How To Prepare For Your Big Move

Moving tipsBefore The Move

Keep these ideas in mind to make your move a little easier. Sometimes we feel doing it ourselves will save money. Moving is hard work and always takes longer than expected, especially if you move yourself. So, we recommend hiring a moving company. We use White Star Movers in Michigan, however, you can find a good local moving company near you on sites like Angies list.

  • Organize: Organize everything to the best of your ability — ahead of time. Box things up well and don’t think you can throw it all together at the last minute.
  • Label: Label everything. No, you will not remember. Make sure the movers know which room each item and your boxes go to.
  • Timing: Do you know moving company rates are higher at the beginning and end of the month? This is when most people move at the end of a lease or mortgage agreement. Try and schedule at time mid-month. And, if you can, avoid weekends.
  • Pair Down: Moving is a good time to weed through your stuff. If you’ve not used it in six months, get rid of it. You most likely don’t need it.
  • Photos: Some people have trouble letting things go. This is especially true if there is an emotional attachment. Take photos of the stuff you wish to hold on to the memories, but don’t need. If you have expensive or fragile items keep photographic records for insurance.
  • Copies: Make copies of important documents.
  • Categorize: Organize everything in categories.
  • Donate: Donate the stuff you don’t want. You will feel much better about letting the stuff go.
  • Disconnect: Schedule your disconnect times before the move. Do you need to connect at the new location?
  • Change your Address: Don’t forget to plan ahead and change your address. You can do it online through the postal service.

Here are a few questions to ask the moving company (source):

  1.  What are the insurance terms for the move?  Does the insurance cover the full value of the item?
  2.  Is the quote price an estimate or a “not-to-exceed” ceiling?
  3.  Are there any hidden fees?
  4. How long has the company been in business?
  5.  Is the moving crew employed by the company, temporary hires or casual laborers?

It doesn’t matter if you are moving your home or office. Moving can become expensive, especially moving over state lines. Organization is very important. Plan things out and start on the process early. List all the items you want a company to move and organize the items you want to move on your own.


Caricature Artists

Merriam-Webster: Caricature

A drawing that makes someone look funny or foolish because some part of the person’s appearance is exaggerated

Caricature artists are in interesting crowd. Many artists work in the world of the caricature to earn extra money to support other forms of art they consider their passion or specialty. Some do focus on developing their skills to become full-time caricature artists.

Like other careers in the arts, it takes time to develop a reputation and cliental. Not all artists have a formal education, many are self taught. They work at amusement parks, special events, weddings and on the street. According to . The average cartoonist or animator makes $41,388$60,010. However, most caricature artists don’t place themselves in this category. Caricature artists generally charge an hourly rate between $100 – $175 per hour. Some command much higher rates depending on experience and reputation. 

Is there a professional organization for Caricature Artists? Absolutely. International Society of Caricaturist Artists. Is for professionals and enthusiast alike.

The International Society of Caricaturist Artists is an international non-profit trade association. Its purpose is to promote the art of caricature, educate the public and the media about the art of caricature and to provide its members with helpful information about caricature as an as art-form as well as a profession. ISCA currently has over 450 members from around the world, and is growing every month. Members receive our quarterly magazine, exaggerated features, which has articles about caricaturing, featured artists tips and stories as well as other useful information about caricature illustration. ISCA annual convention is held each year in a different location. The convention features a guest speaker, lectures, seminars, competitions, awards and the camaraderie of your peers in the art of caricature drawing.

From The Artists

What’s it like to work as a caricature artist? Here are some statements from current and former artist.

I used to work as a caricature artist. Some people love it when you made fun of them, others get mad. Many people don’t get the concept and expect a true to life portrait. You will  get someone angry or sad at some point – that’s life. There was never a time someone was waiting for me in the parking lot. The worst thing about when you’re an artists is knowing you did not doing a good job. It can be awkward. Yet, most of the time, you are usually the only one who knows.  – J

I’m a caricature artist. I worked at a local amusement park in while in high school and college, now I’m hired  to draw at wedding receptions during  the summer. It’s a fun job.

