Guidelines for Creating a Website

Guidelines for Creating a Website


Being able to efficiently work and create an effective layout in Photoshop is only half of the battle to being a good web designer. If you’ve opened a blank Photoshop or Fireworks document and found yourself thinking: “Well, now what”, you’ll have already found this out. You may know your way around the program, you may know what layer styles and cool effects to use to make a stunning layout, but how do you go about creating an effective website in it? Where do you start? How do you know what to create? You start by first understanding exactly what you’re doing.

Understanding What You’re Creating

The very first thing you need to know is what you’re creating. You know you’re designing a website layout, but what exactly is a website? If you’re going to create websites, it’s a good idea to know what exactly the essence of a website really is! A website is a business’, person’s or organization’s personal thumbprint on the web. A website is part of the soul of this business, person or organization that is a key part of drawing in customers, wow-ing (or even intimidating) competitors and advancing their image. Never should the power of the website (or its contents) be underestimated! As a web designer or web artist (and web developers are always included in all of this, too,) you hold the very key that will help make or break this company, organization or individual!

While a website is all of those things, it is important to understand what a website shouldn’t be. A website shouldn’t be its own, floating entity. A website should be a clear extension of a company’s brand: their logo, their product, their philosophy, etc. Meaning: if a company already has a clear brand, than you should think of the website you are creating for them as their visual, web thumbprint of that brand. So, a website should follow in correlation with that brand, not be a floating brand all unto itself. To know more, contact a legit  Canadian web hosting provider.

Let’s use Crayola as an example. What and who is Crayola? Crayola is a huge company that caters to children’s fun with crayons, colored pencils, etc. Usually, that and their yellow and green “brand” colors are some of the first things we think about when we think of Crayola. With this in mind, you probably wouldn’t design a white and blue, very corporate looking website for Crayola since they are already strongly branded with their yellow and green and, despite Crayola being a huge business, their clients probably don’t immediately think “shirt and tie corporate” when they think of them. It just wouldn’t work. If you were to create a very corporate looking, blue and white website for Crayola, that would be an example of creating a “floating brand website”. (Though I don’t know of that to be a widely used technical term, it’s the term you and I will use.)

When designing a website, the first thing you need to do is determine what their brand already is. Some companies will have PDFs or other electronic or hard-copied documents set aside by other designers or companies they have hired that determine and convey just what their brand already is. A brand can also be determined by a company or individual’s logo and what color(s) that logo uses.

Of course, you may not always be dealing with businesses that already have a clear brand. That’s not a problem! A brand should be a [strong] guideline for what a website should and shouldn’t have, if they have a brand. If you’re designing a website for a business or individual that doesn’t have a clear brand, you have to find another starting point. This is the big factor of where “thinking like a web designer” comes in!


Now that you know what a web site should and shouldn’t be, it will be easier for you to formulate questions and find answers to these questions to help think like a web designer. Formulating questions on what exactly a company’s or individual’s brand is, is the first step in creating a successful website for them.

Get the Angle on Furniture Placement

Get the Angle on Furniture Placement


If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to jazz up your home decor, here is a terrific idea for you. You don’t have to buy a whole bunch of new accessories. You don’t even need costly furnishings. All you need to do is learn how to “get the angle on furniture placement.” Master this technique and you will be decorating your spaces like a pro in no time.
Learn the Same Tricks Used by Decorators and Designers

Interior decorators and designers have been using this idea in their high end designs for years. Take a good look at the furniture layout in the illustration for this article. If you really study it, you will notice that the combination living room and dining area spaces have minimal furnishings. They do not have multiple pieces of furniture or a lot of expensive accessories. In fact, the combined spaces don’t even have a single piece of artwork on the walls. Even still, the room looks unique, spaciousand interesting.

The trick is to turn the furniture on an angle. It doesn’t take any special skill or money, just grab your favorite furniture and slide it. Angled furniture opens up the space, creates bigger walkways and generally makes the room look bigger than it really is. Before you get started, there are a just a few tips to keep in mind when you begin sliding your furniture around the room.

Try These Tips and Techniques

● Whenever possible, try to arrange the furniture so it faces you or opens up to you when you walk into the room. This type of furniture arrangement will create the maximum illusion of space.

