Archive for June, 2012

June 24, 2012

Work + Reflection = Creative Perfection

by Kate W. Hall

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It is this view that can often snap me back into the girl I need to be: calm, relaxed, in the moment.

In the mania that is often created by running a blog and having become somehow an unexpected “media figure” the need for downtime is more and more paramount.

The growth of our blog is a gift and an honor, and our team is incredibly talented, but it’s often a response from me they’re looking for from that email, fundraiser invitation, speaking engagement.

And it is me that is often unwilling to take the much-needed break my body & mind crave to operate at optimal functionality.

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Last night, the perfect sunset and an Uno tournament capped off a day on the Potomac with these three on the bow.

Today, the gift of relaxing with this view, my family, and the excitement of an upcoming vacation and new book on the way.

And this tiny smile to make me whole. That is creative perfection.

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June 22, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate Bloggers Like Me

by Kate W. Hall

It’s inevitable: Haters Gonna Hate. And if you’re a blogger like moi & my team, the person they hate is often us, simply for providing the forum.

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Or for respectfully disagreeing with their opinion.

Or for breathing.

GASP: God forbid we make a living or any profit from our blogging efforts, this often causes Internet trolls and haters to become ballistic. (is it too late to move my family of five into my mom’s rancher so we don’t have to pay bills? I feel so badly profiting from my hard work.)

Editing-types really hate on my stuff ’cause I may miss a beat here or there on account of my short attention . . .hey, what’s over there?

Oops. Back to my point. Heres the deal. The hating started early-on when an anonymous (haters prefer anonymity) emailer told me that I was racist because the woman in my logo is white.

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In response to my Don’t Hate Penn State post I was told that I should be embarrassed about my Penn State Degree because of the Sandusky trial.

Darn, now my office wall looks so bare.

Just this week, a commenter on our circumcision post said that he hopes I don’t go into politics because the world needs less people like me.

I also learned that circumcision on infants is now a human rights issue, so my sons are gonna be linin’ up for Doctor Phil. So sorry guys! Geez, now they won’t even be photographed with me.

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Now what will I do with all of those cool campaign coozies I had printed up with “Don’t Hate Kate!” on ‘em? I just know that, coupled with my love of kissin’ babies those little gems would’ve gotten me a ton of votes.

Good thing I have my good ‘ol friend’s photo taped to my trusty laptop to gaze at as I sit down to write. I’m not sure how I’d make it out of bed in the morning without him.

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June 22, 2012

by Kate W. Hall

Kate W. Hall:

Awesome reminder for this writer, thanks!

Originally posted on Studio Mothers: Life & Art:

Sometimes creative angst gets the better of us. How often do you find yourself thinking “I don’t have enough time,” or “My work’s not good enough,” or “I’ll never reach my creative goals”? Here are four simple ways to avoid those minefields and stay focused on what really matters: your creative work.

1. Turn rejection into affirmation. With practice, you can reframe rejection so that it actually affirms your creativity, rather than causes injury. Here’s how. Simply put, you can’t get rejected if you haven’t had the courage to send your work out into the world. And you can’t send your work out into the world if you haven’t reached a level of completion and polish that makes you believe your work has legs. And your work can’t have legs if you haven’t put yourself at your desk or easel or studio bench and actually done the work, for however…

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June 20, 2012

by Kate W. Hall

Kate W. Hall:

This is so true in any business/blog/enterprise: what’s your story? We’re often told ours is compelling.

Originally posted on Mirella Crespi:

[Note: This post was originally published on the Captains of Industry website, here.]

Spring semester officially comes to an end as I take in the lasts of my Captainhood. What a ride! I could go on and on about why working for Captains of Industry was so awesome but let’s talk about something better – what I got out of it. As a marketer-in-the-making, my previous internship experiences boiled down to market research. Numbers, charts, graphs, statistics, reports, you name it. And that was, well… pretty much it.

