Category Archives: Branding

Why pretty graphics make a difference for your business (and how to make yours look good)

gimmespace!

OK. I have a bone to pick… PLEASE STOP POSTING CRAPPY GRAPHICS!!

I know, I’m a total design snob.

Being a designer for 15 years will do that to you. I also just like to look at pretty things in general. I’m very sensory oriented.

But, snobbery and eye candy aside, there is good reason for this demand.

Back when I was a designer full time, my tagline was ‘Making the world a better place, one design at a time.’

There is so much truth in that sentence, regardless of who is making the graphics – you or a designer.

Pretty things make people happy and happy people do awesome stuff. They’re more creative and inspired and motivated to do the things that change the world.

And in the online world these days, awesome stuff is also what goes viral and gets shared all over the internets. And the stuff that gets shared millions of times IS WHAT CHANGES THE WORLD the fastest!

Whether or not someone has a trained eye for design,
they pick up on crappy looking design.

Except, the non-trained eye clicks away because they feel uncomfortable. And because they didn’t realize it was that distorted, pixelated image on your site that made them feel uncomfortable, they might think that… {GASP}… YOU make them uncomfortable.

Let’s just sit with that for a moment…

Crappy looking materials for your biz make people
project that crappiness onto you.

(click here to tweet that!)

Ew. We don’t want that.

The good news is that YOU ARE NOT CRAPPY!!

YOU ARE AWESOME!!

And there is an easy way to fix this… make your biz look HOT with badass images!

Hey guys, look at my mandala!!

Umm, it's kinda blury .................... AHHH, MY EYES! .................... OOOO! That's PRETTY!
gimmespace!

Here are a few simple tips for creating pretty graphics:

1. Handle image size in the proper ways.

Photos are not infinitely scalable or stretchable. They are made of tiny boxes called pixels and when you scale an image larger, the program you’re using has to guess what would fill the extra space you just made, which is why it ends up looking pixellated. Also, there can be a tendency to stretch or squish an image to make it a certain size.

To avoid this… use crisp, clear images that are large enough to do what you want with. Always scale the image proportionately – if you need it to be smaller, crop away!

Where to find these crisp, clear photos? My favorite stock image site to peruse is veer.com.

OR

Use your own! I use my iPhone and she takes lovely pictures. Here’s a fun little course if you’d like to improve your iPhonography skillz. 

2. Use PNGs when posting on Facebook.

For whatever reason… Facebook makes JPG images with text look funky, whenever possible, use the PNG format instead.

3. Edit your photos.

An easy way to make your images look good is to edit them. You don’t need fancy editing knowhow or software to do this. Even though I’ve been a designer for 15 year, I just use my phone these days!

It’s easy to make any photo look more interesting with some filters and text. Here are my fave apps to use:

  • Instagram – Tip: If you put your phone on airplane mode, you can apply filters without actually posting the image to your feed. Go through the entire process of posting – the post will fail because you’re in airplane mode and will store your filtered image in the Photo Album. Then you can continue to play with that, sexy looking image in…
  • Afterlight – Has filters and some basic editing features. But I love it for the frames! They come come in all sorts of shapes – hearts, stars, every letter of the alphabet etc etc etc. Also has some fun options to add light leaks which can make your images more ethereal.
  • A Beautiful Mess – Use this to add text and doodles to your images! It also has some backgrounds to choose from if you just want to do
  • Over – Another text and doodle/drawings app. This one has loads of fonts to choose from!
gimmespace!
My photo + Instagram + Over
gimmespace!

4. Hire a designer

If you’re not artistically inclined and/or don’t enjoy making the arts, it pays off to hire someone to do it for you. Seriously, your bottom line will thank you in more time to do YOUR thang, less frustration struggling to make things look pretty and, well, keep reading…

BUT! Before you do ANY of this, you need to…

*** Find your brand STYLE so you can create unique, on-brand images. ***

Embodying the proper energy for your business makes your brand look sexy and your audience TAKE NOTICE!

