I have a confession to make that I am totally embarrassed to admit.

I haven’t written a blog post for Rough Draft Solutions since December. How in the world did I let that happen? As a content writer, this gives me a big dose of guilt. What kind of professional writer am I if I can’t even keep up with my own blog?

Well, the thing is, I allowed myself to indulge in a break over the holidays and didn’t have a plan for getting started again. And before I knew it, the weeks were slipping by, and I still didn’t have a plan. I didn’t feel inspired, and frankly, I felt like I was too busy with client work. While all of this may have been true, it didn’t have to result in me neglecting my blog for four months!

AuthorAmanda Washburn

Most of us recognize when it is appropriate to write emails in a formal or informal tone. At work, we are told to error on the side of being too professional when communicating with coworkers, our boss, and our clients. We’re given the impression that it’s better to be safe than sorry and to be careful not to come off as too casual or worse, disrespectful.

But once you’ve formed strong relationships with coworkers and clients, wouldn’t it feel weird to be strictly professional in your emails? Shouldn’t your communication style reflect the connection and trust you’ve built over time? So, how do you walk the line between being professional and personable in your emails?

The truth of the matter is that some of us started blogging because someone told us we had to, and others started because they wanted to talk about their products and services. But those are not the right reasons to blog.

Watch our most recent video clip and learn about the top three blogging mistakes we encourage you not to make! Businesses who make these three mistakes are simply adding to the mountains of irrelevant content online and disappointing their customers by not offering the solutions they so desperately want. 

Are you still debating whether or not your business should have a blog?  We think it’s time to make up your mind - and to start blogging!

Maybe you’re hesitant to start a blog because you think “No one will read it,” or “I have nothing to say…” Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this thinking. But you are wrong! We are fairly certain that you have a lot to share in your realm of expertise - and trust us, if it is unique, valuable content, people will read it!

Before I started working for Rough Draft Solutions, I had written one… maybe two blog posts ever. Now, I write one or two posts per week! Turning a blank screen into a page filled with high-quality, appealing, and informative content hasn’t been easy, but it has been beneficial to RDS, our clients, and myself as a professional.

After writing blogs on a consistent basis for almost a year, I have learned A TON about blogging. In part 1 of Business Blogging , I will cover the 6 things your company is missing out on by not blogging and what you need to do to get started. Writing blog posts consistently is not always an easy thing to do, but the benefits blogging brings to a business makes it worth it.

Turning a blank page into a piece of engaging and sophisticated content is a tough task. There are some days where the amount of creativity spilling out of you is utterly ridiculous, and your swift typing fingers can hardly keep up with your ideas. And then there are days where you can’t seem to think of a solid concept, let alone write it down.

Being a writer for Rough Draft Solutions has been so much fun and such a blessing, but believe me - there are days where writer’s block gets the best of me, and I stare at my laptop for probably way too long. Every writer experiences writer’s block at some point, and each person handles it differently.

Before throwing in the towel or overstressing and freaking out that you can’t get over your  writer’s block, here are some tips on ways you can cope, manage, and beat writer’s block when writing for your business. Some methods may work for you and some may not, but there are plenty of different efforts you can try to beat writer’s block and make creativity your friend again.

Since grade school, we are taught to use “Well” instead of “Good,” “I’ instead of “Me,” and “May I” instead of “Can I.” When people correct us, does our grammar become perfect? Do we implement everything we’ve ever been corrected on? No, of course not.

As a young 8-year-old, I was a patient student and a sharp listener. While my classmates were fond of math and science, I was focused on perfecting every spelling test and became fascinated by the new world of commas. My class fell silent when we discussed grammar and spelling, but I was always eager to show off my knowledge. The teacher would finally ask, “Emily, where should the comma go?” “Before the conjunction,” I would say, keeping my reserved character, of course, so my friends wouldn’t think I was annoying.

Most of us understand that in order to connect with customers and increase our online presence, it’s important to have a company Facebook page. And while you may have dabbled in posting statuses or sharing photos, I would argue that the majority of us don’t exactly know what we’re doing on this platform.

You may be scratching your head wondering, how do I gain a steady following? What kind of content should I post? And does it matter what time I post? Believe it or not, all of these little details directly affect the success of your page. Failing to create a clear strategy (and following through with it) will stunt the growth of your page and will keep you from reaching your desired audience.

Which leads to the bigger question: What is the most effective way to run a successful business Facebook page?

“Avoid using the word very because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired; he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, for boys to woo women--and in that endeavor laziness will not do.” - Robin Williams.

Even though our main goal as business owners and content writers is not to “woo women,” we believe Robin Williams was onto something here.

In writing, each word plays a crucial role in portraying your message. When you write, you lose the power of gestures, facial expressions, and body language. The strength of the words you choose is directly correlated with the message you convey to the reader. If you want to create a powerful and engaging piece, you must use language to its full potential.

You may provide outstanding products and services, but if you don’t treat your customers right, they will find another way to get what they need. It is important to show your customers they are respected, valued and appreciated by your company. There are many simple ways to give your customers excellent service, but you want to be the business that goes above and beyond to keep your customers coming back.