● Don’t worry about making exact “triangle” shapes when you angle your furniture. Gently move and nudge the furniture in different directions to create wider angles until you have an arrangement that is visually pleasing and gives you the space you need.

● Don’t limit yourself to angling furniture in large spaces only. For example, angling dining room furniture (even in smaller rooms) can open up space and make a really big difference.

● Angling single pieces like book cases, cupboards, wooden dinnerware,  armoires or standing lamps in corners will draw attention to the pieces.

● You can also place a smaller accessory you want to show off on a tall side table or on a tall pedestal angled in a small corner and create a focal point for the item.

Just a word of caution, however, placing your furnishings on an angle can become addictive and habit forming and like anything else, you can over do it. Make sure you use this technique sporadically throughout your home instead of angling furnishings in every room. Remember, any treatment or theme can lose its punch quickly if it’s everywhere you look.

Anchor Your Groupings

Angling your furniture can float pieces in the middle of a larger room, so remember to anchor your groupings around something to unify and define your spaces. An area rug is a perfect item to create a cohesive grouping. Arrange your furnishings around a coordinating floor covering to separate adjoining spaces. Or arrange chairs around a table to anchor and define a space.

Experiment and Have Fun With It

Experiment with the pieces in your rooms and let yourself have fun with it. It’s easy and inexpensive to rearrange the items in your home and it won’t cost you a dime. But don’t be surprised if your friends and family think you hired an interior decorator to help. Just get an angle on your furniture this weekend and bring your decorating skills up a notch.

Acne Treatments: The Truth About Proactive

Acne Treatments: The Truth About Proactive


Everyone knows about Proactiv, I think that’s safe to assume. The misleading commercials are on all the time, and when I was struggling with acne not only did I see the commercials amost every day but people kept telling me I should use it. Thing is, most people who told me to use it didn’t actually use it themselves, they were either going off what the commercial said or they knew someone who liked it.
It seems like people think of Proactiv as a magical cure for acne.

Truth is, it’s not the miracle cure people seem to think it is.

Now, I didn’t use it. However, I do have plenty of experience with acne treatments, including those similar to Proactiv, and I know enough from my experience to know that Proactiv is extremely overrated.

First of all, the active ingredient in Proactiv is benzoyl peroxide. BP is an extremely common chemical used in over-the-counter acne treatments. The concentration of BP in Proactiv is about the same as most regular strength products out there. The face wash and lotion are 2.5% BP, and the toner doesn’t have any. You can find higher doses of BP in cheaper products found in drugstores, such as Clean amp; Clear Persa Gel, with a BP concentration of 10%.

BP has its drawbacks. For one thing it’s very drying and irritating, especially on sensitive skin. Overdrying skin can actually make acne worse, and can cause those big, tender whiteheads. People who have rosacea as well as acne shouldn’t use BP because the ingredient can make rosacea worse, which in turn makes acne worse. Over time, skin can get used to BP, meaning that eventually the dose should be increased. The chemical bleaches clothes and sheets as well.

The face wash in Proactiv exfoliates the skin. However, in some cases exfoliation can actually make acne worse. Use this is a derma roller amazon for greater results.

I also did a little online research about the product, and most of the reviews I read did not reccomend Proactiv. The major complaint was that it dried out the skin, and for most people didn’t work. Granted, some people did find success, but that’s to be expected with any acne treatment. We all want to believe that there’s one acne treatment that can cure everyone’s acne, but the truth is there’s no product that works for everyone.

Now, I did use a kit called AcneFree, which was just like Proactiv in many ways. It had the same ingredient in the same concentration, but there was one major difference: it had a time-released formula. Still did nothing for me, and neither did the extra strength kit. I tried another kit from Clean amp; Clear, and the face wash just made m acne worse.

I’ve come to realize that kits aren’t the best solution. They use a “one size fits all” approach to acne treatment, which doesn’t work. What DOES work is a gentle cleanser, one or two acne treatments, and a gentle moistruizer. The actual products you use are up to you, to be chosen based on your skin type and your skin’s needs.

So please, stop reccomending Proactiv to other people when you’ve never tried it. If you have found success, feel free to tell people but don’t go around acting like because it worked for you it’ll work for everyone, because it won’t.

