Evernote. Your New Favorite App.

When was the last time you fell in love with an application? Yes, you read that right. Think of all the apps you have on your smartphone. Which app do you use on a consistent basis? I touch Evernote daily to keep track of all things business and personal in one place.

EvernoteWhat makes Evernote so special?

The application is free to download for the desktop, tablets, and smartphones. There is a paid version that is $4.99 a month for $45 a year. I have been on the free version for over a year. The application runs off its own server so there is not a biased toward Android or Apple. It syncs to all your devices that have the app, which keeps everyone updated at once.

Think of all the mental and actual notes you take throughout your day. Where do they go? Do you keep track of them? Set reminders to tackle assignments or followups?

The features of Evernote make life simple.

Evernote has “Notebooks” to take notes in. You can make a notebook for pretty much e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I have a notebook for each of my clients, personal business notes, blog ideas, fitness ideas, food prep meals and recipes, and so much more! Each note can include text, images, documents in PDF or word .doc formats to keep it all organized. The beautiful thing each note can be e-mailed within seconds.

How does this help people besides me?

Evernote has a Evernote Business version for in-depth collaboration for a paid account. One of my clients requests a mileage report from me every month. I create a note that includes a spreadsheet in my clients “notebook”. I update it and can e-mail it to my client to view the document, which is good. Or I can “share” or “publish” the same note with my client and we can work on it together, which is great. Working on the same note allows us to provide instant feedback to one another in one spot instead of filtering through e-mail. Brilliant.

Evernote Collaboration

Evernote Collaboration

Anything else?

There is a ton more paid features Evernote offers in the Evernote Market. The other free apps Everynote has syncs with the main Evernote app keeping all your extensions together in one place. What other free apps? Evernote Hello helps you organize who you meet and their business card. Evernote Skitch helps you sketch on documents and send them to whomever needs it. Evernote Food is a collection of foodie pictures we all know we take and want to remember later. And I recently downloaded Evernote Web Clipper and Evernote Clearly for the desktop. I am excited to start using these tools.

Download the green app that looks like an elephant and tell me what you think. Honestly! Tell me if you hate it or love it.

What is an app you love and why? 

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

It’s Time For A Change: Words from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

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Before you read what Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says about change, please know these words are not from me. His words were taken directly off his Facebook fan page and onto this blog post. I do not take credit for the following text and wish to praise what he has said to inspire me, and … Continue reading

How to Give Respect In a “It’s All About Me” World.

Respect is not given, it is earned. Without looking in a dictionary or “Googling” the word respect what does it mean? Ask two people and you will give two different answers. We are to give respect to one another. If my definition is different than yours, how does one known how to give proper respect?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me…

RESPECT

Be Ready to listen. In a “it’s all about me” world, be ready to listen.

It is rare to find and have Empathy or compassion toward someone these days. The illustration of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes helps bring this concept to life.

Shut your mouth. Even is you don’t like it, keep quiet and wait your turn to speak. You will appear thoughtful and wiser if you keep your mouth shut and let the other person speak first.

Pay it forward. What can you do to give back or serve someone else? Your actions will speak louder than your words.

Expect nothing in return. Give respect without expecting it in return. Remember it is earned overtime.

Communicate well. If you can communicate with someone without yelling, raising your voice, or hitting below the belt then you are a pro. Stern and pleasant conversations done well leave both persons walking away with direction and not discomfort.

Speak with truth. Avoid lying at all costs. Respect and trust are hard to rebuild. Don’t tarnish your reputation by lying or stretching the truth.

 

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

Am I Wrong to Believe There is Hope in Front of Me?

Life is about moving forward. If we move backward, then we are living in the past. Reflect on the past to propel yourself further but sometimes progress is s-l-o-w. Times like this are to remind us, we are growing in an area of our life that took years to develop. Our mindset is always evolving by what we surround and tell ourselves. The habits we have did not form overnight. So why do we expect progress to happen any sooner than it is suppose to?

How do you get from where you are now to where you want to be in life?

  • Find inspirational sources to encourage you
  • Listen to powerful music
  • Meditate
  • Align your life with the vision you have for yourself
  • Inspire others
  • Dream bigger

Two songs that have got me excited for what is to come are “Hope In Front of Me” by Danny Gokey and “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz.

 

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

Going After What You Want is Hard Work: A Story From An Entrepreneur

“If it were easy everyone would be doing it.” I have heard this many times since I started my business. The thought of owning my business is far different from where it was four years ago. I do not regret a single thing but wish someone would have given me an actual glimpse of what it looked it to prepare myself.

