How to Balance your Day Job with your Side Business

Graphic Circles Business Cards  by PaperDirectThe cliche about not giving up your day job often turns out to be solid advice for business ventures that net little or no profit. Unfortunately, juggling a traditional 9-to-5 gig with a side business can be incredibly difficult, particularly if your schedule is also swamped with school, family and social obligations. There’s no need to give up your dream business just yet; with a little streamlining of your daily routine, you can continue to pursue your passions without leaving behind the financial comfort of your normal job.

Learn How To Say No

Garden Gate Business Cards by PaperDirect

As a day worker with a side gig, you will eventually need to learn how to draw a line whenyou’re up to your ears in work. If you take on too many freelance clients or spend twelve-hour days at the office, you’ll quickly find your quality of work suffering on both fronts. Learn to only take on clients and assignments capable of furthering your business. You should also determine whether your current day job is ideal. Although you cannot completely give up traditional employment at this time, switching to a more flexible day job could prove beneficial.

Evaluate Your Schedule

With two jobs, it may feel as if you never have a moment to yourself. But with careful tracking of your day-to-day activities, you may find that you possess more spare time than you initially suspected. Those mindless fifteen minute periods of Facebook surfing add up quickly; this is all time you could be using to promote your business.

Use Your Day Job To Your Advantage

Cleaning Supplies Business Cards by PaperDirectInstead of looking at your normal workday as a source of drudgery, try viewing it as an opportunity to further your outside business aspirations. The contacts you make at your current place of employment could be invaluable in the future. Make a point of attending social functions sponsored by your employer when you can squeeze them into your schedule. While chatting with coworkers and clients, tell them of your aspirations and offer them professional business cards decked out with all the necessary details surrounding your side venture. Patrons are eager to support businesses run by friends and associates; they’ll gladly lend you support if you give them the opportunity.

The combination of a day job and a side gig can create a scheduling nightmare, but this setup will also offer you a greater sense of financial stability. By streamlining your efforts, you can make the most of a challenging situation.

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How to Zero in on Your Target Market

Color Bazaar Border Paper by PaperDirectYour company may have the potential to help a lot of other businesses, but you’re not likely to effectively reach them unless you zero in on your target market. You can do this with some helpful tips that make it easy to reach the companies you can benefit most.

Figure Out Who They Are

You can’t very well target if a specific audience if you’re not sure who they may be. While many businesses like to think that the entire world is or should be their target, that mindset doesn’t typically net results. The world is too broad a place to home in on the specific message or content that will draw in your ideal customers.

And that’s exactly what your target audience is: your ideal customers. They are businesses most likely to use your service and products. Set up a profile that outlines their common characteristics, such as industry, annual revenue, number of employees, company culture and other defining factors that can guide you in your marketing efforts.

Determine What They Want from You

Once you’ve outlined your ideal B2B customer, it’s time to determine what they want from your business. The most effective marketing strategies always highlight what the company can do for the customer. Can you save a company time and energy? Reduce their spending in key areas of their business? Focus on the biggest benefits companies can reap from your brand and make sure they’re mentioned in your marketing messages.

Reach Them through the Ideal Channel

Here’s where you need to figure out where your target businesses like to hang out. Certain social media channels, such as LinkedIn, are geared specifically toward business. Other means include emails, direct mail and face-to-face encounters.

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Reach Them Like a Pro

No matter what channel you use to reach your audience, you want your content to begeared toward its recipients. That means your word choice, tone, style, layout and appearance of your content needs to be enticing to your target.

You can craft an ideal appearance for any message by choosing the appropriate font, colors and background. While marketing through digital channels comes with certain restrictions, direct mail letters, fliers, brochures and other physical marketing materials can enjoy a wide range of visuals, letterheads, borders and other eye-catching elements on your business communication that match the vibe of the audience you’re trying to reach.

Stuck on where to begin? Get inspiration from myriad options at PaperDirect.

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The Ultimate Office Party Planning Checklist

Cascade Specialty Flat Invitations by PaperDirectWhether your idea of an office party is hosting your company’s version of Michael Scott’s Dundies or simply relaxing with a can of beer and a slice of pizza, you’ll want to make a point of acquiring all the necessary supplies ahead of time. No, you do not need an entire party planning committee to complete the job, but the items in this office party planning checklist could prove useful:

A Good Setup

You work in an office, so you should have plenty of chairs and tables on hand for your party, right? Wrong! Your average office party is plagued by a lack of decent seating. Some partygoers may prefer to stand, but be sure to have a few extra folding chairs on hand, just in case.

Consider renting a few high tops so people can stand while eating.

Classy Conversation

At each table, place a funny photo or board game. This will get the party going and set people up for an awesome night.

