Friday, December 30, 2011

twaining for twitter

I've been reading up on Twitter the past couple of days. It's time to expand my social media scope once again, and since the big T has yet to grace my computer screen, I figure it's time to dive in. So, fellow business you Twitter? Do you feel it's helped your business? What resources do you recommend for learning the ropes? Who do you follow?

Monday, December 19, 2011

single vs. double spaces

For quite a while now I find myself succumbing to the trend of using one space after periods rather than the traditional two spaces. It seems many folks are going this route, and some guidelines even specify to do so. One of my LinkedIn groups recently debated the issue here.

Some are in favor of the single space, some are attached to double spacing, and some are ambivalent. What's your take on the issue?

Friday, November 18, 2011

resources for writers

Are you a writer? Doesn't matter what you write: fiction, non-fiction, essays, blogs, personal journals, academic some point, you will need to look something up. Here's an article to help reduce time searching for quality resources:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I "like" it!

I did it. I finally set up a business page on Facebook. It's a wonder it took so long since, like many people around the globe, I have somewhat of an addiction to the thing.

Anyway, if you don't mind, I'd love to up my "likes" on this page. Check it out! (And thanks in advance!)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

punctuation speculation

They're little, but they're mighty. They have the ability to entirely change the meaning of a sentence. And they also have the power to make a respectable business look a bit less credible. We're talking about punctuation, folks. Let's look at a few examples to show how an intended message can quickly be misunderstood when punctuation is used improperly--or when it's missing entirely. Here's one example you may have seen already:

Let's eat, grandma!


Let's eat grandma!

Hmmm. I'm doubt many of you are particularly interested in sampling your own grandmother (or anyone else's!), so I'm pretty sure the first sentence is the correct one. See how important that little comma is?

Ah, the commonly confused "your" vs. "you're."Not to be crass, but this is a fun one (courtesy Terribly Write):

I saw this next one on Facebook first (and I "liked" it, of course!), but it could have originated anywhere. Again, apologies for the foul language, but I believe this gets the point across:

"An apostrophe is the difference between a business that knows its shit and a business that knows it's shit."

These are just a few examples of punctuation gone awry, and I'm sure you could provide many more. Feel free to share grammar goofs you've seen--or perhaps even made--here!

Monday, October 24, 2011

the business of small business

I guess I was, in a way, destined to become an entrepreneur. Or at the very least, I set my sights on working for a small, locally-0wned company. Because when I look back, that's all I've ever done. Here's a quick overview of my job history (excluding a smattering of part-time summer jobs and student-worker stints in college):

As a junior high student, I had a paper route delivering my hometown's weekly paper. I think I made about $15/month--but it was money I earned on my own, and that felt great. I still have fond memories of waking up before sunrise, donning my walkman, and trudging through the neighborhood, placing papers on doorsteps or, in wet or snowy weather, inside storm doors.

In high school I worked for a local commercial cleaning company, scrubbing and scouring offices, corporate bathrooms, and and assortment of bank lobbies. I definitely learned to appreciate those who harbor behind-the-scenes type-jobs.

After college I landed a job as a customer service rep at a family-owned music store. I was there for four years and learned a ton about treating customers with respect and how to work as part of a team. In a way, it was this job that allowed me to hone my writing skills in the commercial world as I created flyers, brochures, and even wrote an article for a music trade magazine.

Although these jobs required totally different skills, they all have one thing in common: not one of these companies is owned by a big-time corporation. They're all local products of their respective communities, and are all very in touch with the folks they deal with on a daily basis. I took many experiences away from each job, but the singular message I've kept in mind is that through hard work and treating people well, a small business can indeed be successful.

So here I am, many (exact number undisclosed :) ) years later, running my own business. And after having this opportunity, it's hard to imagine doing things any other way. Plus I have total respect for other small business owners. I try to patronize them whenever possible.

How about you? What types of small business to you support?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

the coffeehouse writer I sit, undisturbed (i.e., no young children calling, "Mom! Mom?") with a cup of steamy coffee before me. I've got my laptop. I've got my cell (which I just used to take a call from my husband, who informed me of an incident involving our two-year-old, her diaper, and a certain mess that resulted from her taking said diaper off...but that's for another post). I've got ideas flowing for a project I'm working on.

Where am I? Certainly not at home. I'm at the local coffeehouse. As much as I love working from home, sometimes I love working away from home more. The change in scenery does wonders for one's concentration level...and the caffeine doesn't hurt, either.

