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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Checkin’ In

Well, my husband and I are officially on holidays right now, we just got home from five days on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo and Parksville areas. This part of the trip was spent visiting family and old friends. It was great to catch up and see what everyone’s been up too! We enjoyed some kayaking on the ocean, it was pretty windy and I almost had a seal jump onto my lap in the kayak. The strong ocean winds gave us a good muscle workout and the scenery was beautiful. Lots of boats out on the ocean getting ready for the Marine Festival that was about to take place.



The next part of our holiday we will be heading into the States around Portland and Seattle. Looking forward to some adventures.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post it’s good to ‘check in’ with your networking community and share some tweets and comment on a few posts, etc. So that’s what I’m doing this week and next.

My store is still running smoothly, sales coming in. Here are a few samples below, feel free to browse my store when you can! 

Pretty Packages and Zebra Stripes Bridal Shower Square Sticker

Pretty Wrapped Pink Packages Stickers

Cartoon Walrus Thank You Card

Watermelon Cupcake Refrigerator Magnet

Grey Ribbon Purple Heart RSVP Stamp

Elephant with Dots Ceramic Tiles


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

8 Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Business

Contrary to what some believe,It doesn’t take an arm load of money to market your small business and find success.  Even with a limited budget there are many ways to get your business in view of the global market.  There are several options and methods to consider using such as the more popular ones like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest and many other lesser known sites.

Marketing your business will take time and effort but can be done. Here is a list of eight different ideas and places to market your website at no cost.

1) Build a Google+ site and add businesses to your circles that sell similar products or services to yours. Share content and information with a link back to your business.

2) Join a business networking site and create press releases to share your information and products or service tips. Comment on others PR’s and share their information as well, this will help gain you respect and help build relationships to further your business.

3) Niche social media sites offer forums where you can share your relevant information and ideas and participate by commenting and helping others learn too!

4) Write articles, ‘how to’ articles are a great way to share what you know about a topic and can be helpful in getting you links and possibly mentions that can help promote your business.

5) Write a blog, whether daily or weekly, blogs are great tools where you can share your thoughts and talk about your business. (Just like this one)

6) Create a Facebook page and engage people that are interested in  your products or services. Add images and links.

7) Pinterest is a great platform to share your products, follow others as well as like and comment on others pins. Likely others will do the same for you. Always link to reputable sites. Check the source before you re-pin something too!

8) Tweet, tweet tweet. Use Twitter and get connected to other networkers.  Ask questions, share answers and get your brand out there.

Well I hope you feel inspired and start doing all of the things I’ve shared with you, with time and consistency results will come. A business doesn’t become a success overnight but don’t give up, keep taking baby steps and soon you’ll see good things happening!

Heading out on vacation this week and looking forward to seeing family and friends as well as enjoying some sunny weather and relaxation time. 

Stop by Designs by Shell whenever you can, here is a sampling of some of my items! Enjoy!

Rainbows and Party Hats Personalized Invites

Pretty Packages Boutique Business Card Templates

Swimming Green Turtles Sandals

Pretty Packages Bridal Shower Postage

Sweet Mug of Coffee Round Stickers

Fancy Birthday Cupcakes Card


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

20 Ideas for Your Next Blog

Are you finding yourself stuck for your next blog post? Sometimes we all get in a rut and struggle with what to share or write about. Coming up with fresh and new ideas can be a challenge if you write a blog every few days or even once a week as I do. As I was thinking of what I would share today, I decided to create a list that might help others find blogging inspiration, perhaps some ideas that you’d never thought to share before.

Professional or Business Related Ideas

How to use SEO for your Business

Using Pinterest to get exposure and higher rate of traffic

What are the Benefits of Using LinkedIn

Compile a list of blog postings in your niche

Create a list of online resources for business folks in your industry

Top 5 ways to market your business

Share the best business networking sites from your experience

How to write great articles

Tips on making a brand for yourself

Ideas for staying vital in a competitive market

General Ideas

3 books you should read

My favourite vacation spot

How to host a block party

Share your summer hobby

Write about the last good movie you watched

Your best recycling tips

Why you should give to charities

Share a favourite recipe

Create and share a list of organizational tips

Share a do-it yourself project with step by step pictures

I know it’s just a short list but perhaps it gets you thinking and exploring some further options for your next blog post.

I’ve been working on some fun ideas and designs for my store, Designs by Shell. Drop by to see what’s new and as always here is a sampling below!

