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Category Archives: Creative Writing

Why Every Business Should be Blogging…

Great article from Kristin. Give consideration for your business and if you need help setting up a blog, creating posts, and maximizing your SEO; hit me up and I can help you grow your business. Cheers, Ursula

Blog for Business

Why Every Business Should be Blogging

January 8, 2015 — Posted By Kristin Hovde

Why Every Business Should be Blogging
Thanks to modern technology, all it takes to gain the attention of your target audience is a few clicks of the mouse on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just to name a few. With a majority of people using their social networking sites throughout the day, it makes sense to get on the bandwagon and follow what the crowd is doing. Social media is also one of the most cost efficient marketing mediums available, making it a necessity for small businesses or small budgets.

One often-overlooked, yet critical piece to any good social media marketing campaign is blogging. It allows you to keep your audience posted on the latest news with your company, industry or products. As important as this blogging point is, there are many more reasons why you need to take the plunge and start a blog for yourself.

1. Brings Traffic to Your Website
Having the blog directly connected to your website will bring plenty of new traffic, as long as the content is well-written and useful to your audience. If the blog is not connected to the site, include a link to your homepage in a visible location on the left or right menu bars. After each blog post, take time to post a link to the article on all of your social media sites in order to attract more attention to it.

2. Shows You Are an Expert in Your Industry
One of the best things about writing blogs is it gives you a chance to shine in your industry. Writing about topics that your readers will find helpful and that you have a great knowledge of will help build your reputation as an expert in your field. This is an excellent way to gain the trust and loyalty of customers and prospects.

3. Can be Used to Connect with Customers
Respond to each comment or question left on your blog as a way to show your customers that you hear them and are available to help them. Also, if one commenter has a question, there’s a good chance other people will have the same question. Consider writing an article dedicated to this question as a way to educate your audience on a subject that has been brought to your attention by other readers.

Everyone likes to know they are listened to and by responding to comments or writing blogs based on questions or concerns will leave customers with a positive and lasting impression on your company.

4. Builds Brands
Every social media or blog post you put out there will increase your online presence. The reason for this is because, as long as keywords are also being placed in the articles, potential customers will have a much easier time finding your company when they search for one of those keywords. Also, the more someone sees your company’s name, the more it will be remembered.

5. SEO Purposes
This somewhat ties into building your brand in tip #4. Consistently putting articles online will help your search engine rankings and will leverage your brand. Another important SEO reason to start a blog is because the search engines love new content.

When there is new, quality content that isn’t overly stuffed with keywords, it shows search engines, such as Google, that your website is active and up-to-date.

All of these reasons should be enough for you to stop procrastinating and finally take charge of starting a blog. As I previously mentioned, make sure to stay consistent and write quality content that your customers would want to read. Happy blogging!

Why Every Business Should be Blogging – Full Article Here

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Day Late and A Dollar Short? Maybe…

Well, it’s been a while since an update has come out for The Write Hand. Sorry for that but all from due cause. I’m still working hard for my one VA client, East End Business Solutions, and I’m constantly bidding on more jobs on Guru.com. A few more transcription files have come through and of course, I’m still doing some miscellaneous side work, like cleaning houses and working local events for tips.

I’ve done a proposal for another VA client (Oginga Carr), but as the story goes, he’s so busy that he needs my help, but we are both so busy we have to find the time to get together on things.

All in all, I’m still plugging along. So why am I so late with a post???

Life moves at an incredible speed one day and drags on others. I was able to take a brief 4 days to visit Wisconsin thanks to a silent auction I won in 2011. For the Love of Ellie helped raise funds for a very young child in our town whom is suffering from a terrible disease. She’s gone through many treatments for such a young child. I was able to finally enjoy the cabin I won at the end of May and first weekend in June.

