Tag Archive | business

How’s Your Reception?

I’m back!

Today I came across someone who’s left hand didn’t know what her right foot was doing.

HUH?

Well, I think of it this way. Hands are (more or less) on the same level of play. So if they’re suppose to clap but one decides to snap instead… You get the picture.

Now imagine someone who is suppose to be clapping, but instead the left hand snaps its fingers and the right foot decides to tab a counter beat. A bit confusing, don’t you think?

This is not good for a business. Whether this person is your employee, or a person you have to try to work with to get something done (co-worker), or a customer trying to get their needs met – the reason for the visit in the first place.

5-18-16 bad receptionist-2For the example I’m giving, the uncoordinated person is a receptionist. A business first line of contact with customers. This person, even if a new employee, should follow through with requests. You want this person to tell a customer/client that they will pass the information along to the proper person. Then if the receptionist tells your customer/client that the item they want will be ready to pick up at a specific time later that day – you want that receptionist to have done their part and follow through.

Now, imagine how bad you/your business can look if the customer returns at the appointed time and: the item isn’t ready (turns out no one was notified). The receptionist then proceeds to apologize, states that she will make sure you – the owner – knows. Then leaves for the day, because it’s her scheduled time to leave – never speaking to anyone. It can make it a challenge to get back in good graces with your customer. When the customer has wasted two trips, then will have to make a third one to finally get their item, you have some major customer relations work.

Remember, your receptionist IS your first line of contact with clients. You WANT this person to be able and willing to handle things and have the temerity to follow through (as far as they can) to make sure the customer is happy. Yes, this can be a challenge for a new employee and allowances can be made – to a certain degree. So, work with your receptionist to make sure you both understand what is required and what is expected. You can’t teach common sense, but you can teach how to do the job right.

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Mission: Possible – What Makes You Giddy?

What is your Mission in your life?

What is your Passion – what drives you? (no I don’t mean your vehicle)

contrary-2I’ve come to the conclusion, looking back on my life, my Mission seems to be: being contrary. I mean really??!! We’re always told to find our passion, our bliss, the thing that makes us tick and pursue that as a career. While this works GREAT for most people, it seems to backfire for me and I’m not completely sure why. Being contrary may not be a blessing in disguise.

One time I was told to follow my love of art/photography and somehow make that in to a career – there are so many possibilities. Except it turned out that the more I did with my artistic side to make a career, the more I hated what I was doing and doubted my abilities. Oh sure, I’m still creative I can see things others can’t, I can improve on the layout of a picture. But be enough to make a career out of this skill – apparently not so much. I either lose interest and/or faith in myself.

I am very good at what I do as a virtual assistant. However, I have found that I am happiest when I’m a “worker bee” and not a “queen bee.” I flat out do not like the “business” end of owning/running a business. Sure, I can assist others for their businesses, but I can turn off that worry at the end of the day. Run my own business? O M G!!!!! Then to throw in the idea of selling myself (most people call this marketing) – GULP!

I enjoy working with others, and helping them look good. Truly I do! It seems that even though (in some situations) I don’t mind being somewhat assertive; I like having a set thing to do and not have to worry about how the financial end of the business is doing, how is so and so doing with getting more business. So while I’m still working at a reduced level with my business and working at a part-time job, I’m still looking for the full-time job – I want to get back in to working in an office with people around.

So, have you found your answer to my first two questions? What is your Mission in life? What is your Passion – what drives you? I sure would love to read your answers!!!

Wallflower – Your Business Needs You Front and Center

wallflowerHey Wallflowers! Wake Up!

When it comes to social situations, how many of you are wallflowers – raise your hands.

OOPS, this being a virtual world, I can’t see the answer. No matter. Us wallflowers don’t always answer those types of questions anyway. WHY? Because it (generally) brings unwanted attention.

OK, how many business owners are wallflowers?

More than you might think. It’s just that some of us have come to learn that if we don’t get “out there” no one will know about us. Think about it. If Abraham Lincoln, Orville Wright, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Tom Hanks or Lucille Ball let their shyness rule, would we have things like planes? Or think about this, if Thomas Edison let his shyness rule, would anyone have accepted his inventions – like the motion picture camera? If that wasn’t invented, how would we see movies? We wouldn’t have gotten to see Tom Hanks in Big. We wouldn’t have seen The I Love Lucy show.

