Decide. Then Do.

Last year my publisher invited me and his other authors to a writers’ retreat in Los Angeles. The chance to hang out with this particular group of writers was pretty exciting, plus I had lived in LA for 10 years and was looking forward to being back in the “hood”.

But, despite that excitement and anticipation, as the date drew nearer I started to talk myself out of making the trip.
Although writing is important to me, it was a “time and money” thing. Money was tight and I wasn’t sure I could justify the expense.
Besides, I told myself, my business needed me. I had things to do, clients to see, deals to sign. We had just launched our VideoCrisps packages and we were feeling very much like a start up again. Everyone was working long hours and eventually I convinced myself that I just couldn’t leave, and in doing so I decided to stay put.
The people in my writers’ community who did go on the retreat had an incredible time, made lifelong memories and friendships and they even got some writing done while they were there.
I worked every day too, but I can’t tell you exactly what I did or even what I accomplished. I’d like to think that by staying back and not going on the trip that I made a significant difference in the business, but I honestly don’t know if that’s true. Chances are pretty high that everything and everyone would have survived if I had gone away for the week.
I was disappointed that I hadn’t just said, “To hell with it,” and had taken off to LA. And I made a big decision. In 2018, no matter where in the world the retreat was going to be held I was going, no matter what.
I sacrifice a lot for my business, but I refuse to give up travel and life experiences for “someday” when the business is more lucrative, stable – or even sold.
We all know that the perfect scenario may never show up, or when it does we may not be fit for traveling. Life can be ironic like that, so I no longer believe in waiting.
And so I decided. For real this time. And this time everything is different because I’ve made it non-negotiable. It’s happening. And while the trip isn’t until October, I’m already getting ready.
I changed my screensaver and desktop pics to beautiful Bali temples and beaches, so that every time I open my computer I get excited about the trip. I’m also beginning to accumulate just the right clothing and shoes.  I researched the best way to get to JFK and decided to add an extra day in New York City on either end of the trip. My daughter will be there in October, so seeing her will be an extra bonus before and after the marathon 26-hour flight.
I’m not 100% sure about all the details of “how” this whole trip is going to happen, but I have confidence that it will, one way or another.
As far as the business goes, I’ve been thinking about hiring an assistant for a long time but now that I’ll be gone almost two weeks, I have a real deadline. I need to get someone hired and trained well before my trip. Having that assistant in place is going to help in a multitude of ways beyond just allowing me to go on this trip, and it’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time, but now suddenly having this deadline means that it’s going to happen.
The simple act of making the decision to go has made all the difference. It feels completely different this time.
So, let me ask you if there is a decision you can make in your business or life, a non-negotiable, impactful one. Something big. Important.
If there is, why not commit to deciding and sticking to it, no matter what. Great achievements and adventures both start with simply deciding to ‘go for it’ instead of playing it safe, and you just may just be surprised at what starts to show up when you come at life this way.
Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: Three Easy Steps to Finding Your Purpose and Igniting Your Life will be released in 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.

Mighty Small Business


Last month I and more than 2,000 fellow business owners and entrepreneurs had the privilege of attending an amazing event in Washington, DC. All of us were graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program (10KSB) and the event apparently was the single largest gathering of small business owners in the United States.

In short, it was incredible. Speakers included Tyler Perry, Warren Buffett, Sara Blakely, Michael Bloomberg, Sir Richard Branson and so many other fabulous business leaders. But the best part was being in the presence of thousands of other entrepreneurs, with all of their creative energy and “can do” attitudes. Someone said (and it’s absolutely true) that there were no “time wasters” in that conference center. All of us are the problem solvers, the ones who ask how something can be done, without much reverence for the obstacles that might be standing in the way of actually getting it done.

It was an exciting, invigorating and life-changing couple of days. I came away inspired and energized, and my very favorite thing happened on a bus one night, en route to a reception at Union Station.  I was sitting alone and a nice young man from Brooklyn sat down next to me. We naturally started talking about our businesses and I mentioned an idea I had to grow part of mine. Within seconds he started to brainstorm with me and within the course of the 15 minute bus ride together we crafted a pretty solid concept.

Then he surprised me, but in a way that exemplified what was so great about the conference.

