Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Believe in Your Dream

After last week’s rant, I thought I’d send you something uplifting today. :)

dream quote (Source)

Has God called you to speak? Then invest your time in speaking. I know you can do it! I’m standing behind you cheering you on as you run toward the goals God has placed in your heart!!

Amy

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Breaking Up?

 

It takes a lot for me to stop liking a friend, but I’m really ticked off at someone in my life. In fact, this former friend is jumping up and down on my last nerve so much I’m thinking about breaking up.

Who is this terrible friend, you might ask?

FACEBOOK

Recently Facebook has changed its policies for public pages, and I’m wondering if it’s still worth it. For example, we have over 800 likes on Facebook, but a post I checked last night was only seen by 11 people.

I wondered how this is even possible, and here is a video I watched from Rob Eager’s Monday Morning Marketing Tip that explains. (Please take a few minutes…it was completing eye-opening and surprising information for me.)

Note: If you are a subscriber, click on the title to watch the video and read the remainder of the post.

You can also click here to see what Rob has to say. (While you’re there, sign up for his Monday email…so worth the time every week!)

If you have a private page, some of these problems aren’t as acute for you, but if you have a public page, it’s a huge problem unless you want to pay for your posts to be “boosted”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you still in love with Facebook? Do you have a private page or a public page? Do you still think using Facebook to get your message out as a speaker or author is worth it?

Also, as some of you may or may not be aware, Facebook is only allowing about 10% of our audience to view our posts on their News Feed. That means about 90% of you may miss a new post from us on your News Feed unless you go directly to our page. To ensure you are receiving the latest updates with daily encouragement and links to fabulous resources:

  1. Head over to the Next Step Speaker Services Facebook page.
  2. Click on “Like” if you haven’t already. If you have, skip to the next step.
  3. Click on the arrow (or gear?) beside “Like”.
  4. Click on “Add to Interest Lists”
  5. Follow the directions through, and you will see your Interest List on the left side of your News Feed.

If you’d like more information on Interest Lists, here’s the scoop from Facebook.

What are Interest Lists?

Interest lists are an optional way to organize the content you’re interested in on Facebook. You can create your own interest lists based on the things you care about. For example, you could create a Top Favorite Apps list that features all the apps you play and like.

When you create list, you’ll see the best posts from that list in your main news feed. Your lists will also appear in the Interests section of your bookmarks. Simply click the list’s name to see all the recent posts and activity from the Pages featured in the list, without overwhelming your main news feed.

How do I create an Interest List?

  1. Go to your Interests page and click the Add Interests button.
  2. Click Create List.
  3. Search for the Pages you want to add to your list using the search box at the top of the screen, or use the categories on the left to browse.
  4. After you’ve selected all of the things you want to include on your list, click next.
  5. Pick a name for your list.
  6. Select a privacy setting (learn more). Choose Public if you want others to be able to subscribe to the list you’ve created.
  7. Click Done.

 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

She Speaks Registration is Open!

I’m so excited to announce here that She Speaks registration is OPEN!! I’m praying lots of our Speaker Girl community will attend, because although I now lead breakouts as a member of the P31 team, I’m also the blessed recipient of seven years of She Speaks training. It’s literally one of the highlights of my year every year.

Please visit the website if you’re unfamiliar with the She Speaks conference. I think it will be love at first sight! The most powerful voices for She Speaks, though, are former attendees, so I asked my friend Amy Lively to share her thoughts:

One wintery morning, loyal dog at my feet and hot coffee in hand, I sat in my usual spot on my yellow loveseat with my Bible and journal and wrote, “I’d like to share what I’m learning with other people.” I filled that journal page with a dozen different ideas, topics and verses the Lord and I explored together… but I had no idea what to do with this list! Perhaps, I mused, I was just going to have a very holy dog. At the top of the page, I wrote a website address for a women’s ministry conference called “She Speaks.” Their website said it was for “women who shared a passion to step out with the messages God has placed on our hearts.” I assumed they would step out to people, not just pets, so I registered.

