About Barry

SMB and Financial services consultant who wants to help others find their passion and take control of their destiny!

Why I like Blurb over Chatbooks and Shutterfly

Blurb is my personal choice over Chatbooks and Shutterfly. I have only just begun using Blurb on the advice of my friend Joe Chrvala. Joe has been doing some great photography over the years and I have seen the books he produced. Another friend referred Chatbooks and someone else recommended Shutterfly.

I invite you to check them all out if you have ever thought of producing a photo album or even something like an eBook to sell!

Blurb

  • Free program (Blurb BookWright) to create on your local computer
  • Use your own high quality images
  • Great templates, both free and fee based
  • Great pricing
  • Deliver internationally

Photo of Dad and Daughter

My daughter was married recently and will be moving to the UK shortly. I wanted something she could take with her that won’t take much space and that she could give to her new family. I remembered Joe talking about Blurb and called him to get the address. Wow! So easy to use. I created the book and ordered copies for the kids to take the UK, plus one for us of course! I could have delivered directly to UK for the same shipping cost but they were going anyway and I didn’t want to pay once for here and once for there.

If you ever thought creating a book to sell, they make it so easy! No, I’m not pitching this to you. You wouldn’t have any reason to be interested in this album other than as a sample. Click here to see the book preview.

Chatbooks

My friend said she found Chatbooks really cheap. If you only order the basic $15 book, she would be correct. For myself, I take way too many pictures and wouldn’t like to limit myself that much. Too hard to choose! Feedback I found online indicated that when people use the connection to social media to make the books, this seems to be optimized for Instagram, you run the risk of the images being too low quality when you produce a book.

Chatbooks offers a phone app to produce offline but that doesn’t help on my laptop. This is a big factor for me.

Shutterfly

  • Upload your own images or pull directly from social media (You control the quality)
  • Offers pre-formatted layouts
  • Offers service to do the work for you
  • Can be reasonably priced but watch out for add ons

I went to Shutterfly and set up an account where I tried to create a similar book but for a trip I did last year. I think if I limited myself to the same number of pages, pricing is only a little more than Blurb. I did like the layout options. I didn’t like the fact I couldn’t figure out how to work offline when creating the book. When I traveled on my bus commute to work, I couldn’t work on the book because the WiFi on the bus is really limited for upload and download. I gave up!

Blurb Wins! (For me.)

Blurb book coverI prefer Blurb because I can work locally with high quality graphics to produce a reasonably priced book whether in hard cover, soft cover or as an eBook. We all have different needs and I can’t choose for you but I hope this gives you a place to start. If you have ever thought of creating and selling a book, Blurb makes it easy including the “Store front” with a shopping cart!

When will you write your first book?

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for my friends, Blurb and Lenovo! What are you thankful for today?

Website Design, Are You Easy To Read?

Website design is fairly easy these days with hosting packages like Pure Leverage but are you sure everyone can read your writing?

Website Design

First, consider the design of the page. I use Pure Leverage and my site is driven by WordPress. There are many great templates available but you need to be careful. Be sure you choose a template that is mobile friendly. In the graphic below, you can see that one of my social media posts was mostly clicked on mobile. In this case, 86.5% of hits were on Facebook Mobile. Just as an aside, I love goo.gl for the insights you can get about who is clicking your links!

website hits by platform

 

Take the time to visit sites that are similar to your business and see what works. How do you feel when you visit those sites. But, be careful not to fall into the trap of just what you like to see. Have friends you can trust to be hones give you some feedback.

  • What is “above the fold”?
  • What is the message?
  • Are there too many or not enough graphics?
  • Can it be read by an electronic reader?
  • Are fonts and their colours friendly?

If you want to see what your page looks like on mobile, visit http://mobiletest.me/ and test it out. Visit http://aoda.ca/wcag to learn more about making sites more accessible and there are some links to useful tools to help you.

The Message

Who is your message aimed at? Now you have to think about your target. Who do you want to be reading your blog or website? If you take a look at the graphic above, you will see that there were hits outside of North America. Is it written in language they understand? I’m not referring to English/German/French etc. I’m referring to the ability to understand your words.

InternationalHaving taken in international students who have come to Canada to learn English, I have learned that we often use very confusing words. For example, I was talking to a person who speaks Spanish first, French second and English third. It was a beautiful day and I said “it’s days like this that I want to play hooky”. You should have seen the look I got! Total confusion.

Try your best to use plain language that is easy to understand. Plain language is not necessarily simple words. We often use unnecessary words or use slang when communicating. When you use slang language, understand that the message may be different than the one you intended to convey.

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. Make sure your website is easy to read and understand.

Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for all of my international students, new foods and Pure Leverage. What are you thankful for today?

 

Opportunity abounds. What’s at the end of your rainbow?

We are faced with endless opportunities and yet never seem to reach the end of the rainbow. What’s at the end of the rainbow? Is it possible that we just don’t see it?

OPPORTUNITY

Isn’t it funny that we perk right up at the sight of rainbows? All of a sudden, we believe in opportunity. There is treasure at the end of those rainbows!

Opportunities abound-web

As we try to reach the end of the rainbow, it seems to keep moving on us. Where are those treasures? Could it be that we ran right through or past them?

