Style of Business - Page 3

Are Productivity Life Hacks the New Way of Getting Things Done?

Staying focused in a world that is so technology driven takes a lot of versatility, diligence, and fervor to accomplish things and get them done. Confucius the wise man himself actually once said, “he who chases two rabbits catches none.” As hard as it is to recognize the fact that working on more than one task at once will waste valuable time, “Life hacks” have been defined lightly as tools that make the “chaos of everyday life easier and more efficient.” When users trade these tools across the web and through other mediums, many entrepreneurs, busy folks like teachers, and medical professionals or students realize that there are many new (and old) ways to juggle their workload more efficiently and more than just survive, but thrive. We are going to haplessly claim that productivity life hacks ARE the new way of getting things done, as we dig a bit deeper.

The life hack that we found the quickest seemed simple enough: just to wake up before everyone else. As routine and run of the mill as that may seem, some of the most successful people in the world have told us that it is absolutely true. A wildly successful website owner told us that “the reason successful people wake up early isn’t to always work, it can be to waste time.” We were a bit shocked by that, but during an interview he told us that since there is such a large amount of work to be done, that the wee hours of the morning are best used for recreation. And for some CEO’s and tech gurus, that just means finding the time to glean news sources, trade journals, and the like. We believe that one of the best other life hacks we encountered was to “tackle topics you despise first.” But doesn’t that sound like it could lead to the opposite of being productive?

Much of the truly unpleasant work can be tasks in the financial realm like budgets, or customer complaint forms, especially if you are on the lower end of the current totem pole. The best truth behind this life hack is that once you get done with a few solid hours of the tasks that you enjoy least, your brain power will implode exponentially. And who doesn’t enjoy feeling like they just had a few Red Bull drinks as far as the checklist killer realm? Another of the life hacks that we found from multiple blog sources was about a topic that some love, but some dread: meetings. The mantra/life hack of “keeping meetings to a minimum” surprised us a bit, but we dug deeper to look for the silver lining.

In the days where budgets were never trimmed and people actually wanted their employees to have fun 24/7, meetings were thought of as productive, a way to have a bit of a roundtable and perhaps even bond. But as many different tasks loom and more than ever needs to be accomplished, the time spend handling the accounts could be much wiser than the time spent mulling over past notes. Either way, keeping meetings to a minimum has helped many of our cohorts. One who was an owner of a prominent shoe company in Los Angeles admitted that, “we realized much of what was accomplished was just as easy done over instant messenger, and as long as employees were praised and rewarded for good work, cutting them to a minimum was a great choice.” And hey, we know everyone likes a break, but the load in your inbox simply hasn’t shrunk the last hour, as much as you’d like it to!

My Perspective on PR + Marketing; ‘Heart of Business’ Interview

Keetria_Benchmark Check out my recent interview with Andy Shore of Benchmark Email where I dish out my two cents on PR and marketing. I’ve worked with many talented artists, celebrities and companies and in this podcast episode I share my insight and experiences. Be sure to check it out below. Thanks for your support!

Style of Business: Richardine Bartee + GrungeCake Magazine

Technology, trending music and the tragically hip editorials that many are interested in is what GrungeCake has been wonderfully doling out the last time we took a look. Popcan Bonds, Blitz The Ambassador, and Dawn are all in the latest issue of this slick publication that was conceived by creator Richardine Bartee 12 years ago. A true authority on all different kinds of acts, fashion, acts of prowess and humility among artists, and a vibe that surpasses the simple “urban” spectrum, GrungeCake is rolling dominantly across the digital landscape larger than ever. A variety at large collective of reviews, artist management mantras, and presentation of art, people are no doubt paying attention to the diverse and iconic platform.

Recently tweeting that she was delighted about a pair of Vans she received and excitement about teaming up to create a girl powered playlist for Cherrybomb Music, Richardine is an avid personality that has interviewed some of the hottest talent on the globe. With a very targeted and specific taste, this online publication is supportive to artists and cultivates a rich style with just a touch less bling than the other mags and blogs out there.