In the days before GPS, my printed Google Map directed me to the middle of a North Carolina cornfield. I was hurried and harried and having a bad hair day. But finally—after months of planning and hours of driving—I took my seat, took a deep breath, took a look around… and burst into tears. What was I doing here? I was alone. I was outclassed. I was underqualified. I was unworthy. It was a waste of money for me to come here. I was in way over my head!

But it was at that first conference that one of the speakers uttered three little words that made my heart race.

And as soon as I heard her say the words “neighborhood Bible study,” I knew what I was going to do with that list.

The second year I attended She Speaks, I had started my own neighborhood Bible. I called it the Rosewood Café because I lived on Rosewood Drive.

Year three, I wondered if I could teach other women how to do this, and The Neighborhood Café was born. I met Jennifer Rothschild, founder of WomensMinistry.net, and became a contributing writer for her website. Year four, I took my best friend (her ministry, Metamorphisis Wellness Coaching, was born on the way home in my car somewhere between Virginia and Ohio). Year five I was accompanied by three friends and greeted by dozens more. Year six was a two-fer: I attended the She Speaks Intensive (and won a guest post on Lysa TerKeurst’s blog!) in January and She Speaks in July.

Because of the training I received at She Speaks, I’ve been able to walk through the doors God has opened with confidence. I’ve done the speaking gig, the writing gig, the peer groups and publisher appointments. It’s all golden! Several of my closest friends are from She Speaks. The networking is priceless, but it’s organic and natural and gracious.  Many of the features on my website were learned at She Speaks. Speaking skills that were modeled and instructed enabled me to share this story on FamilyLife Today.

I’ve been to She Speaks seven times now. You could say I’m a slow learner. Or you could say I’m a wise woman who knows a good thing when I see it, experience it, and witness it being lived out in my faith, relationships and ministry more and more each year. Each year I question whether or not I should go again. And each year I simply cannot imagine missing the impartation and revelation God releases through the exceptional teachers and the Proverbs 31 staff.

~Amy Lively, Founder of The Neighborhood Cafe

Thank you for sharing, Amy!

Have any of you registered? Make sure to come by and see me at the Next Step table!

Do you have any questions about the conference? I’ll be ready to answer them right here in our comments section.

For those of you who are clients between July 2013-July 2014, I host a breakfast every year to make sure I get some face-time to thank you. You’ll be getting an email in June with the details.

I hope to see lots of you in person at She Speaks this year!

Amy

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Fling Reminder

Just a little reminder so you don’t miss out on our Spring Fling discount. It is only good through Tuesday at midnight.

Here are the details so you won’t have to search through your emails…

All services paid before the 1st will be 10% off with this discount code: SPRINGFLING10, or you can pay full price and receive an additional call FREE (a $115 value)*.

To get your discount, simply follow these steps:

1. Go to the Request Information page, and fill out the form. In the “Other Questions” box, please let me know what service you are registering for.
2. Go to the Menu of Services and pay for the service you’d like. The discount is applied to one service per customer only.
3. I will be in touch to schedule the first call of your service. (I’m spring breaking with my son, but I’ll return all emails on Thursday. We’ll schedule your start at your convenience, but we can begin as early as April 8th.)

The discounts will end at the end of the day on April 1st, so don’t miss out. I look forward to working with you!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lonely No More. Sisters Forever!

It seems impossible Next Step Speaker Services was launched in my heart only four years ago this month. My friend Holly was traveling with me to an event, and she asked me how things were going with the Proverbs 31 team. I went on and on about the blessing our team is to me and how their experience was shared in every way.

When I needed help developing messages, I went to my new-member coach, Micca Campbell.

When struggled with my first biosheet, Renee Swope kindly helped me.

When honest feedback on my messages was needed, Karen Ehman’s challenge and encouragement was invaluable.

When I couldn’t see the flaws in my marketing materials, our executive director added her expert eye.

Everyone was further down the road than I was, and each one was generous when I was in need. I explained to Holly what a gift it is to be a part of a team. She followed with this life-changing question, “I wonder what women do when they are in ministry by themselves?”

I knew the answer…they’re lonely. I knew, because I lived it for several years before I joined the Proverbs 31 team.

In that moment, Next Step Speaker Services was born. My passion to join with women in ministry was planted with one question, but it has grown into a huge, thriving love for you over the past few years. It’s my heart’s desire that this Speaker Girl Community makes you feel understood and not alone.