Too often, we are focused on what we perceive as problems rather than looking at them as challenges that lead to greater rewards. Take a look at this picture of the double rainbows. They occurred on the way home from work. We were on a Greyhound bus and worrying about the wet roads and dreading another rainy evening. All of a sudden, the clouds broke and double rainbows appeared. Glorious!

Much like life in general, we had to go through a storm before the rainbows appeared. They won’t appear on a clear, dry and sunny day. It was worth sitting through the storm. Besides, the sound of rain pounding on the bus can actually be quite soothing if you choose to hear it that way.

CHALLENGES

Many times as we go through different challenges:

  • we meet new people,
  • travel to new places,
  • and learn new things.

What was perceived to be an obstacle or challenge was actually an opportunity for adventure and personal growth. Think about those who are into physical fitness. The first time they go to the gym, they wonder if they will make it home to bed when they are done. Each time, it becomes easier. Eventually they are doing far more than they ever believed possible. They will challenge themselves to go longer or lift more. Treat your business like the gym. It’s doing the things that others won’t that leads to success.

Keep your mind and heart open to new opportunities!

Make it a great day,

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for challenges, people and leadership. What are you thankful for today?

The Sales Profession and The Power of One

The sales profession can be one of the most rewarding and yet frustrating. Remove the frustration by harnessing the power of one.

The Sales Profession

001_56First, let me address the reference to sales being a profession. There are many like doctors and lawyers who may challenge the combination of sales and professional in the same sentence. They are wrong. People in the sales profession are committed to their particular service or product. Just as a doctor, at least the good ones, believe in what they do. If you are a committed sales professional, you are always striving to improve, not just your numbers but to improve yourself. Whether you are attending seminars and workshops, watching video online or reading, improving yourself can’t help but improve you as a sales professional.

While working on improving ourselves, we are trying to land that whale of a client that is going to solve our financial challenges, and then continue looking for that next whale. The problem is most of us are looking for a way to swallow that whale whole.

The trick to eating a whale is the power of one. One bite at a time.

The Power of One

CompensationMy friend Bill Guyther with LegalShield was in the Toronto area yesterday and did a great training session when he introduced “The Power of One”. He talked about eating an elephant one bite at a time. The bite he referred to is getting the opportunity to present, ideally in a face to face sit down. For some, it may be getting approval to send an email or connect via social media to have a discussion specifically for business. Win one meeting at a time and so on.

Bill used the example of doubling one penny every day. Day one was a penny, day 2 was 2 cents. At the end of 31 days, you would have approximately $10.7 million. Miss the last day, you only have half. To get any result, you have to start with ONE! In the example above, it was one CENT. It wasn’t even a DOLLAR. Bite off what you can chew. As Bill suggested, work on winning the meeting, not the sale. I’m sure you have been to enough sales training to know that sales is the result of activity.

Do enough approaches to win a meeting, do enough meetings to win a sale. Do enough sales to make a great living as a sales professional. Note the power of one at work here, it all started with one call. Focus on winning enough meetings and you will get the sales.

Will you make that one call? And then the next one?

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Make it a great day!

Barry

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for great leaders. I’m thankful for opportunity. I’m thankful for every new day. What are you thankful for today?

Website, Does Yours Work Against You?!

Website. A page or collection of pages online that send a message or provide some kind of information. Does your website work against you?!

Website

website toolsYour website is your face to the world and in many cases, may be your first contact. The challenge for many entrepreneurs starting their business today is they have little to no technical experience in this area. A plumber likely doesn’t have a lot of time to create and maintain a page let alone do all the marketing for their business. You can’t just build a website and hope people see it. You need to spend some time marketing the page which then helps with marketing your business.

Click the image to the left for a video that explains how your website may actually be working against you. For example, let’s say you have your email on the site. Do you check it and respond in a timely manner? How would you feel if you sent an email and it took 10 days to get a response and you felt it was an emergency? Your roof or toilet is leaking and the professional you contacted was too busy to see your email and respond to your crisis. So much for the value of your website.

Marketing

Marketing is the activity of attracting people to your business. Some of the components may be:

  • A business website;
  • Business cards;
  • Automated email response;
  • Social media;
  • Video email;
  • Blogging
  • and the list could go on.

Salesman with a bull hornThe point I’m trying to make is your website isn’t actually marketing your business. It’s only a small part of a marketing strategy.  You need to actively promote your website so that it can promote your business. Some of the work can be automated. When it comes to marketing tools, Pure Leverage brings many together into one package saving hundreds of dollars and hours. Be sure to click the links in the bullets above for some tips on using social media and blogs.

Either do the marketing activity yourself or consider hiring someone to do it for you. For example, if you aren’t interested in building a website yourself, you can use the Pure Leverage suite of tools and have an admin person go through the video tutorials included. Alternatively, you can hire a service provider for that purpose. There are many people these days who will gladly look after doing your social media posts on your behalf.

In summary, your website isn’t a total marketing solution. The Pure Leverage Suite of tools can certainly make the job a lot easier! This is a package of tools complete with training videos to get you started.

Free Internet Marketing Coaching

 

Being and entrepreneur is like living on a roller coaster. There will be ups and downs along the way. Enjoy the ride!

Make it a great day,

Barry

Visit my other blog at https://barryclermont.com (Watch the video by Joel Therien on the right!)

P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful my wife found Pure Leverage. I’m thankful I found my wife! I’m thankful for every new experience. What are you thankful for today?