Why volunteer?

I really liked this post. It helps explain why some people volunteer. People do it for all different reasons and this is just one view, but its a good one.

Haphazard observations

Recently I was asked to write down a few words on why I volunteer.  I have struggled with this question for a few weeks as my initial reasons to volunteer were extremely selfish.   I volunteer at two “places”.  One is a committee within my professional body for which I have just announced I am leaving after 6 years.  The other is for “Movies by Burswood”.  For those who don’t know who they are, it is an outdoor cinema where all profit is donated to charity partners.  It’s an extremely interesting concept and if you want to know more, check out their webpage http://www.moviesbyburswood.com/Page/About-Us

Funnily enough I joined both of these in 2007.  I had just finished another gruelling university degree while working full time and was looking for something to do with all that free time I had.

I have always felt that it was important to contribute to…

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10 Tips To Deal With Stress

We all have stress. Especially if we are a small business owner. Some days I feel like I am being pulled into a million different directions at once. By the end of the day my nerves are completely shot. So I went on the hunt for some ways to help deal with all this stress and here are some tips I found.

1. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. (Hmmm….I have to give up my pot of coffee???)

2. Indulge in physical activity. (OK…I guess I could start walking everyday.)

3. Get more sleep. (I am suppose to do this when???)

4. Try relaxation techniques. (Personally, I always feel like a dweeb doing this.)

5. Talk to someone. (This actually does work. I vent to friends often about my frustrations.)

6. Keep a stress diary. (Hmm…not too sure about this one.)

7. Take control. (Easier said then done.)

8. Manage your time. (I can help you do that….hint hint.)

9. Learn to say NO. (Sometimes you just can’t take on that extra work. Hard lesson to learn even for me.)

10. Rest if you are ill. (But who will get the work done???)

I know I put some smart ass comments after each point, but they are actually very useful tips. I found them on Skills You Need. All joking aside, dealing with stress is important for your mental & physical health. Stress has been tied directly to high blood pressure and strokes. It can actually make decisions harder to make due to a lack of focus (happens to me sometimes). Overall, stress is just a very bad thing to have in ones life.

So if your feeling stressed all the time, I urge you to visit the Skills You Need website to read the full article for yourself. Try some or all of the tips listed and talk to your doctor about how your stress is affecting you. All of us think we can do it all ourselves, but in reality, everybody needs some help some of the time.

5 reasons to use a Virtual Assistant

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

I have been providing virtual assistant services for about 6 months now. I primarily use Elance to gather new clients. It provides a secure way to transfer money and gives users a way to resolve conflicts if they are unsatisfied with the services provided. But why use a virtual assistant?

1. Bookkeeping – By letting a VA manage your bookkeeping allows you to focus on more important tasks.

2. Online Reasearch – A VA can provide a detailed report on just about any topic you choose.

3. Manage Email – Why spend an hour on email when a qualified VA can answer the simple questions and forward important requests to you?

4. Data Entry – A VA can maintain your database of contacts, inventory, and more.

5. Social Tasks – Keeping you social networks up to date can be a time consuming task. A VA can complete this for you.

And there are many more tasks a VA can complete. From marketing to answering phone calls, a qualified VA can be the extra hand you need. For tips on hiring a VA read my article Choosing A Virtual Assistant.

What is success?

What is success?

I’m sure a lot of people were like me when they first started off with their own business. We had a clear vision of what we were going to do and where we wanted to be. In our mind we connected a straight line from the starting point of our business to our success point.

Then when you get into the thick of things you suddenly realize that not everything will work out as planned. Our straight path to success becomes a curvy road filled with potholes, speed traps, and road construction. We are forced to take detours from our original plan to account for the things we didn’t see coming.

I have learned that you need to be able to recognize a pivot point in your business. A place where you need to make a choice to either change direction or keep going on your current path. These decisions will be difficult to make because they sometimes take you in a direction away from your view of success.

When I first started RI Business Solutions (see my first post), my view was to solely perform virtual administrative assistance services. 6 months later and I am doing sales of a mobile marketing platform and customer service. I’m in the process of establishing a call center in Pakistan to be better able to compete in the customer service industry. I have ended up going in a totally different direction then I had originally anticipated.

Does this mean I failed to succeed? I don’t think so. In a sense I have already succeeded because I was able to change my direction to meet the needs of my clients. If I stayed focused on my original plan of success, then I would have failed. But by changing the type of services I provided, I am able to keep my business moving forward. The direction of the movement makes no difference, long as the movement is forward. And forward movement is successful movement.

 

 

Has mobile marketing peaked?

Group of Smart phones

Has mobile marketing peaked?

Read an interesting article about The Future of Mobile Marketing. Each new year we hear about how mobile marketing is going to be huge. But it leaves some questions open. Where does mobile marketing go from here?

Everybody is so connected today. With the introduction of GPS, apps can pin point local ads to show consumers. People can post on one social network and have it posted on several all at once. Price comparisons can be done almost instantaneously with apps like CoupounSherpa and Apple’s Passbook.  