This month on Instagram The Black Opera claimed that she has been “reppin since conception”, and praised Richardine for her business sense and overall evolution. GrungeCake itself had its humble beginnings as a sparsely circulated twice yearly publication, and now is a full time media offering with coverage of this year’s Cannes event, just for starters. A Mad Max review, a feature on Express accepting Apple Pay, and an article on Beats By Dre’s latest collaboration with MCM are all presented with sharp clarity and wit in the latest written pieces.

The show “Shark Tank” has become wildly popular; it’s premise is all about up and coming entrepreneurs making the ultimate pitch for cash to investors. In her pitch on the program, Richardine suggested a service crafted to bring back some better fundamentals and credibility to the music industry as a whole, that has been suffering a chiseling away at its image over the last decade. Also helping out in the testing of “Audibase,” she tests it out for overall ease of use and debugging; after a few more rounds of investment this will surely be a sweet thing in the industry. A format for sharing longer clips of audio on blogs, websites, and the like, she absolutely recognized the promise and potential of the service that’s still at the drawing board.

Flashback Fridays, awesome playlists, songs of the day, and very introspective reviews are all offered in the music section. Fully pulling off the ability to give news, provide true insight, and upper caliber opinion of what’s going on in the music realm, the overall vibe of GrungeCake is a bit more durable and deep than some. Not possessing the fully plastic theme and presence that some online forums have, there’s a bit more raw goods and catchiness here, much like the way that “Vice” lays down the law. To the point grit and advice within track reviews such as “Would I buy it? no. Should you buy it? If you want to” lean towards the brief, not heady opinions that many are looking for in today’s internet world. What we really commend GrungeCake and Richardine  for is following through on vision; as a child she wanted to do interviews and publicity for figures in entertainment & music. Her vision and success is refreshing as ever, and now she’s the purveyor of an internet hive of pleasantly hip, and skillfully entertaining content.

Entrepreneur 101: Why the Cookie Cutter Method is a No-no

Cookie Cutter Method

For many decades, there were rules in the marketing world that some just didn’t break. Product development, testing, ad writing, and really all aspects of branding were held to a certain business model. The Cookie Cutter Method rules did work. Even in the early days of the computer age, there was pretty cut and dry product testing, focus groups, and means of getting people to buy. The saying “The future has no road map, but the past surely does” applied to marketing and branding in many ways.

In the past, there were many brands that used the Cookie Cutter Method to really step up and succeed. One truth in the web and smartphone app-ruled climate of the current time is that when you stumble upon a true Cookie Cutter Method marketing approach, it’s probably not going to work as well as you intended, especially if you’ve failed to incorporate your own ideas and concepts.

What a Cookie Cutter Method really does is emphasize a certain process. Within that process, there are charts, data, and of course, instances from the past where certain things did and did not work. While many clothing labels, soft drinks, sports teams, and even music acts benefited from the Cookie Cutter Method, there are some reasons why it can be a huge no-no. If truly using the wrong angle and agenda, you can waste thousands on storyboards and campaigns that never even end up being parked in front of anybody.

After gleaning many blogs and marketing how-to material portals, we found a kind of approach that can be a bit more rewarding than a Cookie Cutter Method. There are all sorts of products on the market these days, from dating apps and sites to personal concierges and dog hotels. Each one of these must take a somewhat unique marketing approach to thrive. We especially loved the treatment of Jaguar cars in the TV show Mad Men, personifying the car as a mistress.

In an approach that will hopefully work for marketing, the first objective is to look at inside sales vs. outside sales structure. PPC campaigns need to be multi-layered, and not just on one prominent social media platform. When dealing with lead nurturing, we found a great quote from the popular website Hubspot. It tells us, “Offer something of value first, not just a sales pitch.” Companies that skip this always lose out in the long run, and wind up confused about why they did not reach sales goals.

