Category Archives: Miscellaneous
Down to earth Website Designer & Website Help
Hello there lovely,
Nat here, I just thought I’d stop by the blog and do a little heart to heart post.
It’s 1:52am on Thursday morning.
I’m writing this whilst the thought is fresh in my mind. Armed with an Ovaltine Hot Chocolate embracing the early hours of the morning – some find it strange, but it’s my optimum working time and most uninterrupted creative period and to be honest when you work with clients all over the world. You adapt to difference in timing.
I’ve actually been busily working through my ideas on how best I could help others…
Whilst I am working with a heap of clients at the moment… I want to help more… I want to do more… I want to support more people…
I’ve been in business for 10 years and I’ve worked with 100s of business owners to improve and grow their businesses over this time.
I have worked with all types of businesses, all types of business owners and all types knowledge and experience.
From business owners who have absolutely no tech experience, through to those who are competent, and all the way back to the experts who just don’t have time to work on their websites and grow their presence.
I spend a great deal of my time working with and mentoring / training individuals on how to get the most out of their websites. How to get their target market’s attention and to cope with those changes.
Change is inevitable but accepting it is another story… I help my clients cope with change.
I honestly LOVE the diversity that my business brings…
Some days I’ll work with corporate clients… it’s very structured and formal in how we operate.. Whilst my style of support doesn’t change, it’s shaped more specifically around collared shirts, procedures and structure.
Other days I’ll have Skype mentoring with clients who grab a cuppa and have chat around what’s happening for them… what goals are they trying to achieve and how we can use the technology in front of them to grow and strengthen their business.
My line of work is SO diverse… Websites are great… I love being able to build infrastructure behind a business. The ins and outs of how it all comes together and how much of an impact it makes… not only for the client, for their family, their clients and the community.
However more often than not, those clients who are regular clients, come to me with the obstacle of needing a website or having a website they’re not happy with… and are looking for more in their website designer – more support… more guidance and more connectivity than just being a number to some big corporation…
I LOVE the fact that I AM able to offer that Down To Earth connection and support myself and my family whilst I do something I love..
I LOVE the diversity, I LOVE how I’m able to work with so many varied experiences. That looking past all of the stereotypical focus on presentation and “this is what business looks like”… You must talk this way, look this way, act this way to be socially accepted. Which is WRONG….
When it boils down to it… Most home based businesses or business start-ups began from humble beginnings..
Each business owner at one point or another said ENOUGH is ENOUGH…. taking their own story, their own experiences and their own gifts to impart in the own hands and doing something about it.
I can tell you right now… That’s NOT how it works.. diversity and difference is a wonderful thing and I find my clients become very comfortable with the factor, I’m honest, realistic and no frills…
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the corporate ladder and still can “kick it” with the formal business… but I know damn well that my super customers or customers who generally mesh well; with me and my personality, are business owners – who aren’t fixated on what stereotypical business looks like…
However they ARE wanting genuine support, guidance and someone to hear them out, hold the space and help them work through their obstacles..
I get it… I started my business too from that place. I know what it’s like to have to find means to support your family, keep food on the table and roof over your head. I too got to the point where I said ENOUGH is ENOUGH….
I get it that you’ve got big dreams, I understand you have a whole lot of responsibility and I’m all to familiar with the idea that you have very little time carved out to dedicate to you and your goals….
Whether your challenges consist of any one or more of the following – then I hear you:
- You’re a Stay at home parent – with desires to improve your lifestyle.
- You’ve got a business idea but not sure how to implement it.
- You’ve got heavy responsibilities from family, child wrangling &/or love ones.
- You’re currently only on a single income stream and struggling.
- You’re starting from scratch and wanting help to lay solid foundations.
- You’re unhappy with the way things currently are in your life and want some help moving forward. .
- You’re feeling stuck, you’ve got solid ideas of what you want but not sure how to get there.
- You keep getting in your own way. Knowing what you “need” however get stuck instead of “doing”
- Struggling to make ends meet day in and day out.
- Have an established business but want more from that business.
