Business Blog

Tips and Resources for Small Business and Solopreneurs. Topics include Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Outreach Strategy and more!

Blog Anatomy IV: What is the Best Length for a Blog Post?

In this post we’ll be discussing blog post length. How do you know how long your blog posts should be? How do you know what is too long, what is too short, and what is just right? I’ve asked myself this question many times: How long should my blog posts be? This post was written for Blogging University’s Blogging 101, Day 9 assignment: Get Inspired By The Neighbors

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Blog Anatomy III: Editing and Proofing

This post was written in Open Letter format for a Blogging University assignment – Writing 101 Day 8: Reinvent the Letter Format. It is inspired by all the wonderful blogs I’ve found through this course. But have done so much editing and proofing in my career, it pains me to see so many errors in blogs that could easily be avoided with a simple spell check or a little bit of proofing.

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Blog Anatomy II: Headline, Body, Photo

In this post about blog anatomy you’ll learn some strategy behind writing a good blog post. We’ll be discussing the importance and content of your headline and body copy, and why you should always include a photo in your posts. We discuss these with the goal of attracting and building your target audience.

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News from the Blab Blog

Hey there Business Bloomers! Not too long ago I wrote a post introducing you to Blab, a still-in-beta, very nifty video chat app that works so nicely with Twitter. Check out this news from the Blab blog. You’ll see some nifty new tools, including YouTube upload capability, comment filters, iOS props, and more. Sweet!

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Apple Updates Notes App and It Rocks!

The iPad’s ios 9 update brings with it an upgrade to the Notes app. It was already handy before, but now Notes does even more to help you stay organized and productive. The new drawing tool allows you to do freehand drawings to add to your notes, and you can easily add images from your photo library or take a photo to be included in your notes. Let’s take a little tour!

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How Can Playing Hooky Be Good For Business?

“Meilani,” you say, “How can playing hooky possibly be good for business?” Life is too short to be always stressed out by business. After all, one of the perks of being a business owner or solopreneur is *supposed* to be flexibility in scheduling, though it doesn’t always feel like that’s the case. In this post you’ll learn when why it might a good idea to play hooky occasionally and tips for how to do so responsibly.

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Burnout Tips and Blogging Prompts Can Help You Write Now

“Oh Meilani,” you say, “I’m feeling burnt out, I just can’t think of anything to blog about.” Well let me tell you, you are not alone. Burnout is a common challenge among small business owners and solopreneurs who are often doing it all themselves. In this post you’ll find three great tips for battling burnout, and three useful resources for fighting writer’s block when you do feel burnt out on blogging.

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How to Use Vine to Create Quick Video Clips

In this post you’ll learn how to use the Vine app to create quick video clips that you can easily post to your socials. The nifty thing about Vine is that it enables you to create 6-second video clips with the touch of a finger. In this post you’ll find both a Video Guide and a Text and Pictures Guide for how to use Vine to create quick video clips.

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Sample Video: Social Media Networking and Audience Building

The video in this post covers:

• Your social media time is your networking time
• Why we go to networking mixers
• What your social media time is meant to accomplish
• How much time will you spend on socials? Why?
• Why? An investment in your business: building connections and relationships
• Homework: start building your social connections and audiences
• How to build connections when participating in a Hangout
• Using Hashtags to build social connections

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Video Introduction and Resources for How to Use Hootsuite

The video in this post covers:

• Where to find the free account set up link 1:26
• How to add your social accounts 2:14
• About Hootsuite interface: Tabs 3:14
• About Hootsuite interface: Streams 3:30
• How to add a Stream to your Tabs 4:13
• How to add a social network to a Tab 4:48
• Adding a Tab and Tab organization 5:00
• About adding an App 5:54
• How to reTweet 6:20
• How to send your post to multiple social sites 6:57
• A little bit of discussion about social marketing vs. spam 8:47
• How to schedule your post to go out later 10:07

• As always, there’s a little bit of social media marketing talk in there too.