As my mind wandered a few minutes ago (can't seem to avoid that fate!), I began considering changing my business name from Cassie Hart Copywriting & Editorial Services to something more, well, business sounding. Without my name included. I came up with Coffeehouse Copywriting. Given the fact that I am, indeed, a coffee junkie, and that I enjoy the atmosphere of coffeehouses, the name seems to fit. Of course, I'd have to get all new business cards and re-create my website, which I don't really have time to do. But it's a viable thought for the future.

All this leads me to a question for my fellow biz owners: how did you come up with your business name?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

business x 2

How many entrepreneurs do you know who run more than one business? The more entrepreneurs/solo-preneurs I meet, the more I notice folks really taking charge of their own careers. This sometimes means adding a second "job" just to make ends meet, but more often it means having two careers because they have a passion in different areas. Sometimes the two paths are related; sometimes they're not.

I'm one of those folks. I've actually been playing music longer than I've been writing professionally. For a while I worked full-time at a music store and played lots of gigs. Then I left my job, went back to grad school and supplemented my meager assistantship with my gig income. After graduating, I launched my freelance writing career while continuing to play music as often as possible. Then I had my first daughter and the music had to be scaled back a bit. And then the economy tanked, plus I had another child, and gigs became almost non-existent. It was sad in a way, but since I was busy with other walks of life, I didn't miss the music aspect that much.

But then I played a gig this summer. And I reunited with some very good music friends. We had a blast playing our gig at the Uptown Normal Farmer's Market. And I decided I wanted to do this again. My husband convinced me I needed my own website and since he's a smart one--and a successful musician/composer as well--I took his advice.

Enter Cassie Hart & Friends: The Official Website. It's a long time coming, but now it's live and I'd love for you to check it out!

I realize this post doesn't have much to do with copywriting. But it's got a lot to do with my life. If you are reading this because you're a friend, you'll probably be happy to hear I've taken this step. If you're reading because you are considering hiring a writer and you happened to stumble on my blog, thanks for your consideration! I hope this post provides another look at me and the areas I'm passionate about.

I'm looking forward to embarking on not only new, interesting and challenging writing projects, but to jumping back into making music again. Here's to you, readers, and to whatever stirs YOUR passion!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

do projects ever make you feel...grateful?

As I research information for a blog post for one of my clients, I realize I've got it pretty darn good. All my basic necessities are taken care of. I have a roof over my head. I have food on the table. I have a great husband and two awesome kids. Our home environment is safe. We love and respect each other. Sure, we get frustrated, irritated, and angry sometimes, but we find a healthy way to resolve our differences.

I've been learning about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (observed in October) and the more I read, the more grateful I feel for my life. Some folks aren't so lucky. Some are involved in hurtful, abusive relationships and they--and their children--are suffering. It's a sad and potentially disastrous situation. And it needs to stop.

If you know of someone who needs help because of physical or verbal abuse, let them know that you are there to offer support. Here are a few resources to pass along:

Child Abuse Hotline

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Family and Community Resource Center

Put yourself out there to help someone else. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lemme hear you say, "Waaaah!"

All word-type-people utter this from time to time, usually when staring at a blank page as writer's block takes hold of our minds. Those of us who work from home with small children, however, often experience it another way:

Child: "Waaah!"
Parent: "Shush, it's time for your nap."
Child: "Waah! No nap! No nap!"
Parent: (pleading) "C'mon, Sweetie...just lay your head down and rest. Mama/Daddy's got work to do."
Child" "Waaah! Don't care! Not tired!"
Parent: (along with child) "Waaaaaah!"

This post inspired by my here and now...I've got a list of projects to tackle and my two-year-old is calling from her crib. Sigh. (Or even better, "Waaah!")

So, how do you work-from-home types handle getting stuff done with kids in the mix?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

sadly outdated, sorely missed?

I'm guessing this (semi-defunct) blog wasn't missed too much. I've done nothing to promote it (short of a link to my website) and I've not been very dedicated to it in general for an assortment of reasons. Does any of this matter? Not really. Because this blog is back! I've had an epiphany of sorts, a bit of inspiration, call-it-what-you-will...but I'm ready to hop on the blogging bandwagon once again. So...are you ready for this? Check back super soon for tips, info, and what-have-you in the wonderful world of writing.