Cookie Cutter Method created pattern

Within the realm of emails, there are definitely some data-backed aspects that follow a more Cookie Cutter Method created pattern, and of course, the timeline between emails sent is always going to be a fairly structured. SEO guidelines, as much of a new science as it is, need to not fall under old patterns of thought as well. In the universal world of service, offerings of bronze, silver, and gold packages will yield you some customers, but we have found that businesses truly want to invest in solutions with evolved professionals. We challenge you to find what it takes to evolve, and not just “dole out snacks” of Cookie Cutter Method caliber. For once you accomplish this task, your business and the way you do business are going to reach epic proportions during 2015.

6 Hot Platforms for Selling Digital Goods

Templates, WordPress themes, icons, graphics, and the like all fall under the kind of intellectual property that can be sold digitally online. What you are looking for in a platform that sells digital goods is a place where a customer can buy the item, check out with a form of payment, and then have access to your creation. Here we’ll look at 5 options for doing this, and getting that passive income dream kindled and burning.

Easy Digital Downloads:

The real plus side of this is that it uses the WordPress interface to effectively sell your goods online. Voted by most as one of the quicker ones to setup and maintain, the graphs and reporting available are also top notch; and you can really hone in on what is working and what isn’t. For the most part just the usual payment processor fees and the purchase of a few standard extensions that are the norm for this portal. Built in discount codes, the ability to provide payment giveaways, and thorough software licensing add ons to boot.

Send Owl:

The monthly fees are only from 9 to 40$ per month here, but you DO keep all of your sales profits from this service. The payments aren’t held for any length of time, and it works with and Paypal. The built in affiliate tool is a very strong point of their model, and their security receives very high marks along with the varied language platform. A great “pay what you want” feature lets people give you suggested donations while not undercutting too much, or going below a certain point. Another great aspect of this service is the “instant buy” feature, where it’s so quick that the customers don’t even need a shopping cart to check out.

Woo Commerce:

One of the most recognized names out there, this is a great portal for ebooks, music, and just about any digital product you can think of. You get the choice of whether or not your products are downloads or virtual take-aways, and ease of tax processing is one of the best features of Woo Commerce. There are lots of payment gateway extension, coupon campaigns and other marketing options, and they power nearly a fourth of all e commerce websites. What many recommend as the only way to do business, Woo Commerce is streamlined, simple, efficient, and all around very popular.


One developer told us that Shopify is absolutely the best and most versatile e commerce tool out there. Customers get access to the content they get from you instantly, and any product updates you have are forwarded to customers as easy as pie. Another developer out on Portland told us that since installation and use a year ago, she has literally not had a single glitch or issue. Quickly gaining popularity, and ranked high for ease of use, it’s a very simple to use and efficient extension to any shop. The vintage goodness, deli, and beauty themes are just a few offered that are diverse enough to attract even the savviest web surfer.

E Junkie:

The main premise here works off of just simple buttons that are placed on the site where the digital items you need sold reside. All the usual payment processors such as Paypal,, TrialPlay, and 2Checkout are accepted. Ebooks, mp3 tracks and albums, fonts, artwork, and event tickets are all digital goodies that can be peddled here. Some don’t like the fact that they feel the buttons appear a bit outdated, but vendors love how easy they are to install on a site. There are no transaction or bandwidth limits, and inventory management, analytics, and check out page customization are all available for the E junkie seller in you.


The platform that is truly known as one that you can add your products to with zero hassle. They handle the payments with true professionalism and ease, they have free store and product pages, and it is incredibly easy to sell on Facebook, a prime feature. There’s nothing like creating a page full of art or goods and realizing you have a new partner that will allow you to sell easily. Plugging into an existing WordPress theme is simple as pie, and selling digital downloads and streaming is a breeze. Also in the emerging market potential of selling tutorials, Selz incorporates easily and allows you to teach virtually your knowledge to the entire digital realm.