“I’m giving you homework,” he said. “This is a great idea. How are you going to move it to the next level?”

“Hmmm… Well, I can make a teaser video about the concept and put together some materials.”

“Okay, when can get get that done by?”

“April 1?”

“April 1 is Easter. I’m calling you on April 2 to see what you’ve got.”

Within seconds I had accepted a calendar invite to talk with my new friend April 2. We arrived at our event, got off the bus and went on to have countless other amazing conversations that evening.

One of my co-alum, Leticia Velez, is featured in this video if you’d like to learn more about the program.

At the conference I learned how powerful and important small businesses really are to the economy as a whole. Some of the interesting stats that I learned about small business are:

  • Small business accounts for 29.6 million businesses in America
  • They make up 99% of U.S. employer firms
  • We create 63% of net new private sector jobs
  • We employ 58 million people – nearly half of America’s private workforce


Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: A Three-Step Formula for Finding Your Purpose and Turning it into an Incredible Success, will be released in 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.

With Video, Start Small


These days video is hot. In fact, if you have a business you’d best already be using video somewhere in your marketing and social media content, or if you’re not, hopefully it’s in your plan in the very near future.

However, knowing that you need video is one thing. Understanding what that video should look like and how to best use it is something else altogether. For years I’ve been advising our clients on strategies to get the most mileage out of their material. That means posting videos to a variety of different platforms, and to strategically plan your shooting so that you get material for several videos from a few hours of shooting.

If you’re just getting started in the world of video, I’d definitely suggest that you start with several short videos instead of one long one. You can hire a professional videographer, or even shoot some of the footage yourself, but the rule of thumb is to keep your videos under 90 seconds unless you have a very compelling reason to make them longer (such as a training  or explainer video that has a very dedicated audience). In most cases I’d much rather see a client create a 90-second intro, along with a series of 30-60 second supporting videos instead of doing a five-minute intro video.

The rule of thumb with video is, start small and build up from there. The whole video process does not need to be overwhelming, nor does it need to make a huge dent in your pocketbook. Instead of planning an epic production, start with a series of short and simple videos and see what kind of feedback you get. Check out your analytics. Check with your bookkeeper to see how the video campaign has impacted actual sales.

At White Knight Productions we also hear from a lot of people who don’t want to be on camera. There are a lot of ways around that, too. One is, simply start making videos where you are on camera – the more you do it the more comfortable you’ll get with the medium. It can be scary at first, but just takes a little practice, and in general, as long as you’re being authentic (even vulnerable in your uncomfortableness), people will respond favorably to your videos. Admit you feel awkward, be willing to laugh at yourself and keep your message short and to the point.

Another way to avoid actually being on camera is to simply provide a voiceover. Compelling videos can be created with voiceover, images and some motion graphics. We’ve even taken a client’s voice and created an animated character in the likeness of that person. That’s a fun way to present yourself on screen without really being on camera.

And still another way to make great videos is getting your customers to talk for you, in the form of testimonials. Or you could always hire professional actors to speak on behalf of your company (Flo is not a real employee of Progressive Insurance, but she sure is a great face of the company).

However you decide to move forward with video, the most important part of all is to just do it. Do it on social media, your website, in your emails and newsletters… Video is engaging and informative. It helps with SEO and with getting people to share your posts. Use it well and use it often, but whatever you do, just get started. Here’s a short video we made about a program we have at White Knight that helps you through every step of the way. Check it out and click here to find out more.


Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: A Three-Step Formula for Finding Your Purpose and Turning it into an Incredible Success, will be released in 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash



A Passion for Storytelling


A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not conviction.

-John Maxwell.

At White Knight most of our work is done for businesses, telling our clients’ stories in a way that resonates with their customers, clients and supporters. But recently we got to do something a little different. Something exciting. Wonderful. Important.

Instead of our usual type of work, we were commissioned to create a family legacy video.

It was an amazing experience, hearing and recording the stories the grandparents told about their family history. Close family members sat in the audience to witness the event. There was laughter. And tears. And singing. All of it was filmed by our team, to be turned into what I hope will become an important family treasure.