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“Money is like oxygen.” Bruno (@bcoelho2000)

If you do not have money, you and your business are dead. It is wise to save up three months or more worth of bills set aside before launching. I did exactly three and it went faster than I anticipated. This resulted in me working multiple jobs just to bring money in. Tip: Save at least six months to a years worth or bills. Avoid credit cards and business loans.

Low-Hanging Fruit vs. Money Makers

When I stated in my business, I needed to build a portfolio to showcase my talent. Imagine going up to a car repair shop and applying for a car mechanic job with no actual experience working on a car. Yeah. Luckily, I found tradeoffs early in my business to get experience under my belt. A local gym needed help with online and local marketing, so in exchange for my services I was given a “free gym membership” and discounted health vitamins.

The low-hanging fruit term is what I call clients and projects that are in front of you. Just because they are in front of you does not mean you should do business with them. These projects and clients can be a distraction or produce low results in your own business while you help them in theirs. We all want to go after the money makers where it’s a mutual tradeoff of time, experience, and pay for both parties involved.

Carry your business card like you carry your cell phone.” @BMSomerville

How many times have you been in a place and meet someone new. You both talk and then you are asked for your business card and you don’t have it on you. Shame, shame. If you carried a stack of business cards like you carry your cell phone, you would ensure you are putting your name out there. No matter where I am, I keep a handful of cards handy to give my information out and to take down information of whom I am speaking with.

Nurture Relationships Before the Dry Spells

After meeting someone, I go through a methodical process that works for me. I exchange information with them and try to connect with them online to start creating a relationship with him or her. Within a week, I try to e-mail them a personalized e-mail reminding him or her how we met and would like to connect with them further. This can by done on LinkedIn or Twitter and ask for a time to talk on the phone or meet again one on one.

When a meeting takes place, I send a thank-you card in the mail thanking them for his or her time. (If you mail it to their office with the Attn: NAME it will get to them without asking for their home address.) During the meeting I take down mental notes that I file in Evernote’s Hello app to remind myself what the other persons interests are ahead of my own. By remembering a few details like this are golden in the world of networking. If I find anything industry related or an article that reminds me of him or her, I send it to them with a casual follow up.

By doing this, a business relationship is now nurtured. When my business runs low on referrals oddly enough my network comes back to me like I have for them in the past. When you have a good networking system, the system works for you and grows your business.

Grow Strengths and Outsource Weaknesses

I am great at strategizing and planning with a creative flare for any industry. I am not good at web coding, SEO, or grant writing. If a client or opportunity comes my way, I can two options:  Put a smile on my face, say yes, and ask for help behind closed doors or outsource my project. The latter seems to work best for me. Do you remember the network I was nurturing? I keep them close where I can ask if someone has free time to take on a new project. We discuss the details and I will outsource it to them. I am transparent with the client and tell them I have someone working on it and the project gets done. Everyone is happy.

Hello #HustleMuscle, goodbye 9-5

I set my schedule to get work done. I know what days I work on what and set deadline to keep me on track. The more I juggle, the less I see “regular business hours”. A half day usually means I work anywhere from six to eight hours. A full day means I am working a ten to fifteen hour day. This is not to scare you or brag, but to give you a reality of what it costs to go after what you want.

Schedule Downtime, Rest, & Play

My schedule is determined by me and my workload. When every client and project is scheduled, I go back and schedule “me” time. The mornings are best for me to meditate and pray. The early evenings are better for me to escape for a quick run and make dinner. The mid-afternoons are good for a quick power nap or walk to the local coffee shop. Our bodies are not meant to go, go, go… I notice my body gets exhausted before my mind is tired.

What lessons have you learned running your own business? What advice would you give to other business owners or entrepreneurs?

6 Free Resources to Better Your Business

Where do you learn about better business? We have plenty of resources how to manage and grow a successful business. We can read a magazine, book, interview/meet with a thought leader, watch a video, read tweets, scan through blogs, and the list goes on and on. The internet is full of articles and video channels to close a deal, but who has time to sort through it all? We have found six resources to better your business.

