RSS

Small business chat update – Leigh-Ann Arundel

Small business chat update – Leigh-Ann Arundel

Welcome to another Small Business Update – today with Leigh-Ann Arundel, who launched Jingle Jewellery as recently as April 2012. I first interviewed Leigh-Ann in January 2013, and then again in January 2014, when she revealed her plans for the upcoming year: I am still getting over Christmas! but this year I am focussing on streamlining, expanding and breaking into the wedding market“. So – did she break into the wedding market? Is she still working at a day job and running her business, too? Let’s find out …

Hello again, Leigh-Ann. So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

It has been a busy year for me as I am still at the day job but changed role and with it hours. I have concentrated on my locket business as I was aware that they would be a short-life fashion item. As such, I had a great year for sales both retail and wholesale. However I did not promote my party business as much as I should have. I attended my first wedding fayre and had a couple of wedding bookings with great reviews, but I have not done nearly as much as i would have liked with that area.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

The Australian franchise did not work out as planned and it had to be discontinued, however we did have a good crack at it. My business turned a healthy profit and turned 3 this spring.

I have an exciting new business in the pipeline which is in partnership with another small business holder. I cannot say too much, as the design needs protecting first and we are hoping to crowdfund its launch, but by next year I will be able to tell you more.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I have learnt that I cannot do as much as I want, family is the most important thing and until I can leave my day job I need to keep a lid on it!

I have remained constant business-wise but have dropped things that are desirable rather than essential.

I would like to become more computer savvy and explore different mediums for selling. I would also like to stop spreading myself too thin!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

In another years time I am hoping that the jewellery party business will still be maintaining speed and the new business will be up and running.

I admire Leigh-Ann for managing to be so flexible and responsive while still working in her day job. It’s important to remember that you CAN do both, and if you need that security, it’s much better to preserve it for as long as you can. You will know the time to jump ship – if there comes a time. For now, I think there are exciting things on the horizon, and I wonder what this new concept will involve – I can’t wait to find out next year!

You can find Jingle Jewellery Ltd online at www.jinglejewellery.com and on Facebook, with the lockets side of things also separately online at www.treasurelockets.co.uk and on Facebook.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Nathan Littleton

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update this time with Nathan Littleton, former child business genius, from Future Visions. We first met him back in September 2011, 8 years after he started working for himself, and he was still going strong in October 2012. Then we updated in November 2013 and found him planning to diversify more and with a book on the way. Here’s where he planned to be by now: “I love speaking on stage, so the more I can do that, the happier I’ll be, and I’d like for that to be a bigger part of my income in the next year. Also, I genuinely see The Hub as my legacy. It’s the one product/service in my business that I can say is: 1. unique, 2. has a clear market need, 3. truly works without me. With that said, a big portion of my marketing efforts will be invested in making it available to as many businesses as possible.” Let’s see how those grand plans are going!

Hello again, Nathan. So, are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

My main goals were to develop my brand as a professional speaker and build that part of my business, and to develop The Hub as a product which could be sold and delivered without huge involvement from me.

I’ve established myself as a speaker and there’s still work to do secure more higher-paid speaking gigs. The Hub has sold well, but the market has dictated that it be a higher ticket price one-time sale rather than a subscription. I’m OK with that, but I’m still keen to build a monthly recurring revenue in my business, so I anticipate that will come from managing regular email campaigns for clients (this still represents the biggest recurring revenue in my business).

I’d like to have been further along in those goals, but the proverbial happens and there are lessons learned along the way to make the next year the best yet!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

For the most part, the business has stayed the same. It’s healthy and is growing steadily, and I’ve been working to refine what I do to ensure that I’m working on the projects that are most profitable, most enjoyable and the least hassle!

