Rewind | BREATHE | Fast Forward

29 03 2013

Time outI’m about to impart a bit of Zen wisdom here. Buddha pose is optional.

Some of us live in the past; we usually call that “baggage.” (Sorry, past dwellers.)

Some of us live in the future; we often label that “forward thinking.” (Don’t toot your horn just yet, “to-be”ers.)

But in between rewinding to memories of what’s already been, and racing into events that have yet to be, there’s where we exist now: the present.

Now, there’s a time and a place for all three branches of living – past, present, and future. And I’m not going to go all “A Christmas Carol” on you in this blog. But entrepreneurs are a notoriously driven bunch – mulling intensely over past actions before surging ahead into future plans.

So today, on the brink of a holiday weekend, I feel compelled to share a little bit of well-worn wisdom that we all lose track of at some point or another:


So simple. So essential.

A pause can be a vacation, a rare luxury for an entrepreneur, but it can also be as simple as sitting quietly for a few moments – mind parked in neutral – between activities. During those moments, you’re neither fretting over the previous activity, nor puzzling out the next.

You are simply existing.

If emptying your mind feels like a goliath undertaking, try focusing your attention on something instead – your thumb, an elbow, your breath… something completely innocuous.

You don’t need to be a yogi to work this technique. You just have to be human.

What’s the point? Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it doesn’t give you a chance to catch your breath, stop frantic thoughts, stimulate mental clarity, and/or help you keep things in perspective.

A few moments. Really. Please try it, and let me know how it works for you.

“Don’t just do something — Sit there!”  ~Anon.

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Target Markets: A Counterpoint

15 03 2013

two men wrestling with armsWell, this is interesting…

Recently, my twin brother, a professor of entrepreneurship, guest blogged about the critical importance and use of target markets in marketing your business.

This is neither a new nor radical point of view, as a quick search on the ‘Net will show. And it is a factor that we take into serious consideration on all DMT Artistry design projects.

However, I’ve just digested a very different view on the subject – VERY different – on the blog of a designer I admire greatly. It aptly addresses the personal side of what we do at DMT Artistry and, more particularly, why our tagline reads: “Designing You.”

I believe it’s important that you, also, have the opportunity to read this alternate viewpoint:

Click here to read the Before & After blog, “Who is your logo for?”

John McWade’s blog has inspired me to reassess how and who I prioritize in the design process.

My conclusion? Depends on the project! Both are essential, though to varying degrees on each and every project. Whether the client’s or the target audience’s preferences take precedence depends very much on the goals of that design, the desires of the client, and the needs of the business.

What are your thoughts on the subject? When push comes to shove, whose input should “reign supreme?”

Please share your thoughts in the comment section! (click “Comment” below)

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

3 Steps to Always Get What You Want (or Need)

8 03 2013

Confused manPretty exciting title, isn’t it?! I bet you’re wondering how I can make such an outrageous claim.

Let me show you…

Long ago, I struggled with career choices. Job ads, career postings, and referral positions alternately bored, repelled, or filled me with dread.

Still, I knew it was time to pick something – ANYthing – to prevent complacency from pitching a tent in my brain.

Thank goodness for Mom.

While I was banging my head against the proverbial career ladder, my mother stepped in with a solution that was epic in its simplicity:


Truly, the secret to getting what you want starts with knowing WHAT the heck you want. While waffling between possibilities, I had utterly failed to define what I was looking for.

I may have been unsure, at the time, precisely which field I wanted to enter but, as Mom sagely noted, I sure knew how many hours I wanted to work, how far I was willing to drive, the type of coworkers I wanted to interact with, the quality of management I was looking for, the level of pay, the types of duties I wanted to be involved in, and even whether they would allow pets.

So, riddle me this: What do YOU truly want? Start with the foundation – a career, a significant other, a house, a pet, a lifestyle, a vacation… the list is endless.

Now, define it down to the last detail. What does it look like, feel like, act like? How does it work? How does it make you feel? Who else is involved? And don’t forget to define a realistic time frame in which it should happen.

