Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Attitude O' Gratitude!

Thank you to all of my dear readers who have not flittered away during my absence. We've been producing our holiday CD over the past several months, and I've neglected the blog and the podcast a bit!

Not to leave my studio clients in the cold, we've got some great deals going for both :30 radio/web ads AND last-minute holiday music licensing. More info on the latter in the next few days, but believe me, now's the BEST time to take advantage of our full production ads (I can't even mention the price here, it's so ridiculously low). Treat yourself to some exposure this season, you deserve it! Drop me an email for more info!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How Color Can Effect Your Mood...and Your Business!

I just read a great article on the use of color (in life and in business) and what impact it has on our decisions and moods. I've posted about this before, and this article is definitely another to be added to the archives!

As someone with synesthesia (I talk more about it here), color plays a huge role in how I associate many things. It's a big inspiration, as well as a guide for me. Probably a little weird, but fun!

Enjoy the article!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Trip to the Organic Market.

It seems like every couple of months I have to take at least a few hours out of my week to sort through the various newsletters and email lists I've acquired, unsubscribe from what I'm obviously not reading, and finally get my life back from the marketing clutter that's filling my inbox (and keeping me from what I really need to be reading).

Inevitably, I gradually sub to more lists ("sign up for a free video" or "get daily motivation" usually draws me in), and the cycle continues.

Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. The Marketing Wheel keeps turning.

Truthfully, though most of these people are really successful marketers, no doubt hitting that critical percentage that makes up their lifetime customers and guarantees them residual monthly income, it all looks alike to me.

When the Marketing Wheel spins in this hypnotic "Marketing Kaleidoscope" fashion, I become blind to anything that makes any of them different from the last one.

In fact, I cringe a little each time I realize I've fallen for another one, gotten sucked onto a list that will cost me precious seconds at least once a day (and they almost seem to be getting more frequent), and have to now deal with sorting through them all once again!

My biggest fear is that, in my own marketing, I'll become one of these people.

And THAT's a conundrum, isn't it? Because we know that at least some of them are successful, so we should at least analyze what they're doing right. But at the same time, is it worth the risk of turning off real people, who are looking for more than just the 'right' words? They want to know who we really are, what we're offering, and most importantly, what benefit it is for them, without being sold to like victims at a used car lot.

Good news! You can be an Organic Marketer. An Organic Marketer is someone who speaks authentically, all naturally, and without all of the harsh crap that your readers, customers, clients, or community don't want spoiling the precious seconds they're giving your words.

Maybe androids want some magical text that's going to lure them into throwing down cash without trust or proof that it's worth their while, but human beings (the ones behind those computer screens) don't. In a world that's ever increasingly contrived, if you've got something real to offer, you owe it to your product, service, prospect, and YOURSELF to be real in how you market it.

Here in Kansas, trees are brimming with delicious harvests of the fall. It's a constant reminder to me that the sweet, uncorrupted fruits of communication are the most appealing. Organic Marketing is the only way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Meatball Sundae is just what you need.

Marketing genius Seth Godin has once again hit it out of the marketing ballpark with Meatball Sundae: Is Your Marketing Out of Sync?. Colorfully and succinctly, Godin lays out what you might not want to hear: that the "Old Marketing" of television interrupts and mass marketing average products, is losing ground to the "New Marketing" in the Web 2.0 world, and you've got to pick a team.

With fourteen clearly defined considerations of New Marketing in his toolbox, along with enough case studies (from companies you not only already know of, but have probably worked with) to prove his points, Godin makes a great case for not only utilizing these new tools, but also for adapting your entire business structure to work with them.

What could be so compelling that a seasoned company would restructure into a fresh startup just to take advantage? The consumer. In today's online market, the customer is not only king, he's also the boss, the critic, and sounding board from which all new ideas come.

It's never been a better time to be a consumer, an entrepreneur, or a creative. With Meatball Sundae Seth Godin makes us all feel new again!

Check out this book as well as many other great business resources at the Serious Vanity Learning and Productivity Center.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Are you "Joe the Plumber"?

It's an understatement to say people have been discussing "Joe the Plumber" this week in regards to United States politics, but it's not so much the tax plan references that have caught my interest.

What has surprised me most about "Joe" is that it seems a lot of people discussing him aren't aware of what small business people are capable of. And that needs to change!