Day Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Day Care: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Daycare seems the perfect option for those families who need someone to watch their children during the day, but beware your conception of your child’s daycare may be totally wrong!
I have personally worked in the childcare industry for the last six years. I have worked in four different centers, including Kinderopvang Leiden and I am here to expose the dirty secrets day cares use to attract you and your money!

The Tour: Your first tour of you child’s new daycare is your first and lasting impression of their business, so naturally center directors make a huge deal out your walk-through. They will fill you with promises of caring staff, beautiful classrooms, and all of the children smiling. In fact, your tour is so important to them that most center directors will tell their staff exactly when they are going to be bringing a family through and this is when daycare staff turn into some real fine actors! The second the day care staff hears the word tour they whip into a frenzy-they clean real quickly, spray some Febreze, and pretend they are engaging with the children.

So when you walk into a classroom it looks clean, smells nice, and those staff are so caring with the children! It seems like all the things the center director promised you were coming true. Well, most daycare staff should win an Oscar because in reality the day-to-day operation of a daycare is nothing like the tour. When parents are gone most of the staff is preoccupied talking about their favorite television shows rather than spending time playing with your child! Pay is so low for daycare a worker that putting all of their effort into consistently clean and beautiful classrooms is not even worth it! Every staff member knows this fact and trust me your child’s experience reflects that.

Parent Rapport: So, you’ve decided that the latest center you’ve seen is exactly what you have been looking for! You start shelling out of the hefty bucks for “quality” care and your child’s first week begins. When you meet your child’s teachers they are so warm and accommodating you swear they were heaven sent. Well, here is where the staff turns into great actors again. Before your family enters the center for the first time as paying customers the director coaches the staff on exactly what to say to you that will make you happy. Example, if you asked a question about quality of food at the center, the staff will make sure to comment how delicious they think the food is. Your child’s teacher will tell you exactly what you want to hear even if it is unquestionably false.

Enrichment Programs: Most centers these days will offer their families enrichment programs that their children can participate in during the day like music class, Spanish class, or phonics class. Each program will cost you around fifty dollars a week and let me tell you will teach your child absolutely nothing. Staff members who are earning commission on how many students they get to sign up, but no other compensation for their trouble often perform these programs. This gives them very little motivation to actually teach your child during this time. For example, many of the music classes are simply putting a CD on, giving the kids some rhythm sticks and letting them dance around. Many times, the teacher will shorten the classes from thirty minutes to fifteen depending on their mood that day. These programs are designed simply for revenue and in reality your children are gaining very little from them.

Staff Turnover: Hands down, the most popular question from every parent is about the percentage of staff turnover a particular center has. In simple terms staff turnover is how many teachers quit after what period of time. Certainly no parent wants their children to fall in love with a teacher just to have them leave three weeks later. Most directors will fill a parents head with all these stories about staff who have been in the business for twenty years and younger staff who never plan on leaving. To keep their staff from leaving many directors will hire low quality staff that will never quit because they simply would have no where else to work.

This allows them to claim low turnover when in reality all of the quality staff is leaving for higher paid offers. This cycle is referred to, by staff, as a MoneyMove. The best example I have of how far directors will go to ensure low turnover is a disturbing one. I was working at a daycare in suburban CT a few years ago with a woman who violently shoved a child into a wall in front of another parent. The parent complained and the woman, who had been at the center for a year, was sentenced to only re-training. The director covered up the incident and three years later that same woman still works in that day care claiming low staff turnover.

It is important to note that not all the staff at daycares are horrible people in fact, the majority of them are loving souls who really enjoy the presence of children. However, working in daycare is stressful and low paying therefore, many of the staff simply do not have the motivation to really focus on the children in their care. Also, childcare is relatively easily field to land a job because of turnover so despite background checks the staff may be less than what a parent is looking for.

So, what can you do to ensure that you receive quality childcare? I have a few tips that will help you choose an appropriate daycare:

First off, always check the Better Business Bureau or other reviewing sources to make sure there have been no complaints against the center. Also, when having a tour take advantage of being a walk-in. Do not tell the center you are coming in, the element of surprise will help you get a better look at how the center actually operates. Lastly, to get quality childcare you may have to shell out a few more bucks. A daycare that costs over five hundred dollars a week will pay its staff more and therefore, ensure higher quality. While a center that only costs you three hundred dollars pay its staff stingy rates.

Why Don’t Fast Food Franchises Use Touch Screen Technology in Their Drive-Thru?