Like anything, designs carry energy with them and the energy you want people to see and the energy your business is actually exuding should match.

You wouldn’t design materials for a university in the style of a preschool, right?! Well, the same thing is true for your business – people really pick up on the subtle nuances of what you put out there. The more cohesive of a brand image you create, the more magnetic your brand’s voice gets.

If people aren’t paying attention, how are you going to change the world?!

So yea…

1. Find your brand style

2. Make your brand LOOK as hot as it REALLY IS

3. Change the world

The end.

gimmespace!

Don’t know your brand style? Weird Heart/Wild Heart will show you!

And also, I’m raising my rates! I have a few spots left in each of my programs at the old rates and then they DOUBLE in investment – check it out here.

gimmespace!


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Being yourself and doing what you love can change your life

I have a little story for you!

You may or may not know this, but I’ve been drawing lately… a lot.

And all this drawing has added a whole new dimension to my business.

I’m telling this story for two reasons: 

1. To share with you how finding a creative practice you love can be life altering.

2. And to show you exactly what rocking your WEIRD can do for you!

 

<3 Love letter to you and me mandala <3

 

It started in earnest last fall.

Well, technically, I’ve been drawing since I was a wee child (we all have!), took lots of art classes while I was growing up and then majored in art.

When I graduated from college, I became a graphic designer. All of my creative energy went into designing all day and I stopped making art for myself.

Over the past few years, though, I’ve been doing more consulting and less design and last fall, I started to feel like something was missing.

I wasn’t really sure what it was, but I knew that I was feeling burned out…

Being an entrepreneur is really hard sometimes!

It’s stressful to constantly be exposing yourself to the world and if you’re like me, you’re not very good at ending the work day at a reasonable hour because there’s always more you ‘could’ be doing.

So yea, burned out.

When you’re burned out, all you wanna do is chill out and relax and enjoy yourself.

It turns out it can be surprisingly difficult to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel like there’s a lot to do. The guilt monster immediately showed up, throwing all kinds of profanity in my direction.

But that was the whole reason I had gotten myself into the mess of feeling burned out in the first place.

I was also having quite a hard time remembering what I *actually* liked to do for fun!

So, I decided to go way way back in the archives… to childhood!

I knew I liked to hang out in nature… so many, many walks ensued.

And while I was walking, I found a playground and rediscovered the swings, so I added that to my list. But, it turns out that adults without kids aren’t really welcome in playgrounds anymore so… that was just sort of awkward!

I read some of my fave books as a kid.

These things were all successful at helping me call up that glorious feeling of freedom and curiosity.

And then I dug out the art supplies…

It started with a few handmade cards and some futzing around with watercolors.

I liked it because I could make whatever the heck I wanted without having to think about pleasing anyone. It was all in the name of feeling good.

Over time, I noticed that I had naturally started gravitating towards making art whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by other things in my life or feeling creatively stuck and scared in my biz. I’m pretty amazed that in a matter of a few weeks, art making had officially been inducted into my subconscious as a tool to use to take me from feeling ‘UGH’ to feeling ‘WEEEEEEE!!!!’!!!!

 

This one is about sacred geometry.

And then my friend Mariah Neeson sent me this video on how to draw a mandala.

And EVERYTHING JUST EXPLODED!

I had always been very intrigued by mandalas but was way too intimidated by their intricacy to try drawing one (it turns out it’s insanely easy!).

Suddenly I was a drawing maniac. I couldn’t WAIT to draw everyday!

And then something really interesting happened… I noticed that what I was drawing completely reflected whatever was going on inside me – whatever I was struggling with, or celebrating, emotionally or mentally ended up on the page.  Of course, I later found out that Carl Jung touted the mandala as a representation of the inner self which explained a lot.

 

Drawing as play!

 

Every time I drew a mandala, I discovered something new about myself or solved a life problem or transformed a crappy stressed out mood into a calm one… and in the rest of my life, I saw huge changes!

I started accepting and loving myself more, expressing myself more opening, I launched a passion project, I grew the ovarios needed to state what I wanted and needed, transforming several important relationships in my life and so so many other things.

