Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Setting Goals and Planning for Success

As we begin a new year what are your resolutions? Do they deal mostly with self improvement, health, wealth....or do focus on being more active in the community, helping others, showing compassion? Why are resolutions so important? How do you plan on accomplishing your goals this year? Whatever your goals are, one thing is for sure, you will face some surprises along the way. Today, take the time to reflect on what you did right in 2010 and what you got wrong. Then devise a plan to turn those negatives into positives and capitalize on the the things that made you better. Without a plan, you could get lost or discouraged along the way to accomplishing your goals. But having a road map helps you stay on course, keeps you focused, and acts as a benchmark each time you accomplish a part of your ultimate plan. Best of luck. You can do it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being an entrepreneur

It's been a few weeks since I wrote a blog. I am still trying to get used to making time to do everything. Being an entrepreneur is more challenging than it looks. Many people think you just sit at home in your pajamas all day and surf the internet. Although those are a couple of benefits of being self employed, there is much more that goes into working from home than that.

Unlike working a 9-5 there aren't really set hours. (unless you set them for yourself ;) However, for me, I find there are so many different things that need to be done, that I'm pretty much working more hours per day than the average person. The difference is the flexibility to be able to say o.k. I'm tired, I think I'll go to the mall now. Or being able to spend quality time with my husband whenever I want to.

The down side is the consistency of work. Marketing takes up a huge portion of daily activities. However, starting off, the effect of such efforts in terms of customers can be few and far in between. But why do we do what we do? Because we know that it will pay off. We have this inner drive and ambition like no other. The feeling you get after making a sale or completing a contract is like no other. Having the flexibility and freedom, and above all doing something you enjoy is matchless.

This past year has been an incredible journey, and I'm still just in the infancy of what I know will be something great very soon. So why do I do what I do? Because I can. Because I love it. Why do you do what you do?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Freelancing on oDesk

I ventured out into the freelance world this week. My first stop was O-desk. I must say I am impressed with the service. Initially, I was going to sign up at Elance, but the site was down for maintenance. I found O-desk to be very easy to use and set up. You can either sign up as an employer or contractor or both. This time around I signed up as a contractor.

You simply fill out your profile listing your resume and portfolio. Next, you watch a few videos to help you understand the system and take a short quiz to ensure you are prepared. One thing I like about it is you are able to take hundreds of tests to showcase your skills on your profile for free. Other freelance sites require you to pay to take skills tests.

I was able to land 2 contracts my very first day on there. Overall, O-desk is a great site. I'm going to check out a few other sites this week, hopefully I'll be just as successful.

In other news, the website for Truly Healed Inc. is coming along quite nicely just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month. The new site will have a community feel to it, providing information and resources on breast cancer, as well as a forum where users will be able to share their stories and support.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Company culture and content curation

So far so good today, just finished playing Mario Bros. on the Wii with my husband. Quality time is always good.

I received a newsletter today with a blog attached about content curation. Basically, it spoke about how you can keep the content on your social network or website fresh by reviewing and filtering articles and blog posts from across the web and adding your touch to it. This helps reduce the stress of constantly creating new content. The important key is not to simply cut and paste information, but rather collect some articles and add your own value to it. Maybe you have an opinion on the topic, or maybe pose it as a question, or a top 5 list. By doing so, it helps keep your readers attention, while also helping your page ranking by providing popular, valuable content.

I have been doing a little bit of that lately with one of my websites, and it definitely has helped tremendously.

Another article I came across today was on yahoo. It spoke about the CEO of Zappos and their company culture. The thing I found interesting about this is that they focus on making sure their employees are comfortable to be themselves, that they are happy. By doing so it opens up their ability to create and work well as a team. The interesting part is that they said they turn away many bright applicants who just don't fit in with this company culture although they have the "right stuff". Sounds like a great place to work, and a very smart approach to nurturing harmony and productivity.

As my company continues to grow, I look forward to fostering some of the same type of positivity among our members.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Making business decisions

These past couple of weeks have been exciting. I was able to get some much needed rest and spend time with family over Labor Day weekend. Also, I was able to have a great conference call with my business partners on Skype.

I have begun reading a Marketing for Dummies book I found laying around the other day. It is proving to be pretty valuable, giving some insight and practical explanations on various marketing topics.

Holy Boast Network has experienced some changes over the week. We have made the page much cleaner by tabbing certain items on the main page. Also, we have decided to zoom in on providing valuable content for our members. Just this week I had a member contact me asking if he could use the lessons from our weekly newsletter as a study for his youth group. It's awesome to know when what you are doing is reaching someone and being effective.

Also, this week I was able to finish up some paperwork needed to get our non profit organization off the ground. Very exciting things happening. We are now working on developing our website and promotional products.

Finally, just this morning we were able to decide on a name for our web design/branding/tech company and I must say our logo is awesome! Once all the paperwork is complete I will share so stay tuned! What is really great is that our first client will be Truly Healed Inc. as we help them gear up for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

It's so exciting to see things falling into place! Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Idiot's Guide to Social Media Marketing review

I finally finished reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Social Media Marketing." Overall, I must say it is a great book and a must read for anyone just getting started with social media marketing. It gives great step by step instructions on how to set up profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace, and YouTube. It also explains how to interact on these platforms and build a following. It is very easy to understand, and the author often emphasizes that results won't happen over night, so pace yourself.

The author also encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you might not otherwise do. For example, I made my first YouTube video just the other day! I'm no Antoine Dodson, but it was worth a shot. One valuable take away is the book includes a sample day by day schedule to help you get started managing your time and efforts. I was pleasantly surprised by this book and do recommend it.

This weekend my husband and I traveled to Tallahassee to spend some time with family. It is always important to take time out and regroup. I also had another board meeting, as we are in the process of developing a new web-based company. Our focus will be to help 501 c 3 organizations create a web presence and brand themselves through print, web, and social media marketing. Right now we are trying to come up with a name for the company. If you have any suggestions feel free to share!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Customer Service

This past week was an interesting one. Not only did I celebrate my birthday and anniversary in the same week, but I got the opportunity to spend some quality time with some old friends.

As you know, I ordered The Complete Idiot's Guide to Social Media Marketing about three weeks ago. The time I wait for the book to arrive in the mail really made one thing stand out in my mind: Customer Service.

There are a lot of little things that can make the difference between having a great customer experience or a poor one. Communication is important, you want the customer to know that you are on their side. Make them feel confident in the decision they have made to purchase your product or service. Be timely in your responses and especially in your delivery of goods and services. Make sure they understand your company policies, and do your best to make sure their questions and concerns are addressed.

Taking a little extra time to make sure everything is correct can pay off in the long run. When I used to work for the Walt Disney World Company, their number one priority in training was to "make every guest feel special." It is no coincidence that the Disney Company is one of the most successful in the world. When you make people feel good about themselves, they are more likely to feel good about you.

Now, to the book. I am about halfway through, and I must say I am quite impressed. The first couple of chapters give an outline of the book, then it divides each social network into a chapter of its own. The chapter on Facebook is quite comprehensive and goes step by step on what types of things to include in your profile, how to set up pages or groups for your business, and the most effective applications to add. Just in a couple of days I have already seen some positive results.

To be balanced, the chapter on Twitter was a little disappointing, as the majority of it was a listing of all the applications available to manage your account as opposed to giving any actual strategies on using it to effectively market your business. Despite that, so far I am pleased with my purchase. I look forward to finishing it up and seeing more positive results.