Many years ago, when we lived in California, I had a business recording family histories. I started the business because I was passionate about the idea of preserving important family memories. At that time my focus was on creating audio recordings and books, but now, the recent experience with this legacy video has got my head swimming with the possibilities that video brings into the mix. What a gift to capture not just the stories, but the mannerisms, humor and charm of these pillars of the family. I hope the video we make will be cherished for generations to come.

Through doing this project I remembered how much I truly love doing this work. It’s interesting, it’s important, valuable, and also fun. It’s reminding me that there’s no need to stop following one’s passion just to run a business – there is probably some way to combine the two. This is something I plan to explore as the year progresses.

And all of this leads me to leaving you with one question: what forgotten passions might you have that you can dust off and somehow reintroduce to your life, either at work or through your hobbies and other activities? It might be something worth considering, because who knows where it could end up leading you, and how you will end up changing as a leader because of this decision.

Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: A Three-Step Formula for Finding Your Purpose and Turning it into an Incredible Success, will be released early 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.


Marketing Books to Read in 2018 (from Entrepreneur)

This week we are sharing a post by John Rampton that was published by It’s one of our favorite topics – great marketing books and there are some top-notch recommendations on this page. Please check it out. If you’ve been nice this year there are still a few days left to include some of these titles on your Christmas list…

Here’s the article. Happy reading!

That’s My Card!


Did you ever have something happen – a coincidence that is so unlikely that it seems to be a sign that you’re on the right track with whatever it is that you’ve been doing? Today I had an experience just like that.

I was on a monthly mastermind call with some women I had met at a workshop two years ago. I was telling them the story about how I was recently at a friend’s birthday party and another friend was reading everybody’s “Angel Cards.”

“These cards are intended to give you guidance,” she explained as all the members of the birthday party picked out their cards. I was sure mine would be something to do with abundance, business growth or something along those lines but instead I got “Play”.

As I was explaining that while I had initially been disappointed by the “Play” card, it actually was the perfect card for me, Michelle asked if we remembered the words of encouragement we had written on blank cards at the workshop. After we wrote them they were randomly distributed amongst the attendees.

I had forgotten all about those cards, but Michelle had actually pinned hers right above her desk. She told our group, “I look at my card every day. I love it so much and it’s really a message that’s perfect for me. I’ve shown it to so many people who have told me they were jealous they didn’t get this card.”

“What does the card look like?” I asked. “I can’t find mine.”

Michelle snapped a picture and texted it to me. I couldn’t believe it.

“Oh, my God. You got my card!”

Of the hundreds of people at the workshop somehow Michelle had picked the card I wrote and she had just shared what an influence this card had had on her. That was incredible enough, but then I re-read the message and one word particularly stood out to me: the word PLAY.

Here is the message I inadvertently wrote to Michelle, which just goes to show, you never know how you’re going to positively affect someone, or who you’re going to help (hint: it could even be yourself):

I love you for your beauty, kindness and killer sense of humor. Your wit, wisdom and courage is a shining beacon to everyone who crosses your path. I know you’re right on the cusp of creating the company you’ve always dreamed of. 

P.S. Remember to go out and PLAY!


Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: A Three-Step Formula for Turning Your Daydream Into a Phenomenal Success, will be released early 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.

Smart Growth: Fewer Clients Can Lead to Profits

Have you ever fired a client? If you’re new to business you might think that this would be a crazy thing to do, but ask some more seasoned business owners and almost everyone has a story about how they had to cut a high-maintenance client loose.

The other day I was talking with some fellow business owners and one of the group shared that she had done exactly that. This woman had done some real soul-searching, which resulted in her restructuring her business and letting 30% of the clients go. At first those of us in the conversation were all kind of surprised by this woman’s audacity in firing all of those clients, but then she reminded us of the 80/20 rule. In her case, 80% of her profits were coming from 20% of her clients, so letting the less profitable ones go actually significantly increased her profitability – that all important bottom line.

And here is the part of the story that is really interesting. When this person fired all of those clients her business revenue – her top line numbers – took a nosedive. Some of the clients she was releasing were really very large accounts. But despite the temporary reduction in revenues what she found was that, at the end of the day, her profitability was up more than 50%!

“I think one of the hardest parts about this restructuring,” she shared, “had to do with my own ego. Everyone likes to say that they have a company of a certain size or X-million-dollars in revenue, but if you’re not all that profitable then it really doesn’t matter.”

