Putting the ‘net’ in ‘working’

Networking is essential for a small business, especially one servicing businesses, a B2B.

Recently, I attended the Whitecourt and Woodlands County Business Support Network luncheon. It was a great experience! I’m slowly but surely getting over my anxiety, and finding the business community here in Whitecourt to be full of kind, friendly, down-to-earth people. That’s what I really need to feel a sense of comfort. If ever I feel intimidated, I tend to become really quiet and uncomfortable, unable to share my opinions. With a sense of security and non-competition, I can thrive and really be myself.

Luckily, with the Business Support Network, the amount of talking I needed to do was minimal; an introduction, to the room, of myself and my business name at the beginning, speaking with fellow line-mates while grabbing lunch, and a 1-2 minute description of my business services, to the room, after the guest speaker was completed. It was a great opportunity to meet other business owners, see which organizations make an effort to participate in the business community, and familiarize myself with the ‘movers and shakers’ of this new community I’m a part of.

Becoming a member of Toastmasters is making an incredible difference in how I handle such situations now, and my comfort level with addressing a room. I identify with and feel equal to others here, no longer feel inferior. I believe I was letting my personal life carry more weight than was necessary; it can be hard to convey confidence and be open when you’re lacking pride, or still letting disappoints and short-comings effect you. Toastmasters is forcing me to analyze how I address things and carry myself, what type of body language I’m communicating, and how I come across by using certain words, sounds and expressions. Since experiencing Toastmasters, I have believed it would take me to the ‘next level’. I’m already seeing results of such, even after only two meetings.

These new experiences are major factors in the type of sales person I’m becoming with Exposure, and more recently, with Impact Video Boards. I can completely see why I was having trouble previously. I’m grateful for the help of a mentor/fellow businesswoman I’ve met since moving to Whitecourt. She is responsible for inviting me to these events; events I doubt I would have seen the value in attending without her guidance.

Small business ownership, entrepreneurship, is so much more than just doing the job that you’re good at. It’s networking, client seeking and retention, administrative, marketing and advertising on top of the photography, graphic design, desktop publishing and concept creation that I enjoy so much. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

I’m a terrible sales person!

It’s exactly this thinking that I am healing. I have been a terrible sales person in the past, but as I grow, I am turning around my thoughts about money. I’m no longer projecting my own financial position, and letting it kibosh the transaction. I am good with money. I’ve finally become the way my mother is with funds – frugal. She’s organized and self-disciplined, I show those qualities now as well. I am a risk taker in life, I always have been. This has been good and this has been bad. I enjoy being mature and responsible in my 34th year, I wish to continue that, and I enjoy seeing it spill over into my financial life. I still believe in risk taking, but with strategy. Strategy will always play a part in my decision making. In chatting about sales with my friend Carol, it came to mind that it’s really passion that sells. If you’re not passionate about your product or service, you’re basically paying lip service. Passion for my work shows at a different stage than when most product sales are closed. My passion is expressed and my sales happen often before the product is made. My products are ideas and images in my mind, and I need to pitch those ideas to the client I’m seeking to sell it to. It is a custom idea, thought up for them, because of a need I have seen. I believe it would be an investment on their part; and that is why I don’t balk these days – I believe they’re investing in themselves, I’m not selling a product I believe would be a money waste. Many times, I create a mock-up product with stand-in stock photos, just so I have the visual to share with the prospective client. Many people need to see what I’m taking about, I can’t just describe it. By bringing something to the meeting that shows my vision, and lets them take it in hand, they start to dream for themselves – that’s how I make a sale. The majority of times, I’m hired for the job with this approach. So, it’s not that I’m terrible at sales, I’m just different. I sell ideas for products and services that I truly believe will help that business owners gain more exposure for their business.

What’s the difference between an ‘epub’ and a ‘digipub’ ?

Many would assume the terms to be interchangeable, but there’s a great difference between these two publication formats.

An epub, more commonly known as an ebook, is an electronic book containing simple text, adjustable font size, they’re black & white, contain flip pages and minimal images. Ebooks can be read on e-readers such as Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Cybook, Tolino, Movistar, Jetbook, Icarus, Irivar, eClicto, BOOX, PocketBook, Pyrus, Beagle, Flex and LumiRead, or tablets such as iPad, Galaxy, EasyTablet, OneTouch, Surface, Asus, Phoenix, Stream and Transformer. And let’s not forget smartphones. A tablet can support ‘enhanced ebooks’, but these are still not digipubs. All ebooks should be able to be read on desktop computers as well. Ebooks are for book lovers.

