Archive for the ‘Jake the Hiking Dog’ Category
What’s the best way to improve your writing? Walk away!
Here’s my favorite business writing tip: Write your first draft, taking time to re-read the copy and give it a good polish.
Next, walk away for an hour – or a day!
What do you get?
Perspective and objectivity.
Walking away helps to give you distance – literally and figuratively! When you come back, you’ll take a fresh look at the content you wrote. You’ll be surprised how much perspective and objectivity you will gain.
What do you do next? Edit to ensure content is crisp, clear, and compelling.
Now, go back to your writing. Pretend someone else wrote the content. Put on your editor’s hat. It’s time to edit ruthlessly!
Follow this 10-point checklist to edit your content:
- Make sure there’s a clear benefit message. (Readers should quickly understand why they want to invest their limited time to read your content. What will they learn? Don’t make them guess!)
- Write a more enticing headline.
- Ensure every sentence is as clear as possible.
- Check to ensure the overall structure makes sense. (For example, if you’re writing a case study, have you presented before/after events in chronological order?)
- Add subheads to strengthen structure.
- Trim the word count.
- Add SEO keywords.
- Proof to fix spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
- Fact-check as necessary.
- Add a call-to-action at the end.
More on this business writing tip . . .
- Why do I consider this to be the best business writing tip EVER? Because “walking away” can help you to objectively look at and edit your article, blog post, worksheet, brochure, and book. Do this every time, and you WILL improve your writing – and your message.
- When editing, I like to print out the page(s). Surprisingly, reading a piece of paper – versus staring at the screen – adds even more perspective and objectivity.
- Also, when editing, I like to use a red pen. If you find red ink daunting (perhaps you’re haunted by harsh teachers wielding red pens), then use green, purple, blue, or black. The color doesn’t matter. What matters is taking time to thoroughly – and ruthlessly – edit your content.
In a nutshell, here’s why this is my favorite business writing tip …
When you walk away – then come back later to ruthlessly edit your writing – your content will be crisp, clear, and compelling.
Are you busy planning, strategizing, and doing other “heavy lifting” this time of year? Me too.
Still, I like to grab a theme for the year and hold on tight.
Like a touchstone, a theme is something you carry with you. It’s always accessible, unlike a hefty business plan.
Personally, I try not to overthink my annual theme – it’s more of a gut feel. My theme encapsulates key goals to grow my business and achieve ongoing quality of life.
In 2013, my theme was “Leap Year!” That year, I sharpened the brand for my business, created an entirely new website and marketing tools, and became clear and committed on this key goal: Become the thought leader on branding for solopreneurs.
In 2014, my theme was “Step Up!” I conducted umpteen workshops throughout the year to multiple groups of small business owners including professional speakers, corporate consultants, business coaches, authors, and self-publishers. I also rebranded my blog to “Branding Views” and added video blogs, shot throughout the West and Southwest with backdrops of breathtaking vistas.
This year, my theme is: “Expanding Horizons”
I’ve been scribbling, sketching, and mind-mapping some very exciting project ideas. (And pinpointing new destinations for road trips!) I’m not revealing secrets yet. You’ll just have to stay tuned. :>
WHAT’S YOUR THEME FOR 2015?
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Mike and I have been actively ringing in the New Year … here are highlights:
WHAT’S YOUR THEME FOR 2015?
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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” For Mike and me, this centuries-old proverb hits the nail on the head (to use another well-worn proverb).
In our road trips and outdoor adventures, we always keep an eagle-eye out for wildlife. Take a gander at these fellows. (All photos and elk-sparring video by Patrice Rhoades-Baum.)
Mike and I got to witness a surprisingly close-up look at two bull elk sparring during rutting season in Rocky Mountain National Park. Listen closely to hear their strange bugling while they spar.
- Mule deer with fawn (take a look at those ears!), Manitou Springs, Colorado
- Moose, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado
- Tarantula, near Beulah, Colorado
- Wild turkey, near Catamount Open Space, Pikes Peak Region, Colorado
- Frog in Lake Pueblo, Colorado
- Mountain big horn sheep, Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado
- Sorry to say, I missed a shot of the pheasant crossing the road in Sioux Falls, South Dakota!
OTHER “WILD LIFE”
- Jake, after he got skunked and bathed — he’s not wildlife, but he smelled like it!
- Here’s Jake the Hiking Dog in his natural element, pretending to be a big red fox.
