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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 aurora@jacreativegroup.com for a $5 off code!

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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.

There are several ways businesses waste money on pay-per-click ad campaigns. Here are six tips to make the most out of your pay-per-click advertising dollars. 

  1. Get some help If you’re not 100% confident in your abilities, you might need some help. With providers like SEO Rank Up around, you can get involved as you want in your PPC campaigns. You might even like just to hand over the advertising to an expert, which may be the most effective way to maximize your PPC marketing.
  2. Remove duplicate keywords One of the golden rules of PPC advertising is that you should never have duplicate keywords in your ads because you could end up spending too much money on that keyword if you change the bid on one of them! What you should be doing is having targeted and UNIQUE keywords in your all of your PPC ad campaigns.
  3. Review keywords with a low quality score Google and other PPC providers assign a quality score to your ads. If your keywords rank poorly, it means something is wrong and you need to spend some time investigating what happened. It might be as simple as an incorrect URL for your landing page. Or it could be that the keyword bears no relation to the target content.
  4. Create manageable ad groups Some people have a plethora of ads in each PPC ad group. It makes sense to divide them up into smaller categories. Doing so makes your ads more manageable.
  5. Remove underperforming ads When you run a PPC campaign for a few days, you’ll notice something obvious. Some of your ads won’t perform as well as others. There could be a variety of reasons for that. For instance, too few people might be searching for those keywords. Or you’re not bidding enough for them. If you’re paying for ads that don’t result in a high ROI, you need to pause them. That way, you can concentrate on the ones that deliver the best results.
  6. Tailor your ads for specific devices Do some of your landing pages perform better on specific device types? If so, you need to configure your ads to reflect that fact. Doing so will mean that you have a higher quality score for each ad.

 

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I love essential oils. I’ve used them to make a HFM relief bath for my toddler and holiday gifts in the past. When our local store stopped carrying out favorite Zum Room spray, I knew I needed to get creative and make one of our own. Which let me completely customize it for our favorite scents. We settled on a Rosemary, Peppermint and Eucalyptus blend.

Ingredients:
Rosemary Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Water (honestly, we used previously boiled tap water, but you can use distilled or purified if you want!)
Spray bottle (we went fancy, but you can use any spray bottle you want!)

Directions:
Add about 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil to the bottle.
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Essential Oil Room Spray
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Then add about 20-30 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil and 20-30 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil. Shake and smell. If the peppermint is overpowering, add more of the other two. We originally started with 10 drops of each, but it ended up being too pepperminty for us. When you’re satisfied with the scent, add the water to just below full. Shake. Spray and smell again. If it isn’t quite what you expected, shake again and spray one more time. Still not right? Add more of what you’re missing.

Make sure you shake it before you use it on your pillows, blankets, sheets and/or pajamas. You can spray it on your skin (test a small patch first to make sure you don’t have a reaction) or hair, but don’t spray it in your eyes.

I know I said back in September that I quit Stitch Fix, and I never once second guessed that decision. However, when Stitch Fix emailed me an offer to waive the styling fee and try one more box risk-free, I didn’t think I had anything to lose by giving Stitch Fix one more try.

In an effort to make sure I got at least one item I would like in this box, I updated my style profile and even said I would be willing to try a pair of shoes. I’ve decided I no longer care if nearly every outfit I wear is blue, it’s my favorite color and I think I look pretty good in blue.

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First thoughts: I was really surprised when I opened the box. This stylist seemed to actually read what I wanted and thought through my requests. I was excited to try on every single item.

I wore my favorite jeans with the tops and my own camisole. I planned to wear the shoes, Dolce Vita Monica Lizard Criss Cross Slide Sandal, with each outfit, but they didn’t fit quite right and I was afraid I might trip. I erred on the side of safety and just took these photos. They’re really cute and I do plan to see if any local store has something similar.

Dolce Vita Criss Cross Slide Sandal Dolce Vita Criss Cross Slide Sandal

Verdict: Sent back, begrudgingly.

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Item: Pixley Edmond Henley Knit Top.
Look suggestions:
Pixley Edmond Henley Knit Top

Opinion: I’ll be honest and say of all the items I’ve sent back this is one I thought about. I didn’t regret sending it back, but I did think about it occasionally and once searched for it online. After seeing it again, I still love the cut and weight and overall style of this item. I just wish it was in a solid color.
Verdict: Sent back.

Loveappella Earnest Knot Swing Tank.

Item: Loveappella Earnest Knot Swing Tank.
Look suggestions:
Loveappella Earnest Knot Swing Tank suggestionsOpinion: I had a feeling this tank would be just too long and I was right. It’s also more of a tie-dye look than I normally go for.
Verdict: Sent back.

