BUILD YOUR BUSINESS DURING NAPTIME

Sometimes, the only time we have to get anything done is while our kids are napping. Check out the 9 tasks that will help you leverage this precious time, as well as 13 ways to keep older (or more stubborn) kids occupied.

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7 Reasons You Should Work With Me (And How To Do It)

Maybe you’ve been thinking about working with a virtual assistant. Maybe you’ve even thought about working with me. But for some reason, you’ve been holding back. Maybe you’re unsure how I can actually help. Maybe you don’t know how to start. Let me clear the mystery for you.

You Should Work With Me Because (in no specific order)

1. I’m passionate

I put my heart & soul into everything I’ve ever done. When I worked for debt collections, I was pulling in monthly commission checks on top of my standard pay. When I was in Air Force tech school, I worked to become an Airman leader, on top of my technical training. When I was in the military, I was volunteering with events all the time, because they needed the help.

2. I’m creative

I didn’t pick creatives as my target market on a whim. I picked them, because I am one. I’m fascinated by DIY projects & I’m head over heels in love with Pinterest. I’m learning to crochet, and quill, and I’m practicing photography all the time. I love to write, and sing, and I want to learn to dance.

3. I’m awesome

I’m a Texan. Oh that’s not good enough? Hehe. Okay, I’m a Veteran. I’m a Mom. I’m a military spouse. I’m active in my community. I’m active in my church. I sang the National Anthem at 13 on & off base events when I was in the military. I know how to use Apple, Windows & Linux computers (admittedly only dabbling in Linux, but still!).

4. I know what I’m doing

I’m a member of IVAA. I’m a certified Author’s Assistant. I attend webinars & take courses to learn more skills, all the time. In fact I’m in the middle of a course on Joint Ventures, I’m planning to take a course on Pinterest for Entrepreneurs, and I plan to take another one called Rocket Your Revolution that’s about blending philanthropy with your business. If I don’t already know it, and I need to know it, I will learn it. It’s that simple.

5. You’re supporting small businesses

When you work with small businesses, you’re not funding a nameless corporation. You’re putting food on someone’s table. You’re paying for school supplies. You’re funding their insurance. And while that may or may not sound like something you want to do, don’t you want someone doing that for you?

Monket Calendar
Calendar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6. It’s almost half way through the year

We’re almost to June (yikes!), which means you should have made killer progress on your business. If you’re not quite there, or you’d like to take it that extra step further, you need my help! I’m here to help you become more successful & productive.

7. I’m fun

I’m serious about my work, but I’m fun to work with! If you haven’t figured it out from my website, I’m a spitfire! Mikhail Baryshnikov said “Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun”. Nah, nah, nah baby. Fun IS fundamental. If you’re not having fun, why are you in this business? Creativity is all about fun & expression.

Okay, I’ve convinced you! But now you want to know:

How Do You Get Started

You know you need help. You know you want to work with me. Getting started is even easier than that! Below I have listed the different ways I can help. All you have to do is click which one works for you! It’s that simple. Each page will have the package options, and once you’ve selected your package, click the button & fill out the form & you’ll be on the way to a more productive you. See you soon! Y3M66ZWQXW5H

      1. Are you in need of creative business coaching, so you can lead a creative, productive life that earns you a living? Click here!

      2. Are you in need of someone in your corner cheering you on & encouraging you? Click here!

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Twitter – Cocktail Party of the Social Networks

Tweeting bird, derived from the initial 't' of...
Tweeting bird, derived from the initial ‘t’ of Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an entrepreneur, you need to be where your customers are. For many modern business owners, the answer is found in social media. Maybe you’re already an online social whiz! For the whiz-kids in the room, kick back & relax until the next post. Better yet, leave more awesome Twit-tips in comments below. So maybe you’re one of the social wizards! Or maybe, just maybe, hashtags perplex you. Maybe you have no idea why someone would be tweeting at another person.

If the Twitterverse is confusing you, stick around. I’ve got some tips to help you  make the leap from Twitterphobic to Twitterphile. 🙂

@username

This is how you message someone publicly. It’s kind of equivalent to posting on someone’s Facebook wall.

DM

This stands for Direct Message. This is a private message that only you & the recipient can see. You can only DM someone who follows you. If you want to DM from your phone, do it like this: D Username  …So if you wanted to DM me, you would type D HelpInAHurry

140

This is the magical number of characters permitted in a tweet. Some people find it frustrating because you have to be extremely concise, and some people find it liberating because  they don’t have to worry about punctuation as much. They say brevity is the soul of wit, so by that token Twitter should be very witty!

#

This is called a hashtag. A hashtag is used as a keyword/topic indicator. Sometimes it’s to group conversations, like for a conference. Sometimes it’s for a trending topic like #RandomCelebrityDied . Other times it’s used for fun like #SexiestNerdEver .

