Monthly Archives: December 2011

What did you learn socially in 2011?

Since everyone’s got a list at the end of the year here is one I love! Don’t get caught with your virtual pants down in 2012!
Instead; keep your head up, look both ways, be kinder tomorrow than you are today, complement people when you want nothing in return, do good and tell no one, vote, return the grocery cart, hold a door open for someone other than an elderly or pregnant woman, say “please” and “thank you” Tell all the people you love that you love them and Follow my Blog!
Wishing you peace, love and a kick-ass new year! -Hill
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A new year, a new list

As I sat wondering what to write about today, I decided to offer a little encouragement for those, like myself, who lost their jobs this year. Being laid off is not a judgment on your professional abilities. It is not an indication of your value in the marketplace it really is “Just Business.” Your ability to understand that is what makes you valuable to another company. I know it is stressful and worrying. It makes you anxious and self-conscious but this too shall pass. For me it clouded my other achievements throughout the year. To finish my MBA yet be unemployed is nerve-wracking. I had hoped to transition from one industry to the other seamlessly.

God had other plans for me. I was able to spend the summer with my children, finish school and take many camping trips. If you know me, you know I love camping! I was able to share this joy with my children who actually cried when we packed up the pop-up for the winter. I had plenty of time to think and focus on what was important to me for my next job and focus my strength on making these contacts. I really believe that we have not because we ask not. Partly because we don’t know what to ask for or what we truly want. I spent the last six months making a list for 2012.

Here’s my list:

1.       To stay in Minnesota

I want to raise my children here. We are close to extended family and all the activities we enjoy are here. My husband grew up here.

2.       Transition to business but stay creative

While I possess business acumen, I am an artist first.  I am a visually stimulated human.

3.       Share my knowledge and learn from others

I have always enjoyed working with people and helping them achieve their goals. I always wanted to be the type of boss I wanted to have.

4.       Problem solving is key to my success

I love a good puzzle it keeps my mind sharp and I actually get a little giddy inside when I figure out a stumper!

5.       Keep my schedule family friendly

My days of waiting until the FULL LID goes on at the White House are over!

Seems simple doesn’t it? But it was a lot longer in June and a lot more confused. I needed the time to sift through the basics. Sure compensation is important but remarkably, it was not in my top five. It is a negotiating point to get to the top five.  So now, I know what I want and in 2012 and I intend to get it!

What do you really want? What are your negotiable points? What are your top five “must haves?” I assure you that when you were laid off there were at least five goals the business wanted to meet by laying you off. So don’t be bitter this new year, be prepared and know what you want.  I wish you your list in 2012.

Cheap and easy……. screencasts!

While there are several more expensive programs out there for screen casting, I found that TechSmith’s Jing and Jing Pro are the most cost-effective. This is especially true if the tutorial or presentation you want to create is shorter than 5 minutes or can be broken up into 5 minute segments.  Jing is free, while Jing Pro is about 15 dollars for the year. I use this to teach software to my online students for InDesign and PhotoShop as It allows them to watch the tutorials as many times as they need to learn a specific technique.  They are not polished by any means, and I hate the sound of my voice, but they are effective in quickly sharing.  I use the 5 minute time limits as a way to bridge moving from PhotoShop to InDesign. I then host them from screencast.com so that they play on all computers in the same clean viewer that works on any platform. Again this is a free basic service and 10  dollars a month for more reliable bandwidth. This would be great for sharing group presentations or sending a presentation that does not have to be simulcast. I’ll share a couple but no laughing! OK you can laugh a little. I’m starting to sound like a Minnesotan!

Easy clipping paths

Text wrap after clipping paths

What’s your reach job?

You remember when applying to college you had that one school that it might be a stretch to get into but If you were accepted you knew you’d rise to the occasion? OK so now focus that feeling toward the job you know you’d rise to the occasion for. What is it? Have you set your sights on it? Why not? While reading another of my favorite business author Daniel H. Pinks’ books “Drive.” In the book, Pink talks about the intrinsic motivators that drive people to be successful. The carrot and stick approach as he calls it is so “2000 and late.” Intrinsic motivators are how to inspire your staff, and yourself. So that same feeling you had about your reach school is what will compel you to rise to the occasion at your reach job. Ok I’m over simplifying but I challenge you to read the book, define your reach job and set your sights on it. You’ll rise to the occasion.

The ever-elusive Alpha Mom

A lot of time is spent in conference rooms trying to figure out how to capture our attention. We are usually college educated yet family minded. We work in and out of the home and always get things done in spectacular fashion. Trendsetters yes! leaders of the mom pack, yes and no. The truth is we lead in our element. So how do you engage us? Well I can tell you it is not easy. Our time is precious and almost every minute is accounted for with work, home, school schedules and extracurricular activities. Did I also mention we have our own interest book clubs, professional associations and online groups? It’s a full day and week, so how do we manage it? We cut out the BS! Pardon my French but we have no time to be pitched or wooed. All that we want are the quick solutions to our problems and we usually rely on the advice of a trusted few moms who know us, know what we like and the kind of lives we strive to make for our families.