Watermelon Cupcakes Coffee Mugs

Rustic Cedar Fence Thank You Stickers

Soft Orange Wedding Roses Stamp

Cool Elephant Safari Tee Shirt

Whimsical Purple Floral iPhone 5 Cases

Modern Blue Floral Design Business Card Templates



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Stay On Top of Your Business This Summer

July and August can be tough months to stay motivated and continue to put quality time into your business. The warm summer sun seems to be calling us outdoors and often away on much needed vacations. It can be hard to stay on top of your business while juggling many other activities and projects that take place during the summer months.

If you have kids they are likely out of school now, or maybe working summer jobs, perhaps you get summer visitors to your home or this is the season you need to spend extra time in the yard and garden or maybe doing home renovations.

Whatever it is that side tracks you from spending the required time  and energy working on your business, it can leave you feeling a little like you’ve left something undone.  However, you don’t want to let the ball drop on your business that you’ve worked so hard on throughout the year.

Here are some tips to keep things rolling without a ton of work! These tips are mainly for those who have an on-line store like I do but they may be useful to others too!

TIME – Choose a time every day or at least every couple of days to write down some thoughts, make a list (could be future ideas for blogs) or start an article outline.  It doesn’t take long to jot down a couple of hundred words and when you are ready to get back to your routine of work you’ll have a list of great ideas that you can expand on.  If you’re a morning person, choose a sunny morning to do this, or warm evening, whatever works for you. Even half an hour will be worthwhile!

CHECK IN – Once a week or more often if time allows, check in with your networking community! Let folks no you are still around, comment on some blogs, tweet a few products, share a couple of tips.

UPDATE YOUR STORE – Search engines like fresh content so you’ll want to add a few new products or designs to your store as often as you can. Once a week is probably sufficient to keep things fresh. 

SKETCH OR PHOTOGRAPH – Even on vacation you can utilize your time, this is my favourite time to capture some great pictures of varied scenes, flowers and nature items to use in my store.  Always keep your camera or IPhone handy for great shots. Sometimes an idea randomly pops into your head and having a little sketch book or notebook handy makes it easy to sketch it out right there.

READ – Vacations are great times to read. Stay updated in your field, learn something new about your type of business. Take a book to the beach, camping or wherever you go to relax. When you come back to work in Sept. you’ll have loads of great ideas to kick off your business.

Well hope you liked my tips and most of all have a great summer!

Here are some of my latest products at Designs by Shell. Pop by whenever you can to see more…

Cruise Ship Magnets

Grey Ribbon Pink Heart RSVP Postage Stamps

Pink Giraffe Pattern Bridal Shower Invitation

Purple Ribbon Designer Cake Business Card Templates

Blue Zebra Pattern Table Seating Card

Cute Baby Elephant Thank You Square Stickers


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Using Twitter for Business

Twitter is a powerful platform that allows you to share content by creating and sharing tweets. By now I’m sure that if you have an on-line business you are well aware of the benefits of Twitter and are probably utilizing this site everyday to help gain visibility and awareness of your company or products. It is a free service!

What is a tweet? – A tweet is your post (comment) made up of 140 characters. A short and sweet message that includes a link.

What is a follower? – A follower is someone who has decided to follow a person or a company and receive ‘tweets’ as they are posted on-line.

There are good and bad ways to use Twitter. Constantly tweeting, repetitive tweets can be seen as spam and this is a way to turn followers off. Here are some good methods on how to use Twitter for promoting your business.

- Ask a question or give an answer in a tweet

- Share what you know

- network and follow people in your industry

- create links to your website or blog

- re-tweet others content

- create tweets that are on point and can be easily re-tweeted

- be sure your tweets contain images (people will  be more naturally inclined to click when there are pictures to be seen)

- be respectful of others content (you don’t have to agree with them)

- promote for others rather than always yourself

Twitter is a fabulous networking and sharing platform with great communication tools. All kinds of businesses are finding new ways every day to make it work for them. Using Twitter to improve customer relations and interactions as well as getting your brand out there can be good for your business. Whether you’ll see an increase in your sales from this free service, I don’t know but it sure can’t hurt, gaining loyal followers and keeping your business in front of many eyes has got to be a positive thing. 

I’ve been busy working on some fresh new ideas and creations for Designs by Shell. Drop by for a visit or leave me a comment on my samples below.

Purple Stripes and Bow Wedding RSVP Personalized Invitation

Pink Zebra Sripes Birthday Invitation

Grey and Purple Ribbon Thank You Round Sticker

Black and White Giraffe Pattern Business Card Templates

Purple Ribbon Wedding Cake Stamps

Snowman with Snow Sign Ornament