So, now how will anyone know how wonderful your business is if you can’t get past your shyness and/or fear of being in the public eye?

You may have the same/similar argument I have. My work is in the virtual world and is all over, most of my clients are not local. Trust me, I’m definitely with you on that one! I have clients that I’ve never seen and the only reason I know what they look like is because of their picture on one of the social networking sites. But my business coach – who I also have not seen face-to-face – has told me that I need to get out there and strut my stuff.

Strutting your stuff – virtually – can be via social media, a killer website, and awesome marketing. But even with this – wallflower business owners need to engage. It is your face the public sees when it comes to your business (even if it is only a picture).

Now, as this quote says – get out there and dance! So get closer to the flashing lights, before the night is over just DANCE.”

Um, for the record – and complete honesty – for me, some of this is a do as I say not as I do kind of thing. I really want and hope you do better than me. I know I need to get away from that wall.

This article is also found in Small Biz Forward magazine. There are many other contributing writers with great articles – check them out!

And That’s the Truth

Not long ago I was asked to write an article about TRUTH.

I’m part of a group of women entrepreneurs producing a monthly e-magazine called It’s All About Yes and our latest topic deals with truth and how it effects you.

My article talks about the Golden Rule, treating others as I’d like to be treated.

truth-1Well, last night I couldn’t fall asleep right away – I hate those nights. I kept thinking about other truths. I kept thinking about the phrase “that’s the honest truth.” Umm, isn’t truth by its very nature honest? So, of course I had to look up “false truth.” Yes there is such a thing. According to the Urban Dictionary: A false truth is something believed by many people to be true but is not. It is usually something that cannot be backed up with hard evidence. Or: A very subtle lie that most would not be able to determine whether it is true or not

Based on that second definition, isn’t that the same thing as a “white lie?”

Well, the other thing my mind kept going over and over, with the “honest truth” constantly popping Edith annup. I kept thinking of Lily Tomlin playing Edith Ann – and that’s the truth!

One of the things that kept running thru my mind: what’s been going on in my life lately. I’ve not been a (completely) happy camper of late.

As you know, I have epilepsy and need to take medication to control my seizures. When one takes medication you need to be careful and make sure that the generics you get are consistently the same as what you’ve been getting. If you don’t monitor this you can suffer some nasty side effects. Well, I’ve had to change where I get my meds and had to research into where they get the meds from. I spent a lot of time on the phone for this one. Well, I found what I needed to know, got the new generics. But I’ve been dealing with some lousy side-effects. One effect being not being able to clearly concentrate. This is not good when you need to be accurate for clients.

So, as a result I’ve taken on a part-time job to supplement my income. This is not a bad thing, many people find themselves in a similar situation. And, since mine is a home-based business and I’m at my desk all the time, being out of the house for the part-time job is a good thing – I get out of the house.

But, once in a while I wonder. Are my disoriented feelings a result of the medications? Could they be a result of working my business and working a part-time job? Could they be a manifestation of my feeling like I’m failing? I mean I must be failing somehow – I had to get that part-time job…

Now, because of my ethics of the importance of doing everything right for my clients, I’ve introduced a client to a friend of mine who is also a truth-2virtual assistant. Yes, it makes me feel a bit better that I’ve succeeded in looking out for my client. However, I’ve now further reduced my income. That isn’t helping me any. There was a series of “malfunctions” leading up to this decision, this facing another truth.

  • The disorientation making it hard to concentrate, I wasn’t performing as well as I should.
  • Then I got a nasty cold and felt even more miserable.
  • While feeling miserable/unfocused I opened a bad email and a truly rotten virus attacked my computer. My computer guy was wonderful and was able to save everything!
  • Right after getting my computer back my wireless keyboard started failing. SWELL. According to a tech at Logitech it’s possible that the virus affected the keyboard. I have to wait 3-5 business days to get the replacement keyboard (thank goodness for warranties).

Because of all of the above happening, I’ve had to use my laptop. It’s a great little thing but doesn’t have everything I need. So, I’ve lost a client (my decision – don’t want to keep letting her down).

All these truths are hard to face.

All these truths are depressing and make me want to curl up and hide. We all know that won’t solve anything!

So, here’s my plan to solve these rotten truths:

  • Revel in the fact that the disorientation is easing up.
  • Enjoy the part-time job – it is helping me through this time. (not necessarily making things worse)
  • When the computer is complete again, find a class on one of the things I’m not so strong in and take it. Being in a “formal” class will help my brain function more clearly – snap me out of the fog.

