Let Your Passion Set You Free OR Help! I’m Scared!

Put your passion to work

Put your passion to work

When you think about passion, does it conjure up visions of two people intertwined in a passionate embrace. Whether you’re romantically involved or not, seek to integrate passion into your everyday lives. Passion can fuel your energy better than a cup of coffee and help you navigate through resistance.
A young friend and I have been discussing her desire to start a business. Sam, my friend, is brimming with questions. The big ones—How did you know what business to start? How do know the right things to do to compete? Did you need lots of money to start a business?
Like many would be entrepreneurs, Sam would love to spend her days doing things she loves on her own terms. How do you know, though, which business is the “right” one? Sam struggles with the nagging doubt that she wouldn’t have anything “special” enough to offer.
Although I believe the ideas I’ve based my businesses on were teetering on the edge of brilliance (ok…I admit it…I secretly always thought they were over the edge), they didn’t have the cultural impact of, say, the invention of the telephone or computers.
What they did have was the benefit of a passion for invention and creativity that I have been nurturing all my life . Can passion alone make a business succeed? No. Can it be a critical factor in your success? Absolutely. I’ve often had people comment on how courageous I was starting my businesses. I love this quote by Ambrose Redmoon:

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

When it comes to starting a business, that something else would be you! It might also be the realization that you can make difference in the lives of others by making a difference in your own. Always remember that every thought you think and every action you take is creating your future. You are what you believe you are and your passion can set you free to focus and be all you can be—It’s like an “advance pass go” to success card.

Passion resides within all of us. Find yours and you’re on your way.


A Virtual Receptionist—Hire One Today

A simple phone solution for small businesses

A simple phone solution for small businesses

There was a time when the hustle and bustle of my office hummed with conversation, interaction and phones ringing. Today, it purrs with the sound of sleeping cats, Twitter tweets and email notifications.

If you haven’t noticed, our lives are on the brink of a virtual reality. Most dictionary definitions of virtual now include something along the lines of this one from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Being on or simulated on a computer or computer network—occurring or existing primarily online.

For the past couple years, all the minds and masters of creativity that contribute in assorted ways to the continuing Eagle Publishing saga have moved home to work with my blessings. Their cats need them, too.

In the beginning of our newly enlightened state, since I was the only one remaining in the office, I became the phone receptionist. Since I travel and am away from “the office” a good deal of the time and, admittedly, really did not want the job, we had a problem.

Enter—the virtual world. A Google search rounded up several virtual receptionists. I chose Onebox. It was easy to set up and can be administered online. Viola! Problem solved. It’s just too cool!

Here’s how it works…You call us on our office phone using the local or our 800 number. Onebox answers the call (I know it’s not a live person but this woman knows her stuff—trust me). You’re offered an assortment of extensions. You choose and your call is forwarded while you listen to soothing music. If your target is on another line or busy saving the world or getting coffee, you’re sent into voicemail and we’re notified via email so we can call you back.

I’ll soon be eliminating our landlines all together and directing callers to use our new toll-free Onebox number, 866-638-1115 (which btw is included in the very affordable cost of the service). You can also fax to this number. Your fax is converted to a .pdf and sent to our email to be viewed anytime, anywhere. I love it!

Save money, service our clients better and spend more time with our cats. Can it get any better? I’m still waiting for the clone service but until then, I grateful for my virtual receptionist. We’ll be talking to you soon, I hope.

What Is Custom Publishing?

Custom publishing can make your business stand out

Custom publishing can make your business stand out

Over the weekend, I was again reminded that the term “custom publishing” conjures up a variety of definitions and rarely the right one. The Custom Publishing Council uses this definition:

“Custom publishing marries the marketing ambitions of a company with the information needs of its target audience. This occurs through the delivery of editorial content–via print, Internet, and other media–so intrinsically valuable that it moves the recipient’s behavior in a desired direction.”

You’ve no doubt seen examples (aside from ours, of course) and didn’t even know it. Costco, AARP and AAA all have well read examples of a custom magazine. These publications are information packed and well written. They provide you with information about their products in an inviting and fun environment. Their goal, and in these cases they’ve succeeded, is to put them at the top of your mind when you think of the type of products they offer.

As you start to become more aware, you’ll see examples often. Maybe you’ve seen a special lifestyle magazine at your bank, or a health related one at your doctor’s office. For years, company and organization newsletters played the role of custom publishing without the designation.

Blogs (such as the Eagle Publishing one you’re reading right now!) are one of the newest and most exciting examples of custom publishing. The internet provides ready answers to every question we can think of and we’ve come to depend on to fulfill many needs in our daily lives.