To celebrate the birth of Next Step, you’ll be receiving an email today announcing our Spring Fling which starts today and runs through April 1st. I hope you’ll take the offers in your email as a gift from me to you. We’re sisters on this journey, and it’s my delight to link my arms with yours as we build God’s Kingdom together!

Amy

ps. If for some reason you don’t receive the email, please check your spam filter and then email me directly at amy@proverbs31.org. I’ll be happy to reply with a copy. Also, feel free to share the discount code with friends. This is all about sharing and sisterhood!

 

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fashion for Speakers

Since it’s springy and sun-shiny outside, I’m in the mood for something light and fun! Here’s a little video I shot with one of my dearest friends, Holly, who has updates on spring trends and advice for what to wear for speakers.


*Subscribers, you can click on today’s title to go to the website and watch. Hope you will! :)

Click here to visit the updated Pinterest board with Speaker Fashions.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Time to Launch

The last step is to launch your new website, and you should celebrate it like a birth. (It sure feels like one by now, right?!) After all the work you’ve done, you want to make sure people come visit your new cyber home. Here are some tips for making a splash with your launch.

  • Plan your launch like an event. Make sure your technical team is ready, and set a date. Start to think about your website launch like a party.
  • Make sure there’s new content on your new page. When people come to visit, they should have lots of new content to explore. Include content in different formats too: visual, blog posts, social media updates, video, etc.
  • Do some teasers. Let people know when you’ll launch and give them a little glimpse into an exciting part of your new website.
  • Create a party atmosphere. Be creative, and make your launch a party. Think about doing a giveaway a sharing party or something similar to celebrate and bring others in.

We’ve come to the end of our series on creating a new website for your ministry. I hope it has been helpful to you! I’m cheering for you if  you’re launching soon, and I’d love to hear about it here!

 

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Techie Genius #2 Jake Dohm

When I redesigned my website, I was blessed to work with two techie geniuses. Last week Carol weighed in, and his week my web developer, Jake Dohm, gives us some valuable information.

Jake and I have to confess a little nepotism. He is my 14-year-old nephew, and when he first approached me about working on my website, I immediately thought, “No!” However, after solving a list of problems I had been unable to solve in a year in a mere day, I was won around. As my friend Lisa Allen said recently, “We are immigrants to technology. Teenagers are natives.” So true, and I’m proud of the fantastic job Jake did. He’s also highly professional and ran the conference call between Carol, Jake and me.

Without further ado…here’s my beloved nephew, Jake!

1. When you begin to work with a new client, what kind of information do you need from them? How do you get that information?

Typically, before a designer can start to price out a job, they need a full website plan. A good website plan should have a section for each page of the website you want, and also what content you’d like on the page. To learn more about developing a full website plan, see the Next Steps post Create a Website Plan.

2. Do you start with a contract or agreement? How do you outline your services with a new client?

Once I’ve seen a website plan, and understand the scope of work, I’ll send the client a price. When I send that estimate it looks like this. When a price is agreed to, then I create a contract that both parties will sign to confirm the agreement.

3. How can a client best help you to realize their vision?

Meet with your team. I like to have a minimum of around two hours of meetings or phone conversations under my belt before I try to move forward with the pricing, or the website.

Tell them everything. Don’t hold back any idea you think is impossible, or even silly. They want to know everything you’re thinking.

Create a Pinterest board. Seriously, this is extremely helpful. So when you find something that you like, such as a color or a picture or a blog theme, pin it to your board and give your designer access to that board. That gives them a further understanding of what you want.

4. How do you work with a client when they have a difference of opinion about direction? A question or a concern?

Disagreement: Overall, if the client puts their foot down that’s it, you do what they want. But sometimes you just need to bring the client along, and tell them why you think you should do it your way.

Question: Answer it, and don’t just blow over it quickly. Truly answer the question, and keep talking about it until it’s completely resolved.

Concern: First of all, you should make sure that you client feels comfortable to disagree or to challenge something you’re doing. And then, if they have a concern, hear them out. Maybe they’re right, and if they are, thank them for helping you out. And if they’re not, then talk it over until you’re both comfortable with the outcome.