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Social Media Sharing Tip: Why You Should Always Write an Intro

In this post you’ll learn why it is so important to include an introduction when you share a link to a post written by someone else. You want that post to be a vehicle to reinforce your message and your brand identity. A good intro in your voice can do this even when the link you share goes to an article written by someone else. This post shows you how.

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Free Tour of Google Hangouts for Windermere RE Palm Desert

Hangouts are Google’s face-to-face video conferencing app. You can have up to ten people in a Hangout at once. There are a number of tools and apps included in the Hangout interface which make Hangouts a powerful tool for collaborating with another person or a Project Team (think never having to drive to a meeting in another town again!), for providing customer service, and for marketing your business! This video takes you through the basics of being in a Hangout.

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Video Lesson: How to Use the Draw Tool to Brand Your Hangouts

Video Lesson: How to Use the Draw Tool to Brand Your Hangouts Hey There Business Bloomers!  If you use or watch Google’s Hangouts or Hangouts on Air, you already know how important it is to add a name stripe across the bottom of your screen. You can use the built-in Hangouts Toolbox to create your Lower Third stripe, or if you have an image editing app such as Adobe Photoshop you can create a custom stripe and fit in more info than the built in app allows.     Q: But I don’t have Photoshop, am I just S.O.L.? A: No – now there is a built in tool to help you, yay! For people who don’t have Photoshop or another fancy image editing app, there is now a tool built right into Hangouts that enables you to add more info to your screen, such as a phone number, tagline, or testimonial that will strengthen and reinforce your brand. It’s cleverly disguised as a “fun” app, but provides a very practical tool for business as well.     Introducing the DRAW app! Check out this short video (less than 5 minutes long!) which shows you how to use the Draw tool to brand your Hangouts by enabling you to add more info to your Hangout video screen! . . If you found this video helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues who might find it useful too. Please leave a comment and let me know what other quick tips would be useful to you.    Check out this Google+ post for more info and a great example of how... read more

How to Pin a Google Post to Pinterest

How to Pin a Google Post to Pinterest Hey there Business Bloomers, have you ever come across or written a really great post on Google+, just full of useful info, and wished you could pin it to your Pinterest boards? Guess what…you can! This video shows you how to pin a Google post to Pinterest. Woot!   Be sure to read the important note below the video too! . . Important Note About Sharing to Twitter When Pinning When I wrote the comment for the pin starting at 1:55 in the video, I did two things: 1. I made Michelle’s name and my name live links to our Pinterest profiles 2. I checked the “Post to Twitter” box, which sent out a Tweet of this Pin from my Twitter account Now I did #1 because the comment for the Pinterest pin now has nifty live links to my and to Michelle’s Pinterest profiles. However, those live links got carried over to the Twitter post. BUT they were not links to our Twitter profiles, or back to our Pinterest pages!   Because our Twitter names are not the same as our Pinterest names, the comments ended up having live links to some other lucky ladies who scored our names for their Twitter profiles. I am @1Meilani on Twitter, and @Meilani is someone completely different, who happens to share the same first name. Lucky girl!   So, since there is no way to edit a Tweet once it is sent, I ended up having to delete that Tweet, and when I’m done writing here, I will  send out a Tweet of... read more

Find Your Hangout Invites Easily with Chrome Hangouts Extension

How to Find Your Hangout Invites with Chrome Hangouts Extension I hear these a lot: “I can’t find my Hangout Invites!” and “How do I start a Hangout?”  Finding your Hangout invites when others invite you to Hangout can be a bit challenging, especially for folks new to Google+. I use a Chrome browser extension that makes finding my Hangout Invites so much easier, and this post and video shows you where to get that Chrome Hangouts Extension and how it works. Browser Extensions add functionalities to your browser. Here are 3 examples of extensions I use and what they do: blocking unwanted ads from displaying in your browser (Adblock Plus) providing ability to easily share stuff to your socials (AddThis) ability to easily clip stuff and save to your Evernote notebooks (Evernote Web Clipper)   Check out the video below for a quick and easy lesson on where to find the Chrome Hangouts Extension and how it makes it easy to find your Hangout Invites! . . . As always, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and colleagues who might also find it useful. Sharing is caring 🙂 . Would You Like More Video Lessons, Workshops and Resources? Are You On A Tight Budget? Check Out Meilani’s Blooming Business Club! Meilani’s Blooming Business Club provides members with a wealth of workshops, videos, resources, and a private community on Google+ where members can get ongoing support and motivation, ask questions, test their ideas before they go public, and find great information from around the net on topics they care about, all brought into the... read more