Gone are the days when a standard display ad is enough. I say that hesitantly, as advertising in print media is what supported my family for years and brought me to where I am in business today. And, I am still and likely will be for years to come, a reader of magazines. Fact of the matter is, though, the average display ad in a magazine has the eye of the beholder for two seconds—about as long as it takes to say custom publishing. For the same dollars spent, a custom campaign has the potential for you to spend hours with your customer one on one. Which one do you think will benefit your company most and give you the best return on your investment?

Custom publishing is a win win for all involved. Companies are able to reach out to their existing and potential customers in a friendly, relevant environment. On the flipside, the reader has access to volumes of information that can help improve their lives, give them pleasure and allow them to learn more about a company they may want to do business with.

It’s been a win win for me, too. Being the info-holic I am, I’m learning new things every day as we journey confidently into the realm of custom publishing. I love it!

Can Barter Benefit You?

Keep more cash in your pocket

Keep more cash in your pocket

It seems everyone I talk to now is trying to stretch their hard earned dollars to cover more with less. While attending a women’s business meeting last night, a table mate inquired if I had ever tried bartering.

I’ve been a member of a barter organization, ITEX, for over 15 years now. I’ve traded goods for goods directly, also, but joining an organized barter organization like ITEX allows more opportunities to use your trade dollars.

The big question…How does it work? Think of ITEX as the bank where you have your account. You have a service people pay for. Let’s say you’re a restaurant. An ITEX member has dinner at your restaurant and pays with a trade draft that draws from the trade dollars they have banked in their ITEX account. You deposit the draft, just as you would a check, into your ITEX account.

You now visit an ITEX member, a dentist, to have some work done and pay him with trade dollars in your account. You’re also in the process of renting a vacation beach house in Mexico that is owned by an ITEX member that lives halfway across the country. You pay for the rental with trade dollars. All the while, fellow ITEX members continue to dine at your restaurant, helping grow your trade dollar spending power.

Sign up fees for ITEX vary from office to office. My broker is running a new member campaign now and you can sign up with no fee. The usual sign up fee can vary. Each month, you’ll pay a cash maintenance fee and 6-8% on each transaction—coming and going.

People have bartered practically since the beginning of time. In these challenging economic times, barter might help you take care of business even when cash flow is tight or maybe you’ll be able to take that much needed vacation after all. If you have questions, I’d be glad to answer them and put you in touch with my trade broker to explore your options. Email me at nwwoman@mac.com or call me toll free at 1-866-638-1115 ext 3.

The World of Apple Macintosh

A move in the right direction

A move in the right direction

Thinking about buying a Mac? A new Twitter friend @midlifetrip mentioned that she was a Macintosh newbie. I can promise any hesitation in her journey and yours will be brief.

I’ve been a diehard Macintosh fan and user since 1987 (ooooh, that’s an age marker!) I’ve lost count of models I’ve moved through over the years but never have I been disappointed. Here are a few things to consider if the world of Macintosh is calling to you.

Which one do I want? With so many choices today, choosing the right model can be overwhelming. Plus, spendy purchases can lead to indecision. Ask yourself how and where you’ll use your computer. Question number one—mobile or desktop. It’s a mobile world but if you’re only buying a laptop so you can get your email on the go, remember there are other, even more portable, options.

Desktops have advantages but I would be lost without my laptop. When I’m sitting at my desk, my work demands a larger screen. Keep in mind, the Pro versions allow you to add an additional screen.

How much power do I need? The answer lies in what you do. Any graphic oriented acitivies whether it be gaming, movie editing or graphic designer raises you a higher tier. Remember, also, that processor speeds of PC and Macs are like apples and oranges. The same number does not mean the same thing. Always shoot for the higher side of what you need.

How much RAM do I need and what is it anyway? RAM (random access memory), your computer’s memory, may be the biggest source of frustration for computer users. Invest in RAM and you invest in a frustration free future. Does your computer freeze up or process unbearably slow sometimes. RAM is the likely culprit. Like the human brain, RAM is trying to memorize everything you have open and are working on. More is better.

Macs are easy, simple to use, look cool and are destined to be your friend for life. We’re not experts but as enthusiastic fans, we’re here to help our friends. If you encounter questions on your Mac exploration, run it by us. You can follow me on Twitter and send me a message @vickidar. Welcome to my world!

Hello world!

Setting out on a new adventure

Setting out on a new adventure

This past summer I had the opportunity to spend some time kayaking in our beautiful Puget Sound. I was excited about the opportunity for a new experience, just as I am about venturing into the realm of blogs.

As we prepare to launch our newly redesigned website and a another first-of-it’s-kind publication, our Publishing People blog is a natural extension.

Join us regularly to enjoy useful posts designed to help you build and promote your business. Like our website says—we make you look extraordinary. Here, we’ll share some of our secrets. It’s our year and we want to help makes sure it’s yours as well.