Sample Writing - Web Content

June 16th, 2009

Herb, Bud and the Beanstalk Boys (also known as simply, The Beanstalk Boys) is a partnership of adults with disabilities who own and operate an urban agri-business. What started out several years ago as a small project to develop a garden space out of a piece of land the size of a large living room, has grown into a year-round Urban Agribusiness with over 600 square feet of indoor and outdoor growing space. Last year the Beanstalk Boys grew a variety of crops including herbs, peas, beans, cabbage, flowers, etc. that were sold to local restaurants, farmers markets and a local grocery store. All seeds and plants were from donations from local garden centers and grocery stores.

After securing long-term partnerships with the Alternative High School, The University of Calgary Community Garden Project and Mount Royal College and with the generous support and cooperation of the local business community, Herb Bud and the Beanstalk Boys has turned a corner and is now a year-round agribusiness. With the development of two outdoor garden locations at the Alternative High School and the University of Calgary and one professionally equipped greenhouse growing space at Mount Royal College, hopes are high for future expansion.

After much ‘sweat equity’ and teamwork the location is now a series of garden boxes laid out in a circle design that signifies the ‘circle of truth’ philosophy of the school. This year, approximately 20 more garden boxes will be built with the assistance of up to 20 volunteers from Home Depot and CASS staff. ‘Team Depot’ will bring their expertise and their tools to assist in a “garden box work bee” on May 3, 2006 to increase the growing capacity of the garden business.

Sample Writing - CD Booklet Creation, Editing and Proofing

June 16th, 2009

Edited and Proofed the content and structure for Andrea Lee’s CD - ‘How to Measure What Matters.’

photometricsWhat is Metrics?

Metrics is a boring word for a very exciting thing…watching your business grow!

Put simply, metrics is tracking your numbers (sales, leads, promotions, etc) so you can truly see what is going on in your business.

If you have ever experienced a day of excitement when your first passive product hit the market And, wow, sales started rolling in… you’ll be just as much of a metrics-addict as me!

Measuring success is definitely one of my favorite gleeful guilty pleasures as a business owner… I hope you have one too, and no I don’t just mean the ice cream you had for lunch.

Now, the ‘numbers’ may not be the most exciting aspect of your day-to-day business activities, but what if measuring could be the catalyst that moves your business to the next level?

Let’s say to six or seven figures? Would this be good enough incentive to pull out the ‘virtual’ measuring stick? Listening to your numbers will point the way to what you must do next in terms of making more money in less time.

What can you learn from metrics?

· Tracking metrics tells you how well you are doing from week to week.

It helps you measure the things it’s most important to measure, which we will get into later in this program.

· You will immediately see when your measurements ’spike’ or ‘tumble.’

This means you know precisely what you should keep doing, and what you should stop doing.

· Your own Metrics Worksheet can act as an EKG for your business.

It will tell you if your business pulse goes flat-line, fast. Obviously flat-line is not a desirable state for us or for our businesses, and the more quickly you can respond when things are ’slow,’ the better chances you have for a healthy business. (Simply keep an eye on whether your metrics change. In all cases, if they aren’t moving somehow, things are not as they should be.)

· A great Metrics Spreadsheet also sharpens your focus.

Would you be better off adding new income streams to your product funnel? Could your existing streams be doing higher volume?

Although there are many more deductions you yourself can make when it comes to your Metrics, be aware that the process of tracking your metrics is a clever and elegant management tool.

Sample Article - Are You an Effective Multitasker?