  1. Watch Shark Tank on ABC. We love watching Shark Tank because it reminds of the David and Goliath story. We see smaller businesses try to get bigger so they ask for an investor to help them grow. This is a path some businesses may follow while others may find another way. Throughout the show, we are given tokens of wisdom from a “Shark” (self-made millionaires who grew their own businesses) of what not to do. We suggest watching a show a day or on your down time to write valuable business lessons from the pros.
  2. Subscribe to an industry magazine. We have many subscriptions because we are a marketing business. By following a number of magazines, we stay in tune with a majority of the industries we offer our service. Consider subscribing to a magazine in your industry. Magazines are primed to announce and share industry trends and happenings, so this is a sure way to stop on top of what is in the now with each issue.
  3. Subscribe to a company’s RSS feed or YouTube channel. We love Ted Talks. The company is consistently producing great work we aim to do in our own business. Instead of copying them, we put into practice what motivates us. By subscribing to their RSS feed, we get an e-mail of the blogs that appeal to us and can view them on YouTube for further application. This is a combination of the number one and number two resource.
  4. Follow a #hashtag. What’s a hashtag? We like to follow #BusinessTips, #SMM, and #HustleMuscle on Twitter. Why Twitter? Twitter has resources outside your zipcode where Facebook and LinkedIn are all within your “defined network”. Twitter is full of resources beyond your zip code. With that in mind, follow a hashtag and use it in your own content strategy. Soon enough you will find others using the same and form possible business connections.
  5. Download the app Perch. What is your competition doing? How well are they doing it? How are you doing compared to them? This app allows you to plug-in your competition and other top players in your industry and receive their online marketing efforts in a digest format. Instead of focusing on the outside, let the app do the work for you. A weekly digest of your competition’s happenings are sent to your email. This saves you research time and allows you to scan through anything.
  6. Join a networking industry group. We have joined a local marketing group called #theJOMM (Jacksonville Online Marketing Meetup). The second Tuesday of the month we meet at 7pm at CoWork Jax downtown. Every mo the we network and learn about the latest marketing trends and best practices. Each meeting provides us with valuable connections and lessons to apply to our business.

How do you find resources to better your business?

Why The #ALSIceBucketChallenge is More than Ice

By now everyone knows someone who has done the ice bucket challenge for ALS, but do you know the meaning behind it? I have to admit, last year when it was floating around online we did some research. Now, in 2014, it has raised more money than it has to date.

Yes, it’s fun to challenge our friends and family but the ALS ice bucket challenge is more than ice and water. There is a real disease others are fighting in silence because they cannot speak about what is happening to them. Family members are praying for answers while we continue to challenge others to donate or become soaking wet.

We challenge everyone to educate yourself about why it is called a challenge as we raise money to find a cure for those with ALS.

www.alsa.org/donate/

 

 

Are You Flying Off The Seat of Your Pants? Forecast Before You Launch

Are you flying off the seat of your pants? Are you moving from one appointment to the next? Does your week run together? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, this article is for you. This article will highlight tips to forecast your week, tools to use, and how to manage your time better. And if you have any tips to share, we’d love to hear them.

The term forecast is related to weather, but as a noun it is a prediction or estimate of future events. If you run a business or are trying to accomplish a goal, you might forecast upcoming events to attend, appointments to make, and other work that needs to get done. Simply put, to forecast your week can be your guide of what you needs to get done instead of what can be done.

Forecast Before You Launch

What does it look like to forecast? We know to map out your week can be tiresome. How are you suppose to know what the next few days will bring? Try to pick a weekly schedule or routine and stick with it. We like to have a daily agenda made at least two weeks in advance for meetings, projects, daily business demands, etc. to commit the time it takes to do whatever IT is.

What does a weekly routine look like? We are a business that runs Monday through Friday with business and outside client commitments. This is a brief description of what we aim to do:

Sunday:  Day of rest, forecast for an hour with calendars*

Monday:  Work half day

Tuesday:  Work full day / Schedule and Attend Meetings

Wednesday:  Blog / Work Full Day

Thursday:  Work half day/ schedule Friday Focus

Friday:  Work half day

Saturday: Evaluate week / Make Note of High’s and Low’s

This routine is a general guideline of what we hope to accomplish each week. It is flexible to a degree where we can move items around. We have learned the more consistent our schedule is the more productive we are on those days.

How do you forecast? We use calendars to remind us of what is important and what isn’t. We limit our forecasting to an hour on Sunday to save us a time later. We have noticed our productivity has increased throughout the week instead of backtracking and flying off the seat of our pants to the next appointment.