So how do you get our attention? Make our lives easier. We don’t want to keep up with the Jones’ we are the Jones’. As with all things, there is more than one type of Alpha Mom. I am the techy Alpha Mom. I wanted an iPhone because I saw how it simplified my gadget life. I went from five devices to one. No longer did I need a cell phone, iPod, calendar, laptop and address book all in my purse. I have everything I needed in one device that allows me to schedule the family, keep up with work, workout at the gym and send Christmas cards. I can even keep up with my stepchildren with text messaging while scheduling their flights to visit us. This brilliant invention even amuses my children in the waiting room at the pediatricians.

Looking for how your product will take the pain out of all the things that we need to get done in a day is only part of it, but it’s a great beginning. Keeping it simple and get it into the hands of the technology mom, or the baking mom, or the crafty mom, or the fashion chic mom is another key component. It’s like finding the right apps for your device. As the techy Alpha Mom, I am able to explain to another Alpha Mom why your product is great just by using it. When another mom sees my child calmed by the pain of a shot while watching Dora the Explorer, she’s sold. If my app buzz’s and I send my husband a text to pick up his prescriptions all while watching the 4 year-olds practice their dance to “rubber ducky,” she’s all but put it on her Christmas list. When I snap a little video while they practice, upload and share with family, if she can she’s stopping at the AT&T store on the way home.

So I probably, haven’t told you anything you don’t know already. We are not that hard to understand, but we know each other best and the real way to get our attention is to understand the roles of Alpha Moms. That’s why the crafty Alpha mom, who I know is laughing as she reads this, calls me to set up her 13 year old’s Facebook account. We don’t do it all ourselves, in our world “There’s a Mom for that!”

Gym membership or skills?

 

Skills, abs, skills, abs oh let’s get real you want the abs, you need the skills. One of the best things you can add to your repertoire, especially if you want a job in social media marketing, is to get training in an area where you are weak. Since most business schools teach you marketing, and even digital marketing, as in my case, they don’t have a lot to offer in social media marketing yet. Employers looking to add people with these skills will appreciate the get up and go of candidates who have taken the initiative to teach themselves.  So like the crazy woman I am, I went to Mediabistro.com. Mediabistro offers a host of valuable courses for about the same price as that gym membership. So make a New Year’s resolution you know you can keep. You know you want skills too!

The woman that built me…

If you know me, you’ve met her. You either have eaten her recipes, or received her wisdom when you asked my advice.  Mom loved Christmas. Even more she loved being with her family and friends for holidays. Losing her has taught me so much about what is important in life. She was an excellent communicator and, like her daughter connected with people for life. She opened her heart and her home to everyone she knew. She is responsible for all the best parts of me.  I invite you to learn a little more about her life and the importance of life planning in a documentary that airs on TPT and Minnesota public television, tonight at 7PM CST.   If you’re not in Minnesota, you can watch it here.

As we gather with family and friends, this season.  I ask you to make an appointment with each other to talk about your wishes for end of life care. Don’t do it now and spoil the mood, but make the appointment. It is so important. I wish you all a peaceful and wonderful holiday season. –Your friend, Hillery

Kicking it New School!

New School Marketing is not just a cliché. It is a well-researched approach to how marketers can put their best foot forward in a changing arena. It is no longer acceptable for seasoned veterans to acquiesce to ignorance. Yes. I said it! Get your head out of the hole and get with the program! I don’t mean just hiring a techy to tweet on the companies behalf, but understanding how each component of a new school media campaign work together. The more you know, the better you can calculate the risks of taking your marketing department into this new frontier. So let’s start with the basics.

Responsys Interact offers a wealth of white paper and data on New School Marketing. This is a good place to start learning the basics. If you like what they have to say they offer services that can help your business launch a full-scale campaign and track metrics all from the same CMS. Download their informational white papers and read them over the holiday break. This may give you some new ideas on where to lead your company and marketing department in 2012.

Google+ a great opportunity.

This is a great article for those wanting to navigate the Google+ waters.
How to Build an Effective Google+ Brand Strategy: http://bit.ly/uUoCrW

Keep your first-born when renting equipment!

In this era of tight budgets creative directors are challenged with how to get projects photographed on a budget. There is always stock art but that doesn’t work if you need your own products or people photographed. Local freelancers are a great way to get agency quality photography without paying for the agency overhead and someone’s Christmas bonus. There are downsides to hiring a freelancer. The first of course is hiring a good one for your needs. I can help with that, as I have an extensive list of contacts all across the country. That’s a perk of having been an AP photographer. The second is the astronomical cost of photo and studio equipment for photographers, who are great but don’t have all the gear they need for your job.

“Well, I’m here to tell you, there’s something else”…. A  place that will help recreate the light of the sun. No not the after world, but I do love that Prince Song! Lensprotogo.  Gone are the days of having to give up your first-born and a huge deposit to rent gear! You only pay for your rental and the rates are extremely reasonable. I rented a new d7000 for 6 days for 137.00 dollars. It arrived on time in a pelican case for protection and even included a Tootsie roll pop! The only issue I had was they sent one lollipop and I have two little girls. Apart from the sibling wars. I couldn’t ask for any better customer service or pricing.