- Have ideas and goals for growing your business but need someone to support you and provide accountability
- Not supported by those around you and need a sounding board.
- Goals and ambitions for your business and not sure where to start.
At some point or another in the last decade of being in business I’ve been there too, as have many of my existing clients. We’ve together, overcome many of those obstacles and moved towards a much happier, healthier and abundance outcome and I couldn’t imagine my life and my work any other way.
Paws Up… Who needs help with their website or business?
If you think you’d like to discuss your options with regards to your websites and how best to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Please feel free to send Natalie Crowe Designs a message via our Contact Us Page or connect with me us through the various mediums available:
Good Morning lovely people,
The 31st of July and I’ve realised just recently that I’ve been so busy working on my amazing client’s websites and mentoring, that I’ve not made time to blog on my own website!! It’s been a busy 7… going 8 months and I have been reflecting on this time.
As many of you may be aware, we bought our own home in the Hunter Valley at the end of 2016. We had been renovating ahead of moving in, which took us several months. We finally took the leap and started the adventure in Abermain on the 1st of May.
Now who would have thought being a home owner could be so diverse.. in-between settling in, unpacking, re-arranging and being able to put a hole in the wall to hang a picture… tending the grounds… “decorating” and really establishing solid roots in our forever home…. it’s been an eye opening experience… something I’ve literally spent more than a decade trying to achieve…. and we did it… we are finally homeowners… a part of the hunter valley community and genuinely ready to lay down solid foundations for the future here.
I am so very excited by the mere possibilities we now have… I have so many ideas and visions that I’d like to create moving forward… I want to build up my plans for our Academy, I want to share my knowledge with the amazing business community in the Hunter Valley… I want to build my own office dedicated to meeting clients and setup the home of Natalie Crowe Designs.. This business.. this journey I’ve taken in the last 10 years…
From humble beginnings – just wanting to make ends meet – put a roof over our heads and keep food on the table – as a single mum with limited work prospects – time and means of doing a regular 9 to 5 job… To now wanting to build an empire.. a community and mould this idea I have around supporting business owners in the local community and online.
I too, have taken too being more accountable, more visible… I’ve entered the world of Facebook Live afew weeks ago, jumping right in and putting those stereotypes to rest that you need to be pristine and perfect to be in front of your audience… I’m generally not either of those things but I am damn good at what I do and my client’s don’t care about those things, they care that they are looked after – catered for and that when they need my knowledge and expertise I deliver.
I will be posting more often on here, and have a whole lot of information I want to share with all of you in the near future so don’t a stranger 🙂
Pop over to the Facebook page and check out the live feeds and daily postings 🙂
I’ll talk to you all again soon
Natalie Crowe 🙂
WHEN WAS YOUR LAST BACKUP??
It can be your worst nightmare when you have a system go down; such as a core system for your business, your email or your actual website, there may have been a problem with a component or perhaps you were a target of a cyber attack – and had your website hacked. These are frequent occurrences we often see our new clients come in with.
And as a result, We’ve helped numerous clients reinstate their existing system or rebuild after their devastating losses. In some cases, there may not have ever been a backup made, which requires further investigation and possibly having to rebuild your system from scratch. With clients describing it as a ‘heart breaking’ process after building there website or system up over years. And then going through the process of knowing that this whole ordeal can be made exceptionally more efficient and can save a whole lot of heartache by simply making sure you’ve got a backup to work with.
So my questions for you:
- —> WHEN WAS YOUR LAST BACKUP?
- —> Have you backed up your actual computer with all of your important files?
- —> Have you backup up your website so that if something does happen you have an alternative other than just to have to start again…
- —> and have you added “backup” dates to your calendar??
Depending on your systems as to what type of backup is needed, There are plenty of tools available for you to efficiently make a backup copy of your system and provide you with peace of mind.
One other tip- STORE EXTERNAL!!!
Make sure you backup your files or site in more than just one location or at very least on an external location…
So for example;
If you’re backing up your computer, don’t store the backup copy on the computer – pick up an PORTABLE HARD DRIVE from Officeworks or Big W and store your files there… if your computer hard drive crashes you have the PORTABLE HARD DRIVE as an alternative.
