Natalie Ballard

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

A Very Special Gift

In Crafting, General on February 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I would love to give my Hubby a Harley Trike – or a Traley Hike as we call it, but I just couldn’t afford it for our anniversary (maybe one day).


So instead, I got creative! I created an A2 size canvas with fine-liners and alcohol markers! I wore out my poor lightbox in the process though 😦 but it was great to get back to marker art after a lot of digital artistry!

I’m happy to do commissions of all sizes, so simply give me a call on 01905 21074 or email me on


Mixed Media Memories

In Crafting, General on February 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm
Mixed Media Wedding Canvas

Mixed Media Wedding Canvas

It’s been a while since I last posted a craft project so I thought I should catch up a bit. This canvas is a celebration of our wedding produced for our anniversary. It features so many things associated with the day and our relationship – its great because a lot of the little hints are secret to us and makes it all the more special!

My next project will be a much bigger box frame that will be LED lit! It will have all our larger wedding mementos such as butterflies from our stationery and table decor, and will pull in our wedding colours – I promise I’ll blog it as soon as its ready. So if you want something spectacular, drop me a line.

LED Lit Frames

LED Lit Frames

If you would like a canvas made of that special photo, give me a call on 01905 21074 or email me on This canvas is quite small (approximately A5) but we can go all the way up to A1!

Great offer weekend!

In Business and Networking, Design, General on February 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

To say thank you to all our great clients as well as welcoming some new ones we’ve launched some great weekend offers.

Get Published ad

We’ve reduced all of our book packages for THIS WEEKEND ONLY! We’ve also added a Loyalty Program for our online customers, as well as a referral program for all our existing clients! We are looking forward to welcoming some great new authors! Take a look at for more details

We’ve also created a bit of a stir with our great LoveTwyst offer! Namely you get your first box free when you sign up as a VIP! To find out more about LoveTwyst, visit

Join Up Offer

Lend us a hand – please

In General on February 20, 2014 at 6:52 am

We need to secure £3000 worth of funding by tomorrow! To do that we need your help.

So what would this funding enable us to do?

Essentially it’s to enable us to have our stand at The Photography Show as well as producing the first batch of LoveTwysts for our display.

What if we don’t make target?

The money already pledged will never be taken, we won’t be at The Photography Show and we’ll still have to find the same amount for not attending.

Please pledge your support

How can a book help my business?

In Business and Networking, Design, General, Technology on December 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm
  • I don’t need a book to promote my business

  • I haven’t got time to write a book

  • I want to write a book but I don’t know where to start

  • I haven’t got the resources to publish a book

The chances are if you’ve spoken to me about the title subject, you’ve come back with one of the four bullet points. However, the book/eBook/app is becoming a key marketing tool for a lot of very different businesses – and each business utilises their book in a very different way.

#1 – The marketing tool

A book is a great way of not only promoting your business, but also the service you provide and can give you the “expert” perspective. After all, people generally do not decide to publish a book without having a great deal of knowledge and research in their book. A book is also a great way to market a visual based business, and it has staying power beyond that of a portfolio you show briefly within a client meeting.

#2 – The training tool

We an supply your training material in a number of published formats for you to upsell to your students or provide as part of a seminar or course. These include printed workbooks, interactive publications and even all your coursework on a memory stick in our Twistkey format option!

#3 – The demonstration tool

With our interactive publications, you can give full product demonstrations in video, audio and animated forms. This is great for products that are new to market that people will not have seen before.

#4 – The upsell tool

A book could be the start of a subscription, with regular updates being published on a monthly, bi monthly or annual basis.

#5 – The business tool

Your book could form the core of your business, particularly for training based authors. We can help you with not just selling your book, but also with coordinating affiliate programs.

Our support

Our packages will support you from initial idea through to publishing and beyond. We have lots of bolt on options – including proof reading, copywriting, illustration, photography and augmented reality! Contact us today on how we can support your business.

Kindle Cover

Follow back that Tweeter!