Tapping into Nostalgia; How Shows like “Mad Men” Gained Cult Following


Throwing back to a simpler time and era can be an incredibly excellent choice for a TV show. From looking at a vintage Pan Am Airlines button to seeing an old style AM radio in the basement with its flair and sheen, nostalgia is one of the best ways to gain a cult following. It is absolutely true that the characters in “Mad Men” were well thought out and especially dapper, but there is much more to the formula than just that.

The real iconic element of “Mad Men” was that the advertising culture of the era had not yet really been explored, and what it was like to work then in New York or all of America. When ad exec himself Don Draper says in the show that you have to “identify the need beyond the need,” he is putting forth visually a slow film strip of what the person watching really wants.

In many circumstances, it’s comfort. As far as the current consumer landscape, who doesn’t want it? The feeling of coming home and having everything taken care of, the dog waiting for you, the perfect meal, and domestic partner waiting for you were all part of the cult success of “Mad Men”. Even though the wildly successful AMC show also portrayed these wonderful relationships going wrong at full speed, just seeing the beginning where everything is alright sets a tone for consumer desire.

Immediately you are thinking of plush high heels, Jaguar cars, trips abroad, and the promise of comfort while perhaps looking for other upper-end satisfactions. When Aaron Sorkin launched “The West Wing,” he really drew upon retro elements even just within office confines. While the main focus was on political pull and power, the story that was set up really presented well the ideas surrounding where everyone came from, and how they got to their present status.

From leggy sultriness to the pitches from the ad men, these were all aspects of nostalgia shows like this evoked. When all the magazines started writing about it, even those who weren’t bowled over right away were so very curious to see what Don Draper would do next. Pop art, Warhol influence, and the cluttered face of Manhattan blended so well in this show that the cult following only had to fester itself for about a year or so. What really happened to make “Mad Men” irresistible to all the viewers was the way in which it showed the characters struggling? The dresses, art on the wall, and tapping into times from ago were done very calculated; with the story of Don himself being another pinnacle backdrop.

The cult following that developed around the show was not just about the visuals, campaigns and storyboards; but the flow of the way people acted back then. When things really start to unravel in your personal life and get crazy, it could have still been a wonderful time to enjoy plush green couches, scrambling Manhattan dwelling tension, and a few stiff martinis on a hurried lunch hour.

Top Entrepreneurial Reads of Fall 2014; Books to help Cultivate your Business

You may be scrambling for some inspiration about social media methods, new trends that are taking place, and latest news on the most motivating factors in startups. Many business owners that I’ve talked to mentioned that in their most desperate times where they simply did not have good ideas, clear thought, or a clear plan of action, were inspired by reads such as these. Sometimes when you are looking at plotting up marketing methods, and researching new strategies, it takes a fresh perspective and the words of someone else to help you get back on track. Here are 4 books from this year that will help you stoke the creative fire and grow your business in the most innovative ways out there.

1) Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation

This remarkable and fresh read describes how the ability to innovate well has been shaken up a bit and lacking due to the massive advances that have taken place in technology, and how a clear vision is a bit tough to get ahold of. It is full of advice about how to survive in a very fast paced world, and how much you are going to have to adapt to stay lean, and quickly. It’s based on the premise that the advances in technology won’t be of much use if you are not willing to be ready for anything, and is intense to say the least.

2) The Big Lie; or Interpreting your Customer’s inner Life for Profit

Explaining the notion that customers really need to feel good on two different levels, this book discusses the importance of customers wanting to have not only their needs, but their dreams met. Full of backing examples, strategy to simply be leaner and better, and simply being all about what the smart brand must do to succeed these days, it investigates strategic value. In the realm of marketing placement, you will have to follow a path that has no confusion or contradiction.

3) Chicken Soup for the Soul; Reboot Your Life + 101 Stories About Finding a new path to Happiness

We are at a time where business owners are going to be well influenced by stories of change and walking in its path. It really focuses on what it feels like to be in a rut, and how to get out of it with grace and courage. Great writing; clear and concise tales of people that survived feeling down and out, and pulled a rabbit out of the hat in more ways than one. Feeling successful isn’t just about the bottom line, but the emotions you encounter at all stages of the game. As we all know the broth of soup revitalizes us during down times, so will reading stories of inspiration and numerous individuals finding ways to rise up and trump their own fears, and fears of what governs habits or the market.

