Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

So what is your plan for 2011?

January 10, 2011

Passions at Play Art & DesignHappy New Year Everyone!

Last year was filled with changes for many of us and to many people I talk to it feels like 2011 is going to be the year to manifest from all that change. This is the year that we can settle in and move forward. For me change has included moving to a small city from a big one, and that means moving my design and art business from a big city to a small one. Using the internet to keep connected to the outside world is key, however there is also a whole new audience and market to work with here in the high desert and that means adjusting my business vision to fit in this place as well.

So my first blog of the year is going to be about strategy and how you can use it to create the success you wish to achieve.

So what’s your plan and how do you go about making one?

I find that the best way to start off my year is to look back at what worked and what did not work over the last year. Honestly evaluating my performance, my accomplishments and my strategies really helps me to look at what I might continue using, what I need to get rid of and what I might want to just tweak and make work a little better.

Then I write a vision statement that is the picture of what I want in my life and my business. I do this in the present tense because then as I repeat it daily it becomes clearly what  “is” and not what I just wish for. It is funny how our brain does not really know the difference between reality and fantasy and it just assumes that if we keep talking about it, it must be the way things are! (thanks Penny Stephens)

So now that I know what I want to happen, I can go about creating the strategies that will actually make it happen. This is where my calendar comes in. I still need a day planner/calendar, even with my smart phone and my computer, I find that I need a book that I can write in and keep track of days, plans, projects all in one place. This works for me. Writing out a marketing plan- who is my target market, what are their needs and how do I reach them? These are the questions I need to answer to round out my plans. It tells me where I need to advertise, who I need to network with, and how can I be of service to my customers and my community. There will be the occasional client that just pops up out of the blue, but to build a consistent business requires working within a strategy, following through and being consistent. These are also key questions I use when helping my clients plan their marketing needs.

So what I know today is that Passions at Play is an art and graphic design business. What is my focus and what do I have to offer that other design businesses do not? I am an artist as well and so I bring a certain sense of creativity and artistry that is unique. Being an illustrator and photographer gives me the ability to create unique images that are specific to the needs of my clients. And knowing how to use internet and web design also gives them a full spectrum of ways to meet their clients needs. My goal this year is to hone all of this down into a more clear and concise message that shows the benefit that working with me can give. My tagline for the last couple of years has been- “Peace, Love and Prosperity require Creativity!” – This fits my goals and who I am and that is what a tagline should do. This is also a good tagline for my personal life and I find that creativity is required in every aspect of what I enjoy, and want to achieve. I find that building a business that is consistent with my personal values and desires is a huge asset when it comes to being consistent.

So what is your favorite way to plan your new year and how has it evolved over the years to help meet the needs of your clients and your life?

So the new year has begun and we are all in this together. Let’s go out and make it the best year ever!

Peace, Love and Prosperity REQUIRES Creativity!

Cheryl McDonald is the owner of Passions at Play Art & Design to see some of her work please go to

To see some of her photography, please go to


Change that makes sense… surprisingly

November 16, 2010
Eastern Sierras-5 fingers mountain by Cheryl McDonald

Eastern Sierras-5 fingers mountain

When you are the captain of your own ship and suddenly the ship vers off in a completely different direction from where you have set the course, what do you do? Well I guess there are several things you can do:

option 1

You could use all your strength and might and try to turn the ship back around and keep banging your head on the same wall over and over hoping that at some point you will knock it over and you can have what you think you want on the other side.

or option 2

You could take stock of where you thought you were headed, was it really the right direction? Were you making the progress you wanted to make or had you just gotten bogged down in the muck and may as well have dropped anchor.

or option 3

You can look at the new course you are on, brought about by circumstances, and decide that hey! this is a direction I had never thought about before and Hey! maybe this will actually get me where I wanted to go in the first place!

I have chosen option 3

I have moved the ship of Passions at Play Art and Design to the Mojave desert. Ships in the desert? Yes I know, but these are interesting times and we need new and interesting solutions. Now located in Ridgecrest, California, in a valley between the Sierras and the Panamint Mountains, I have found a warm and comfortable community in which to create and develop. Through the wonders of the internet and UPS I can conduct business with  clients anywhere right from my little home in the desert.

So now that I have established myself here physically, I can now more fully establish my business here as well. This blog is the first step to letting you all know that I am still here, still creating and still available to help you add beauty through photography and watercolor to your homes, offices and business materials and books. Let’s create the beautiful world we all want to live in. This blog will be evolving as I evolve and Passions at Play evolves. More Art that inspires and supports a peaceful world is where I am headed at the moment. Web presence will be updated to include ways to purchase prints and other items. And I will be doing more exhibits and fairs and showings so that I can meet the people who inspire me to paint and photograph.

Change can be a difficult thing or it can be an easy thing, but one thing is for sure change is inevitable and we can either accept it and make the most of it and be happy or fight it and be miserable. I choose to be happy.

Creativity is humanities expression of its inherent divinity.

this I believe

Am I making a beneficial difference?

January 5, 2010
It's a match

working together means finding the right fit

I guess you could say that change is the constant of life. Although change occurs everyday in our lives, 2009 brought drastic change to many people on this planet. We are really evolving into a new paradigm. And this paradigm will effect every aspect of our lives. Business, personal, social, and spiritual. Many of the ways we have interacted in all of these areas simply do not work anymore for our good and for the good of others.

I have spent the last few weeks before January 1, 2010 accessing what works and what doesn’t for myself and my business. One of the changes I want to incorporate into how I do business is that when I am working with a client or preparing to work with a client I need to add the questions of “how can I make a positive difference for this client? And how can I help this client make a positive difference in the world” Of course it is kind of the point of working together -to make a difference- to make a change- why work with a designer and put out the money if you just want to maintain the status quo? But for me to consciously incorporate these statements into my business practices adds a level of care and understanding that this project for this client is about them and their business and not about me.

With all of the experience and contacts that I have accumulated over the last 10 years as a graphic and web designer, I have a huge knowledge base to draw from, and answering the deeper questions beyond the bottom line need to be part of the focus on an individual basis.

Gone are the days of thinking on an individual level, global is the new community. And yet the way to work on a global level requires that you work on a personal level first- one to one, individual to individual, business to business. The original idea of ‘business’ was to fill a need and to benefit both parties. That has not changed, it has just been clouded over. So the “new paradigm” is really about getting back to the old definition. Working for the benefit of all.

So the question I asked at the beginning of this blog- Am I making a difference? I say let’s get back to the original idea. How can we be a benefit to each other? How can we create a world that benefits us all?

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