If you’re backing up your website, download a copy to your computer or store on another location outside your website hosting.
Lastly put it into your calendar… make sure it’s a regular event to backup your systems. Even if you lose a little of your data with restoring an slightly older backup, at least it’s better than having to start again…
Don’t fall victim to something you can actively take action against.
If you’re not backing your systems up and need a hand please feel free to message our page. We will happily help get you underway.
Is your website Device Friendly / mobile friendly…. and using responsive design principles??
How I dropped from #1 to #8 on the Search with this Mobile Friendly / Device friendly update…. *facepalm*
Why Hello There?! How’s your Sunday going so far? I’ve been busily working on device responsive designs for my clients. With the changes to the Search Engine Optimisation including making sure your website displayed nicely on all devices, we’re focusing on making your website “future proof” … What this essentially means is not designing a given website to suit specific pixel widths of devices, for example iphone6 ,ipad, android, wide screen monitors etc…
We aim to make our designs flexible and dynamic – with the goal that we’d want our websites to display on all devices regardless of the technology and irrespective of how devices will continue to change in the future.
With the most recent device friendly updates, we’ve been kept busy looking after our own clients and busily restoring their sites to more modern technology… Some of which are more than 8 years old, with the majority of our original clients from back in 2008 still with us today! We definitely wanted to ensure we looked after our clients…
As a result of the influx of work, we personally saw our ranking take a massive hit. We’re talking not just one spot or two… On Friday, my website was ranked #8 for the longtail keyword “Website Design Hunter Valley”… Which we had previously been #1 for many years. Oh Dear!!
I knew I’d been gradually optimising areas of my site, and I’d reworked my designs not 6 months ago… so surely there has to be a mistake?? dropping 7 places on the search – all of a sudden…
I did all the tests to work out what’s going on…. and discover that the problem lies only in my homepage… all of my other pages have the Green Light that they are optimised for devices… 😐
So this weekend, I figured it was about time I blocked out time to do a little in-house maintenance and got myself sorted out..
After much deliberation…. *facepalm*….. there was an error in my homepage code….. Literally there were two “divs” that were in the wrong place…. – 4 extra lines of code – something as simple as :
that meant the primary page of my website was deemed not mobile friendly…. and therefore knocked down the rankings….
WOW!! Honestly something so simple… 😐
I’ve now rectified the issue and resubmitted the website again and so far so good, we’re climbing the ladder again… and back at #3 …. we’ll see how the results vary again in 48 hours…
I make note here too.. It took me a good few months in between developing clients sites to actually develop my own site – much like the plumbers tap which leaks at home – you always do your client work before your own….. For clients however it usually takes a week or two to convert their sites.
I just wanted to emphasize here how important it is to keep a handle on the trends, keep your website up to date, and not to under play how long it can actually take to make your site responsive… Whilst in this case it was just a matter of “spot” the problem…. and replacing for lines of codes to make your responsive website design problem go away… It truly helps to have someone who knows what they are looking for to point you in the right direction….
If you’re not sure if you’re website is device responsive, you’re having trouble being found on the search engines or you need some assistance with your website, please feel free to contact us Natalie Crowe Designs – either by leaving a comment below, messaging our page or visiting our website https://www.nataliecrowedesigns.com.au
In the meanwhile… I’m off to make a cuppa, and laugh at myself so being such a goose! Enjoy your Sunday!!!