When I wrote my answers last year, I’d had the basis of a book in mind and had a good portion of it written, but had let it slip for so long that I didn’t have a solid deadline or timeframe in mind to get it published. At the start of 2014 I got focussed on it and dedicated the time that was needed to complete it, and with your  help, it was published by July (the book is “Delivered: The No-Nonsense Guide to Successful Email Marketing“). The sales figures have been good, and it has done the job I wanted it to do – to elevate my position as an email marketing expert.

I’m currently developing an Entrepreneurs Bootcamp programme for schools which will fill the gap between what the Business Studies curriculum teaches and the knowledge that is really needed to run a business. That’s what I want to be known for when I’m sat in my rocking chair looking back at my life.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’m not sure if you could call this a learning, but in May I watched a speech from Jim Carrey. There’s one line from it which has stuck with me throughout the year, and gives me a lift when I’m feeling demotivated or things aren’t going to plan. He says: “I learned many great things from my father, not least of which that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love”.

That’s why I do what I do, and why I’ve done this for the last 12 years.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Consider what you can do that will take you out of your comfort zone. If you’re anything like me, you perform at your very best when you’re under pressure, but it’s just human nature that we’re compelled to take the easier option. Why don’t we do the things we know we need to do? Often because it’s just easier not to do them.

Last month I started an 11-week stand-up comedy course, not because I want to be a world-famous comedian (although… who knows?), but because I want to do something that will take me out of my comfort zone. Being comfortable and plodding along is seriously overrated. [update: he successfully performed a stand-up routine last week – well done, Nathan!]

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

My biggest focus at the moment is to dramatically increase sales and revenue, and I have some big, ambitious goals to that effect. When I hit those goals, I can tick off a few more of my ‘big picture’ goals (my bucket list, what I want from my life and my legacy).

I’m also aiming to have another two books out there this year – a more comprehensive version of my “20 Best Subject Lines” eBook, which has been very popular, and a “Business Lessons from a 12 Year-Old” book to support my work in schools.

All good stuff, and getting towards those goals, which is the main thing. I think passive income from a product we don’t have to devote all our time to is a kind of holy grail for many business people – my book sales pay for my monthly bus pass and sometimes that’s what we’ll get out of that side of things – but every little does count. I look forward to working on Nathan’s new books, too – the two he’s got out at the moment are both really good, and the Email Marketing one has helped with my own newsletter.

You can get in touch with Nathan by phone, +44 (0)121 288 3688 or find him online at www.future-visions.co.uk and on social media: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Email

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Small business chat update – Mel Carpenter

Welcome to another Small Business Update, this time with Mel Carpenter, who’s in the fitness business and is currently concentrating on developing her two businesses that work around the industry, Fit 4 Print and FullFit , as well as working with the www.clubbercise.com brand and running her own classes under the Cardio Central umbrella. We first met Mel in February 2013 and then updated in February 2014. At that point, her goal for the next year was, “Definitely to qualify as a Personal Trainer, but I want to specialise as a trainer in a particular field. I love to present, so I know that I will be doing more of that. My next big goal is to own my own dance studio, so we will see!” Mel’s very energetic and entrepreneurial, so I really wasn’t sure what she’d be up to be now – let’s find out what’s going on …

Hello, Mel, and welcome back! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Well, i’m not a Personal Trainer but i am a Pro Trainer for a very exciting Dance Fitness program called Clubbercise! My job is to train new instructors and present the brand at various fitness events across the country and occasionally internationally when the demand arises. Here’s a description: If you like the idea of a fitness class that feels more like a night out than a workout you’ll LOVE Clubbercise®, Fun, easy-to-follow dance fitness routines using rave glow sticks to club anthems from 90′s classics to the latest chart hits taught in a darkened room with disco lights.

I have also set up a printing business (its called called Fit 4 Print) and a fulfilment company (specialising in the Dance & Fitness Industry) called FullFit with my husband. Both companies are doing extremely well, and it’s all keeping us very busy!

