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  1.  Anyone who has bumped into me recently will have heard talking about this a LOT!

    Am I here to apologise about that? NO definitely not.

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    You can expect me to talking about quite a lot in the next few months.
    Adding a blog to your website is a brilliant way to keep your content fresh and the googlebots happy. It is also a great place to start working out your content creating muscle at the same time as making you quotable as the expert.

    It doesn’t actually have to be a traditional blog, it could be a vlog or even a regular podcast.

    It does have to speak to customer, preferably your ideal customer. It will help them understand something they have been concerned about or tell they how to do something. It might even tell them a little but more about you.

    When running Oak House Studio, the stamp company I retired from in 2017 I had a basic blog that featured my design team. That blog highlighted products and taught techniques to inspire people to buy my stamps and inks.

    It was a brilliant place to run competitions away from Facebook rules and we ran 24 hour events from that basic blog. Many of us use Facebook for our businesses and encourage people to use it to its full extent but I have never been an “all my eggs in one basket” kind of girl.

    Developing your blog on your website is certainly the way forward and if like me you use Create.net then a blog is built in for so nothing difficult there. So this blog you are ready is formatted as part of my site. I can schedule post ahead of time and I can even dump blog ideas in there ready to finish when I find the prefect picture.

    If you are considering a new website check the prices at Create as they are pretty good and the team are brilliant in fact tell them I sent you and you can claim 10% off your first bill by quoting this code RAFLYNNDA.

    So tell me do you have a blog? Leave a link in the comments so we can all come see it.

    If you need help with your blog or creating content in general then email me at [email protected] I can help with one to one support plus I have a Content Creating day planned for the Mercure Hull in September 2019.

  2. Becoming a volunteer fosterer for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has given many new perspectives on life. To be honest I missed a dog in life so much I needed to find a way to have one back in my life that the rest of the family could live with. Ben needed a dog back in his life too and fostering was something Martin could handle as there is no commitment to give.

    The day they came to inspect the house & garden was also the day they rang for us to go pick up a dog. A small black Labrador called Kiwi.

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    Kiwi was an angel who came into our lives and taught us so much. I soon realised how much these dogs had to learn to do their job. I learnt how individual each dog is and likewise, each deaf person they go to help has their own unique set of problems. The dogs are carefully matched to the person they are going to help and once a bond has been established the dog undergoes further training to be just the help the person needs.

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    Each dog that comes into our home is unique and so are the people they go on to live with and help.

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    I was surprised to discover that one in six people in the UK has hearing difficulties. On reflection, I personally know a few people with difficulties and work to help this when I am with them. It struck me that is just like how as a business we have to find the right clients and how much we should be aware of their individual needs. Tailoring our services to the specific needs of clients is not always possible but the more accessible we can make everything we offer the better.

    Are you considering the needs of all? Do you have more than one way for clients to contact you or do you just ask everyone to phone you? How easy is for you to tweak how you display your information? Is it easy to read ? What size fonts are you using? What sort of language are you using?

     

     

  3. I love to share news and promote other business ladies I meet at The Sparkling Business Club and I have plans for yet another project to do just that to launch in August so keep watching.

    At last year's A Day To Sparkle we met local  award-winning author Samantha Towle. It was a plesasure to listen to her staory and be able to ask her about her journey so far.

    The New York Times bestselling author's newest book in the hugely popular STORM SERIES is coming September 6th, 2019!

     Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs

    Photograph: Wander Aguiar Photography

    Model: Colton B.

    Sam has used this designer and photographer before and I can see why she chose them to bring her story to life in this cover. 

    FindingStorm_Paperback.v10

     

    There will be no pre-order, but sign up to receive an alert on release day: https://bit.ly/2WTt1nc 

    Add to your Goodreads TBR: https://bit.ly/2XU12Aw

     

    Blurb for FINDING STORM: 

    The son of an icon.

    He was a legend. Rock royalty.

     A man I never met. 

    But I’m measured against him in every aspect of my life. 

    The only time I feel like me … the real me … is when I’m onstage with my band. But the more we grow in popularity, the more people compare me to him.

    I’m not him. And I never will be. If only everyone could figure that out for themselves.

    I need a break from it all. 

    Then, a confrontation has me jumping in my car, putting LA in my rearview mirror. And a stupid mistake ends up with my car on the side of the road. And straight into the path ofa girl who is the exact opposite of everyone else in my life.

    She’s like everything I used to know.

    And she has no clue who I am.

    Even if she did, I don’t think she’d care.

    She thinks I’m cavalier.

    I think she’s intriguing. And hot. Let’s not forget hot.