February seemed to fly by so fast.. The first 3 weeks were packed with client work and getting things in order for my trip to Canberra for a business retreat, the last was the week that was my personal retreat and really stepping into another level of business knowledge and understanding:
The goals this month were to:
* Take on 3 new website clients, [ SUCCESS ] * Schedule in around 100 hours of work within first 3 weeks of Feb [ SUCCESS ] * Implement Maintenance Top Up Service [ SUCCESS ] * Read first 3 Chapters of E-Myth Revisited [ SUCCESS ] * Prepare for Solo Trip to Canberra for Leonie Dawson’s Shining Business Retreat – Canberra [ SUCCESS ] * Be the sponge…. soak up everything I could at the Shining Business Retreat! [ SUCCESS ]
I want to do a whole other blog post on the retreat as it was truly magical… and something that I am so grateful to have been a part of. The people I met, the knowledge I gained and the overall stepping out of my comfort zone in order to drive 4 1/2 hours out to Canberra one way – on my own adventure, away from my family and really soak up 4 days of amazing experiences 2 days of business retreat with the wonderful LEONIE DAWSON AND GRANT ANDREW, to take a solid focus on ME and MY BUSINESS.
I came back with a new prospective, with new inspiration and new focus on what I wanted to achieve..
I came back with new amazing friends, Jennifer, Cheralyn to name a few!
I am so grateful for this entire month! It’s been wonderful!
To many more great things!!!
How are you? Great start to 2016 here, we’ve been flat out with all of the events of School Holidays; catching up with family and friends, Christmas and New Years celebrations.
As a family we’ve have spent days having adventures, outdoors or indoors in the loungeroom or at the local park. Building, cooking, crafting and creating memories.
My daughter has had visitation with her Dad’s family, which has meant that I’ve had a little more time up my sleeve to do some self development study in my “free time”.
Just like one could expects when “free time” arrives, there are always things to be done and during the second last week of January, My “free time” – when combined to the local shopping centre… managed to evolve to include a pretty nasty fall – a sprain my knee and factured my tailbone… (-Yes; I don’t do things in halves! It’s it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well right??) after a few visits to the hospital, xrays and doctors appointments – it was safe to say I was done for my quota of excitement for one month… Time to calm down… focus on getting back to routine and getting settled. My injuries are going to take months to heal and there’s not a lot we can do..
On “bedrest”, I’d taken the opportunity whilst we’re not working on client products to really amp up my studies and focus on making the most of the may days of January.
During this amazing month of January we’ve:
- * Participated in Search Engine Optimisation and Marketing Short Course
- * Met with some of our amazing local business women for brainstorming sessions
- * Progressed in our Leonie Dawson Workbooks
- * Further completed stages of Leonie’s Academy
- * Planned out several new products and services to be release in 2016
- * Introduced a new management philosophy into the business
- * Reached my savings goals ahead of schedule- Saving the needed funds for our Shining Canberra Retreat with Leonie and the Team at the end of February.
Not to mention started to recover !
This whole process for this month has really flown, it feels like it was only yesterday we were gearing up for Christmas Day and now we’re moving forward with 2016 at a rapid pace! Heck, my daughter is in second class this year? When did that happen??
It’s amazing how we grow, change and adapt to our surroundings… but it can be scary knowing how fast paced life is – now-a-days…
Whilst I don’t want to wish the time away, as I have heaps of things I want to do this year – 2016… I am so very much looking forward to heading to Canberra next month on a Solo adventure of self growth, learning and development.
Look At Canberra!!! Natalie Crowe Designs is coming to your neighbourhood!
Why hello there!
It’s been a couple of months since I posted an update here as I’ve been tremendously busy. Whilst my primary business and passion – Natalie Crowe Designs focuses on Website Design and Business Mentoring, I’ve had a side project in the wings for some time, working through the processes of setting up my sister business – Natalie Crowe Designs Crystals.
It’s always amazing to me to be able to take the resources I have and help others apply them to their business.
However, to then have the opportunity to practice what I preach and apply those very same principles to my own business was such an experience.
Although I see it through my clients, to see it first hand – my works making a difference – is amazing and in all honesty, I’m loving it.
It’s giving me new insights and also giving me another perspective on what it’s going to take to make changes in my own life as a learning curve in order to motivate and help others do those very same things within their own businesses.
I do have to say though, I completely understood 2 months ago, what my clients say when they first come to me … “I have this great business idea, but I don’t know where to start.”