June 16th, 2009

Some people swear by the efficiency of multitasking. Recently, however some suggest that, not only is multitasking inefficient, it’s counterproductive.  Whatever theory you ascribe to, humans seem ‘wired’ to try to accomplish multiple tasks — ever since that first, Type ‘A’  cave-dweller tossed a tuber on the fire next to the roasted woolly mammoth to cook meat and potatoes at the same time. 
Nowadays, you don’t have to look further than the driver next to you to see how multitasking has evolved as they try to negotiate traffic, consume a coffee and pastry while working their PDA all at the same time.
Take this self quiz to see how your multitasking skills rate.
1. At the end of the day my ‘to do’ list is smaller than when my day began.
2.  When completing multiple tasks simultaneously, I don’t combine tasks that require similar levels of concentration  (for instance, I choose listening, reading or talking with some other task) .
3.When completing multiple tasks simultaneously, I choose one task that requires focussed attention and  one task that is ‘mindless’. For instance, I stuff envelopes while listening to a teleconference.
4. While I’m in the process of completing more than one task, interruptions don’t throw me off track.
5. I rarely (if ever) feel  as though I don’t know what I accomplished at the end of a busy day.
6.Rather than feeling overwhelmed, focussing on multiple tasks gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
7. I recognize my limits and know when to say ‘no’ to accepting more tasks until I’ve sufficiently dealt with what’s at hand.
8. My colleagues never complain that I’m ‘going off all directions’, rather, they often ask how I manage juggling multiple responsibilities at once.
9. I have the right equipment, work environment and supports that allow me to multitask.
10.  I have agreement and support from staff, colleagues, family, partners and  peers to respect my focussed work time.
11. I rarely feel like I didn’t accomplish anything after a busy day.
12. When unexpected tasks or distractions come my way, I don’t feel overwhelmed - I prioritize and deal with them easily.
If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to enlist the help of an effective multitakser to bring more efficiency and free time into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like support doing this. Now that I’ve completed writing this quiz I can get back to my coffee and pastry and ask my GPS map to help me get back onto the highway exit I just missed.

Sample Writing - Ebook Editing

June 16th, 2009

Exerpt From: Hamsters: Cute and Cudly Pets.

MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION

Making the decision to buy a pet is a major decision. Keep in mind you need to consider many things before you make the ultimate decision to bring a pet home, including a hamster. After all, you want the right pet for your home, your lifestyle, and any special considerations you might have.

Although hamsters are small, your commitment to them must be the same as if you were buying a large dog. Typically, the reason people buy pets is for companionship, knowing they offer unconditional love. However, to enjoy owning an animal, you need to understand that they require clean water and food daily, clean bedding, and lots of affection and love.

Since pets of all types require daily attention, it is important that you not buy a pet merely because someone you know owns one or because someone tells you this is the pet for you. Only you can make the decision regarding which type of pet is right for you and your family. Select your pet based on how well it will fit into your family and lifestyle. Most importantly, never buy any pet on impulse.

Even small hamsters are a large commitment so be sure you do your research to understand the pros and cons so you can make an educated choice. Start by asking yourself a few simple questions. Even for a little animal such as a hamster, you need to ensure you have covered all the bases.

· Do you have adequate room?
· Do you have a cage or the financial means of buying one along with all the other paraphernalia needed?
· Do you have a quiet location in your home where the cage can be placed during the night while the hamster is awake and ready to play?
· Are you looking for an animal that you can wrestle with or simply a sweet-natured animal like a hamster that can be cuddled and enjoyed?
· If you work away from the home or travel often, do you have someone that could step in to care for your animal temporarily?
· Do you want a pet just for pleasure or are you interested in breeding?
· Do you have the time to care for your pet?
· Will there be other pets in the home that you need to consider?
· Do you have small children, elderly, or disabled people in the home?

Sample Writing - Ebook Sales Letter

June 16th, 2009

Created and edited sales page for ebook - Better Breastfeeding For a Better Life

Do You Know What Hillary Clinton, Cindy Crawford, Jodie Foster, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jada Pinkett-Smith Have In Common? You guessed it, they ALL breastfed their babies!

Discover Six Simple Things About Breastfeeding That Can Give You and Your Baby A 100% Increase in Health, Strength and Intelligence…and Save You Money Too.

Learn Why They Say Breastfeeding is THE BEST Gift You Can Give Your Child…
Discover Special Techniques Of Breastfeeding Experts That Will Have Your Baby Breastfeeding Naturally and Easily…

Prevent Breastfeeding Pain And Frustration,
Even If You’re New… (And Even If You Feel Like You’ve Already tried everything)

Why Breastfeeding is also one of the best things for Mommy’s health and well-being (and Daddy’s, too)

Dear Friend,

Congratulations on an important decision: giving your child a leg-up in today’s health conscious world by giving them the gift of breastfeeding. This is a vital decision and you have every reason to be proud.

Did you know you are in good company? Some famous breastfeeding moms include: Meryl Streep, Madonna, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Katie Couric, Margaret Thatcher, Senator Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, Eleanor Roosevelt, Faith Hill, Celine Dion, and even Diana, Princess of Wales, just to name a few.

So you can see that the decision to breast feed is backed up by many smart moms who want only the best for their babies.

