Results for: villagers

Graphic of Bugagoo Halloween stuff
ArtCraftsDesign

Villagers Paula and Michelle – Creative Craft Site – Bugaboo Corner

Paula and Michelle   Picture of the Bugaboo sisters

Website: http://www.bugaboocorner.blogspot.com/

Etsy Store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Bugaboocrafts?ref=em

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/Bugaboocorner/

We’re excited to highlight two sisters who have come together to create a site that offers creative tips for their readers. Whether it is for a holiday, the kids going back to school, organizing the home or just celebrating life moments, they’ve found a way to infuse their creative talents and ideas into actual products.

Great creativity. Constant posting of new ideas. Focus on a particular target audience. Selling through an Etsy shop. Using Pinterest to get their ideas spreading. And, even a book club for those with the same interests as Paula and Michelle.

All creative ways to spread their message and hear back from their readers using some of the most popular ways to share crafty ideas in the year 2011!

Can’t wait until they start using YouTube to show us how to make these things in a video format! Hint! Hint!

Check out how they change their site banner to match the Halloween season! Smart move considering Halloween is one of the most popular holidays for purchasers in the last few years.

Graphic of Bugagoo Halloween stuff

Welcome to Nudge Village Paula and Michelle!

CraftsWoodart

Villagers Mike and Rungludi – Wooden Flowers and Vases

Website: http://www.dmwoodart.com/ Flowers

Mike and Rungludi opened their wooden flower and vase business (DM Wooden Flowers and Vases) back in 1998. Rungludi is constantly creating new flower designs that translate into beautiful wood flowers.

The wooden flowers are made from Bass wood, a soft carving wood. They are painted with an acrylic paint and then coated with a white wax. They are meant for indoor decoration or for outdoor areas that are protected from the elements.

Though they sell many of their flowers online, part of their business strategy is to travel around to key events every year, such as home and garden shows and art and craft festivals. Take a look at their 2011 schedule here – http://www.dmwoodart.com/showschedule.html – to find out if they will be near you. This provides time to balance work and personal time. 

Welcome to Nudge Village Mike and Rungludi!

 

Mommy Cast
BloggingParentingPodcasting

Villagers Gretchen, Paige, Aly, Maria – MommyCast and MommyCast Latina

Mommy Cast

Website: http://www.mommycast.com/

About Us Page: http://podcast.mommycast.com/about

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/MommyCastVideo

MommyCast Latina Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/MommyCastLatina

Gretchen and Paige started a simple podcast about topics interesting to moms – in 2005.

The podcast exploded into a full blown business (thanks to all the moms that found their information informative) soon after and has the distinction of being one of the first independent podcasts to land a major corporate sponsorship, which came via Dixie Paper Co. They have also established themselves as a member of the Buena Vista Entertainment Press Corps and are sponsored by Walt Disney Studios for family fare DVD movie releases.

Their podcast was also the first podcast to give an enhanced podcast review of a movie, March of the Penguins, released by Warner Independent Pictures. MommyCast.com is produced by KDCP, LLC.

MommyCast.com has been featured in the Hollywood Reporter, Washingtonian Magazine, BusinessWeek, Variety magazines and the USA Today.

Paige and Gretchen of MommyCast.com have also been interviewed by CNN, NBC, the BBC, Brandweek and the Wall Street Journal.

They’ve also expanded MommyCast into a new market – MommyCast Latina with co-host Aly and Maria.

Mommy Cast Latina

Take a look at one of the MommyCast episodes below:

Welcome to Nudge Village ladies! We can learn a lot from how you’ve marketed your ideas and business!

Mechanic

Villagers Mike and Ann – Mike’s Auto Clinic

Mike’s Auto Clinic

www.macnampa.com  

 mikesauto

What motivated you to start Mike’s Auto Clinic?

Mike got interested in auto mechanics in High School. He grew up in a family, like mine, whose cars were always breaking down. This frustrated him and so he decided to learn about cars and how they worked. He had always dreamed of owning his own shop. 

When did you start your business? 2004. 

When did you realize you had a talent/interest in your particular area? High School. 

Do you do this full-time or part-time? Mikestarted out part-time as a way to supplement his income (when he worked for other shops) and when he bought his own shop he went full time. 

Since hiring employees Mike now has more freedom with his time, although his management skills are still needed almost daily for the business to succeed. The goal is to train a manager so that the business will become self sufficient one day. That way we don’t need to be involved at all and are free to start other businesses.  

What lessons have you learned along the way?