I too was challenged at the concept of starting a new business after passing the introductory stage and being well into the growth stage of my primary business…
The idea of “how to do it right” started to play on my mind, and had I not applied my knowledge since working for myself and mentoring others. The whole process could have been so much more daunting.
Sitting down at my favourite little cafe – Lovedale General Store, It started ringing in my head again, one of the big things I push with all of my clients – It doesn’t have to be perfect to start off with, it just needs to be out there. Something is better than nothing!!
With the major factor for most startups is that the desire to want to make it perfect often see the business owner procrastinate… Rather than making a move.. getting something done. Taking action! Making a decision and following through with it…
Like any new development, the most important thing is to just get the ball rolling and start that momentum.. Take some sort of affirmative step towards getting things underway. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your best work to start off with.. EVERYONE has to start somewhere…
It was truly just a reminder to myself to keep myself on focus of the end goals, – I wanted this business to be out there, to become well established and profitable, but more importantly to be affordable and to be able to be there to help others. Which aligns with all aspects of my business and lifestyle goals – Contribution and making a difference in the lives of those around you.
So after decluttering my mind – with my brainstorming worksheet we generally run through at the beginning of every mentoring session, I was then able to start working through my ideas and getting them broken down into actionable steps.
After applying some of my own resources – Target Market worksheets, Mapping out the foundations to our online store / website, Working on a few ideas for marketing plan etc, I felt such a sense of achievement in the hours that past that I’d allocated to work ON my business not in it.. Things are definitely looking much clearer and brighter!!
Although I’ve not launched the new website, we’re working through social media – facebook page and facebook group whilst I get the content for the store up and running.
I was in conversation with a wonderful client last week about this new venture and the differences and which I loved the most. As I said to him, As much as I love the retail outlet and the diversity of NCD Crystals offers, my primary focus remains on the website design and business mentoring work. I love being able to help educate people, I love to be able to help other solve problems and see outside the self defined box. I love seeing my clients succeed when they recognise their own potential which was always there. As a secondary business, I allocate time to work on my secondary once I’ve finished the work for my primary focus — Natalie Crowe Designs.
Anyway lovelies 🙂
I’ll keep you posted on our progress with this new phase of Natalie Crowe Designs which I truly believe is going to be both beneficial to the community and to my clients as I develop new resources and techniques through my own experience.
Being in business is an amazing journey, we have had our ups and downs as all businesses do, but in general it’s always been a forward progression, past the establishment stage and we’re well into the growth stage…
In this time, we had the privilege of working with so many different businesses, with happy clients that have been with us since 2008 and others stepping on board more recently in 2015… Most if not all of those businesses are based in the Hunter Region, around Cessnock and the Hunter Valley, Around Maitland, Rutherford, Newcastle and as far out as Lake and Central Coast. The range of businesses and the diversity of the business owners has been an experience…
Each business owner has their own desires, expectations and their own personal circumstance to take into consideration… Things like their time frames and budgets, their personal understanding and skill level, their perception of how business should run, in contrast with how a business does run, their own circumstance – usually relating to their commitments, their family, the stage of their business and what they are really wanting from your service…
From an initial conversation with a client you generally get a feel as to whether they are wanting that personalised down to earth service or whether they’re after black and white – corporate responses from you. We generally offer both to our clients but more often than not, we find clients are more receptive to the personal engagement levels. Which is one of the main reasons we are so transparent. Based on the level of communication with the client and their comfort levels in relation to your interactions you gauge what the expectations are.
Anyone who has researched my business and looked into our processes, our social media, our ncd corkboard blog, has spoken to us in relation to completing a job or booked in work with us – knows that we are family orientated; Natalie Crowe Designs is run by a work a home parent based in Hunter. You will see posts and material in relation to the family; my daughter and I, I do share “Mum” based material, I do share my tips and experience in business, I am upfront when we have circumstances that arise that require my attention at home and within my business, and I quite comfortable with where we are in business and who were are within the community.
