Giant Voices Blog

Time Management Tips For Entrepreneurs Who Do It All

Posted by Pascha Apter on Jul 13, 2017 12:00:02 PM


As an entrepreneur in a fast-paced business world, this will sound familiar: You spend all your time and energy on your business, but you feel like you’re putting out fires rather than looking at strategy. Time management means addressing day-to-day issues as they arise. You wrote a business plan years ago, and you’re not quite where you hoped you’d be… because running your business got in the way.

That’s modern business life!

At least, it is for many business owners. Through Giant Academy, I’ve coached professionals from just about every business sector and I’ve honed in on time management tips that separate the highly productive from the rest of the pack.

It all begins with prioritizing your personal well-being.

Transform Your Productivity with These Time Management Tips

Tip #1 Go to Sleep

It’s no secret that most American adults do not get enough sleep. Did you know that you should be sleeping seven to nine hours every night? When was the last time that happened? Chances are you can’t even remember what it was like to be fully rested. Gallup reports that over 40% of American adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. And the results can be dramatic: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cognitive impairment. You’re not at your best when you’re not well rested. Don’t let your body and your business suffer. Make time for sleep.

Tip #2 Hit the Gym

As we get busier and busier, we look for things we can cut out of our schedules to make more time. Unfortunately, exercise is often the first thing to go. This is really a shame because exercise ignites a wealth of ideas and creativity. Some of my best ideas have come to me out on the trails, or even when I’m churning away miles on the treadmill. Those endorphins have such a great impact on our brains, our bodies and our productivity. And it’s more than just that. The Mayo Clinic credits regular exercise for better weight control, mood improvement, better sleep and more. Even just 20 minutes of exercise each day will leave you feeling more alert and energized, ready to tackle tough problems and make smart decisions.

Tip #3 Eat Real Food

More protein, less sugar, fewer carbs. That’s not news, but sometimes it’s hard to follow through on this simple advice. Many of us work in offices where donuts and all sorts of baked goodies appear regularly. You’re not going to offend your colleagues if you take a smaller slice of pie. Just remember that the sugar rush and ultimate crash is going to kill your productivity a few hours later. Is it worth it? Most often it isn’t. And if you’re the one who provides the tasty treats, try some of these easy, healthy and office-friendly snacks instead.

Tip #4 Make Time to Play

This is one of the best secrets. Business owners who make time to play reap the benefits many times over. Scheduling business meetings over a bike ride or a round of golf kill two birds with one stone. A productivity home run. Not only are you outside doing something you enjoy, you’re making important connections and decisions while you’re at it. But it’s not all about business. NPR reported that play improves our social well-being. When you take the time to play with your kids and grandkids or enjoy something fun with your spouse or friends you’ll feel your stress melt away. When you’re less stressed, your productivity increases. It’s that simple.

These time management tips are just the tip of the productivity iceberg. Adopting them into your lifestyle will set you on a trajectory for success, but there is so much more to learn.


A GIANT New Space

Posted by Pascha Apter on Jun 7, 2017 10:29:25 AM

May marked a GIANT milestone for Giant Voices.

Since the day I launched Giant Voices, I’ve dreamed about moving my team into an expansive new space. Don’t get me wrong, our Canal Park space was charming and historical, but also full of challenges. Our team has grown extensively in the past year, and Lisa and I knew our current space was not going to work for much longer.


We began the process to remodel the Canal Park space but quickly realized that would only be a temporary fix. We were bursting at the seams! We had designers sharing desk space. We had a single conference room to offer clients. There was no space to expand. No room to grow. Even a beautiful, reworked space wouldn’t do the trick.

It was incredibly important to us to stay in the heart of Duluth. Our local roots are strong and we wanted to remain centrally located. We considered multiple local spaces but fell in love with the former Ace Hardware space on Superior Street.


A Space to Grow

Lisa and I are so proud that our vision has come to life. In many ways, it’s even better than we expected - and if you know how ambitious we are, that’s really saying something. We could not have done this without the expertise of Wagner Zaun Architecture, McGough Construction and many sub-contractors. Their work transformed the 6,600-square-foot space into a beautiful, modern - and dare I say sexy - collaborative workspace.

We already love being downtown Duluth. We love being a part of our city’s thriving business district and joining so many fantastic local businesses. It’s a different kind of busy and we’re fitting right in. We’ll miss the proximity to Lake Superior, the Lakewalk and our friends and neighbors in Canal Park, but downtown suits us just fine.

Here are some of my favorite elements of our new office:

  • Multiple Conference Rooms
    We are so excited to host client meetings in our new conference rooms. We can feel the ideas, creativity and strategy bubbling already.

  • Collaborative Meeting Spaces
    Sometimes, casual meeting spaces are necessary to think differently about a project.

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  • Beautiful, Handmade Wooden Tables by Lars Woodwerks
    We can’t thank Lars enough for his exquisite, handcrafted works of art. They’re beautiful, functional showpieces that make our space truly unique.

  • Fitness Center
    Productivity starts with taking care of yourself - and some of the best ideas pop up during a workout. Our new fitness center will allow our Giants convenient access to solve problems while building strength.

  • Modern Workspaces for Our Giants
    Is there anything better than starting fresh? Our Giants are adding their creative touches to make the spaces their own.

  • A Fabulous Mural by Local Artist Brian Olson 
    I’d be remiss if I neglected to share this stunning mural by Brian Olson. Bright colors, Duluth’s beautiful skyline, and our powerful core values. I can see it from my office, and it inspires me every day.

Strengthening Our Services

In this new workspace, we’re going to take our work to the next level. It’s already started. The Giants are working together better than ever before. We’ve got the space to spread out, and it’s bringing us together.