This process can take days. Some of my lists (e.g. what I wanted in a husband) took several years, but just look how well it worked!! Soul mate!

Remember that what you want has to be something for YOU. You can’t WANT a person into becoming something they’re not. You can’t WANT Mt. Everest to suddenly appear in your backyard. But you CAN want yourself into a role, a relationship, a success, and an adventure.


If you’ve done your homework in part one, part two should be a cakewalk. You already know precisely what you want, so you’re prepared to recognize opportunity when it knocks. It may come in unexpected forms – be alert, be open, be adventurous.

And if you want to improve the odds, refer back to your definitions regularly. Read them like an affirmation. The more often you review your list, the more adeptly you’ll spot stepping stones as they arise.


You have to believe in yourself to complete this final step – I mean, REALLY believe in yourself. Seizing opportunities can be intimidating, but doing so is how you get what you want.

This is the step where I believe most people lose momentum. That’s why “all talk and no action” is part of our day-to-day lingo. In the words of Nike’s immortal tagline: “Just Do It”.

The results may surprise you. Sometimes the process brings you, instead, what you truly need. Celebrate when this happens. Your “want” has grown up!

And there you have it: Three steps to always get what you want. My business, my husband, my home, my activities are testament to its success.

Let’s hear yours!

Author’s Note: Thanks, Mom!

“If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it.”  ~Peter McWilliams

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Target Markets: Love ’em or lose business (Part II of III)

22 02 2013

Russian nesting dollsPart II of Professor Dave’s (my twin brother!) guest blogger series about Target Markets:

Greetings again! Last week we talked about the four components of a target market. This week, we’re going down the rabbit hole a bit more!

Your goal is to define your target market as much as possible. The more you know about them, the easier it is to design a marketing campaign that will attract them, which we’ll talk about in Part III. But be warned: don’t try to fit all of your customers into one target market. Most businesses have two (or more!) target markets.

Take a realtor, for example. They have six different target markets: first-time buyers, home buyers, apartment buyers, vacation home buyers, commercial buyers, and sellers. While they all share some similarities, there are enough differences between them to treat them separately, especially for marketing purposes.

For example, first-time buyers tend to be much less sure of the buying process and need more handholding than other home buyers. They tend to be just married and/or just starting a family. They also are usually relatively new into their careers, so they are looking for less expensive homes. And… wait a minute. We’ve started to define the target market!

That’s the beauty of target markets—you likely already know what your business’s target markets are if you stop to think about it for a bit. But let’s go through an example of how you can clearly identify one.


  • Demographic: Usually ages 25-35, recently married, college educated, looking for a home in the $100,000 to $200,000 range (incomes in the $50,000 to $100,000 range), may have just started a family (1-2 kids), likely still paying off loans from school.
  • Geographic: Looking to move within 50 miles of the realtor office.
  • Psychographic: Scared or nervous about the home buying process, but also excited about owning their own home. Usually moving from an apartment, so they may not be aware of all the maintenance requirements a house will need. Often thinking about school systems and feeling of the neighborhood. Use the internet a lot to help with the home purchasing decision.
  • Use-based: They will on average interact with the realtors 10 or more times but make only one purchase, which will likely last them for multiple years.

The more specific you can get, the better. Be careful of identifying too many target markets, though! Your goal is to keep the number manageable, so if you find yourself dealing with 10 or more target markets, see which ones you can combine together. We’ll see why in next week’s post.

Until then, happy pondering! And if you need help, I happen to have a twin sister who’s great at identifying target markets…

Author Bio:  ”Dave Tomczyk, is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Quinnipiac University. His background is pretty diverse, including video game development, working at NASA, a Masters in Economics, and some work in astronomy. And a love of target markets!”

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Target Markets: Love ’em or lose business (Part I of III)

20 02 2013

Target MarketI have a twin brother, and he is easily one of the coolest people I know. Because he’s traveled ALL over the world, David has more stories than you can shake a stick at. These days, he’s busy enlightening collegiate minds in the field of entrepreneurship. I am very proud to welcome him as a guest blogger – both this week and next – on a topic of enormous importance: Target Markets. Let’s begin with Part I, shall we?