We get involved with our community, we support local business, we financially sponsor a variety of services with a sponsorship budget allocated each years specifically so we can back our local community. This year alone we’ve sponsored a local dance headquarters in maitland $700+ , we made a $1500 donation to a local family; single mother of 3 daughters, who were effected by the Hunter’s Super Storm in April 2015. After losing their home in the floods and all of their possessions, they moved into a new premises and refurnished their home, 5 weeks later; a house fire destroyed the family’s new home and saw the family again homeless and needing to rebuild there lives… The devastating loss hit home for us, and it was the least we could do to be of assistance to Help the Platt Family and most recently we’ve sponsored the Police Association of Australia with a $330 donation which will go towards the distribution of the True Blue Journal.
We do have time frames during the years where we have limited service provision – during peak seasons like School Holidays. (which we have started testing processes in order to better serve our clients at this times, but like every business venture.. this is trial and error.) We have had personal circumstance arise where we’ve had downtime in relations to events happening at home; whether that’s been to move premises, to attend training or to review and evaluate our business, attend to my family or a client has had an emergency that needs attending. We do our best to keep clients updated and informed of this and we work through the necessary portals in order to offer our clients the best service.
With relation to our communications and availability, we do offer flexible hours… we do work around the clock depending on our clients requirements, we do have some limitation to our Consultation Hours – usually between 9:30am and 2:30pm Monday to Friday as these times work in around my daughter’s schooling.
More often than not, there is a high potential you may receive emails from me in the early hours of the morning. You may find that work you’ve requested has been completed overnight.. You may find that I am available to talk to you outside of regular proforma “9-5” business hours… Also that we happily contact you on other contact mediums, at your request, which are not “corporate” or the typical business communication mediums, whether that be via your Skype account, Social media or otherwise..
We aim to offer our clients flexibility as we anticipate that this is something that REAL people require… we understand that operating a business around a family needs that, but also that corporate business owners still require that diversity based on their commitments. With that said, we can offer that corporate image and interaction where required, however we base this solely on our interpretations of clients interactions.
For some this concept of personalisation, transparency and flexibility is completely taboo – and some are quite opposed to it, other clients think that this is amazing as it means that their friends in the business really have them covered.
We are happy to work with either client groups and preferences, However, I personally don’t believe that provision of service needs to be black and white, I am all about integrity.. This is who we are and how we operate…
Some will get it, some won’t. We do try and support each business who contacts us but we don’t anticipate to have the capacity to facilitate everyone. We do our best and believe our clients are happy with our service provision to date. If not this time with a particular client, then perhaps next time…. There will always be someone out there waiting for you and your service. It’s just a matter of finding your match.
In any case, I’ve always said it’s always best to do your own research, know your material and don’t judge a book by it’s cover. You may just miss out on something that would truly have benefited you and business, by only glimpsing one perspective.
Have a great day!
History of Natalie Crowe Designs:
Originally as a NEIS (New Enterprise Initiative Scheme)
business. Natalie Crowe Designs has grown and evolved into a profitable
and exceptionally rewarding means of supporting my growing family.
Over the past 7 years or so, to which we’ve been established,
I have learned so much, met so many amazing businesses and made some
life long friends.
Through this experience, I definitely got more than I could
ever ask for.. My initial goal was to just make ends meet as most stay
at home or Work At Home Parents (WAHP or WAHM) experience. Being
financially independent had always been the motivation and working from
home gave me so much more flexibility and ability to divvy out my time
to my family, life commitments in addition to my work.
After a conversation with a colleague, it was quite interesting to hear the different approaches to managing or keeping track of clients from person to person. I would put everything down in a note book or display folder for each of my clients so all of their file was together, but carrying 4 files with me when I’d do heavy consultation day, meant I needed a truck get from A to B and so forth.
There are an ample amount of digital software out there that can be used, for example keeping a (Microsoft) Word document for each client, an Excel spreadsheet or Access database, in the past I’ve liked OneNote for it’s flexibility and digital factoring when it comes to creating notebooks and what not… however I found it tedious having to take notes on paper then transfer them back into the OneNote program after a consultation. So the quest continued….
That was up until I came across EVERNOTE..