Those of you who know me, personally or through my work, know that I'm all about organization. I've blogged about it, guided clients through it, and practice it in my work. I often take the time during the renewal of spring to re-evaluate my own practices. Am I using time efficiently? Do I balance life and work? What are my priorities for clients?
But sometimes we don't see areas in which we could improve as we're going through our daily work. It can be an interesting exercise to step back from the "DOING" and take a look at HOW you're doing.
Jot down an informal step-by-step listing of how you do what you do. This exercise can help you see more clearly what could change to save you time or effort.
Many years ago I was involved with Total Quality Improvement processes and disaster recovery for an employer. As analytical as I can be, it was one of the most enjoyable tasks I had there. It taught me a great deal about efficiencies and repeated evaluation of systems. I tend to get too bogged down in lists, but I have done this exercise myself to great advantage.
Another way to step back is to engage some outside guidance. I recently "accidentally" (yeah, right!) found a new friend and client who offers just such a service. Lisa Crilley Mallis of System Savvy Consulting offers an objective, expert look at personal and business systems. As a time strategy visionary, Lisa teaches you how to regain control of your life, pick tasks with a purpose, and eliminate distractions.
However you go about it, do a self-review soon!
I am often asked by clients and prospects about the feasibility of creating a newsletter. Yes, our inboxes are flooded daily with emails, newsletters, spam, announcements - more than we can handle, usually!
However, a newsletter can benefit both you and your readers, if handled properly. There are many online guides as to the best format, the best content, the best times to issue, etc. These considerations may vary depending on your business.
But key to all good newsletters is brief, concise information presented in an attractive and easy to read format, issued often enough to maintain the reader's attention but not often enough to become an irritation.
Email marketing services like Constant Contact or MailChimp make managing a mailing list and content very easy. Keep in mind that newer Anti-Spam laws restrict your mailing list to people who have either given direct written permission to subscribe them (like with a mailing list form at an event) or who subscribe directly on a website or social media platform.
There are benefits for you as the producer as well. Newsletters keep your business in front of prospects, present your services and your knowledge in your field, and increase your following. Overall, a well-done newsletter is a fabulous way to increase your exposure!
Some wise person in the last few years developed one of the greatest resources to personal success - the ability to publish one's own book! Many people choose to avoid the traditional method of publishing, due to expense, time and effort. Did you know that expense, time, and effort can be nearly eliminated from the process?
Thanks to CreateSpace, a beautiful printed book can be produced on demand (i.e. when an order is received) at NO cost to the author. It can be a bit complicated to ensure your book is formatted perfectly to fit their guidelines, but with an experienced guide to take you through the process, the result can be everything you desire.
Thanks to Kindle Direct Publishing, through a similar process you can publish a book specifically for the reader device market. No print copy is produced, but the perfectly formatted product is available on Amazon for anyone with the device to read it.
I've said before that everyone in the heart-based community should have a book out - your words and your heart are important to spreading those seeds of light! Now you don't need a major cash investment to get it done. Do your research and start writing today!
EVERY heart-centered worker should have a book out. Yes, YOU TOO! Here's why.
In the process of the editing / proofreading work I do for authors of all sorts, there's one thing about all others that makes a difference in the organization of written words - the outline. Think of it this way - would you move houses or go on a long journey without a plan?
We're taught basic outlining in elementary school and some of us haven't used the concept since. But whether you're writing an article, a blog or a book, it's critical to a smooth flow of ideas to jot down the basic structure before you begin. I've edited several projects that are very disjointed, repetitive, and disorganized - had the piece gone out like that, no reader would have grasped the information the author intended to convey.
Here's a simple way to start. Write down each major category you want to cover. Let's say, for example, you want to write a book for beginning artists. Categories might be materials needed, resources, kinds of pencils, kinds of paint, choosing a pad or canvas, etc. Look at it another way - think of file folders. What "folder" would you need to file your thoughts into?