Hashtag party/Twitter party

This is a Twitter chat, usually an hour, revolving around a hashtag topic. Sometimes it’s a promotional topic. Sometimes, it’s a weekly event (check out #MomBizMondays for example).

Well I hope this has give you a little more of an idea abut how Twitter works. Twitter is kind of like the cocktail party of the Social networks., It’s fast paced, there’s always a conversation & sometimes the attendees have a little too much to drink. #MostcatoMonday

 

*This is not to indicate that all attendees of #MoscatoMonday have consumed any alcohol, much less an excessive amount.

3 Things I Learned About Branding From Will.i.am

When I started off in the business world, I was a bit confused by all this talk of branding. I thought brand was just a logo. In fact, it encompasses all that you are as your business. How you dress, how you act, how your copy is written…it must all be consistent & give the same message.  Because I didn’t understand how branding worked, I was rather confusing. I talked about creativity & quirk, but I had a very buttoned up headshot & stiff/formal copy.

Over time, and after discussions with some wonderful friends, I felt free to be…me! What a lovely, freeing concept. 🙂 So without further ado, I give you:

3 Things I Learned From Will.i.am (As seen on Sesame Street)

  1. There’s only one me, I am it – You have a unique perspective on the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re covering material that’s been covered by 800 other people. If you stay true to yourself, your material will naturally be different from everyone else, even if the topic is the same.
  2. Keep on reaching high/Never gonna quit/I’ll be getting stronger – Perseverance is the key to success. A client bailed on you? Keep going. Someone paid you late? Keep going. You didn’t get that job you wanted? Keep going. Your business failed & you must start again? Keep going!
  3. There’s nothing I can’t achieve/Because in myself I believe – You have to believe in  yourself before anyone else will. If you can’t name your price with out faltering for flinching, how do you expect someone to pay it? If you’re not sure you have anything to offer, will you be able to convey your worth to a potential client?
  4. What you are is magical/what you are is special – Okay I said 3, but this one bears repeating in a different way. So you get a bonus 4th one. Sort of. 🙂 You are amazing! What you have to offer the world is special, and unique. Abercrombie, Levi & Wrangler all sell jeans. But they don’t sell the same styles, to the same market, or at the same price. Those differences are what make them unique, and that’s what makes their brand.
photo by nicogenin on Flickr

So remember: Be consistent, be unique, be persistent & believe in yourself! As a wise (and quirky!) man once said, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Suess

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Being a (Productive) Work at Home Mom

Productivity: Wrapping up the First Stage of a Special Project
Productivity: Wrapping up the First Stage of a Special Project by orcmid

Feed the baby. Change the baby. Help my husband get the kids ready for breakfast. Start eating breakfast. Get up multiple times to move the baby away from something dangerous (he especially wants to eat TV cords). Finish breakfast, try to sneak a shower in while the oldest washes her face/brushes her teeth/gets her bed made, start laundry, load the dishwasher. That’s my first 1.5 hours of the day. On a day when things are going smoothly.

If my husband gets put back on day shift, the baby is teething, or someone is sick, it throws off everything. And yet in the middle of this chaos, I’m homeschooling my oldest (she’s 7), preparing to start school myself this fall (I’ve got a GI Bill I’d like to use), and running a business. Additionally, I have a yet-to-be-diagnosed condition, that changes how/what I can do each day.

Here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Yes you may have to pee like a pregnant woman, but it beats the gross/bloated/dehydrated feeling. I thoroughly enjoy my sodas,  but let’s face it…the caffeine buzz isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, the sugar crashes are awful & the caloric content of soda/tea/alcohol seriously hinders weight loss/fitness progress.
  2. Work in a workout somewhere. If you don’t have much time that day, try doing a high-intensity/short-length workout. Or, if you can’t do a high-intensity workout, set aside 15 minutes for some Pilates. This will stave off the end-of-day-guilt from not working out.
  3. Make friends with the timer. Set it for 15 minutes & do things in bursts, then take 5-10 minutes for something else. Write for 15 minutes, then go check on the kids. De-clutter the house for 15 minutes & then go make your coffee. Write for another 15, then check your email. But don’t become enslaved to the timer. If you’ve hit a flow in your writing, when the timer goes off keep writing! Keep going until the flow stops, or the kids are coming to you with another “emergency.” (Anyb0dy else whose kids do this?)
  4. Use online and/or phone calendars. I have lots of alerts set up on my phone, because I’m an extremely busy woman & I never know where I’ll be. But no matter where I am, my phone is there too.
  5. My last piece of advice may be the one I have the hardest time with. Don’t get lost in your business. I love my work! I love researching & helping people get their sites going…all of it. But I have to pull back sometimes & remember, I started this business for my family, not the other way around. Don’t make a habit of working through meals. Don’t look at the computer while talking to your kids. And make sure your spouse doesn’t feel neglected.

