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.

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.

20140919-184520-67520939.jpg

“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?

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.

Like Attracts Like

We have heard that we are what we eat, think, or fill in the blank. What about what we want out of life? Do we have any power in connecting with IT?

I think when we focus on what we want, it becomes like a magnet. All we can do is think about it. How can we get it? How can it come to me? We have the power in our mind attract whatever we desire, if you ask.

The two mantras I tell myself day daily are, “Believe in yourself before others do” and “Like attracts like”. The first one may be easy to understand but you can also read my blog about it, too. The second one was something I found to supplement the first.

When I decided to try working for myself by helping others, I could not think beyond helping one client at a time. Overtime I realized my circles of influence was changing. I admired business owners who were making a name for themselves. I dropped the gossip magazines and picked up business magazines. I liked what was in front of me and wanted to learn from those ahead of me.

Like Attracts LikeProof this works: The past two years I have balanced a part-time job with my full-time consulting business. My employer is very flexible and I have been grateful for the past 9.5 years. A year ago I met our new district manager. I introduced myself a little more confident and felt a connection with him and his work ethic. Throughout the year, we would talk about how he got where he was and what my interests were in and outside the company. There was a mutual respect for one another. Earlier this week, I received a personal invitation to attend a Regional District Manager meeting from him. When word got to my immediate managers, eyebrows were raised. Something my district manager saw in me told him I belong in that meeting.

What you like will be attracted to you in these steps:

  • Never stop dreaming. Dream big and continue to dream bigger than you ever thought possible.
  • Visualize your dream to give life to it. If you want a million dollars and all you are doing is playing the lottery, well, change your vision and …
  • Take action. What can you do today to make changes for a better tomorrow?
  • Reflect.Big success comes from smaller victories.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people who are going to hold you accountable and push you further.
  • Set a deadline. When you live out your dreams, a deadline can be more powerful than you think. A deadline can be a subtle reminder you can accomplish what you have set out to do.

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.

Are we giving into the fetch, push, and pull of email?

With everyone and everything connected, does it matter when and where we tune in? I cannot tell you how many times I would be in a business meeting and hear the other person’s phone make a noise. No, it wasn’t a phone call or text message but a new email alert.

Do you check the time stamps on the emails you receive? With different time zones aside, I get a lot of them at all hours of the night. Last night I broke one of my carnal rules; I checked and responded to emails in bed. Am I becoming one of those people?

(In the words of Carrie Bradshaw) I couldn’t help but wonder… are we giving into the fetch, push, and pull of email?

20140418-115447.jpg

I like to receive a fast response from someone minutes after sending one to them, but I’m guilty of not doing it return. How do we find the balance in our work and life when our email is being fetched and pushed on us throughout the day? How do we stay focused on the task at hand without getting distracted by a new email?

I cannot speak for anyone but me and say I pull, or manually check my email two to three times a day. Period.

8am: Top 5
9:30: First meeting/phone call scheduled
11:00am: Check email for 30 minutes

Afternoon lunch and meetings

2pm: Continue Top 5
3:30pm: Top 5
5pm: Check email for 30 minutes
6pm: Write new agenda for tomorrow

I exercise in the morning or after work. I take longer lunches if I know I’ll be meeting someone. My schedule isn’t always the same, but I strive for consistency to be productive. I know myself and if I had my phone fetching and pushing new emails on me, my assignments would suffer. Forbes suggests you work in 30 minute intervals before checking your email again. What do you think?

How do you manage your workday with emails? I’d like to hear what works for you.

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.

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring A Contractor

When I propose to people and business owners as a Marketing Advisor for RT Consulting, I ask a lot of questions. I have hired a handful of contractors to help me with client projects. Hiring a contractor can be beneficial to both parties to reach the goal in mind. Success does not happen overnight, but asking the right questions can get an idea if this partnership can get you there.

20140402-105434.jpg

1. How can you help me?

Ask open-ended questions so the contractor can talk about what he or she has observed during the meeting. If the two of you just met, be weary of the answer to this question. If he or she has done research on you beforehand, listen carefully; otherwise let them ask you questions to help them accurately answer you.

2. What experience do you have working in [fill in the blank] industry?

In a perfect world, everything would be simple. In a perfect world, every industry would be marketed and advertised flawlessly. The reality is not every industry is the same. Each industry may have similarities but it stops there. Advertising for a personal trainer is far different from advertising for a finance advisor.

A contractor with direct experience in your specific field is beneficial. If you (the prospective client) are willing to spend time and coach the in’s and out’s of your industry it will cost you at your own expense.

3. How are your communication skills? Give me an example of how we would communicate before, during, and follow-up for meetings?

A contractor is excellent at telling you about his or her communication skills, but the proof is in the pudding. If he or she says they are available anytime and doesn’t pick up the phone at 10am, 4pm, or 7pm, then something isn’t right.

4. How many other projects do you have going on now?

A contractor should never reveal how much “work” he or she is doing at the same time. Your project and business is important. Make sure you receive the answer you want to hear. If you are looking for work to be completed per week or bi-monthly communicate it.

5. What is your biggest success? Biggest failure?

Contractors can talk about their successes all day long. The experience doesn’t come without failures along the way. If the contractor can show you his or her failures, do you see his or her character? Did he or she take responsibility? How was the situation turned around?

There are plenty of question that can be asked when hiring a contractor. These are the top five I have found useful when considering to hire someone. What are some of the questions you asked when hiring a contactor?

My Three Words in 2014

Inspired by Chris Brogan in 2013, I decided to carry it on another year. These three words are suppose to shape your goals, resolution, and direction for the upcoming year. In the past, I have encouraged myself with:

Yes I Can.

I Will Learn.

I am Me.

I Will Live.

I have evolved my business and my life since then and continue to move forward with these three words:

Divide. Separate your life into divisions of responsibilities and priorities. Make a list of what is important and isn’t. When you divide your life into categories to see where you are spending most of your time and where you aren’t.

And. You maybe thinking I should have found a more profound word here, but hear me out. The word “and” leaves room for something more. When I finish my to do list, I feel accomplished “and” I need to reward myself. For every action I take, I need to react accordingly. The word “And” reminds me to seek balance in all that I do.

Conquer. Don’t put off what seems impossible. Start small to get closer to your goals. When you see progress it acts as a motivator driving you toward the finish line. Conquer what seems impossible today because tomorrow is a whole new battle.

What are your three words in 2014?