Munchies

Office parties definitely need good food
Teamwork Clips Magnetic Sculptureoptions. Have everyone bring in their favorite potluck dish or recipe. Try holding a contest for the best:

  • Dip Recipe
  • Cookie Recipe
  • “Junkiest Food”
  • “Healthiest Food”

You can’t go wrong with chex mix or pretzels!

Prizes

What fun is a game if it doesn’t feature a prize for the winner? Your prize could range from something simple, like food, to a special privilege, like an extra day off. If your budget can handle it, feel free to offer something more extensive, such as a gift card or even a weekend getaway.

Beverages

Non-Alcoholic Favorites: 

  • Orange Juice
  • Coca-Cola and Diet Coke
  • Redbull (if you’re office is feisty)
  • Iced Tea
  • Gatorade

Wines, Spirits, etc:

  • Mimosas
  • Bloody Mary Bar
  • Local Craft Beers

Invites

Majestic Greens Casual Invitations by PaperDirectDon’t just assume that the entire office knows about the upcoming party. An announcement at your weekly meeting or inservice may be helpful, but you’re best off sending out official invites for the big event. This can take place via email or, if you prefer the traditional touch, with special cards.

Don’t turn your office party into a boring, awkward obligation; with the right supplies and, more importantly, an optimistic attitude, you’ll have no problem throwing an exciting celebration that will be talked about for years to come.

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How to Present Your Brand with Style & Confidence

Aquamarine Postcards by PaperDirectWhen you are launching a new business or creating a fresh identity for a current organization, you will want to take the time to create a branding strategy that will work for your company.

Once you have created your new brand, you will want to present it to the world — but you have to feel completely confident in the brand you have designed. When you present your brand with both style and confidence, your customers will have more trust and faith in your business.

You’ll instantly earn their respect and admiration while also securing them as loyal customers for years to come.

How to Present Your Brand with Style & Confidence

  • Create the right print materials in order to market your brand to your target Back Nine Golf Papers by PaperDirectaudience. You’ll want to send flyers with your new logo on it, and create display boards that you can show off at local networking events. In addition, maintain a level of professionalism with a personalized presentation folder. Be prepared to describe your business and explain your brand at all times, and always have print products available to pass out to potential clients and customers.
  • Launch a social media campaign introducing your brand. Whether you are a brick-and-mortar business or an online entity, you need to be participating in the world of social media. You can easily connect with your target demographic online on the various social networking platforms, and you can post daily reminders about your brand. This helps to establish brand identity among your clients, and shows you are committed to your brand.
  • Stand behind your brand and focus on remaining consistent in your brand identity and brand management. Choose a color scheme and design a logo, and stay the course. Your brand defines your business, and brand consistency helps you build both customer trust and satisfaction.

Introducing your new brand and business identity should not be something that is rushed into. You will want to spend a significant amount of time researching and strategizing before you begin to implement a new brand identity.

Once you have worked through the process, you will be thrilled with the brand you have created and you will be excited about launching this new brand. Be prepared to present your brand by having the best print products on hand with your new logo emblazoned on them in crisp, bright and bold colors.

Check out more business products available at PaperDirect.com.

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6 Low-budget Ideas to Perform Market Research

While performing market research has gotten pretty “high tech” in recent times, with algorithms and analytics bringing business intelligence over mobile devices, there’s something to be said for getting back to basics. Some of the best ideas to perform market research are those tried-and-true classic methods that get you down “in the trenches” with customers; they can also be implemented in a way that’s easy on the budget. If you’re looking for more insight into your business, consider these six time-tested ideas to perform market research:

1. In-person questionnaires. In-person surveys refer to those “man on the street” interviews usually conducted in high-traffic areas where your target audience tends to be. A shopping mall, a city street or wherever potential customers congregate can be an ideal location. Start by creating a concise questionnaire that will help you to analyze your most pressing business questions. The larger the sample group, the more reliable your results will be. Ask targeted questions, show product samples, and get feedback about packaging and advertising ideas. The response rate of in-person surveys is up to 90%, making them well worth the effort.

2. Online surveys. While online surveys have a more unpredictable response rate, their convenience cannot be denied. Online surveys are a simple, affordable way to collect data and find out more about your customers’ opinions, habits, needs and preferences.

3. Direct observation. Responses to surveys, while valuable, can sometimes be at odds with actual consumer behavior. Consider observing your customers in action in your stores as they go through the decision-making process. You might consider setting up a camera system; also, take the time to watch YouTube video product reviews and demonstrations posted by your customers. Observation will provide a more accurate picture of shopping patterns and product use habits.

4. Indepth interviews. Consider contacting some of your most active customers for a more indepth interview about their experience with your product, service and business. Find out what makes them tick, what drew them to your business, and what keeps them coming back.

5. Focus groups. Focus groups are excellent for learning about consumer attitudes and test-marketing new products. The sessions can be videotaped discreetly or observed via one-way mirrors. A neutral moderator should use pre-scripted questions on the topics most pressing to your business. Generally, you should conduct three separate focus groups to ensure accurate data.