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I no longer run UK Bokwa Gear but i do now manage the merchandise for three major Dance & Fitness Brands: Clubbercise, The Jungle Body and Metafit under my fulfilment company (see above answer). I’m still teaching classes, (I merged my classes under the new name Cardio Central as the variety of classes we teach has grown significantly over the last year) although I’ve scaled back as the businesses need my attention, as do our children :)

What have you learned?

To be more organised, OMG! I am now a lover of To Do Lists and i use several life-saving apps on my phone to ensure i can keep track of what I’m doing and where i need to be! Although at times I must admit that I still feel like I’m running around like a headless chicken!

What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

How busy things were going to get! It;s a real fight to get things done and still have quality family time, it doesn’t always work out, but we know that our businesses are growing and we are providing a future for our children, so it’s a case of grinning and bearing it at times.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Don’t be afraid to Follow your Dreams and know that the path to success is not a straight one! Perseverance is key and so is Persistence! If I were not a persistent little so and so, I would not be where I am today!

And … where do you see yourself and your business(es!) in a(nother) year’s time?

I hope for my husband to be working for the businesses we have full time (he still has a day job at the moment and that’s tough) and to be the go to company for brands, for all things fitness!

Wow – I feel like I’ve done a Monday morning workout just reading about Mel’s life at the moment. The fitness industry is always changing so Mel has to change with it – I think branching out into support services with her printing and fulfilment companies will eventually offer a point of stability in this ever-shifting world. It’s really important if you work for yourself to keep doing the stuff you loved doing enough to start out in the first place, so I’m glad Mel’s keeping up with her teaching still. And it’s lovely to see the family working towards having both Mel and her husband working full-time for the business. I’d like to say that this is the slightly frantic phase before full maturity hits and you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours a  bit, but I’m not sure Mel’s the type to do that, and I’d like to bet she’ll still be running around this time next year. But in a very organised way, of course – hooray for To Do lists! Good luck, Mel!

Here’s where you can find all those different businesses of Mel’s online – contact details can be found on each website: Cardio Central – www.cardiocentral.co.uk, Clubbercise – www.clubbercise.com, Fit 4 Print – www.fit4print.co.uk , Fullfit – www.fullfit.co.uk

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Helen Earp

Small business chat update – Helen Earp

Welcome to another Small Business Update – Welcome to Helen Earp from Sweetheart Designs, who makes lovely crafty gifts and decorative items, and who we first met in June 2013  When I asked Helen where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied, “Ideally, I would like to be cutting ALL my own shapes, rather than just a percentage of them. I would love to have my own website up and running and I also have plans to approach a gift shop to see if I can get certain products stocked there”.  As seems using with my interviewees, she’s not quite in the place she envisaged, having had a stressful year personally, but she’s had a lovely opportunity to build on one of her plans with a shop that’s actually in my neighbourhood and is supporting quite a few craft businesses with getting their products out there in front of people. Let’s hear about it from Helen.

Hi, Helen! It’s been a while, but are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward back in the summer of 2013?

No, I’m in a different place, but I also think at the same time, I am where I’m meant to be.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

I had quite a stressful year, a lot happened in my personal life which at times pushed me to almost breaking point and many a time I thought something would have to give, and that would have been my business.

In the same breath, I had my most successful and busiest year to date, which did add to the stress levels but I came out the other side and appreciate every single customer that allowed me to keep going and to stay at home with my twins.

I now rent space in a wonderful shop called Togademus, its a shop selling traditional wooden toys who have started a scheme called shareRshop – basically they have allowed a whole side of their shop to be rented out to local crafts people. I have done really well there so far, and the owners are happy to listen to my ideas to take both the shop and the scheme forward.

I have also very recently taken the step to become a Business Associate for an amazing Community Social Enterprise called The Busy Parents Network.

I have temporarily stopped cutting shapes now, due to unforeseen circumstances so I have been busy using up the ridiculous amount of shapes I had sat in boxes in my garage.