Upon my return I had one heck of a week when I lost two very special and dear friends. One from a freak accident as he worked on his Jeep. This is my friend Mike Morris, owner of Saffron and Cedar Wellness. You may recall that I wrote his blogs for his company. The other friend Isaac Perez I spent about 8 years of my childhood with on the military base in Charleston, SC and kept in contact with his family since then. The sadness still lingers and certain things will set me off, but I have no choice but recall the good times and pray that I meet them again someday in a better life.

And then yesterday, my dear sweet grand daughter was baptized into the Catholic faith. My father and step-mom visited for the occasion all the way from Georgia. So I must say, after such a terrible week, the ending was ever so sweet.

I am still looking for another VA client, ghostwriting opportunities, transcription jobs, and so forth. I am managing my garden as best I can with this heat and riding my motorcycle less than I would like, but often enough to appreciate my freedom.

I realize this particular post doesn’t say too much about my business, but sometimes despite the need to earn a living, there are just more important things for the moment. May you all be well, appreciate your loved ones, cherish your blessings, and be thankful for your freedom.

Bhyre Lake, Fifield, Wisconsin – The motorcycle riding there is amazing but I really loved waking up to this view.

Mike Morris – aka Mike Motorbike – I Love You Buddy!!

Isaac and I are the two big kids. I Love You My Friend!!

Me, My Step-Mom Ms. Patti, Tina my son’s fiance, my grand daughter Kylee, my Dad Roy, and my Son Nathan

 

 

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Food Pantries – Who Do You Know That Needs Them??

Until March 16th when I lost my job, I was employed full-time since I was 15 years old. I started out on a work-study program in high school and have never collected unemployment. Since 1997 I’ve worked as a virtual admin under the name, The Write Hand, as a side business for fun-money, but today it’s for survival. With so many life changes over the past 8 to 10 years, it’s nerve wracking to know that there is no cushion in the bank and my 401k has been depleted. I stopped counting how many resumes I submitted when the email folder reached 153 confirmation messages. I deleted that folder, I looked around my apartment and realized, “All this could be gone in an instant.” I had a good cry, I jumped on my Harley and rode all alone for nearly 250 miles. (She is the last thing I will sell if it comes down to it). It was a rough time, but I woke up on April 1st and told myself, “April Fool you are NOT.” I thought that was a good day to make a change in attitude, a change in focus, and a change in my life for the better (so I’m hoping).

This struggle has undoubtedly been the worse I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’m not a lazy person, I’ve worked hard at one, two, and three jobs since I was 15. I’ve paid my taxes as I should, I’ve supported more charitable causes than I could even count if I tried, I’ve made food, passed out food, and donated food to those in need. I’ve been the mouth and promoter for so many worthy causes that I’ve been dubbed, the pusher. I was once given a t-shirt by a dear friend that said, “Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again.”  Now I have never been what you might call wealthy, but I have never been in dire need either. I have always considered myself blessed and I try religiously to not ever take anything or anybody for granted.

Circumstances in the past two months have brought me to a place where my appreciation for the good life and my appreciation for my friends has grown exponentially. It’s said that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, great googally moogally ~ that’s the dern truth. I’ve always been frugal, use coupons, catch sales, shop at thrift stores, and never really went hog-wild on spending (ok, my 1902 Hoosier cabinet was a hefty $2,500 investment and for several years I was a scrapbook nut buying all the gadgets and gizmos to preserve my memories). Even my Harley was a mere $4,000 not tens of thousands like so many spend.

My 401k runneth out… With May rent, utilities, insurance and the like there of, the funds have nearly evaporated. I have found myself in the past several weeks selling things on eBay and collecting stuff for a yard sale, while also researching opportunities where I can receive assistance from various organizations.

ComEd & Nicor (utility providers in IL) gave me a connection to CEDA, where I applied for the LIHEAP utility grant. Both of those utility grants were approved and credits were made to my utility bills. Oddly though, as I’ve always been on the budget billing program, the grants basically cleared up the remain balances from the budget carry-over and in June I’ll have to pay my utilities as usual. So it’s still a win, even if it’s not going to help me month-to-month.

