(the blog)

Dawn Gadless

What Boxing Has Taught Me, In and Out of the Ring

What Boxing Taught Me

“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa

This is true in life, in relationships, in friendships and in business, sales in particular.

Take the hit and get back up
When I first started boxing 10 years ago, as well as when I first started my career in Business Development, I was awkward, clumsy, nervous and afraid to “take a hit” or a “no.”

I couldn’t take a hit and getting a no from a sales lead hurt just as much as a hook to the body. Over the years I have learned that sometimes you have to learn to take the hit and keep getting back up. Learn from your mistakes and try again. Dial the phone. No, not interested. Dial again!  Send an email. No, not interested. Okay, send another!

Early to rise
Many fighters are out for a run at the crack of dawn while their opponents are sleeping. I am at my desk at seven AM preparing for the day while my competition may just well be hitting the snooze button.

Boxing has taught me to go outside of my comfort zone and that I am so much stronger physically than I ever thought. Three minutes moving around and punching is a long time. Try it if you never have. Not quitting until the bell rings isn’t always easy. Not quitting after a hard day of selling can be even more grueling (hitting the bag is also great for stress!)

Get out of your comfort zone
Boxing has taught me to step outside of my comfort zone. I used to take an all-girls class. No contact, just going through the motions for fitness. Now, I can hold me own against the men.

I was totally nervous and scared at first but I realized (and so did everyone else) that this 5’ 3” blonde can pack a pretty hard left hook. Same in business. Again, I used to panic at the thought of having a conversation with a CEO. After realizing they are just people and getting “knocked down” by a few (or at least a few of their assistants), I learned to keep going.

The people in your corner
Having good people “in your corner” is important to being successful. I have a great trainer who believes in me and pushes me to my physical limits. I have two of the best bosses who encourage me, trust me to do my thing and are my biggest fans. Having a great corner behind you can make all the difference in succeeding and winning.

No one wins every time (well, except Floyd Mayweather). It’s the ones who lose and keep their chins high (or, in boxing, keep it low) that eventually win and are victorious. Maybe not every time but with hard work, sweat, perseverance and courage there will be many victories in life and in business.

2016: Reflection of 16 Years at emagine



16 years ago, I owned a fish market restaurant and was forced to sell the business, which left me not knowing what to do for a career. Opening my business instead of going to college left me with only life experiences and no college degree. I thought that my only option moving forward was to go into retail or some sort of labor, so I decided to start a cleaning business, as I was no stranger to getting my hands dirty. I also got a part time job cold calling and selling packaging products. I felt lost, scared, broke and like I had no direction.

My brother, Bill Gadless, and his business partner, Brett Cohen, had just embarked upon a startup web design company called emagine. Being it was 1995, the dot.com era was just beginning and it was great timing to get people to buy a domain name and sell them a website. Bill and Brett were kind enough employ me and I cleaned the emagine office once a week.

While I was running the vacuum one day, I remember realizing how nice the emagine office was. There was a woman that would cold call and I would always listen to her and thought to myself “I could totally do that!” I approached my brother, Bill, and he was a little hesitant to hire me,as he had a partner, and said “what if it doesn’t work out? I can’t fire my sister… that would be awful.”

Well, Bill and Brett both took a chance on me and gave me a shot! I was so excited to buy some nice work clothes and have my own desk. I was totally green, not technical and I knew nothing about the internet. I could barely turn on the computer! Needless to say, I was very nervous, but I hit the ground running and just picked up the phone. I had some great results immediately and learned to be more comfortable as the days went on. I also made sure I listened closely to my bosses and coworkers, sat in on some meetings and read a lot.

16 years later, I am the Director of Business Development at emagine, a digital marketing firm focused on B2B and Healthcare. The company has grown with numerous locations and over 50 employees. I am a homeower, travel often, and have a successful career. I am forever thankful to the Bill and Brett, who believed in me and took that chance. They gave me an opportunity to grow, succeed, lose some, win even more and always believed in me and my process and they let me run with it.

The moral of my story: All- Ways and Always, have faith and believe that you can be more and do more than you think you can!


How To Write A Successful RFP For Your B2B Website Project

b2b web design project

Being in Business Development, I’ve had my fair share of completing Request For Proposals, or RFP’s. And if we’re being completely honest, RFP’s can sometimes, well…suck. Here are a few reasons why:

  • The impersonal nature of them: “DEAR VENDOR, we invite you to bid on this important project.” (This of course is after I reached out to them, personally addressing them by their name, and also included mine in the signature)
  • Unwillingness to take a call to discuss the RFP, answer our questions and get to know us outside of “a vendor”.
  • Making a decision based on nit-picky items such as the perfect font and size of the font (Your website, understandable… an RFP, really?)
  • Making a decision without speaking with any references.
  • Too many cooks in the kitchen.
  • The impersonal nature (again): “DEAR VENDOR, thank you for the submission, however we are going in a different direction.”

Many times I find myself spending hours on responding, answering the questions and perfecting the format, only to receive a response that provides no clear answer as to what went into their final decision or why they went with another vendor.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the nature of the Business Development game so I’m not saying ALL RFP’s are bad. There are some I come across that some are simple, to the point, clear and concise. Because I know every RFP I come across isn’t going to magically go my way, I’ve learned how to appreciate the not-so-good ones…because those are the ones that taught me whether or not a company is looking for the right agency to work with and build a lifelong relationship with or if they are simply looking for “a vendor”.

