Holiday fun time saving apps!



During the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations, I noticed between the huge meals, the entertainment revolved around  playing with a 9 week old puppy, and during the puppies naps having several generations of family, poking away at their smart phones sharing their favorite apps with one another.
*For the record the family falls pretty squarely into the Apple smart phone market, most of these apps are available for Android users.






Here is a list of some favorite holiday and time saving apps for creative people like you!




Fun Holiday apps: 



Amazon Mobile  (Is your employer blocking access to shopping sites at work?  You can buy pretty much anything at Amazon.com, and now the Amazon Mobile app (Free) makes it easy to shop right from your iPhone.

GoodGuide While most iPod shopping apps are designed to help you save money, the GoodGuide app (Free) has a unique goal -- to help you identify products that are good for you and the environment.

Good Food Festive Recipes:  Over 160 foolproof collection of festive feasting options to catapult you into a New Year!

Grocery IQ (Free)
 includes all the features you would expect in a powerful grocery app, including a barcode scanner, list sharing, and integrated coupons. If you are like me and buy the same things every week, the favorites list will help you save time. You can also edit your list online and it will update automatically on the app.

 (US$1.99)  We could use some extra holiday spirit!
 This app includes 20 “Grinchmas” cards that you can personalize with your own photos -- and who doesn't want a picture of themselves dressed as the Grinch? The cards can be emailed to friends or saved to the app’s photo library.








Bonus  Recommendations:



Dragon Dictation: Don't worry if you are not already hooked up with the hot new Siri, iPhone 4s,  I think Dragon’s voice recognition works better than my typing and auto "correction" of the iPhone.

Facetime:      
This was awesome for a  global family reunion conference call, we had family from as far away as Germany!  Sure, it’s great to hear a voice, But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.    Bonus! No cell minutes local or international used! 

What are some of your favorite holiday or time saving apps?  Post them in the comment section below!



Need help creating a marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your creative business strategy?

Tamra Engle is a independent  business strategist based in the S.F. bay area she is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent creative business, You can read more about her at www.TamraEngle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com


Promoting your business during the holidays-pt 2 of 3



What are you doing to bring your fans closer to your creative business during the holidays?

In the United States, We are just day’s away from the biggest $hopping days of the year.
 If you are a creative business owner, the last couple months of the year can mean a sales jackpot if you have taken the time to  prepare and market to your target audience.

 In Part 1 of my 3 part series “promoting your music during the holidays"
We talked about using the themes of the holiday to have fun, while create a unique “selling opportunity” for your fans, and prospective business partners.

Our next holiday Thanksgiving, gives us 3 big target days to help you promote your music or creative business- Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Holiday Marketing Background: 
During tough economic times, especially during the holiday’s businesses spend millions in ads to encourage spending. Marketing firms have created “holiday events “ specifically to encourage consumers to CONSUME. 
Here are 3 new holiday’s that were created specifically to encourage people to spend money- That YOU can take advantage of to help increase your sales.

Black Friday -Refers to a old accounting terms,
 Being in the red denotes a negative profit margin, where as “in the black” denotes a positive profit margin. Most retailers make or break their sales goals between Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
 According to ShopperTrak, who uses in-store monitering devices to examine sales in 2010 black Friday sales in 2010 increased to 10.7 billion!! a .3% increase over 2009 earns it the top spot as the heaviest shopping day of the year!

Small Business Saturday-  Our friends at American Express are responsible for starting this event which happens the 1st Saturday after Thanksgiving- now in it’s 2ndyear.

 Aimed at promoting small business owners. Amex is reimbursing  $25 in cash to the 1st  of 200,000 shoppers  using their American Express card to support a local small business,  local businesses signing up get $100 facebook ads or free!  I  encourage supporting this holiday however, recommend you  spend cash, Don’t run up your credit card bills! Save using your credit cards for the emergency fix, or broken tour van that will certainly pop up when you least expect it. 

Cyber Monday is a marketing term created in 2005, referring to the Monday following Thanksgiving, many are back to work and can’t physically go to the store, No problem, just  shop online!
 In 2010 consumers spent $1.028 billion,  a 16% increase from the previous year on product purchases on Cyber Monday!

How do old accounting terms and marketing gimmicks help you grow your business?  First lets look at a example of a local business targeting the tired shoppers with a fun diversion from the madness.

One famous example of  musical artists utilizing the Thanksgiving holiday to help future album sales-  Arlo Guthries “Alices Resturant” a 1967 release that  comically exaggerated  Thanksgiving day adventure turned Vietnam protest. This album that has sold over a million copies, and is still selling 40 years after it’s release.

5 Things can you do to sell more!

1)    Send a newsletter to your fans- Remind them that your music makes the perfect gift, offer to ship “personalized” signed copies, for a extra special gift. Remember You need to get “heard” above everyone else trying to sell something.

2)   Record a Holiday song- Songs with  a “Thanks” theme? Create one for a special “sale” fan download. Here is a fun example  

3) Video your holiday song- How do you catch some of the  shoppers searching on line? Create a shopping wave!
Drive traffic to your  website with your new holiday single,  create a YouTube video of your holiday song,  have fun with it… include a link to where your fan’s can “buy” this exclusive MP3 of your holiday song.

