Day to day - Part 2

Archive for the ‘Day to day’ Category

Business moms – 5 things they won’t tell you

Business moms – Here are 5 things they won’t tell you about working from home.

1. Sometimes you’ll miss wearing business attire

While it can be great to work at home in casual wear–especially in the beginning–you may want to get ready for the day before you start working in the mornings. Freshening up and looking professional can help you get into work mode and can make your family take you more seriously.

2. Working at home with kids is not the same as working at home without kids

Let’s face it. Working at home with children in the house is simply not the same as working at home in an empty house. You will have to be much more mindful of taking telephone calls and scheduling conference calls when you’ve got children in the next room. Depending on your children’s ages, interruptions will happen and you may have to be flexible about working hours depending on your children’s needs.

3. There will be bad days

Just like with any job, there will be bad days as a business mom. Even I have my days! 

4. Sometimes saying no can be tough

Being a business mom can mean that you’ve got some tough decisions to make, especially when it comes to scheduling and saying no. As a business mom you’re juggling a lot of competing priorities, and sometimes it can be difficult knowing which route to choose, like when I received a dream call from a reporter who wanted to interview me four days after my second son was born.

5. Believe it or not, working at home can get lonely

While the idea of no longer having a boss and not having to spend time with co-workers may sound great, working at home can indeed get lonely–even when you have children at home. Here are tips for dealing with home office isolation.

While these 5 things they won’t tell you about what it’s like to be a business mom may focus on the negative, it’s important to remember that the good far outweighs the bad. The 30 things I love about being a parent entrepreneur are just a tiny sampling of the hundreds of reasons why I love being a business mom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Free teleseminar – filling up fast!

Sometimes, whether it’s in your professional or personal life, you can get stuck. The stress and strain of trying to have it all can really take its toll. By partnering with others to leverage their strengths and experiences, though, you can find ways to have it all – without having to do it all all the time.

As I announced in yesterday’s newsletter, I’ve partnered with Gerrianne Clare of Family Guidance System to offer a FREE teleseminar for Consultant Journal readers. I know from your emails and comments that many of you struggle with working through all your work and personal goals and obligations. So it made sense to partner as an affiliate with a life coach who specializes in helping busy people solve their problems.

 On Wednesday, July 6 at 5pm Pacific, I’ll be interviewing Gerrianne about:

  • A simple 3 step technique to move from “feeling stuck” to being “in the flow” to achieve positive, lasting results in all parts of your life.
  • HOW to keep negative energy and family stress from creeping into your business performance (and vice versa)
  • A little known unconscious habit common to many consultants and solopreneurs that can sabotage your work/life balance

Get reconnected to the life you want and uncover what’s getting in your way from having it. REGISTER HERE.

PS: The first 10 people to sign up will be entered in a random draw for a copy of Consulting Fees: A Guide for Independent Consultants – a $29.97 value.

7 ways to use the iPad 2 in your business

Are you considering whether the iPad 2 is a valuable investment for you and your business? In order to help you make your decision, here are 7 top ways to use the iPad 2 in your business:

1. Calendar/Email/Web browsing

Similar to smart phones, the iPad 2 has core functions that are invaluable to business: access to your calendar and email when out of the office. Similarly, the iPad 2 has the capability to browse the web. The iPad 2 is also available with 3G options, which means that you can connect to the internet without standard wireless internet access.

2. Photos/Videos

The iPad 2 actually has two cameras: one on the front of your iPad 2 and the other is an HD camera that’s located on the back. Learn more about using digital cameras in your business here.

3. Presentations / PowerPoint

Replace your bulky laptop wtih your iPad 2 for quicker set up. The adapter on the iPad 2 plugs into any TV set, computer monitor, or digital projector that’s equipped with an HDMI port. And with a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, odds are you won’t need to fumble with many cords or plugs.

4. Video conferencing

Use the iPad 2’s two cameras for quick and easy video conferencing. Running late for a meeting? Just join in through your iPad 2. Less travel time means more time to get work done.

5. Ebooks

Stay up to date and travel light by loading your iPad 2 with digital versions of useful books and often-referenced material.

6. Leverage apps for business

There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps available for business use. From Roambi – Visualizer (automatically graph your business metrics) to SketchBook Pro (create beautiful graphics), there are business apps for every niche.

7. Wow factor

There’s no denying that the iPad 2 still possesses a wow factor that your clients and customers may appreciate. While "wow factor" alone is not a good reason for purchasing an iPad 2, it is a nice bonus.

If you’re considering whether to purchase an iPad 2 be sure to think about how these 7 ways to use the iPad 2 in your business will affect your business before making your decision.

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Say no to coffee

How do I find out why the heck someone wants to have coffee with me?

Ah, the coffee dilemma. Whether you’re self employed or working successfully and happily for someone else, people will inevitably ask you out for coffee. And it seems like they never want to say why.

