CCC Turns 3! And the Winners Are…

We’ve been celebrating all week, and today it’s official. My company, Clearly Conveyed Communications, turns 3 years old.

CCC turns 3! The swag has arrived.

The swag has arrived. How do you like the retro touch?

In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I made the leap to start my own company; in others, it seems like a lifetime ago. In 3 short years, CCC has gotten social with first responders, worked with international clients and connected with people the world over. We’ve scratched, clawed, struggled and grown, experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. That’s the life of a small business owner.

And small business owners are close to our heart. While we’ve worked with companies of all sizes, we love helping small businesses succeed and realize their hopes and dreams. If you’re a small business owner, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing, so we can help spread the word.

We’re grateful to everyone who’s helped spread the word about us and wanted to thank you. Earlier this week, we announced a contest for those who engage with us on social media and are excited to announce the winners!

The winners of the ‘CCC Turns 3’ contest are:

  • Missy Radecki, Associate Professor of Nursing, FL *** CCC swag prize pack
  • Lyla Larimore, Blogger & Fire Service Enthusiast, IN *** CCC swag prize pack
  • David Rose, CEO at PRSONAS¬†*** Spotify Premium gift card

Congratulations to our winners! We’ll be in touch with more information on your prizes.

A sincere THANK YOU to everyone who has helped shape CCC in any way, from clients and customers to ardent supporters to close friends who serve as sounding boards. We appreciate you!

p.s. We’re still partying! Penelope and Mojo are swinging around the office. ūüôā

Grateful and blessed,
Jaime

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CCC Turns 3, And You’re Invited (To Win)!

We’re throwing a party, and you’re invited — to win.

CCC turns 3!

Clearly Conveyed Communications is turning 3 this week, and we’re celebrating with our clients, customers, supporters and fans. All week, we’ll be partying (while we work) at the office, so we’re inviting you along for the fun.

Follow and engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the blog for your chance to win CCC swag and other cool prizes. The winners will be announced right here on Friday, so stay tuned!

While you’re here, kick off your shoes and stay awhile.¬†We’d love to help you with your next marketing, writing or social media project. Let us know your challenges, so we can help you with solutions. Have a question? Ask!

To kick your Tuesday up a notch, here’s what we’re dancing to in the office right now. Join us!

Now that you’re done dancing, here’s a chance to win.

What’s your favorite post (or series) on the CCC blog? Let us know below to be entered to win!

(New to the blog? Check out the right-hand sidebar for recent posts, popular content, categories, subject tags, archives and contributors to the CCC blog. You may be surprised at what you find!)

p.s. THANK YOU to all of our loyal readers and followers. We love to hear your thoughts and appreciate everyone who likes, comments on and shares our posts to further the conversation.

Cheers,
The CCC Crew

Jaime, Penelope & Mojo

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Auld Lang Syne & Happy New Year!

The time has come to say goodbye to 2014.

Happy New Year from CCC!

Before we watch the ball drop to kick off 2015, let’s take a quick look back at the year that was. My¬†helper monkeys, Mojo and Penelope, have prepared an end-of-year¬†report for the CCC blog. Thanks to you, what a year it’s been!

Consider this:

 A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

We shared 69 new posts this past year, usually sticking to our Tuesday and Thursday schedule. You came early and often, culminating on November 20th (Mexican Revolution Day?!), our most popular day with 54 views.

What posts tickled your fancy the most?

  1. Promotional Products as Effective Marketing Tools
  2. 50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2014 Edition
  3. A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine Optimization
  4. Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization
  5. To Give or Not To Give…

Along the way, we hit two notable milestones: 200 followers and 500 likes. Thank you!

CCC hits 200 likes! 11.25.14CCC hits 500 likes! 11.21.14

Loyal readers, you came from near and far. The United States, India and Brazil were our most represented countries, and we had visitors from 91 countries around the world. Some of you found us through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, our top referrers.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ¬†-Dr. Seuss

OK, now you can sing “Auld Lang Syne.”

Cheers to peace and prosperity in 2015!

The CCC crew,
Jaime, Mojo and Penelope

Welcoming old friends and new, connect with us!
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I’m Thankful For… Unplugging & Reconnecting

“Don’t be a jerk. Try to love everyone. Give more than you take. And do it despite the fact that you only really like about seven out of 500 people.” ¬†–Judd Apatow

As a country, America¬†tends to be cynical and polarized, impatient and angry. Maybe it’s our roots. Maybe it’s our lifestyle. Whatever it is, let’s put it¬†all aside for one day. Let’s unplug and reconnect with those close to us, be patient and understanding with strangers we meet. Guess what? If you’re running to the grocery store on Thanksgiving morning, EVERYONE is in a hurry. Trust me, it’s not just you.

happiness_ernohannink_flickr

My Thanksgiving tradition begins early, rising before daylight in order to get ready to run a Turkey Trot. (It makes me feel better later when I’m enjoying a slice of my decadent peanut butter cream pie.) After running in the cold, I stop in a Starbucks on my trip South to see family for a steaming hot latte. It helps perk me up for the day ahead.