A Few Extra Thoughts from Jake:

1. Name the Leader: As the client when you’re working with a team of two or more, you must name the leader. Of course you (the client) are ultimately the leader, but in the interactions between your team that do not involve you, they need to know who is in authority, so that they can treat each other and interact accordingly.

2. Check In: The best designers/developers will give you updates, and check in with you AT LEAST twice a week. But sometimes it slips their mind, and you have to initiate contact. Just check in and make sure that things are rolling along.

3. Compliment Your Team: As I am usually on the serving end of these jobs, I can tell you, there’s nothing your people would love to hear more than, “The website’s coming along great!”, or “Looking good, thanks for the work”. Seriously, just tell your people you appreciate them.

Jake NEW (Lower Quality)My name’s Jake Dohm, I’m a 14-Year-Old based in Youngsville, North Carolina. My weapons of choice are Espresso, Photoshop CS4, and WordPress, all run on a 13″ 2011, MacBook Pro. I started Dynamic Design Firm and hired Stephen Breagy as assistant designer in 2012. When I’m not working as a Pixel Engineer, Editing Code, or working on marketing or sales, you will find me doing school, duplicating disks for Merchant Adventurers, or reading my favorite authors on business such as: Dave Ramsey, Jon Acuff, Peter Bregman, or Michael Hyatt.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Techie Genius #1 Carol Poortvliet

As I disclosed last week, I’ve shared almost the full extent of my own knowledge about creating a new website, so I asked my techie geniuses to share a little advice with you. This week you’ll hear from Carol Poortvliet, graphic artist and website designer extraordinaire. Welcome, Carol, and thank you for your beautiful work on my website!

1. When you begin to work with a new client, what kind of information do you need from them? How do you get that information?

I need a clear vision of their ministry and what purpose their site serves, whether to provide an ongoing avenue of communication with their readers, generate a response from potential clients or to simply provide valuable information.

It’s also helpful to know the site’s target audience. Catering to women is obviously different than catering to men, and appealing to both requires a fine balance of visual elements. The same goes for an audience of varying age groups.

Next I like to get a feel for the atmosphere my client is trying to establish on their site. If the site represents their personal ministry, it should be like opening up their home and inviting their readers/followers in for a cup of coffee. How would they decorative their home (site) to reflect their personality and passion?

And of course, I would need some technical information such as whether or not they have acquired a domain name and hosting service for their site. If not, I can offer suggestions for providers. And I need to know which platform they want to use for the site. I currently design and set up sites for WordPress and Blogger.

These are the main points of information needed to get started. Other information comes as we work through the process. I usually send potential clients a questionnaire that walks them through elements of a site design. This helps them think through their purpose, which content/graphics they have for the site, and what they need to acquire or address in order for the site to be completed.

2. Do you start with a contract or agreement? How do you outline your services with a new client?

Though I own my own design business, I work very informally. I do not use contracts on a regular basis. I’ve been fortunate with my clientele. They are guided by the same moral compass and I haven’t run into any issues. But I will provide a contract for any client that feels more comfortable having my services in writing. I communicate mostly by email, though sometimes a client will request a phone call to relay their vision. In my initial email I outline my services and set fees. Sometimes I’ll ask for more information from a client in order to provide them with a more exact estimate. I’ll also give my client an estimated timeline and outline my design process so they will know what to expect along the way. I try to keep an open line of communication going with my clients so they will be aware of any roadblocks or concerns that may affect the schedule or outcome of the final product. After all, I work out of my home and around my family’s schedule.

After giving a client a projected start date, I ask them to return their completed questionnaire to secure they spot on my schedule. I then request they provide me with any graphics or content that needs to be incorporated into the site design prior to our start date. This doesn’t mean all site content such as text for every page, but more of an outline of elements that need to be included in the site and where. Obviously if the client wants to include their photo in their site, especially the header, I’ll need that up front. The same goes for any existing logo or imagery that is used in their ministry. Specific page content for support pages (about, speaking topics, resources, etc.) can be provided after the design has been approved.