6. Field trials. Offering a new product or service in select stores is a great way to assess customer response in real-life conditions. From there, you can make product modifications, improve the packaging/marketing, and adjust pricing as needed.

While the marketing landscape has gotten more complex in recent times, these six ideas to perform market research can generate solid data at an affordable cost. Stop by PaperDirect for all your business communication needs!

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Five Things Not to Do in Your Cubicle

Nostalgic employees love to complain about today’s casual workers and their complete lack of respect. If you’re engaging in one of the following obnoxious cubicle activities, have some compassion for your coworkers and cut it out!

1. Taking Selfies

What to NOT do in your cubicle- #1 Office Selfie

Everybody loves a good selfie, but the office might not be the best setting for your photography masterpiece.

If you can’t resist the urge to pose for the camera, at least wait until you can capture an oh-so-classy mirror selfie in the office bathroom.

2. Make Out With Your Hot Coworker

What to NOT do in your cubicle- #4 Kissing Your Hot coworker

Sure, that guy from IT is attractive, but this isn’t a college bar — you don’t need to swap spit at this very moment.

The office hookup may be every bored worker’s fantasy, but you’re better off waiting until you’ve climbed the corporate ladder and scored a room with a door.

3. Air Out Your Stinky Feet

What to NOT do in your cubicle- #2 Feet on DeskYour feet are aching after that much-needed Starbucks run. Perhaps you should have considered the possibility of sore tootsies before you decided to wear stilettos to work. As uncomfortable as your feet may currently be, you’ll make your work neighbors even more uncomfortable if you decide to slip off your shoes.

You may be blissfully unaware of the rancid stench of your bare feet, but you’re coworkers aren’t as fortunate.

4. Clip Your Nails

What to NOT do in your cubicle- #3 Clipping Nails

Personal hygiene is a wonderful thing, particularly when you spend the majority of your time in an office environment. However, there is a time and a place for grooming and your cubicle is definitely not ideal. The sound of that nail clipper is sure to drive your coworkers bonkers. They’ll be similarly unimpressed with your dedication to dental hygiene if you insist on flossing at your desk.

5. Take A Nap

Remember George Costanza’s specially designed napping desk on Seinfeld? If you don’t possess one of these beauties (not to mention, a private office), you probably better down an extra coffee and return your focus to marketing and business promotions.

These are things not to do in your cubicle: live and die by them.

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Unlocking the Promotional Potential of Quirky Holidays

Christmas, Halloween and Easter can all be promotional gold mines, but when the standard holidays are far away, it never hurts to come up with a few new and unusual holiday marketing prospects. Instead of sticking with your tired holiday celebrations, why not take a more original approach and incorporate a few unusual holidays into your marketing effort?

Take a peek at a Weird Holiday Calendar for inspiration.

Some of our favorite weird holidays:

  • Father in Law Day (July 30th)
  • National Cheeseburger Day (August 19th)
  • Single Awareness Day (February 15th)
  • International Women’s Day (March 8th)
  • National Walk to Work Day (1st Friday of April)
  • Star Wars Day (May 4th)

Other Holidays and Promotional Ideas:

Pi Day –March 14th

Whether you are a proud math nerd or a baked goods connoisseur, you’ll find plenty to love about Pi Day! It also represents a great opportunity for concessions-based promotions, which are often some of the most effective for attracting new customers.

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day – January 31st

During the dull month of January, there’s no better way to add a special spark into a dreary day than with a celebration of Inspire Your Heart With Art Day. This special holiday gives you the opportunity to go all out with your marketing materials, sharing your appreciation of art with the assistance of beautiful and inspiring postcards, brochures and letterheads.

National Tell A Joke Day – August 16th

National Tell A Joke Day provides the perfect opportunity for social media aficionados to encourage community interaction — just ask Facebook or Twitter followers to share their all-time favorite jokes!

Grandparents Day –September 7th

Enough with the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day promotions! Sure, everybody loves mom and dad, but sometimes, grandma and grandpa need some appreciation as well. Not only is this holiday great for attracting favor with the senior demographic group, it can also be aimed at younger customers eager to show their grandparents just how much they care.

Talk Like A Pirate Day –September 10th

September is a terrible month for holiday-based marketing. After the school year begins, you either have the option of beginning to market Halloween deals super early or waiting for an entire month before you can the benefits of holiday promotions. Mitigate this huge divide with the help of Talk Like A Pirate Day, a silly occasion that allows participants to embrace a very entertaining dialect.

From silly to touching, unusual holidays cover the full scope of emotion, making them perfect for targeting your unique customer base. This year, freshen up your marketing approach with a truly unique holiday celebration!

