small business

We Started A Podcast!

Mike and Mike are at it again with brand spankin’ new content; same great quality, new medium.  Introducing the Up In Your Business podcast. In this podcast you will hear the Mikes converse with like-minded entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives, and more. The weekly show aims to capture insight into each individual’s perspective and journey towards both success and failure.

 

To open up the inaugural episode, each Mike brought a topical conversation piece to the “pre-production” segment of the show. Mike pointed out the Apple Facetime glitch story that has recently caught fire on social media. The glitch allows a Facetime caller to hear and even see the person they are calling WITHOUT THEM EVEN PICKING UP! Once again, Apple raises concerns with consumers about privacy and security. Facetime calls get ignored all the time for good reasons.  Use your imagination.


Producer Mike followed up with Jeff Bridges’ Big Lebowski troll job. Apparently “The Dude” had hinted in a tweet at a sequel of the 1998 cult classic film. Bridges followed up days later with another tweet indicating there is no sequel, but rather a Super Bowl commercial. Jeff took us all for a ride on this one. A sequel would have really tied the room together.

 

The Mikes welcomed the first guest on Up In Your Business, Matt Surette. Matt is a young Boston-based business owner and photographer. He is the brainchild behind Matt Surette Productions. Matt’s company provides photography, video, and other media services.

 

Matt did not take a traditional approach to following his passion of photography and videography. When most kids his age were graduating and planning on going to college, Matt had not set his sites on such a conventional path.

 

Please listen to the maiden voyage of Up In Your Business to hear the rest of Matt Surette’s story. His story is one that can bring value of all types to listeners. Whether you are looking for a fresh take on entrepreneurism, figuring out your path, or just want to hear a cool story; you can find it all on Up In Your Business. Listen to the episode here!  

Written by: Kevin McHugh

3 Ways Video Can Help Your Business

Read time: 5 minutes
Video examples: 12-14 minutes

If you've ever wondered how video can help your business, hopefully this will help you answer that question. There's no doubt that video can be extremely beneficial; just consider the following facts to start:

  • 81% of businesses use video in their marketing, up from 63% in a 2017 survey

  • 97% of marketers say that video has helped their consumer better understand their product or service

  • 76% say that video has helped increase sales

  • 81% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service after watching a video
    Stats provided by Wyzowl on Hubspot.

Those are just a few facts! The link above has several more. But let's get into this article! 

1. Product or Service

If your business sells a product or service, a video is one of the best ways to market it. 

Think about it, what better way to show someone how to use your team communication app than a video? For example, a video made for Slack, the team communication app.

Or, it could simply be a video to show off your mobile charger in someone's daily life. Example below of a video we made. 

Think about your own daily life, if you had a question about how to use a product you just bought and when you googled your question, 1 result is a video and 1 is an article, which would you choose? Probably a video. *72% of people would rather watch a video than read text to learn about a product or service*

2. Event Video

Whether you stream it live or not, and whether you use video before or after the event, it can be very powerful to add to your event marketing strategy. 

For example, if you have a conference coming up in a few months and you want more attendees, creating a video to increase excitement can do that! Those that are already registered will probably share the video with friends, and anyone not going might now be interested in going! Flip the perspective, if you saw a video for an event that got you really pumped up, really made you more interested and you were free that day, would you think about buying tickets/going to the event? I know I would. For example, below is a video for INBOUND, one of the biggest digital marketing conferences that happens in Boston every year.

If you're a marketer and have not been to INBOUND before, you probably will want to go after seeing this video. Now put that strategy to use for your business. 

Maybe you have an event that could create some buzz about your business? That's cool too! Our client Gallifords restaurant recently had a 1 Year Anniversary party and we produced a short recap video of it! See below. 

Gallifords distributed this video on their Facebook page and it created lots of buzz! People who had attended were commenting on it and sharing it with their friends. Now those people are learning about a new restaurant and might visit Gallifords. Or the people who know Gallifords but didn't go might want to go to the next event because they saw what they missed.

Now if they want to have another party on their 2nd Anniversary, they can use this video to entice more visitors for that as well!

3. Fundraising

If you are a non-profit or your business needs fundraising, video can make a HUGE impact. It's all about emotion.

I know it sounds like a broken record, but think about yourself personally. If you watched a video about money being raised to help a foundation or a cause and it truly hit your emotion and made you feel like you could make a difference, would you donate? For example, watch this commercial made for Water.org and Stella Artois. 