I try to be somewhat kind to obese people, especially kids and women. I still attempt to capture a likeness, but I try to give them proper necks and a singular chin.

Lesson Learned:  Over time I began to draw the women more flatteringly than men. One out of five women  who sit in my chair will ask to be drawn skinnier. Guys typically react well to a caricature that pokes fun of their features, women not as much. I’ve had women yell at me in the past. If my subjects are drunk, I go all out with the exaggeration — Drunk people don’t care. – K

I work for a local Zoo as a caricature artist. Here is my experience.

Guests  have a vision of what they think they’ll look like before they sit down to be drawn.
Ten reject your drawing or do not like it and ask for a redraw at another booth. This includes whack jobs and people who easily get offended. The other 90% are generally nice about the experience and understand different artist styles etc.

Customer service is important, especially when people pay you to draw. The artist knows to not make completely obvious of their physical flaws and most of the time draws a cartoon version of the person even though that’s not technically  a true caricature..

BOTTOM LINE: the draw the guests politely. — MM

Your Business

A creative business is like any other business. It takes work. When you declare yourself a professional, you are in business and must have a plan.

If you want to be the best caricature artist, you must draw everyday.

Location, Location, Location plays a big role in the success of an artist. People need to see your work and refer you. Don’t undervalue what you do. Make sure you are charging a professional rate now, so you can charge a professional rate later.

Learn how to market. Take advantage of social media to share your work. Develop relationships with people you can partner. Maybe you can trade referrals.





Your 2016 Website

What Is A Website?

First, lets start with the basics. A website is a collection of related web pages. This includes multimedia content. A series of webpages that constitute a website are usually listed under one domain name and published on the same web server, such as

Web pages are the building blocks of websites. Simply, they are documents, generally written in plan text using a hypertext mark up language such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). The style of a web page such as the fonts, colors and overall look of the website is generally created using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The working and interactive elements of a webpage are created using multiple languages, however, JavaScript one of the more common options.

A Modern Website

Your website is the center of your digital marketing plan. In 2016, your not in business if you don’t have a website. You need a great website design and marketing team or a solid marketing company behind you to move your business forward.

In 2016 your website must be responsive. In other words, it needs to conform to the screen size of the viewer. A website must be easy to use and offer a sense of trust. You have about three seconds to impress visitor. Your website design must have a modern look, excellent graphics and solid information to earn the trust of your viewers.

How do you know if people trust you? Easy, your visitors convert. A conversion is when some does what you want them to do on your website. For example, signing up for your newsletter is conversion. Calling you for a quote is another example of a conversion. Your website must offer enough information and guidance to lead people to the conclusion that connecting with you is the right choice. Your website must guide people through the conversion process.

Don’t Make Website Visitors Think

If you believe people will figure it out, you’re wrong. They will leave your website if they have to think. When exploring the web, people don’t want to think or figure it out. What they are looking for must be obvious and at their figure tips. Just like the process of conversions, you need to guide people to information in an obvious way.

Try not to bury links to important information deep in your website. If it’s important, consider placing the link in your navigation. Buttons are another good option for making it easy for people to find what they are looking for on your site.

If you are having trouble with conversions consider using a heat map and video serve to track how people navigate your website. You may be surprise at how the obvious to you, is not obvious to your visitors. Website video tracking services we recommend are Luck Orange and Crazy Egg. Both offer options to give you insight beyond basic analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, you are missing out on a great opportunity to understand basic information about your visitors and what they find interesting on your website.

There are many ways to approach creating a website. Make sure you have your goals in mind before you start designing your site. Do you want you website to be a sales machine, educational tool or industry resource. Each option (among others) requires a different approach to website building.

Good luck!


A little something for my wife

I work hard. Late nights are common. It’s important to do something for my family, especially my wife. Below is a list of things I’m considering buying her as a gift. What do you think?

Vacuum: I know what you are thinking. Trust me, I’m only considering this because she asked. A vacuum is one step below a gym membership as a wife gift. You only give it if she asks for you it has she is staring at you in your eyes with a smile. A mention in passing does not qualify. I’m thinking about the iRobot anyway.