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Fun & Lovey Dovey Wedding Quotes from Disney Movies

Disney Wedding Quotes Planning your wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life, and you have probably agonized over every little detail. When it comes time to creating your wedding invitations, you will want to choose beautiful invitations that match the general theme of your wedding.

However, the words that are printed on your wedding invitations are just as important as the invitation color, design and pattern. Consider including a sweet Disney movie quote on your wedding invitation in order to set the mood for your big day.

Fun & Lovey Dovey Wedding Quotes from Disney Movies

Peter Pan Wedding quote1You mean more to me than anyone in this whole world,” – Peter Pan.

Frozen Wedding Quote

We finish each other’s… Sandwiches.” –  Frozen

Peter Pan Wedding Quote

All it takes is faith and trust. And a little bit of Pixie dust.” – Peter Pan

The Rescuers Wedding quote

To face the future with another who means more than any other is to be loved,” – The Rescuers.

 

Walt Disney Wedding Quote

Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney

More Quotes:

You’re the one that I’ve been looking for,” The Little Mermaid.

Let me share this whole new world with you.” – Aladdin

You are my greatest adventure,” The Incredibles.

If you keep believing, the dream that you wish will come true.” – Cinderella

Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” – Lilo & Stich

Incorporating a Disney movie quote onto your wedding invitation will allow you to express your love for one another while also relating to your guests at the same time.

Whichever quote you choose, it’s sure to make your wedding invitations uniquely yours. Now that you know what you want to say on your invitations, you need to choose a design. Check out all of the options available at PaperDirect today.

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DIY Invitation Ideas for Small Weddings

Pretty Petals Fold-Up Invitations by PaperDirectSmall, intimate weddings mean that you can put some extra details into your décor that would be too time-consuming or expensive for a wedding with hundreds of guests. That said, if you’re planning to do special DIY invitations, you’ll get gorgeous, custom results — just be sure to give yourself more time than you think you’ll need so you won’t add any wedding planning stress to your life.

Paper Direct’s wedding supplies will help you complete these DIY wedding invitation ideas that put an extra special touch on your small wedding.

Pockets

Who doesn’t love a pocket?

Use them for you wedding invitations by folding a paper doily or stitching a slim fabric sleeve for your invitations. When you don’t have a lot of invites to create, this adds an indulgent DIY touch of personality in your wedding colors. Just make sure that the outer envelope is large enough to accommodate the extra bulk!

Calligraphy

So you bought the perfect stationery that fits your wedding theme, but there’s a problem: how do you label everything with handwriting that’s elegant enough to match?

If your normal handwriting doesn’t look like a printing press or a pro calligrapher, consider a more budget-friendly tracing table (as long as your stationery is thin enough to allow light to pass through it). Just place a printed version of your label between the lit tracing table and your stationery or envelope and copy the perfect font into a handwritten detail.

Seals

Whimsy Heart Deluxe Embossed Seals by PaperDirect

With a small wedding, you can go ahead and put a little extra polish into finishing yourwedding invitations. Paper Direct offers a variety of wedding-themed seals to add sophistication to your envelopes once they’re ready to go. You can even choose one with your married initial for a custom look that doesn’t get in the way of the budget.

These DIY invitation ideas for small wedding will take the design of your stationery and envelopes to the next level and make your special day especially personalized and memorable.

 

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How to Plan a Dazzling 4th of July Celebration

4th of July by PaperDirectEveryone starts dreaming about the 4th of July weekend as soon as it’s warm enough to leave the jackets at home. Make this year a special celebration to remember with a personalized party from 4th of July paper supplies and these great ideas!

Plan Ahead, Way Ahead

Don’t miss the fireworks while stressing over the food and activities; plan menus and games that can be made or set up in advance, leaving the 4th for relaxing and socializing.

Print custom menus to place on the buffet or at place settings to get your guests excited about the meal in store.

Speaking of guests, some people make holiday plans months ahead of time, so send out party invitations early. Choose from themed stationery, envelopes, and even mailing labels to get things off to a fun start.

Pick a New Theme

Chances are you’ve been to more than one red, white, and blue BBQ party. There’s nothing wrong with the stars and stripes on this patriotic weekend, but you can still have a flag or two while choosing a unique theme that your guests will love. What about a tropical luau party? Or maybe a retro disco theme, or jump ahead to Christmas in July!

With stationery, you can customize the theme and put an unexpected twist on the traditional 4th of July party.

Vote for Your Favorites

Use your freedom to vote and the themed certificates as a fun party game for the whole family. Create certificates for wacky categories, like “Most Patriotic,” “Best Griller,” or “Best Potato Salad” and ask guests to write their nominations on slips of paper. Have prizes ready for the winning guests once all the votes are tallied!

It’s not too soon to start planning a dazzling 4th of July party your guests will remember well past summer. Get your 4th of July paper supplies from Paper Direct for a personalized touch this holiday weekend!

 

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