Could you imagine waiting up to 6 hours to get water? This is a truly powerful video made by Stella to show people an insane reality and hopefully generate more fundraising for Water.org.

We recently finished a project with one of our clients, Find The Cause, where we interviewed 4 doctors about the current research they are doing to find certain causes of breast cancer. The goal was to show people where the money goes and to try to raise more money to continue this incredible research. Check out the video below. 

We were told that after watching this video, one of their donors doubled their donation. This goes to show that using video can truly be effective in this area of business. 

We are also currently working on a few videos with Lahey Health to help raise money for their Annual Cancer 5K. Again, whether your business is a non-profit and raising money for a cause, or you are fundraising for another reason, video can be very effective if done right. 
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After reading this, we hope you can see the big impact that video can have regardless of what type of business you are. If you do it right, creating video(s) for your business can have a significant upside.

To learn how we can help your business with video, or if you just have a few questions, please feel free to email us at hi@focusforwardmedia.com! Thank you for reading and have a great day! 

Why You Should Be Taking Advantage of Facebook Video

With just over 2 BILLION monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social media platform out there, there's no arguing that. And did you know that 8 billion videos are watched on average per day on Facebook? That's right; 8 BILLION...per DAY!

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There is an enormous amount of opportunity for your product or service to be seen if you use Facebook video. Sure, you can hire a company to make a video and post it on your website, but if you're ignoring Facebook, that's a loss of up to 500 million people every day! Do you want to ignore 500 million people daily? Now obviously it would be extremely difficult to get every person watching video on Facebook to watch your video, but even if you took .01% of that number, that's still 500,000! There is no reason to to be ignoring Facebook. 

Here's a few more astounding facts:
- Facebook is rated 8.4X more impactful for video than any other social media platform
- Facebook video receives an average of 135% more organic reach than photos on Facebook
- As of June 2017, views on branded videos on Facebook have grown by about 258%
- Native videos on Facebook have 10X more reach than if you were to link to YouTube or Vimeo

These are just a few of the facts, there are many more and it really is incredible how much of an impact Facebook video can have. Infact, in 2017, 44% of small business owners and marketers planned on spending money to promote their video on Facebook. I think the other 66% needs to get on board with that idea. 

So the question is, are you creating video for Facebook and/or distributing current videos through Facebook? If not, you are truly missing a huge opportunity. 

If you'd like to discuss producing a video for your business or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at hi@focusforwardmedia.com! 

| techcrunch.com / hootsuite.com / wordstream.com |

Wednesdays on Weybosset - Episode 2

Hey friends and visitors! Hope you're all having a great Saturday. 

If you didn't already know, we released our 2nd Wednesdays on Weybosset this week and it was a super fun one. We sat down with Alan Chille, the General Manager of Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). Alan gave us a tour of the theatre and went into the history of PPAC and its evolution over the years. I've been to this theatre once before when I was very young and same with my partner Mike but we are looking to go again very soon. This place is incredible and we highly recommend going to an upcoming show whether you've been before or not. They have some amazing shows, the location is great, and the staff are very friendly. Check out the video below, subscribe to our YouTube, follow us on Facebook, and go check out PPAC at 220 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence!

If you have any questions for us, or you are a local business and want to talk about video/marketing with us, email us at hi@focusforwardmedia.com! Have a great day!

Wednesdays on Weybosset - Episode 1

Hey everyone! We released our very first Wednesdays on Weybosset and we're super excited to share it with you. 

This week we feature Saki's Pizzeria; a local grille, pizzeria, and bar that has been in business for 27 years. Saki's serves pizzas, calzones, sandwiches, burgers, and much more. They also have a bar upstairs! The restaurant is open daily from 10AM-2AM and we had the pleasure of speaking with owner Dionisios Sampalis to get a short insight into Saki's pizzeria. Check out the video below, pass this along, let us know what you think, and don't forget to stay tuned for next week's episode on Wednesday April 11 on our Facebook page!

If you haven't liked our Facebook page, go ahead and do that to see these every Wednesday at 8AM! Our Facebook is HERE. 

Wednesdays on Weybosset

Hey friends!