(Note: whether the real Joe is actually named Joe, is a licensed plumber, or has an extra toe on each foot may be relevant in the candidate arena, but for changing perceptions about entrepreneurs, it's not our issue! My goal today isn't to sway a vote to either side, but to look at our own businesses in a positive light.)

For the sake of my point today, let's look at "Joe" as an archetype for people who may be looking to buy the business they currently work in, or start a business of their own.

I've seen people reference that $250K US is far more than what a plumber can make in a year. Is it?

If a plumber (or the owner of a plumbing company, who may have a background in business, finance, or underwater basket weaving for all we know) runs a staff of five working plumbers, and each perform two $500 jobs per day, five days a week, they generate $25K in revenue. Multiply that by the year's 52 weeks, and we have $1.3M. Remove from that the cost of goods, taxes (income and property), upkeep, vehicles, licensing, wages, and healthcare, and, just by my rough estimates (plumbing is clearly not my field!), the business could easily generate $250K+.

This also means that the worth of the business, if purchasing it, would be far greater than that! There's a lot that goes into valuation, as pointed out by this article, and you should either know what you're basing your numbers on, or be prepared to hire or barter with a professional who does.

My main point is that, as small business owners (whether plumber, voice artist, CPA, mechanic, or chef), we shouldn't let ourselves be marginalized in the minds of our public! Ask yourself, "How can I educate people as to the potential that lies within the American Dream (which isn't just for America--this is a shout out to all business owners in the global marketplace!)?". Inpsiring the children of today will create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and I'm glad that at least "Joe the Plumber" is an opportunity to raise awareness to that fact!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Recession-Proof Your Mind, Recession-Proof Your Business

“Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves,’who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; you playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. You were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

--Nelson Mandela

One of the biggest hurdles in the current Western economy is in conquering the doomsday machines. We're besieged with negative speak from the media and our peers every day about how we're all going to spiral downward.

It's hard to argue with: there have been huge drops in the stock market, here in the U.S. we now have a fat cat "rescue" plan in place that will cost us tax payers $700 billion, with little guarantee of effectiveness (Certainly, that money invested back into our education system would guarantee far more long term success! But that's another blog post...). People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their hope.

It all spells difficulty in keeping the end in mind (aka your Clear Vision) when pursuing your business and life goals. How can we say that we're certain of our year-end results, when we don't know what the market's going to do this afternoon? Even if we're not directly effected, if that fear is in the heart of our client, they'll be less likely to want to spend right now--causing the agony to 'trickle down' on us.

So what can we do? Luckily, lots of things!

Every challenge presents us with the opportunity to learn, grow, and dig deep to find those solutions that will not only move us forward individually, but as a collective, too! Just like Nelson Mandela said above, "...As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” So we MUST push onward!

Step One: Revisit that Clear Vision, hone it, and own it!

Without the end in mind, we lose our True North. That internal compass point is going to help us plot our path to what we want our businesses (and our lives) to be!

It may be that we need to approach our visions in a new way. There are many methods in laying one out, not limited to:

  • lists
  • storytelling
  • scripts
  • mind movies
  • audio (recorded messages or even song mixes or playlists!)
  • vision boards (My mentor, John Assaraf, is actually releasing his new The Complete Vision Board Kit tomorrow!)
  • questionaires or worksheets

If you've laid your Clear Vision out as a story in the past, maybe developing a vision board for it will help you to refocus on what you want. A movie-like script, outlining the story of your dreams may be just the injection of excitement your current mind map needs to get you pumped up again, and take your mind off of all the gloom-and-doom you're hearing on the nightly news.

According to "Creating a Clear, Compelling Vision" by Marilyn Schwader, there are four components your vision should have:

  • 1. Your Values
  • 2. Your Dream
  • 3. Your Purpose
  • 4. Your Mission Objectives

I'll be visiting these all in more detail in the coming weeks. Until then, get on that vision, and start step one in Recession-Proofing Your Mind!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are you a Community Organizer?

Community Organizer. It's a phrase that, during this United States presidential election, has gotten a lot of use. It implies not just an 'organizer' per se, but a leader. Someone who is not just the caretaker of a movement, but the inspiration for one.

