My Inspirations And Motivators (a.k.a what keeps me going!)

My Inspirations And Motivators (a.k.a what keeps me going!)

My posts this week have centered on workflow, focus and organization.  I’d like to end the week by give you an idea of the types of things that inspire and motivate me.  Not only as a business owner but also as a Father and human being.

I find a lot of inspiration in my daily Buddhist practice with it’s emphasis on mediation, gratitude and compassion.  My exposure to Buddhism since 2013 has been a major calming and focusing factor in my life.  The philosophy of impermanence (nothing lasts forever) has been a huge tool to help me through difficult times and come out on the other end better than I was when I started.
Also, while I’m not a voracious consumer of inspirational memes and videos, I have come across several that I have saved and regularly watch and share with my kids.

Gratitude

This is the video I have watched and shared with my family more often than any other.  It has a simple, wonderful, powerful message.  Gratitude.

If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed

A truly wonderful video about the power of perseverance, focus, taking things one step at a time and making sure to start by doing the “little things”.

How To Let Your Light Shine Bright!

As motivating speeches go, it doesn’t get much better than this!!  Bring a pair of shades 🙂  I smile EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I see this.

One Life – Act Like It!

Everything that has happened has happened.  No more dwelling, no more complaining.  Go out and execute!.

I hope these strike a cord with you.  Feel free to leave a comment on what you thought of them or if you have other things and inspire and motivate you that you’d like to share.

Take care,
Skip & Sandy

Simple Tips For Avoiding Workflow Chaos

Simple Tips For Avoiding Workflow Chaos

It’s Monday morning.  You’ve had a restful weekend and you are in your office with your favorite morning beverage and ready to get started pumping out some creative work.  Right in the middle of things a client contacts you with a technical problem they are having with their website.  You let them know you’ll look into it and then one of your favorite clients calls and wants to talk to you about some new ideas they have for their business.  After that call you get back to sorting out the technical issue and then remember you have a webinar to attend in an hour that you signed up for.  All the while you are thinking about the bills you have this week that you need to cover.  Your head is swirling with all the things you need to do and then, 8 hours later you have not done anything you originally planned for the day!

Sound familiar?  Happens to me all the time.

As well as being a web developer and designer, I have also been a practicing Buddhist for the past 7 years.  One of the things that my practice has taught me is the importance of routine.  It is critical for creative types like myself to have a routine and stick with it whenever possible because it is so easy to become overwhelmed with all of the elements that are part of running any type of creative business.  I came into my entrepreneurship with a background in art and design and have had to learn the business side of things as I go.  Part of this is making lists, keeping calendars and taking lots of notes.  I have two paper calendars, one Google calendar and three white boards in my office with all manner of work flow lists and charts.  I have found that the only way to keep myself focused on what I’m doing is to always follow a routine.  It keeps me focused because I know that I start from number 1 and go from there no matter what else happens (save for obvious emergencies)

The days where I can successfully follow my routine ALWAYS make me feel better and more accomplished at the end of the work day.  So, as a (hopefully) helpful example, here is the routine I follow during the day:

Let’s take a look:

1.  Meditate / Inversion table – Every morning I spend 10 minutes or so in meditation.  It’s a wonderful way to set your intention and focus for the upcoming work day.  After that I spend a few minutes stretching our on my inversion table because it just feels great and is so good for my body!
2.  Shower – Because a clean body is a great way to start the day.
3.  Cat Box – Yea it may sound stupid but have you ever been near a litter box that has been neglected for a few days??
4.  Breakfast – This is actually very important because it can so easily be overlooked.  Feed your mind and body and you will be able to be more productive!
5. Check, Sort, Answer All Emails – If you are like me you have dozens (or hundreds) of emails to go through every day.  Like a cat litter box, if they are not tended to every day they pile up and get stinky!
6.  Emergencies – It happens.  Clients call with something that needs to be done “immediately”, web servers go down temporarily and need to be looked at, client’s emails can be on the fritz.  These things happen and they almost always need to be tended to immediately.
7.  My Blogging, Social Media Postings, Etc. – This could be one of the most important things on my list because its not “billable” and so it can get easily pushed aside.  However, business development and promotion is vital to bringing in new projects and so it needs to be part of your regular routine.
8.  SEO/SMM Client Work – This is the time I spend daily working on the SEO and SMM campaigns for my existing clients.  SEO/SMM are ongoing projects that need to be worked on regularly to provide positive results for my clients.
9.  Cold Calls – You have to make calls and contact people in order to get new work and clients.  Spend a little time every day doing this and you will be amazed at the results you get.  You don’t have to get new clients every day but if you are persistent and build up relationships with perspective clients then, when they are ready to pull the trigger, you’ll be the first person they call.
10.  Existing Client Work – This is the bulk of my day.  Working on projects for my existing clients who are under contract with me.
11.  New Client Work – This is the second largest portion of my day.  Setting up new client projects:  New website hosting accounts, new WordPress installations, gathering creative discovery information etc.