I created Consultant Journal because people I didn’t know were asking me out for coffee. I simply didn’t have enough time to go with all of them. And, today, I love that this site allows me to have a virtual coffee with 35,000 people each month.

But most of you aren’t going to start a website to get out of coffee dates. And, admittedly, I still get people asking me out for coffee. When you’re a professional – whether a consultant, entrepreneur or executive – other people often want to pick your brain or somehow soak up some of your sunshine. I admit to doing the same. I ask people out for coffee too. When I started off in my career, information interviews were key and networking remains a valuable tool.

Yet we can’t always do coffee with every person who asks. So what’s a good way to respond?  Some very smart (and organized) friends of mine say, "Hey, I’m short on face time. I’m sure you’re in the same situation. Is this something we can work out by phone or email?" 

Being direct and friendly can save you time. If you’re finding yourself working lots but not getting a lot done, take a look at your schedule to see if some of it has to do with unplanned phone calls, emails and coffee dates.

What do you say when you get a mysterious request for coffee?

Recommendations for online data storage?

Ugh. I just had an excrutiating experience with trying to find online data storage. With the recent earthquake in Japan, I’ve been thinking that my little hard drive back-up here on the desk is a risky proposition. I live in Vancouver and earthquakes, broken pipes, fire and other disasters could totally trash my computer systems. I need secure off site online storage. And I need it to work.

I tried the data storage that came with my laptop, but ran into major problems. I tried to get it to work for two solid weeks. To try to solve the problem, I spent 45 minutes online to several techs. Finally, the only way they were able to help me was by cancelling the service. Sigh!

Do you use online data storage? I’m open to your tips and suggestions.

Print, PDF and email this blog

I’m happy to say that you can now print, PDF or email blog posts from Consultant Journal. You’ll see the print & PDF widget at the bottom of posts. It also allows you to email yourself a copy of any post.

By the way, have you tried "Share This"? That’s the widget just below "Print Friendly". You can share any blog post with friends and social media contacts using Facebook, email, Twitter – you name it.

See below! Enjoy!

7 reasons to use portable media in your business

Aah, smart phones, iPhones, BlackBerries and Droids. Are you part of the portable media club? If not, here are 7 reasons to use portable media in your business:

1. Stay connected

Use portable media in your business and stay connected 24/7. Check in on your business no matter where you are and never miss important last minute emails.

2. Maximize your efficiency

Use portable media in your business and avoid wasting time waiting for meetings, flights or any other moment where you find yourself waiting with little to do. When you’ve got downtime–even a minute or two–you can plow through email, check your calendar, or check in on your business online. One of the main differences between portable media and traditional laptops is that with portable media you don’t have to wait for the long boot-up time that traditional laptops need. One touch on your smartphone wakes up your iPhone, BlackBerry or Droid in seconds.

3. Be more active on social media

Use portable media in your business to keep up with social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook. Posting to social media is quick and easy on portable media, especially if you take advantage of social media apps. Checking in on social media is a great option when you’ve got a minute or two between appointments.

4. Be on call for your clients

Use portable media in your business and be accessible to your clients whenever you want to be accessible. Respond to emergency emails from wherever you are. But be careful. Being an independent consultant doesn’t necessarily mean being accessible 24/7. Be sure to set boundaries and give yourself “me” time during which it’s okay to let business emails sit unanswered. Work/life balance is key, after all.

5. Access your data from anywhere

Use portable media in your business and rest assured that you’ll never be without your important data. Email addresses, phone numbers, reminders and calendar appointments are all at your fingertips wherever you are.

6. Consolidate your information

Use portable media in your business and sync your smartphone to your home computer.  Automatic syncing of your information means that you’ll spend less time  transferring files back and forth and more time generating business.

7. Personal perks

Use portable media in your business and reap personal benefits, too. Out on the road for an evening? Want to make dinner reservations? Want to see what movies are playing at your local theatre? Check in on your portable media unit from anywhere.

Are you interested in building your expert-status? Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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Use 3D charts and graphs at your own risk

3D bar charts and graphs may work against you. I’m at O’Reilly Strata to learn about big data. Of the many fabulous presentations this afternoon, I chose Naomi Robbins‘s "Communicating Data Clearly". Robbins is an expert on graphical data presentation. And she’s got some vivid examples of where using graphics to convey data can go really wrong — or really right.

 "Effective is not the same as beautiful," says Robbins. She showed several examples of gorgeous graphs that do little more than confuse the audience. Of all her examples, one stand out came from the ubiquitous 3D bar charts we tend to see in business presentations.

You know how it goes. You’re pulling together a report and you want to jazz it up with some pictures, make it speak to people a little more. So you generate a pretty bar chart.

3D bar chart

Take a good look at the chart. Now do me a favour, will ya? Tell me the values for A, B, C, D and E.

This is just what Robbins asked people at the conference to do. I’ve created my own chart here, but the idea and the exercise are hers.