Are you a Community Organizer in your business? Are you a leader in your industry, working in a bubble, or are you making your field a better place to work, giving all of your customers and clients industry-wide more value, no matter who they hire?

As a true Community Organizer in your field, you'll maintain the integrity of your industry's quality, pricing, education, and value. You'll build up the younger generation working alongside you, as well as respect the experience of those seasoned professionals you can learn so much from.

We launched our new Perfect Audio Solutions from Serious Vanity Music and Serious Vanity Records websites within the last week. Some are already featured, but more resources will soon be enhancing both sites to help businesses and creative professionals educate, inspire, and entertain in the new Web 2.0 world, as well as to help them live the lives of their dreams.

Both will soon be linked with the Serious Vanity Music Network, a hub for connecting professionals, artists, fans, and consumers in an open, mutually supportive environment. In essence, not just a network, but a Community.

How can you, as a leader, be a Community Organizer, too?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Are you qualifying your leads, or are they qualifying you?

When you generate leads for your business, the logical middle step before converting a sale for the product or service you provide is the 'qualification' stage, ie, finding out if you're a good match for each other! You got their attention, but do they want what you offer?

In the studio business, we each have an 'ideal client' that has the working style we want and need in order to perform to the highest goal-meeting ability. But so many times, especially in businesses that differentiate themselves on price, it's the CLIENT that does the qualifying, not the business.

Let me explain: you tell a prospect what you can provide for them in a proposal. They come back with a completely different idea of what you'll provide in a follow-up (usually based on the cost of your service).

At this point, do you renegotiate with their follow-up in mind, setting your goals aside and grasping on to whatever they want you to do as your guide? If so, you've let THEM qualify YOU.

If instead, you either go back to negotiations with your original goals in mind, but taking into account some of their needs in their follow-up, or you just say, "Thank you, but we're not right for each other", then YOU'VE qualified (or disqualified) THEM.

You have to be the captain of your own ship in business, and taking time with clients who aren't your ideal takes time away from generating, qualifying, and converting those that are. Make sure your marketing and communication language always maintains the integrity of your business goals, and you'll spend far less time courting the ones that aren't right for you.

Start learning how to do this (and so much more), by reading The Answer.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Good Things Come to Those Who Ask

It's time for another article from the brilliant Jack Canfield. This is a perfect follow-up to his last article I posted, and also a perfect follow-up to my day! Today my business has been greatly improved by simply asking for help from my mentors, my mastermind group, and my colleagues, all of whom I also consider to by my family, even though I'm blood related to none of them. I'm a person who was very bad at the concept of 'asking' before: I felt it was a sign of irresponsibility or ignorance. But if the most intelligent, successful people I've ever met (or have studied) say it's the most important way to move forward...who am I to argue? And I'll let you in on a little secret: since I got out of my own way and started asking, I've been a lot more successful too (and better able to help others when they ask).


Good Things Come to Those Who Ask
by Jack Canfield

Asking for what you need is probably the most underutilized tool for people. And yet, amazing requests have been granted to people simply because they've asked for it!

Whether its money, information, support, assistance, or time, most people are afraid to ask for what they need in order to make their dreams come true.

They might be afraid of looking needy, ignorant, helpless, or even greedy. More than likely, though, it is the fear of rejection that is holding them back. Even though they are afraid to hear the word no, they're already saying it to themselves by not asking!

Do you ask for what you want or are you afraid of rejection?

Consider this: Rejection is just a concept. There is really no such thing as rejection! You're not any worse off by hearing no than you were before you asked. You didn't have what you asked for before you asked and you still don't, so what did you lose?

Being rejected doesn't hold you back from anything. Only YOU hold yourself back. If you are told no, ask for what you'd have to do to get it, or ask again at another time when the circumstances have changed. Ask if they know someone else who might say yes. When you realize that there's no merit to rejection, you'll feel more comfortable asking for things. But you may need a bit of help learning how to ask for what you want.

First, ask as though you expect to get it.

Be confident in your request coming from a perspective that there's no reason why you wouldn't get it. Or they say no, you can ask them why, or what you would need to do to get a yes. You might need to form a better business plan before you will get a loan. You might need to take a course in computers before you will get a promotion. You might need to spend more quality time with your family before you will get the loving support you need. By getting this feedback you are able to make adjustments and ask again with better chances of getting a yes.