Last year, I was surprised when the barista who took my order told me that she volunteered to work Thanksgiving morning. Her goodwill earned her a hall pass from having to come in that night (when her family gets together) and serve the energized Black Friday crowd. Plus, she mentioned that everyone was in a good mood and even tipped more.

Maybe there’s something to that. Maybe there’s an extra sense of gratitude in the air on Thanksgiving Day, some added patience that helps you smile and forgive a stranger’s transgressions.

Whatever it is, let’s follow its lead. Smile at strangers. Wish them a happy Thanksgiving. Gently steer¬†your drunk uncle in another direction when he starts talking politics. Don’t rip distracted Aunt Hilda a new one for forgetting her expected contribution AGAIN. And if you head out — to a store or restaurant or Starbucks, be nice to the workers. They’re spending their Thanksgiving serving you, and that’s something to be thankful for.

Everyone’s not fortunate enough to have a warm place to go on Thanksgiving. If you or someone you know is hurting this Holiday season, our friends at TED have pulled together information on where you can find a warm Thanksgiving meal near you.¬†

Join the Conversation

What’s your Thanksgiving tradition?

What’s your favorite food on your Thanksgiving menu?

What are you thankful for this year?

p.s. I’m spending Thanksgiving Day with family and friends (for which I’m thankful), so there won’t be a blog post on Thursday. If you’re looking for reading material, check out the I’m Grateful For… series. I’ll see you again on Tuesday, December 2nd, to talk about social media and selling. Same bat time, same bat channel!

p.p.s. Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian, Liberian, Grenadian and Norfolk Islander friends who have already celebrated. Yep, it’s not just a U.S. Holiday.

Incredibly thankful and eternally grateful,
Jaime

We’d be thankful if¬†you’d join our conversation.¬†
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50 Things I’m Grateful For… Summer 2014 Edition

It’s become an annual tradition at the CCC blog to list 50 unique “things” that I’m currently grateful for. It makes me¬†think and reminds me how blessed I am. The first 50 Things I’m Grateful For post published in May 2012, a month after the blog started, and was an immediate hit. The follow-up post, 50 (More) Things I’m Grateful For, debuted in July of last year. Combined, the posts have generated over 80 responses and interactions. I would love for you to join in the fun and add your list to the comments or on your own blog.

Here we go, 2014 edition:

1) Working, reading or relaxing on the hammock in my back yard
2) My reusable cup from Starbucks (and the espresso that goes in it)
3) Cool clients
4) New opportunities
5) How everything tends to work out in the long run
6) A beautiful summer day
7) My parents
8) Technology that allows me to work virtually anywhere
9) Netflix — so I can watch my favorite 80s shows!
10) Boots and flip flops

11) Muscle cars (late 60s/early 70s are the best)
12) Learning how to rig, fix and “make things work”
13) The number 13, which has always been a favorite of mine (along with black cats)
14) Catching a ball game at the park on a summer day (and keeping score)
15) Four Days in October (the best ESPN 30 for 30 ever)
16) The American Red Cross for saving lives and giving people hope
17) My strong platelet count, which allows me to help others
18) Clean drinking water (which so many people around the world need)
19)  Animal prints
20) Trails to run on

21) New Balance for making running shoes that fit my w  i  d  e  feet
22) Nail polish in every color
23) Those moments that become memories
24) A sense of humor
25) Tree houses
26) City water & sewer (greatest advancement in my lifetime!)
27) Sports… to watch, root for, analyze and discuss
28) The opportunity to help others
29) The dog I’m finally going to adopt
30) My business

31) Listening to the waterfall in my back yard
32) Planting flowers and landscaping
33) Creating (projects, art, campaigns, marketing collateral, stories, etc.)
34) Firefighters, EMS personnel and first responders
35) Different perspectives, opinions and points of view
36) Our local homeless shelter (and so much more)
37) Planes — for opening up a whole, new world to us (especially the one that will take me to Italy one day)
38) The ability to think
39) Swings at the local park
40) Vegetarian enfrijoladas

41) A tasty mojito on a patio
42) A good book that teaches, inspires or draws you into another world
43) Felt tip pens and notebooks
44) Dry erase boards and sticky notes
45) My Citizen Eco-Drive watch that keeps me on time (well, as much as it can)
46) Random acts of kindness
47) Fresh fruits and vegetables
48) My blender that whips up some delicious green smoothies
49) Gorgeous sunsets
50) My climbing ability (necessary when you’re ‘fun-sized’)

There’s my 50. What are yours? Chime in below or share your list on your blog. With all of the negativity in the world, let’s talk about what we’re grateful for!