I am also currently looking at diversifying into printing photographs onto my wooden items: think Photo Bunting, Wooden Stacking Blocks etc.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I have learned that I have the most amazing customers who trust me to create products for them from just a vague description.
I have learned that I am actually better at drawing than I remembered.
I have learned that you can function, just about, on 3 months worth of less than 2 hours sleep a night.
I have learned that people WILL start ordering Christmas Decorations in June, and already in 2015 I have taken orders for Wooden Christmas Baubles!
I have learned that I must say no, a weakness of mine as I really hate to let people down.
I have learned that I should really think about employing someone to do my admin for me.

So many lessons this year! A huge, huge learning curve but I am now in a place where I feel comfortable and confident of my business future.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Have faith in your work. If it is something you love doing then don’t let anyone dull your passion.

Use any opportunity to network: you never know, the person you stand next to in the queue for your Costa coffee may be a future investor!

Again, remember to take time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, it is good to occasionally leave things for a few days then go back with fresh eyes.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

In a further year’s time, I hope to have a full website up and running and also hopefully be stocking a couple more shops.

It is a very difficult decision to make and I would rather take my time to find a shop/venue that my products will really fit in with.

My ultimate goal is to have a commercial premises, involving local crafters but also involving the community and the vast array of social groups there are in my local area, but that will be at least a couple of years once my twins start school.

Well, Helen’s made some big strides forward and has really engaged with her local and online communities and networks, which can only be a good thing in my opinion. She’s using up that stash of shapes, and the new photography plan sounds interesting, but I think this interview really bears out the fact that running a business is as much about running a business as it is about doing your craft thing or your favourite activity – you have to do business as well as do the business.

Helen is online at www.facebook.com/Designs.Sweetheart or you can email her. Togademus is part of the shareRshop scheme which helps local makers to get out there in the community and have their products seen. I’d be interested to know if any of my readers take part in this scheme!

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

Small business chat update – Lindsay McLoughlin

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update with Lindsay McLoughlin, copywriter, blogger and LinkedIn trainer from Proofed by Linds. We first met Lindsay in November 2012, and updated with her in December 2013. At that point, this is what she had planned for the year ahead: “When I meet people, they often say, ‘Oh, you’re the blogger. I loved your post about…’ I find this very gratifying and something to be proud of. However, going forward, I would like clients to think of me as a blogger/copywriter, and to also think of me for the following services:
–    copywriting their newsletters, for example. Today’s strategic alliance with my email partners, Mmunic, is designed to support this goal
–    editing & proofreading more business and marketing-related ebooks. I will be promoting these services on and offline next year.
With me, it’s all about words… I like to read, edit or blog them!” So, let’s see how Lindsay’s getting on. And oh, she’s not where she thought she’d be – doesn’t that always happen!

Hello again, Lindsay! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

No! The last year has been a fascinating and sociable, networking rollercoaster and I have enjoyed every minute of the ride. Looking at last year’s article, my aim was to establish a reputation as a blogger. To a certain extent I have continued to do that. My ‘Writer meets…’ blog profiling service has continued to grow and, with the additional bonus of Facebook’s boost a post service, this has continued to establish itself as a valid promotional tool. I have continued to post business and social media related blog posts via LinkedIn and on my own website. I was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the UK Blog Awards 2014 within the Digital & Marketing section for my Business Talk category.

My blogging, copywriting, editing and proofreading services are still available and I had plenty of this this type of work in 2014. However, the step change occurred when I opened a LinkedIn group designed to raise my profile within my home town.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

In November 2013, I created the Henley Women of Inspiration (HWIN) group. It is open to ladies who live and/or work in the general area of Henley on Thames. Just as I would if I were networking in real life, I flit around the group welcoming people, and liking/commenting on their discussions and contributions.
The group grew daily and the atmosphere in the room is dynamic, participative and interesting. In February 2014, a member of the group asked if we could meet offline, and other members immediately indicated they would come to an event if I was to host one. This was the moment everything changed.