Another friend of mine ended up letting her largest client – Walmart – go, after experiencing years of intense pricing pressure and many “logistical hoops” from the behemoth organization.

I know that making that decision wasn’t easy for this friend, but although her overall volume is down, she too has experienced increased profitability and – also importantly – she also seems a lot less stressed these days, too.

When considering the smartest way to grow your business, there really is a lot more to look at than just sales volume. It’s about not only knowing your numbers but also about knowing which of those numbers really matter the most to get you to the fastest -and smartest- growth.

Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: A Three-Step Formula for Turning Your Daydream Into a Phenomenal Success, will be released early 2018. To find out more about how you can use video as a smart tool to grow your business visit our website.

Why Use Video Marketing for Your Small Business?

Welcome to our first guest blog, written by Nicole Standish of Charm Digital Media. Enjoy this article and let us know what you learned in the comments below!

Videos are some of the most effective marketing tools today. Customers find them attractive, relatable, and relevant. They are highly effective at capturing and retaining the client’s attention. Small Businesses especially can benefit from the value and engagement that video provides.

So, how can this form of marketing be useful to your small business?

Boosting Conversion Rates and Sales

Using a targeted video content strategy, you will not struggle to boost your conversion rates and sales. Therefore, be ready to make serious money and become wildly popular. A landing page that contains a video is capable of increasing conversions by as much as 80 percent.

Amazing ROIs

Videos offer amazing returns on investment (ROI). They guarantee the best results based on what you spend. They are a worthy investment when done correctly. All it takes is a bit of planning, a great video marketing team, and a smartphone to begin seeing your conversions soar.

Research shows that businesses publish on average 18 videos per month according to this HubSpot Infographic. That is close to 1 video per work day. Do not, however, place too much emphasis on producing perfect videos. Instead, focus on the content and solving problems for your target audience.

Building Trust with Clients

Videos are perfect for building trust with your customers. Most times, clients find it easier to relate with brands that produce videos. Trust is the foundation of any business relationship, especially if you are a small business that is just getting acquainted with your buyers. To do this,  Use video to highlight your team, show your community involvement, outline your mission and vision as a company, and show off your well-earned testimonials. 

Search Engines Love Videos

Google – and all the other major search engines – love videos. They reward marketers who use videos to pass messages across. Visitors on your site tend to spend more time browsing through your pages while engaged in one of your videos, improving your reach and validating your relevance to search engines. 

The likelihood of showing on the first results page increases 53 times when you feature videos.

Popular with Mobile Phone Users

Mobile users love videos. Today, there is a 233% increase in mobile video views. Businesses can take advantage of this trend and reach people on their mobile devices, while they are at work or at leisure. Video is the easiest content to consume on a smartphone or smaller device.

Tip: Include text in your video as many viewers watch with the sound off.

Videos are Ideal for Explanations

You have a higher and better chance of reaching out to your customers with a message they understand when using videos to explain your product, service or process.Explainer videos are popular with more than 98% of all video viewers, meaning they value the effort that you are taking to produce the videos and provide the answers they are looking for.

There are many ways to create an entertaining explainer video. If your subject is difficult to explain and low on the likeability scale, you can easily narrate or animate your videos to add more emotion or pizzaz. Use emotion, drama or humor to draw in your audience and keep them engaged.

Popular with Lazy Buyers

Today, your business will engage with many lazy buyers. Such buyers are a difficult lot to market to without videos. They are not interested in your long-form content, they want to know quickly and easily how your product or service can solve their problems. Video allows them to listen or watch while they are multi-tasking. Additionally, video gives them a deeper glimpse into your businesses without needing to visit your about us page, removing another click in their buyers’ journey.

Vidoe Marketing For Small Businesses = Conversions & ROI

If you have small businesses or any business for that matter, video can work for you. Using a mix of written and video content, you will surely attract more customers and do so in the way they feel the most comfortable engaging with your brand. There really isn’t a down-side to video marketing. Video marketing is affordable, easy to produce and has outstanding ROI. 