Once you have the basic list written, add sub-categories of topics you want to cover. Check the order of what you've written - does the flow and structure reflect where you want to take the reader?
Next time you have anything to write, try this out - you'll find it's a lot easier to flesh out an effective, easy-to-read piece!
I have clients who love to communicate and those who don't. But whether they love to or not, they all DO communicate in some way or another - it's part of life, of course, but also part of doing business.
Whether you like to communicate through writing is another story. I wrote before about getting your ideas out of your brain and onto paper, and even if you're not a top-notch writer, you can still communicate your brilliant ideas through blogging.
Creating and maintaining a blog can serve multiple purposes. Yes, of course it communicates the information you want to share, but it also communicates who you are, your personality and talents, your skills and gifts. For instance, if you regularly read this or my spiritual blog, you know more about me than most.
There are so many ways to set up an online blog with little or no cost. Here's a quick down-and-dirty suggestion list to get you thinking.
You know that feeling when your body has changed shape and your clothing doesn't fit quite right? Or when your once-perfect home has features you no longer need? Well, if you're a teacher, trainer, or coach of any sort, after a time your training materials may not fit your needs either.
Let's say you created a wonderful teleseminar a few years ago, with PowerPoint slides and downloads. The topic really speaks to your heart-based business, and it's been well received every time you offered it. You're preparing for another class, and you notice some references to a spiritual practice that no longer fits your belief system. Or perhaps you want to include material from a book you just read. These are indicators that what once worked for you no longer does.
Take advantage of these cues to read through your material. Does the overall "story" you're telling in your teaching represent the story in your current practice? Do the action steps you provide your students still make sense? Take a highlighter to the areas you want to revise, and draw a line through items you want to delete entirely.
While you're at it, examine your business practices in the same way. Do your rates work for both you and your clients? Do your speaking / teaching fees match your value? Do you have items you need to delegate to someone? Make sure that all aspects of your business still "fit," and if they don't, take action to tailor them!
And if you need help in the process, I know a great Spiritual Virtual Assistant who'd be delighted to help - Holly@
I've never liked that label - "dummies." Let's change it to "newbies"! If you have never been exposed to something, you are ignorant, not stupid. Now with that established, I want to explain a few simple things for "newbie" entrepreneurs (and for your home office as well) to simplify your record keeping using Excel.
Nearly every computer has some form of Excel or spreadsheet software, and they operate in nearly the same way. When you open the program you're presented with a screen full of little boxes - called cells. On the left are numbered rows, and at the top are lettered columns. This gives you a convenient "name" for each little cell. The one on the top left is in column A, row 1, so it's called "cell A1." Got it? Its "address" is A1.
Let's say you want to make yourself a simple "database" of contacts so you can have easy access to contact information for everyone you know. You'd want to start typing in cell A1 and go across into B1, C1, etc. Type the column names (headers) you want to use. A1 could be first name, B1 last name, C1 phone number, D1 email address, and so on - type in every category you want to capture.
Then below that, in cell A2, start typing your data. First name: Joe, last name: Smith, and so on. Continue to add the specifics for each person. When you're done, guess what - you've built a simple spreadsheet! GO YOU!
Now for the sexy stuff. Let's say you want to find out who of your contacts live in your state. You don't have to poke through the entire thing to find them. You can sort! Click on any cell in your State column. On the top right of your menu at the top of your screen, you'll see something that looks like this:
When you click on the icon you get choices. So now, you can sort the state cells alphabetically, and easily see your Ohioans. There are other ways, more complex ways, to do the same thing, but this is the easy way, for you Newbies!
You can use this simple recordkeeping method for anything: checkbook balances, calendar entries, deadlines, medications, whatever you can think of. Take some time to poke around in Excel and learn other things you can do with it. Have fun!
Welcome! These stories, tips and tricks are intended to help you save time, and be more organized and effective in your work. New items will be added frequently so check back often.