So there I was… drawing my daily mandalas and loving it! (my handle is @poodlecat if you’re curious to see them – or you can look at the Instagram album on my Facebook page)

And other people were loving it, too! Any time someone would email me or call me, they’d bring up the mandalas and how much they were enjoying them. I was really surprised by just how into them people were!

So I decided to package up all the stuff I had been exploring through my daily mandalas into a drawing workshop to see if other peeps would want to experience (and re-experience) just how effing awesome drawing is!! And thus Be Drawsome! was born.

And it turns out that all kinds of people, artists and non-artists, are super excited about drawing!! WOOHOOOO!!

 

Letting go of old crap.

 

Something that’s been there all along but that I had no clue would transform me and have such an impact on the people around me. So there you have it, the 10 month process of seeking, playing, discovering and sharing a deep part of myself.

The lesson: go after what makes you feel good,
enjoy the heck out of it and share it with others.
Be your weird self and you will totally changes lives!

 

 

 

 

If you’re curious to explore drawing, would love to have you in the latest Be Drawsome! Workshop! Check it out here!

Is your business built on SHOULD?

For the past 3 days, I’ve been trying to finish this blog post.

Not THIS blog post, but a different blog post. Yesterday, while in major procrastination mode, I went perusing through my collection of half written blog post drafts and I discovered that I have tried to write that post on several different occasions from different angles.

Wow.

In addition to the time I spent writing different versions of the post, there’s the all the time I spent thinking about the post. It sounded something like this…

“You should write that blog post.”

“You need to finish that blog post.”

“Why aren’t you writing that blog post?”

“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU NEVER DO WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING!!!”

Again, wow.

If I have to berate myself into misery to get the thing written, it’s not going to come out in an open and expansive way. And people don’t connect with things that don’t come out in an open and expansive – they just aren’t all that enjoyable for anyone.

I mean, do you march along thinking to yourself…

“I’m dying to pay to work with someone who is all tied up in knots, creating out of misery,.”

“I’m looking for that person who is having a horrible, depressing, not fun time in their biz. I bet they can help me!”

“I want the person who is hiding their true self from the world and offering something they aren’t all that into.”

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say ABSOLUTELY NOT! You want to hire people who are excited and happy and inspired, right?!! Well, your clients do, too.

There’s no reason to be unhappy in your business.

Sure, some things are less fun than others. And yes, sometimes, you have to do the unhappy to even know that you aren’t into it.

And of course, even the things you *want* to do will make you uncomfortable for certain reasons like getting outside your comfort zone and pushing past blocks.

But, it’s important to establish the difference between the *shoulds* – the stuff you’re forcing yourself to do because you think you have to – and the *wants*…

The stuff you REALLY REALLY LOVE.

The stuff that just flows out of you and makes you all warm and fuzzy and giggly and smiley.

The stuff that makes the world feel like this magical place where everything makes sense.

So, what’s up? Is your biz built on the *shoulds* or the *wants*???

Do you want to gouge your eyes out every time you think about that lead you need to follow up on or that shopping cart you were going to set up or that program you haven’t gotten around to launching?

Sheesh! Give yourself  break.

You are totally allowed to trade in the *shoulds* for the fun stuff! <– tweet this!

gimmespace!

p.s. If you don’t know where *should* stops and *want* begins, get in touch, we can get you sorted. There’s no reason to struggle, that’s probably a *should* talking, too. Only 24 hours left to take advantage of getting the Own Your Weird program AT 50% OFF!


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How to OWN YOUR WEIRD in your branding and marketing

I drew this! Utilizing my doodles for blog posts. Score!

Do you ever have moments where you’re super frustrated with yourself about a thing you just can’t seem to stop doing?

Maybe it’s that you heard through water cooler gossip that your boss thinks you socialize too much.

Or that your brain won’t stop coming up with ideas. There’s so many ideas that you can’t stick to one long enough to get anything done.

Or you can’t stop Pinning and Instagraming.