Greetings! I’m Dave, Dawn’s twin brother. Dawn is letting me take over the next few weeks to tell you about something near and dear to my heart: target markets. Seriously, I love talking about this stuff! It’s probably why I became a professor…

I’m going to take you through what target markets are, how you can identify your business’s target markets, and last and most importantly how you can use them to quickly and easily build successful marketing campaigns to increase your sales!

Let’s start with what target markets are. Target markets are the groups of customers you actively try to attract to your business. If you tailor your marketing towards your target markets, you will maximize sales. So, let’s talk about what target markets are. They have four components:

The descriptive characteristics of your customers. Basically, if it goes on the U.S. Census, it’s a demographic. Think along the lines of age, education level, number of kids, marital status, income level, etc.

Where your customers are located. This could be a fixed radius (“within 15 miles of the store”) or more broadly defined (“anyone with Internet access who speaks English”), depending on the type of business you have. Keep this focused on where 80-90% of your target market comes from.

Psychographics cover the defining mental traits of your target market, like being concerned about health or enjoying going out with friends. Sometimes it’s easier to identify your target market by a group or organization they belong to because that summarizes a whole bunch of traits at once. For example, if most people in your target market belong to the Rotary Club, a local church, or a political party, that summarizes a whole bunch of characteristics right there. But make sure you focus only on the ones that relate directly to why people buy from you.

How often does the target market use your product or service? Do they come every day, once a month, or only once?

In Part II of this series, we’ll focus on using these four components to define your company’s target markets. But if you have questions, let Dawn or me know, and we’ll be sure to answer them!

Author Bio:  “Dave Tomczyk, is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at Quinnipiac University. His background is pretty diverse, including video game development, working at NASA, a Masters in Economics, and some work in astronomy. And a love of target markets!”

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Emotions in Business: Advice from a crabby entrepreneur

8 02 2013

Crabby girlToday… I am crabby.

So today is a perfect day to blog about why that does not matter.

There are many things you give up when you choose the path of entrepreneurship – time, financial security, excuses, and definitely, DEFINITELY the right to be on anything other than your A-game. Some of these things (the positive ones) do come back to you over time – as you earn them – and you value them more as a result.

Until then, “smile, even when it hurts.”

You see, a client operates in a different world than yours. They don’t know that you didn’t sleep well the other night; they couldn’t possibly know that you just spent an hour disputing false charges on your credit card; they have no idea how hard it was for you to give up a family night because an employee called in sick. Your distress is valid, and it’s important. A client, however, is not the correct outlet for your verbal therapy.

Because, if you are serious about what you do, you are an oasis of stability in your clients’ own potentially chaotic world. You are reliable, when everyone else is making excuses. You are available – baggage-free – to make their life easier.

And that is why, when you call as a client, you will always get my best.

Who else will make that pledge with me?

…there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.  ~Albus Dumbledore

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Why, When TED Talks, I Listen

1 02 2013

I am addicted to TED Talks.

There. It’s said. No turning back now.

TED Talks are the equivalent of entrepreneurial caffeine… but without the negative side effects. (I just heard a collective *huff* from coffee drinkers everywhere.)

TED Talks pump you up, restructure your thinking, and generate introspection, motivation, and evolution. It feeds your ideas and curiosity, and the long-term benefits are as incredible as you want to make them.

So, yes, I am addicted to TED Talks. Let me see if I can make YOU addicted, too.

The video below of Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” is one of my earliest TED Talks experiences, and it makes an absolutely beautiful follow up to my previous blog post about why you are in business. Watch, listen, ponder, and let me know your thoughts:

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”  ~Simon Sinek in “Start With Why”

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2013 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Why are You in Business? No, Really, I Want to Know

18 01 2013

Fish leaping from one bowl to a better oneRunning and I have been in a love-guilt relationship for over 6 years now. I love that it gets me outdoors, creates forward motion when everything else seems so backward, is quiet and introspective, makes me stronger…

But, holy smokes, do I ever feel guilty when I fall off the running bandwagon. You know what I mean. Whatever your extracurricular, I know you’ve been there, too!