- This Longhorn charged us! It felt like being charged by a wild animal. So glad there was a fence between us!
- Some people might consider the USAF Thunderbirds to be wildlife. : ) They flew directly over our house in preparation for the halftime show during a US Air Force Academy football game.
TIME: 1 minute
LOCATION: South Fork of the South Platte River, Colorado
THE KEY VIEWPOINT: Embrace the value that is specific to you as a solopreneur, infopreneur, or small business owner – there’s so much power there!
THEME: “The 10,000-Foot View”
TIME: 1 minute
LOCATION: Timberline at Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado
THE KEY VIEWPOINT: When consulting with my clients, I often say, “Let’s go to the 10,000-foot level to get a strategic view.” Here’s a breathtaking vista at timberline – a literal view of this vantage point.
What a glorious, snowy day!
We had intended to snowshoe, but the snow wasn’t deep enough. Instead, we strapped on MicroSpikes and did some slickery bushwhacking.
About half way through our hike, it started snowing. A beautiful day in Red Rock Canyon Open Space!
Photos by Michael Baum.
Is this the year you step up? Really put yourself out there? Take your business to the next level? Is this your LEAP Year?
2013 was my LEAP Year …
One year ago – on New Year’s Day – I resolved that 2013 would be my “LEAP Year.” And was it ever! Those two words drove a lot of risk-taking, decision-making, and accomplishments.
My LEAP Year highlights included:
- Firmly resolving to step up as the thought leader in branding for solopreneurs – particularly infopreneurs such as speakers, consultants, business coaches, and authors.
- Clarifying my brand and creating my new tagline: Shine as an expert. Step up as a thought leader.™
- Creating an entirely new website with my team.
- Creating a new stationery package with my new photo and updated Brand Elements™.
- Presenting more “Nail Your Brand” workshops, including the NSA National Convention in Philadelphia.
- Restructuring my service packages, pursuing media opportunities, establishing a new MasterMind “partnership,” delving into video projects, and tackling innumerable other projects, large and small.
What did I get? What were the results?
- CLARITY – Committing to a LEAP Year forced a new level of clarity, decision, and action!
- LAUNCHPAD – By clarifying my brand and creating a polished, professional, and powerful website, I created more than a foundation. I created a launchpad!
- MOMENTUM – Armed with crisp, clear, and compelling marketing tools (including new website), I’m ready and able take advantage of opportunities to promote and grow my business. Already there’s an uptick in new clients, new media opportunities, and new speaking gigs.
QUESTION: Is 2014 your LEAP Year?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does your brand need to be clarified or updated?
- Do you trip over your elevator pitch?
- When’s the last time you had your picture taken? Is it a headshot or a GREAT shot?
- Is your website woefully out of date? Does it bring you new business?
- Are your business cards, speaker one-sheets, brochures, and worksheets “homegrown,” with mismatched designs?
- Is your brand and entire marketing toolkit – website, one-sheet, and stationery package – crisp, clear and compelling, both in content and design? Are all the tools in your marketing toolkit polished and professional?
- Do you feel like it’s time to hit the “refresh” button?
IT’S A NEW YEAR – MAKE IT YOUR LEAP YEAR!
Happy 5th anniversary to our dog, Jake! Five years ago today, Mike and I rescued Jake and took him home. He had a rough puppyhood. Shy and skittish, he earned the name Shaky Jake.
But when we hit the trail, he’s a wild man! Jake loves to run, fast ‘n’ furious. He scrambles up steep hillsides like a mountain goat. And, while hikers hold their breath, he surges straight down vertical cliffs – half running, half falling. He might be an adrenaline addict!
We’ve had lots of adventures together – and look forward to many more!
Our leaf-peeping search for gold took us to Pancake Rocks, a favorite hiking trail near Cripple Creek. Unfortunately, we didn’t strike it rich with eye-popping vistas of golden, quaking aspen leaves.
But we did explore a back way to our destination, discover a new side trip with long sight-lines, and clamber around icy waterfalls – transforming our outing into an adventure!
A highlight was being entertained by friendly gray jays (aka camp robbers), who swoop and land on your hand for a morsel of trail mix.
All photos by Patrice Rhoades-Baum.
Our dog, “Shaky Jake” is not exactly brazen. Last night, Jake and his 2 doggie girlfriends — here for a sleepover — treed this raccoon in our backyard. Jake spied the bandit, barked,and gave chase, wagging his tail the entire time. He must’ve been showing off for the girls!