Or you’re completely obsessed with your cat and think of her as your guru.

You doodle all day long, peruse DIY blogs and your dvr is 98% full of reality tv

Guess what!

These are not vices. Don’t stop doing them. Own them and leverage them.

Contrary to what your boss or your mom or your high school nemesis might say… Things you love to do hold tons of wisdom about what you’re meant to be doing with your life. <– click to tweet that!

You just have to get creative and figure out how to use them to your advantage.

That last one is mine. I am completely obsessed with reality tv. There, I said it.

I used to make myself miserable with all the internal berating about wasting time and being lazy. But, once I realized how many branding and marketing lessons I was getting from watching reality tv, it became fodder for my biz.

Yes, I now consider tv time to be research time!

You can leverage your ‘bad habits’ too!

Start a forum so you can socialize all you want!

Put your idea generation powers up for sale!

Build a marketing strategy around Pinterest and Instagram!

Start a video series featuring life lessons a la Mister FluffyPants!

Start seeing your doodles as the art they are and put them in an Etsy store!

Share your DIY stories on a blog of your own!

So, what are your guilty pleasures? And, how can you spin them into something you can capitalize on?

If you aren’t sure, I can help! Get in touch or sign-up for the Own Your Weird program and transform your vices into virtues.

gimme space!

–} A word about the sale! {–

I’ve decided to extend the sale one more week, until Wed, Dec 19th! YAY!!

Own Your Weird – was $597, now $297! (Also comes in payment plan form). It’s all about using your unique breed of personality awesomeness to make you STAND OUT in the crowd. Check it out »

Clarity Hotline – my brand new one-off coaching! All the awesome question asking, brainstorming, goodness, tailored to what’s going on with you, one session at a time.
Buy 1 60 min session   –> $100
Buy 2 60 min sessions –> $180 (10% off)
Buy 3 60 min sessions –> $240 (20% off)
Buy 4 60 min sessions –> $280 (30% off)

Hit me back if you have any questions. I would be positively delighted to help you close out 2012 and get all set-up to ROCK 2013! 


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Merry Fishmas! (and massive discounts!)

Happy December!

–} It’s the holidays! {–

I celebrated Hannukah growing up. Since my mother feels really uncomfortable around anything Christmas related, and never wants to partake in it, I always felt like I was watching the holidays from afar. Which was really pretty sad because… I love all things holidays!

People are (for the most part) extra friendly and happy. Everything is all sparkly and twinkly and cozy, and smells yummy. It’s like stepping into a cinnamon scented womb!

Fast forward to 2005. I had just moved to New York and went over to my friends’ place on Christmas. The three of us ate fish tacos, drank boozy egg nog and had a holiday movie marathon. It was fun times.

In 2006, we got together again, and upped our game. More people came. The host’s kitty donned a santa hat. There was champagne. It was officially a partay. And thus, Fishmas was born!

In the past seven years, Fishmas has grown, from three people eating tacos made of fish sticks and tartar sauce, to a packed apartment participating in the holiday of non-denominational, wintery raucous. We’re talkin’ freshly beer battered fish, homemade corn tortillas, a gift exchange, pumpkin infused burbon and… well… what happens at Fishmas stays at Fishmas, mmmmmmk!

While it might not *look* the same, it 100% *feels* like the holiday experience I always dreamed of as a kid! 

If your holiday isn’t everything you’ve always wanted, you officially have permission to make up your own perfect winter shenanigans.

This freedom of creation applies to your business, too.

Yup, whatever weird, crazy thing you might have squirming around in your brain… you have permission to let it out! I promise you, people will LOVE it!

And, if you’re not having fun with your biz the way it is right now, change it. For the love of god, get rid of what’s not making you happy!

gimme space!

gimme space!