But here, no day was like the other and it was only natural. Surrounded by a creative and informal culture, my opinions were requested and my voice grewstronger. What I thought actually mattered and my contributions were always welcomed. It changed me. It empowered me with skills not only for processing information, but it challenged me to express ideas and create…

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June 19, 2012

Let’s Hear It for This Texas Girl

by Kate W. Hall

Kate W. Hall:

Love this spunk!

Originally posted on TX M.I.L.K.:

Tiffany Harelik’s recipe for the American dream comes in the form of a successful blog, accompanying cookbooks and an annual food festival. With nothing but determination and her daughter by her side, this single mom took a leap of faith, becoming Austin’s premier food trailer guru. As she continues to raise a child and a business, her story proves that when you come to a fork in the road, you just have to grab it and dig in.

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June 18, 2012

Project Management has Helped us Reach over 1M Page Views

by Kate W. Hall

I had just received my Project Management Professional certification in June before my company (LandAmerica) befell massive layoffs and ultimately bankruptcy late 2011.

Richmondmom.com was a fun hobby and something to keep my head busy at night, but not a focus until that pink slip arrived.

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It was raining with no post-storm rainbow in site. Either way, it was a painfully emotional & financial time of my family. Losing half our income & having the bulk of savings tied up in a 401k plan did not make for a strong safety net.

One thing I’m extraordinarily grateful for is that project management training which helped me stay focused once the decision to launch Richmondmom.com as a business was made.

“Requirements” are the building block of any project; what was missing in the marketplace & how could we deliver? What tools did I need to make this happen? For starters, a professional web designer and social media education were paramount.

“Risks”: falling flat on my face, not growing our readership & advertisers, not seeing a return on my investment: not options.

To avoid all of these, I made a plan & remained über-focused in listening to what readers & advertisers wanted.

1) Readership: Capture our audience’s desires via Google Analytics & increase unique visitor growth 20%+ each year.

2) Advertising: Innovate & continue to offer options that aren’t readily available elsewhere.

How could I prevent any PM’s nightmare, “Scope Creep?” The site content had to grow, but we couldn’t be all things to all people. This has continued to be a challenge as our reach has expanded & requests to post information flood in.

“Team” is one aspect I couldn’t afford the luxury of early on, but as we grew, hiring smart, creative folks to manage various aspects o this growing blog has been a win-win.*

Admittedly I do not always follow the plan & tend to veer off for fun projects but for the most part, this PM stuff has served us well! The pot of gold at the end of our rainbow also includes over 1M page views in 4 years, .5 million visits and almost 300,000 readers we’re thrilled to have stop by.

*More on this soon.

June 17, 2012

by Kate W. Hall

Kate W. Hall:

Love these rules!

Originally posted on Simon Says:

Leo Burnett was a creative genius and advertising icon who came into prominence with the rise of television in the 1950’s.

His creative process and the secret to his success included three rules:

  1. There is an inherent drama in every product. Our No.1 job is to dig for it and capitalize on it.
  2. When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.
  3. Steep yourself in your subject, work like hell, and love, honor and obey your hunches.

All entrepreneurs should utilize these rules.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun…”

– Leo Burnett

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June 16, 2012

Don’t Wait. It’s Never the right Time

by Kate W. Hall

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These are thank-you notes I received from our Carver Elementary classroom in Richmond from our Chevy Road Trip Challenge in March.

Andrew Mustico’s classroom, a financially-challenged Richmond public school that benefitted from our Adopt-a-Classroom efforts sent them in response to our fundraising efforts. A butterfly habitat, new books, and reading tools were a few of the gifts purchased by Andrew as a result of Team RVAEpicTales’ efforts.

Delightful how a few words drawn on construction paper from children can bring such joy.

When the PR firm for Chevy called to offer us a coveted spot in the challenge, I doubted my personal ability to see it through because of my busy corporate and family schedule.

But the urging of friends and a nagging voice in my head whispered (loudly); go for it, and we did.

Sometimes the opportunity knocks and we find every reason not to answer the door: too busy, too tired, too much.

I’m so glad we answered.

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