimp

"Is my mailing list growing?"  It's THE most common question we get, but there is so much more to effective email campaigns than just growing your list. When you use an email broadcasting system, you can easily see your list growth over time and WHEN it grows. You can see who is opening your newsletters, unsubscribing, clicking through to your website, and how many emails bounced or were undeliverable due to a bad address (or a full mailbox). You can even see if people are clicking through to your social media pages.

Social Media / Facebook

On your business page click Insights (top of page), and you'll be taken to a page of all kinds of info to help you see how effective your page is along with info on how effective each individual post is. 

Individual posts will show you how many people you reached with that post, and you can read and reply to comments below each post.  

While personal pages (you have "Friends") don't have the in-depth info of a business page (you have "Likes"), there is still a lot of info you can review. Go to the View Activity Log button (upper right) for lots of helpful info. You can see a list of your posts, see who has tagged you in a post, review your Friends list, and much more.


The info in this post is to get you started. You don't have to become a website, email, and social media expert, but you should know some things about how YOUR website, email campaigns, and social media are performing. Like I said, no less than quarterly, for 30 minutes. You can thank me later!

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AuthorRobin Sagara
CategoriesWorking Smart