Farm Name Selected

We have finally decided on a name for our place that carries meaning for us from our past, present and future business ideals.   Growing Phases Farm is our new name and although we haven’t  started officially doing business the name is in place!

 I have set up a Facebook page and another blog where I will be writing about happenings on the Farm and I am keeping my fingers crossed we can find a good internet connection here.   We are pretty remote and most carriers don’t reach us.

We were busy the last few weeks harvesting all the garlic and now this task is finally complete.   The 5 types of garlic grown this past season include Chrysalis Purple, Chesnok Red, Persian Star, Inchelium Red and Chet’s Italian.   The garlic will cure for a month before it is up for sale and many of the cloves will be saved for our planting for 2012 which will take place in October.   I also ordered 2 additional varieties – Music and Siberian, along with Lorz Italian and Broadleaf Czech to be started.   Overall, the growth and harvest went well, although much more organic compost needs to be added to the hard clay soil for better results.

The cucumbers have been plentiful allowing us to can enough to keep us pickle happy until next season.   I left the vines to grow a little longer since the chickens love cucumbers and will enjoy their refreshing taste on these hot, hot summer days!

I noticed more baby birds out and about and made sure to keep the feeders full for them.   If you sit and watch you can see the difference between the babies and the adults – besides the physical appearance, they are slower to move and they tend to observe what is going on around them.

Top picture is a baby House Wren – the nest is built behind a piece of wood we placed up against sliding glass doors.   The wood was picked up and placed there for no reason, but once the nest-building began – we didn’t dare move it.   The lower picture is a baby American Goldfinch watching the world go by.

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Me and My Blogs …

I just recently set up another new blog for “Munchie Monday” and I created it in a matter of minutes.   I must be getting good at it, eh?   Actually the more you work with something, the better and quicker you get at achieving your final results.  I do have a few blogs … this one, The Running Garlic, the one I just created for Munchie Monday and Garden Dish.   These three will be the blog triangle I work within.   There are a few others I have created in the past…all a learning experience and although they still remain intact, my interests have evolved.   I remember being quite intimidated by this whole blog concept and publishing my first post was such a scary experience.   The hesitation before clicking that “Publish” button was REAL and finally telling myself to “Just do it” was such a dramatic achievement.  Now I rarely hesitate once I am ready to Publish.   That speaks volumes to me about getting out there and doing something we are unfamiliar with.   I must admit I do try to learn all I can about subjects that interest me, but I think the tricky part with blogging is – You have no clue who is reading your words and you most definitely do not want to make a fool of yourself (even though you don’t know who you would be making a fool of yourself in front of).   It’s that fear and that funny voice in our heads creating doubt.   Needless to say, I won out over that voice and since participating in the Post a Day Challenge I really enjoy my blogging.   I am excited to add content to the other blogs because I know it will be fun!

There are plenty of neat features between all the themes and layouts and different settings with the WordPress blog to keep you busy and your mind active.   Learn WordPress is a great start to learn many of the basics and as I said before the more you work with something, the easier it gets.   There are different ways to set up features on the blog and even one to set yourself private from the world, so if that aspect frightens you, as it did me…set it to private.   With my gardening interests I have found that documenting daily or weekly activity, weather and problems in the garden with a blog is an excellent tool.   It allows you to quickly look back at the year before and see what was happening and what you were planting, your harvest and your pictures!   Priceless

I have also found that I go out of my way to experience different things or take photos that I never would have if I didn’t have a blog to talk about the experience.

So if you are thinking of setting up a blog, I encourage you to do so.   No one needs to read it.   I am betting though by the time you experience the ease and the fun that blogging adds to your life, you will be anxious to share it with ….. whoever is reading it out there!

NetworkedBlogs on Facebook

Do you use NetworkedBlogs on Facebook?   If you have a blog and use Facebook you really should be connecting these two social media tools to gain the most exposure for yourself.   All you need to do is follow the steps outlined under the App for NetworkedBlogs and you will be able to display a Blog link on your fan page for readers to click and read your blog.   Your blog posts will appear and the reader can go “read more”.  

You also have the ability to Follow other blogs that interest you.   On the Home page on Facebook there is an icon in the left column NetworkedBlogs you can click and see all the blogs you are following.   From there you can Vote, Share or go Read the full post.

For my Feature this Friday, I would like to thank those following my blog via the NetworkedBlog App on Facebook.   Thank you Everyone!!

Here are a few that also use the NetWorkedBlog feature – give them a Follow!

Eliz = EOF737’s Mirth & Motivation

Sandra = Give & Get

Leta = Leta Marie Designs

Nicole = Nicole Visions

Paul = Pantry Blogger

Linda = Steider Studios

Me = The Running Garlic

If you have any questions about using the feature, I will do my best to help you out.   Thanks again!!

**As of yesterday Facebook upgraded pages so things have moved around a bit.   If this affects the NetworkedBlogs I will let you know!

Feedback as you Develop your Business

As  you structure and develop your business keep in mind the importance of feedback from current customers and all those you come in contact with.   At times our own views and outlook on specific facets of our product or service need a little boost from outside to liven things up.   We narrow in concentrating on small details and quite possibly can lose sight of the big picture.  

Periodically, it is a wise move to ask the opinion of others.   You may create a panel or committee merely for answering questions on a color design or even for taste testing your creations.