Do your homework. Do market research. We have learned SO much. One of the most important things is that it still takes an education to start your own business. We were fortunate to find a program that trained owners of Auto shops. We felt fortunate to find such a specific program to our business. It has contributed to most of our success. 

One of the most important things we learned at this training was to get out of working IN your business and work ON your business. For this to happen, Mike had to hire mechanics instead of being the mechanic. He had to hire a salesman instead of answering all the calls. Many shop owners resisted this saying they couldn’t afford to hire someone. We soon figured out that you can’t afford NOT to hire someone. He began to manage and run the business and that contributed to great success.  

MARKET! There are so many other shops in town who rely on people simply to DRIVE IN. They don’t do ANY sort of marketing. Take a look at the most successful businesses in the world. They still spend a majority of their money on Marketing. McDonalds for example – IS there any doubt it is one of the most recognizable businesses out in the world? And we still see commercials, billboards, coupons, and specials constantly from them. You need to be in touch with your customer base especially those who have already bought from you. Open a line of communication.

 It is not the product or service that necessarily sells, but the system. Again, going back to McDonalds…anyone’s uncle can make a better hamburger than McDonalds. But they have a system that works and sells. 

Back to my first advice…stay informed! Keep reading up on trends and business ideas. What are the most successful businesses out there doing? Is everyone tweeting but you? Stay up to date and informed. 

What would you tell someone just starting out?

  • Save your money. Don’t start your business in debt. Try to stay out of debt. Don’t quit your day job. Start small and build. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. 
  •  Start a policy manual and keep adding to it. 
  • Repeat successful actions! 
  • Talk to others in your industries. Some of our greatest marketing ideas came from other shop owners we met at conventions or conferences. They are in other states and don’t mind sharing ideas. Don’t go re-inventing the wheel.  

How do you market your business?

We are always thinking ahead about what our next marketing project will be. We do a mail out monthly. If we are late by even a few days we can immediately see a drop in sales. A drop in sales is almost always because of our lack of, or tardiness in, marketing.

We mail out postcards, tri-folds, newsletters (4 times a year) and at Christmas we mail out Christmas cards (hand signed and addressed..yes I should be working on those right now! We have 1250 to do!) I go online and google other shops and see what they are doing. I am also a facebook fan of other shops and follow what they are doing. 

We twitter and facebook, although we are still learning how to attract customers to follow us. Early next year we are going to new phones with technology to enhance these opportunities. 


We also look for opportunities in the community to interact. We are members of the Better Business Bureau and I attend the luncheons every once in a while. 

 

We look for events to attend as well. We have a kids Soccer fair that we attend each year and host a game for the youth. We have sponsored a soccer team and a robotics team. We started an annual customer appreciation BBQ where all the customers come in for a free lunch. Next year we will have a presence in the local parade and advertise the BBQ in the parade. 

If you write your own article as a press release you get free advertising in the local newspaper. We have done this several times.

Little Story:Mike’s mom is the curator of the local museum and they had an old Coke machine. We got her to lend it to the shop (it fits with our 50s decor) and all the proceeds go to the historical society. This was a great human interest story that appeared in the local paper. Mike has written articles on driving safely, etc. Now the paper will occasionally call us and ask for a quote or spotlight us in an article. 

We order football helmet magnets each year with the football schedule on them. The fans are very dedicated here so these are a hot item.

Sometimes Mike will just “pound the pavement” and go up and down the street and talk to different business owners introducing himself, handing out a flyer or magnets and asking them to put a few of his business cards out for their customers. Sometimes he will take a box of donuts to a business with a card from him. 

Like I say, look around, do research, see what others are doing that is successful. I am always thinking of new ideas. My next idea is to go to these local fairs, carnivals, local city days and set up a photo booth. We will take photos of people and give them the photo with a little note in the corner that says “sponsored by Mike’s Auto Clinic”. I am stealing this idea from one of our friends in Chicago. He also had a hat rack, wigs, and sunglasses for people to put on in the photos just for fun. 

Do you have questions for other entrepreneurs?

I always love talking to other entrepreneurs and hearing their ideas and bouncing ideas back and forth.  

Any special offers to share with our readers?

PLENTY, however our business is a local, service business so you would have to be here to purchase. If you are in the area let me know and I will personally get you a special offer! Contact Mike’s Auto Clinic here.

Can we come back and interview you again in a few months to find out what “next steps” you’ve taken in your business adventures?

Please. This was fun. Running a business can be fun and rewarding. It doesn’t have to be stressful.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Plenty, but I am sure I have babbled on long enough.  