Second, assume you can get what you want if you only ask for it.

You want a window seat? Assume all you have to do is ask for it. You want an ocean view? Cheaper tickets? A scholarship? A better deal? Just ask for it as if that's all you have to do to get it.

And finally, be specific about what you want or need.

Do you want to make $5,000 more a year? Then don't just ask for a raise. Ask for $5,000 more a year. Vague request produce vague results. Don't just ask for more time with your spouse; ask for a date on Friday night. Don't ask for help on a project, ask for what you want that person to take care of.

Getting a good perspective on rejection and learning how to ask will make a world of difference for you as you work toward your goals. Practice asking and you'll get very good at it! You'll even speed your progress by getting what you need, or improving yourself in order to get it later.

Make a list of what you need to ask for in all areas of your life, and then start asking!

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Two Dynamic Voice Tidbits!

Got to hand it to, they've innovated again with a new Platinum Membership feature. Here's the scoop, straight from Stephanie Ciccarelli:

The Platinum Membership includes your very own website as well as listings on 10 niche voice over websites, a public relations campaign, ad placement on the advertising network, 100 MB of storage for your MP3 voice-over demos, videos, priority ranking in the search results and unlimited Featured Talent Directory listings, and access to the industry's hottest freelance voice-over jobs.

Here are some helpful links with more information:

Discussion about the new service on VOX Daily
Page on with product information

Check it out!

Paul and I were both incredibly lucky to get to listen in on a live call with famed voice teacher Arthur Joseph last night, and WOW, we're both still blown away by it. Whether your business IS your voice, you want to be a better presenter or performer, or you just want to enhance your life and spirit, check out his work. He's amazing!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Never stop innovating!

Paul, the other half of Serious Vanity Music (who also happens to be my husband), is an avid bicycle enthusiast. I've stopped keeping track of how much money we've saved in the last several months due to his replacement of the car for short trips, like to our neighborhood market. I, on the other hand, enjoy an afternoon ride on my single-speed around the block, but am less inclined to use it for longer distances (he keeps saying this will change once my endurance is up, and I'm hoping he's right!).

Still, my feelers go up when I see anything bike-related in the news, so I got extra-excited to show him the new concept bikes featured at (thanks to The Park Bench for the link).

Looking at these designs are really inspiring. They may not always be practical, but they are always interesting. I mean, what could be more basic than the design of a bicycle? Yet, every year, designers, engineers, and inventors always find a way to come up with new innovations that take that basic design to a whole new level, whether they have a user in mind for the end product, or are just trying to prove a design point.

How can this apply to your business, be it a product or a service? Are you taking your concept to the next level, challenging yourself, your craft, or your design? What new end-user could you attract with a new take on an old favorite?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some great words from Brian Tracy!

I recently discovered some great Brian Tracy finds at, of all things, a rummage sale. So for a less than a cup of coffee, I attained some great personal and business development tools. You can't beat that!

I wanted to introduce you (if you weren't already aware of his work) to this prolific speaker and motivator.

Intrigued? Check out Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. I found it to be a great starting place in his huge library of work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quantity to Quality and Accountability Partners

I really love this series with NPR's Ira Glass because it can apply to not only journalism or broadcasting, but ANY creative or business field.

Essentially, to obtain high quality in your work, you must first emphasize quantity. You must practice, practice, practice! The more you do something, the better you get at it.

I also love the encouragement here to find an accountability partner. This person can be a friend, a colleague, or someone else in another business that you're returning the favor for! I've seen the concept of accountability partners work on so many great levels in both business and art. It's definitely a motivator!

So, without further explanation, enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Power of Asking; 7 Ways to Boost Your Business

I love, love, LOVE Jack Canfield, (his book The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be is a constant reference), and wanted to share with you today a really great article he wrote about the power of asking. In most of our cultures, it's not something we're encouraged to do, but really, it's the only way to get what we want! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

The Power of Asking; 7 Ways to Boost Your Business
by Jack Canfield

The gift called “asking” has been around for a long, long time. One of life’s fundamental truths states, “Ask and you shall receive.” Kids are masters at using this gift, but we adults seem to have lost our ability to ask. We come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons to avoid any possibility of rejection.

Yet the world responds to those who ask! If you are not moving closer to what you want, you probably aren’t doing enough asking.

