Catena Creations changes office hours

It’s a good thing to be busy. Sometimes it’s even better to be overwhelmed with work. You get to do a lot of new, fun things and you make more money.

But, as they say, there can be too much of a good thing. And this is one of those times.

About a year ago, I started an informal policy of closing my office down at noon on Fridays. I use Friday afternoons to take care of business for myself and my company.

The last six months, however, have been so overwhelmingly busy that I have not had time to do this.
This extended busy spell has made me realize just how important those Friday afternoons were — both to me personally, and to my business. Many things have been put on hold while I’ve been taking care of clients.

As of May 1, 2017, I’m making this change official. My new office hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays. I will not be taking calls or checking emails between noon Fridays and 8 a.m. on Mondays.

As my clients already know, there are always exceptions. For example, I needed to rebuild a website in WordPress in April due to an emergency situation. That called for long days, nights and weekend work to meet the deadline of April 28. I was happy to do it to take care of this client’s needs.

However, this long-term situation has also taught me that I can’t make this a lifestyle. This change will keep me refreshed to handle my customers’ business more quickly and competently. I’ll also be better at keeping up with the changes my business needs to make to stay competitive.

In January 2016, I had the privilege of being in a pilot project for the Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce. Twelve entrepreneurs were chosen for a six-week set of classes on managing your business better.

One of the best speakers talked about how you spend your time. He said most owners of small business spend the majority of their time being “technicians” — just making things work. They need to spend more time being “entrepreneurs,” and developing ideas to expand their businesses and make them better.

So for me, I need to take more time to be less of a technician, and more of an entrepreneur. First project: redesigning my own website. Some great new design trends are emerging, and I’m anxious to start implementing them so I can also incorporate them into my clients’ websites.

I also need to start keeping my New Year’s resolution to market myself like I coach my clients to do for their businesses. Blogging, social media and website updates need my attention.

As I approach the ninth anniversary of starting Catena Creations, I am very grateful to everyone who has helped me make it this far. I appreciate your support and understanding as I make this change.

Gage Team becomes Badged Google Partner

The Gage Team is a Google Partner

The Gage Team, my partner in database-driven websites and all things Google, has completed the steps to become a certified Google Partner.

Owner Matt Gage announced on the company’s Facebook page April 11:

“We now can officially fly our Google flag — or badge, ¬†that is. As of today, the Gage Team Inc. has completed its last requirements to be a Badged Google Partner. Now not only have members of our marketing teams become certified by Google in platforms like Adwords and display advertising, but our group has demonstrated we have the skills and use the best practices to move up from a program participant to be able to display the partner badge.”

The Gage Team’s Google Partner page is here:

https://www.google.com/partners/?hl=en-US#a_profile;idtf=7762331698;

“The Gage Team is a participant in an agency platform that has requirements we had to achieve for the right to display a partner badge,” Matt explained. “Our staff is committed to continuing education via programs that allow us to adopt best practices to achieve positive ROI for our clients. “

Are you looking to boost your business with Google Adwords and display ads? Do you need help building a database-driven website or updating your WordPress site? Give Catena Creations a call at 402-541-5005 to get started.

And if you’re looking to improve your social media management and results, The Gage Team’s Conversate Digital staff has new software and exciting plans for enhance social media programs.

Saying goodbye to a friend

Yesterday I had a new “first” for my company, but it wasn’t a happy one. I had to take down the website of a friend and client who died two months ago.

Eliane Bankey

Eliane Bankey

Elaine Bankey died January 2, 2016, at the age of 68. She had myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer that is difficult to treat. When she was first diagnosed, they told her she’d live four or five years with the disease. But she proved them wrong and lived with it for 23 years.

The connection between my family and the Bankeys goes back to 2007. Elaine’s daughter, Lori Bankey Balliger, was my son’s teacher and football coach at Mission Middle School in Bellevue. Elaine’s granddaughter, Taylor, was his first girlfriend.

When I got laid off the first time in January 2008, my son came home from school the next day with a message from his teacher. “Mrs. Ballinger wants you to send your resume to school with me so her dad can help you find a job,” he said. When I didn’t do it right away, I got another message a couple of days later: “Mrs. Ballinger wants your resume. Tomorrow.”

And she wasn’t kidding. Her father, Dan Bankey, was vice president of Human Resources at Security National Bank. He spent the next six months looking for a job for me, and I even interviewed for a job at the bank. As it turned out, I ended up starting Catena Creations and my job search was over. I got to meet Dan and Elaine that spring when they came to a track meet where their daughter was coaching and my son was running.

Omaha Area MPN Resources bannerElaine became a client in October 2011. She and another friend wanted to start a blog called Omaha MPN Resources. They wanted to provide support and encouragement to others who had been diagnosed with the same rare cancers in the MPN group. I created a logo and set up the blog for them. Both women, however, had to deal with serious health issues shortly after it launched.

As my son progressed through middle school and high school, we saw the Bankeys at many school events. Lori’s husband Butch was one of my son’s football coaches. Dan and Elaine attended games to support him and Lori.

Most importantly, Elaine was a mentor and board president of the TeamMates Program at Bellevue East High School. She mentored as many as 10 students at a time in Bellevue and surrounding community schools. She was named Midlands Foundation Volunteer of the Year for her efforts in 2012. It was one of her many accomplishments and contributions to the community.

Because of this, the kids called her “Grandma Bankey” and trusted her as a friend. When my son had his first car accident, Elaine had seen what happened. She stopped and made sure my son was OK, then called me at a client’s office to let me know about the accident. She stayed with him until I got to the scene, then stayed with us until all was taken care of and reported.¬†Elaine was there for both of us throughout those high school years to listen, encourage and share a laugh. We stayed in touch after that through connections on Facebook.

Elaine and the Bankey-Ballinger family have been so supportive of me, my son and my business, and we cherish their friendship. Rest in peace, my friend.