We recently had the pleasure of building a new website for Jocelyne Levesque of Sea to Sky Bookeeping, a bookkeeper in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, BC

Jocelyne is an efficient and informed accounting professional, ready to help local small businesses stay on top of their accounting obligations!

You can check out her site at  http://www.seatoskybookkeeping.ca/.

Like what we’ve done? It’s clean, professional, and listed on Google within days. We’d be happy to quote on your Whistler small business website project – drop us a line!


Email series: Mailchimp & Keeping your domain safe

I have two tips for you today…

FIRST TIP If you want to communicate by email with your clients, get your list together, and send out an email BEFORE JULY 1st (2014), asking people if they want to receive email from you.I personally recommend Mailchimp as a tool, but there are many other systems out that for this purpose. Just note that if you want to send out emails after July 1st, you need permission to do so before July 1st.

SECOND TIP Domains. Web addresses. www dot. Don’t get scammed. Don’t let your domain expire. Don’t buy domains needlessly.

Some people think that they can improve their website’s chances of being found on google simply by buying domains that are filled with keywords. This is untrue. You will be wasting your money if you go on a domain shopping spree.

Don’t let your domain expire, or let your contact information associated with your domain fall out of date.Your website or email may end up offline, and a little preemptive reassurance that everything is in working order could prevent those disasters!
Go to http://who.is and type in your website address.
1. Check that the contact info is current (especially your email address)
2. Check the expiry date (and diarize it!)
3. Note who the domain registrar is, and find your login info (then save it!)
And if all else fails, or if this seems daunting, email me and I’ll help.

Don’t fall for this scam. If you own a domain, there’s an excellent chance that you’ve received paper mail, reminding you to renew your domain.What they’re actually offering is a domain transfer – which provides no benefit, and costs you about twice as much as you would otherwise pay. Got one of these? Just shred it.


Decide on a Social Media Strategy

These days, if you’re not involved in some facet of Social Media, you’re definitely missing out on something. However, there are so many platforms and mediums to communicate with your soon-to-be adoring fans, that it can easily make drive any small business to decision paralysis. Not to mention that we’re not all so tech-savvy that we can really be engaging our audiences all the time.

Talk to us. We have a way of making what seems daunting turn into something totally do-able. You don’t need to do everything. Just do something… well. We’ll help you get that ball rolling.

Email Marketing

Your personal, social and business networks are a great way to reach existing and potential clients. Setting up an Email Marketing system is a lot less difficult than it sounds.

We love MailChimp and would love to set you up with it, and show you how to use it… or have you let us send out the material you decide on.

Let’s talk about how best to stay in touch with the biggest source of your business – referrals.

Cloud File Storage – How Dropbox will rock your (business) world

Cloud File Storage

It’s never been easier, more practical, and more fun.

Yes, you’ve heard of the “cloud”. You’ve probably even heard of Dropbox or Google Drive. Storing files in the cloud may seem like a scary concept that’s hard to visualize, but I can assure you it’ll pretty much change your life…and your business.

My personal preference is Dropbox, so that’s the solution I’ll tell you about. Dropbox is a form of online storage that is instantly backed up (when you are connected to the internet), and from which you can securely share folders or individual files with anyone. It is just a folder on your computer (with its own subfolders, for organization) that you can put any type of file into (video, spreadsheet, documents, photos, contracts – anything).

Here are some mind blowing uses of Dropbox:

  • I have a desktop computer and a laptop, but I don’t actually store ANY files on my laptop – only in my Dropbox folder. That means that if something happens to my hard drive, if my computer is stolen, or if I suddenly want to work from a different computer, I have everything I need at my fingertips. Dropbox is a guaranteed form of backup. My files are 100% secure and safe.
  • From my smartphone, from my iPad, and from any web browser, I can send or share any file that’s in my Dropbox. And since I store all of my files in Dropbox, I’ll never be without access to something I or my clients need.
  • Never clog your outgoing email or your client’s incoming again. Using Dropbox, you can send a LINK to a file, rather than attaching that file to email. The recipient of the email simply clicks on the link and the file downloads on their end.
  • If I choose to share a whole folder with someone, I can update the files that I’m working on and they’ll always see the most current version of our shared documents. (Imagine you spot a typo in an attachment after clicking send. Just change the file in Dropbox, and no need to email again with a new attachment. Your recipient will click the link and open the latest version of the file.)
  • My assistant saves all her files to Dropbox so that I can access anything she’s working on when she’s not on duty, even though I’m not at her computer.
  • You could keep all the strata documents for each listing in a separate Dropbox folder, and share access to it as needed. You can even revoke a shared link if you no longer want that link to be used.
  • You don’t need a Dropbox account to receive or view a file that’s stored in Dropbox.
  • Dropbox has a free 2GB version. I use the version that 100GB for $99/yr.