Here are seven asking strategies you can implement in your business (and in life) to boost your results and your bottom line:

Asking Strategy #1: Ask for Information

To win potential new clients, you first need to know what their current challenges are, what they want to accomplish and how they plan to do it. Only then can you proceed to demonstrate the advantages of your unique product or service.

Ask questions starting with the words who, why, what, where, when and how to obtain the information you need. Only when you truly understand and appreciate a prospect’s needs can you offer a solution. Once you know what's important to them, stay on this topic and find solutions for them.

Asking Strategy #2: Ask for Business

Here’s an amazing statistic: after giving a complete presentation about the benefits of their product or service, more than 60 percent of the time salespeople never ask for the order! That’s a bad habit, and one that could ultimately put you out of business.

Always ask a closing question to secure the business. Don’t waffle or talk around it—or worse, wait for your prospect to ask you. No doubt you have heard of many good ways to ask the question, “Would you like to give it a try?” The point is, ask.

Asking Strategy #3: Ask for Written Endorsements

Well-written, results-oriented testimonials from highly respected people are powerful for future sales. They solidify the quality of your product or service and leverage you as a person who has integrity, is trustworthy and gets the job done on time.

When is the best time to ask? Right after you have provided excellent service, gone the extra mile to help out, or in any other way made your customer really happy.

Simply ask if your customer would be willing to give you a testimonial about the value of your product or service, plus any other helpful comments.

Asking Strategy #4: Ask for Top-Quality Referrals

Just about everyone in business knows the importance of referrals. It’s the easiest, least expensive way of ensuring your growth and success in the marketplace.

Your core clients will gladly give you referrals because you treat them so well. So why not ask all of them for referrals? It’s a habit that will dramatically increase your income. Like any other habit, the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Asking Strategy #5: Ask for More Business

Look for other products or services you can provide your customers. Devise a system that tells you when your clients will require more of your products. The simplest way is to ask your customers when you should contact them to reorder. It’s often easier to sell your existing clients more than to go looking for new ones.

Asking Strategy #6: Ask to Renegotiate

Regular business activities include negotiation. Many businesses get stuck because they lack skills in negotiation, yet this is simply another form of asking that can save a lot of time and money. Look at your vendors and suppliers and see if there are areas where you can be saving money. Just ask.

All sorts of contracts can be renegotiated in your personal life, too, such as changing your mortgage terms and rate, reviewing your cell phone plan and requesting a policy review with your insurance agent. As long as you negotiate ethically and in the spirit of win-win, you can enjoy a lot of flexibility. Nothing is ever cast in stone.

Asking Strategy #7: Ask for Feedback

This is a powerful way to fine-tune your business that is often overlooked. How do you really know if your product or service is meeting your customers’ needs? Ask them, “How are we doing? What can we do to improve our service to you? Please share what you like or don’t like about our products.” Set up regular customer surveys that ask good questions and tough questions.


Some people don’t enjoy the fruits of asking because they don't ask effectively. If you use vague language you will not be clearly understood. Here are five ways to ensure that your asking gets results.

Ask Clearly
Be precise. Think clearly about your request. Take time to prepare. Use a note pad to pick words that have the greatest impact. Words are powerful, so choose them carefully.

Ask with Confidence
People who ask confidently get more than those who are hesitant and uncertain. When you’ve figured out what you want to ask for, do it with certainty, boldness and confidence.

Ask Consistently
Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In prospecting there are usually four or five “no’s” before you get a “yes.” Top producers understand this. When you find a way to ask that works, keep on asking it.

Ask Creatively
In this age of global competition, your asking may get lost in the crowd, unheard by the decision-makers you hope to reach. There is a way around this. If you want someone’s attention, don’t ask the ordinary way. Use your creativity to dream up a high-impact presentation.

Ask Sincerely
When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image facade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable. Tell it the way it is, lumps and all. Don’t worry if your presentation isn’t perfect; ask from your heart. Keep it simple and people will open up to you.

© 2008 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rehearse and Re-Rehearse!

Back in college, I kept a great log of my guitar rehearsal time. It kept me on my game, and was the metrics for a little friendly competition between other players. It wasn't necessarily required, but I knew my professors and instructors preferred that I keep track of what I was doing.