We love electronic and hard-copy calendars. We use iCal for Apple and synced it with Google Cal. We know not everyone uses Apple or Google so we chose to use both to maximize our availability and diversity.

iCal synced with Google Cal

We send meeting requests by inviting whom we are meeting with to the meeting through Google Cal. (Since our electronic calendars are synced, the invitation shows up on our iCal as well.) We keep our Google Cal meetings “private” so each meeting shows us as “busy” to those who can view our calendar. Clients who ask to see our calendar can, but we keep the privacy of other client meetings and appointments private. Do you like privacy or public calendar settings?

The hard-copy calendars we use are from Get Buttoned Up (under the Productivity Section). Other great resources can be found here. We download and print out the “too many to-do’s” and make out our weekly list. We use a daily calendar to map out the day here and fill in our productivity for the week here.

The idea is to get ALL your to-do’s off your mind and on a the “too many to-do’s” list.

Too Many To-Do's

When you print out the daily calendar, you can put the to-do on which day fits your schedule or routine best.

Daily ScheduleAnd lastly, evaluate your productivity to see if this is working for you or not. We have used this system for a while now and found the first two to be the most beneficial for us and our focus. The last form we don’t always have time to go back and fill out, but try to review the days to see if we accomplished what we had set out to do.

Weekly Time Management

Now, where to begin? Use the resources we had mentioned or find others to forecast your week better. The key is find what works for you. Not everyone has the same method that will work for you. Ask friends or business partners for tips. And lastly, share your best practices with us and we will be glad to tell others about them.

If you LIKE my business page on Facebook, you will see a common thing happening on Fridays I call a “Friday Focus”. The topic varies by what you suggest or what comes to mind. My goal is to help YOU, the reader, to take away something valuable than you may not have considered before. If you want to contribute to an upcoming Friday Focus, please leave me a comment and we can make it happen.

Creativity is Found “Outside The Fish Bowl”

As a marketer and creative person, my brain is split 50/50. I can think about numbers and strategy with a balanced creative outlet to make a plan come alive. Most of my marketing efforts are done online with today’s technology support. Truth be told, only half of my creativity is found online. ::gasp:: I love to browse on Pinterest and read articles, but when I am offline my creativity gains momentum.

When you work on similar projects over and over, how do you stay sharp? What sparks your creativity? My sister has always told me to, “Think outside the fish bowl“. And she is absolutely correct.

I have made it a healthy habit to eat lunch away from any technology or device. I try to communicate with those around me (if someone is there). And if not, I pick up a book or magazine and start reading. I try to stay off technology so I can recharge my brain. When I am flipping through a magazine, I try to find inspiration in whatever project I am working on. I read through a book and write down great quotes.

How do you nourish your creativity? What methods work best for you?

Source credit: Social Outlier |  Words: RT Consulting

9 ways to “Think Outside the Fish Bowl”

  1. Subscribe to different magazines to catch up on industry trends. The top of my list are Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc., Oprah, Health Magazine, and Jacksonville Magazine.
  2. Read an industry/business book on a regular basis. I have a habit of ready many book at the same time. I go back and forth. The books on my bookshelf are: Creativity for Sale by Jason SurfrApp, The Business Side of Creativity by Cameron S. Foote, and Start Your Own Business by Entrepreneur Press.
  3. Exercise. Seriously. The more I exercise the less tension I have in my body. I light weights and balance it out with cardio. I drink lots of water (after my morning blueberry juice and coffee) throughout the day to stay hydrated. My mind spins around all day with ideas and when I workout, it boosts something inside me to do it again another day.
  4. Meditation and pray. It has been said you have to work for a work/life balance. When you have a focus on what is important and what isn’t, life goes smoother. When you mediate on this and pray over it, life’s goals are within reach.
  5. Get off technology and network, mingle, and mean it. We are all behind a desk or pushing the deadline. A genuine connection offline can enhance who you are and your work performance. Try it.
  6. Watch a movie. What is your favorite movie of all time? If you had to stop and think about it, you need to disconnect more. Life is about sharing experiences with one another. A movie is a great way to use your imagination.
  7. Make a dream/vision board. I love how my mom and Nicole Sanchez live out their dreams. Both have shared with me the dreams they have for their life and show me. It comes in the form of a few magazine clippings, words, drawings, and crafy things in between to bring their dream to life.
  8. Get back with nature. I like to garden. I loathe doing yard work. When I am walking around in my backyard, I soak it all in. The humid air, sun shine, birds chirping, and my vegetable plants growing. Nature never ceases to amaze me as it is constantly evolving.
  9. Write your thoughts down. Thoughts are fleeting through our mind every day. When you write them down so you can go back to them and evolve them.