    I’m stuck in this town overnight while my car is being fixed. But I’m thinking I’m gonna stick around a bit longer.

    I’m Storm Slater, lead guitarist in Slater Raze and the only child of the late, great Jonny Creed. But, here, right now … I’m nobody. Just a regular guy.

    I’m liking it a whole lot.

    And I’m liking her even more.

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    As part of building the presentation team for this years A Day To Sparkle I came across local author Samantha Towle. Sam's story really inspired me, a local girl who had seen amazing sales of her books. It was great to have Sam as part of our day and to hear more of her story. As part of this process I started to read her contemporary romance books and I am one on many eagerly awaiting her next book. 

    I am pleased to be able to share the cover of her next book River Wild due out in January 14th 2019. 

    RiverWild.6x9_450.v11

    PURCHASE LINKS:

    Add to Goodreads âžœ https://goo.gl/NwQNKe

    River Wild will be available on Kindle Unlimited. Links will be posted on release day.

    Sign up for Samantha’s mailing list now and be the first one notified when it goes live! âžœ http://samanthatowle.co.uk/newsletter-sign-up

     

  5. Google Reverse Image search

    Why and how

     

    There has been quite a storm in the craft world recently where a stamp designer has become public villain No1 when it was revealed that some of her stamp designs are rather too closely related to some images that belong to other designs. She has had to take time out having been branded a liar and a thief. He main mistake was possibly claiming she hand drew her stamps, I think there is probably more to this story than we are hearing at the moment but a witch hunt has seen her name plastered every where with critics condemning her in quite a nasty tone. I won’t be going in to detail here as I do not know enough. I mention it only because it serves as a timely reminder about use of images.

    As the owner of Oak House Studio, I was confident about the images I used as created most of them myself. I too have been caught out though sometimes when I have trusted other people’s images especially people on my design team. I had someone submit a sample using another companies stamp as if I wouldn’t notice! So that one didn’t catch me out.

    I was caught out when under pressure to produce something new for a magazine, I was inspired by a design of a card someone had made for me, I asked their permission and created a card quite close to the one they had made. Months later I found their card was a direct lift from someone else’s card which made mine too close to that card for comfort. I was very embarrassed. It did not result in legal action but I do know of people who have been in trouble for using images without the correct permissions.

    If you use images supplied to you by someone else please take the time to check those images through something like Google image search which is simple to use.

    It doesn’t matter how well you know the person or how much you trust them. If you are involved in using the image as a social media manager, a website designer, a PA or VA, a laser cutter or stamp maker, if you are selling the image or distributing it online. If you produce your own images or design something like I did look out for people stealing your images. The stamp world is full of ripped off stamp images and I am sure other will be to. Please check!

    As a designer I would ask you to respect artists and the work they produce. There should be no need to steal from these people.

    So please use reverse image search to protect yourself and the hard working creators of images that people continue to steal from.

    Here is a Link to how to do a reverse image search with Google https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/1325808?hl=en

     

  6. Networking is like window shopping!

    Networking with Coffee and Cake at Waffle 21

    When we go shopping some times we are on a mission to get one thing from a specific shop. We maybe the stick to the list type shopper who only buys what is on our list. A few people are like this every time they go shopping, others only when they need to to.

    Shopping can much more fun and less stressful when we take time out to go window shopping, we are not actually in the market to buy anything, we might not have any money left at the end of the month or we may be out spending time with a friend, getting a coffee and having a good chat. When we go window shopping we have time to compare two or three shops all selling similar items, we can ask questions of the salesperson and consider which features are the ones we personally will benefit from most. We have time to ask our friends what they think and we can look online for more information to help us make our decision.

    All this is especially true when we are make a big buy, something expensive that is a big commitment for us.

    The beauty of this is when we are ready to buy it is a whole lot easier because we know more about what we want and who is the best person for us personally to buy that product from. This sort of shopping is something I much prefer to knowing I need something now, but I don’t know who to buy from, not knowing all the options available & who local to me is the best person to buy from.

    As someone who spent many years behind a shop counter I know the frustration of the tyre kickers who just want to see how low they can get your price, but there are also those genuine window shoppers who are not going to buy today, but they make be thinking of a friend who needs what you sell or they may be thinking of their future needs. Try to see not the person in front of you but all the people that person knows.

    This is what networking can be like. You might not want to buying a copywriter at this point in your business life, but isn’t better that when that moment comes, you know someone, someone you like and trust. Some one you know you could work with. This is someone who could really help you grow your business, you want someone who really understands who you are and what you stand for. All that networking will pay dividends in the long term. You will make more confident choices and may have had some great conversations and even eaten some cake!

