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  • You Can’t Skip the Marketing: Or, how I ended up a certain creek without a certain paddling implement.

    This article is a friendly warning about the perils of neglecting your marketing. It’s one of those things, like brushing your teeth, you really should do every day. And yet, when we get busy and stressed and run off our feet, our marketing calendar is usually the first thing we drop. And that would seem to be perfect sense. After all, if your business is doing so well, why do you need to hunt for MORE business?

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  • Finding the “Voice” of Your Business

    If you’ve spent any length of time around writers, discussions of “voice” will inevitably arise. “I’m writing in the first person, but I’m finding the voice a little tough,” or “I really admire the richness of Margaret Atwood’s voice” or even, “I’m trying to fit my voice into a male character, and it’s just not working …”

    But if you try to corner one of us to ask exactly what we mean by “voice”, you’ll find we stammer some half-arsed answer, cry “look, a man wearing an enormous novelty mustache!” and scamper away when you back is turned. “Voice” is a concept writers understand innately, but we struggle to describe.

    But “voice” is a concept that’s vital for any business owner to grasp, as it’s an integral part of your brand. And since I’m a writer who works predominantly with small business owners, I thought I’d do my part to demistify the concept of voice and why it’s important for your business.

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  • Writing around the Web

    It’s a lazy, sunny Sunday here in New Zealand. My husband and I have just purchased a 4 acre lifestyle block – eeee! – and it is sucking away every moment of free time we have right now. It’s wonderful to be spending so much time outside, doing physical labour, feeling the satisfaction of dirt under your nails and a sun on your arms. I haven’t had such restful sleep in years! We have a lot of work ahead of us before we can even begin to build our dream home, but we’re excited about building our future in this place.

    Since it’s a lazy Sunday, and you might be spending the day thinking about your business and catching up on your Internet reading, I thought I’d link you up to some of my most recent articles for writers and small businesses around the web:

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  • How to Make Money from Selling Handmade

    The handmade movement is booming all over the world, and is becoming a real force in the market. Aimed at countering mass-produced consumerism, “buy handmade” has become a mantra of many disenchanted consumers, and owners of small handmade businesses are benefitting. People want less stuff, and they want to feel connected to the stuff they DO buy – they want to know things are ethically produced, they want to feel as though they KNOW the person who created an object. They’re tired of mass-produced crap.

    But handmade businesses just can’t compete with the prices of goods from China, and the economies of scale for larger companies mean most small business owners are struggling with increasingly small profit margins.

    As an example: two brightly colored wool hats sell in a clothing store for $30. One hat was made in China, shipped to the country and sold to the retailer by a large hat-buying chain for $15. The retailer makes $15 and that hat-buying chain makes $8. The costs of shipping, storage, freight and packaging add up to $7.5 and the Chinese hat maker earns about .50c.

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  • Meat-on-a-stick is Marketing Genius

    I’ve just got back from the Veldensteiner festival, a one-day medieval/folk metal festival held on the grounds of Veldenstein castle in Bavaria. I got to see one of my current favorite bands, Eluvetie, play, as well as Subway to Sally and a couple of others. One thing that struck me about this festival is just […]

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  • Burlesque, birdbaths and titillating for money: Epic Interrogations with Leda Petit

    Leda Petit is a bit of a legend around my neighbhourhood. New Zealand’s own Queen of New Zealand burlesque, her talents range from tantalizing solo shows to corporate events, group performances and private parties. Leda’s also the sprightly lass in charge of the Auckland branch of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Group, where young artists (such as […]

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  • Your Press Kit: Pimp Your Business in the Media

    I write a lot of press kits for Etsy shops, niche websites and non-profit companies, and I can tell you right now, if you want to do something this year to grow your business, and you don’t have a press kit or some kind of media-schmoozing strategy, now might be a good time to consider […]

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