Now what can you do to ensure your baby gets all of the benefits of your decision? That’s what this ebook “Better Breastfeeding for a Better Life” is all about.

Do you know when breastfeeding may be harmful to a newborn or mother?

Do you know the secret signal that tells you your child is ready to breastfeed?

Do you know the best time of day to pump milk?

If not, you will soon.

But first, a confession . . .

I am a man.

Wait! Before you dismiss me and this essential book, let me explain . . .

‘What the heck is a man doing writing an e-book about breastfeeding?’

Well, I’ve heard that one more than once, believe me. Other questions I’ve heard include, ”Is this guy some sort of lecher?’ OR ‘What can a man teach a woman about breastfeeding?’

All fair questions.

So, why did I write a book about breastfeeding? For two main reasons.

First, I am an author and a husband. I work from home. I want to keep working from home to be close to my family and earn a good living to support us.

Second, I refuse to create just anything that adds to the clutter of life by offering things people simply don’t need. Did anyone really ask for a “Pet Rock” other than the guy who got rich ‘making’ them? Not likely!

To avoid adding to the senseless clutter, I do research to find out what people - like you - really need to live better lives. Then I create it. Which is why I wrote “Better Breastfeeding For a Better Life”. And you can bet that when the miracle of children blesses me and my wife Andrea, we will be following the tips in this book down to the letter!

During my research I discovered a lot of mothers-to-be (first timers and experienced - married and single - young and not-as-young) have A LOT of questions and concerns about about breastfeeding. I’ll be honest, my only true ‘breastfeeding experience’ came, like most men, immediately after I was born. But I am an expert researcher and I did my homework.

I’m proud to offer the results of that research — “Better Breastfeeding For a Better Life”.

Now, thanks to this super easy-to-read E-Book complete with photos, “regular moms” with little or no experience breastfeeding will find out that breastfeeding can be easy, comfortable, and of course, a tremendous bonding experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.

You Will Be Relieved To Know Breastfeeding Does Not Have To Be Painful…

Written in plain, easy-to-understand language-with no complicated instructions - the book shows you everything you need to know to easily breastfeed your baby.

You’ll learn all of the basics… how best to encourage feeding, what never to do, how often should you feed, the best way to hold your baby and much more. The photos make it easy to see things from other moms who’ve gone through this before you. So even as a new mom who’s not getting enough sleep, you’ll find it simple to use.

Let’s be honest about breastfeeding…

Sample Writing - Magazine Article

June 16th, 2009

The Noble Rot

I have a friend who purchases wine based on how attractive the label is. This is a little like choosing a date based on looks alone. The result is too often a rather dull evening. It’s rare that a connection is made between the exterior beauty and inner quality and we usually end up kicking ourselves for thinking that this time it would be any different. Eventually we learn that tired expression, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” is a cliché for a good reason. For the vintner, this open-minded approach is taken when considering the less-than-appealing appearance of grapes affected with “noble rot,” Botrytis cinerea.

Botrytis is the mould that is allowed to grow on certain grapes and eventually gives special dessert wines their intense, exotic flavor. The affected fruit looks like a botched Petri dish experiment from chemistry 101. The affected grapes are encased in what can only be described as a nest resembling that of a tent caterpillar – definitely not something one would imagine able to produce an exceptionally consumable end product. The “elephant man” of the vineyard, as repulsive as it appears, is not lacking inner quality or character. Botrytis is known the world over as noble rot for good reason: some of the most highly flavored, luscious and complex wines are made from grapes affected with the mould.

Like all moulds, Botrytis grows best in conditions that supply FATTOM: Food (sugar), Acid (juice), Temperature, Time, Oxygen and Moisture. Generally speaking, grapes are left on the vine into the late autumn, when the mixture of morning dampness and afternoon sun encourages fungal growth. Spores from the mould lie dormant in the vineyard soil and on the vine bark until brought to life with the right FATTOM. In good years, the spores latch onto the skin of the grapes and drain moisture slowly, leaving behind a shriveled grape with a high concentration of both sugar and acid. The result is on ugly grape that produces honey-rich nectar so pleasing it’s been known to bring even the most jaded wine drinkers to tears of ecstasy. In bad years, if the FATTOM isn’t just right, if the morning mists turn to rain and the sun doesn’t shine, the rot becomes ignoble and turns the grapes to mush. More often that not, the wine maker doesn’t bother harvesting the fruit;

Like many great culinary and oenological discoveries it seems the nobility wrought by the rot was “first” discovered more than once. Austria, France, Germany, and Hungary all lay claim to initially squeezing and drinking juice from moldy, shriveled grapes. The version I like best concerns, indirectly at least, Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula…

Published in The City Palate food magazine.