Something I never imagined needing… food stamps, or as it’s called here in Illinois, the LINK card. I stood in the DHS office for nearly four hours but was approved for the card. What a humbling experience to say the very least. I maintain the gruff attitude that I’ve paid my taxes over the years and why shouldn’t I get help from the state… Maybe that’s just my way of coping.

And my ultimate point for today’s blog post… I registered yesterday for our local food pantries in Lemont, Illinois. Humbling – HA! If it weren’t for people like Terri O’Neil Borders of Hope and Friendship Ministries (she also works for the Village of Lemont), the process of asking for help could be rather degrading or at least ooze of defeat. But NOT SO. I’ve known Terri from town, events, and mutual friends for nearly two years at this point, but to go into her office to register for food pantry help, believe me – was not easy. She is one of the messengers that God has given this messed up world to show us all that there is still HOPE. In partnership with Bethany Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church, and Chipain’s Fresh Market, the food pantry services in our town has not only stocked my cabinets, but has made me proud of all the work I did for others in the past, because you just never know who may need your help. And be assured that when my circumstances improve, I’ll be right back at it in full force.

I still have moments of doubt and feelings of anxiety, but I wake up everyday between 6:30 and 7:30 to get moving on my virtual admin business and to promote The Write Hand. I have one steady client for whom I do Quickbooks, web edits with Power DNN and much more. I have one regular yet random client for whom I do transcription of entertainment interviews. I clean house for my neighbor sporadically and one other house recently. I do make some money, but at present it is not enough to maintain my fairly simple life. YET I WILL NOT GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT!!!

My call to action for everybody that reads this post: Buy a few extra things when you’re at the grocer and donate them to your local food pantry. A great many grocers have a donation box right in their store. Or take a quick moment now to find the closest food pantry to your home and drop a few items once or twice a month. With economics as they’ve been in recent past, many food pantries are suffering because donations have dwindled while the need is growing higher. You may not consider some standard items as luxuries, but for some a simple stick of deodorant ($1.99- $3.49 average) takes a back seat to a can of veggies and a can of tuna. Do I want to eat or smell good? Hmmm….. some people have to think this way. Be blessed that you don’t.

Maybe you don’t have a pet or a young child, nor are you a senior, so perhaps you may not consider some of these things when you shop and perhaps never even go down these aisles at your grocer. I offer you some FOOD for THOUGHT when shopping to donate.

  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrushes, denture adhesive, denture cleaner, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion…
  • Household: glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, dish soap, dish rags, sponges…
  • Child care: formula, baby food, diapers, rash cream, lotions, soaps…
  • Paper products: feminine products, adult under protection, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, cups, bowls, flatware, (most state programs like LINK do not allow paper product purchases or they are limited, same with cleaning supplies)
  • Other: pet food, spices, mayo, mustard, ketchup, package mixes, gravies, broths, tea bags, juices..

When buying non-perishable foods anything is appreciated, however I encourage you to consider the options that may lean more on the healthy side. Remember the U.S.A. is the most obese country in the world. And consider this when you see folks that are using a LINK card, food stamps, or other subsidized means – typically speaking the cheapest food items are not usually the healthiest. You may think somebody with meager means to eat should be super skinny, that is NOT the way it works out. A mother can stretch a box of Tuna Helper to feed herself and perhaps 1 or 2 kids (measly portions I assure you). It does not contain all that much nutrition and is high in artificial junk. For the same cost of that can of tuna and Tuna Helper box that a kind person bought and donated, a purchase could be made of two cans of tuna, plus two or three cans of veggies.

I am not exactly proud to say I am collecting the goods and services that I’ve mentioned, but I am proud of who I am, all that I’ve ever done for others, and all that I am trying to do to improve my situation. After a stressful and heartbreaking week of swallowing my pride, I had to take stock in the people that have helped me and to remember the people I have helped in my day (even if I never knew them).