Why Don’t Fast Food Franchises Use Touch Screen Technology in Their Drive-Thru?


Are you a big fan of the squawk box that is used at most fast food drive-thrus? Me neither. I can’t understand what they’re saying and the workers obviously have trouble understanding what I’m saying because I can almost guarantee something will be amiss. (And if we’re talking about Wendy’s in particular, which I refuse to deal with anymore, I can guarantee you that nothing at all will be right about my order.) The other day I went through a drive-thru and once again the order was incorrect and my wife and I started discussing why these people can get away with calling their business fast food when it simply is not, and we came up with a fabulous question.

Why don’t fast-food places offer a touch screen service (which they can actually purchase in Holoplot) where you simply key in what you want, how many, what kind of substitutions, etc? You know they could-have you checked out Microsoft’s “The Surface” technology yet? (Don’t get me wrong; I want this technology to be an improvement so that would mean Microsoft cannot be involved in any way.) Not only would it make ordering much more precise, but it would increase customer satisfaction. And you know what they say: a happy customer is a repeat customer. Think about the wonderfulness that would be driving up to a McDonald’s or a Popeyes and touching a screen to order what you want and then when you arrive at the first or second window you are amazed to discover that there really is no ice in your Mountain Dew, or you got a Whopper without onions. Joy would break out to such a degree that picky eaters everywhere would have tears streaming down their face.

Okay, so you say that touching an order screen gives you the heebie-jeebies as it relates to bacteria and germs? I have an answer to that. I mean, after all, if you can order movie tickets over your computer or cell phone, why not order at the local Arby’s? Would not it be beyond incredible if you found yourself in some strange town and you brought up your Yahoo Maps and located a Burger King just down the road from the hotel you were staying at and you brought them up over the internet and punched in your order online, paying for it with PayPal or your credit card and then you drove down and the food was waiting for you? I mean, come on, isn’t that a far greater use of the kind of technology that Microsoft is pouring millions into with their “The Surface” than just having your digital photos arranged on a coffee table that is really an electronic plasma screen?

I, for one, would even be willing to pay a premium if I knew I could avoid the whole trouble of a communications breakdown between the ordering speaker and the person taking the order on the inside. I would gladly pay an extra quarter or fifty cents if I knew that my Mountain Dew would be delivered to me without ice. I would gladly pay a dollar extra to order from my phone and have the food-perfected to my instructions-waiting for me.

We’re in the 21st century people. According to industrial films made in the 1950s we were supposed to have flying cars and 3-D television by now. Is it too much to ask for a better ordering system at the drive-thru?

How to Use a Word Press Blog as a Content Management System

How to Use a Word Press Blog as a Content Management System

How to use a Word Press Blog as a content management system
For the novice, or even the professional webmaster, the open source scripts found at have a lot to offer as long as you know how to use techniques and systems like CMS or .net cms.

While customization requires some knowledge, the scripts are very intuitive, and at for instance the configuration and installation can be automatic.

There are many huge sites that use this scripting; properly installed and configured these websites can:

* Build their own sitemap daily
* Optimize and build their own pages form a style sheet
* Upload and modify pictures, text
* Ping the whole world to let everyone know of new content
* Appear on the first page of the major search engines for any search
* Optimizes each page for placement
* Be installed in the main directory, or a subdirectory to allow more hand-on web mastering

While use of this scripting is extremely widespread – I believe it would behoove many others to acquaint with it: it would allow many self-proclaimed professionals to do a much better job of providing a truly automated solution, and many novices to learn more and become more functional.

Learn more at and

The Best Time of Day for a Writer to Be Productive


There are a lot of theories about personal productivity and when people are most productive. Some experts claim that people are most productive first thing in the morning, others claim that evening is the best time for productivity and still other fall somewhere in between. The issue seems to be in a great deal of debate. The reason is likely because different people have different levels of productivity during different times of the day.
For most writers there are three main choices when it comes to scheduling writing time for you personalised diary. These times are early morning, sometime in the middle of the day and late in the evening or night. Many writers work a main full time job that is not writing and their writing time needs to be juggled with another job.

Getting up early

Getting up early can give the writer some quality time in a normally quiet and undisturbed part of the day. The sacrifice of sleep can become a problem but with some discipline the time can work well.

