Taking Care of Business

I am always looking for advice, methods, and hacks to simplify my life by design…

I have found that life turns to continuous situations of ongoing chaos. There seem to be days that run into each other, continually doing things, but with no structure or design to my day, life begins to feel like lost days, I cannot remember any essential details or any accomplishments for your effort.
Then it is time to take control of the areas of your world that you can manage! A morning routine, with thoughtful ideas on ways to improve the quality of how to start your day, will have positive effects on how to handle the rest of the day.
So I love to find things that make life just a little bit better!

Credit to InspirationWordLove

This infographic is fantastic for designing your start of the day.

Have an idea? Let’s hear it. Share your comments below. Share your link in the comments!

Marketing Strategies for Your Budget


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Facebook paid to advertise:

Implementing Facebook for paid advertising has a higher reach for marketing campaigns to more people, than your immediate Facebook audience. This will help in building brand awareness, increase traffic, more engagement, and sales. In creating more exposure for your businesses website, users will be able to download a mobile app for your company or make purchases.


Google AdWords:

According to Google for every $1 spent on Google Adwords generally, businesses make an average of $2.  Creating a PPC (Pay-Per-Click)  ads for marketing using Google AdWords, so optimizing this resource for your marketing goals is beneficial for finding new users to your website.


Display Advertising:

There are many benefits for generating leads with display advertising, such as building brand awareness. Using display advertising especially on Google, ads will appear on diverse types of websites within the Google network such as; YouTube, blogs, Gmail and many more sites. To help build your relevant audience, you can target specific demographics, zip codes, and interests.

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According to recent research about Email marketing, this is a useful tool for attracting and retaining customers. Take into consideration that your target audience is checking their emails both on desktop and mobile; this is an efficient tool to specialize your message to your audience.

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Mobile marketing is a tremendously useful way to promote your amenities, raise brand awareness and boost loyalty because you can reach your audience instantly. Taking advantage of the increasing dependency people have on their smartphones, that most text messages are opened in a matter of minutes, that companies should exploit this ‘instant’ factor in marketing strategies. Companies can execute location-aware marketing campaigns that cannot be utilized through other channels. Also, consumers are ‘opting-in’ for information, coupons, and discounts which makes this resource very useful.

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Since Instagram works very similar to Facebook with paid advertising, reaching larger targeted audiences because they are run by the same company. So to  better utilize this platform, link your Instagram and Facebook accounts together.

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Content Marketing:

Content is the groundwork for any respectable marketing plan; a business needs good content to support your advertising. Companies using customer-centric content saves money, increases direct sales, generates leads, and improves brand loyalty.


Prepping for Usability Test


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Collecting Data on a Usability Test:

Record Your Sessions: This creates the opportunity to exam the session again to go over critical issues to analyze how the participants went through the task.

Video or Audio Recordings: Either will help to break down the tasks after the participant has left. Also, this will is a powerful tool to show anyone in the company that needs to view the findings.

Post Task Questions: Talking to the participants immediately after finishing the tasks, while the experience is fresh in their minds, to get feedback about the experience is an excellent opportunity to add more unbiased notes to the final report.

Time on Task: The length of time takes the participant to complete the task. When multiple participates are used then find the average length of time for each task.

 Explain the process of reporting data from the usability test:

  • After the test sessions, take time to make notes of observations and which problems arose that need to be addressed. Also what steps are going to be implemented to fix the issues.
  • If multiple participants were used, then gather all the notes to make a collective list of issues to address.
  • Now organize the list into the top 10 most pressing
  • Rate the list with #1 being the most critical to be addressed first.
  • From the list:
    • Brainstorm fixes for each issue
    • Who’s going to make the fix
    • Any resources that will be needed for the fix

Recruiting for a Usability Test:

When recruiting  participants for a usability test, there are many clever ways to resource people like Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Other possibilities are your local Facebook community groups, ask friends and family, or parents from your kid’s sports/scouts group.

Talking to Participants:

I would follow Steve Krug’s recommendations for prepping the participants in the test. Have Steve’s script in hand to facilitate the session and begin with letting them know the test is not about them but the website, to put them at ease.


What is the “Reciprocity Principle” of marketing?


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What is the “Reciprocity Principle” of marketing?

