Founder of AmSpirit Mentioned in Columbus Dispatch

Frank Agin, founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections, was quoted in the business section of the  April 19th, 2013 edition of the Columbus Dispatch. In Frank Agin Photothe article entitled “Online Introduction,” Frank indicated that more and more employers are using social media websites such as Facebook to aid them determining whether or not they should hire a candidate. To read the full articles, go HERE.

Have You Found Your Champion?

Have you ever looked for that one person that can help you succeed in your business. Alliance Chapter Member, Lisa Raymond bloges about how to do this from her findings reading The Champion By: Frank Agin. Read: “Have You Found Your Champion,” to learn more. Lisa can be reached at (602) 434-3843 or via email at

Space It Out!

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams

I am a graphic designer, so I get a little annoyed when I see an advertisement that looks like something my kindergartner drew, crayon or not. I not only like advertisements to look pretty; they also have to have that “wow!” factor. This advertisement is a representation of your business, right? So why would you not want that representation to be all that and a bag of chips?

Why not, indeed.

Over the last 14 years of my career I still see a particular violation in full force. It is almost as if either designers have decided they do not care because the client does not care (which I find hard to believe), or the client is creating their own advertising and is not aware of this violation. What I am not a fan of, and still see quite a lot of to this day, is the lack of consideration given to a graphic designer’s best friend: white space.

White space is a graphic designer’s best friend. Proper usage indicates balance between all the elements and allows for “breathing room” for the viewer so they do not feel cramped. Also, when used properly, white space can add a sense of urgency to the product or service you are advertising.

It is also important to note that, even if white space is being used correctly, do not butt the text right up to the border of the page or advert. The border creates two visuals: 1) an important place that contains very important information; 2) a stopping point for reading. Unfortunately, when text is jammed right up to the border, the latter occurs, and the rest of your advert may not be read.

The most notable use of white space I can remember is the magazine and billboard adverts for ING. It made a great teaser, as nobody could tell what is was, thereby making us wait impatiently to find out what ING was all about. The television commercials they soon adopted were a similar nature, but of the absence of information – again, thereby tugging us along until the full nature of ING was released.

Now it’s your turn! Please post a link to the best and worst uses of white space you have seen in the past decade. A snapshot of a website counts.


AmSpirit Member Receives 2nd Place in the Women Masters Bikini Divison

Michelle Hogan, realtor at Coldwell Banker King Thompson and member of the Columbus Chapter of AmSpirit Business Connections recently competed in the NPC Bikini Competition and received second place in the women masters bikini division. What is most impressive about this is that this was her first time performing in a bikini competition.

For you single men in AmSpirit Business Connections, forget it. Michelle is happily married and her husband is a member of the New Albany Chapter (though, he will not don a Speedo for us). To learn more on this and read an interview with Michelle, go HERE.Michelle Hogan

Document Design 101: Text Box

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams

Designing a document for print sounds pretty easy: you put some text together on a page, add a photo or some clipart, slip in a small call-out box and – whammo! Instant document design.

It can be this easy, but there’s a few simple steps to remember. I’ll explore these over the next couple of days. Today I’m going to talk about that call-out box in my example.

A call-out box is nothing more than a box shaded 20% with black text. Sometimes it is designed with a dark background and white text. The basic function is to call attention to specific information. A good example of this are the little boxes newspapers sometimes use when describing a new movie review: the box may contain information about the name of the movie, rating given by the movie industry, main cast of characters and a short synopsis. This information is treated in this manner so the viewer can easily find it. The call-out box can also be a light-shaded box following the long margin of a document with text inside. The size of the box doesn’t matter, but the visual appeal does.

In order to make this box visually effective, you have to leave some space between the edgs of the box and the edges of the text box. This can be done by either by increasing the paragraph margins by one-eighth of an inch on all four sides, or by adding some inset spacing to the text box on all four sides. The number isn’t hard and fast; you can add or subtract space to make it visually appealing, but do add some space. If the text butts up against the sides of the call-out box, the viewer’s eyes tend to stop reading. Adding space allows for continuity and flow, and helps the text look great in print.


Put Your Best Flier Forward

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams

Businesses need as much help as they can get in order to market themselves in this economy. A good flier can describe a special event and help drive traffic back to your store front. A bad flier can make a negative impact if the information isn’t clear or poorly designed. Below are a few tips I’ve learned over the years to make a better flier.

1. Define the purpose. Why do you need to make a flier? Are you just trying to advertise for new business? Are you letting people know you’ve moved to a new location? Do you have a special event coming up? Are you selling something for a limited time? Make sure you have a specific
purpose for your flier; otherwise, it will look like you threw spaghetti at a wall in the hopes something would stick.

2. Define the target market. Sometimes this can be accomplished by defining the purpose, as stated above. For example, say you are holding a roller-skating event from 8pm-midnight. You could target both the teenage crowd and adults, or just stay with the teens. You could break it down
further by the type of music the DJ will play and whether or not to offer something for paying admission, such as Silly Bandz or a glow-in-the-dark necklace.

3. Choose your words carefully. If you have a coupon that requires an expiration date, list it. If you are offering this event only on Friday nights, say so. Give enough information about the offer or event to make people want to come. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time and paper. Be sure to list a special price if you have one, especially if it’s only for a certain timeframe; list the regular price either below the special or in a disclaimer. Be sure to include a “call to action” if applicable.

4. Use artwork as a visual aid. This is the one area some people aren’t sure what to do. Most do not err on the side of caution and tend to load up the flier with all kinds of clipart they think is cool. Two problems arise from this: first, it looks very cluttered and junky, losing the point of the message; second, many times the artwork used does not relate to the event. Back to our skating example. If you’re targeting teens, rather than using a schoolbus, you might use photos of teens on skates, or maybe a photo of a skate on the floor. If you decide to use clipart, you might use artwork that revolves around music, or maybe a grunge background with speakers. VERY IMPORTANT: include your company’s logo for branding and recognition.