I learned to build epub books through a course with DPA Communcations Corp. in Toronto, ON, in 2012. These files are built in InDesign (my Adobe software of choice) and tested through Adobe Reader, part of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

A digipub, is a digital publication, contains full colour graphics and images, interactivity (touch activated design) and multi media options, such as video, audio, animation, slideshows, etc.. and utilize the swipe and scroll actions. These can only be viewed on tablets or smartphones. Digipubs are for magazine lovers.

I self taught how to build and publish digipubs in 2012/2013 with Mag+ through their online video tutorials. Also built in InDesign, this time however, with a Mag+ plug-in. The interactivity was achieved through different layer selections; a certain desired effect could be set by choosing the coordinating layer. It was a fascinating! My work felt like it was coming to life. In this case, all could be achieved without knowing code. However, Mag+ plus offers designers to take their digipubs to the next level, with unknown possibilities, if the creators do have coding knowledge.

To me, one is static, the other is dynamic. I believe each are sought out by generational preferences. Really, the age of the demographic, and what technology they’ve been exposed to, greatly determines which product they’re going to feel most comfortable using.

I love all things publishing – newspapers, magazines and books. They’re all forms of communication, share ideas and concepts and spur conversation or debate. Whether in a traditional paper form or new age digital, they bring things from the ether to the surface and elevate the knowledge of humankind.

Which format do you prefer, and why? Leave comments below, or post on the social media in which you accessed this blog today.

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(There’s me, Ellen, in 2006, while working at the Daily Herald Tribune newspaper in Grande Prairie, Ab)

Arbonne – product review

Carol O’Hanley is a business woman who grew up in the same small town as I did – Souris, Prince Edward Island. In following a good number of islanders through my Twitter account, @EXPOSUREpdp, we crossed paths. She warmed my heart by being herself, the islander persona shines through, which helped isolated, jaded me, come back into being myself with friends, family and associates, though I’m far across the country. I learned it was ok to just be myself, especially in business, and that I didn’t need to mirror the personalities I encounter living here in Alberta.

On my birthday, this past January, Carol offered to send me some samples of her Arbonne products. As she messaged, “it’s fun to get something in the mail that’s not a bill”. So true! lol I immediately got excited.. “I’m going to do a review”, I thought, and let my mind swirl around the ways that I would share a product I’m trying out. This is Carol’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/arbonnecarol

During the first night, shooting a time-lapse video would be fun, I thought. You can view that video here:

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NIGHT 1: RE9 Advanced
Smoothing Facial Cleanser – beautiful, fruity smell; I’m thinking fruit acids. Small pea sized drop, of this creamy cleanser, was enough to remove makeup and feel very clean. Spreads abouts and rinses off easily. Skin doesn’t feel tight.
Regenerating Toner – nice, non-stinging toner. Gentle scent. I’ve been out of toner for a while. Skin doesn’t feel tight or irritated.
Intensive Renewal Serum – “Mmm”, I actually said this out loud. Love the fruity scents! A milky collagen product, helps elasticity and moisture retention.
Corrective Eye Creme – yes, help my fine undereye lines! I put this on top and bottom, not sure I was supposed to do top. It’s kind of stinging on the top, but I have sensitive skin there. The eye area is more delicate than the rest of the face. Ok after 2 minutes.
Restorative Night Creme – another nice fruity scent. Smooth, creamy texture, easily smoothes on the face and under the jawline. Not too heavy, not too thin.

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DAY 2: Calm line
Gentle Daily Cleanser – more of a gel cleanser. Minimal scent; good for those with sensitivities. Small pea-sized amount was plenty to spread nicely, bubbling up slightly over face and under jawline. Really effective cleanser. Skin doesn’t feel tight.
Soothing Facial Serum – again, more of a gel, light yellow in color. Minimal scent. These products usually help with elasticity and moisture retention; though I can’t find its use/properties in the description.
Gentle Daily Mosturizer – it’s just that, gentle, minimal scent, light cream, small pea-sized drop was enough for face and jawline. Skin doesn’t feel tight. Effective.
Soothing Eye Gel – a bit runny, but a cool gel is nice in the morning for puffiness under the eyes. I see my fine lines best when I blow out my cheeks like a squirrel, lol (you’ll see that quickly in the video). You don’t need much, I probably used a bit too much. Fast absorbing, though not too quick that you think it’s not effective. Only placed under the eyes today, lol.

**After 15 minutes, I’m unsure this moisturizer has enough ‘oomph’ for me. Maybe I like more of a creme/cream than a lotion for a moisturizer. It is very dry here in the prairie winters.

NIGHT 2: RE9 Advanced
Smoothing Facial Cleanser –
Regenerating Toner –
Intensive Renewal Serum –
Corrective Eye Creme –
Night Repair Creme –

DAY 3: Calm line + RE9 Advanced
Calm Gentle Daily Cleanser –
Calm Soothing Facial Serum –
Calm Soothing Eye Gel –
RE9 Restorative Day Creme with SPF 20 – I felt I needed a creamier moisturizer. I enjoyed this one. Very faint, light scent. Pea-sized drop smoothes about easily to cover cheeks, forehead, nose, chin and under the jawline. My skin feels supple 10 minutes after, not at all greasy.