Usually barefoot, always thinking and forever grateful,
Jaime

Connect with CCC; we’d be grateful!
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Who’s Your Biggest Fan?

my mom and I

My mom’s always been my biggest fan, but for once I was able to help her. Pinning on her corsage at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding two years ago.

(Ed. note: It seems like Thursday is a more popular day for reading blogs than Fridays, so I’m changing the CCC blog publishing schedule. Posts will now appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays (instead of Fridays), so please update your calendars – and reading plans – accordingly. ūüôā)

After posting a somewhat pessimistic post earlier this week (but ultimately positive, really), I felt like I should balance it with a much more optimistic subject. As I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader, I came across the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Cheering Section. This image immediately came to mind.

Why? My mom has always been my #1 fan. (I’m a lucky lady; my brother comes in a close second here. :)) She may not understand why I do something (like starting my business) or wholeheartedly agree with what I do, but she’s always behind me 100%. I hate to say that sometimes I take that for granted, but I think we all do.

I love this picture, because I’m helping her, as opposed to the other way around. It was taken by the excellent photographer at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding two years ago. The female members of the wedding party were finishing up getting ready and my mom came in to see if we needed anything. I’m pinning her corsage on her (and no, I didn’t stab her). If any of you who know me wonder where my (lack of) height comes from, notice that my mom and I are the same height. ūüôā I have a lot of things to be grateful for, but my mom’s at the top of my list.

So who’s your biggest fan(s)? The person (or people) who always have your back? Your cheering section? The ones who will root for you no matter what?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below. It made me smile to write this post, and I’m sure it will make you smile (if only for a moment) to acknowledge your biggest fan (even if you’re having a bad day).

Always proud to be Dixie’s daughter,
Jaime

Speaking of fans, connect with me… 
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50 (More) Things I’m Grateful For…

It’s been too long. I’ve had it in my mind to write this post since I published my first 50 Things I’m Grateful For… post last year. I kept finding cool things to blog about, and before I knew it, more than a year had passed. So here goes…

I’m grateful for (take 2)…

The sun sets on Lock 3

     

I love classic cars 

Wilson -- my idea generator

water view

Alright, so there’s my second list of 50 things I’m grateful for. (If you want to browse the first list, here you go.)

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear about what you’re grateful for! No matter how tough life gets, we can all be grateful for something. Share your list (however big or small) in the comments below, hit me up on a social network or tag me in your blog post. ¬†Cheers!

Grateful & blessed,
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: Six Months In

“Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.” ¬† ¬† –Lesley Carter

Earlier this year, I came across Lesley Carter’s 2013 bucket list and was inspired to create my own. (Ed. Note: If you haven’t checked out Lesley’s Bucket List Publications, please do so. What an inspiration!)

Related reading: My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

It struck me a few days ago that we’re already half way through the year. Crazy, isn’t it?! So I wanted to post an update and see how I’m doing so far.

Without further ado… (items crossed out have been accomplished:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
Lake Erie Monsters hockey

I love Zambonis! Watching the Lake Erie Monsters

  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first¬†triathlon
  • Get together with my family at least monthly <So far, so good!>
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends¬†<Just celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday and Father’s Day this past week! Next up, my brother’s birthday.>
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
Valentine's Day wreath

A slightly different take on a Valentine’s Day wreath…

  • Bring on 5 new dream clients <On pace, lots of activity right now…>
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.) <I need to start counting!>
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me ūüôā
  • Jump out of another airplane!
Dark Tower Series

Finished 6 of 7 Dark Tower books by Stephen King… along with a few others.

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
KSU + Haven of Rest = Pay It Forward

Proud to join the KSU Alumni crew at Haven of Rest for National Day of Service 2013

  • Spa day ūüôā
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
sunset at Canal Park

Watching the sunset at Canal Park

  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
  • Create with my hands
Mother Nature's beauty

Enjoying the serene Alder Pond at Gorge Metro Park

  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding ūüôā
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often

How about you? How are you doing on your 2013 bucket list? It’s not too late to create one! Leave your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Dark Tower books photo courtesy of The Dark Tower Official Website
All other photos from my personal collection 

Smiling in the sunshine,
Jaime

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My 2013 Bucket List: What’s On Yours?

What’s on your bucket list?

I was thinking about adding another (overdue)¬†50 Things I’m Grateful For.. post when I came across Lesley Carter’s entry about entering a contest to fulfill a bucket list trip. Lesley’s Bucket List Publications is one of the blogs I follow, because her updates about checking items off her always evolving bucket list inspire me. As she notes, “Some people create a bucket list because they are dying; I created one because I want to live.” That’s exactly how I feel about life.

