What A Difference A Day Makes July 31, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources, GS Business Resources.
Tags: computer backup, google docs, online storage
I’m sitting on my patio to write this. The sun is shining, and white puffy clouds drift across the blue sky. In the background, I can hear a news helicopter repeatedly circling. They are no doubt getting footage of the damage from a tornado that touched down one-half mile from where I live late yesterday afternoon. Click here for the story in the local paper. My apartment is fine and I never lost electricity, so I am feeling very grateful today; however, one of my clients lives in the neighborhood that was hit. I haven’t heard from him today, which is not unusual, and I hope that all is well.
When the storms began moving through Memphis yesterday, I wasn’t at home. My son is at his dad’s in another city, so my first concern was for my cat. I finally realized that as long as the roof and windows remained intact, he’d probably be curled up asleep and never know anything was going on. Or, he’d wake up and find a dark corner to hide in (and where he’d probably be safe). Once I realized this, I felt better.
Then I also realized that my laptop was with me. All of my business information is on it, so knowing it was with me, and the storms were not headed in my direction, made me relax even more. Even if my apartment was hit, I could keep on working as long as I could find electricity and an internet connection.
The more I think about it, however, the more I realize that I must get a better system in place for backing up my computer. I currently back up my work documents on a flash drive every few days, and my entire hard drive to an external drive once a month. But I still feel like I need to have them backed up somewhere online, so I have access from any computer, not just my laptop.
My plan is to begin looking at various options over the next few days, and begin trying them out. Of course, my primary concern is security, but close behind that is cost. I already save some of my documents in Google docs, and that may be where I start, at least with documents that don’t need to be secured. I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions as to online resources for saving documents, photos, music, programs, etc. What have you used, and what was the good and the bad about it? Please leave a comment, and I’ll include it in a follow-up post.
For now, I’m going to enjoy the sun and calm weather. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe weekend!
Small Steps Lead To Big Results July 28, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Motivation.
Tags: goals, Motivation
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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Confucius
Have you heard that quote? It makes sense when you think about it – no matter where you want to go, or what you want to do, you need to start with a step.
And the step doesn’t have to be a big one. If you’ve dreamed of what you want, if you have an image firmly in your mind of what you want your life to be like, you are well on your way. But….you cannot just dream. You have to take steps toward reaching that goal. Unfortunately, we often think we have to make a big step toward reaching our goals. And that leads many of us to feeling overwhelmed and unable to even begin
Start small. Take baby steps. One small step each day can move you a great distance over the course of months. You won’t notice it at first, and you may believe that doing little things isn’t helping you reach your goals. But it does help! Each step you take, no matter how small, moves you toward what you want. Sometimes you see results long after you took a certain step, but it was taking the step in the first place that put everything into motion.
So how do you know which steps to take? Start at the end – where do you want to be? What is your dream? Begin listing what needs to happen to make that a reality, then break it down further. Want to have your own business? Imagine what your business will be, what your days will be like. Start listing what you need to make this a reality. Next, list all the little things you can do to move toward that. Yes, there may be a lot of steps involved, but each day try to do a few.
And here’s my personal tip – each day, keep a list of what you have done that day. No matter how small it seems, how insignificant in the big picture, list it. Some days you’ll only have one or two tiny steps you’ve taken – and that’s OK. Other days you may fill a page or more with accomplishments. Over time, they all add up to moving you toward your dreams.
The done list is also good to have for those days when little or nothing gets accomplished. Look back over what happened on the same date the month before, three months before, 6 months before. Look at how far you’ve come in that time!
So, keep going! Keep taking small, baby steps and soon you’ll find you are miles from where you began, and that much closer to your dreams!
Time Management In An Instant Book Review July 23, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources.
Tags: Biz Resources, book review, time management
Time – is there ever enough of it? No matter how well I think I’ve planned my day, obstacles come up, plans have to be changed, and I have to adapt. If you work from home, you have to be even more aware of how your time is spent. A quick trip to put the laundry in the washer can become a time drain if you then proceed to unload the dishwasher, make the bed, and pick up the bathroom.
But there is help! Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Day offers expert advice and tips to help you manage your time and get more out of your days. Written by Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, the book offers (as the subtitle says!) 60 ways to help you get manage your time.
So, do they know what they are talking about? Yes, they do! Below is a video of an interview Karen did on telecommuting. For the last 6 years, I’ve telecommuted for my full-time job at least three days each week. The tips and advice Karen offers are spot on! Take a look:
The ideas for telecommuters also apply to those who run a business from home. You have to be professional, you have to manage your time to get your work done, and sometimes, you have to prove to your client that you really do work even if you are at home.