I would certainly be remiss if I failed to mention that I have a great many friends in my life that support me and understand my struggle. They check on me constantly, they put gas in my Harley so I can still have a life, they have bought me meals, they hug me when I am down, they promote my business for me, they offer words of encouragement, and above all else, THEY LOVE ME for who they know I am regardless of my temporary status of need. I am not perfect, but I am perfectly blessed.

 

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Growing (Slowly) but Growing INDEED

My new client for Virtual Admin work is a real gem and I’m learning a great deal from her. Paula owns and operates East End Business Solutions out of Long Island, NY. I was blessed when she hired me as her VA, not just for the obvious reason that I finally have a recurring gig, but because she is the ideal 1st client for my full-time venture into entrepreneurship. Paula has proven to be an up-beat, kind-hearted woman with a deep desire to succeed and flourish. She has taken the time to recognize that I am a very smart and eager individual and while I do not know everything she needs me to know, she has given me guidance and sent me along my way without micromanaging and with intent to see that we flourish together.

New New New and Good Good Good ~ Despite the slow rate of speed at which my clients are growing, they are growing. My capital will be all gone as of the next round of personal payments, so very soon it’ll be skin of the teeth, praying harder than ever, and getting creative with Ramen Noodles (hehehe). I have always believed in the barter and trade system, and now I’m actually making it work in one instance. You see, I sit at my desk for hours and hours, sometimes 10, 12, or more hours a day. Needless to say, it can be grueling and painful. Since being laid-off and being on a strict budget, many luxuries have been cut (case in point: my massages).

Here’s the barter and trade… My massage therapist (and good friend) is also building his independent business because he’s giving more to chiropractors in fees than he’s keeping himself for his services. His company, Saffron and Cedar Wellness, much like my business, needs some marketing. So I have created his blog and write his content based on subject matter he suggests. This takes me about 2 hours a week and in return I get an in-home 1+ hour massage session to help what ails me. Now, if only I could find a trade-off for somebody to steam clean my carpets (hehehehe).

That’s all for now… Time for a snack ;-)~

 

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Office Mates Matter…

As I finished up the work day at nearly midnight last evening, I was listening to my office mate whimper in her sleep. Chasing squirrels perhaps? Taking that long walk in the woods maybe? Who knows what she was dreaming of, and since she’s not the best conversationalist, I surely couldn’t get a clear answer.

Conversations or not, this little beast is by far my biggest fan.

World…. meet B.B. Girl.

B. B. is a teacup poodle, weighing in at a whopping 4.5 pounds. She is 10 years old as of March 8th, she’s full of grey hair, and missing several teeth. But this little girl is the sweetest, most dedicated friend in the world.

Since I truly sat down to focus on building my business 4 weeks ago this weekend, she has been right by my side the entire time. She used to get the privilege of sitting in my lap when I was at the computer, but now the work is more focused, not so much for fun; and the hours are very long. So she has taken up residence on the bar stool with one of her favorite blankies and sometimes her stuffed bunny/squirrel.

B.B. takes breaks with me to get a snack, a meal, a fresh beverage, check the mail, or whatever little household task may be at hand. But otherwise, together – PARTNERS IN CRIME – we sit at this desk together until all hours of the night.

Now don’t you go thinking that B.B. is a workaholic – OH NO…  From time to time she just has to jump on the Harley and take a ride to clear to her head.She has her own doggie backpack and Momma takes her on rides as often as possible.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Blogging, Creative Writing

 

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A Blessed Week and Another Week of Self Employment Underway

I sure hope that everybody had a wonderful weekend and blessed Easter. I sure did. Saturday and Sunday were both spent doing a lot of riding with people that mean a great deal to me. Saturday we rode about 250 miles (scenic route of course) to go see the Red Covered Bridge in Princeton, IL. It’s one of five remaining covered bridges in Illinois.