Case Study: Brand Identity and Unintentional Negative Messages

Case Study: Brand Identity and Unintentional Negative Messages Hey there Business Bloomers!  Today I’m presenting a case study in brand identity and unintentional negative messages, and providing 2 simple tips to help you avoid falling into their traps. . Let’s start with a little background information. I live in a quiet little desert town that, twenty years ago, was plagued with gang and drug problems (can you say desert meth lab?).  Oh and law enforcement had a habit of dumping off parolees in the desert, where the Palm Springs celebs and golfers wouldn’t see them, at a rate much higher than the drop offs in any other city. With a population of only about 20,000 this led to a disproportionate amount of criminal activity and economically disadvantaged residents. But over the past ten years there’s been lots of change, as city officials, activists and local law enforcement worked hard to improve conditions and break out of the horrendous reputation this little jewel of a city acquired back in the bad old days.  Talk about Breaking Bad!   Wait..that doesn’t sound great – did you really just say Jewel of a City? Why yes, yes I did, and I meant it!  Desert Hot Springs (DHS) is not the dumping ground it used to be. Many public agencies came together to stop the disproportionate number of parolees dropped off in DHS, they did a few big crime sweeps that removed a lot of gang members (and yes, those just happened to be well publicized and near election time, unsurprisingly) and some really great education programs were put into place that encourage... read more

Meilani & Theresa’s How to Use Google+ for Business: Posting on Google+

Meilani and Theresa’s How to Use Google+ for Business: Beginner Series Class 2, Segment 6 teaches us more about posting on Google+.   Hey there peeps!  This video segment is a free preview from a video lesson series hosted by myself and +Theresa Delgado, called “Meilani & Theresa’s How to Use Google+ for Business: Beginners Series.”  This segment shows how to make a post on Google+, and how to control who sees or comments on the post. Did you know you can disable reshares of your post?  Did you know you can disable comments on your post?  Watch this short segment to learn the basics of sharing your post with just the folks you want to share with.     This 7-minute segment covers: posting and sharing etiquette where to view post activity disabling sharing disabling comments email notifications See Segment 5 to learn how to share your post to specific people, to your circles, extended circles or to public, and what that means. (requires membership) See Segment 7 to learn about using Hashtags and for a recap of all the best practices for posting discussed in Segments 5 and 6. (requires membership) Segments 5 and 7, and the rest of the videos in the Meilani and Theresa’s How to Use Google+ for Business: Beginner Series, are available to members of Meilani’s Blooming Business Club.  You can access all these great videos, and more! Check out the workshop schedule on the sidebar 🙂   Meilani’s Blooming Business Club March Open House Memberships are monthly, ultra affordable and there is no miminum required (you can join just for one month if you want)... read more

Quick Intro to Google+: Where’s My Stuff?

Quick Intro to Google+: Where’s My Stuff? The video lesson you can fit in your ten minute break 🙂 Hey There Business Bloomers!  This Quick Intro to Google+ video is perfect for folks who have already created their Google account, but are just starting out using Google+, GMail, and the other awesome apps provided to us by the good folks at Google. This video gives you a quick tour of the first items on a newbie’s “where do I find my ____?” list.  You’ll learn how to find your Google+ profile page easily where your notification and privacy settings are where to find your other Google apps including Gmail, Calendar, Maps, etc., where to view your Notifications. Less than 8 minutes long, this Quick Intro to Google+ video packs a lot of really useful info into a package that fits nicely into your lunch break!... read more