If you follow our Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen a new project we're starting that we're super excited about. It's called Wednesdays on Weybosset. Our office is on Weybosset street and there are countless businesses near us. Every Wednesday starting April 4th, we are going to post short 30 second to 1 minute videos about local businesses in the area. We will interview the owners or an equivalent and get a brief spotlight into what they do.

Mark your calendars for April 4th and stay tuned! It's going to be a lot of fun and we can't wait to start this. If you didn't see the video and want to see it, check it out below. If you are a business owner in the area and want to be featured, or if you have questions about this project, or you just want to say hi, email us at hi@focusforwardmedia.com! We are looking forward to this and hope you are too! Have a great day.

- Mike & Mike

Giving Without Expectation

Hello readers, this is Mike Neilan one of the Co-Founders. I'm excited to share this post with you about something that not many people do, but many more people should be doing. 

Do you know who Gary Vaynerchuk is? If not, check him out! He is a social entrepreneur and CEO of a digital agency called VaynerMedia. They work with some of the biggest brands in the world such as Toyota, Pepsi, Budweiser, Chase Bank, and more. 

Anyway, a few months ago I was watching some of Gary's YouTube videos and he was talking about a theme that he had brought up many times in previous videos. This theme was about giving without expectation from the other person. In this one video I watched, he talked about how important and how much it means to give rather than take. Too many people in business just go straight for the "take" meaning they ask for someone else's business or ask for something. 'Will you buy my book? Watch my video, sign up for my course, etc." 

This is an example of the theme of giving he talks about. The video I saw he specifically mentioned giving something away for free just to be nice and to create a general awareness for your brand. So I followed the advice. That day I posted on social media and to my WeWork page, "Like and share this picture and I will pick a few people to give a free print to" I ran it for a day or two, picked a few people and shipped them their pictures. A week later I got an email from one of the people who got a free print. She said "Hi Mike, I got my picture today, it's beautiful! Thank you so much for doing this. I see that you do video work. I am the CEO of a marketing company and we need some video content for our website. Is this something you could help us with?" I sure could.

2 months later, my partner Mike and I were on the 8th floor of the WeWork office by South Station in Boston, MA shooting video of 3 marketing presentations setup by that CEO. The CEO I'm referring to is a woman named Lori Richardson from a company called Score More Sales. In her opening to the presentations, she gave the audience a first tip and sure enough, it was about giving. Check out the video below.

Lori brought up the exact story I just told you and explained how well it can work and how it can really separate your business from others. Now Lori wants to do more of these marketing presentations and have us shoot those as well.

Food for thought. Don't go right for the ask, try giving and see how it can work for you. You never know.

Have a great day and as always, if you have any questions for us or just want to introduce yourself, don't hesitate to shoot us a note at hi@focusforwardmedia.com!

3 Great Apps for Freelancers

As a freelancer, you and your brain are always on the go. Whether you're working from home, a coffee shop, making phone calls, driving to jobs, to meetings, traveling for a current or prospective client, you're busy! And anything that can make your work life smoother is a plus. There are thousands of apps geared for freelancers, some junk, some good, and some great. Over the years, we've tried different ones and figured out which ones we like the best. Here is a list of 3 that we really love and why we love them.

1. Quickbooks Self-Employed ($10 a month, desktop access as well)

One big part of being a freelancer is that you're an independent contractor so you're not getting a paycheck every week or every 2 weeks with your taxes already taken out. You get paid per job (typically), paychecks come at different times and your taxes are not coming out of every check. Another aspect of freelancing is that the equipment or supplies you need to do your job are not given to you, you need to buy those yourself. Additionally, you're driving to jobs and meetings, traveling to meet with clients over lunch or coffee. That plane ticket, gas for your car, those meals all need to get paid for, right? But it's all part of doing business and you need somewhere to expense it all and keep it organized. Quickbooks Self-Employed is the place to do it! 

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Available for iOS and Android. 

The equipment you buy, the miles you drive, the gas you pay for, the software you use, business meals you pay for, is all part of running your business and are part of your operation costs. Quickbooks is here to organize all of it and make it easier for you to do your taxes. The app will have you connect your bank accounts and credit cards to sync your transactions. Once you see a transaction you can swipe to mark it as a personal transaction, or swipe the other way to mark it as a business transaction, which you then categorize further into "meals and entertainment, gas and fuel, utilities, travel expenses, etc." You can also attach receipts to each transaction so you know exactly what the purchase was for. 