This has to do with the psychology of relationships, otherwise defined as a human need, that we are compelled to give something back when a gift is received. So using this concept in marketing, when the buyer receives something free from the seller, the buyer feels indebted to do something back such as making a purchase.

Though to best utilize this principle in marketing, is for the business to create a ‘gift’ of significant value for the customer. This is a powerful way to introduce your business to new audiences but also to create loyalty for your already established customers/clients.

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What 9Round currently uses for their reciprocity principle is 1 free workout to try their services. If I was to implement a new marketing strategy, I would change this offer to “Try 9Round 10 days for free!”

With just one free workout that is 30 minutes, there is no way that the all many potential best benefits of using 9Round could not be experienced within the 30 minutes to convince the new person into committing to a membership. The conversion rate from 1 free trial to a life-long member, could possibly not be the best numbers that the owners are hoping to achieve.

With 10 days free, the customer will get more time to meet other staff members, meet members of the gym and begin to develop relationships within their community. As the 10 days go along, they will begin to develop a new habit of incorporating 9Round into their daily routine. The customer will see more value in committing to this ‘community’ than just paying for a membership.

Something From Nothing


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My experience of making “something from nothing” begins with my learning curve! Creating can be fun when I understand my goals for what I have been given as a task. Sometimes, the process can feel like I am asked to rewire car and just go with it…well then, I will find the development hard to get started.


Finding my voice in how I want to share my ideas

When the creative juices are flowing, all craziness can kick in because there are no limitations to the method. Many times, I will look for images related to the task at hand, for inspiration in the project. I will write some phrases or sentences to key points I want to make sure is added to my project.

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I will then take a break from the project, clear my head and come back to see if what I was brainstorming still makes sense for the point I was trying to make.

Then the process goes into organizing the craziness into something that has a function.

Usually, when I reread the instructions and realize I have gone off track, it is time to reign in thoughts that are out of focus or take out content that does not serve any purpose. Usually, some research needs to happen for when I am looking for better understanding of the project or the statement I want to come out of the process.

As the design begins to fall into some sort of organized structure, the light comes on. As I work out the bugs, polish up the words, and began to feel I have accomplished my goals, you can’t help but feel success!


Can you relate?… What are your thoughts?…


Email Newsletter Content


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Topic: Email Newsletter Content

This weeks topic is to select content for creating an e-newsletter for a company we are following.

Note from the President:

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We are here to inspire and motivate you for your fitness goals.

At 9Round we have our certified trainers to work with you from the moment you walk in the door until you have accomplished your 30 minutes of total body workout.

We are striving to empower you for living the 9Round lifestyle!

– President

Get A free Introductory Workout

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Schedule your first workout now!


Don’t need to punch the clock at 9Round, a kickboxing franchise in Arlington

By Vicky Hallett November 18, 2014


Here’s an idea that’ll knock you out: a gym with no class times.  At 9Round, a national kickboxing franchise, you show up whenever you want, put on your gloves and fight your way through a nine-station circuit. The 9Round location that opened this summer in Arlington has been such a smash that an additional four are coming to Northern Virginia. (And a D.C. location is in the works.)


Hallett, V. (2014, November 18). Don’t need to punch the clock at 9Round, a kickboxing franchise in Arlington. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2014/11/18/dont-need-to-punch-the-clock-at-9round-a-kickboxing-franchise-in-arlington/?utm_term=.c70b3669c3f3

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Video & Podcasting


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 Video and podcasting


The company I chose to research is 9Round fitness is a specialized gym, fitness center & health club dedicated to circuit training with an emphasis on kickboxing fitness training.

 I am investigating if 9Round is using video & podcasting for marketing their business.




I did find podcasting beginning from 2015 on BlogTalkRadio. Listening to the messages given was useful content about healthy food, the science of working out, and tips for working out. The messages from what I listened to could be “timeless” in a sense, that nothing within the conversation could be “dated” revealing to the listener it was 2 or possibly more years old, which could be recycled on a later date.

The turn-offs, literally I mean, I needed to turn it off because the audio sounded like a phone call into a radio station. The recording was rough, just not pleasant to listen too.

I cannot tell from Blog Talk Radio if using this platform worked for bringing in potential new clients. I would have a tough time being committed to listening to their messages because of the audio recording of the talks.