What great tips do you have? What is the best advice you can give someone who’s got a dozen things on her plate? What keeps you centered?

5 Steps to Customer Loyalty

Marketing quote Quote from Glen Urban – Picture by http://www.cehwiedel.com[/caption%5D

So you’ve got customers now. But how can you keep them? While there is no way to guarantee you’ll keep customers, some things can certainly go towards improving your odds.

Be loyal to your customers. Recently my family & I were at a car dealership trying to purchase a new vehicle. While there, we contacted the credit union that our last car loan was through. First we were told our loan officer was at lunch. Later we called back and found that to be untrue. In fact she was busy dealing with walk-ins. We called a little bit later, and we were told just to leave a voicemail. Everytime we called, we had to explain that we were 2 hours ahead of them, and we were sitting at the dealership with 3 small children. Did I mention we spoke with the same lady each time we called? One of the phone calls, she even sighed dramatically at my request that she let our loan officer know were were trying to reach her.

I understand the need to gather new clients, but ignoring long standing members in order to get said clients isn’t wise. So here’s 5 things you  can do, to retain your customers loyalty.

Sighing and being dramatic is not appropriate or professional. Even if you believe the customer is wrong, even if they are downright rude, you maintain professionalism. No swearing, sighing, or excuses. Find a way to keep them/make them happy.

2. Make them feel special.

Your mileage may vary, depending on your business. If you know their birthday, send them a handwritten birthday card (professional content please!). Address them as Mr./Mrs./Miss unless they specifically request otherwise. If they’ve been a customer for a while, offer them a small free service, or give them a discount in their birthday month.

3. Be quality.

Where I live, we have a grocery store called Publix. Growing up in Texas, I’d never heard of Publix. But here, people may shop at Krogers, or Wal-Mart, or Publix, or Aldi. Those who shop at the other stores, will often switch which store they use, based on convenience. But we know loyal Publix fans. Ones who have liked them on social networking sites, and who will drive all the way across town to shop there. Why? It’s not their prices. Frequently they are more expensive than the other locations. It’s not their location..they literally have the most inconvenient location in my town. It’s their brand. They are quality. Their store is cleaner than any grocery store in its price range. It’s got produce that always seems fresher than the other locations. They have a wider selection of produce, and meats, and specialty items. And those who have experienced them, usually love them.

4. Stay true to your brand.

Your best customers will be those who connect with your brand. You’re also far more likely to attract the customers you want, if you stay true to what you/your company represent. If you want to be a clown, you’re probably not going to dress like an attorney. If your brand is professional, maintain that through & through. Have professionally taken headshots, of you in professional attire. Keep the website clean & crisp. If your brand is meant to attract teenagers, keep it bright & funky. Have a silly bio. Keep the language low key & casual. Embrace you!

5. Ask them what you can do.

Periodically, select a few of your best clients & ask them what you can do to improve things. Maybe there’s a new service they’ve really been wishing you’d offer. Maybe they want incentives for referrals. Maybe they think you’re perfect, in which case you’ve gained an encouraging word for yourself. Maybe they’ll even write you a testimonial. At the very least, they will probably be flattered that you asked their opinion. (See step #2)

What are your favorite tips to encourage customer loyalty? Please share them in the comments!

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The Hard Lesson I Learned About Productivity

Two or three months ago I had a brilliant idea to increase productivity. In order to keep up with homeschooling my daughter, housework, cooking, my business, and family life, I decided to move my office into the living room. Either you’re wondering why you never thought about this brilliant idea, or you’re laughing your butt off because you know it won’t work. For the first group, you will be disappointed with my story. And the second group you are absolutely correct.

As great as it sounded, it turned out to be terrible idea. My daughter thought that my being in the living room, meant that she could come in whenever she wanted. I can’t count how many times I was asked the same questions over, and over, and over. The other unintended consequence was that I was working almost nonstop. I was working while cleaning, while eating, while watching TV. The only thing that escaped, was my daughters homeschool. I take my time with her extremely seriously, and won’t handle work while I’m teaching her.

So after trying this for two months, I reached the conclusion that I needed to move back into my office. After we cleared out the office (which had inadvertently turned into storage), I pulled everyone into the living room for a family meeting. I let them know that (hooray!) I’d be fully present for meals & family time. In exchange they promised that my work time is MY time; we’re still working on the 7 year old with this concept though, lol. The other thing I’ve done to boost my productivity? I started my editorial calendar this last weekend! What’s your hardest productivity lesson? Share it in the comments below!

If you’re in need of help with your productivity, now that I’ve cleared the bumps out of my road, I’m ready to help you!

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