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  • GRATITUDE

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    I’m generally a pretty pessimistic person. My wife would be the fist to tell you that I generally look at the downside in any given situation. That being said, I was very tempted to type up a big Forget(edited) You 2013 article. It was a tough year, especially the second half. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster since August. Beginning with finding out we were having twins – to the impromptu trip to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for our TTTS intervention surgery. Then, after a successful surgery, being told the placental share for our girls was 90/10 and to be prepared to make some tough decisions. Weekly ultrasound trips to Des Moines. To my wife being on modified bed rest and eventually being hospitalized for six and half weeks. Our finances and insurance responsibilities. Finally the birth of our twin girls (see I finally mentioned something positive).

    Last month I began to realize how powerful negative emotions are and how easy they take hold. Anger, envy, resentment, frustration and anxiety(something I’ve struggled with most of my life). I was all these things and it was easy.

    Finally I began to actually set aside time to be grateful. I had to actually sit down and focus to let gratitude in. Not just once but daily. Gratitude, prayer, contentment and happiness. It took effort to allow myself to feel these things.

    I focused on my family and how blessed we were to have all their support. I looked back at how much our community has helped us through these last few months by easing our financial burdens and praying on our behalf. As well as, offering us kind and encouraging words. I’m looking to pay it forward in 2014.

    I’m grateful we were never faced with the “touch decisions” that we were warned about – truly a gift from God.

    My wife is tough, stubborn and positive – she was the pillar of optimism. She even helped me re-launch Origin Brothers as an LLC during all of this. It was tough having her in the hospital, but I learned a lot about myself including how to be an even better dad to our 4-year old.

    I released my first book, Arrow in the Armor after talking about it for YEARS. I have a short story and a new book already in the works for 2014.

    Despite the odds, we were blessed with our twins on December 13. They are getting stronger every day and we can’t wait to bring them home.

    Despite how hard this has been, I feel like 2013 may have given me some of the tools I’ve been looking for to begin to live life the way I’ve always wanted. Simple & Happy.

    Be grateful for 2013 and I wish you a blessed New Year.

    Eliza and Sutton

  • I CHOSE THE WORST TIME…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Uncategorized

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    Greetings,

    After months…and months of sitting on Arrow in the Armor -I  finally decided to release it on Tuesday October 29. A week later I’m still excited, I’m still nervous – even with all the positive feedback it’s received so far. These last few months have totally been outside my comfort zone. If you don’t know, my lovely wife and I found out in August that we are expecting twin girls. Almost immediately after the incredible news – we found out that they have twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome which would require a surgical intervention, in Cincinnati, if we wanted the pregnancy to continue. We left for Cincinnati on labor day.

    After eight days in Cincinnati we returned home. My wife on modified bed-rest and weekly trips to a specialist 2-hrs away. Taking it one week at a time for almost 8 weeks. During this time I began planning a re-launch of my freelance business which I started in 2011 – called Origin Brothers. This time I decided I was going to do it right. I filed for an LLC – and EIN – and started budgeting for some advertising. I had been in this dichotomy for nearly a year about relaunching my business. Ever find yourself saying “it’s just not the right time”, “there will be a better time”, “I’m not QUITE ready”.

    I chose November 1 as my official re-launch date for Origin Brothers, LLC. I submitted my resignation to my current, overall satisfying position. My wife, still on modified bed-rest but just approved for 8 hrs per week of part-time work. Talk about scary. Instead of trying to find the best time to take a risk – I decided to choose the absolute worst time. Why? I was already so far outside my comfort zone, what previously looked like a HUGE step – now seemed like barely a step at all. A lateral move, if you will.

    On October 29 – the release of Arrow in the Armor and three days before the official relaunch of Origin Brothers – we found out that the membrane separating the twins had broke. Meaning instead of being in two separate sacks they were now in one. The risk of cord entanglement and other complications resulted in our doctor recommending my wife be admitted to the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy, which will now go no further than 32 weeks.

    So on the day of my official re-launch. I found myself and my 4 year old daughter driving to the hospital to admit my wife – her mother, for the next 6 weeks ( 2hrs from our home).