Want some more suggestions: Karen has also written an article on The Art of Telecommuting, which offers some additional ideas for those looking for a way to work from home, and for those already there. Read through it and see what tips would help you work form home.
Special Offer: Buy a copy of Time Management In An Instant the week of July 20th and receive a free license to view the Essential Email online course. To buy the book and claim your bonus, or just to buy the book go to: http://www.quality-service.com/timemanagementinaninstant
About the authors: Karen Leland and Keith Bailey are the bestselling authors of six books including Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. They are the co-founders of Sterling Consulting Group, which helps organizations and individuals learn how to fight distraction and find their focus in a wired world. For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more reviews of the book, visit here.
For those of you who telecommute/work from home, what tips and suggestions can you offer? What has worked for you…and what hasn’t? Please leave a comment to let us know.
Get Clients Now! Update #3 July 21, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources, Marketing.
Tags: Biz Resources, Clients, Get Clients Now!
I worked through the Get Clients Now! program in June, and wrote about it here, here, and here . The condensed version: I started strong and full of enthusiasm. I wanted to really challenge and push myself, but after a couple of weeks, realized that my schedule (full-time job on top of my biz) was not going to allow me to reach most of my goals. I decided to re-direct my energies to a couple of areas for the last part of the program, then take a week’s vacation in early July and work on the part I had made no progress on: networking and referral building.
While I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list (I was on vacation after all, and spent most afternoons by the pool!) it was very productive and successful. I attended two networking lunches. The first groups didn’t seem to be a very good fit for me; the second, however, was much more successful. I had two members express interest in my services for their business, and I had members attending from other chapters who encouraged me to visit their chapters as well. Turns out, there isn’t another Virtual Assistant in any of the chapters in Memphis, so my business wouldn’t conflict with another one in any of the chapters.
I did attend another chapter meeting last Thursday morning, and also found several members interested in my services and how it could help their businesses. I am very pleased with the overall reception I had, and with the interest there was among the members. My problem – committing to a weekly meeting at this time. Given my work schedule, a breakfast meeting would be best; however, most of them start at 7:30 am and I have to drop my son off at school after 7:45 am. This means I would be late every meeting during the school year, and miss out on some of the best time for one-on-one networking. In another year, when my son is in high school (which starts at 7:15 am!!!) attendance would be less of an issue. And, my business may have grown to the point that I am no longer having to work the full-time job, which opens up myschedule considerably.
For now, I’m going to attend some of the other chapter meetings, and see which one seems to work best for me. Then, I’ll decide if it is the right time to join or not.
So, I’ve got several potential clients, a long list of ideas for blog posts, and a feeling that this business is actually going to work. Just hearing people express interest in what I do, and how I can help their business was very reassuring.
Next, I’m going to take the rest of July and work through the potential clients I’ve met. At the end of the month, I’ll see where things stand, and consider doing another 28 days of the Get Clients Now! program in August.
I think this is a great program, and I strongly encourage anyone with a service business to consider it. In addition to the structure and wealth of ideas on getting cleints, I also like that it is flexible. They have a plan set out for you to use, but you can adjust it to fit your schedule. As I learned in June, with my schedule, I probably need to focus on fewer areas so that I can really devote myself to them. I may even plan to work on the program fewer days during the week, so I have at least one day completely off from work and business. Or, I may come up with something else that works for me.
If anyone else has done the Get Clients Now! program, what are your thoughts on it? If you are considering the program and have questions, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Saving Money on Business Expenses – Making Purchases July 17, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources.
Tags: Biz Resources, Freebies
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One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is cash flow – or rather, lack of cash flow! For those that borrow money, it has to last as long as possible to keep from incurring further debt. For those that are using personal funds to get the business going – or to keep one going – stretching the money you have available is even more important.
There is good news. There are ways to save money without sacrificing your business’ growth and development. Since this is an issue that I confront daily in getting GS Business Resources off the ground, I want to share with you some of the tips and tricks I have learned.
Whether you have a new or established business, you are going to have to purchase supplies. For me, it is going to be office supplies and equipment primarily. Before I decide to make any business purchase, I ask myself the following questions.
First – do I really need this item I am considering? If so, do I need to buy it now? Can it wait until I get more money coming in to the business, or does not having this item cause me to lose business?
So often we think we need an item and never stop to consider if we really do. This is a very important question to ask. Once you have decided that you do need to make this purchase, and it needs to be made now, you can go forward with the next question.
