Marketing for Educators

As the child of two educators who both ran successful side businesses, I know how important it is to leverage your skills and strengths on your terms and schedule.

You may not know that I seriously started pursuing my teaching certificate. After graduating with a journalism degree and a business minor and working in the journalism field for several years, I started the process of obtaining my post-Bach certification in elementary education.

Before I completed my student teaching, I was offered the job of my dreams combining my journalism degree and education classwork at an education-related non-profit. I love what I do.

I also love helping educators supplement their income with side businesses. After years of consulting one on one, I developed an ecourse to be able to reach more educators who want to grow their business.

This course will give educators (and anyone else interested in marketing a side business!) the confidence to apply their current skills and convert classroom teaching experience (which is really selling when it comes down to it) into growing a business.

Most marketing information and courses are aimed at people who have a different skill set than educators and more time on their hands. Everything in this ecourse can be done after school hours or on the weekends, which is exactly when you will be working to grow your business any way!

Over five lessons you will learn the basics of marketing your product or service including homework assignments to move you along in the process.

You can check out the ecourse here. If you’d like to register to take the course, email me at for a $5 off code!

Stitch Fix October Box

I was too optimistic. After keeping the dress (and wearing it regularly) from July’s Stitch Fix box, I was excited to schedule my October box. (Plus thanks to some really great friends who had much better luck than I did, I had a credit to use.) I was very careful in what I requested from the box. I wanted an outfit to wear for Miss A’s second birthday photos. I requested the colors coral, grey and navy.  I checked and rechecked my sizing and fix requests and was excited when the stylist referenced my extensive feedback and my note for this fix.

First thoughts: This box has potential. I LOVED the booties when I opened them and immediately put them on. Turns out, I’ve never owned a pair of booties and these were perfect! Fairly flat and right height. Then I opened the rest of the box and was increasingly disappointed. I specifically requested a sweater and in the Midwest, a cardigan does not constitute a sweater. The box only contained cardigans, a dress and a pair of jeggings. While I’m all for jeggings when done well, these could not have fit me worse. So much so that I decided all photos from here on out would be the clothes on the hangers

img_5986 img_5987Item: LIVERPOOL Mira Skinny Jean
Look suggestions:
My opinion: Too loose in the wrong places and too tight in the others. I felt like a busted can of croissants. The lycra made the material comfortable, but the cut was all wrong for me.
Verdict: sent back!

Item: DV8 Bria Wedge Bootie
Look suggestions:
My opinion: I so wanted to love these and I did, until I realized they were too big. What I initially thought was comfortable was actually my foot sliding forward. I nearly twisted an ankle after wearing these shoes for just a few minutes.
Verdict: sent back!

img_5993Item:  41HAWTHORN Chantel Open Cardigan
Look suggestions:
My opinion: This was promising, but was just too casual. The pattern was reminiscent of pajamas and it was not flattering.
Verdict: sent back!
Item: EMILY ROSE Martyn Textured Cardigan
Look suggestions:
My opinion: In college, I briefly learned to crochet. This cardigan looked an awful lot like a “shawl” I tried to make for my sister. The material wasn’t very soft and the cut was also not made for someone my shape. I am so curious how this looks on other ladies. I’m sure on the right person it looks fantastic, but it looked hideous on me.
Verdict: sent back!
Item: PIXLEY Millie Textured Knit Dress
Look suggestions:
My opinion: This dress had so much promise! It was a cut that I usually love and the weight was perfect for fall. The problem was twofold: first, the pattern didn’t line up and emphasized my least favorite features and second, even worse, the hem and seam were already unraveling! SO much promise, so little execution.
img_5991 img_5992Verdict: sent back!

Final thoughts: I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I might ask for a box of just shoes for my final box. But I’ll have to work up some extra courage to try again. I have to wonder how many stylists work with different body types.

Four tips for lead generation

Teenage girls blogging
Teenage girls blogging

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The point of business marketing is to generate leads and then convert those leads into sales. Conversion can be difficult with competition. Hard sells can alienate your customers and turn them away from your business. As a business owner, the best bet is to find a balance that serves your needs to stay in business and not annoy your customers. 

