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Benjamin Kline
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Google is hilarious! So I have Google Alerts set up to email me a daily digest of new mentions of my toy store brand ("Tenacious Toys") online... lately I've been getting frequent emails from Google Alerts as they discover new pages in my website (there are hundreds, if not thousands). Today was my "checkout complete" page. Hilarious that Google discovers these pages so slowly, but I am glad for the emails as I see that Google has recorded the existence of so many different pages of my website. Google knowing each page of your site is the only way it can show those pages in their search results!

BRANDING & BLOGGING PROTIP: Set up Google Alerts for your brand name, your own name, and any other subjects or topics you wish to follow. These other topics can become great, timely blog posts for you. Google will send them right to your inbox, all ya gotta do is pick one that's relevant and blog about it... easy!
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Another great article by Manta- how to name your business! Something very few of us think about at the VERY beginning, but all really important lessons here.

What's in a name? A lot.

Especially when it comes to SEO.

I should have named my "Tenacious Toys" business "Tenacious Art and Vinyl Toys" because the keywords "art toys" and "vinyl toys" are in there.

Something to think about.
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I get a lot of useless emails, but the ones I get from Manta are ALWAYS great. They're basically Manta online articles, sent to my inbox. I highly recommend getting yourself on this email list of you run your own business.
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TIP FOR CREATIVES:
Does this ecard meme describe you?
I wouldn't be surprised; this one was shared 44,000 times on Facebook when I saw it a minute ago.

Your creative brain is what makes you special. It makes connections that other peoples' brain do not make- that is the definition of creativity.

I should know, I'm an artist too. Our brains are wired a little differently. And that's great!

But one of the things I noticed when I shifted my time from doing my own art to running an art-related business is that the creative brain and all its chaotic glory absolutely SUCKS at planning and organization.

Organizing/planning stuff, and that in-the-moment creative flow that allows you to produce something unique, tend to cancel each other out.

I don't know about you, but I cannot plan/organize projects and create art at the same time. I'm guessing you're the same.

In fact, most artists rarely, if ever, plan and organize. It's not a part of their psychological makeup. 

But I am telling you this: you need to try to develop some system- any system- that allows you to plan your projects, plan your time, manage your money, manage your supplies... all those incredibly irritating things people HAVE to do to live stress-free lives.

EVEN IF YOU HATE PLANNING.... please try.

In the past 10 years of running an art business, I have seen many artists grow and gain recognition. With this comes more tasks, scheduling, planning. Some rise to the occasion, some are oppressed by this requirement the rest of the world seems to have to, say, actually stick to a schedule or deliver a project by a certain date, at a certain cost. Even your own personal promotional efforts must be scheduled and rolled out in a logical manner, with great timing.

BUT HOW DO I START GETTING MY ACT TOGETHER?
There are many ways to organize.

I suggest you start yourself off by asking yourself:

Where am I going?
What is my end goal?
or
What would I LIKE to happen to my art career in 5 years?

Once you have a clear idea of what you want out of life, you can begin working backwards: what are the steps you need to take to get to that goal?

WRITE THE STEPS DOWN.
Seriously.

Write down a list of steps you must take to accomplish your goal. I promise the first time you cross one off, you will get a rush of accomplishment.

BREAK IT DOWN FURTHER
Once you get used to the idea of planning big steps, you might want to break the steps down further. TRUST ME, planning your life out will make it better.

Once you realize you have a show in June, a show in September, a convention in October, 35 customers waiting on your commission list, a wedding to attend in July, visiting your parents for a week in August and your car needs to pass inspection before the end of the month, you'll really want to know what you must do each day to get all of that done on time.

Think very clearly about each project. How long does it take to finish it? Take that, add 30% to that time to account for your procrastination and speedbumps, and literally write the beginning and end dates of the project into your calendar.

Then move on to the next one, and the next. Soon your calendar fills up and it becomes very clear what you should work on each day.