Then look at this chart. Again, this is my chart, but it’s Robbins’s concept. She asked us if we could tell the values for the 2D bar chart below.

2D bar chart

As she noted, a chart like this one is pretty clear. Now, having seen the two charts, which set of data do you trust? Robbins encourages us to think it over.

It’s the same data!

Robbins noted that the 3D bar chart (from Excel, but similar problems pop up in other programs) don’t touch the wall and thus the lines and bars are off.

"Don’t use 3d bar charts — I don’t care what software you use!" says Robbins.

Robbis has many other examples of good and bad chart usage. You can pick up her book Creating More Effective Graphs:


5 ways to use video cameras in your business

Video cameras are becoming more common as quality increases and prices decrease. Here are 5 ways to use video cameras in your business:

1. Tutorials

Use video cameras in your business to create video tutorials on basic concepts related to your business. Clients will appreciate these tutorials, and on-camera tutorials can save you time and money because you may be able to provide video tutorials instead of in-person training.

2. Social media / YouTube

Use video cameras in your business to promote your products or services via social media. Create simple how-to videos that provide valuable information and position you or your organization as an expert at the same time. Cross-promote these videos at Youtube, Viddler and on other video sharing sites to increase your reach. You can even pull the audio from your videos and package the audio as free podcasts to be distributed on iTunes and elsewhere online.

3. Insurance

Use video cameras in your business to document your workspace and to provide evidence in the event of an emergency like a flood, fire, or theft.

4. Client testimonials

Use video cameras in your business to capture client testimonials. There is nothing more powerful than the endorsement of satisfied clients. When done professionally, on-camera client testimonials can have powerful impact on your business. If your camera skills aren’t up to par, consider outsourcing this project to video professionals.

5. Interviews for information gathering

Use video cameras in your business to aid in your requirements-gathering process. Not all clients will be receptive to being on film, but others will find being on camera an added bonus. And for you as a consultant, you’ll be able to refer back to important meetings and decisions for clarification.

Are you interested in more tips on how to build your expert-status? Whether you’re dreaming of consulting or already running a business of your own, you probably know that gaining expert status can help you with building client relationships. That’s why we offer Six Tips for Jumpstarting Your Expert Status when you sign up for our newsletter.

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10 ways to use digital cameras in your business

10 ways to use digital cameras in your business:

1. Document for insurance purposes

Use digital cameras in your business to document your workspace for insurance purposes. Be sure to take photographs of your office detailing your business equipment and store the photographs in a safe place. These photographs could prove invaluable if a fire, flood or other disruption occurs at your home office or workplace.

2. Enhance your blog posts and articles

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your business blog. Leave the photographs on your main website up to the professional photogaphers, but if you have a business blog use your digital camera to take relevant photos to enhance your blog posts. A picture is worth a thousand words!

3. Add benefit to client meetings

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your client meetings. As a graphic design consultant, a client may indicate a color that he prefers or a logo idea based on an album cover or keychain. Having a digital camera at the ready will help you to capture the client’s desires digitally right then and there.

4. Document your work flow and efficiencies 

Use digital cameras in your business to document your work flow. Snap photos of your workspace as you work on a project. Notice piles of paper everywhere? A pattern of disorganization? Use the photographs to identify problems in your organization and make changes to improve your organization skills and efficiency.

5. Take photos of milestones

Use digital cameras in your business to document milestones. Get your first large cheque in the mail? Snap a photo. Land a superstar client? Take a picture of yourself with your big silly grin right after you hang up the phone. These photos make for great reminders and will help motivate you if you’re having a bad day.

6. Take photos of important events and functions

Use digital cameras in your business to capture notable events of interest to your clients. Did you sponsor a banner or table at a networking event? Did you win an award at a business networking award dinner? Taking photos of these notable events and posting them to your Facebook page, blog, email newsletter, website or other social media outlet will increase your brand power and status as an expert in your field.

7. Enhance PowerPoint presentations

Use digital cameras in your business to enhance your PowerPoint presentations. Sometimes stock photography is not enough. However, ensure that the quality of your photos is up to par. If your photographs are blurry or low-quality, stick with stock photography instead.

8. Take mandatory photos

Use digital cameras in your business because it may be a necessity. Taking your own photos may be necessary depending on your niche. For example, an environmental consultant may need to take photos of the terrain and adjacent areas to include in an environmental assessment or report.

9. Use as a scanner in a pinch

Use digital cameras in your business if your scanner goes on the fritz. In a pinch, a digital camera can serve as a scanner if needs be. The quality isn’t great, but taking a photograph of a document and emailing to a client is better than having to retype it manually.

10. Create promotional or informational videos using still photography

Use digital cameras in your business to create YouTube or other videos. Did you know that you can create effective videos by linking still photographs together? It’s very easy and can result in effective videos that combine photographs and overlaid text.

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