    There is no perfect time to take a chance – sometimes it’s MUCH easier to embrace change when you’re already caught up in the whirlwind of it all. Uncomfortable is feeling I’ve been learning to embrace as opposed to fight. Uncomfortable is freedom.

     

  • WEBSITES ARE LIKE TATTOOS…

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Design, Marketing, Uncategorized, Web

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    Websites are like tattoos – great ones aren’t cheap (or free).

    We have done a great job of conditioning ourselves that if a service can’t be done DIY or price matched – it’s expendable. I’ve seen examples time and time again – I’m not paying someone $200 + for a logo when my niece knows how to use paint. I’ll save a ton of money designing my website myself – functionality doesn’t matter I just need to get online. Sales are down this quarter, it’s time to slash our marketing/advertising budget (probably the worst thing you could do).

    It’s true no one knows your business or your brand better than you. It doesn’t mean that you always know the best way to communicate your message to your customers or clients AND get them to take action. Great websites are not all about the visual. Great website designers take into account your brand, your message, your mission and develop a true role for that website to play in building your brand and your business.  It guides visitors down a predetermined path with the destination being conversion using a specific call-to-action. (BUY NOW, GET STARTED, LEARN MORE, SIGN UP, etc.)

    To site some over-dramatic examples, I’m not qualified to perform surgery I’d have to call a surgeon. I’m not qualified to build myself a new house, I’d have to call a contractor. It’s ok to invest in professionals. I say invest because of the value they provide that can not be directly related to price.

    Website conversions = more $$ for you. Great websites are an investment, not an expense.

    What’s one of the most common mistakes web designers make?

    Email me at chad@chadwittrock.com or fill out the form below and I’ll let you in on it!

  • 5 MARKETING TIPS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Marketing, Uncategorized

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    Beginning a new year always seems to feel refreshing. It’s a time of reflection and resolutions. It can also be a time of nervousness and fear – especially if you aren’t sure how to get your business to the next level (or off the ground floor), and how your marketing fits into the grand scheme of things. Start with these five straight forward tips:

    1) Conduct a marketing audit

    Set aside some time when you can lock the office door, turn off your cell phone, log out of your email and social networks, and take a look at your marketing expenses over the last year. Assess your budget(please tell me you have one). What methods gave you the best return on investment and were in line with your company objectives? What methods fell short? How are you determining that success or failure? Is it opinion or is it measurable? Which brings me to –

    2) Establish goals and objectives that you can measure

    Tweak and redefine your marketing so that you have clear definitions of success and concrete methods of measuring that success. Whether it be training staff to ask specific questions, analyzing metrics, or even conducting customer surveys.

    3) Simplify your message and sharpen your niche

    In business, it’s easy to attempt to be all things to all people. It’s appealing to think this will result in and endless stream of paying customers, when in reality your potential customers just end up confused. Try describing exactly what you do in one sentence that identifies your product/service and your potential customer. Examples: “We offer upscale spa services to working women who want to feel rejuvenated and regain their edge in the office.” “We specialize in eclectic home remodeling and interior design for first time home buyers that want to their homes to reflect their personality.” Speaking of personality…

    4) Take a close look at your collateral and content

    Is the content on your website the same as when it was built…in 1995? There’s no shame in admitting it is, but that means it’s time for a serious content and collateral assessment. Make sure your sales kits, brochures, catalogs, etc. reflect your most current product and service offerings. Refresh the copy on your website to be more engaging and up-to-date. Take an honest look at your logo and make sure your business cards stand out. If you’re not sure…

    5) Don’t be afraid to ask your customers and clients directly

    It’s straightforward and will usually get you a sincere response. Don’t be afraid to say “I really appreciate your repeat business, may I ask you if there’s anything else we can do to enhance your experience?” “Thank you so much for stopping in today, may I ask how did you hear about us?” Even a short survey online is a good way to gauge your customers’ experiences and see what areas you could improve upon. You could even find out something your customers are looking for, that you’re currently not offering, and implement it. *Hint – you could even ask some professionals, like me.

    We’ll continue to build upon these in the upcoming weeks. If you have any questions or concerns in any of these areas, please don’t hesitate to contact me!