Pique Interest
The first thing you need to do, and it sounds obvious, is pique interest. You have to get people excited about your business and what you are offering. If there is no interest, it‘s going to be impossible to convert sales. You need to understand that laying the groundwork is important for getting potential customers to show an interest in the company. It’s often just a question of choosing the right marketing strategies.

Start a Blog
If you’re not running a business blog these days, then you are selling yourself short. Your brand is only marketing itself at around 80 percent without a blog. On a blog, you get complete control over what you write and the topics you write about. A blog also allows you to engage with people on a more interesting and personal level. Don’t make the blog all about you and your business. Use the 1:10 ratio. For every one sales specific post, write nine non-sales posts. 

Hire Lead Generation Strategists
Sometimes some things are best left to the experts to deal with. When you are trying to generate and execute leads, it’s a fine art. This isn’t something you want to put 50 percent of effort into. Don’t try using to deal with this yourself because you will find it more difficult to do things properly. Instead, you need to look into hiring lead generation specialists. These are people who make it their focus to help your company generate, secure and convert leads. They are an integral part of the process and one that you simply can’t do without if you are serious about this.

Marketing Videos
There’s no doubting that video marketing has developed a lot in the last decade. In fact, we’ve reached a stage now where it is one of the most common and effective forms of marketing. You can create your first marketing video reasonably easily online these days. It’s a fun modern way to represent your brand on a larger scale. Studies have shown that audiences engage on a deeper level when the video is involved. So this is certainly something you need to look out for.

Staff Training for businesses of all sizes

Casual Business Meeting
Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

Training is a vital part of making your business better. You have to ensure that all employees understand their jobs and what is involved in them. There are a few steps you should start taking prior to making your first hire and as you continue to add to the staff. 

Training Programs
There are a lot of training programs you can send your staff to for a day or half a day for intensive training. Stuff like injection molding training or Cisco Systems training may be really important to your business and worth the time and expense to send staff away for training. 

In-House Training
The most basic and simple form of training is to get your staff trained in-house. You can do this through the use of software and computer programs. Or, you might consider getting more experienced staff to train other, newer employees. The benefit of in-house training is that it saves time and manpower. It is a really cost-effective way of making sure everyone is on the same page. It’s essential for nurturing the talent in your business. If some of your staff need to brush up, or want to work in different areas, in-house training is really important.

Learn as They Go
Many companies these days have introduced systems whereby staff will learn as they go. This enables you to hire people who lack experience and then train them as they work. There are two main advantages to taking this approach. The first is that you can hire someone for less money than a more experienced applicant might command. And secondly, you’ll be able to mold them in your image. Many business owners have very specific ways of doing things. And hiring someone who has a lot of experience marching to the beat of someone else’s drum can be complicated. They will be used to doing things in a particular way, and it may clash with your own way. You have to keep this in mind when it comes to hiring. This is why getting staff to learn as they go is often a good option.

Business Courses
Courses are also another option when it comes to training your staff. These are particularly good if you’re dealing with something important. If they need comprehensive training for an essential area of the business, then courses are the way to go. It might be the case that they have to go on a week-long course and stay in a hotel, or it might be an hour at a computer taking part in a webinar. But this is worthwhile for the experience they will gain, and how much more they can bring to the business. Make sure you keep your employees sharp and on their toes so they can always be ahead of the game.

Creativity in Consumer Electronics

Headphones on arm rest

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The industry of consumer electronics has always been an innovative one. It used to be the case that many new-age tech products would fly off the shelves merely for their futuristic aspects. With the rise of things like smartphones and tablets, the consumer electronics industry is bigger than ever. With so many companies in the market, it’s also more competitive than ever.

There are many places for creative people in the world of consumer electronics. Many companies focus on creativity to keep up with the competition. People often choose their computer or phone based on which has unique features, or which has the nicest design. New ideas are always being developed, and designs are always improving. Here are some of the ways the industry has become more creative.

