Office DEVA Executive Support for Coaches, Speakers & Non-Profit Organizations Mon, 16 Sep 2013 18:32:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 I Always Wanted to be an Archaeologist Tue, 20 Sep 2011 17:31:55 +0000 Laura In middle school we were all shuffled into the “Career Resource” room to determine our career paths. This was easily accomplished by looking in a eight inch thick book with every career possibility inside. The book was overwhelming and I remember browsing through it quickly trying to skim the pages to see if anything sounded interesting – nothing. There were pictures on the wall of the room of teachers, doctors, police and firemen – all smiling and posing in their job. Nothing about the pictures even resonated with me. A few weeks later and pressed to reveal my career choice to a guidance counselor who was going to magically map out the rest of my scholarly years to prepare for my glamorous career, I told him that I wanted to be a pharmacist. Secretly – it was the white coat. I loved the white coats that the pharmacist at my local pharmacy wore – starched and clean, and all the pill bottles and measuring devices – even the mortar and pestle (I didn’t know what it did but it seemed cool sitting up on the shelf at eye level).

My counselor gave a heavy sigh and convinced me that it would take many years of school to be a pharmacist. Rats, that’s all I needed – more school. Then I told him I was also interested in being a medical researcher (discovering a cure, or helping others – awesome! That’s me!). Again, the heavy sigh. I was told I was too sociable for such a isolating job.  So I was reluctantly placed on the “college prep” track. Great so much fun.

Just a few months later, Raiders of the Lost Ark showed in the movie theaters with Harrison Ford. I loved the movie, but really fell in love with the romance of other countries, digging for treasurers, finding answers and contributing to history. That was it! I was going to move to Egypt and start my own archaeological dig. Sweating in the hot sun with my tiny tools of brushes, pics, sieves and shovels - deciphering clues of my findings - discovering artifacts hidden for centuries.

I couldn’t wait to get to school on Monday – I was so excited and proud to have finally determined my career at thirteenth. I decided to get to the guidance office as soon as possible, nothing was going to stop me. I ran most of the way. Mr. Bolden was just arriving himself and I told him of my weekend career discovery.  He said, “Miss Leckington, if you want to be an archaeologist, you will have many years of school, teaching and travel ahead of you. Why do you keep choosing careers that are isolating?” I replied, “I don’t care about being lonely, I care about enjoying what I’m doing.” And with that, Mr. Bolden changed my schedule for the following year to the history and science track.

I never did become an archaeologist, but I did have a brief stint in nursing school that proved to be too much on the clinical floor for me. So here I am calling the shots, helping others, digging for answers, and discovering new things every day as a business owner, and guess what? I love what I do!


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What is WordPress? Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:22:28 +0000 Laura Wow – great question and a great 90 second video on what WordPress is and what it does. Enjoy!

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What Does Being Blacklisted Mean? Tue, 06 Sep 2011 13:46:28 +0000 Laura What Does Being Blacklisted Mean?

In short, being blacklisted by Gmail, Yahoo!, MSN, Comcast, Verizon, etc. means that a sufficient number of recipients flagged your email messages as SPAM, and you can no longer send emails – or worse yet, they can cancel your internet connection altogether.

How do I avoid being blacklisted? Don’t use your desktop email (like Outlook, Outlook Express, etc.) to send your newsletter to contacts. It’s extremely risky. Your ISP (internet service provider, i.e. Comcast) carefully monitors how many emails you’re sending. Even though you may be asking your contacts to contact you to  remove them from your list, it’s far too easy for others to click the SPAM button. Enough clicks and you’re blacklisted.

Hosting solutions are the best way to manage your newsletters and promotions. Products like MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact and others is the best way to create, send and track your newsletter. These products take you step by step through the creation process with hundreds of templates to choose from. Managing your contact list has never been easier; just upload your current contact list and the product will manage the opt-outs for you. These products also allow you to monitor how many recipients opened your newsletter, what links were clicked and who opted out. This information can be extremely important to know. Many marketing campaigns, products and services are created just out of the statistical information and this can give you an edge.

All of the hosted products above provide special code that can be added to your website to invite visitors to opt-in to receive your newsletter or promotion emails. Remember that you need to ask for permission before sending out newsletters and other promotional information.

MailChimp is one of my favorite hosted newsletter products – it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers minus a few options. I highly recommend them – not because it’s free, but because of their superior customer service and use of the product itself.

Until next time~

~Laura Pumo

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5 Common Newsletter Mistakes That Small Business Owners Make Wed, 02 Mar 2011 13:00:31 +0000 Laura I’m reminded almost weekly that small business owners shouldn’t be formatting and sending out their newsletters and promotions. I subscribe to quite a few newsletters – some I really enjoy reading because the formatting is awesome, and others I skip over because the formatting is less than desirable. Small business owners typically lack the time (and the skills) to create a powerful message and convert those readers into buyers. Look for these important factors in your next newsletter designer expert:

  1. Formatting – Your real message is lost if you don’t use a consistent and readable format.
  2. Test draft – Obvious, right? Missing this step can be the difference between a sale and the DELETE button.
  3. Get permission – No, you can’t purchase a database and send mass emails to the list. It’s illegal – don’t do it.
  4. Links – All the links work? Check them all. Is your logo linked to your website? Check it.
  5. Social Media – So perhaps subscribers won’t read your entire newsletter, but people love “connecting” via social media. A great way to build traffic and stay in touch.

There are many great companies that provide wonderful templates for your newsletters and promotions that are worth the investment. Companies like iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp,Vertical Response and 1Shoppingcart are great platforms that will not only send out your newsletters, but also provide tracking statistics, handles unsubscribes to keep your list clean, and a record of your newsletters. Most companies also offer autoresponders, survey creation and the ability to add and track social media links – there are many more benefits too.

I recently received an email from a professional coach about a month ago promoting her upcoming service packages for 2011. Her email was sent to over 40 people – all in the “TO” field and without an unsubscribe link (which is illegal). I noticed that the last names in the TO field were all at the end of the alphabet, so I’m sure that the first half of the alphabet was hit in another email.

Why risk legalities or having your ISP (Internet Service Provider – Comcast, Verizon, etc.) shut your email down? Know how long it takes to get email back once your blacklisted by Comcast? Weeks.

Some will say “I should learn to do this, after all it’s my business”. Sure, you can spend hours and hours researching the latest spam rules, learn html to make your newsletter look great, creating and/or purchasing your own graphic buttons, pulling information from your website to promote your latest events, maintaining your contact list, and running the analysis at the end of the month against your social media stats and Google Analytics – and oh, you have to write you own copy too!

An experienced, well-qualified newsletter designer is not an expense – it’s an investment. After all, it’s your business!


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