4) Your Inner Will: Finding Personal Strength in Critical Times

Author of ‘The Power of Kindness’ gives us an in-depth of the most resilient people on the planet and the doses that life has given them. Truly finding your untapped energy as an entrepreneur may take a bit more than wit and will, this taps deep into philosophy, practical advice and reasoning, and has been heralded as genius. A dweller of Italy and also one who has studied Adolph Huxley’s lectures, he has much to say about the soul and how deep you can tap into it if you really need to.

SOB 101: Using Google Hangouts to Build your Business

What is now known as the ultimate tool to poke around the sphere of everyone on the web and get to know them better, Google Hangouts can boost your business. Some of the best aspects are the way in which it incorporates with YouTube, truly the number one portal that anyone goes to for streaming video. Businesses that are both located in the same building have massively enjoyed the ability to open a quick hangout and making sure that ideas are correct, enjoying the added feature of video as a quicker way to convey ideas. Even as modern and virtual as chat and text have become, the ability to really gauge someone’s facial expression who you are doing business with is priceless. Especially in the realms of sales and pre launch development, knowing that a client truly feels comfortable with what is happening is key.

Elements outside of the one-on-one realm:

There are differences between Google Hangouts that vary from a one on one Skype or other medium driven video chat. Let’s say that you are a business who’s major function and selling point is creating infographics. As the conversation progresses, a client or potential user could bring up a question, and you can even throw up the question on the screen. This is part of a very organic process, as conversations between developers, sales people and potential customers can spur buying signs out of even the most apprehensive individual.

When someone can log into Google Hangouts and see a “forum” of sorts instead of a hardcore sales pitch, they may make a decision to follow your business or idea for awhile before they actually make the decision to transact with you on the long term. Some have been a bit shy to jump on the Google platform because of what it takes just to keep up on Facebook and Twitter, but the rewards for those working it dutifully are absolutely there, and the network still ranks 2nd among many who have prowess in the scoring of media avenues.

Letting a prospect know you’d like to “hang out”

While some thought this aspect of Google Hangouts would only be beneficial in the personal coaching realm or beyond, there are so many instances where it just makes sense. Sometimes within the confines of contracts, raising capital and putting the finishing touches on a work project, the face to face connection can help. If you are dealing with a dynamic individual who shares your vision and is there to help you grow, hangouts can help you achieve what you need to in the long run. Having your own hangout in place can really help position your brand. Quite possibly one of the biggest benefits for any business about Google Hangouts is the free information at hand. You can learn about SEO, reaching your target market, hear success stories from a much more personal avenue, and always be a constant beacon to others looking for the same type of targeted knowledge.


Marketer’s Slice of Hand-held Heaven: the Lumen Pocket Projector

This is one gadget
that takes up so little space in carry on you won’t even know it’s there; but when you pull it out in the conference room to project your pitch, you sure will. It connects to smartphones, tablets, video players and cameras, and has input options for 1080p and 1080i, making it a high def powerhouse. You have the ability to project very digitally sharp images on up to 80” diagonal screens, and really wow the audience. Years ago when the device itself to project was so much larger, it started many potentially great product demos on the wrong foot, and this professional gadget will wow any client or provide great entertainment for you while on the road.

Exquisite Carry on Luggage Experience: the Alpha 2 by Tumi

Alpha2_duffel This large wheeled split duffel is absolutely a product of this high end brand’s commitment to making the best better. This brand features complimentary monogramming, an immaculately sleek appearance, and superior craftsmanship. The damage proof handle system, stellar custom design and accessible shape appeal to any traveler. Whether it’s the beach, slopes, or business jaunt to the next city over, the Alpha 2 is one fine choice for the taking. It’s always nice to know you’ll arrive with your goods intact and looking top notch to boot.