Wear Your Number Proudly: Entrepreneurial self-gratification

7 11 2012

Wear your numbers with prideA few years ago, butterfly hordes took my innards hostage, while I stretched before my first duathlon (run/bike competition). Surrounded by fellow, shivering newbies making repeat bathroom runs in the pre-sunrise chill, I distinctly remember the moment that volunteers penned my race number on my arms and legs. They used permanent marker for easy identification. I felt so official.

I was a duathlete.

I finished in the top something-or-other, and walked away with a medal, a banana…

… and permanent marker proof that I had competed.

For a whole week after, I was very careful not to scrub off my numbers. They lingered, and I sheepishly recall spending that week in sleeveless shirts and shorts, running errands and eating out like it was going out of style. I was PROUD, and receptive to a little recognition.

If you’re smirking, I suggest you recollect back to the medals, trophies, ribbons, certificates, degrees you’ve had on display. And what about the times you’ve gone out in your soccer kit, gi, team jersey, golf get-up, exercise gear, etc., when it would have been just as easy to change first? We thrive on recognition: we’re human.

And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s one of the perks of doing something that few can or will do. It’s a motivator. It’s a reminder. It makes us a part of something cool. It’s EARNED.

Being a successful entrepreneur is remarkably special. It takes guts, brains, charisma, bravery, endurance, strategy, self-motivation…

So, where’s our trophy? Our certificate? Our badge of honor?

It’s in our branding!

Every time you wear a company shirt, mail company letterhead, conclude emails with company info, set up company voicemail, direct people to your company website, and post on your company Facebook, you are shouting your accomplishment from the rooftops,

“I own a business, and it’s the real deal!”

To keep your enthusiasm at an all-time high, get your branding out everywhere. Embroider it, attach it, print it, post it, vocalize it – this is a special situation where reaping recognition coincides directly with building success. You never know when your branding exuberance will spark a conversation with the right person, in the right place, at the right time. Why not improve the odds?

Entrepreneurs, “wear your numbers” with pride. YOU’VE EARNED IT.

DMT Artistry’s re-branding… yeah, it’s back ON. (The photo at top is just a small segment of a very impressive race number wall at Hometown Bicycles.)

Note: I dedicate this blog post to my Uncle Mark, who will be a guest blogger in the near future (right, Uncle Mark?), and inspired me to write a new post. Much obliged! 

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

Purple Revelations: The Joy of Impermanence

24 08 2012

DMT Artistry LLC officeMy husband, who reliably radiates the patience of a saint, requires Netflix and a sleeping bag any time we select paint colors. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

Put me in a paint department with my artistic soul and perfectionist tendencies, and Mother Theresa could be forgiven for bolting for the door.

So, when it came time to choose colors for my in-progress office, I did everyone a favor, and went it alone. Interestingly enough, it took less then 15 minutes for me to leave with my liquid treasure.

Which got me thinking…

The way I see it, my office colors are the epitome of impermanence… the exact OPPOSITE of how I view DMT Artistry’s re-branding. My office colors can be changed in a few hours with a gallon of paint and elbow grease. But I’ve given myself the expectation that my new DMT brand must remain consistent across materials, locations, and time.

That’s a Mt. Everest order. Every brand evolves – even for the big guys, like Pepsi and Xerox. It has to. Stagnation means death.

It seems to me, then, that the “get-it-right-the-first-time” mindset is one of the primary sources of entrepreneurial quicksand. In an effort to make it right the first time, make it work perfectly the first time, make it a raging success the first time, we set ourselves up to be the deer in the headlights.

Impermanence is not only less intimidating; it’s more realistic. It reduces waffling over decisions. (It should NOT, however, be used as an excuse to be, think, or act in a mediocre fashion. We already talked about mediocrity in last week’s blog.)

Tell me, what decision have you been postponing for ages because the fear of “getting it wrong” is looming, piano-like, over your head? I challenge you to recognize that an incorrect decision is workable – you’re rolling your eyes, but I’m quite serious, you can always always correct your course to wind up on unexpected, opportunity-packed avenues – but going nowhere is not.

Come on, fellow entrepreneurs – let’s take this business world by storm!

Next Blog: … will be written by a guest blogger marketing guru, who’s been a DMT go-to guy for inspiration, motivation and valuable support – my dad!

“Nothing endures but change.”  ~Heraclitus

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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


Seriously… Discovering What It Takes to be an Entrepreneur

26 07 2012

Piecing together the "success" puzzleCandid moment, here…

Something interesting happened last September, when I celebrated DMT Artistry’s 2nd anniversary – something, in fact, cataclysmic:

I began to take my business seriously.