–} And now, the gifts! {–

It’s a super sale! I’m offering massive discounts for the next week on…

Own Your Weird – was $597, now $297! (Also comes in payment plan form). It’s all about using your unique breed of personality awesomeness to make you STAND OUT in the crowd. Check it out »

Clarity Hotline – my brand new one-off coaching! All the awesome question asking goodness, tailored to what’s going on with you, one session at a time.
Buy 1 60 min session   –> $100
Buy 2 60 min sessions –> $180 (10% off)
Buy 3 60 min sessions –> $240 (20% off)
Buy 4 60 min sessions –> $280 (30% off)

Hit me back if you have any questions. I would be positively delighted to help you close out 2012 and get all set-up for 2013! 


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Leverage your special breed of WEIRD in your business!

Do you know your idiosyncrasies??

They might be pain points from your past… things you got teased for, shamed over and generally embarrassed about.

But here’s the thing, you aren’t a kid on the school yard anymore or vying for love from your parents.

And the good news about that?

You have permission to CELEBRATE these qualities. 

That’s right, you can stop hiding them and instead, LEVERAGE them to serve you.

This is the foundation of bringing the weird out in your biz.

Lemme show you, here are a few of my idiosyncrasies and how I’m leveraging them in my biz:

  1. The unique and WEIRD. — I help people celebrate their weird (this is getting meta!)
  2. Fresh ideas – millions of them! — Creative brainstorming for branding and marketing strategies
  3. Getting REALLY excited about things — Providing encouragement, cheerleading, accountability
  4. Being really sensitive — I use my intuitive gifts to help people dig out the root of what’s going on
  5. Spirit animals — Stay tuned, this is coming soon!
  6. Geometric shapes — I’ve been a graphic/web designer since 1998
  7. Talking in funny voices — General entertainment and laughs

So, what about you? What are those qualities you (or others) have deemed too weird for public?

Make a list. And then, do a little brainstorming about how you can leverage them to your advantage.

Share them in the comments for bonus points!!

gimme space!

OWN YOUR WEIRD!!

gimme space!


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How being yourself in your business can get you the sale

It was 4am when I left my friends’ apartment in the West Village so I decided to cab it home to Brooklyn.

The driver was this tiny man and as soon as I got in his cab, he threw a handful of bangles at me and exclaimed “Try them on, see which ones fit!” And then started blasting Bollywood.

And I was thinking… oh dear, this man is a wee bit nutty.

He proceeded to serenade me while driving like a maniac through lower Manhattan.

And then, right as he got on the bridge, he started waving around a fist full of snakes. SNAKES!!

And then I was thinking… WHAT THE HALE IS GOING ON?? This man is absolutely nuts. I might die in this cab.

It took me half way across the bridge to realize the snakes were wooden. (seriously, they looked real!)

When we got off the bridge, his insanity continued. Including attempting to peddle his wooden snakes out the window while we were stopped at a red light and yelling at me for talking on my cell phone.

I made it home in one piece and as flabbergasted as I was by the whole thing, on my way out of the cab, I bought an insanely overpriced $10 snake from him.

I mean, I had to… RIGHT??!!

This is the snake.

Before this experience, I had zero interest in wooden snakes. But $10 was a small price to pay for a commemorative keepsake of tiny man’s wild ride. I probably would have even paid $20.

Had this been a completely normal, quiet and respectful cab ride that ended with him asking if I wanted to buy a snake, the answer probably would have been no.

But because he spent the entire time I was in the cab setting up the sale by adding a value to the snake with his performance, he turned a normally meaningless dollar store toy into a treasured keepsake. There’s a lot we can learn about branding, marketing and sales from this guy’s antics.

He took something common and whatever, a cab ride, and transformed it into a unique and memorable experience just by adding his own breed of flair to it. And because of it, was able to tack an extra $10 onto his fare.

This approach can be applied to any business.

What aspects of your personality can you bring into your biz that would get your clients buying anything you wave infront of their face?

Tell me in the comments below or over on Facebook

(Acting like a crazy person is optional but if that’s your thing – totally rock it!)

If you’re wondering how to take YOUR wooden snake from EH to OUTRAGEOUS, sign-up for a Bring Out Your Weird! Session where we’ll get you seeing value where you’ve never seen it before.

My treat! (yes, that means it won’t cost you anything!)