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7 totally free Photoshop alternatives for adventures in photo editing

Wearing a lot of hats is one of the major down-sides perks of running a small business. And if you're jumping into self-promotion and online advertising, "graphic designer" may end up being one of those hats. Here are some totally free editing tools for your banner-making, photo-cropping, and avatar-creating needs so you won't end up having to use MS Paint.

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5 ways to use Pinterest's Source page to market your business

Have you ever visited Pinterest's "Source" page for your website? This is the page that displays the most recent pins sourced from your website. You find it by going to http://pinterest.com/source/[your URL].

I am obsessed with Offbeat Bride's source page at http://pinterest.com/source/offbeatbride.com, and it's one of my most frequently visited pages. I don't even visit Pinterest.com any more — I've bookmarked Offbeat Bride's source page, and it's one of the most effective ways I have of marketing my business. Here's how…

What's your marketing budget?

A colleague asked me this morning what my marketing budget was for the Offbeat Empire. I was completely stumped.

"…My marketing budget?" What is this, amateur hour?

"Like, what percentage of your monthly budget goes toward social media optimization, or search engine ads, or content marketing?"

"OH!" I said. "You mean my salary. I do all the marketing for my business. I don't pay for search engine ads, I do all my own social media work, and I let the content market itself."

Wait, is my monthly salary really my business's marketing budget?

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Vendors: What's your favorite method for attracting new clients?

As some of y'all know, we're going to be doing more posts on the Offbeat Empire that cater to our surprisingly huge, awesome community of non-icky WIC business folks — ie, the offbeat wedding industry small business owners. We've actually got pages of wedding business advice posts already, but we're going to be doing lots posts here on offbeateempire.com. I want to be doing lots more marketing and business advice, but I also just want to get to know you guys a little better. We've gotten several requests for an offbeat wedding vendor community, and I'm aiming to have the Offbeat Empire blog act as that!

So, in the interest of getting to know y'all better, today I don't have advice. Instead, I have a question for you…