Understand that, prior to this, I certainly wasn’t operating my business halfheartedly or as a hobby. And the change had nothing to do with my work ethic, my professional possessions, or even external moral support. I had all of that in spades from the very beginning.

Nevertheless, it took two years for me to recognize my business as not just a success, but a legitimate, hard-earned, GROWING success with not-so-hidden potential. I grew aware of opportunities and, where there weren’t any, created them. Business didn’t just “happen” anymore. I MADE it happen.

At that time, the DMT re-branding concept was flickering to life, because DMT Artistry had become WORTH it.

I thought that this epiphany must be the Pinnacle of Entrepreneurial Realizations. To take my business seriously meant that I had given it the green light to be amazing, unique, enjoyable, worthwhile, impactful, noteworthy, and however successful I chose to make it.

But, this summer, I’ve trumped that realization:

I’ve begun to take MYSELF seriously.

In a role that demands the highest levels of self-esteem, entrepreneurship is, ironically, one of the most psychologically punishing. If there isn’t something strong at the core of you – something that goes beyond any vanities, excessive modesty, timidity or sheer bluffing – circumstances will knock you about, like a paper boat on the ocean, and your business will melt into nothing.

There are all kinds of statistics about our chances for business survival and success. Does the entrepreneur have what it takes to run a business? Can the entrepreneur do what is necessary to grow? Will the entrepreneur invest what is required to succeed?

In taking myself seriously, I’ve chosen to bank on the fact that I have, I do, and I will.

What about you? Have you given yourself and your business the same compliment?

Next Blog: I will post again in another 2 weeks. Thank you for your loyal readership!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”  ~Ayn Rand

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

The Power of Words in Designing a Logo

29 06 2012

WordsI’ve had an epiphany. A design breakthrough. I’ve got my logo concept “figured out”.

And it’s all thanks to a little word power!

I’ve talked about important verbage in my previous blog, particularly in terms of determining your company’s message.

An initial stage in the DMT logo design process involves filling a page or pages with company-relevent words – descriptive, associative or otherwise. One word leads to another, which leads to another, which eventually and reliably leads to an “a-HA” moment.

Instantaneous logo perfection? Ideally, yes, but realistically, no. However, word play always brings me one enormous stride closer to “the one”.

For DMT Artistry, a few of the words that not just lit, but quadrupled the wattage on, my proverbial logo lightbulb are as follows:

Transformation   Most of my clients come to me with an idea that their marketing materials could just plain be BETTER. So, as a combination designer-marketer-artist-human, it is my goal to be a catalyst – one that transforms “old and stale” into “downright awesome”!

Above & Beyond/Transcendence   My business is successfully operating and growing on 99.9% referral business. Why? I like to think it has something to do with my winning personality. But I also suspect that it stems from a personal mission to exceed expectations. That’s not lip service, either; it’s the way I do business. Ask my clients.

Flights of Fancy   There’s a reason “Artistry” is part of my company name; it represents the creative evolution of ideas and the artistic combination of “form” and “function”. So, yes, I consider “flights of fancy” essential to providing my clients with fresh and unique designs.

Energy   My designs are not static. Why should my logo be?

Awesomeness   My ego and I love to elicit the “wow” factor just as much as the next human, so I put that desire to work for my clients, creating designs that are downright… awesome.

Have an idea of what my logo will be/contain? Let me hear your thoughts!

First person to deduce correctly before my next blog post will receive a free, 2-sided business card design for themselves or a friend. (Those few who already know, sorry! You’re out of the running.)

Your Turn
Ask yourself, do any of these words describe the essential essence of your business? I challenge you to create your own word list with at least 20 real zingers. Now hone in on the 5 most important, most relevant, and most meaningful.

In your future dealings with designers, marketers and associates alike, you’ve now got 5 powerful tools for directing the form and function of all future marketing materials. Bravo!

Next Week’s Blog: Logo sketching.

“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.”  ~Pearl Strachan

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

Let’s Call It What It Is: Stalling for Time

8 06 2012

Cookie thiefThere’s nothing like a little family perceptiveness to make you face up and fess up, and my family’s caught me with my hand in the cookie jar – so to speak – stalling for time.

When I first launched the “re-branding of DMT Artistry learn-along blog” concept, I had an office build in the works, branding ideas galore and a schedule that allowed for directing reserve creative energies toward my own projects. Since that time, I have an office that seems to enjoy being permanently under construction and the brainstorms are fairly pouring out of my ears. But it’s that last part that’s really thrown a trip-wire across the trail.