Being someone who drives a lot, my favorite feature is the auto mileage tracking. You can change the setting to this, but the app will automatically track all your driving which you then mark as business or personal. When you swipe to mark it as business, you can write a note about the trip, for example, "dinner meeting with client" or "drive to photo shoot." Other apps make you open the app and manually start the trip. Lets be real, are you going to remember to open the app and click around to start your trip every time you drive somewhere? Most likely not. Now you don't have to. 

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Another great feature is being able to create invoices, send them, and receive payments, all from the app. You're often busy running around and you may not always have time to get back to your desk, create an invoice and send it to the client. Now you can do it all right from your phone. 

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The app is extremely useful and well worth the money! There's even more to it, but I'll let you check it out yourself! When I first signed up, they had an offer where the first 6 months were 50% off, so there may be a deal going on, but regardless, $10 a month to keep track of my business miles, all my transactions, my income, and organize it all? It's a no brainer. Go download it and sign up today! 

2. Timely ($7/month for 3 projects, or $14/month for unlimited projects)

As a freelancer, time is your most important asset and you need to manage it efficiently. Timely is an app that can track the time you spend on your projects, set budgets for each project, and manage different projects under different clients. The $7/month version gives you access to create 3 projects, while the paid $14/month version gives you access to unlimited projects. 

It's a very user friendly app, and there is a desktop version as well. 

From the first screen you will see your hours for the current day, and you can swipe through to see hours from previous days, or to see your coming up days. You can "plan" your events and put it into the app ahead of time if you want to see what you have later in that week/month/etc. So if you know you have a 3 hour meeting in 2 days, you can put that in ahead of time so you know what your day/week is looking like. 

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Under "projects" are the current projects you are working on organized by client. When you create a project you create a name for it, assign it to a client, pick a color to represent it, choose who will have access to it, and you can also put in the rate/budget for the project. So if you are working on an hourly rate for a project, and you have budgeted 12 hours for it, you can put that all in and the app will tell you when you're approaching that 12 hours. It's pretty sweet. 

Another very cool feature is the ability to create reports for clients or for yourself internally. For example, if you're working with a client who is paying you hourly and you are going to invoice them every week, you can do that. The mobile app can only create reports by the month but the desktop app does let you create by the week. So you can go into the reports section, select the client and the timeframe and it will create a PDF that shows the project(s) you worked on, the hours you worked on the project, and any notes you made. 

Yes, you can make notes every time you create a time entry! So if one day working on a project you are working on the graphics for a video, or organizing the photos you took, you can write that. Then you and the client can see what work was getting done and how long different parts took to complete. 

Side note - two ways to track time - manually put it in after you've done the work by sliding the logged hours section, or start a timer to track while you're doing it, then stop from the same button. 

Overall, it's a really great app and I personally think it's one of the best to keep track of how long different projects take so that you can be aware of how to price your services! 

3. Waze (free) (GPS app)

Many of you might already know of Waze, so if you know it and use it, then don't feel the need to continue reading and have a great day. But if you aren't familiar with Waze, keep reading and you'll see how great it is! 

Waze is a navigation app. Compare it to Google or Apple maps, but much better. 

What's great about Waze is it tracks live traffic, road blocks, police, and any other obstructions that might be on your path. So if there is a road block up ahead, or construction going on, Waze will alert you and tell you how far ahead it is. If you know a different way to go and want to avoid it, go ahead. Or you can click 'routes' on the bottom and the app will present you with other ways to go and it will tell you how long that route takes, how many miles it is, and if there are obstructions on that route. 

One feature that I particularly love is being able to 'plan' your trip by clicking 'go later.' If you have a meeting in the morning, you can go to the app, put in the destination, the time you need to arrive, and Waze will tell you if/how much traffic is on the route and when to leave to get there early. 

The app also lets you create alerts for other drivers (if you're in the passenger seat of course). 

So if you get stuck in traffic due to construction and it's not already shown on your route, you can create that in the app to let other drivers know. It's pretty neat. 
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Being a freelancer is a very busy life and any tools that can make things easier are always helpful. We hope you found this informative and hope you check these apps out yourself. We use these apps very frequently so if you have questions about any of them, don't be afraid to shoot us an email and ask us! We consider ourselves pretty friendly people and would be happy to help you out. 

Have a great day and come back again to check out more of our content! 

Email - hi@focusforwardmedia.com