May 162016

Aletta de Wal’s email signature back in 2009 described her as “Author of the forthcoming book: My Real Job is Being an Artist” so when it was published in 2015 and she sent me a copy I wasn’t surprised.

Aletta deWal

Aletta (on right) & me July 2014

I met Aletta in December 1970 when we were both students at the University of Western Ontario in London Ontario. Our friendship has had its ups and downs as all friendships do and the best thing about it is that it has endured for 46 years!

How could I tell the book was hers?

When we were in university I would do research in the library and stay up until about midnight writing an essay for which I always got a B or B+. Aletta on the other hand would spend several days in the library doing research then would stay up many nights until 3 or 4 a.m. AND she got A or A+. At the time I thought she was crazy …but …. that was her!

Fast forward to her book. I read the book and knew it was hers. It’s thorough and full of details as each of her essays had been. It has 265 pages of solid information that any artist just starting out or established can use. A lot of research went into writing this book – it’s definitely NOT “a bit of fluff”.

Is it just for artists?

I’m not an artist. I’m a small business marketing expert and content writer so I read this book from that viewpoint. Nearly everything in it works for a solopreneur with a service business especially those that need to buy supplies for their work.

Most importantly, it’s a must read for ALL artists. Keep it up Aletta!

If you want to know more about the book itself and what’s in each section go here. You can even buy it online!

Sep 032014

Words are everything.

wordsWords make books worth sharing, movies worth watching, stories worth listening to and blog posts worth reading.

When I was in elementary school I always won spelling bees (I would “see” the word in my head and then read the letters). To me words are integral to my love of reading. Words make speaking and writing inspiring, flowery, dramatic, funny, mysterious, entertaining, or help one to understand a concept.

That’s why we need to choose them carefully. Have you seen the spoof that “Weird Al” Yankovic did? It’s called “Word Crimes“. Watch it now. Good, isn’t it.

It really bothers me when I see spelling errors or the wrong use of a word anywhere. Since as business owners we all have a website and many of us blog we must learn what words to use that make sure our posts are read. I read the content but am distracted by spelling or incorrect use of a word or words. I guess it’s “in my genes” or maybe because I attended school in the 50s and 60s or …. enough excuses. It’s just bad editing. People rely on spellcheckers too much or they don’t review before they hit the “publish” button.

Nowadays (since texting on cell phones and twitter became so popular) young people use u instead of you or ur instead of you’re. What is the world coming to?

The words we use reflect us – our culture and what we want to project. What do you want people to see? We’re careful with our clothes because people make judgements of us based on them so why don’t we do the same with the words we use?

Here are a few pairs of words to look at.

  • Can or will. If you use can it implies ability. Use will.
  • Community or associates . What do you mean?
  • Consulting or coaching. This is a big one. When I look at coach I assume you know it already and a coach draws it out of you. A consultant however tells you what to do.
  • Work or job – People see different meanings for each and that depends on their experience, doesn’t it?
  • Member or attendee.
  • Network meeting or gathering or …

A word’s meaning depends a lot on how you want be seen and on the reader’s experiences. Choose your words wisely.

What has your experience been? Are you a careful writer?

photo credit: navets via

 September 3, 2014  Posted by  Books I'm reading, Business Basics Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Jan 292013

In the early 1980s I was working on my doctorate in Special Education. A friend of mine was working on her Masters in Adult Education. We had discussions regarding how children and adults learned. She (who had no experience teaching kids) held the accepted (at the time) opinion that they learned differently. I said they learned the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things. (I had taught both kids and adults.)

At the time I co-owned an Apple computer dealership (one of the first in Toronto, Canada) and trained our customers in how to use computers. I had taught elementary school kids from 1972 to 1980 and those in special education from 1976 to 1980 so I had lots of “real life” experience.

It’s 2015 and the belief now in Adult Education is that “adults and children learn the same way except adults have more experience and therefore have to “unlearn” some things.” Hmmmm.

What if online marketing which many believe to be different than offline marketing ends up being the same? Hmmm … interesting again.

Here are fourteen ways offline and online marketing are the same.

  1. they both use advertisements
  2. they both use networking to get clients
  3. they both  use articles
  4. they both use newsletters
  5. they both use books or booklets that you sell or give away
  6. they both use strategic partnerships
  7. they both use “free reports”
  8. they both use follow-ups with prospects and clients
  9. they both use direct response
  10. they both use promotional videos and audio products to promote
  11. they both use radio
  12. they both use free seminars and demos
  13. they both use publicity
  14. they both use images/ pictures

Way back (ha! ha!) in 1984, Jay Conrad Levinson wrote a book that has become a bible for small business owners. It was called Guerilla Marketing. Secrets For Making Big Profits From Your Small Business. It’s on its fourth edition now and the term “Guerilla Marketing” spawned a whole series of books that he continued to roll out for 30 years until his death in October 2013. Everything in that book still holds true today. The only difference is that with the invention of the internet and the widespread ownership and use of computers it’s now easier and cheaper AND you can promote your business both locally and internationally.

So what’s changed? Not the marketing activities themselves. What’s different is just the method. Do you agree or disagree? Tell me.

Next time I’ll write about how offline and online marketing are different. Watch this blog for that!

Feb 102012

Reading is wonderful. I’ve always loved to read – anything :-) Buying books is one of my only my booksaddictions. So entering a bookstore is a “dream come true” for me. I was so happy when they first opened coffee shops IN bookstores. Now I can start reading what I’ve bought. But enough about me.

Have passion for your business topic and love to learn.

You can learn a lot from books. Recently I decided I wanted to learn more more about a concept called neuromarketing. I had the name of several books so when I had the opportunity to go a bookstore I could scan them and decide which ones were for me. I ended up buying two of them.

read booksForms of books

It used to be that there were two forms for books – hardcover and paperback. I know you could also get “books on tape” or books with large fonts. Now there are also ebooks. More authors are making sure their book besides being on paper is also an ebook.

It’s really difficult to choose an ereader because each book chain has its own. But that’s another post.

What should you read?

  • It goes without saying that you need to read books about your topic. It’s professional development (here in Canada you can deduct Professional Developments books and not just courses) or Research and Development and it should be ongoing. So if you took a course and think you can stop learning then you can’t.
  • Go beyond your topic. Stay at the leading edge. That’s why I’m reading books about “neuromarketing”.
  • Read about how to start a business and how to market. Remember that you can’t know too much.

Where can you learn what you should read?


Tell me what books you’re reading. As you know, I love to know about them :-) Share the titles with everyone!