Sample Writing - Newsletter

June 16th, 2009

At first glance, when Jim, Richard, Bruce and Dan get together they are fun-loving jokesters, ribbing each other light-heartedly, as guys do. Ask one of them, “Can you give me a hand with…” and they interrupt, in unison, with applause (giving me a, ahem, ‘hand’), giggling at the gag they never grow tired of pulling. But, bring up the topic of earning money and the joking stops.

Underlying their fun-loving spirit lays a fierce determination. Who else shows up to work, puts in a hard day of physical labour, goes home, doesn’t get paid then shows up the next day and does it all over again? Well, these business owners do, often for months at a time. Self-employment is definitely not for everyone.

Herb, Bud and the Beanstalk Boys (also known as simply, The Beanstalk Boys) is a partnership of four adults with disabilities who own and operate an urban agri-business. What started out several years ago as a small project to develop a garden space out of a piece of land the size of a large living room, has grown into a year-round Urban Agribusiness with over 6000 square feet of indoor and outdoor growing space. Last year the Beanstalk Boys grew a variety of crops including herbs, peas, beans, cabbage, flowers, etc. that were sold to local restaurants, farmers markets and a local grocery store. All seeds and plants were from donations from local garden centers and grocery stores.

After securing long-term partnerships with the Alternative High School, The University of Calgary Community Garden Project and Mount Royal College and with the generous support and cooperation of the local business community, Herb Bud and the Beanstalk Boys has turned a corner and is now a year-round agribusiness. With the development of two outdoor garden locations at the Alternative High School and the University of Calgary and one professionally equipped greenhouse growing space at Mount Royal College, hopes are high for future expansion.

The Alternative High School site was a former school playground with, as business owners and CASS staff soon discovered, hard-packed earth and gravel underneath grass. After much ‘sweat equity’ and teamwork the location is now a series of garden boxes laid out in a circle design that signifies the ‘circle of truth’ philosophy of the school. This year, approximately 20 more garden boxes will be built with the assistance of up to 20 volunteers from Home Depot and CASS staff. ‘Team Depot’ will bring their expertise and their tools to assist in a “garden box work bee” on May 3, 2006 to increase the growing capacity of the garden business.

The University of Calgary garden space has been provided courtesy of, and in partnership with, the University of Calgary Community Garden Project. This location required minimal work, other than planting and weeding, as the soil is rich and the site well developed. With modifications, this will be the location of a new 40×40 foot strawberry patch, a hedge-row of raspberry and blackberry bushes and a variety of produce and herbs that will be sold at local farmer’s markets and local restaurants.

The greenhouse space is located at Mount Royal College. This partnership allows the business owners to grow seedlings for sale to the general public, get a head start on planting their gardens and ensures the business develops into a year-round operation, critical to developing a sustainable agribusiness. The next sale is planned for May 15th from 10 am to 2pm at Mount Royal College inside the West Gate Entrance.

So, has the business been a success?

That depends on your definition of success. Some success is measured in terms of money, some say the freedom it provides and others say personal satisfaction of creating something from nothing.

So far this year, in two days of sales alone, the business owners have already made more money than they did all last year without putting a single seed in the ground. If the success of the seedling sales this past March and April are any indication, the upcoming season should see sales in excess of 10 times what they earned last year.

This urban agri-business not only promotes workforce participation and poverty reduction for people with disabilities it also provides them with the opportunity to interact with local business owners, organizations and the general public. A byproduct of this business has been the opportunity for the business owners to provide themselves access to fresh produce that they might not normally eat. In addition, the venture promotes education in organic gardening; volunteer opportunities for other clients of CASS as well as social and environmental awareness among the students in the institutions and community that they work along side.

Some might argue about the true measure of success. One of the Beanstalk Boys summed it up for himself; when asked what the business has meant in his life he remarked, “It has opened doors for me and I get to see how a business works and how to make more money.”

Any way you look at it, this business has been a success.

The Beanstalk Boys currently have seedlings for sale including: basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, mixed herbs, tomatoes, flowers, strawberries and more!