9Round  is using YouTube to share information with ‘how-to,’ examples of workouts, and press interviews. Their videos are answering questions for people interested in trying out their circuit training program.

9Round videos categories:

  • 9Round workout video
  • 9Round hand wraps
  • 9Round review
  • 9Round fitness
  • 9Round commercial
  • 9Round results
  • 9Round transformation
  • 9Round pad drills

Customer Reviews

9Round has many videos of  people that shared their experiences of going and trying the workout.

9Round has done well with their videos in their marketing to educate, inform, entertain, and advertise their company. As for their Podcasting strategy, I could not tell if they considered this a success for ROI. Many studies have shown that the use of Podcasting in marketing plans can be beneficial, 9Round should consider moving their Podcasts to the more popular APPs like iPod.

Reflecting on my process of designing


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My Fake Event:

Bend & Brew Yoga!

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Yoga to detox and Beer tasting to retox!

Reflecting on my process of designing a poster for class.

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What Did I Find Easy With Designing My Poster

What I found easy, in using Word to design a poster, was the “theme elements” area. I was able to scroll over each theme and the project instantly changed everything on the page, this helped to work on the visual aspects of using different fonts. Which moved the process along faster to find the font that expressed the right emotions I was looking to create.

For the colors, I again used Word’s palette to watch how I felt engaged with the message I was sharing. Again this moved the project along with the preselected color combinations. Though I was not ‘in love’ with the selections of hues, I was still able to find the combination for the design of my poster.


What Did I Struggle With Working With My Poster

  • Not knowing how to begin to put together a design project.
  • Not knowing how to use the templates without messing up the template, then the easy answer is to start over.
  • How to work pictures into a scene with everything shifting out of place.
  • If using pictures, how to blend the pictures white background out, so the picture does not look cut & paste.
  • Trying to make a template not look like a template.
  • How to use the design elements!



I think what I could do to help with my creating something for digital media in the future is a design program for little kids! Really, something that guides you through the process. A design program for dummies that has a short learning curve with instructions that are; do this to make this.

(Huummm…the book looks advanced)



Putting together an idea on a poster project was satisfying in completing something to my target audience. I think I would enjoy the process better if I knew how to work design onto the page more efficiently.



How I Browse the Internet


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How Do You Browse The Internet?

How do I use websites and social media? Well, my attention span is not long unless I am being entertained. If web pages feel like an encyclopedia, I am out! If there’s too much reading in the introduction and I still have no idea if what I googled pertains to this website, I am gone!

Scanning in a Rush!

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I do not know why, but I take on urgency when checking into a website. My eyes do tend to follow the letter ‘F’ for the keys components; I guess to get a feel if the website is usable or if they are trying to get info from me before revealing information.




 Touchable Screen Laptop

(not sure if that the right description….but I love it!)


I do enjoy using my touchable Screen Laptop for browsing or just knocking out my homework. Running my finger over the screen to roll the pages around is a lot more satisfying than using the pointer.

The A.D.D. kicks in with the touchable screen:

  • I can move the page around faster.
  • I can expand pictures to look at.
  • So much faster to poke at open tabs or apps to jump back and forth.

Social Media I Use


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When I  walk, to keep my brain stimulated, I have my YouTude Plan for my listening pleasure.

I  have the list of the genres (so I make sure to change the style each walk) and a place for date & # of steps.

4 styles of videos I listen to while walking:

  • Entertainment
  • Educational
  • Motivational
  • Audiobooks



pug pee on it

Well, I am not big on posting moments of my life…however, I do start with ‘liking’ my friend’s notifications. Then I move onto scrolling for something funny, maybe an exciting DIY project, or pugs!

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Well, funny pets will work. If an article appears to be a heartbreaking story, especially about animals, I will keep scrolling; I hate going on an emotional journey.

So I spend about 5 minutes of scrolling on FaceBook unless there are some excellent pet videos!

I am not sure other people use their technology just as I do. I think other people will probably spend more time taking in the information than I do. Probably people spend more time stalking their friend’s posts to feel like they are immersed in their friend’s lives, I suspect.

I also am not interested in trying to figure out how to use other forms of social media; I believe that’s because of the learning curve, usually by the time I figure it out, it updates and then the relearning starts again…. and I got other things to do!