Henley is well known for the Henley Royal Regatta (more about that later!) but, a couple of weeks before, there is another internationally renowned event. This is the Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR). I asked the HWR Chairman if I could host a HWIN Networking Breakfast on the opening morning of her three-day event. She said yes! I then promoted the event across social media and the 90 tickets sold out weeks ahead with a waiting list for cancellations. If I may say it myself, the event was a knockout!

Through the HWIN group, I also met Kran Sondh from The CookCurry Club. We put together a pop-up curry lunch to promote her home-cooked Indian curry business, and I produced a Writer meets…CookCurry Club post to tell our story. The event was a storming success and, like the Henley Women’s Regatta, tickets sold out weeks ahead.

This set me thinking… Kran makes beautiful curries and, through the power of social media, I can bring people to the table. Together, we hosted a HWIN Christmas Curry Pop-Up Networking Lunch which, again, sold out before Kran had even put the pan on!

Another lovely thing that happened during 2014 was I was invited by Henley Royal Regatta to arrange the accommodation for all the overseas crews.
The event holds a unique place in the respect and affection of all rowers, but it is also very special to the residents of Henley itself. They open their doors and offer accommodation to competitors and spectators. Needless to say, I loved working with the Henley Royal Regatta and I have been invited back to look after the accommodation again this year.

In addition, with my love of and knowledge of LinkedIn, I have created group training sessions. The first group event in December was well received. I have now sold out for January and, as I write this, February’s session is almost fully booked.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

In 2014 I learned to raise my head above the parapet. By taking the plunge and opening the HWIN group, I raised my profile and, on seeing the opportunities, I followed through. With HWIN, I launched and ran two successful networking events, and now I am looking at launching a series of pop-up curry networking lunches with Kran for 2015.

I have met some truly outstanding people on this journey. It has been a wonderful and magical rollercoaster, and it is mainly thanks to the invention of the HWIN group and the people within the group. I can’t think of anything I wish I had known in advance; it actually feels like all the work, networking and decisions I had made prior to the events in 2014 led me to the year I had. I am just so pleased I am able to follow through on exciting and fun projects, and I enjoy what I am doing.

Any more hints and tips for people?

One of my clients recently described me as someone who has an idea and gets on and does it. From my experience over the last twelve months, this trait does appear to have held me in good stead. With enthusiasm, energy and commitment, people are attracted to positive energy. Well, that and a good curry!

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

Looking ahead, the year will feature Henley Royal Regatta (accommodation role), Pop-Up Curry Lunches, LinkedIn training sessions, HWIN networking events, Writer meets… promotional posts, blogging, copywriting, editing etc.

If you decide to check back with me in another year to ask if it went this way, I am hoping it will have, as I am currently putting the dates in the diary.
I am nailing my colours to the mast!

However if, like last year, it is dramatically different, I simply can’t imagine what that would be and how I could be happier than exactly where I am now.

Wow – that’s a big change, and what a positive one! It just goes to show that however established you are, you should always remain open to new opportunities – I certainly don’t regret my first foray into transcription, which happened when I saw a random tweet from someone I follow, or into localisation, which happened through someone asking and me saying “yes”. So that’s a lesson to us all that it really can work. I wonder what Lindsay will be doing this time next year!

You can find Lindsay McLoughlin online at www.proofedbylinds.co.uk and of course via LinkedIn, too.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 7, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

MailChimp 4 – how to create a template for your newsletter

Welcome to Lesson 4 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts, and MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form, this time we’re going to learn how to create a simple template for a newsletter.

Why do I need a template for my newsletter?

Setting up a template means that you save a lot of time each time you send out your newsletter. You can spend all the time creating a lovely template once, then just pop the text in each time you want to send a newsletter out.  It also means that you can import a branded template created for you by a designer which includes your specific brand, colours and messages.

How do I create a MailChimp newsletter template?

You can find the Templates area in the top menu on MailChimp:

MailChimp templates menu

If you haven’t already created any templates, you will find a message that You have no saved Templates and a handy arrow pointing to the Create Template button. You can always use this Create Template button even if you have previously created a template; it just won’t have an arrow pointing to it.