Just this past week I posted this picture on Wordless Wednesday and had the caption “Chocolate” under it.   I noticed some of the comments were unsure if it was actually chocolate or soap.   I then changed the caption to ask just that question – Is it chocolate or soap?   Not sure if the word Handmade caused the confusion or the fact that it does look like a bar of soap was the reason.   Regardless, this confusion could have resulted in loss of sales if I were selling the item.  

Actually for those still wondering … It was Chocolate!   Another interesting point dawned on me ….. a good description.   You would never had known 1) first of all, if it actually was chocolate and 2) what was inside.   Along with a eye-catching photo of your product, you need to paint a jaw dropping description to entice viewers to want what you have to offer.

A rich, creamy Chocolate covered treat!  Let your senses delight as this  mint- flavored crunchy snack takes away all the stresses of the day!

As long as you are asking for feedback from customers or volunteers, go ahead and ask advice on a good description.   Brainstorm … throw words out there and find the perfect words to convey your products and services.

One word could make all the difference ……. Chocolate or Soap?

What does your “About” Page say?

I just finished reading an article from Inc. magazine regarding the importance of an “About” page on your website, blog and business material.   Simply stated the article emphasized the relationship factor involved in on-line interactions.   No longer are relationships merely business to business dealings instead they are on a more people to people level.   Potential customers visit your page interested in your product or service but they also want to learn more about you.   They want to like and trust you before they commit on a financial basis (purchasing what you offer for sale).   Reading about the company history, the founders and what inspired them lends a human touch to the business.   It is this human touch that is often lacking on-line.  Making sure you offer this in your on-line presence will help ensure return visits to your blog or website.

Think of your “About” page as a sales tool, and quite frankly, it does work as a sales person.   It represents your business with the added benefit of being open 24 hours a day.   Even if you are not running a small business your “About” page can personalize you, helping you appear more like a human being and not just a computer screen.   Showcase your personality – make it serious or funny, happy or light-hearted.   You could even go as far as making a video so your viewers can see the “real” you!

I am sure after reading this post and acknowledging the importance I am passing along regarding the “About” page, you will glance around looking for mine.   Well … I honestly didn’t realize the potential or the significance it held.   I guess you can say it is much like an open invitation to your audience to come on in and get to know you.   I will have to spend some time creating my personality on paper since I definitely do not want to appear boring and dull.   I need to portray myself as fun, happy and always smiling …. I wonder if I can muster up some writing skills and paint the picture of who I am?

What does your “About” page say?

(Afterthought … I actually do have an About page out there, on another blog and it doesn’t sound half bad!)

Crafting a Business

I purchased this book several months ago and read it rather quickly.   I Love It!   Not because of the information it contains, but the strong feeling I get when I see what these women have accomplished.   The book portrays 28 successful small business owners who strive for more … who have a calling to unleash their passion and they are doing just that.   The book does not give detailed information on” how to” but rather it profiles these 28 women and gives a brief description of them, their business and dreams.

It held my interest and still does (as I sit here flipping through the pages again).   I listed a few of the businesses featured so you can get a feel for what I am talking about.   They went beyond selling to their friends and/or just an online community … they focused on the bigger picture.   Creating a Big small business and I find it very inspiring.

Sisters on the Fly – www.sistersonthefly.com

Tiddlywinks & Scallywags – www.britkid.com 

Amy Butler Design – www.amybutlerdesign.com

Found Cat Studio – www.annacorbastudio.com

Lucinda Rooney – www.lucindarooney.com

Confetti Cakes – www.confetticakes.com

Warm Biscuit – www.warmbiscuit.com

The deep meaning that I find in this book is this – you can create a craft business and sell your products on-line or at craft shows or even a storefront, but.   The” but” is what captivates me.   Each and every one of these individuals aimed high.   You have to take your mind and put it into focus … focus on where you are going, live and act like you are already there and you will be before you know it.   Go after the big picture!   These brilliant ladies did it and they are telling their story!

Stay Unique with your Business

Standing out in a crowd is usually something we don’t strive to do; most times, we just want to blend in and go with the flow.   This is fine when standing in line at the bank or sitting in the audience at a movie theater, but not so when running a small business.   These days the internet is saturated with business sites, small and large, and standing out in a crowd is a necessity.   A small business not only has to grab our attention but also give us reason to return to their site.   Our initial contacts over the internet are quick and if our interest is peaked, we will bookmark the site for further research.   If this doesn’t happen the site is usually lost in the vast world of the internet.

If we have a name or logo that is easily remembered chances are we can be found again without much effort.   A simple, yet unique name along with repetition, will up the odds of our business site being found again.   Repetition is key.   The more an individual sees or hears your business name the more likely they will be to search you out and make sure to add you to their bookmarks.   Make it a point then to become involved in groups and forums, giveaways (have one yourself), challenges such as the Post a Day 2011 currently underway by WordPress, comment on blogs and fan pages and make sure you are real.   Don’t just zip through a list of blogs and leave the same comment.   Find blogs that interest you and be honest when leaving feedback and remember to stay positive.

Along the lines of a giveaway, you can also offer tips and advice in your field of expertise either as a page on your blog or website or offer to mail a free booklet along with an order or have a downloadable version available.   Make it easy to obtain with no requirements or hoops they have to jump through to get the information.   I see quite a few individuals using the free ebook format and as you read on you get more and more but you have to do more or pay more.   For me that approach doesn’t work and I usually leave the site never to return.

I spotted this article on Twitter this past week and found it loaded with great tips and valuable advice… Creating An Irresistible Brand.

Participating in the WordPress Post a Day 2011 Challenge!