3 Free gifts for your holiday!






Mid December- We are all working like mad to STOP and spend time with our loved ones.

As you look at the calendar we are just a couple of weeks from 2012!!! 
  I am always surprised by this very small window from Thanksgiving to the year end holidays, a flurry of people, food, and  family. It’s stressful!!! 


 ESPECIALLY when you have to stretch your dollars even further than before.
What can you do to prepare for the holidays without spending much or ANY money at all?  


1)    Grab your calendar or smart phone and a note book (or your computer)
Start going backward month by month and begin listing the big projects you worked on. 
You are pulling together your list of accomplishments, which you can then compare to your list of goals.  Each big projects and achievements should be either achieving a goal or a  stepping stone toward accomplishing a big goal.

2)    In a separate column list the names of new people you met in relation to your creative business each month.  I don’t mean the 100s of facebook “friends” who you don’t really know, , I mean the people that have referred work to you,  Hired you for a project, or introduce you to important people that have helped you this year.


3)    Drop the people on this list a email or call  Just connect to say thanks for working with me! Or let’s have coffee and talk about what you have been up to...  *Have these individuals already been invited to join your email or newsletter? (you can just include a sign up link in your signature line, and leave them the option to join).

PLAN + GROW + NETWORK = MOVE FORWARD 

Measuring your success and growing your network of  contacts are two important tasks for all  business owners.  Do you need help with a upcoming project? or need help getting organized, focused and moving forward?  

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your creative project or business. You can read more about her and join her mailing list at www.tamraengle.com  guitartam@gmail.com   *Save 33% now! email mail me at guitartam@gmail.com  to order your  Holiday Gift Certificates  thru December 31st!

Holiday fun time saving apps!



During the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, I noticed between the huge meals, the entertainment revolved around  playing with a 9 week old puppy, and during the puppies naps having several generations of family, poking away at their smart phones sharing their favorite apps with one another.
*For the record the family falls pretty squarely into the Apple smart phone market, most of these apps are available for Android users.






Here is a list of some favorite holiday and time saving apps for creative people like you!




Fun Holiday apps: 



Amazon Mobile  (Is your employer blocking access to shopping sites at work?  You can buy pretty much anything at Amazon.com, and now the Amazon Mobile app (Free) makes it easy to shop right from your iPhone.

GoodGuide While most iPod shopping apps are designed to help you save money, the GoodGuide app (Free) has a unique goal -- to help you identify products that are good for you and the environment.

Good Food Festive Recipes:  Over 160 foolproof collection of festive feasting options to catapult you into a New Year!

Grocery IQ (Free)
 includes all the features you would expect in a powerful grocery app, including a barcode scanner, list sharing, and integrated coupons. If you are like me and buy the same things every week, the favorites list will help you save time. You can also edit your list online and it will update automatically on the app.

 (US$1.99)  We could use some extra holiday spirit!
 This app includes 20 “Grinchmas” cards that you can personalize with your own photos -- and who doesn't want a picture of themselves dressed as the Grinch? The cards can be emailed to friends or saved to the app’s photo library.








Bonus  Recommendations:



Dragon Dictation: Don't worry if you are not already hooked up with the hot new Siri, iPhone 4s,  I think Dragon’s voice recognition works better than my typing and auto "correction" of the iPhone.

Facetime:      
This was awesome for a  global family reunion conference call, we had family from as far away as Germany!  Sure, it’s great to hear a voice, But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.    Bonus! No cell minutes local or international used! 

What are some of your favorite holiday or time saving apps?  Post them in the comment section below!



Need help creating a marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your creative business strategy?

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com


Promoting your business during the holidays-pt 2 of 3



What are you doing to bring your fans closer to your creative business during the holidays?

In the United States, We are just day’s away from the biggest $hopping days of the year.
 If you are a creative business owner, the last couple months of the year can mean a sales jackpot if you have taken the time to  prepare and market to your target audience.

 In Part 1 of my 3 part series “promoting your music during the holidays"
We talked about using the themes of the holiday to have fun, while create a unique “selling opportunity” for your fans, and prospective business partners.