It may not work for you, but I use my iPhone's calendar and I write everything in there. I literally cannot remember all the things I'm supposed to do each day, and where I'm supposed to be at what time. But I can flip open my calendar in the morning and it tells me. Day is planned. I'm effective, my clients are happy because I deliver what I say I'm going to deliver, when I say I'm going to do it. Happy clients means more success, more money.

Word gets around. If you fail to deliver on a project, the people who put together projects will share that info with each other. Do this a few times, and it'll become general knowledge that you can't be trusted to deliver the goods on time, and the potential clients cross you off their lists when they plan their own projects.

BUT... BUT I CAN'T
Yes you can.
One of my clients told me that she gets really stressed out by microplanning- she likes to wing it. She can comfortably exist in chaos. Her brain literally grinds to a halt when faced with lots of dates, steps, planning, scheduling.

But, she runs a business with a lot of moving parts. When she fails to plan out all the employee's responsibilities and moves each day, the organization breaks down, becomes ineffective. So it's my job to help her stick to a process and a procedure whereby the right info gets to the right employees, on time.

In her case, quite often this means developing a system by which she is not responsible for certain tasks- I take care of them. On the schedule I've developed.

At the same time, I've been getting her used to working on a distinct schedule. I want you to try to develop a schedule for yourself and watch the positive effects that come down the road, in the future, once you've knocked out some projects on schedule.

NO REALLY, I CAN'T
OK. You actually might not be able to think in an organized manner at all. Are you late paying rent every month, late to dinner every night, forget to feed the dog some nights? If so, you are a terrible planner and now that you're an adult, it'll never change. Or at least not without Tony Robbins.

OK. So the first step is admitting you have a problem.

The second step is to contact someone trustworthy, and close to you, and pay/bribe/cajole them into managing your time.

If you are utterly incapable of managing your own schedule, it doesn't mean you are free from the rigid scheduling that the rest of the world uses.

You still need to fall within that framework of time management.

If you can't do it, empower someone else to do it for you, and don't argue with them when they tell you to stop working on something and go do something else.

Plan - Create - Plan - Create - Win
#ecard #meme #artist #advice #creative #planning #freetips #tips #tipsandtricks  
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FREE TIP: SHARING IMAGES AND COPY FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES
If you are promoting a business venture or new product via email, make sure you include graphics that are square.

Yesterday I received an email from a company promoting a new toy. They included a decent backstory description but the one image they attached to the email was tall- portrait layout.

My first thought was: I'd like to share this image and copy with my network via Instagram- that way it can be sent to Twitter, FB, etc. I do this from my phone.

But when I saved the image and began the process of Instagramming, I discovered that in order to crop the image to the IG square layout, I'd have to eliminate either the toy (which was located in top half of image) or the website address (located in bottom half of image).

Either choice would have destroyed any usefulness of that post for both my network and for the company that sent the email to me... another unhelpful detail was that this company did not write their company name, the name of the toy, or their website, into the copy they provided. It was just the backstory. The name of the company and the name of the toy were in the subject line of the email only.

If I wanted to share the important company info, I'd have to type it in.... with big fingers, on an iPhone. Not gonna happen.

BOTTOM LINE:
To promote effectively in the internet age, make sure your graphics and copy are complete and correct.

Share square images that contain all the info the viewer needs to understand your product and buy it so that the images can be posted to any social media platform without alteration.

Share copy that stands on its own, without the image. Include the name of your company and the name of your product. Write in the 3rd person so that text can be copied and pasted into someone else's feed so that it makes sense without alteration of pronouns.

NO:
"We are very pleased to announce the release of our next major toy project..."

YES:
"Tenacious Toys® announces the release of their next major toy project..."

Stay tuned for more free tips!
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Time to start building this list! Look for free updates coming soon!
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OMFG Series 3 has just 11 days left on it's Kickstarter.  They still need a little over $4k to reach their goal!  Come on folks let's get this series funded!  
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