Cashmere: My wife loves cashmere. I think about a sweater, top or poncho.  I’m not sure which one yet.  There are a few good stores online with lots of color options. I get too confused when I go into a women’s clothing store.

Jewelry: What woman doesn’t like jewelry? I’ve not given her a diamond in a long time.  Maybe a necklace? A heart necklace is most likely the direction I will consider.

Silk: How about a silk scarf? Not a bad idea, because you can get them at a reasonable price. I think I might combine the scarf with something from the online cashmere store. 

Gifts are not easy to buy for other people. I know what I want! A nice Bentley will do. Yeah, a little out of my price range.  Of course, if I get her a vacuum and me a Bentley I’m well aware where both will end up.


The best Royal Oak Shipping Service

Quick in and out shipping

If you found this post you are most likely looking for shipping services in Royal Oak Michigan. You have a few options. The various shipping outlets such as FedEx and UPS do have stores in Royal Oak. Unfortunately,  I find them hard to get to when I’m in a rush. Of course, I’m always in a rush.  Goin’ Postal Royal Oak  is easy to access from Woodward. This makes it convenient for both Royal Oak and Berkley residents.  I live in Berkley and work in Royal Oak.

I know you may not be familiar. The name may put you off a little too. I get it, get over it, your time, money and convenience is worth it. It’s a good franchise and the local owner has nothing to do with the name. The staff is very nice and makes sure I’m taken care of every time I visit the store.

They have a lot of services. Check out their website for a complete list. I like the fact that I can select from multiple shippers.  The Goin’ Postal team can usually find me a good price among the major shippers. The only down side is when I need to ship UPS. The UPS store usually has a better price for UPS shipping.  I usually go to Goin’ Postal anyway. It generally depends on the size of the package.

Mailbox Option

Although I don’t have one, I’ve noticed they have private mailboxes you can rent at the store. It’s worth considering if you own a small business. The link above goes to a list of reasons, I found on their webiste, for having a private mailbox.

If you have had an experience with this or any other shipper in the area, leave a note in the comments.

Name Plates and Opening Day


Recently the Detroit Tigers, along with many other professional baseball teams, celebrated Opening Day. Just think: cracker jacks, hot dogs and home runs.

But, there’s a lot that people don’t think about as they’re enjoying opening day festivities. For example, ever noticed that little metal tag on the front of each chair? Sure you have. That’s where you look to make sure you have the right seat. Each little “32A” or “1C,” etc. If each chair or row lacked a tag, how would people find their seats? lt would require people to memorize the stadium’s seats before they got there and remember their seat without any help. Point being, name plates are necessary. Extremely necessary.


The Center for Improvement of Construction Management & Processes is one location on the web you can tap into to help support the management of your construction company.

The center has a series of educational programs and classes available through their partners.

Carolinas AGC

  • Craftworker Training Programs
  • Project SuperVISION
  • Management and Safety Seminars

National Center for Construction Education and Research

  • Construction and Maintenance Trade Training Programs in 40 Crafts
  • Management – Crew leader, Project Supervision, Project Manager
  • Pipeline Operator Training program
  • Safety Management
  • One week Construction Management Academies

National Association for Women in Construction Education Foundation (NEF)

The Foundation offers the following self-study programs:

  • Certified Construction Associate Program
  • Construction Industry Technician
  • Intermediate Construction Program – Construction Document Specialist
  • Construction Bookkeeping Technician.

The idea behind improving your management is that one dollar invested in training returns two in productivity.  Improved productivity leads to a stronger bottom line. also hosts research and helpful information available to you at no charge.  The best practice guide is certainly a good example.

Some of the information you will discover in the guide overview is listed below.

1. Attracting and Retaining Qualified Craft Workers
2. Company Strategic Plan
3. Construction Site Theft & Vandalism
4. Employee Career Paths
5. Employee Compensation and Recognition
6. Employee Performance Evaluations
7. Employee Training
8. Exit Interviews


Take a look and discover the valuable information they share.

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