Screenshot of the yearly goal categories
GoalsPlanning

Yearly and Monthly Goal Sheet – template sharing

Today in our Nudge Village Group, one of the “villagers” asked about what template I used in the graphic I showed in an earlier post (The To Don’t post) I was sharing.

I have an entire personal management approach that I won’t put entirely in this post, but here are two elements of it.

Yearly Goals 

The yearly goals that are leading me toward my greater purpose, but they aren’t really checklist worthy. I reserve that more for the monthly, weekly, and daily goals and activities.

But, I do create this handy sheet to remember the “big rocks” as I pursue those daily tasks. Yes, I took an extra hour to make it “pretty” because I wanted to enjoy referencing it frequently! Note – it is purposely a bit fuzzy. After all, these are my personal goals. (-:

Screenshot of the yearly goal categories

My yearly goal categories

Monthly Goals

For monthly goals, I do need something that I can write on and reference on a daily basis. Plus, I’ve added the “To Don’t” row to that template because I’ve had to discard some things to make room for something better!

Screenshot of a six month goal categories

Six month goal sheet with categories re-used from my yearly goal sheet

Here’s a copy  in MS Word – Goals_2013_samplebreakdown or  in PDF – Goals_2013_samplebreakdown  if you’d like to replicate it. I’ve actually made mine for six months across the page and I copy it out on a legal or larger size paper. Perhaps I have too many goals! But, I enjoy variety!

Your Approach

This is working for me right now for two areas of goals – yearly and monthly. I have an entirely different method for vision, mission, and life goals as well as my daily tasks and notes. Being a full-time employee and a part-time entrepreneur means there is a bit of juggling between systems, processes, and personal  note keeping because some of my personal management tools aren’t available at work.

But, feel free to share and use. Keep modifying your approach to work for you. Our brains all work a bit differently.

Nudge Strategist - Rebecca
Nudge Blog

My homework – determine Target Audience – who is it really?

Dear Villagers,

This week I’ve got quite the homework assignment. It shouldn’t be soooo hard, but it is for me.

Target Audience?

Part of the assignment is defining the target audience for Nudge Village!

Nudge Village, the website (right where you are reading this p0st) isn’t that active. I don’t sell anything, I don’t try to create a community here, and I have no “call to action” right now. Nudge Village IS active on our private Facebook group and I’m happy to say that people are learning, growing, caring and sharing there.

But, we would like to grow and part of that means we need to refine our message, provide something of value to our audience and ultimately make this a place where people MUST come and find the support and value they need to pursue their big idea and grow their business.

Right now my audience appears to be all over the place – entrepreneurs, artists (who seem not to know how to translate their ideas into  business – maybe we can help!), people thinking they have an idea, career changers, photographers, etc. See – even my definition was all over the place!

Target Audience – Define by…

Often we try to define our target audience by age, beliefs, education, etc. However, no one fits into a box like that anymore. In fact, I personally cringe when people use the “generational differences” excuse when they talk about adopting technology. Nonsense. Look at Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. My great aunt was 93 and wanted to receive only ebooks on her  Kindle before she died a couple of years ago. Yes, she was saying that a couple of years ago. I’ve got 70 year old friends that are more savy with technology and love it more than 30 year old siblings.

Do I digress?

Anyway, Pamela Slim is teaching us that our target audience is defined by what they are looking for.

Let’s say that again – define your target audience by what they are looking for.

This opens so many doors! It also helps clarify what your products and services SHOULD be for those that want those types of products regardless of  typical demographics. I’m a woman, but the last thing I want to do is go hang out with women and talk about hair, make-up, spas, and cute stuff. Yes, I do appreciate all those things, but I’m not going to meet up with you to talk about it…at least not right now. I want to talk about innovations, technology, psychology, and maybe even a bit of sci-fi.

Our target audience – taking a crack at it

At this time I’d say we have three key target audiences that use our community:

  •  Accountability Seekers those who want to be held accountable for the direction they are going and want some guidance, tough love and support along the way.
  • Emerging Entreprenuers – smart and talented people with an idea who need to know where to start and what to do to move their idea forward. We connect them to those people and resources.
  • Performance Improvement Seekers – successful entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs that want to improve, grow, change, and expand influence. They want new ways to approach old problems, info about where they should be looking for helpful tips, and want to connect with other influencers along the way.

How’s this for a start? We’ll keep refining!

I’m excited to get this refined this month!

What do you think?

See you in the Nudge Village group!

Rebecca

Nudge Strategist