MailChimp create template

Starting off – choosing a style for your template

Once you’ve clicked Create Template you will be walked through choosing a design.

You can see here that you can choose Basic, Themes or Code Your Own.

Basic, seen here, gives you a range of layouts for your newsletter. You can have one or two columns,  or a combination of any number of columns and layouts. We’re going to use one of these eventually, but let’s have a look at the other options. If you click on Themes

MailChimp choose template

Themes gives you colourful backgrounds that might inspire you or might be a bit much – it’s all down to personal choice. The default view will be the Featured themes, which is presumably those that are new, but you can navigate the whole set of themes in different ways.

MailChimp choose template

For example, click on All and you can see particular themes, for example if you wanted to create a birthday or wedding newsletter, and various other categories. You can also use Search themes to search for particular colours, etc.

MailChimp choose template

To take a quick look at the Code Your Own tab, this is where you can drop in a template that someone else has coded and designed for you (there are a few companies out there offering this service) or one that you’ve designed yourself. Select the appropriate option, paste in or upload your design, and there’s your template, ready to use! (in this case, now skip to How to save your MailChimp template.

MailChimp choose template

How to create a basic template in MailChimp

OK, having had a look around the options, we’re now going to set up a basic template.

We’re back at the Basic tab, and I’m choosing the third option on the top row, as that’s how I’d like my newsletter to look. Click on the Select button to choose that layout:

MailChimp choose template

And once you’ve selected your layout, you can get on with customising it.

Customising your MailChimp template

Once you’ve chosen a layout, now it’s time to customise it. Luckily, MailChimp will walk you through the process.

You can see from this screenshot that you have the template on the left-hand side and a set of options that you can drop into that template on the right. Each block can contain anything you want it to, but you’ll see that the layout is the same as the one I chose in the previous stage.

MailChimp customise template

To add a section of text to your newsletter template, click on Text on the right, hold the mouse button down, drag it to where you want the text to be, then let to go to drop it in. Simple! (hopefully). But what if you want to add images?

How to add an image to your MailChimp template

If you want to add an image to a block of your MailChimp template, you can click the Browse button in the middle of the template (or drag an image there if you have a folder of images open at the same time – most people do it this way).

MailChimp customise template

Browse will take you to the folders in your own computer, so you can navigate to your chosen image and double click it to add it to the block:

MailChimp customise template add image

If you want to edit or replace the image, hover over it and you’ll see an Edit icon. In the right-hand part of the screen, you will have the option to Replace Edit Link Alt. Too many screen shots spoil the post, so I’ll leave you to explore these options with a guide:

  • Replace will allow you to replace this image with another one
  • Edit will allow you to resize the image or edit its metadata
  • Link will allow you to apply a link to the image, meaning that when your reader clicks on the image, they will be taken to another website – you might use this with an image of your logo (taking them through to your website) or a product you sell (taking them through to a buying page)
  • Alt will allow you to add Alt(ernative) text to the image. This is text that you can provide explaining what the image is. This is useful both for readers who have opted to receive plain-text newsletters (if they can choose this option on your sign-up form) and will see text rather than a broken link, and for readers who might have a visual impairment and be using a text-reading program – they will have this description read to them

MailChimp customise template add image

Once you’ve used images in your template once, they will be available to use in the File Manager, so if you’ve clicked Replace, you can pop there to choose a different image and Upload it.

MailChip amend customise template

How to add social media buttons to your MailChimp template

Another popular option for newsletters, and you’ve probably seen this on ones you read, is to have social media buttons on the newsletter which take readers through to your Facebook and Twitter streams or website.