4)    Partner with a local business- We all want to help the local small business owners during the holidays! *the 1% big corporations seem to be doing fine without any additional funding.   Do you own a retail space? Suggest a special “holiday show”  Invite a musical artist to perform  a simple acoustic holiday sing along, or host a fun "fashion" show to sell products you sell in your retail space!   Heat up some cider and you have a super fun “shopping “ event, it doesn't have to be fancy to be fun for your customers!

 This is a wonderful opportunity to create cross- cultural events, sharing traditions,  the different ways we each celebrate the fall solstice all around the world.  Are you a local business owner or artists interested in connecting? Let me know (add email link).

5)    Local Children’s Hospitals or Sr. Centers- Think about those less fortunate. Call your local children’s hospital,place of worship, or Sr. Center ask if you can come sing holiday music to the guests there. 
You don’t play a instrument ? You can offer to  read books, share photo presentations, or  host a free activity or workshop!
 Share pictures of the outing on your social media or next newsletter, the smiles in the pictures will inspire, and remind others how easy it is to help another who is unable to get around during this special time of year.



      Now, that you have completed your 5 tips you can relax:
      Set a extra plate at your table for Thanksgiving- There IS someone in your immediate circle who has no one to share the holiday with.  Invite them to share a meal with you, it's one of the bests "gifts" you can give to a friend!


I invite you to share the link to your Holiday song and video in the comment section below!

Show up and be there



November, our thoughts are turned to giving thanks.

The past 5 years, I found myself in the wake of two significant losses, I felt my heart was a well not holding as much “thanks” as it had in previous years.

Life has a way of tossing obstacles into your path when your driving down the road of life,  We try our best to swerve and avoid collisions, wrong turns, and distractions while we are trying our best to move forward.   “life happens” whether or not your paying attention.
My Mother and beloved dog’s passing had left two huge holes in my heart and the “well” of thanks simply leaked out instead of filling full.

A few months ago, we had mutually decided that our house was ready to be filled again with the patter of paws. 
The excitement and joy the day before our “new arrival” was shattered with a phone call. 
3,000 miles away, my partner's brother  was suddenly going in for emergency quadruple bypass surgery. His wife and 3 sons, like us were all stunned by the news.
 Our joy was suddenly mixed in with the icy fear and gravity of a very active guy being faced with  this life threatening procedure.  

The day of the procedure, two of three sons had arrived by bus to be there for their dad and to help their mother, during this horribly scary time.  The three boys are all in College, one in Europe, the decision was made that he should only come home if things didn't go well.

It reminded me that the boys I  watched grow up the past 10 years, had shared stories over years on their path's to becoming Eagle scouts.  Whether you love or hate the BSA, these guys were participating in outdoor activities, to learn about  about  responsible citizenship,  community services, and character development  to help them "be prepared".
They were gathering tools, and learning how to use them.   - Little did any of us know, it was for this moment, to simply do one thing. “Show up, and be there” for two of their important “teachers” Mom and Dad.

 When I was considering my topic for this weeks blog post, I was reminded how much I had to be thankful for, and how the “well” was filled! .  Proof that there is hope for broken hearts!

I am grateful to the great  spirit that watches over all of us, for seeing my brother in law safely through a major surgery.
For the fuzzy new life that is snuggled next to me as I write this posting,

The health and well being of all those I love, 
having food & shelter, and doing what I love for a living!

 Sending each of you reading  with blessings of being healthy and well!
I love to hear what your giving thanks for, in the comment selection below.



Need help creating a music marketing plan? or simply have questions on managing your music business strategy?
Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area. She is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, You can read more about her at www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com





A task a day, grow your business 5 ways


 People often tell me, If I just had a list of things I could do each week to grow my business….

Here are 5  things you can do next week (do one a day, or a couple every few days).
 By Friday you  will have accomplished 5 tasks that will help move you forward!










1)    Do something that excites you


2) Do something that terrifies you-  The best way to grow, is to stretch past where your comfortable.


3) Keep in touch w/ colleagues, USE your social media and actually schedule time to go enjoy a beverage, or a meal and get “caught up”.
*The person you spoke to yesterday will be the one that recommends you for a gig, or introduces you to a important contact.

4) Go out, and meet 5 new people each week- Find out what people do, there are a lot of people looking for work, do you have a opportunity to give someone work? OR can your special skills help someone else out, Trades go a long way!


5) Write or finish that song, poem, spoken word that you have been working on.
Looking for a topic? Write about something you are thankful for... It's that time of year, and a great reminder for everyone!

Post a link to your new song, poem or spoken word in the comment section below. 
You have just introduced your work to a new audience! AND you have taken a moment to give thanks  during some very challenging times,  which is a much more productive use of your time.

Congratulations! 



Need help creating a music marketing plan or simply have questions on managing your music business strategy?
Tamra Engle is a independent music business strategist based in the S.F. bay area. She is available for private consultations to help you develop your independent music business, You can read more about her at www.tamraengle.com  you can email her at guitartam@gmail.com

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