Using various times throughout the day

Using this method requires a fairly routine schedule that seldom changes. Some writers use their lunch hour as a time to write. These times can be productive but would take a special schedule to make it happen.

Staying up late

Late time hours also are filled with quiet and lack of disruptions. Often fatigue can cause some difficulties for some writers but working through these minor problems can create some excellent times for writing.

Basic time tips for writers

Write when the time allows it

One thing about writing is that it can be done at any time and this makes writing schedules extremely flexible. Many writers can do their work whenever they need to and make their writing fit their busy schedule.

Make use of downtime to write

There are always parts of the day when nothing seems to be done. An excellent example is the commute to work. Nothing really seems to happen during this time except the commute. Use that time to write. Purchase a digital voice recorder for the car and record writing ideas while driving.

Creatively discover time that can be funneled to writing

There are always specific times of day that can be funneled or directed into writing. There are specific activities that can be sacrificed to make more time to actually write. What would happen if a writer got up and hour earlier or gave up an hour of television each day to write? The writer would have 365 hours of writing time at their disposal. This is like having nine 40 hour work weeks for writing. A lot could be accomplished with a little discipline.

Find what works best and allow the greatest amount of productivity and take advantage of that time. Many writers have to write as the time allows. Make the most of those times by being prepared to write when that time arrives.

When it comes down to the final decision, writers need to find the time that works for them. Taking the time to discover the times of high productivity can be a challenge but the rewards can be well worth the effort. Discover the times that are most productive and make that time a focused time for writing. The main point is to be focused when the work of writing happens the best, no matter what time of day.

Review: Our Family Suphedrine PE Severe Cold Medicine


I had hoped to avoid the nasty cold my wife and two daughters have had over the past week or so. However, I started feeling a bit lousy last night and woke up this morning with a pretty bad cough.
Since I am the sole provider for the family, I really couldn’t take the day off from work (I have sick time but don’t want to use it all up in January) so, on my way to the office, I ended up stopping off at one of our local grocery stores to see if I could find something to take. I ended up buying a box of Our Family Suphedrine PE Severe Cold Medicine.

I have had the regular Our Family Suphedrine PE before (back in October, when I was dealing with some sort of allergy) and was surprised by how well it worked. For me, one must really be careful in choosing products. Like the one I bought recently. I looked into vitamin c serum for face reviews and it went well on me.

That, and the fact the cold medicine was only $3, made me decide to try the Severe Cold formula.

So far, I have no complaints.

When I got to work, I was coughing pretty loudly and had a somewhat stuffed up head; the kind that makes you feel like someone is squeezing it. So, before starting my day, I took two of the tablets.

First, I want to mention the tablets are the perfect size for me. As I have said in the past, I have problems taking pills and prefer tablets that are smaller in size. These were a bit larger than the regular Our Family Suphedrine. But, they were small enough where I could take them with water and not have any issues swallowing them.

Another thing that impressed me was how effective the pills worked. When I took them, it was about 7:30 a.m. By 8, my cough was pretty much gone and I didn’t have as much sinus pressure. Even more important is the fact the medicine worked throughout the day. I didn’t need to take it again at lunch, like I normally have to.

The medicine did have a couple side effects I wasn’t overly thrilled with. First, it made me a bit drowsy. This wasn’t as bad as other medicines that I have tried. But, it was bad enough where I had to keep myself busy throughout the day to avoid falling asleep.

And, even though I did take this with food, the Our Family Suphedrine PE Severe Cold did upset my stomach a bit. But, again, it wasn’t as bad as other medicines.

Overall, I do feel this was a good purchase for me. As I said, the medicine wasn’t perfect. But, it did work and was very affordable. If you need something to help you through a bad cold, I would recommend it.

Avoiding Website Headaches for Smooth Designers

Designing websites is a lot easier today than it was a decade ago. With all the online help and free Internet downloads, even a novice can build an efficient and impressive website. If you are planning to build a website, consider browsing a few of the free designs available at,, or Many website hosting companies offer all the tools, templates, and tips you need to design a website, but there are still certain design tips you should know. If you are not overjoyed with the templates your hosting provider offers, you can perform a search for “free website templates” and browse the thousands of website templates available for free. Once you find something you like, you can simply download the template and make the necessary changes to reflect your personalized website.

If you are feeling really creative, you can customize your website using your own skills in design.