To add social media buttons to your template, find the Social Follow section in the Content options (Social Share, by the way, allows readers to share your newsletter on their social media platforms – if you want people to click through to your Facebook etc. page, use Social Follow):

MailChimp template social follow

Click, hold the mouse button down, drag and drop it where you want to place it in your template:

MailChip  template social follow

When your buttons are in your template, the right-hand section will change to allow you to personalise these links. Add your own Facebook page, Twitter stream and website URLs to this section and press Save & Close. This will make sure that the buttons click through to your own presence on the social media platforms:

MailChip  template social follow

Now continue to add sections to your template until you’re happy with how it looks.

How to save your MailChimp template

Once you’ve finished designing your template, hit Save and Exit in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen:

MailChimp template save

You will be prompted to give your template a name at this point. Make sure it’s clear and easy to identify – maybe you’re going to create one newsletter about the fairy pictures you paint and one about the steampunk watches you make, in which case you’d label them accordingly. Then hit Save.

MailChimp template save

Now we’re back in that Templates area, but now you’ve got your new template saved in the list (note that the Create Template button is still there for next time you want to create a new template).

MailChimp template list of templates

What are those other files? MailChimp handily autosaves your templates in the background as you’re going along, so you can pick up where you left off if everything goes wrong. You can see it saved at 4.09 and 4.12. These should disappear next time you go into the Templates area – if not, you can use Edit then delete to remove them.

How do I edit a MailChimp template?

If you want to edit your template, hit the Edit button to the right of the template name and you’ll be taken back into the Template Editor screen.

——

In this article, we’ve learned how to set up a simple MailChimp newsletter template that you can choose when it’s time to send out your first newsletter. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts

MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form

How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

Tags: , , ,

Small business chat update – Bob Fowke

mugs Welcome to another Small Business Update – this time with Bob Fowke from publishing company YouCaxton. I first interviewed Bob in 2012, and he updated us on his progress in January 2013 and January 2014. At that point, this is where he wanted to be by now: “We hope that our name will be known for quality at a national level. It’s going to  take more  than a year, but I’d love YouCaxton to be thought of as the Rolls-Royce of self-publishing – and, incidentally, we just published a biography of Charles Rolls and it’s selling very well”. A good link there, and amazingly for the interviewees, he does seem to be in the position he wanted to be – so many people have changed direction, moved their focus or just found the market has pushed them in a certain way, so this is quite a rarity! Let’s see how Bob is getting on …

Hello again, Bob! Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

Almost exactly, I would say. We’re gaining a good reputation by dint of hard work and through taking endless care of our writers, and we’re becoming well-recognised in our field. We’ve published some wonderful books and there’s more in the pipeline. There’s a real thrill when something worthwhile comes across my desk.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

It’s been incremental. The website has developed consistently and we’ve been able to take on more work – steady growth in other words. The biggest change is that we’re starting, tentatively, to act as publishers for one or two very specific books. We intend to make use of all three publishing models: publishing, co-publishing with authors and self-publishing by authors.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

I’ve learned a lot about book design – even though I’m not the designer. It’s a subtle art.

Any more hints and tips for people?

It’s always the same. If you’ve written, or want to write, a book, by far the most important thing is to make every effort to write a good book. There are a lot of books out there and it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd. Publishing may have changed but this simple but hugely demanding requirement remains the same. The big danger with self-publishing is to publish prematurely. Take your time and don’t publish before you’re really ready and make sure you have it properly edited.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

A bit bigger and slightly more diversified – with a Rolls-Royce of websites and superbly experienced editors and designers able to give the best service available. We still aim for quality above quantity.

Sounds like a good plan for me – slow growth and refinement of your business offering is a good way to go. And although I don’t work with YouCaxton, I can certainly echo Bob’s exhortation to wait a bit and let that book get as good as it can before publishing. One of my clients is on his seventh set of re-writes at the moment, and I know that process of refinement in his book is going to make a better book, just as Bob’s refinement and polishing of his business is going to make a better business.

The YouCaxton website is at http://www.youcaxton.co.uk/ and you can find all the requisite contact details there. Bob himself can be found on Twitter.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources. 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Business, Small Business Chat

 

Tags: ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,819 other followers