I hope that giving you a glimpse into my day to day routine has inspired you or given you something to try out.  Please feel free to leave a comment on what YOU do to organize your work day!

Take care,
Skip and Sandy

P.S. Thank you to my good friend and tremendously talented artist Rose Adare for the sticker on my white board.  I really enjoy having little affirmations around me to remind me to be grateful and practice compassion and kindness.  If you are interested, her art can be seen on her site at https://www.roseadare.com/

 

 

Shadowbend Studios’ Traditional Annual Holiday “Gift” :)

Shadowbend Studios’ Traditional Annual Holiday “Gift” :)

Hello friends of the studio!
Well, it’s that time again!  This has been an annual holiday tradition for the past 12 years and those of you who have followed my blog posts and social media posts know what’s coming.  For those of you who may be new to my postings… I’ll apologize ahead of time 🙂  I have a quirky, whimsical and somewhat dark sense of humor at times.  It helps with creativity and design but, as I mentioned in the original post 12 years ago…

“This is one of those things that defines a person’s character to others. 🙂  Either you “get” the humor or you will come away, head askew with a “tsk tsk” look on your face, wondering where my parents went wrong.

And so, without further ado, here is Shadowbend Studios’ annual holiday “gift”…

Please feel free to let us know how you like the video in the comments section!  And, don’t hold it against us, we’re just made that way 🙂

Take care and happy holidays!
Skip & Sandy

Monday Morning Marketing – Must Have SEO Plugins For Your WordPress Website

Monday Morning Marketing – Must Have SEO Plugins For Your WordPress Website

Online Web MarketingSearch engines and search engine results are a major source of traffic for your website.  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the best strategy for positive, effective search engine results!  One of the best things you can do to start you search engine optimization campaign is to install plugins on your site to help you with on-site optimization.  It may come as no surprise that there is no shortage of SEO and SMM plugins available, however here at Shadowbend Studios we have been using a handful of the industry leading offerings to great effect and would like to share them with you!

Yoast SEO
If you have only one plugin on your site, this should be the one.  From Yoast’s website:

“Since 2008 Yoast SEO has helped millions of websites worldwide to rank higher in search engines. This WordPress SEO plugin helps you with your search engine optimization. Are you not entirely convinced? Yoast SEO is the favorite WordPress SEO plugin of millions of users worldwide!  As Yoast’s mission is SEO for Everyone, the plugin’s users range from the bakery around the corner to some of the most popular sites on the planet.”

Yoast SEO is easy to use, intuitive and very very effective!

Download Yoast SEO

Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets
In my opinion, this is a fantastic and terribly underrated plugin!  Snippets are the portion of a website that Google displays in search engine results.  Under normal conditions, Google just takes a slice of text from the top portion of a web page and displays it.  With Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets YOU create and control the text that is displayed.  The plugin also works well with Yoast SEO for a great one-two SEO punch!

Download Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets

As I said, there are many more but these two are the heavy hitters that no WordPress website should be without.  If you’d like more information, more recommendations or you’d like help installing and configuring these plugins on your site, contact Shadowbend Studios today!

Take care,
Skip & Sandy

Shadowbend Studios Is Feeling Festive!

Shadowbend Studios Is Feeling Festive!

Hello there friends of Shadowbend Studios!  It’s a cozy winter weekday afternoon here at the studio, so while I’m sipping my peppermint coffee I thought I’d show you some photos of our decorations!  The winter holidays are our favorites here at Shadowbend and we tend to go all out!

Do you decorate your business?  And if so, show us some photos in the comments section!

Happy Holidays!
Skip & Sandy

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