I imagine there is plenty of places to go with mobile marketing. But, is any of it really needed? Will consumers use it? These questions remain to be answered.

Personally, I can see many new applications entering the world. Some will be huge (like Shutterfly) and others may only be mediocre at best (Shazam comes to mind). With people wanting things to be faster and easier, the possibilities are endless.

So the question I pose to all of you is…… where will your mobile marketing fit into all this? 

E-Waste….where does it go?

 

Burning E-Waste

Burning E-Waste (Source-Greenpeace.org)

 

E-Waste or “electronic waste” may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronicsmobile phonestelevision sets and refrigerators. This definition includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal. (Source:Wikipedia)

According to the US EPA, more than 4.6 million tonnes of e-waste ended up in US landfills in 2000. Toxic chemicals in electronics products can leach into the land over time or are released into the atmosphere, impacting nearby communities and the environment.

E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. Inspections of 18 European seaports in 2005 found as much as 47 percent of waste destined for export, including e-waste, was illegal. In the UK alone, at least 23,000 metric tonnes of undeclared or ‘grey’ market electronic waste was illegally shipped in 2003 to the Far East, India, Africa and China. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention.

Some of these countries take this e-waste and burn it to get the plastic away from the precious metals. Some even use children as young as 12 years old to separate the e-waste and put it into burning barrels. This is why using proper channels to recycle your electronics is so important. The harder we work to keep our e-waste from being shipped to developing contries, the better chances these children have of growing up healthy.

You can go to e-Stewards to find recyclers in your area who hold an e-Stewards certification. The e-Stewards certification process awards the e-Stewards designation only to those organizations that fully operate in conformance with the standard. No second-party declarations or self-declarations of conformance to the standard are allowed; only accredited, independent certification of conformity is possible.

This is my second post on this subject. You can learn more from my previous post Volunteering.

 

There is only one boss…the customer.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

Sam Walton

This quote holds true on so many different levels. Without our customers, we have no business. That is why it is so important to remember to keep the customers needs in mind whenever making a business decision.

Quality Assurance

When starting a new business there is always things you put off for “more important things.” We assume we will make sure our quality is top notch automatically. Which for the most part is true. But what about when we start hiring employees or sub-contractors? How do we maintain that level of quality?

That is where a quality assurance plan comes in. By taking the time to formulate a quality assurance plan at the start of your business will save you time and aggravation later on. Trust me on this….I am in the spending extra time and aggravation circle right now.

A potential client contacted me regarding the new call center I opened up and wanted details on our QA Program. QA Program? ummm….yea….can I get back to you on that? This is a position you do not want to find yourself in.

Some places I found good information at is :

http://www.ehow.com/how_6623779_create-quality-assurance-plan.html

http://www.w3.org/TR/qa-handbook/

Volunteering

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I’m always on here talking about my business and what works or don’t work. I never take the time to let people get to know about me as a person. So today I am going to change that.

I really enjoy volunteering. I was a volunteer Firefighter/Paramedic for 11 years until a medical condition ended that. It left a rather large empty space in my life. Then recently I discovered Free Geek.

Free Geek takes in computer donations and refurbishes the ones they can. Those are given out to local non-profit organizations that can not afford to buy computers themselves.

But, they are so much more. They also recycle the parts that can not be re-used. Why is this important? Cause so much e-waste is shipped out to other countries where they burn the parts down to get the precious metals from them. And they use children to do this. Check out this video to learn more about it. It is a huge problem.

Why do I enjoy volunteering? Cause I feel it is important to give back for the things you have in your life. No matter how bad you may feel your life is, there is always somebody who has it worse. Volunteering can help you not only realize this, but helps you to feel better that you are actually making a difference in somebody’s life. It is such a rewarding feeling.

So I encourage everyone to take some time each month and give back. You will not only improve the lives of others, but improve your own life as well.

Effective Marketing — What works???

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As you all know, I have been working on an email campaign for the mobile platform I am marketing. But, that isn’t the only avenue I am utilizing. I have learned slowly that an effective marketing strategy must have several components in order to work.

The problem that arises with this is figuring out how to reach your intended target market. There is so many different ways to get your name out there. Social networks, email campaigns, print media, even Craigslist can be used. Which one do you go with?

There is a couple of questions you should be considering when choosing the right medium to send your message.

  1. Will your message reach your target market with a certain strategy?
  2. What will be your ROI (return on investment) by using the strategy?
  3. What should my message be?
  4. Can I handle this myself or should I use a professional?

All the answers can be found by doing the right research. There is so much information available on the internet that anybody can make an informed decision before embarking on a particular marketing strategy. And I advise you to do the research.

A poorly executed marketing campaign can actually hamper your efforts by making it appear as you do not know what your doing. Nothing hurts business quicker than appearing unprofessional.

Some key sites to start at are:

http://www.sba.gov/content/marketing-101

http://www.score.org/marketing-cookbook

http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/index.html

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