By Stephanie Heinatz, Founder
I love a good list. To do list. Shopping list. Any list.
When it came time to sit and think about a list of my favorite things that I use in my day to day work life in helping companies of varying sizes with their public relations and marketing, I found myself in hog heaven. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite things that help me stay inspired, organized and productive for our clients.
If you know my husband, you know he’s always got jokes. If he’s joking on you, it means he has lots of love for you. One of the things he used to tease me about, when I was still a daily newspaper reporter, was that you could always tell which desk was mine in a newsroom. Where most writers would have stacks of papers and notes all over their desks, mine was most often clean. Structured. Organized. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the notes. It was more that, even as a newspaper lover, I hated the idea of papers in sight.
All of my research and notes, I would transcribe and save into Word doc or PDF files on my computer.
Fast forward to today and my desk is still just as clean, but I’ve found a far more efficient way to store my notes. Enter Evernote.
It’s a life workspace. A work workspace. The most glorious workspace.
In Evernote, I can collect, save and catalog the pages of magazine articles or ad design concepts. I can take notes, transcribe audio interviews, make to do list. Oh, my! The list goes on.
The best part? Being on the go all the time, I can access Evernote from the app on my iPhone or my Mac desktop.
Evernote. Definitely one of my favorite things.
Garden & Gun
Growing up, there are a few songs and country music artists that my Mom would play on repeat. Alabama and Song of the South was among the top (and Elvis…my Mom loves Elvis).
Perhaps it was that early introduction to the south, to country, to the southern way of life (even though I spent most of my early childhood in Germany) that attracted me so strongly to Garden & Gun magazine.
From the well designed advertisements, to the recipes, stories of triumph, quintessential southern life, literature (hello…William Styron, Virginia native), you can almost always find me with the most recent copy of Garden & Gun magazine…and photos of pages I want to save and ads that inspire me for future creative projects cataloged in Evernote.
At the time of this writing, Consociate Media is nearing its fifth year in operation, and it’s third year of my family taking the giant leap into a 100 percent entrepreneurial lifestyle (Rudy, my husband, left his well-paying corporate job because he believed in this company and what we are doing and wanted to help it grow).
But none of it has come without its challenges.
There have been months when our team members have received their paychecks, but Rudy and I have not because cash flow or accounts receivable fell. We have lost some contracts due to clients suffering from budget cuts. We’ve been hit with hard deadlines that have taken all nighters to complete, huddled around the dining room table. There have been missteps in learning to communicate with an entire team your vision for a project or establishing a culture of a company, and finding the right project management tool to unite us all.
I could go on about all the lessons learned. Why? Because we are a small start up.
I could also go on about all the great things we have accomplished – working with the top rated cybersecurity firm in Virginia (also listed as the 16th best in the world), getting referrals from clients (the biggest compliment we can receive), seeing a client’s name in the Wall Street Journal after eight months of working that media angle, seeing sales soar for a new apparel company thanks to a social media strategy. The list goes on.
What does that have to do with Inc. Magazine? There are a lot of business magazines out there, but Inc. has found a voice that’s both approachable, inspiring and educational.
Every day, I find an article to read online and every month that magazine finds its way onto my coffee table and in my purse.
The Local Scoop Magazine, Williamsburg Edition
I once read an email from Tim Ferris that highlighted a time in his life when he started focusing on the things that make him go “hell YEAH!” If it doesn’t make you say “hell YEAH!” then think about if it’s the right thing to be doing in your life, in your business.
I thought long and hard about the message he sent in that email letter.
Then I sat down and wrote a list about all of the things in life that make me go “hell YEAH”!
My son and husband – #familyfirst – topped that list. But when it came to the professional endeavors I’m a part of, The Local Scoop Magazine and its Williamsburg edition was the first project that came to mind.
Why? For full disclosure, I was asked to serve as the magazine’s first editor this year. The inaugural issue comes out this month, November 2015
But more than that, I love the brand and values The Local Scoop was founded on. Stories are always local, always fresh and always focused on the things in life that motivate and inspire us.
As a former newspaper reporter, I grew up and cut my teeth writing sad news stories. It’s a vital piece of the fourth estate and one that while difficult for reporters to do today I greatly respect.
But there is a place in this world for feel good. Feel good stories help put people in a positive place. It helps them feel good about this world. And when you feel good, you do good.
Ticketleap’s key message is clear – the great experience anyone has at an event starts when people buy their ticket. It’s true and it’s why we continue to use this platform for any and all the events we’ve helped promote and plan, from annual Oktoberfest parties to wine festivals and oyster crawls.
Ticketleap makes it easy, allowing organizations to set up their own accounts and then brand their online ticket event page with images, logos, colors and details.
The best part? They make payment easy. You can have a check mailed straight to you when the event is over or have funds deposited right into your account.
Selling online could not be easier with Shopify, which streamlines the entire process for online retailers or brick and mortar organizations looking to expand online. Just ask MarkerNine.com, ShopUpSouth.com, Lowe-Tide.com. These are all small companies who sell with Shopify.
This platform makes it possible and approachable for small companies and start ups to grow and scale their business. Best part? The platform offers retail and wholesale account solutions, an ability to track traffic to the site, export reports on sales, input invoices, connect to social media, blog and more.
MailChimp. When done right, email marketing remains one of the most important and powerful ways to drive sales, conversions and brand awareness. Send better emails with MailChimp. When you join MailChimp, you join the more than 9 million people who use MailChimp to design and send 600 million emails every day.
Reasons we love MailChimp? For one, not every small business has the luxury of having a graphic designer on staff. MailChimp makes drag and drop easy and provides options to make every email look customized. For another, we’re addicted to the statistics. Use MailChimp and find out who’s opening your emails, clicking through to your web site and more.
We use it ourselves and for our large clients. I love it that much.
I’m a prolific note taker. Prolific I tell ya!
In meetings, at conferences, while watching the news, you can always find a handy notebook near by.
I used to only use the long skinny reporter notebooks that fit well in the palm of your hand. I still love those, but I am definitely a sucker for a Moleskin, a legal pad, a tiny spiral notebook. Anything I can take a note on.
Sharpie Fine Tip Pens
Speaking of notebooks, is there anything sweeter than a new pen, especially a Sharpie Fine Tip to jot down those notes? Moments after typing this, I opened a new package of Sharpie Fine Tips and wrote a note down. Not because I really had anything to remind myself about, but because I wanted to use my new pen WRITE away.
The Quiet of the Night
It’s true. I send emails late at night. Sometimes it’s because of deadlines. But sometimes it’s because the house is quiet. I’m snuggled up on my couch, usually with a dog beside me, and covered up with a sweatshirt blanket my husband bought me in the OBX of North Carolina years ago.
The lights are often low. And in the quiet of the night, I write. I read. I work…alone. And often these are some of my favorite times, which makes the quiet of the night one of my favorite things.