my blog


Client Showcase: Denver Modern • Branding

In our Client Showcase, we put the spotlight on our clients and how we help get their message out to their audience. Branding is an exciting exercise. It’s the stage of execution in which your ideas take on shapes and colors. But finding the right words to support a visual message can be challenging. That’s where we come in.

Messaging Challenge

The founders of Denver Modern were completing the branding for this new furniture and home goods brand. Their look and feel was fairly well defined, but they were struggling to develop the voice. They needed simple and clear words to articulate the brand’s unique aesthetic to the artists and designers they approached about partnering. They also needed to connect with their potential customers on an emotional level and lay out the guidelines needed for marketing Denver Modern.

Messaging Solution

The first step is asking questions about the style, inspiration, and vibe of this brand. We explored resources related to the brand so we could begin to grasp Denver Modern’s essence. Then we reviewed copy ideas drafted by the Denver Modern team, and began to distill them into what was most important. Once we had a sense of the voice, we created a short 2-page branding guide that the team can use for all future writing about Denver Modern.

Denver Modern branding sample

We needed a professional copywriter to help us craft a succinct message about our brand with the goal of connecting on an emotional level. Joy helped us distill our ideas and verbiage into the most important and effective messaging. She homed in on our tagline and created a document our team will use to describe our brand consistently. And, in the process, she did a great job communicating the timeline and deliverables.

~Lindsey Criswell, co-founder Denver Modern

Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Your Rates

One of my favorite entrepreneurs is Amber Andersen, founder of The New MORE. Her blog is full of tips and advice for an integrated life, because she believes (and I agree) that “balance” is a myth. We can live integrated lives, but balance is impossible. Her team invited me to guest post on the New MORE blog on the topic of rates.

“How do you figure out your rates?”

“How much should I charge? Am I really worth that?”

“What if I’m too expensive?”

“What if I’m not charging enough? How do I know? I see others talking smack about people who devalue their profession by competing to be the cheapest, but I need work.”

These are some of the most difficult questions for entrepreneurs and freelancers to answer.

Follow the link to read about the three biggest mistakes I’ve made when setting rates, and what I learned.

How I Fixed One of the Biggest Mistakes I Made as a Work-from-Home Mom

woman working from home on floor with toysMy dream has always been to be a work-from-home mom. When I found out we were expecting our first child, way back in 1999, I asked my employer at the time if I could work a modified schedule and/or work some of the time from home. That didn’t go over well at all, so when we found out that our baby girl, Elli, was seriously ill, I opted to quit that job and care for her full-time.

Eventually, I began working again, and in 2013, I took my first full-time job since Elli’s birth. It was a work-from-home job, and I thought it was the best thing ever. This guest post on The New MORE’s blog talks about the biggest mistake I made during that time.

Three years ago, I was working for a child-focused nonprofit as a full-time remote employee. Initially, it seemed like the best of both worlds — I was making a regular salary, my commute was a few steps from my kitchen to my office, and I was home to see the kids off to school and welcome them home again.

But I made one crucial mistake in the way I looked at my work and family life: I mistook proximity for closeness.

Go here to read the rest!

Getting the most out of your family time this season

christmas is coming

As an entrepreneur and mother, I often try to avoid looking at our family calendar this time of year. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the chaos that looms, especially when regular life feels a bit more chaotic than I’d like. Finally, after several years of trial and error, I’ve figured out a few things that help. I’m honored to share them on the MORE blog today.

We’re entering one of the busiest seasons of the year for families. In addition to the usual work parties, religious services, and family gatherings, our children have their own schedule of holiday events and performances. Throw in shopping, gift wrapping, traveling, and hosting, and it’s no wonder we find ourselves tense, exhausted, and far from the Christmas spirit.

That is no way to experience the happiest season of all. It’s easy to perceive yourself as helpless in the face of the holiday onslaught, but it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve learned a few tricks in the last few years to restore my ability to enjoy the season and my family time more fully. After all, I got into business for myself in part so I can schedule work around life!

The four tips I share are in the full version of the article on the MORE blog, where you’ll find tips and advice for an integrated life.

MORE is an organization I’m passionate about. Founded last year by Amber Anderson, MORE believes that a healthy, happy life happens when you can bring your family and your business together. Check out their site, subscribe to the newsletter, and put the 2017 MORE Retreat on your calendar today!

Try a Little Empathy (on teaching children about poverty)

Bolivian children

Bolivian children living in poverty, spending their days outside. Photo: ©2011 Matthew Paul Turner/World Vision

My children were born into a life of stability, not poverty. We’ve had seasons where we had to watch our spending very closely, but they don’t know what it’s like to live day to day or hour-by-hour, which is a beautiful thing.

But it also means that our selfishness is powerful. As parents, we need to teach our kids how to weaken their selfishness. By learning to expand their field of vision to include others, empathize, and then both recognize and shoulder the responsibility that accompanies a life of stability, they can help others who lack it.

We can’t (and probably shouldn’t) completely kill selfishness—it’s a survival skill deeply embedded in our DNA. But we can redefine what serves ourselves to include the thriving of all humans, not just us.

Read the rest at the World Vision blog, where I’m guest-posting today. (comments closed here)