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Helpful Videos for Business Owners

For several years, I've been a part of the Trusted Compass, a Christian Business Network of Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. We meet once a month for lunch, and our meetings are led by Al and Tee Way, also owners of the Shepherd's Guide, a "yellow pages" for Christians. We've had a wonderful variety of keynote speakers for each luncheon, many of their presentations available on the Trusted Compass YouTube Channel. All of the videos on this channel were shot and edited by Paige Powell,

We were especially impressed with a presentation by Daniel Hebda, Attorney and Counselor at Law, of Simms Showers LLP. Daniel's office is at the Leesburg, Virginia office. On your next break, take a look at this video from Daniel's presentation (conveniently divided into 3 parts) which includs a lot of true/false questions. You will want to take notes!

We also learned about "Emotional Intelligence" from Dr. Al Way in his 3-part video. Other videos include information about homeopathic oils from Dawne Johnson and her company, Dawne Horizons as well as information about financial planning from Connell Lee, a Financial Advisor at Valenstein & Patterson, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

When you have your own business, of course you have to sell, sell, sell all the time, so we were very blessed to learn about "Selling God's Way" from Michael Hamer who has written an entire book on the subject. And for Women-owned businesses, we were inspired by Tee Way and her keynote speech on Women in Business, with inspiring scriptures from the Bible. Tee also recently presented "Seeing Business Through the Eyes of Faith".

Make Your Annual Report Look Like a Million Dollars

In September 2008, I was recommended by my supervisor at DHS-ICE to design an annual report for the U.S. Secret Service. At the meeting, I asked if there was a previous year, so that my design could show some continuity, but they explained that this was their first one. They normally submitted a text report to Congress, but they wanted to create one with photographs and showcase their accomplishments for the fiscal year. I told them, "You are the black limosine and tuxedo of the federal government agencies, so black is your color, and formal attire is your style." I continued to talk with them about my plan for designing their annual report, using the style of large photographs and lots of white space "like Life Magazine" and they liked that approach. I had the opportunity to design their annual report for the following year as well. You can see a few sample pages, including the covers at > Design & Layout > Annual Reports.

Add Branding To a New Website: Copy the Business Card

My new client, Land Development Consulting, Inc., already had a nicely designed business card (lower right). The slate green color background was perfect for adding either black or white text to their card. I realized they had spent some time and thought to create their business card, so why not have their new website match it?

I scanned the LDCI business card of president, John Manganello, into Photoshop and sampled the slate green color, applying the color 9DA281 to the website's background. I also took the scan of the company's name on the card, along with their logo and inserted it as the title at the top of all the pages as well as the footer with the address and contact info. Then for the browser background, I used their architectural and zoning plans, darkened in Photoshop to be non-distracting. The navigation buttons match the slate green, but the rollover colors match the architectural plans. All this matching makes the site cohesive, unified and easy on the eyes with its balanced design.

This new website ( needed to showcase John Manganello's extensive portfolio, meaning that the site would be "comprehensive" — including practically all of his work as Designated Plans Examiner for Fairfax County and land development professional. Most visitors will only view the portion that interests them, either commercial or residential projects, for example. The final result is a website that has all the information a visitor needs in order to decide to call their office and make an appointment. I designed this 14-page website using Adobe Muse and Photoshop.

The Vertical Video Fix for Adobe Muse Websites

My client wanted to post two videos onto her Web site that were recorded on a smartphone and the user recorded them vertically. Although Adobe Premiere Pro exported them vertically without additional black fills on each side, they could not be imported into Adobe Muse. Muse expects videos to be embedded from YouTube or Vimeo, and in this case, YouTube added the black filler "bars" on each side (step 1). The fix? After entering the vertical size for the video to be embedded and pasting it into Muse (step 2), add rectangles over the black filler that match the browser and fill backgrounds (step 3) and group the rectangles with the video. Next, lock the grouped elements in place, just to prevent any possible shifting. Unfortunately, the website was only online for a year and has been taken down. However, if you want to see it, I can publish it on Business Catalyst for you to see, if you're interested. Just send me an email at

Challenge: Create Graphic with PowerPoint Tools

Some clients are paranoid about not being able to edit a graphic that the designer created using Adobe Illustrator, a software they don't have. This client wanted a graphic with circular text and circular arrows created using ONLY PowerPoint drawing tools. So I did it.

I used the Insert Shapes > Basic Shapes drawing tool that looks like a doughnut to create the arrow trunks and added the triangular points of each arrow later using the triangle shape. I was able to curve the text using Formatting Palette > Quick Styles and Effects and the "abc" tool on the far right. The client was happy and so was I — meeting this challenge to figure out how to create the graphic they wanted in PowerPoint.

Benefits of Having a Computer-Free Day Each Week

I have a "rule" for my work schedule: having a computer-free day once a week. It doesn't mean I don't return phone calls or check my smartphone for something I need. But my clients have learned that I don't work on weekends and Sunday is my day to leave my computer OFF for the entire day and evening.

This includes not returning email. What happens is that on Monday, I have the energy of a rocket! Of course, every rule does have exceptions. If my client is depending upon proposal graphics due on Monday, of course, I'll work for them on Sunday. And if a client really needs to communicate with me, they are welcome to call. And THEN, I'll respond to their email. But that's infrequent. Most of the time, my clients are taking their weekend off as well.

Try having a computer-free day every week and see if it doesn't elevate your energy! How wonderful it is to return to your computer the following week really refreshed!

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This Web site designed by Paige Powell, using Adobe Muse