NIGHT 3: RE9 Advanced
Smoothing Facial Cleanser –
Regenerating Toner –
Intensive Renewal Serum –
Corrective Eye Creme –
Night Repair Creme –

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DAY 4: FC5 line
Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener – Gentle, creamy cleanser. Smoothes about very easily, does not bubble up. Little to no fragrance. Feels clean and effective.
Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20 – I like this. A light lotion moisturizer that has enough oomph. Creamy, little to no fragrance.

**I have thought my skin to be classified ‘combination’. I know women’s skin goes through many changes as we go through life and hormonal changes. Some products previously had me thinking my skin was starting to be classified as ‘sensitive’, but I really feel now it was the amount of chemicals, and I’m beginning to be sensitive to their presence.
I haven’t experienced any negative reactions or side effects from any of the products sampled.

NIGHT 4: RE9 Advanced
Smoothing Facial Cleanser – I noted tonite how good of a job this cleanser did at taking my makeup off with just the pea-sized drop I’ve been using. Makeup was just 4 hours on, which differs to normal days when it’s been on for 12 hours before I’m washing it off.
Regenerating Toner – Little to no color from my makeup appeared on the cotton pad, reaffirming how effective the cleanser was.
Intensive Renewal Serum – this just makes me feel good to use it, believing it’s firming my skin with collagen properties.
Corrective Eye Creme – I’ve enjoyed both eye products for different reasons. I prefer a cream for eyes, and feel it’s best for night time use; it’s thicker, it’s on for a longer amount of time, able to do its work for 8ish hours, there’s no make up on top of it. The eye gel has been super refreshing in the mornings though. Not one to feel I have puffiness, the coolness is just a nice wake-up sensation.
Night Repair Creme – I like it. The name is good, it makes me feel it’s effective and has a job to do. Again, I enjoy a cream for moisturizer, and this does the job.

**I enjoy the fruit fragrances in the RE9 line.

**My oldest sister asked me “Are you radiant?” to which I replied “Aren’t I always radiant?! lol”. I meant my personality. Being a conversation on social media, I felt the need to clarify that I didn’t mean outwardly. I really do believe radiance comes from the inside, from confidence in oneself, something I didn’t have just a few years ago. It’s something I work on, having belief in myself. I’m not one that would ever want my outer to outshine my inner. However, it was a good question, since I’m reviewing skin care products! To be honest, the fine lines and puffiness under my eyes do seem reduced in appearance by Night 4. (Top – Night 1, Bottom – Night 4)

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**Toner and eye cream are the two products I’ve been doing without for a few months. I always believe these products are effective, I’ve just not been in a position to pursue them.

DAY 5: FC5, Calm + RE9 lines
FC5 Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener –
RE9 Regenerating Toner – this is a super nice toner. Lovely fragrance. Cooling sensation. Never feels tight or irritated afterwards.
Calm Soothing Eye Gel – Now that I’ve noticed a difference, I’m sold on eye products! Again, I really enjoy the cool gel in the mornings.
FC5 Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20 –

NIGHT 5: RE9 Advanced + FC5
RE9 Smoothing Facial Cleanser –
RE9 Regenerating Toner –
RE9 Intensive Renewal Serum –
RE9 Corrective Eye Creme –
FC5 Moisturizing Night Creme – first time trying out this moisturizer.

**20 minutes later I’m really enjoying how much moisture I feel my skin’s retained. The moisturizer felt great going on, creamy texture smoothes about nicely all over face and under jawline. Nice, light fragrance. My skin feels very supple.

DAY 6: Calm + RE9 Advanced + FC5
Calm Gentle Daily Cleanser – still loving this gel cleanser, it’s so effective. My skin has never felt tight afterwards.
*Forgot* RE9 Intensive Renewal Serum step
Calm Soothing Eye Gel – Sold on this product.
FC5 Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20 – this didn’t smoothe on the same way this morning. I’m chalking it up to my missed step. Still provided all the moisture I needed, and skin feels great. I really enjoy this moisturizer.

**FAVOURITES thus far:
CLEANSER – Calm Gentle Daily Cleanser
TONER – RE9 Regenerating Toner
SERUM – Calm Soothing Facial Serum
EYE – Calm Soothing Eye Gel, RE9 Corrective Eye Creme
DAY MOISTURIZER – RE9 Restorative Day Creme with SPF 20, FC5 Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20
NIGHT MOISTURIZER – RE9 Night Repair Creme, FC5 Moisturizing Night Creme

Thank-you for the experience, Carol!