Start by browsing a few web designs on the Internet to spark fresh ideas. There is a wealth of fantastically designed websites across the Internet. Spend some time viewing them and get those “creative” gears turning, that’s what  best digital marketing agencies have in common.

Layout the main areas of your web design on paper and preview your design in all major web browsers.

Keep in mind the functional basic elements of navigation, header, body, and footer areas are essential parts of all websites. Design-wise, a freestyle layout can look beautiful, but getting that perfect layout design to view correctly in different browsers can be very difficult. One of the worst browsers for viewing most websites is Internet Explorer. Text and graphics will often overlap, appear out of place, and elements might even appear cut off. Remember to view your newly designed website in all the major browsers to avoid design headaches. Since you can’t be sure what browser your visitors may be using, it is advisable to refrain from designing a freestyle type website where the design requires specially formatted areas and layers. Previewing your website in all the major browsers will insure how your website will look within each browser.


Choose a color scheme which will be soothing and easy on the eyes.

Sometimes designers forget the effects of various colors upon the eyes. This choice can make a difference on how long a visitor may stay at your website. Stark, bright white background against black text can strain the eyes in a very short time. It is best to use a muted background color against black text, steering away from eye-piercing vibrant colors. Alternatively, you could use a muted color of text on a white background, easing the effects of eye strain, especially if you use a lot of text.


Graphics and photographs are worth a thousand words, but don’t over-do it.

Often, too much visual “bling” can be distracting and confusing. When using photographs, have them cropped appropriately, centering upon the main focus of the picture. Try to have them sized to fit the space where they are intended so they will load into the page quickly, using the least amount of bytes necessary. This will keep the website lean. If you are using graphic elements, like icons and customized art pieces, keep them limited and minimal. Too many iconic graphics tend to make the page look overworked and tacky.


Decide how many pages your website will need by breaking it down into categories.

Usually, you will have a home page and contact. Beyond that, you have choices of whether you will need additional sections for your website. You might need separate pages for information, products, or pages about yourself or your company. It is advantageous to keep all the pages looking related with similar elements in design and style. Decide ahead of time what typeface and sizes you will use in the design. Keeping all the pages uniform will greatly serve your efforts as a designer simplified, and serve your visitors with a pleasant and smooth website experience to keep them coming back.

Success: Luck or Hard Work?

Is success a matter of luck or hard work? I think the answer to that question is yes. I had a sales manager years ago who influenced me more than he knew. The late, great Bob Leviere always used to say, “The harder you works the luckier you gets.” Grammar aside, I believe he was right.

How many times has each of us seen firsthand or heard about someone whom we know for a fact lacks our levels of intelligence, charm, and charisma enjoy success that surpasses that of our own? Please don’t feel as if you’re arrogant or bitter in answering that question for yourself-no one is going to ask for a list of names. What is your reaction when that happens? Amazement? Disillusion? Sour grapes?

Whatever the reaction, I am going to very gently and kindly tell you to get over it because those negative feelings can only get in the way of setting yourself up to get what those other people got that you may not have-an opportunity. The Webster on-line dictionary says opportunity is, “a favorable juncture of circumstances”. (

‘A favorable juncture of circumstances’ sounds like one could wander aimlessly through life and run into opportunity while another could miss it. They could. The question you have to ask, though, is whether you want to wander aimlessly hoping for a random stroke of luck or if you prefer to work to be available for such strokes of luck. Luck, by the way, is, “the events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual,” according to Webster. ( In the words of Dirty Harry, “The question you gotta ask yourself is, ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you?”

I hope the Dirty Harry quote made you smile. I know the next question may generate some dirty-minded smirks, but I don’t really know how else to phrase it without getting all multi-syllabic-so please take it in the clean sense in which it is intended; here goes. How do you ‘get lucky’? How do you influence the events or circumstances that operate for or against you in order to create a favorable juncture of circumstances?

Those faithful among us may look to God to pave the way. Those among us with an existentialist point of view may just be struck by an opportunity by sheer chance. Nothing wrong with either of those scenarios, but I think each of us has the power to influence luck in order to create opportunity.

The first and biggest thing we can do to positively influence our chances for opportunity is to simply show up. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how knowledgeable you are, how cute or otherwise wonderful you are if you’re not in the place where those qualities are required at the moment they are required. So, how do you know where to show up and how many places can you be at one time?