I filmed over four hours of riding on my GoPro camera mounted to my windshield. I love my camera that my riding friends gave me for my birthday last year. It’s totally awesome although I’m still learning how to use it. 🙂   I spent a little over five hours Saturday evening (until 1:00 AM) creating the following video our of the footage and photos I had taken from the day.

It’s Monday evening and another productive week is taking shape. I had a phone interview for a VA position with a very nice lady from New York. She found me on Guru.com and said she was impressed with my skills and recommendations. YAY!!

I did another ghostwriting session for a blogger. ARGH – how I wish I could tell you more because it’s very fascinating stuff.

I’m bidding on more jobs and submitted a test scenario for a husband/wife team that needs a VA. Hopefully I’ll hear more about that soon. I have an accounting project in the AM as well as a transcription project setup for tomorrow PM.

I’m not getting rich yet, but my name is getting out there and that’s really what will make this come to life for me.

I have been corresponding with a lovely lady that has some great inspirational women that she features on her blog. She goes by LadyRomp and her blog is quite refreshing. I recommend it for a light and uplifting read.

Other than that, my Easter with my son, grand daughter and their family was pleasant. My son and I rode our motorcycles for a while Easter afternoon which is always a blessing and a treat for me. Now that he’s grown with a family of his own, I don’t see him much so the time I get I cherish immensely.

Easter breakfast with my grand daughter Kylee, her Mommy Tina

(and of course my son and more of Tina’s family).

Easter Sunday Motorcycle Ride with My Son Nathan and other friends.

 

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Tuesday is Over?? Oh My!!

WOW!! What a busy two days. Between finishing up some ghostwriting for a blog, transcribing, and job bidding on Guru and Freelancer … I can’t believe it’s almost Wednesday (well it will be in 2 hours).

I am really enjoying the opportunity to ghostwrite for a blog that is related to bartending. This is not an area that I would normally have an interest, but it’s fascinating to me to research the ‘behind-the-scenes’ info of the career of bartending. I go into an establishment, order my beverage, pay my bill, tip well if the service is good, and continue about my socializing with friends. But oh my goodness, there’s so much more to the industry that I never knew before.I cannot detail the blog I write or the company for which I produce it, but it has certainly been a wonderful experience.

As busy as I am, I don’t get a lot of time to read books for leisure or study areas of interest outside my immediate desires. For this reason, I find what I do for a living a very welcomed way to expand my knowledge.

As such, I have been blessed to create a great rapport with Sean of Page21 Magazine. As of yesterday, he assigned me three more interviews to transcribe by tomorrow. Yesterday I completed an interview with Tichina Arnold; she played Pam on the sitcom Martin. She is a fascinating lady and I love her take on life and career. But to really get a feel for who she is, you’ll have to check out the interview with Page21 Magazine.

Then today, I completed an interview with Rob Lewis. We’ve all heard, never judge a book by it’s cover. Well, Rob is the end-all, be-all to that cliche. This dude grew up in Chicago, less than 20 miles from where I sit now. His story is nothing short of amazing and his success has not begun to slow. I so wish I could share the details because I found him inspiring, articulate, funny, and well naturally… full of talent. He has worked with some of the biggest in the biz and he’s promoting his newly released album, The Masterpiece. This is not your kids’ hip-hop or the R&B of our high school years – this is totally different. You have to hear it to appreciate it. And YES, I already bought the album. I love the horns, the strings, the bass, the drums, and the whole way it all comes together for a sound that joins generations and awakens the senses. You really must listen to The Masterpiece Prelude – it’s a tasty sample of what the album has to offer you.This interview is scheduled to hit the April edition of Page21 Magazine.

So as I listen to my new album, I conclude this blog post and wish you all a successful Wednesday. Tomorrow, I’ll be transcribing an interview with Rudy Currence. Looking forward to it…

 

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