Jump ahead more years than I'd like to admit, and I'm still keeping a rehearsal log. Whether it's guitar, voice over, or practice with an ensemble, the only way to not only stay crisp at your craft, but to continuously improve AND be prepared for any job that comes up, is to do the drills. Add a little challenge every day with something you haven't tried before, and hit 'record' to test how you do. It's one of the biggest benefits to being a studio owner!

BUT...rehearsing isn't just for us audiophiles. Any business has its moments in need of preparation. Do you give presentations, regularly conduct meetings, or do direct or phone sales? These all require scripts and skills that can definitely benefit from rehearsing. If you want to practice in front of an audience that can give you constructive critique, check out your local Toastmasters, or have a little houseparty of your most trusted friends and family.

Here's a great quote, from Publilius Syrus (1st century B.C. Roman author): “Practice is the best of all instructors." I've had some great teachers and mentors, but without practice, none of their teachings would have changed my life. I take these words very seriously.

So get your calendars out, get to practicing, and watch your skills soar!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For my fellow guitarists...

Here's something you may want to get involved in. It's called the Second Strings Project, and it finally gives US something to do with our old, used guitar strings (besides fill up landfills), while at the same time keeping creativity and hope alive in portions of the world where otherwise it my die!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Do you have The Answer?

I can't help but share some of the great products and resources I come across (even though I should probably keep them all to myself!). Right now I'm in the middle of The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life. Now, I'm not shy about endorsing authors John Assaraf and Murray Smith's company OneCoach, which I'm also a member of, but I would highly recommend this book even if I wasn't. This book has been billed as "The Secret for Business", and fans of that book and/or film who want to go to the next level with their businesses will not be disappointed. It's an MBA in hardback form, outlining the right steps to take, in the right order, from "inner work" to action steps in any industry.

I'll be keeping it in the sidebar as well, so you can easily grab yourself a copy!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Paring Down

I used to be on every mailing list imaginable. Some were health newsletters, spirituality newsletters, copywriting newsletters, marketing newsletters.

Some were industry specific (music business, music making, music marketing) that broke up into further segmented newsletters (music marketing online, building a studio, scoring for film, reaching pop music fans).

As I kept adding areas of business and interest to my life, I'd add more and more newsletters, until I was receiving hundreds of emails a day (most of which I never had time to even open!).

Add to this the blogs I started trying to keep up on, the groups and programs I was joining, and the ever-forgotten REAL LIFE time away from the computer, and welcome OVERWHELM.

Does this sound familiar? It seems like I know more and more business (and non-business) people being completely bombarded by their self-imposed information sources online.

The fact is, we just don't have enough time in a day to read all of this information AND put any of it to use.

I recommend taking a good look at what you're reading and what you're not. Bookmark the sites for the things you're not reading (so you can search them if or when you ever need to), but UNSUBSCRIBE. The ones you are making the time to keep up with and put into action, keep, but schedule your time to read them. If you miss a day, delete it. Don't let it keep building up in your inbox, because you know you're not going to have time to go back to it.

I have a very small list of my most trusted resources in each field that I like to keep up with. Everything else, unfortunately, goes to the 'when I need it' bookmark file. It doesn't mean that they don't have great info, it just means my focus is elsewhere.

Here are a few of my favorites, all free!

I also belong to one coaching program and one music business group, both of which I pay a fee for. Along with the couple of lead services that I also pay a subscription fee for, I made sure these resources offered a little more bang for my buck than other free sites that might offer the same sort of thing. I would recommend keeping these pay groups to a minimum as well, so you can invest the most time in them to get the most return.

Ask yourself what your best resources are (and why they're worth the time), and get control of your inbox! Feel free to post in the comments your favorites!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

GREAT book! changes!

Well, we're deep into all of our site changes, and I have to thank a great new book for making it all possible! Sites that Soar! is the WordPress customization and instruction book that I'd always been seeking. You don't have to know html, css, or php in order to get a great looking site with WordPress. If you do know a little of any or all of that, it gives you an amazing base from which to build a unique, professional design all your own!

Weird I'm promoting it on Blogger, no? (Actually, I look at the two services as having different purposes, at least in my business, so no flip-flopping on blog services intended!).

Here's the link to get an instant copy:

Buy Now

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Great article on business names and slogans!