3. How can a client best help you to realize their vision?

Communicate, communicate, communicate. If they have something in mind, I want to know, no matter how unsure of it they are. I would rather know that a client really wants to incorporate swirls and strongly dislikes the color pink before providing them with a design full of polka dots and hot pink hearts. I understand that some clients really have no idea what they want and are hoping I will come up with something that will knock their socks off. But it’s really helpful to have some point of reference. Clients can peruse other websites and point me to elements or layouts that grab their attention and draw them in. Or they can point out sites that don’t appeal to them at all. This at least gives me a starting point to work toward or away from.

As I said before, it’s important for clients to know their product (ministry) and their target audience. The best clients to work with are the ones who have thought through these concepts and worked out any inconsistencies on their own.

4. How do you work with a client when they have a difference of opinion about direction? A question or a concern?

First I will weigh the significance of the opinion or request when it comes to the overall site. Some small things aren’t as significant in the big picture. But if a client feels strongly about incorporating things that go against basic design principles, I’ll gently explain how I do not think it’s in their best interest to use those elements and redirect them to alternatives. There are rules of design just as there are rules of nature. The client may not have thought through the impact of their choice. If they are not deterred or are hesitant, I’ll provide visual examples because often seeing is believing. In the end, if we can’t come to an agreement, my belief is that the client is always right. After all, it is their site and a reflection of them or their ministry, not me. So I will give them what they want with my blessing.

Carol PoCarol_headshotortvliet lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and two daughters. She has owned her own graphic design business for 15 years. Carol works out of her home while juggling school schedules, dirty clothes and three pets. Fortunately she doesn’t have to do the cooking! She is passionate about spreading the Gospel by helping others to promote their ministries. When she’s not working she enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles and playing games with her family. And she is always happy with a cup of Starbucks hot chocolate in her hand. You can find Carol online atwww.thedesigndiva.org. Email her at lucydesigns@triad.rr.com.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hiring Some Help

I’ve shared everything I know about creating a website in the past few weeks. This is where I run into a wall.  If you’re technically challenged like I am, hiring the right professionals to work on your website is an important step.

Here are some people you may want to include in your website team:

  • Photographer–You’ll need professional level photos for your website. I did my website on a very slim budget, so I’m thankful to have a niece with a great camera and a fabulous artistic eye. You can hire a professional, but you may have someone like my niece Megan in your life. I’ve decided that I’d rather pay her than someone I don’t know, and I think I got better pictures because I was so comfortable with her. One of the things Megan asked me to do before our photo shoot was to make a Pinterest board of photos I liked. That gave her insight and direction before we started, and it gave me ideas from some props I used.
  • Brand Identification Specialist–Are you still struggling with knowing how to brand your website? It’s really tough to identify your brand on your own, so you may want to hire some help. Holley Gerth and Stephanie Bryant, creators of (in)courage, coach speakers, authors, bloggers and business owners in branding. Check out their services on their adorable website Squee!
  • Content Coach–(That’s me!) When you’re writing the content for your website, it’s often helpful to have someone outside your own though process to evaluate and shape your writing. I love helping women write a bio and topic descriptions that are audience-focused and describe your niche in ministry. You can take a look at our Menu of Services to see a description of what Next Step does. If you’re interested in any of the services, simply fill out the Request Information form, and I’ll contact you to set up a free consultation call.
  • Website Designer or Graphic Artist–Unless you have a particular gifting in this area (I’ve had a couple of clients who did their own beautiful design), I highly recommend hiring a graphic artist. Honestly, I truly believe they’re worth their weight in gold. A skilled graphic artist can help you with branding as well as web design, because they understand how to use visual elements to communicate subtle messages. Looking at lots of sites and finding the information about the designers of your favorites is one way to find a great one. This is a crucial person in your website development, so choose carefully.
  • Web Developer–Web designers sometimes can serve as both designer and developers, but true web developers usually have a greater ability to implement all the bells and whistles. They can help you choose a WordPress theme, buy a domain, choose a hosting site, strengthen SEO, and find Plugins for any function you can imagine. My web developer saved me money and honed details on the site. I’m also thrilled to have someone who can help me solve problems and work on projects in the future.

Next week I’ll introduce you to my techie geniuses and let them talk about what they need from us non-techie types.

Amy

 

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