Innovative Features
To stay a step ahead of the market, electronics manufacturers always have to one-up each other when it comes to new features. The mobile phone industry has long battled it out to have the best cameras. Smartphones these days are always introducing features such as 3D capabilities and wireless charging. In many cases, the company with the best ideas to appeal to consumers will win out. There are always new innovative products arising, too. The idea of smartwatches once seemed like something that would only be in sci-fi flicks. Nowadays, any consumer can wear one for relatively cheap. With things like VR gaming consoles on the way, there’s no lack of creativity when it comes to ideas in consumer electronics.

Every Component Counts
An underappreciated factor in consumer electronics is how every part has to be crafted with care. The fact that we’re now witnessing minuscule quad-core processors in tiny devices is incredible. Tablets often cram in extra USB ports and cameras, which makes you wonder where the circuitry for everything goes. Electronics manufacturers often have parts supplied by many different companies. For instance, they often have things like PCB assembly handled by expert engineering services. Components have to be created to fit their product. Their design also has to be crafted around the size and shape of parts. It can turn into a complicated jigsaw of sorts to fit everything in. Electronics used to be big and bulky, but now they’re finding ways to make components compact and offer amazing devices.

Design Is Essential
Although the features contained within electronics can often be a big selling point, design can make or break a product. For instance, many people choose MacBooks over Windows PCs simply due to the sleek and stylish designA lot of consumer electronics like smartwatches are also seen as fashion accessories. An attractive design can go a long way in selling one. Companies have to find ways to make their devices aesthetically appealing as well as functional. Even their logo design can have a significant impact on sales. 

When it comes to reviews, things like tablets, smartphones, and games consoles often get judged on their design. Even if a product works well, it can lose points if it doesn’t look and feel good in a consumer’s hands. Designers have to be more creative than ever to keep consumers happy.

How to Protect Your Business from Disaster

Businessman drowning in cubicle

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

From natural disasters to technological failures, there are many problems that affect your business. If you’re not careful, a single event could cause terrible repercussions for your company. There are plenty of events that you have no control over and cannot prevent. There’s nothing you can do to stop a hurricane or a power cut. However, you can always take precautions to minimize the impact of anything that happens. It’s always best to address these things in advance. If anything does happen, your business will be prepared. Follow the guidance below to protect your company from various disasters.

Risk Assessment
The first step to protecting your business is to perform a risk assessment. This allows you to catalog any potential threats to your business. These could be anything from natural disasters to changes in the economy. Every business faces different hazards, depending on a range of factors. For example, location plays a role when it comes to dealing with hazardous weather. It also makes a difference with disasters such as earthquakes or wildfires. You also have to consider your market and what threatens businesses in your industry. You can perform a risk assessment yourself or assign someone in your company to do it. However, some companies prefer to outsource the task. This helps you to get a professional perspective from someone with experience.


It’s not always possible to prevent a disaster from occurring or to prevent any damage. It’s best to ensure you have insurance to protect you from various problems. A decent insurance policy will help to cover the costs of anything going wrong. It could cover your business premises if they are damaged. It might help to pay for costs if you suffer a security breach or other problem. It’s important to make sure you have enough insurance coverage for your business. This involves both checking the amounts your insurance will pay out and the circumstances it covers. You don’t want something to happen, only to discover that your insurance won’t help you.

Protection from Natural Hazards
Most businesses have to deal with some kind of natural hazard. For some, it might be a few storms or a bit of snow. For others, it could be wildfires, earthquakes and even the volcanic eruptions. It’s important to be aware of the risks in your locale and how you can protect your business. One of the best ways to do this is to learn from other businesses. There are companies in your area that have been established longer than you. They are experienced in dealing with these things. No matter what the natural disaster is, there are some universal precautions to consider. For example, you should have an emergency plan and a contingency plan. They will help you to deal with anything that happens in an organized manner instead of panicking. You can also consider practical solutions, such as installing a backup generator. This can help to keep your business going during a range of different incidents.