Giant Voices is a strategic marketing firm. Helping our clients reach their financial and growth ambitions is our main focus. Our unique, strategic approach to marketing services builds market-leading brands, improves customer relationships, increases web traffic and creates strong company cultures.

Our services include:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Web Development
  • Social Media
  • Lead Generation
  • Collateral

GIANT Leadership

My business partner, Lisa Bodine, and I leverage over 40 years of leadership in business, sales and advertising with traditional and cutting-edge digital marketing expertise to generate GIANT results.

Get to know Lisa

lisa_bodine_2.jpgLisa Bodine is simply amazing. I’m lucky to have her as a business partner and partner in crime. She spearheads business growth and dissects business issues with incisive strategic insight honed by 20 years of experience with Fortune 500 companies, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and organizations in the healthcare, information technology, manufacturing and nonprofit sectors.

Her experience spans sales, marketing, operations analysis, business development, board steerage and public and legislative affairs. She harnesses her formidable skills and fierce competitive instincts to solve Giant Clients’ sales, logistical, legislative and other challenges on time and on budget while also growing revenue.

A Little About Pascha


I’m fiercely passionate about helping clients reach their financial, operational and marketing ambitions. With more than 20 years of experience, I help clients scale their enterprise to achieve revenue growth through strategic and creative development and execution. I enjoy identifying, assessing and closing financial, education and communication gaps for my clients.

It’s my personal quest to stay educated on the latest developments in the marketing industry. I earned a B.A. in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University and have completed several nationally-acclaimed business courses with the Aji Network and the High Performance Academy. I use this knowledge to strengthen and grow my team and help my clients reach their ambitions.

If you are looking for a partner to help you reach your giant growth goals, you’ve come to the right place.


Meet a Giant | Barb Darland

Posted by Lisa Bodine on Apr 14, 2017 11:17:09 AM

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Our team of Giants is ambitious, creative and fun - and in our Employee Spotlight Series, we’ll take you “behind the marketing.” We’ll kick it off with Barb Darland, our golf-loving, convertible-driving, deal-finding Director of Client Projects.


Q: What drew you to the marketing industry?

One of my former bosses, Priscilla McNulty, encouraged me to think bigger and look beyond my executive administrative role. She saw my potential and inspired me to believe in myself and apply for an account executive position with WestmorelandFlint. My interview was with Pascha Apter. That was way back in 1999. The rest, as they say, is history.


Q: How have your past jobs influenced your work at Giant Voices?

I have always been a detail person which has served me well in the numerous positions I’ve held over the years. I always have a running to-do list in my head at all times, which can be annoying for me (and sometimes those closest to me). I used to think this “detail” trait was a detriment, now I know it’s an attribute. It’s the only way to juggle projects, clients, deadlines, etc.


Q: What does it mean to be GIANT?

To me, being Giant means doing my ultimate best, both for my coworkers and our clients. For me, personally, it means paying attention to the details. We don’t do anything half-assed at Giant Voices. We go Giant every time. Finding creative ideas and solutions and building relationships are personal and professional Giant goals of mine.


Q: What is your favorite part about your position as Director of Client Projects? 

Details, baby, details!


Q: What inspires you?

Artists and musicians are my biggest inspiration. My talents don’t lie in either area but I’m a huge appreciator of both. I turn to art and music when I need a boost, and I’m trying to figure out how to become a professional groupie in my next life.


Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested working in an agency? 

Listen. Ask questions. Take initiative. Also, hang on as the agency world is fast-paced and not for the faint of heart! When you take the time to listen and learn, there’s no telling where you’ll go.


Q: What do you love most about living in Duluth?

I love living along the St. Louis River and watching the beautiful sunrises with a cup of coffee in hand. My husband, Rick, and I recently relocated to a beautiful home along the river, and it is our little slice of paradise. Our spot on the water provides peace and calm amidst my busy life.


Meet a Giant | Leif Birnbaum

Posted by Pascha Apter on Mar 2, 2017 1:20:06 PM

At Giant Voices, we strive for excellence. Our team is passionate about helping our clients reach and exceed their marketing ambitions.

Meet Leif

Talented and experienced, Leif leads back-end web development and design projects. He also provides technical expertise to help clients optimize their online presence. Leif has a B.A. in Computer Information Systems with an emphasis in web development from the College of St. Scholastica.


Leif Birnbaum Duluth, MNHow did you get into website development?

I first became introduced to HTML and basic web page building in junior high and high school (circa 1990s) when I attended Marshall School. The computer classes offered were taught by Dr. Buck. It wasn't uncommon for him to be wiedling authentic samurai swords and demonstrating how easily they slice through paper.

What is your favorite website development program?

My favorite platform to build on is WordPress. If I had to choose one favorite development program- it would be Atom. Atom is my choice of text editor for writing and editing code.



What is your favorite part of website development?

When you've completed building the site from scratch and everything functions and looks the way it's suppose to.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to go fly fishing and ice fishing on Lake Superior. I also like to go bowhunting around Duluth.


Topics: Fun

GIANT Construction Update

Posted by Lisa Bodine on Feb 18, 2017 12:19:54 PM

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last construction update.

The space is starting to take shape – the staircase is enclosed, the walls have been framed and our conference rooms have come to life. We’ve also selected our workstations, lighting, fixtures, carpet and flooring choices. 

The McGough team continues to impress us with their attention to detail and customer service. Next week we expect to see ductwork installed and the walls sheetrocked. Check out some of the progress below:

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GV Space 2.jpg

GV space 3.jpg 

Soon we’ll be hosting our Giant Client meetings in our Giant space! 

We can hardly wait.


Lisa Bodine

Giant President 


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