Business, as it turns out, is just the same. When clients are delighted, the balance sheet is… well… balanced, and business just keeps rolling in, it’s hard not to love what you do. But when you lose track of priorities, lose sight of goals, and lose your patience with the small stuff, no well-practiced family member could ever guilt trip you with such finesse.

But I’ve discovered a truth. It’s not new. It’s not trendy. But it is the number one way you can ride out the tough stuff and capitalize on the good times.

Figure out why you are in business.

I know. Profit is a great motivator, serving customers is a great benefit, but I challenge you to dig deeper. Why are YOU in business? And, more to the point, why are you in business NOW?

Your reasons will change over time. You might have launched your company to make a mark on the world, but are now running it as a legacy for your children. Both are entirely valid and motivating.

The trick is to remember your NOW reason when the crud hits the fan… and cling to it with everything you’re worth.

I’m going to drop my walls for a minute, here, and let you in on the oddly-linked evolution of my own running and business existence:

1st Era: Building muscle under the fluff
I ran to avoid turning into a slender, but lightweight marshmallow. I launched my business to ease myself off the stable rungs of employment, and create character muscle.

2nd Era: Getting out
I ran to socialize. Meanwhile, my business became a tool to build a network.

3rd Era: Need for speed
I ran to build speed, and for the thrill of competition. My business now revolved around fast growth, and competitive drive.

4th Era: Expectations
By this time, I was known as “the runner.” People expected me to run, and so I ran. At the same time, my business had insidiously morphed into a venue to prove myself to others.

5th Era: REGROUP!
Era 4 was NOT a long-term option. So, I took 7 months off of running, to ponder whether that passion was real or imaginary. No similar sabbatical for DMT, but I did institute a paradigm shift that has led to my…

6th Era: The Long Haul
Today, I run because I WANT to. I run for distance, not speed, and only because it thrills me to trump the “I-don’t-wanna”s with less and less effort. Likewise, my business has outstripped all of my original expectations, and is something I gratefully continue to nurture. I’m in it for the adventure and challenge of being successful in “the long haul”, and THAT is why I am in business today.

So, back to my original question. Why are YOU in business? And, really, I would love to know!

Please click on the orange comment link below, and add your insight to the mix!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

What Design Is… and Isn’t

11 01 2013

Dawn Tomczyk-Bhajan giving a web design presentationMy husband’s a great guy. And because he’s a great guy, he insisted on supporting me at a recent speaking engagement at Eastern Michigan University, through a seminar-based company called Web Adventure Workshops.

I was asked to give an overview of Website Design.

While my mind was awhir with psychologically strategic content placement, target audience impact, and structural integrity across browsers, my husband was, very understandably, not-so-eagerly awaiting a 45 minute schpiel on how to make a website look “pretty.”

Happily, my podium time gave me the opportunity to dispel this popular myth for more than just my better half.

While I’m on a roll, let me clear up this point here, too…

Design is NOT the art of “making things pretty.” Design is the psychology of making messages effective, of initiating action via sensory stimulation.

In simplest terms: it’s getting people to do things… not in a creepy or mind-controlling way, but in showing them how your product or service provides a solution to their problem, whatever that may be.

More than that, design does not always have to be “pretty” to be effective. Looks play a role, but it’s not the end-all-be-all goal of a successful designer.

Here’s the thing… the purpose of a website is to elicit some sort of action from a targeted group of people, preferably within a desired time frame. That could be a call to contact the company, read its blog, follow its tweets, visit its store, leave a donation, pass on information, watch a video… the list goes on. And it can be several of those things at once.

A web designer – or any designer, really – needs to think about the psychology, the science, and the math of making that happen. The “pretty” part is icing on the cake.

Corporate culture, existing branding, structure, competitors, and mission all influence how the message is presented. That’s design.

Audience age, gender, income, interests, location, and culture all influence how a message is perceived. That’s design, too.

Colors, layout, navigation, style, imagery, and content all influence whether a message is acted upon. And that’s definitely design.