Loveappella Garnet Knit Maxi Dress

Item: Loveappella Garnet Knit Maxi Dress
Look Suggestions:
Loveappella Garnet Knit Maxi Dress Suggestions

Opinion: I’m sure this pattern looks great on ladies who aren’t as short as I am with my proportions. The material of this dress was comfortable and perfect for summer and for someone a few inches taller.
Verdict: Sent back.

Gilli Kamile Knit Dress.
Item: Gilli Kamile Knit Dress.
Look suggestions:
Gilli Kamile Knit Dress SuggestionsOpinion: I really like this dress. It’s more of a purple-y navy than a true purple, which I liked. I had to recheck the washing instructions and make sure it was too much like my other favorite blue dress, but I really like the cut and fit of the dress. It was actually made for someone of my height!
Verdict: I will probably end up keeping it (!!!), but will absolutely take the one more day to consider it before completely making up my mind.

Final thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised. I think the people in charge at Stitch Fix have taken the many criticisms to heart and have made some changes. Or I just got lucky. I will probably give one more box a try in the next few months to see if they can get more than one item right in the future. Wish me luck!

Want to try Stitch Fix for yourself? You can use my Referral Code and I’ll get $25 toward a future box and you’ll get my gratitude!

coca-cola-462776_1280Editor’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.

When you think of say Coca-Cola, fun is probably a word that comes to mind. This personification of a brand is crucial for everything from paper towels (strong) to investment brokers (trustworthy) and every business in between.

But coming up with the attributes for your brand, a personality, can be difficult. First you should describe your perfect customer or client. What qualities does this person have? Where do they live? What are they like?

Define The Attitude You’d Like Your Business To Have
Now, start anther list noting the things you feel describe your business. Usually, it’ll swing one way or the other. It could be serious and professional or modern and high energy. Write down the words you feel describe your business and go from there. Some of these could include:

  • Professional.
  • Friendly.
  • Fun.
  • Traditional.
  • Modern.
  • Unique.
  • Friendly.
  • Comfortable.

Create A Voice
When you have your definitions down, it’s time for you to create a voice. This will be the voice that you use on all of your communications. It should feel easy and never forced. You’ll use it on social media, in your emails, letters and on the telephone. This is why it’s important you take your time and create something that suits your business.

 

Come Up With A Visual Representation
Come up with a visual representation of your brand personality. What colors will you use? What sort of font? (J & A Creative would love to help you with this step!) This is what you’ll also use on your site, social media, letters, store signage, advertisements and anything else business related. Places like deBretton commercial design can help with this.

Don’t Be Afraid To Mix Things Up
Don’t be afraid to mix things up if that’s what your brand is all about. For example, you may have a professional look with a high energy attitude. Having a unique business is a great thing!

Create A Vision Board
A vision board can help you to come up with your needs and see things much clearer. Create one in person or online to help you visualize where you are and how all the parts fit together.

vision board

 

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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.

Building your brand requires you to increase brand reputation. This is when you make your brand better known and more visible to your customers and if appropriate, the general public. There are so many things that business owners can do to make that happen. And they don’t all have to be complicated and expensive either. There are many simple, inexpensive and easy ways to increase your brand exposure. 

Become More Media-Savvy
Traditional media remains important, even in the age of social media. You should to have contacts in the local or national media, depending on the size and scope of your business. These contacts are who you reach out to when you open your first location, hire new employees, create a new product, expand and anything else noteworthy. It is also helpful to be on a list of potential sources for business related stories.

 

Give Away Free Items
Giving away free items might seem like an unnecessary expense, but consider it an advertising investment. For example, if you were to give away printed tote bags for free, people would see them. It works as a free walking advert for your business,Consider other items like coffee cups and shirts. 

Focus on One Big Idea
Your business should have one big idea that it focuses on. This idea should sum up the ethic of the business and what it’s all about. It’s what you want people to associate with your brand when they see your logo or hear the company name. If you think about it, this is what all the biggest and most successful brands have been able to do. They take one idea, repeat it all the time, and put a new spin on it when necessary. If you can do this, it should cement the identity of your brand, and it will be easier to make sure that people remember your brand when they’re exposed to it.

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Create a Podcast or Blog
Creating content that people can really latch onto and get passionate about is definitely a good idea, but may take time to build a library of content and a following, so if you decide to go this route, be consistent. A blog is the conventional option when you’re trying to do something like this. Blogs can help you to reach customers and clients who haven’t heard of the business and if done well, can answer FAQs. It can also establish your position as a thought leader in your particular industry. Another option is to create a podcast. The benefit of a podcast is that people can listen to it at any time. Some people listen to podcasts in the car, others at the gym. Podcasts are similar to spoken blog posts, but should be interesting to the ear. 

About Aurora

My father named me after Sleeping Beauty. The princess theme stuck. Unfortunately, the only castle I can claim is the one in Disney Land. These are the musings of a princess without minions, knights or fairy tales. I have to do my own bidding.

The views in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or clients.

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