Business is booming. It’s been all kinds of phenomenal. And it’s tempting to just ride the wave and enjoy the rush. It certainly demands a great deal of my time. But waves have a habit of either drowning you or beaching you places you’d rather not be stranded. Riding waves puts circumstances in control of your life, instead of the other way around.

Now is the time when it’s MOST critical for me to not only shore up my boat, but generate my own waves with a marketing campaign that will keep my company growing and powering forward.

My goal was never to be an overnight success (well, okay, maybe in my daydreams). Overnight success, to me, is strapping a saddle on a tsunami and gambling my career and life on whether or when to bail. Simply owning and operating a business is enough of a rodeo for this cowgirl, thank you very much. I’ve been taking the “quick and steady” (“slow and steady” doesn’t sit well with my Type A personality) approach.

Mismatched water and rodeo analogies aside, remember how I told you, back at the start, that I wanted you to learn from my mistakes? Well, right now I’m “‘fessing up” to one doozy of a blunder. It’s called complacency.

Complacency comes in all forms. It can be an unwillingness to change. It can be self-imposed ignorance. Or it can be one seemingly legitimate excuse after another, thrown up like orange traffic barrels and police tape, to hold you back from your best.

I expect that YOU expect me to conclude with declarations of taking control, stepping up to the plate, making Herculean efforts. I will do all of these critically corny things but, more importantly, I had a support network that called me out in the first place. Let me do the same for you.

Whatever it is that you’ve been postponing indefinitely, I’m calling your bluff. It’s not that you haven’t found the right people, don’t have the time, or just plain can’t do it – it really isn’t. These are all manageable hurdles, and we both know it. Dig a little deeper and figure out realistically, honestly why you’re holding yourself and/or your company back.

Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of effort or anything in between, if your passion is still there and you have faith that you’re doing the right thing, you’ll get through it.

We’ll both get through it.

(Incidentally, yes, I am aware of the irony of stalling for time with a post about stalling for time.)

“We’re all in this together.”  ~Red (from the “Red Green Show“)

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

Logo Inspiration

1 06 2012

Designing a logoI’m in the midst of one of the most thrilling, frustrating, illuminating, time-consuming, tear-jerking, soul-searching, INTENSE experiences of branding (or re-branding) a company – conceptualization (read: brainstorming) of the logo design.

I cringe when I hear that a logo was born fast-food style at the clumsy hands of cousin Earl, career couch potato with a laptop. That’s like saying, “oh, yeah, I’m having my handyman wire up some braces for my kid’s teeth – he’s already got wire, glue and pliers.”

If you, like me, think of your business as your child, don’t let a non-professional within a mile radius of your logo design! This foundational branding mark is the representation of your company, your products and services, your future success, your image, your corporate culture, your staff and, yes, YOU. Treat it all like the gold mine that it is, and get it done right the first time.

Soapbox stashed safely back in the closet, I just wanted to provide you with one of my favorite sources of logo inspiration – a website entitled “Logo of the Day“. This site is updated – what else? – daily with fresh new designs and long-standing icons. The comments below each logo often provide useful insight as to why a logo design does or does not work.

So, back to the drawing board for me, but strap your camera around your neck, your fanny pack around your waist, your tourist hat on your head, and take a stroll around Logo of the Day for ideas and motivation!

Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended.”  ~Raymond Loewy

Next Week: Topic to be determined

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

Oo-La-La! Picking Your Business Colors

27 04 2012

Choosing colors for your businessWho here enjoys the occasional friendly cat-call?

Now, don’t go all modest and puritanical on me. Just about everyone appreciates a little confirmation that they look GOOD. And when you wear colors and styles that compliment who you are, you OWN that look and others will notice.

Our goal as business owners is to draw that same sort of positive attention to our business image with the colors we use to ‘dress’ it. We need to chose hues that suit our industry, appeal to our target audience and, most importantly, tell the story of our corporate culture.

As I mentioned in my previous color post, the easy fall-back is to pick our favorite color and run with it. But just like that favorite color might turn your complexion orange in shirt format, your beloved hue might not compliment what your business is all about.

Your color choices say as much about your company branding as the words you use to describe it. Think about all the places those colors will be seen, from the colors in your logo, to the company shirts you have made, to the print materials you send out to the feature wall in your store.

It’s taken me some time to write this post, as I’ve had to set back on my laurels and really think about the image of my company.