2013 is going to be a better year for me and my business. I just need to keep positive.

And that’s the truth!

Health & Business

There are times in an entrepreneur’s business life when you wonder WHY. Sometimes it seems even more of a tough question when that entrepreneur has a medical condition of some sort. You may feel even more pressure from your business. I can appreciate that feeling. Honest.

This is by no means a “pity party” – never the reason for my blogs. This is an opportunity to share with each other that:

  • You are not alone
  • There will be good days and not so swift days – for your business and your health
  • Your support system may not be the best for your business.

Many times an entrepreneur feels they are all alone – no one understands where they are going with their business dream. Sometimes the entrepreneur looses their dream, or it gets muddied. That’s normal no matter who the entrepreneur is – that’s business.

There will be times when your health may (try to) get the better of you and foul things up. I know this from experience. There will be days when all is right with the world – and you can take on anything/every thing that comes your way. Revel in those moments. In your life and in your business. Take full advantage of those times. When you’re clear-headed and strong those are the best times to make strong business decisions. Never make decisions when you’re tired and on a bad health day – it’s counterproductive.

Your support system for your health condition may not be the best cheering section for your business. Sometimes well-meaning family and friends will not understand what it is your want to do and why you want to do this. Your loved ones can either drag you down telling you (lovingly and because they truly care), you just can’t do this, it’s too much of a strain. Others may go in the opposite direction. Actually put too much strain on you. Thinking they are being supportive telling you that they plan to live/retire from your business – and soon. (I call this over supportive) This can put undue stress on an entrepreneur – leaving the feeling of succeed or else.

I do truly understand this. I have my days when I feel on top of the world – even when my medication makes me feel I have to sleep for a while – I wake up just fine and clear. But then I have my low days, when those comments of hurry up – I want to retire (well-meaning as they are) – puts stress on me and then I worry that I might have another seizure (causing a set back in my health). That doesn’t help the frustration any! But then I can/do work my way past those feelings. I have a couple of quotes that help me, maybe you can find help with them:

  •  To believe yourself brave is to be brave; it is the one only essential thing. ~ Mark Twain
  • Life must be lived and curiosity kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Never allow a person to tell you no, who doesn’t have the power to say yes. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Just remember, if the world didn’t suck, we’d all fall off.  ~ Author Unknown

Find what helps you stay on your path. Don’t give up on getting through your health issues – whatever they may be – don’t give up on your entrepreneurial dreams.

When Will it Stop???

Have you ever felt like the weight of the whole World rests squarely on your shoulders? Do you feel that mythology had it wrong – Atlas was a woman? Well sista, please trust me you are not alone.

We have all felt that crushing weight at one time or another. We have all heard words of encouragement and at some times have thought them to be empty words of platitude. I know I have. I know it can be beyond a “challenge” sometimes. Hell, it’s a pain to try to keep using a “positive” word like challenge to describe a particular situation. Because as soon as you (well OK, me) start using negative words for the situation, it seems to get worse even if it is just a tiny bit.

But please remember YOU cannot control everything in life. Going back to my introduction story – I have epilepsy and at times it has negatively effected my life. Yes, with medication and the surgery I had I can stop my seizures. But remember, I had some hurdles to jump just to get to this point. I had to experience more seizures than I ever had. I had to loose a job as a result of the seizures. I (apparently) had to go through a time in my life where I felt useless and a burden. I had to go through some painful testing. There weren’t many things I had control over. I had all that weight piling up plus all the worry and frustration I added to the pile that only dragged me down further.

I suppose I had control over whether or not I went through the testing/surgery, but even that I really felt no control over. I felt I had to go through that because how else would I know if we could stop my seizures. During this time I was stressing over how we would pay for things/bills. Being short one income.

Then slowly but surely during the end of that process, things started getting better. I started (baby steps) a version of my business. That start helped my self-esteem and helped me realize that even though I had all that weight on my shoulders I could do something about part of it. I needed to do something so I felt like I could contribute to improving our situation. Doing that helped me get out from the soul-sucking depression I was at the edge of and could step away from.

Slowly but just as surely that weight started lifting from my shoulders and things are getting better – and so is my outlook on life. So dear reader, what I’m trying to tell you – things will eventually get better. When that weight lifts you feel like you can soar!