In General on December 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

How many times have you been to a face to face networking event and been told “It’s not about the people in the room”

What makes you think that this works any differently on Twitter or other social media platforms. I’ve been told twice this week that people don’t follow back unless they are interested in what that one individual has to say, but never has the above idiom been more important than on Twitter. Each RT we do is broadcast to our followers, so although your Tweet has been RT’d by a Plumber, that Plumber may have countless contacts within your industry. As a graphic designer personally every industry is my target industry, but just because you don’t see why the person is following you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow back.

There are exceptions however…

Do your research, and if you find your new follower only tweets “Buy 1000 followers here http://…” don’t bother following back. Likewise if their tweets are obviously spams and scams, or if they are just looking for numbers.

My rules for a follow…

  1. Are they interested in my tweets – have they RTd, favourited or replied to at least one of my tweets?
  2. What are their tweets like – do I want to RT and would I feel comfortable with having their regular updates appearing on my wall?
  3. Are they in my industry or have synergy with my business?
  4. Are they a potential customer?
  5. Are they within my tweeting zones of biz, tech, craft and design?

I also frequently edit my follows – am I still interested in their feed, do they still follow me, are they still active?

Thinking Into Your Destiny

In General on December 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Plan big for 2014!

In Business and Networking, General on December 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

We’ve set ourselves some big targets for 2014, we’re launching a new product range, exhibiting at our biggest event ever and have set monthly targets that will stretch us beyond anything we have done in 2013!

2014 will be our make or break year – with plans for a new website, a new studio, a totally unique product launch and a monthly target of 32 books! Our online bookstore will be moving to a new platform in January, and will be joined by all our current book and design packages as well as some new additions. There are going to be special offers throughout the year, as well as discounts aimed at fellow members of networking groups such as Bizitalk.

We’ve also taken some pretty big decisions on what works and what doesn’t work for us, so we’re trying new things while leaving some of the groups that we have been keen supporters for. We are now a shareholder member of Bizitalk, a U-Do network member as well as highly active in #WorcestershireHour.

By planning big, we are focusing in a positive manner on the future and setting ourselves a strong base to build upon as the economy recovers.

When outsourcing is a #badmove

In General on December 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Today’s blog post is about the potential pitfalls of outsourcing.

Having been at both ends of the outsourcing issue these past few weeks, I thought I should give an objective view of when outsourcing is a bad idea.

Typically, outsourcing is a great way of freeing up your time to enable you to grow your business – whether that is hiring a VA, finding someone to support your business in an area where you feel you lack skills or confidence, or going to someone for a one off task that is outside your usual business area. The problem with outsourcing comes when its used as a means to cut corners.

#1 – I can get it done cheaper abroad

There are some great e-lancers out there,… but there are also some appallingly bad ones that have left a sour taste in the mouth for many of my new clients. Typically, my outsourcing clients have already had at least one bad experience of outsourcing by the time they come to me. Sometimes cheaper comes at a cost to quality, but worse still it can leave you with an unusable product at the end of your project. Too often the cause for the failure in this relationship is communication – either due to differences in time zone, culture or language. If you need to outsource abroad, you need to consider how to limit/communicate the brief for best results.

Another issue with outsourcing work for budget, you may end up spending more with an outsourcer than a specialist based locally. Most specialists will know instantly what works and what doesn’t, and can advise on ways to save your budget as well as providing much better value for money.

#2 – If I can get someone to do this it will free up time for X, Y or Z

The trouble with outsourcing for this reason is no-one knows your business, clients and briefs as well as you do. When outsourcing for your core business, make sure to give as much details as possible and set realistic but tight deadlines to save projects from spiraling out of control. An outsourced job could lead to more stress and time, so how you implement the contract is key.

That’s not to say all outsourcing is bad

Outsourcing is great for repetitive tasks that don’t necessarily form your core work, and can save you time and money. The key is to be selective about what you outsource – break it up into key blocks of work and hire the right outsourcer for that block.

The next trick is to make effective use of your time that you have gained back!

#WorcestershireHour is GO!

In General on November 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

#WorcestershireHour is GO!

Brilliant article on how #WorcestershireHour is improving business for Kissed Off Creations Ltd by the wonderful Victoria Cronin