I adore a rum-plummy purple that looks good enough to eat. But does purple send the right message for my company? And I currently use a combination of sky blue, lime green and graphite grey for my existing marketing. They made sense to me as a small start-up, but do they speak the language of DMT Artistry, LLC as a growing firm?

The answer is… I don’t know.


It’s tempting to rush into a decision for the sake of this blog, but I’d like my choices now to be as relevant in 10 years as they are today.

And, yes, I will indeed be aiming for “oo-la-la!”

DMT Challenge of the Week

So my challenge for you today is to re-read my previous blog on coloring your way to success, and comment below on WHY you chose the colors you have and, if you can’t answer that, what colors you think ACTUALLY represent your business.

And while you’re at it, don’t be shy about holding me accountable for a color decision. In fact, if I can’t tell you what my business colors are by Wednesday, May 9, 2012, I’ll give one free business card design to each person who calls, emails or Facebooks me to ask what my color scheme is. And if you ask, I’ll give you my elevator pitch, too!

How’s that for creating personal accountability?

“Yellow wakes me up in the morning… ”  ~ Lance Armstrong, whose entire marketing campaign is instantly recognizable by it’s sunny yellow hue

Next Week: It’s time to start talking LOGO DESIGN! This will be a multi-part blog, so next week’s branding lesson will be on The Anatomy of a Logo.

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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

Going Up? Creating the Ideal Elevator Pitch

11 04 2012

Creating an Ideal Elevator PitchHere’s the scenario…

You step into a ground level elevator with an unknown person, heading – like you – to the top floor. Seeing the professional case in your hands, your companion inquires whether you’re here on business. You are, of course, so the natural next question is, “What do you do?”

Here’s an open invitation to work some branding magic on a person who could be – or could connect you with – your next customer. If you steamroller them with your enthusiasm, your company will be fixed in their mind as pushy and overbearing. On the other hand, reluctance to share will translate into “not interesting enough to talk about.” Your elevator pitch needs to concisely blend intrigue, seduction and drama, without veering from good, clean honesty.

A challenge? You bet! The only thing about business ownership that’s easy is failing.

Length of an Elevator Pitch

Most elevator rides last less than 60 seconds. Take that as your cue. An average elevator pitch should last no longer than 30 – 60 seconds.

Consider this, too… you’ve actually got less than 10 seconds to make it worth someone’s while to keep listening. The first thing out of your mouth about your business should catch their attention!

Think About Your Audience

An elevator pitch should be adaptable to a variety of audiences. Think about how your language will change depending on whether you’re speaking to an industry peer, a possible investor, a curious passerby or a potential client. An investor warrants a true “pitch” and a more professional tone, whereas a personable introduction to your business is better suited to the masses.

Figuring Out What to Say

“I’m a graphic designer” is hardly an enticing elevator pitch, no matter how superhero-like my customers may make me feel on a day-to-day business. (Thanks for that, DMT clients!) However, ANY position can be made exciting (or dull) – and I mean ANY – if you use the right words to describe it.

Would you be intrigued if I told you that I do extreme makeovers? Am a success catalyst? Create “wow” factors? Make a living off of my imagination? Because I am and I do. And that’s a heck of a lot more exciting than stating the obvious.

Certain careers, by default, are already downright intriguing. Gold miners, ice road truckers and bike shop owners spring immediately to mind. These people have the luxury of saying the least amount and making the biggest impact. Nature of the game, fellow business owners; if you’ve got it, work it!

For the rest of us, we need to don our enthusiasm-tinted glasses and caps of creativity. You don’t just bake bread; you slay hunger! You don’t just clean offices; you increase office productivity with a vacuum! You don’t just sell furniture; you are a matchmaker who pairs people with custom manufactured soul mates!

Follow your opening statement with a brief synopsis on just what that entails. And of course, if time allows, return the compliment! Their elevator pitch may give you additional ideas for future encounters.

By the time you’ve completed your pitch, your goal is for the other person to not only understand what your business is about, but to want to know more. If they ask additional questions, or request your business card, congratulations. You just made a terrific elevator pitch and, possibly, a new client!

Your Turn

Writing this post has given me a new and fun perspective on DMT Artistry, and I’m well on my way to designing my own elevator pitch, which I’ll be sharing in a future post.

Now, what about you? What do you do?

“My job is to talk in other people’s sleep.”  ~ Elevator pitch of  a College Professor, from a Scott Adams’ online competition

Next Week: I’m thrilled to be introducing my sister, a corporate “Black Belt” trainee of Philips Automotive Lighting, as a guest blogger on the importance of personal appearance in branding. Stay tuned!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

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