How to Use Hangouts Lower Third, plus Free Hangout Custom Overlay Template

How to Use Hangouts Lower Third Are you interested in hosting or participating in a Google Hangout?  If so, it is important that you learn how to use the built in Hangout app called “Hangout Toolbox.”   Toolbox provides some very nifty tools for use inside a Hangout, most importantly an app called “Lower Third.” .  What is a Hangout Lower Third? Lower Third puts a stripe across the bottom of your screen which displays your name and web site or tag line. When viewers watch the Hangout, they will see your name and website displayed in your video feed, and of course that is a good thing. Here’s what the built-in Hangout Lower Third setup box and its resulting name stripe look like:  (you can click the pic for a larger view) . . Note that the above is what the Lower Third stripe looks like when you use the built-in settings as shown. If you do not choose a logo image, your profile pic will be displayed by default. . Lower Third Custom Overlays With Lower Third, you can also choose to use a Custom Overlay that you create yourself in Photoshop.  Below is a screenshot of a Hangout with a custom-made lower third stripe: . . You can see that by using a custom overlay, I was able to fit more information in my stripe, and give it a custom color. You can also use more of the screen if you want, besides just the bottom area – for example in the empty space to left or right, you could put a call to action or other... read more

Free Workshop: Google Analytics: What do they tell me and how do I use the info to benefit my business?

Meilani’s Blooming Business Club Preview — Free Workshop on Google Analytics!     Did you grab your free seat in March’s Meilani’s Blooming Business Hangout?  That’s right, Meilani’s Blooming Business Club held a March 2014 Open House, so come on in, take a look around, and check out this March 2014 installment of Meilani’s Blooming Business Club‘s monthly workshops held via Google Hangout!     .    .    .    .  The March workshop features special guest presenter Bill Sanderson, owner of InRoomDeals.com and past TGIF guest, leading this workshop on:   .  GOOGLE ANALYTICS: What do they tell me and how do I use the info to benefit my business? What do those Google Analytics charts mean, what kind of information do they provide, and how might we use that info to improve how we reach out and communicate to our web site visitors? Google Analytics provides you with a lot of useful info about the visitors to your web site, such as what page they landed on, what pages they visited next, how long they stayed, what they clicked, and much more.  Our guest presenter did an awesome job, giving us relatable examples of information provided by Google Analytics, what changes were made based on the info, and the result of those changes.  Thank you +Bill Sanderson for giving us an understanding of how and why Google Analytics are used!    .    Did you find this workshop helpful? Do you want to learn how to spend your social media time on purpose, with purpose? Check Out Meilani’s Blooming Business Club! Meilani’s Blooming Business Club provides members with a wealth of workshops, lesson videos, resources, and a private... read more

Dr. Simone Ravicz Shares Stress Busting Brain Science

Hey Business Bloomers!   My stream of consciousness, “ooh there’s something cool I’m gonna share it” posts tend to happen mostly on Google+.   I know, I know, I’m supposed to put it on my web site blog, then share that around.  But hey when you’re in the moment, you don’t always want to leave, go sign in, write the post, format it, etc etc etc and then go share.  The share moment that you get when you see something and go “ooooh!” is just gone for me by then sometimes.  So I just get it out on Google+ while it’s still hot on my mind. Fortunately, I can come back later and embed those posts here.  Sweet!     Check out Dr. Simone’s books on Amazon.com: Thriving with Your Autoimmune Disorder: A Woman’s Mind-Body Guide High on Stress: A Woman’s Guide to Optimizing the Stress in Her Life  ... read more

What’s This Trending Thing Anyway?