5. Choose colors and paper wisely. Color makes an impressive statement but only if it isn’t overused. Black and white can make a striking impression, particularly on astro-bright paper, but drop shadows make give the flier a “dirty” look. The same goes for the paper: did you want to print this on 100 gloss book stock, 16pt. cardstock, or just regular copy paper? Always take into account your target market, not just your budget.

6. Putting the pieces together. Try to think of your flier as a physical collage rather than a “sheet” of paper on a screen. Everything on a flier is a separate element: the text, the paper, the artwork — all separate elements of a puzzle that, when put together, makes a straightforward and clear message. Don’t make the artwork so big it overtakes the text. You can use different typefaces, but no more than three should be used on any separate marketing piece. Determine what your most important points are and make those big enough to stand out. If using color, use on these important pieces to give more visual identity and help create a sense of urgency (depending on the text).

7. Please press PRINT. Who will be printing this masterpiece? If you are intending to print from your own inkjet or laserjet, choose paper that best works with your printer. If you are not sure what to use, consult your owner’s manual or search engine on the web. Determine how many fliers you will be printing and buy enough paper to cover that plus an extra twenty or so, in case some of the fliers don’t print exactly right. If choosing a print shop, be ready to ask some questions – and not just about cost! Please refer to my post “Ready…Set…Print?” for tips on taking your files to a print shop.

That’s it! You’re done and ready to show off your flier to the world!

Now it’s your turn! What were some of the challenges you faced when creating your own flier? How did you overcome these challenges?


Would You Rather Be Visiable Or Engaged?

Blog logo-from Jacci Adams 

 In social media, it is true you can be visible without being engaged. In order to start a conversation with another person, you have to show up first. But, if all you did was show up, does that action alone create enough curiosity for someone to reach out and talk to you? And, if someone did chat first, would you chat back?

There are a couple of way to be visible. You can create an account in social media and simply watch what others are talking about. You are there, you showed up, and most likely you have found conversation or articles of interest already. Another way would be to create an account, read what others are talking about, and start posting your own thoughts on subject matter. The latter will give you more visibility, for now people can actually see you and your posts in their streams.

Now, picture being an active part of the conversation.

You are still visible, and people can still read your thoughts. Now, you are actively taking part in a conversation about subject matter you are interested in — and people are reading it right now and talking with you.

Active participation does not come without risk. There is risk being in the foreground rather than the background. There is risk putting your thoughts out there for people to scrutinize. There is risk for argument. There is risk for being wrong. You risk when you become actively visible.

When you engage, you become part of something. The word “engage” conjures up images of either a wedding or some kind of meeting, does it not? In either case, it is a reflection of commitment. By joining a conversation, you are committing yourself to the conversation, to your ideas, to becoming part of something.

Here are 5 ways you can become more engaged in social media:

  1. Eyes wide open. When you join a conversation, know as much about that conversation as possible. Is this a subject in which you really want to share your thoughts? What are you going to contribute? If someone asks for facts, can you give them?
  2. Ask a question. When you read a post or a blog and find something that intrigues you, ask a question about it. Chances are good someone else was thinking about asking that same question but didn’t — not so dissimilar from a classroom where you’ve raised your hand.
  3. Ask an intentional question. Same idea as #2, except here you are asking a question on purpose to draw out someone’s expertise. You may already know the answer, but asking the author to validate his or her thoughts becomes shared knowledge — something very powerful in the eyes of others.
  4. Share the knowledge. This may seem old hat, and yet works better on pictures of kitties and puppies. If you read something you found value in, share it with your network. Chances are pretty good someone is looking for that information but did not know where to find it. This increases your value as a resource to your network.
  5. Ask for questions. When you give someone your business card or brochure, you are giving that person permission to learn more about your product or service by contacting you. Why not ask people for their thoughts on your posts? People are willing to give their opinion, but many are waiting for the permission to do so.

Now it’s your turn! What are some other ways you can think of that can help others get more engaged? Let’s get the conversation going

AmSpirit Member Recieves 2012 Volunteer Of The Year

 Gary Chisolm with Chisolm Studios and member of the Granville Chapter of AmSpirit Business Connections was announced Granville Chamber of Commerce (GACC) 2012 Volunteer of the Year at the annual GACC Holiday Luncheon on December 5th, 2012. The award was given to Chisolm in honor of his successful efforts to support and promote the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce and its mission. His professional photographs of Granville, local events and GACC board members were instrumental in achieving the 2012 upgrade and transformation of the GACC website, Chisolm was responsible for the photographs for the 2012 and 2013 Granville Community Calendar, a GACC publication that is mailed to homes and businesses in the 43023 zip code in December.  Additionally, Chisolm’s photographs of GACC events and monthly meetings appear in the GACC newsletter and on the GACC Facebook page.  Gary Chisolm is the owner of Chisolm Photography in Granville.

Gary can be reached by email at or by telephone at (740) 644-7911

It’s Just Lunch

It’s all about Know, Like, and Trust. What better way to quickly get to know, like, and trust someone than to spend at least an hour of one-on-one time with them? Read Towne Centre Chapter member, Tom Anderson’s post: “It’s Just Lunch.

Tom can be reached at (614) 679-0912 or via mail at

Member Invited To Be A Guest Medical Expert In Personal Injury Documentary

The North Scottsdale Business Connections Community of AmSpirit is pleased to announced one of its members, Dr. Bill Gallagher, DC has been invited to appear as a guest medical expert in a documentary on personal injury cases. For more information please see the press release, Documentary Invite 040113

Dr. Gallagher can be reached at (480) 513-3909 or via email at