Without further ado, my 2013 bucket list:

  • Attend a Kent State University basketball game (my alma mater!)
  • Go ice skating
  • Watch a hockey game live
  • Attend a professional networking event
  • Go for a twilight hike
  • Enter a trail running event
  • Register for my first¬†triathlon
Akron Marathon 2012 "Blue line, blue toes"

Celebrating hitting my goal in my 3rd — and final — half-marathon in Sept 2012

  • Get together with my family at least monthly
  • Celebrate special occasions with family & friends
  • Watch the inauguration festivities for the first time
  • Bring on 5 new dream clients
  • Read 100 books! (Yep, full fledged book worm here.)
  • Write the first chapter of my novel
  • Make time for me ūüôā
  • Jump out of another airplane!
skydiving crew!

The skydiving crew — Sean, Steven, Yours Truly & Greg (celebrating his bday!)

  • Go to the theatre
  • Pay It Forward
  • Learn a new skill
  • Take advanced coding classes
  • Attend a NASCAR race
  • Spa day ūüôā
  • Finally bring home a furry friend
  • Travel, travel, travel — across town & across the world
Hilton Head

Lounging on the beach in Hilton Head listening to the ocean

  • Watch the sunrise
  • Watch the sunset
  • Step outside of my comfort zone
  • Watch the fireworks at an Aeros game
  • Book a spontaneous getaway
  • Unplug & connect with nature for a day
  • Laugh often
Laugh often

Having a ball at my brother’s wedding

  • Create with my hands
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Walk on water again –> paddle boarding ūüôā
  • Get up close & personal to the octagon at a UFC event
  • Be ready for my next great opportunity & pounce on it
  • Get muddy often
trail running

I love trail running — and mud.

Because it’s February, I’ve already crossed a few of these off my list.

How about you? What’s on your 2013 bucket list? Leave your list in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

Watching the snow fly-
Jaime

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5 Ways to Spice Up Employee Appreciation

Most of us know by now how valuable it is to keep good employees. Knowledgeable, happy employees are valuable assets to a company, helping to reduce costs, maximize productivity (and revenue) and enhance your company’s brand or image.

There are a plethora of ways to thank valuable, hardworking employees. Following are 5 ways that you may not have thought about.

1. Bowl them over — A bowling outing can be a great way to boost morale and encourage bonding. Furthermore, many alleys also offer other perks, including a variety of food options to whet nearly any¬†palate, arcade games, bocce, billiards, happy hours, karaoke, transportation to/from the event and variations to the standard bowling experience — black lights, special rules, etc.

cosmic bowling

A bowler enjoys the atmosphere of cosmic bowling.
Image courtesy of m4tik via Flickr

2. Cycle tours / special rides — A group bike tour or¬†specialty ride can add some fun and memories to an otherwise typical day. These experiences can be turned into a¬†team building event on their own or inject some serious fun into company picnics, appreciation days or a thank you for hitting key goals or metrics. Employees won’t forget getting out on the open road in an entirely different way anytime soon.

Rocket Ship Car

The Rocket Ship Car
“The Happiest Ride on Earth”

3. ¬†A spa-like experience —¬†Reward hardworking employees for pulling off a complex, last minute ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†project, crushing their quarterly goals or successfully making it through a crazy time of the year (i.e. tax deadline for accountants, a national convention). Various packages are available for many different budgets, and your staff will enjoy being pampered and waited on. From express massages to full service pedicures (yes, gentleman too), your relaxed employees will be grateful and energized.

4. ¬†Casino night — Bring the thrill of Vegas to your staff! Employees will receive chips and move throughout the casino to play a variety of games. Friendly dealers will show less experienced players how the games work and bring an air of excitement to the festivities. Players redeem chips for raffle tickets and use these tickets to win prizes. Everyone has a chance to win, and best of all, there are no losers because no real gambling is involved. Hit the jackpot!

5. ¬†A breath of fresh air — Nature has amazing restorative tendencies and employees will relish an opportunity to get out of the office. Thank your staff with a special trip to a zoo, an amazing retreat at a national park or a day trip on a scenic railroad. Attendees can unwind to a beautiful backdrop and rejuvenate for the next big project.

Hocking Hills Resevoir

Hocking Hills State Park is a great place to soak in the beauty of nature.

Remember, a fun experience can be had by all in a number of settings. Employees will appreciate your efforts to recognize their hard work and dedication and be inspired to continue to give their all to your organization.

What’s the most memorable employee recognition

experience you’ve had?

Enjoy your weekend,

Jaime