Nicole Standish is the President of Charm Digital Media.  As a digital media consultant, Nicole helps businesses attract and convert online business.  Nicole evaluates existing digital resources and strategies; develops campaigns to reach targeted audiences, and optimizes marketing channels to reach and exceed sales goals. Follow Charm Digital Media on Facebook at Charm Digital Media and Twitter at @CharmThem

Interested in learning more about video marketing? Comment on this post or subscribe to our digital marketing blog – The Content Catch Up! 


Tell Me a Story

It’s no secret that we are attached to our phones and other electronic devices. In fact, a recent study in the UK found that most people would rather give up the following as long as they got to keep their smart phone: sex, shoes, house keys, their partner, alcohol, a car, and… get ready for it… JOY. Let that sink in for a minute. People would forfeit joy if it meant they got to keep their phone.

Ok. So, we can accept that electronic devices are not going away anytime soon. But what does that really mean to you and your business? If you’re in the market of selling something – pretty much anything – you need to reach the people who are on those devices. And that means that you have to find something interesting to say – and a way to say it – on a consistent basis.

It’s not enough to write an article or blog post one time and call it a day. In this crowded but all-important digital space you have to learn how to define your company’s story and how to tell that story in an impactful way.

And just what that way is depends on your business. You have to know your customers and find out where they’re hanging out online, then find a way to be in that space in some meaningful way.

Across the board you’ll find that people tend to spend the most time on social media sites. Most of us are on these sites 1-2 hours a day, and for many it’s a lot more than that. This means that if you’re in business it’s a good idea to have a social media presence that people find interesting and engaging. Depending on your sales cycle or type of service people may or may not purchase from you right away, but staying top of mind is worth the investment of maintaining an active presence.

Also, speaking in general terms, YouTube is a site that cannot be ignored. Not only is the YouTube search engine second in size only to Google, but the platform is growing at mind-numbing speeds. At this point in time 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute. It’s important to have a presence here for all sorts of reasons (Google the statistics on the percentage of people who would prefer to watch a video about a product or service instead of reading about it). But it’s even more important that you have a message that will get noticed among all of that clutter in the YouTube space.

At the end of the day, people want to be entertained, but they also want to be smarter about all kind of topics, especially if getting to that place of being smarter is fun and easy to understand.

So, please, make story part of your strategy and use videos to help engage your audience too, but make sure you’re doing so in .an interesting and consistent manner, and preferably one that brings value to your clients. People are always up for a good story. You just have to figure out the right way to tell yours.

Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: How to Turn Your Daydream Into a Phenomenal Success, will be released early 2018. To find out more about how you can use video to grow your business visit our website.

Using Video Sounds Good, But What Do I Say?

Social media posts with video are 1200% more likely to be shared than posts with just text, and text and pictures COMBINED.

Consumers who watch a product video are TWICE as likely to purchase the product than those who do not.

Websites with heavy video content are 53 TIMES more likely to land a first page Google ranking than sites without video.

Many of you have heard the impressive statistics about using videos to reach your current and potential customers, but are unsure how to proceed when it comes to knowing what to say in a video, or in creating videos about your business.

With our Video Crisps subscriptions our clients get professionally edited and/or animated video content given to them each and every month. When we launched this program we didn’t anticipate how many people would struggle with not only knowing what to say in the videos but also with knowing how to use them.

That’s exactly why regular consultations on content and strategy are an important part of the program. This is the first of a series of blog posts in which we’ll be looking at different type of video content and usage, starting next week with community outreach and public education.

But in the meantime here are some ideas to get you started brainstorming what video can do, in very tangible terms, for your business.

  • Explain how your services work
  • Collect customer testimonials
  • Recruit fresh talent
  • Describe your mission
  • Train your employees
  • Enhance your social media
  • Increase open-rates on emails and newsletters
  • Introduce your staff
  • Showcase your products
  • Show your audience your space
  • Highlight your community events
  • Stay top of mind
  • Create videos that can be shared
  • Communicate your message

If any of this sounds interesting, give us a call at 607.239.5423, and remember to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a single post about how using video in your messaging can significantly impact your business.

Elin Barton is the President of White Knight Productions and the host of the podcast, Ready, Set, Grit.  Her first book, Ready, Set, Grit: How to Turn Your Daydream Into a Phenomenal Success, will be released in the Fall of 2017. To find out more about how you can use video to grow your business visit our website.