Preparing for Earthquakes
Some businesses need to be ready for the possibility of earthquakes. You should know if your business is one of them. You have probably learned how to deal with earthquakes as an individual. But managing a business can be a little harder. Staff training can be a significant part of preparing for an earthquake. When you have a number of people in the same office or building, you need everyone to keep calm. However, there are also some more simple steps you can take. For example, ensuring you anchor furniture and other fixtures to the wall, floor or ceiling is a good idea.

Protection from Flooding
Flooding is a problem that can occur almost anywhere. Even places that don’t expect it to happen can end up with a flooding problem. Unexpectedly large volumes of rainfall can cause a number of problems. The banks of a river might break, or drainage in a town could be poor. Flooding can cause huge amounts of damage to people’s homes and businesses. It can be difficult to prevent water from entering your business. However, you can take steps to minimize damage. For example, you can raise electrical components from ground level. This will help to ensure they aren’t affected by flood water. You can floodproof basements to help keep them in better condition. If there is a risk of flooding, you might use barriers such as sandbags to prevent water entering.

Preparing for High Winds
Wind can come in several potentially damaging forms, from strong blusters to hurricanes. A lot of damage could be caused by winds for a number of reasons. Often it’s not the wind itself that causes problems, but objects that it picks up. If there are things that are not secured, they can go flying and damage your business premises. Or the wind might be able to knock down a tree, which could land on your property. Removing or securing anything that could become a missile in the wind is a good start. You should also protect doors and windows using storm shutters or other methods. Roofs may also be affected by high winds so it’s important to consider the style of your business’s roof.

Fire Safety
When it comes to fires, they could pose a threat in a couple of ways. Some fires may come from inside your business premises. However, in some locations, you have to worry about wildfires. These can occur during the summer when land and vegetation are dry. You don’t need to have a rural business location for them to effect you. There are different ways to prepare for these two types of fire. Staff training again plays a role so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire. Having an alarm system and perhaps sprinklers will alert people of possible fires. Your alarm could even automatically contact the fire department. It’s important to perform a risk assessment of fire hazards in your company and how to manage them. External fires could pose a risk to your business in several ways. Even if a fire is far away, it could be a disaster when coupled with high winds. Glowing embers and debris could enter your business. Using fire-resistant materials on your business premises will help to prevent fire. You can also protect your business using fire-resistant shutters on doors and windows. It’s also important to be aware of any evacuation orders if wildfires become a problem.

Security Breaches
A breach in your business’s security can also be a disaster. A breach in security could mean someone breaking into your business premises. However, the more dangerous risk is that someone can steal your business’s data. You might risk losing sensitive business information. Or someone could even steal the personal details of your customers. There are lots of things you should be doing to protect your businesses data. This is on top of securing your business premises. It’s important to be educated about how to protect your data. You need to know the best ways to safeguard it, especially when it comes to sensitive information. For example, you can use software that encrypts your data or prevents any data loss. Of course, you should protect your premises too. You can use methods such as security cameras and alarms.

Backing Up Data
Another way you could experience a data disaster is due to a natural hazard or a technological fault. If your servers go down, it could be terrible for your business. You need to take steps to prevent data loss and backup any important information. Fortunately, you can easily find an IT solution to address the problem. Remote backup can be part of your disaster recovery plan. You should make disaster recovery planning a priority to help protect your company’s data. It will help to improve business continuity so that your business can keep going after something happens.


Protecting Your Business During Recession
Some disasters are bigger than others, and you have no control over them or their effects. When the economy takes a hit, many businesses feel like they can’t do anything about it. However, it is possible to make it through tough times, especially if you’re prepared. After the recent recession, many businesses are being more cautious about protecting themselves. There are many precautions you can take, and it’s a good idea to consider several of them.

Diversifying your products and services is one way to protect your company during a recession. It’s also a good idea to have a plan for how to handle tough times. For example, many businesses cut their marketing budgets. However, what you should do is increase your marketing spend to attract more customers. You should also plan to make the most of your loyal customers. If you have a solid plan, you’re less likely to panic and make silly decisions.

Any type of disaster could hit your business and have a negative impact. Preparing for them can help to prevent them, as well as minimize their impact.