If you’re a fan of Google Drive – great. It works well! If you don’t use either Dropbox or Drive, I suggest Dropbox. I simply prefer the Dropbox interface and that’s the basis of my recommendation.

Cloud computing is the next big thing you maybe haven’t started doing yet.
Dropbox really couldn’t be simpler to use. Get started, and you’ll wonder how you lived without it!

Would you like some hands on setup and collaboration on how Dropbox will make your business better? I can talk you through setting it up, or I can come to your home or office.

Call me at 604.215.3301 or email
This is part of a series on how you can make your business run more smoothly,
using programs and applications you’ll wish you’d been using all along.
Technology will rock your world if you let it!
Stay tuned! Next month I’ll tell you about sending mass emails with Mailchimp.

Own Your Email Address – Google Apps for Business

As someone who has been self employed for the better part of a decade, I frequently find myself spending time thinking about my own productivity and the betterment of my business and personal organization – practices, services, efficiency, etc. You have probably found yourself in a similar thought pattern. As such, I’ve decided to launch a series of recommendations: TOOLS YOUR BUSINESS SHOULDN’T DO WITHOUT.The thought process here is that – at one time, having an email address, having a website, or using a smartphone, seemed daunting. But looking back on my last 8 years in business, how did I – or how did any of you – ever consider living or breathing, let alone being in business, without these tools?! So, now – what else is there that is a “must have” that you’re not already doing?I want to present to you a series of ideas – one per month, until I can’t think of anything further – that are aimed at improving your business and personal organization and processes. Everything I’ll be recommending will be from my own personal experience with a product or service, so that you’ll have both my endorsement and my ability to support you if you decide to explore this option!

I promise not to waste your time. I just want to encourage you to take a leap into the personal and business betterment that you have likely had on your mind. I’m aiming to remove the decision paralysis by providing you with one brilliant change you can make every month. And I won’t recommend just anything for the sake of filling an email – everything is worth doing. So please read, and take action if you see something that strikes a chord!

To get down to business, my first recommendation is OWN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS. Not to be confused with having your own email address. What I mean is – not relying on your internet provider or brokerage (@telus, @shaw, @remax, @sutton) or a free service (@gmail, @hotmail) – for your email. Having you@yourname.com is a lot easier a task than you’d think, and the benefits are ongoing. My reasoning in making this suggestion is 3-fold:

1) Continuity. If you own your own email address, it won’t matter who your internet provider or brokerage is over the years. Make a change now, before you’re forced to, to give yourself the time to ease your contacts into using your new info.

2) Professionalism. I think that an @yourdomain.com looks much more slick than @telus.net or @shaw.ca or @gmail.com. If you were dealing with a company, and received email from an @gmail.com email address, wouldn’t you notice that?

3) Portability. Use your email on a variety of devices, no matter where you are in the world. Not all applications allow for this. Travel the world, and have the same email control and access as you have at home.

You may have guessed that I already have a solution in mind as I write out those reasons. I have been a Google Apps for Business user since 2006, and I can honestly say it’s been the best tool I’ve ever invested in. The storage alone is amazing: I can find every email and attachment I’ve ever sent and received, whether on my computer, phone or iPad. I don’t have to be at my own computer to do my work. I also use the other tools – especially the calendar and documents. The cost? $5 per month per user to Google.

The best part is that if you are making the switch, we can actually set things up so that you still use email the same way as before, it’s just a different system running it in the background.

Interested? I can help.
Just ask. I’ll need to know what email address(es) you currently use, check how they’re set up, see what domains you own and what websites they are connected to, and ask what devices (how many, what types) you check your email on.
Work. I’ll set up the Google Apps account for you, then we will sit down together and hook it up to all your devices. We’ll also look at who you need to notify and where you need to change your email address.
Questions? Let me know what is most important to you in this transition and we’ll make sure it goes smoothly.
Cost? Setup time usually runs 2-3 hours @ $80/hr. I can come to your location(s) in the process.

Take the leap, and take your email on a move you won’t regret.

Next month: Dropbox. Keep everything you need at your fingertips. So useful and easy to use, you’ll wonder why you didn’t use it sooner.

Dara, Mae & Shane

Total Marketing and Consulting Inc.
Professional Marketing Services

Move Your Website to WordPress

We have recently been moving many clients from older website platforms, over to WordPress. This change is allowing them a more dynamic and more easily kept up-to-date platform for their website.

The brilliant part of this change is that the cost of doing so is really affordable, and all of our work comes with the first year of hosting at no charge. Clients can easily manage the content of their websites themselves, but we are of course always here for support and guidance!

We have more than a dozen website templates to recommend, and customize to your needs.