Well, the fact is that although your experience or your intuition may tell you where you’ll have the best chance for an opportunity, you never know. As for the other piece, you can only physically be in one place at a time; your influence, though, can be in as many places as you put it.

Every positive impression you make spreads your positive influence (the negative ones are a whole different discussion). These impressions can be in person, over the phone, by word of mouth, or through advertising messages. Every positive, consistent impression someone receives of you raises your top of mind awareness with that individual. Remember that luck is defined as ‘events or circumstances that operate for or against an individual’. Positive impressions and positive top of mind awareness increase the chances that events or circumstances will operate for rather than against you. You make your own luck by creating the right image for yourself through your actions consistent with the messages you distribute. Opportunity, as a ‘favorable juncture of circumstances’ increases with your luck.

It takes work to maintain all these impressions of yourself and your business. For example, if you are looking for hospitality jobs london area or business opportunities in Paris or in California, it is efficient to take into consideration your skills.

Each interaction a person has with you should be positive and consistent with what people are saying about you and with what your advertising says about you. It is extremely difficult to be your ‘business self’ all the time. It is extremely easy to just be yourself all the time. For the sake of this discussion let’s assume you are basically a likable person who is honest, reasonably competent, and has great follow through (without these basic attributes success will be limited regardless of what message you put out there to the masses-again, a topic for another discussion).

There are lots of things you can easily do that will increase your positive top of mind awareness. Going back to a point early in the discussion-you can show up. Show up at the doors of as many potential clients and influential business contacts as possible. While you’re there let them know honestly what you do and why letting you do whatever it is that you do is a good idea. Notice I didn’t say, “…and why letting you do whatever it is that you do versus your competition is a good idea.” If you’re in a competitive business it is a good idea to know where your strengths and weaknesses are in comparison with your competition; however, bringing them up unsolicited is engaging in an unnecessary battle. It could lead to a less-than-positive impression. Besides, the potential source of business sitting in front of you is focused on you right now. Why would you ask him to shift that focus, even for a moment, to your competition?

Showing up also increases the number of word of mouth referrals you are likely to get. If people are thinking about you, they will likely talk about you. It’s important to make sure the things they are saying are consistent with what you’re trying to accomplish. If that’s the case, you in essence have your own little word of mouth committee who makes sure everyone they know who needs you knows about you.

Let’s talk about what happens when you mess up. What happens when your actions or results are inconsistent with the positive impression you’re working so hard to create? Say you fail to meet a customer’s expectations. What do you do? Fibs, finger pointing or other elaborate cover-ups will just make it worse. My advice is to simply apologize, try to make it right if damage has been done, and start over. Nothing takes the wind out of a reasonable person’s sails and gets them on your side faster than a sincere apology and an effort to make it right. Failure to do so could result in the formation of another type of word of mouth campaign that you just don’t need.

Advertising sales are essential to my business. Considering what I do for a living you may think it odd that I have barely touched on the power of advertising to spread your positive impressions. It might actually be odd, but I felt the need to talk about front-line luck-and-opportunity-making first.

Consistency and frequency are vital in getting your message to your potential clients. You can have a consistent message, but if it isn’t heard often enough people will forget. You can distribute messages frequently, but if the message isn’t consistent people will either become distrustful or not associate them all with you.

So, if showing up and word of mouth are so important why do you need to advertise? It’s two-fold, but it’s simple. You can only be one place at a time and those talking about you can only be in one place at a time. Advertising is putting your message in a visible place so that when unknown passersby see or hear it, it might register as a positive impression. Remember, you want positive impressions because impressions influence your ‘events or circumstances that work for or against (you)’.

The second reason it’s important to advertise is that it helps you increase the frequency with which you can distribute those positive impressions. In other words, you can only be so many places at once; advertising reminds those people who are part of your positive word of mouth committee that you’re there. A past client in need of the same product or service will see or hear your ad and say, “oh yeah”. Advertising increases your chances of top of mind awareness, which increases your chances for ‘a favorable juncture of circumstances’.

What do you think? Is success a matter of luck or hard work? I say sustained success is dependent on your effort (read hard work) to create circumstances that work for you (read luck). Bob Leviere said it best, “The harder you works, the luckier you gets.”