Our next holiday Thanksgiving, gives us 3 big target days to help you promote your music or creative business- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Holiday Marketing Background: 
During tough economic times, especially during the holiday’s businesses spend millions in ads to encourage spending. Marketing firms have created “holiday events “ specifically to encourage consumers to CONSUME. 
Here are 3 new holiday’s that were created specifically to encourage people to spend money- That YOU can take advantage of to help increase your sales.

Black Friday -Refers to a old accounting terms,
 Being in the red denotes a negative profit margin, where as “in the black” denotes a positive profit margin. Most retailers make or break their sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
 According to ShopperTrak, who uses in-store monitering devices to examine sales in 2010 black Friday sales in 2010 increased to 10.7 billion!! a .3% increase over 2009 earns it the top spot as the heaviest shopping day of the year!

Small Business Saturday-  Our friends at American Express are responsible for starting this event which happens the 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving- now in it’s 2ndyear.

 Aimed at promoting small business owners. Amex is reimbursing  $25 in cash to the 1st  of 200,000 shoppers  using their American Express card to support a local small business,  local businesses signing up get $100 facebook ads or free!  I  encourage supporting this holiday however, recommend you  spend cash, Don’t run up your credit card bills! Save using your credit cards for the emergency fix, or broken tour van that will certainly pop up when you least expect it. 

Cyber Monday is a marketing term created in 2005, referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving, many are back to work and can’t physically go to the store, No problem, just  shop online!
 In 2010 consumers spent $1.028 billion,  a 16% increase from the previous year on product purchases on Cyber Monday!

How do old accounting terms and marketing gimmicks help you grow your business?  First lets look at a example of a local business targeting the tired shoppers with a fun diversion from the madness.

One famous example of  musical artists utilizing the Thanksgiving holiday to help future album sales-  Arlo Guthries “Alices Resturant” a 1967 release that  comically exaggerated  Thanksgiving day adventure turned Vietnam protest. This album that has sold over a million copies, and is still selling 40 years after it’s release.

5 Things can you do to sell more!

1)    Send a newsletter to your fans- Remind them that your music makes the perfect gift, offer to ship “personalized” signed copies, for a extra special gift. Remember You need to get “heard” above everyone else trying to sell something.

2)   Record a Holiday song- Songs with  a “Thanks” theme? Create one for a special “sale” fan download. Here is a fun example  

3) Video your holiday song- How do you catch some of the  shoppers searching on line? Create a shopping wave!
Drive traffic to your  website with your new holiday single,  create a YouTube video of your holiday song,  have fun with it… include a link to where your fan’s can “buy” this exclusive MP3 of your holiday song.

4)    Partner with a local business- We all want to help the local small business owners during the holidays! *the 1% big corporations seem to be doing fine without any additional funding.   Do you own a retail space? Suggest a special “holiday show”  Invite a musical artist to perform  a simple acoustic holiday sing along, or host a fun "fashion" show to sell products you sell in your retail space!   Heat up some cider and you have a super fun “shopping “ event, it doesn't have to be fancy to be fun for your customers!

 This is a wonderful opportunity to create cross- cultural events, sharing traditions,  the different ways we each celebrate the fall solstice all around the world.  Are you a local business owner or artists interested in connecting? Let me know (add email link).

5)    Local Children’s Hospitals or Sr. Centers- Think about those less fortunate. Call your local children’s hospital,place of worship, or Sr. Center ask if you can come sing holiday music to the guests there. 
You don’t play a instrument ? You can offer to  read books, share photo presentations, or  host a free activity or workshop!
 Share pictures of the outing on your social media or next newsletter, the smiles in the pictures will inspire, and remind others how easy it is to help another who is unable to get around during this special time of year.



      Now, that you have completed your 5 tips you can relax:
      Set a extra plate at your table for Thanksgiving- There IS someone in your immediate circle who has no one to share the holiday with.  Invite them to share a meal with you, it's one of the bests "gifts" you can give to a friend!


I invite you to share the link to your Holiday song and video in the comment section below!
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