Here are seven ways you can better serve and support your customers. The goal is to keep them happy and coming back for more!

For some business owners the phrase, “Marketing strategies” causes them to cringe and quickly shield their wallets. However, developing strong marketing tactics doesn’t have to be difficult nor break the bank. Here are several inexpensive, effective ways to market your business that you could easily implement today.

The English language is arguably the most complicated language of them all. It has a structure that is vastly different from many foreign languages and rules with the logic that states, “Just because.” With a language like this, it’s almost too easy to make a mistake. There are those of us who catch these mistakes quickly and others who aren’t as tuned-in to the depths of language. For any writer, it’s hard not to become frustrated with the ins and outs of English grammar. 

For someone who doesn’t consider themselves much of a writer, the writing process can be fairly intimidating. But writing doesn’t have to be unbearable and scary. And more importantly, writing plays kind of a large part in creating content for your business and is an ideal way to connect with your customers.

Here are a few tips that will help you become a better business writer and improve the way you communicate with your customers.

For some, networking simply comes naturally while for others it’s a necessary evil. While we can agree that creating meaningful connections with others is vital to business, it doesn’t excuse the fact that it’s not always easy. Which begs the question: What about networking makes it scary? And how can we get over the fear of networking?

The answer to the first question is simple, networking makes us vulnerable. It forces us to put ourselves out there. And I mean really out there. But we need to remind ourselves that everyone networking has a common goal - to make quality connections to grow their business. And most of them are just as nervous as you! As you meet more people you will find that the reward of the relationships you’re creating greatly outweigh the fears associated with networking.

The second question – how can you get over the fear of networking - deserves most of our focus. Here are six tips that I have personally learned and used in the past two years to help boost my confidence and start building meaningful business relationships.

AuthorAmanda Washburn
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When it comes to writing blog posts, we want our customers to be excited about our content and be responsive to what they read. We want to create a blog our customers can connect with, but what should we include in our blogs to make it interesting for our customers? What aspects of our blog will set us apart from the rest?

Today we will discuss a few ideas that can make your blog posts more interesting and more fun for your customers to read.

Ta-da! I am so excited to share our new marketing piece with you! While I may be biased, I am thrilled to have a leave-behind that clearly articulates what we do and how we can help you as a small business owner.

It's funny, even though I help businesses craft messages that showcase what they do and the value they provide on a daily basis, it was hard for me to do it for my own business! I suppose it was good for me to see what my clients experience. :) 

Did you survive the first full week of work after the holidays? I hope so! My family rang in the New Year in Florida and I couldn't be more thankful for the restorative and much-enjoyed break. But now it's go-time. And if my inbox full of emails wasn't enough to bring me back to reality, the more than 80-degree change sure did! ;)

So, it's really 2015 huh? We all have a clean slate and 2015 is just waiting for us to do what we want with it. Let's put the seemingly required "work out" resolutions aside for a moment and think about real goals and aspirations that you want to work toward and changes you want to make a reality for your business this year. Here are a few questions to help you start brainstorming (Don't feel bad, while it may be the second week of January, it's always better to start late than never!).

Thanksgiving is less than a week from now. The last few days I have been consumed with thoughts of gratefulness and happiness about owning my own business. I can't explain the value of the freedom that it brings to my life. I wanted to share a few of these little bits of happiness with you. What are you most thankful for professionally? 

8 things I am thankful for (in no particular order): 

  1. The ability to own a business and the creative opportunities available to me. Working with such a variety of small businesses and helping them share their stories is so rewarding. One of my favorite parts is sitting down with a customer and hearing their story and helping them articulate it in a way that will engage their customers. 
"The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” 
― Jeff OlsonThe Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life

I love this idea. You can apply this concept to whatever element of life is most relevant to you at the moment. Whether you are trying to lose weight, save money or start a new business, you need to do things over and over and over again before there will be any sign of growth or improvement. What you do matters. What you do today matters. 


Happy Friday! It has been raining all morning and all I want to do is go sit in front of the fire with a hot cup of coffee. Ah, coffee. I haven’t had any in two and a half weeks! (If you know me well, you know I used to drink at least 3 cups a day.) I won’t get into it but I have been on an awesome detox directed by Back to Basics Healthy Living and no caffeine is allowed (amongst many other things). It is quite a feat considering all we have accomplished here at Rough Draft Solutions without any coffee involved! Despite over extending my will power during this detox, I am feeling better than ever. -- All joking aside, this weekend we are headed out of state and it is threatening to snow. Way. Too. Early. If it snows, I am definitely going to give in and have a nice hot cup of jo.

Anyhow, how was your week? What was your biggest accomplishment so far? Around here we have been having fun finishing up some great projects.


How are you doing on this fine Friday afternoon? I hope it finds you doing well and enjoying the beautiful weather we are having here in Michigan. What are you up to this weekend? I have family coming into town and we are going to spend as much of it outside as possible! Whatever you are up to, I hope you get the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure.

To switch gears completely... I must apologize for something. The mistake I have made is something I advise my clients against and that I always thought I understood.