So if you’re looking for the right agency to complete a successful redesign project for your website, your RFP must include:

-Project overview, Introduction to your company, company size, the purpose of the RFP and Goals of the project

-Pains with the current website

-Who is your target audience, who are you trying to reach

-What is your project timeline (start of project, milestones to site launch)

-Special functionality (Log Ins)

-Timeline to answer questions and proposal due date

-Timeline for in person meetings or GotoMeeting Presentation

-Vendor Selection Date

-Deliverables and scope of work

-Content needs, content needs to be developed or content just needs to be migrated from existing website


-Examples of other websites you like and why you like them

-Technical requirements

-Web Hosting Requirements

-SEO, current online marketing initiatives and future goals

-Preferred content management system

-Project point of contact/ who will be project manager or managers include name, titles, email addresses and direct phone number

I hope this helps you create a Request For Proposal that will lead you to the right partner that will successfully execute your next website redesign project. And if you’re in need of a new website strategy for your B2B, feel free to contact us today.

8 Reasons Your B2B Website Is Ready For A Redesign!

By Dawn Gadless | Business Development Director B2B Website Redesign

At eMagine, we like to say your website is your most visible face, and you always want to put your best face forward. Is your website turning potential customers and prospects away? Could it be better optimized via design for conversions?  We have broken down eight reasons why you need to think about a redesign today.

1) Your Website Is A Dinosaur: When was the last time you redesigned your website? With changing design styles, trends, and technologies, a site that is even 2 years old can look outdated and boring. Your website establishes immediate credibility no matter what size company you are 24/7, it is worth the time to perfect.

2) Your Website Doesn’t “Work” On All Devices: In 2014 and beyond your website has to be responsive and “mobile friendly”. Even our Grandparents and children are using iPads and smartphones. In 2014, mobile Internet is officially taking over desktop internet usage.

3) Your Website Is Hard To Use And Confusing: Is there a “contact us” section or phone number immediately visible? Can a prospect tell in 30 seconds what your company does? Do you have clear and concise messaging? There are detailed studies and blogs about the effectiveness of layout to increase conversion rates. You have to make your website as easy as it can be for users to find the information they need and get in contact with you.

4) Your Content Management System Is Outdated Or Proprietary: Consider an open source CMS. We prefer WordPress for many reasons, detailed in one of our previous blogs. A complicated CMS can prohibit you from actively changing your website to reflect SEO best practices and add new and fresh content.

5) You Are Not Coming Up In The Search Engines: You should have a search engine/online marketing strategy in place. If you can’t do it yourself or don’t have the time, hire an expert or agency that specializes in SEO and online marketing with a proven track record and good customer testimonials.

6) Your Content Is Hard To Find: Is it hard to find your company’s blog? If your website is designed in a way that makes your blog difficult to find or read, then you could be limiting the opportunities your blog can offer you. New designs that offer an RSS feed on your homepage can help make it easier for visitors to view your content, Is your website missing a blog? Having relevant content in place and updating a blog regularly keeps you in good standing with the search engines. The more content you post, the more regularly your site will be crawled and indexed. Do your research and take a close look at what your competitors are doing and what they are doing well. Identify your keywords or keyphrases and include them in your site. Always be learning. Make sure you subscribe to current SEO blogs and articles to stay informed.

7) You Have No Calls To Action: Make your leads do something.  How many times have you “changed your mind” and clicked off a website because the form was annoying, asked too many questions, and took too much of your time? Have clear calls to action (CTA’s) as well as an intuitive design throughout your website in order to keep visitors engaged and encourages them to take action. For example, forms should be simple and ask for only the necessary information.

8) You Have No Social Media Presence: In this day and age you need to hop aboard the Social Media networking train if for no other reason than to establish credibility. You can use these outlets to post relevant content, become a thought leader in your industry, and refer traffic back to your website. Americans spend an average of 1/2 an hour a day on Social Media and 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand exposure according to Social Media Today. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube are all important outlets for your B2B marketing efforts and should be easy to find and well integrated on your website.  For example, if your current website design does not clearly feature social media icons or visitors are forced to search around your site for them, you are missing out on potential opportunities.

Having an optimized website that not only provides users and prospects with an understanding of what you do, but gives them an idea of who you are, cannot be overestimated. If you would like to learn more about innovative website design, give us a call at 877.530.7993.

Move your website forward in 2014, or risk losing significant ground

shark_featuredYesterday, our Senior Strategist David Hubbell published an article on LinkedIn that zeroed in on a serious risk facing B2B companies this year. In short, there have been recent and significant changes in the way websites are designed and built that will affect your online marketing success. If you haven’t professionally updated your site in the last year, you run a very real risk of falling behind your competition in ways that will make it hard to catch up.

David takes us through five major changes that you need to understand and know what to do about in Move forward, or die.

Sure it may sound gratuitous for us to recommend updating your website. But In markets today, as never before, the website is your face to world that most often represents your business or brand. The good news? You can remedy all five for less than the price of attending a typical industry event.


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