Are there free samples I can try first? Of course this won’t work for everything you need to buy, but it is worth trying when it does apply. Do a google search for the product name and “sample” and see if any are available. You sometimes get a coupon with the sample to encourage you to make a purchase. Be sure to hang on to these – they will help out!
Can I find it on sale? Most stores will post their weekly sales flyers online; if not, call various stores where you could purchase the item and ask if it is on sale. If it is near the end of the week, be sure and ask if the item will be going on sale the next week. Often you can get a price adjustment if you bought an item within a week or two of it going on sale.
Is there a coupon that I can use for this?Again, if you check the sales flyers, there may be coupons in there. Also, do a google search for the name of the product and “coupon”. You might be surprised what turns up.
Is there a reward program at the store where I am considering making the purchase? If more than one store has the item you need at a comparable price, consider purchasing at the store that offers some sort of reward program. The rewards may vary (and may change over time), but if it is something that would benefit you and your business, sign up!
How does the price at a warehouse store compare with other stores? Carefully check out the price per unit to make sure it is a good deal. If it is, but you don’t need the quantity (or have room to store it all!) contact friends, networking partners, etc. to see if someone wants to split the purchase with you.
There’s a few tips to get you started. How do you save money on business purchases?
Get Clients Now! Update #2 July 10, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Uncategorized.
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As I mentioned in previous posts here and here, I worked through the Get Clients Now! program in June. While I believe this is an excellent program filled with great ideas for building your service business, I faced several challenges along the way.
The biggest challenge was building my networking and referral groups. I knew I wanted to push myself, to see how much I could accomplish in 28 days. But, finding meetings to attend was hard; finding meetings that fit my schedule (single parent with full-time job) was nearly impossible. Mid-way through the 28 days, I realized the goals I had set were not realistic.
I decided to change my methods, and instead, focus on referral building with people I already knew. I got in touch with those I’d talked to before to see if they could offer any names to contact. A couple of good suggestions that I followed up on, but so far no results.
By now I’m getting quite discouraged. I have one client, and am spending part of my time working on that – which is a very good thing! But I don’t feel like I am moving my business forward. In doing my daily checklist for Get Clients Now! I realize that I am completing the same areas over and over, and the networking and referral ones are constantly blank.
So, I had to regroup for the last week. I decided that the networking and referral area would be temporarily put aside, and I’d focus on my blog, commenting on other blogs and online forums, and making a list of everyone I could think of to contact that I had not already.
This week I have taken vacation from my day job. My son is at his dad’s, and my goal has been to work on my business. I had some client work to do and some web sites and programs to test out, but the primary goal was to network. I found lunch meetings to attend two days this week, and while I won’t be able to join these groups right now (issues with my schedule again) it was good practice for me to go, meet people, get my name out there, and collect their business cards in hope I can refer business to them and develop a relationship that way. I am also working through the list of people to contact to see if anything develops from that.
In a sense, I’m taking the program Get Clients Now! for just this area, and condensing it into one week. I’ll update again with how things work out. I’m also considering doing the Get Clients Now! again later this month, or in August when my son is back in school and my schedule is a bit more set. First I want to see how much I can accomplish in a week when all I have to focus on is my business.
More to come…..
If you’ve read the book and participated in the Get Clients Now! program, please leave a comment and let me know what you thoughts and results were. Did you face any challenges you hadn’t anticipated, and if so, how did you work through them?
Free Online Program – Stickies July 6, 2009Posted by gsbusinessresources in Biz Resources.
Tags: Biz Resources, Freebies
1 comment so far
Here’s another free resource that could help your business – it certainly has helped mine!. If your computer monitor looks like this:
you might find Stickies to be helpful. Clear up the clutter and still be able to have notes on your monitor.
Stickies is a computerized version of the sticky notes we often have on our monitors. Provided by Zhorn Software, Stickies is available as a free download. And you know how much I like free things that will help my business!
But Stickies is more than a digital version of those paper slips cluttering your monitor. Stickies can be attached to a certain web page or documents, so it only appears there. Stickies can have an alarm set on them to remind you to take care of a task. Stickies can also be set to hide until a certain day or time to serve as a handy reminder. And Stickies is free (in case I haven’t mentioned it!).
See how much better your monitor can look:
Much neater, much easier to read, and they won’t fall off and get lost on your desk.
Give Stickies a try and see if you like them as much as I do. Leave a comment to share how Stickies have helped you!