    Join us at an event soon so have some great conversations sign up HERE to stay in touch

  7. What makes a good networking group?

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    There seems to be so many groups springing up just as I am expanding my network offering and I have seen people post which are the good networking groups? And here is my advice on that subject.

    Look in the mirror

    Seriously, what I find great about one group might be something you personally hate, the business world is like the rest of the world it is full people a huge variety of people. Some like precise structure and order, some like no structure. Some people spring out of bed at 4 am ready to conquer the world some people are not worth talking to before 11 am. Are you getting the picture?

    There are many factors to consider

    Where, when and how often does the group meet.

    Where: The right venue for you in terms of distance and ease of journey and not to mention how easy it is to park or get there via public transport

    When: If you teach Yoga on a Monday night it does not matter how good The Sparkling Business Club is you probably are not going to make it.

    How often: groups could be weekly, fortnightly or monthly… How does this fit in to the rest of your work cycle?

    What commitment does the group expect?

    Do you have to commit to attending all meetings or sending a substitute? And if so how often are the meetings. Or can you just attend meeting as and when you wish?

    Financial costs?

    What are the financial implications of joining this group do you have to pay up front? For a year or 3 months? Do you just pay for what you attend?

    How is the group structured?

    Is every meeting the same? Does it have a strong structure? A formal agenda?

    Is there a group that attracts your target audience?

    Selling rubber stamps to craft shops I was very unlikely to meet a craft shop owner at a local networking event so at that time in my career there was little point in trying to find a local business network with people I could sell to. Selling Offices Supplies just about any meeting was full of potential clients. For The Sparkling Business Club I would be looking for groups that had a high proportion of women.

    Look for a group with “Like Minded” people in.

    When you think about it this is probably the KEY thing to do. IF you find the right group of people they will have already chosen a time and venue that also suits you. They will be running a meeting that suits you and it will probably have a price point that suits you too. So having created a long list of things to look for maybe just maybe all you need to do is find the right people to join! So Look in The Mirror then look for people like yourself.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  8.  

     

      Friday 8th June 2018 

    Cover release time!  

    Rush visuals 2

    So as I set about the task of finding someone to inspire and inform the ladies at my Big Day at Cave Castle in September 2018. I was looking working through a list of suggestions on Linked in when my husband says " Sue has a daughter in law who writes books, I think they are romance"

    Something set me off looking for her. With the beauty of the internet with in a couple of hours I had found her website , bought a book and retired to read. 10 books later I am intrigued by her story and want to know more.

    SAMANTHA TOWLE is a native of Hull and a graduate of Salford University, she lives  in East Yorkshire with her husband Craig and their family. She began her first novel in 2008 while on maternity leave. She completed the manuscript five months later and hasn’t stopped writing since. She is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. 

    She is the author of contemporary romances, The Storm Series and The Revved Series, and stand-alones, Trouble, When I Was Yours, The Ending I Want, Unsuitable, Wardrobe Malfunction, Breaking Hollywood, Under Her, Ruin and Sacking the Quarterback, which was written with James Patterson. She has also written paranormal romances, The Bringer and The Alexandra Jones Series. All of her books are penned to the tunes of The Killers, Kings of Leon, Adele, The Doors, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, Lana Del Rey, and more of her favorite musicians.

    I am waiting for the release of her next book and have it on order. Today sees the release of the cover design for the new book and I am delighted to be able to share that with you today. The book itself is released on August 7th 2017.

    RUSH has a special pre-order price of £0.99 (this is the only time it will be on sale). Price will rise to £2.99 on release day.
     
    Preorder links:

    Amazon UK: http://amzn.eu/6eaB91g
    iBooks UK: https://goo.gl/jxnHgz

    Kobo: https://goo.gl/MzxEyQ

    Add to Goodreads: https://goo.gl/zLrv8i

     

     With the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the New York Giants select…”

     

    It’s been three years since quarterback Ares Kincaid’s NFL dream came true, and he’s living the high life. The days of cleaning up after his drunk of a father are long gone, and he has no intention of going back.

     

    A car crash and DUI charge meant a lengthy stint in rehab for Arianna Petrelli, and her dream of being a professional artist slips further away when she’s sacked from her position at a gallery. Her need for a job stronger even than her dislike of football, Ari goes to work for her father, the head coach of the New York Giants.

     

    Ares hates alcoholics, which is fine with Ari because she thinks he’s a brainless jock. Yet when Ares rescues Ari from a situation with her ex-boyfriend, an unlikely friendship begins – one that quickly becomes more.

     

    But messing around with the coach’s daughter can only lead to one thing…trouble.