Just to carry on with the naming topic, I found this in my mailbox from They have several great lists and a great site. Check 'em out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

What's in a name?

Some changes will be happening around the site soon. Actually, the main site will be getting quite a facelift too. Why? Because we had an ugly baby!

Before you get too scared, let me explain. Sometimes a business just doesn't have the right name. It could be ego that misnames us. It could be an attachment to a particular word or phrase that we think we must 'make work'. This "ugly baby" that we love so much doesn't tell our customers or clients who we are, or what we do. It doesn't brand us in the way we need it to. So we have to let it go.

I'm not saying goodbye to Serious Vanity Music in every way (it's a pretty baby for other facets of my business), but soon, you will get a peek at Perfect Audio Solutions, and I think you'll understand why this is a much better plan (for us, AND our clients!).

The 100% Organic Podcast isn't going anywhere, though! We love bringing the all natural truth, and plan to keep doing so for many podcasts to come!

For more on finding your real business purpose, check out Bob Souer's recent blog on the subject!

100 Resources for Voice Over Talent!

Thank you to Vox Daily for including us in their 100 Resources for Voice Over Talent listing! Not only are there blogs and podcasts listed, but a TON of other great resources that I will be no doubt losing countless hours to! Check it out!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Art of the Edit

The past few weeks have been jam packed with both new and return clients. Our biggest project at the moment includes compiling and editing about seven CDs worth of our client's narration, which we recorded here at our studio. It's one of the greatest projects we've ever done, and I'm looking so forward to getting feedback from happy listeners!

As a voice artist AND an editor, it's inevitable that these experiences of editing someone else's voice teach me more about my own and how it performs. The recorded human voice is such a unique thing, and I get a lot of pleasure out of 'controlling' it in the editing environment. I have synesthesia, which basically means my senses get a little crisscrossed! This may sound like it would be a hindrance, but when I need to "see" sound, as I do when I'm editing, it makes it naturally a breeze!

My favorite part of the editing process? Making something work that, in theory, really shouldn't. Being able to take two parts of the same syllable from different spoken performances, and put them together flawlessly. Or nailing that "Rice Krispie" (y'know, the 'snap', 'crackle', or 'pop' that stands out in a recording), and leaving a smooth, cohesive performance in its wake.

The goal of any editing session is to make it sound like there was no session at all; that the pristine, clear audio you're hearing moved from the speaker to the recorded file with no effort or ugly artifact to get in its way.

Have a great weekend everyone, and love your jobs as much as I love mine!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yay! More good news from the Voicey Awards!

Another SVM-affiliated voice artist is up for an award in the 2008 Voicey Awards! Jane Nolan is up for Best Foreign Voice! Right on, Jane!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yay! Voicey Awards time!

The 2008 Voicey Awards finalists have been announced, and Paul and I have been named in the Best Voice Team category. Plus, it's an extra bonus that we're nominated with a very cool girl that we got to work with in the past year, Kara Edwards, and her voice partner!

Congrats to all of the finalists, and good luck to everyone. As cheesy as it sounds, it's truly just an honor to be nominated.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Microphone Feedback!!

Ok--feedback is BAD when you're recording (unless it's guitar feedback, but as a guitarist, I'm biased), but GOOD afterwards. I mean, of course, the kind of feedback provided by a happy client or an enthusiastic audience.

But if you aren't getting feedback? How are you measuring your performances?

We all can think we're doing a great job, chugging along with the same techniques that we've always used. But are we keeping up? What's being innovated around us that we might be missing out on?

The truth is, feedback IS all around us, even when we're not getting it kicked back to us from clients or listeners. How's your response rate to auditions? How many calls are being returned? What do your sales look like or how many people from your mailing list are turning out to your shows after you announce them?

It's important to stay fresh, and keep challenging yourself by setting measurable 'feedback goals'. If your clients aren't giving you what you need, how about a nudge? A site like SurveyMonkey lets you set up a short questionnaire they can answer anonymously at their convenience, giving you the metrics you need. You can also put it on your site or social profile, letting casual listeners give you some hints, too.

And, most importantly, listen to your gut. Do you KNOW it's time to start doing something different? Are you still challenging yourself to learn a new skill or take a risk? Be critical of yourself and your performances and work habits, but also follow your instincts. You know your abilities--put them to the highest use!