Hey There Business Bloomers!  Check out this great post on “Trending” from Meilani’s Blooming Business Club member +Brian Rouley! There’s some really nifty links here to where you can find out what’s trending now.  In his post, Brian asks, “Do you first have to find out what is trending? If you have ideas on how to board that train, send details.” Well Brian, I can show you how to board that train!   “What’s Trending” means what’s hot now, what is being searched the most.  The terms you see coming up in “what’s trending” are search terms that people are using. You’ll see this often in the entertainment industry, for example. Say some celebrity is in a gossip magazine with their latest scandal – many people might see that and do a search for that celebrity. That celebrity’s name becomes of the hottest searches – it is what’s trending.  How can you use trending information to your advantage? Well it’s really great during current events. I’ll give an example – you might remember the Barilla pasta drama that was all over the news last October. The Barilla pasta company’s chairman put his foot in his mouth during a very public interview in which the subject of advertising imagery for the company came up, as related to the makeup of modern families. The chairman, Guido Barilla, said (in reference to same sex families): “That’s fine if they like our pasta and our communication, they can eat them. Otherwise, they can eat another pasta.” Well, as you might imagine, that little statement didn’t go over so well, and it didn’t go over... read more

Introduction to Google Hangouts for Business – Live Presentation Video

Hey There Business Bloomers! Last Tuesday (01.07.2014) I had the honor of giving a presentation on Hangouts for Business to the audience at the Sunrise Mastermind Series, hosted by +Jeff Harrison and +Amy Anderson (SwingPointMedia) on behalf of CV SCORE.  During this presentation I spoke about the many possibilities that Google Hangouts and Hangouts on Air present to small business owners and solopreneurs.  I am now super stoked because Jeff and Amy recorded the whole presentation, and now here it is!  This video is not a complete walk through of Google Hangouts, but rather an introduction to them that highlights ways Hangouts can be used to benefit and promote yourself and your business! Despite technical difficulties at first, we got a live Hangout going during the presentation and the audience was able to interact with the Hangout participants, who came from both ends of the USA! Speaking of those great participants, let me go ahead and give them a nice shout out here – thank you for joining me in the Hangout demonstration +Janice Hurlburt from California (BizyBizVA.com), +Carla Wynn from Alabama (EnchantInc.com) and +Jim Ault from Florida (LettuceAdoreYou.com)! Special honors go to +BrianRouley (rouzelle.net) for jumping in during the midst of technical difficulties and saving the day! Thanks to Brian, we got sound from the computer and the audience at the presentation was able to interact with the folks who joined the Hangout. The Sunrise Mastermind Series happens every Tuesday morning from 7:15am – 8:30am pst at the SCORE offices in the Whitewater Building on Cook Street in Palm Desert, CA.  If you’d like to attend these great, free presentations, please register... read more

Websites that Flow and Convert

Does your website flow like water or honey? By: Carla Wynn, Contributing Author Congratulations Seeds members! This blog post is going to show you how to create a unique flow to your website that emotionally converts visitors in one or more ways. Flow is a term that is used to describe the effortless momentum. Imagine a waterfall. Do you see how it flows with ease over the rocks and along the bank? Your website should have the same type of flow while speaking to a diverse audience AND have an emotional message that gently encourages a conversion. Conversion can be soft, partial and full. We will read more about how to have a flowing website with emotionally converting content later in this post.  Let’s talk first about the term “Flow” and how it is important to the success of your website, social media campaign and business success. Flow simply means the effortless movement from one thing or place to another thing or place. At your website, your audience (by nature and virtue of their savvy internet skills) uses their mouse to work with the “Flow” of your website. In some cases they will use their finger as with a smart phone or tablet, but the message is this: website visitors like to click around to see what you are up to. When the elements of your website lead to a natural flow, you will enjoy longer visitor stays and better search results placement in search engines such as Google or Bing.      When Flow is present, Ease is present too.  Ease means easy. We want things to be delivered... read more

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Meilani’s Blooming Business Club

Join Meilani's Blooming Business Club and enjoy:

• monthly workshops held via Hangout ($200 value!)

• twice monthly "Consultant is IN" brainstorming, consulting and support sessions with Meilani ($300 value!)

• ongoing support and resources sharing in Meilani's Blooming Business Community on Google+!

All at a low monthly price solopreneurs can afford, woohoo!

2016’s Blooming Business Workshops will focus on building social networks through focused social outreach strategies.