So, when you contact DMT Artistry LLC with your next design project, anticipate a fascinating, in-depth conversation that will not only help ME create effective marketing for you, but will give YOU useful insight into your own company and clientele.

And you can rest assured that we will make it look pretty, too. The artist in me is always happy to oblige.

“An object imbued with intent — it has power, it’s treasure, we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent — it’s random, it’s imitative, it repels us. It’s like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away.”  ~ John Hockenberry

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Have-To v. Want-To Ju-jitsu: The work balance

20 11 2012

Ju-Jitsu JumpA warm “thank you” to my Uncle Mark for his insight below on work balance:

I was talking with Dawn the other day, sharing a perspective about the concept of work, and how it is that we do our jobs. As I’ve reaped the benefits of years of experience (read as: gotten a lot older), I have decided that to describe an overall approach to the whole concept of work, a gross oversimplification is helpful, so here it is:

All jobs can be broken down into two essential components:

the part that you have to do,


the part that you get to do.

Since everyone is different, and has different tastes and preferences, these parts will vary.  Some people enjoy meeting with clients; some enjoy the creative work that comes after the client meeting; some enjoy the mechanical production work that brings the creativity to life; some enjoy the delivery and tailoring of their product to the customer; and some people honestly enjoy the bookkeeping and administrative aspects of running a business. None of these is exclusive – you can love doing all of these things, in any combination.  But I’ve never met a person who doesn’t have a favorite – and a least-favorite – part of their job.

Here’s the “wisdom” that I’ve been asked to share with you:

The way I see it, my goal for a career is to maximize the time spent doing the part of my job that I get to do, while keeping in check the part of my job that I have to do.

Sounds simple, right? It is, as a concept.  It can also be devilishly hard to do, because it requires a structured approach to your business. Now, everyone is different, so I won’t pretend to have the one-size-fits-all answer about how to structure a business and how to mix and match the “have-to” parts with the “get-to” parts.  But I’m happy to share a few things that help me, as I try to incorporate these ideas in my own career.  In no particular order, they are:

Remember that the part that you “get to do” is the way you can really express yourself.  Take pride in it, do it well, and make that your signature.

Use this as a test to check that you’re doing the right things.  If there’s nothing but “have to do” involved in your work, and that’s not going to change anytime soon, it might be time to think about nudging your career in a different direction.

Recognize that sometimes the “have to” segments of a job lead to realizations that improve the fun parts – but that generally only happens if you’re open to seeing things from different perspectives.

It’s also really important to avoid the temptation to completely skip the “have to” parts – or, worse, to do them, but so sloppily that you have to go back and re-work them.  What helps me is to remind myself, when mired in a pile of reports that I don’t want to deal with, that I’m simply paying the price for the time that I get to spend learning about my clients’ needs and designing solutions to their problems. It helps especially because I know that the more thoroughly I work through the boring stuff, the more knowledge and experience I will bring into my interactions with my clients and staff.

Since I was asked to keep this short, I’ll try and wrap up now.  I’d like to leave you with an example of what I’m trying to describe: writing this note to you, dear readers, prompted me to put form to some ideas that were kicking around in my head for a while – which, in turn, led to some other ideas that will be of use in a project that I’m working on.  I’ll admit that when I was asked to write a guest blog, I was honored, but… still, it fell into the “have to” category – it seemed like a good idea, and I was happy to do it, and all, but it still meant an obligation… which turned into an enjoyable hour of thinking and developing concepts that I will be using to win over clients tomorrow. I offer that as proof of the subtle ju-jitsu that you can do to shift your thinking away from viewing work as a list of chores and into reshaping your career to be something more like jazz, in which you can improvise on themes that you create and modify endlessly.

Escape from the boredom. Take a chance, and go where it leads you. And be on the lookout for the things that make you excited about starting your workday – and then savor those moments and use them to build even more opportunities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Gabriele serves as a senior adviser for technology programs for the US government. He lives in the Washington DC area with his wife, their two kids, and a pair of Siamese cats.

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.