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#1 Online Social Networking Tip: Be social! by Tia Peterson/All American Admin

This idea may seem utterly obvious but I assure you that there is wisdom in this advice.

The power in online social networking is the first half of the term, so be social!

Social networks were not originally created with businesses in mind, they were created for real people to make or reinforce or support connections with other real people.

I think online social networking is great fun. I’ve been part of MySpace and Plaxo for years now (along with some others) and have just gotten into Facebook and Twitter over the last couple years.

But online social networking can be good for business (hence, the reason I offer an e-course about it) and apparently the networks themselves agree: for example, Facebook Pages is specifically for services and products. There are even “business” social networks like Biznik and StartupNation.

But when businesses create profiles but forget to “connect” and be social, they are doing themselves a disservice. You will get a huge return on your time investment in social networking if you can connect with other members.
Here are a few key ways to connect:

  1. Participate in groups. This is the most effective way to grow your friends list. This takes time, but you need to find a couple groups to belong to, submit a few relevant comments every now and then, maybe participate in a forum discussion, AND THEN invite others in the group to be your friend.
  2. Get personal. Make sure there is something personal about you on your profile. You absolutely need a personal photograph of yourself first and foremost, but you could also include your marital status, whether or not you have children, where you went to college or high school, or some likes/dislikes or favorites.
  3. Respond to comments. I’m guilty of neglecting this key principle but it is really important if you want to use social networks for business growth. Make sure you respond to comments and messages. No one likes to feel ignored. Take the time to do this act of common courtesy at least once weekly.
  4. Invite your real friends/colleagues. Make sure you take advantage of every network’s feature that searches your contact lists to find people who are already part of the network. It’s quick, easy, and it’s a great way to make connects almost instantly.

If you’re concerned about time there are a number of ways to make it worth your while: you can outsource the setup and management or you can create a social network marketing plan that takes time into consideration. If you’re curious how to make it work for you, feel free to check out my free social networking e-course at http://blog.allamericanadmin.com. The link is in the left sidebar.

Happy networking!

Tia

Do I have to Write My Blog Myself?

by Shannon Penrod

Hold on to your hats, I’m going to say something controversial.  No, you do not have to write your own blog.  Okay, everyone take a deep breath. 

For generations busy influential people have surrounded themselves with wordsmiths, people who are good with words, to help them to make the absolute utmost of their communication skills.  We no longer hide the fact that a team of speech writers works with all presidents and presidential candidates.  Jay Leno and David Letterman don’t step foot on the stage without a room full or writers punching up their jokes.  We accept that these fabulously successful people have help writing material that ends up being credited to them, so why are we squeamish about people getting help writing their blogs?

Yes it is supposed to be personal.  I’m sure that David Letterman would argue that his monologue is pretty personal.  We accept that successful and busy people need a writing staff because their talents are needed elsewhere.  Isn’t the same true for you? Wouldn’t it be great for you to have a well written blog, complete with your input, that is published on a consistent basis but doesn’t require all of your time and attention?

Don’t you wonder if that’s how the really successful people are doing it?  I can tell you with certainty; in most cases they have “blog support”.  Different clients need different things.  Some people write a blog themselves and just use our services to grammar check and beef up the blog for search engine optimization.  Other clients give us a list of topics, we write blogs on the topics and then they add their own flavor to it – thus making it very personal but severely cutting the amount of time they have to spend on a blog.  Other clients ask us to blog on a general subject and only approve the blogs before they are posted.  It depends on the client’s desires for the blog and for their time.

The more successful you are the more crucial your time management skills.  Blogging is with out a doubt one of the most incredible tools available in today’s fast paced technology driven world.  Not having the time to blog is no longer an option.  When you are ready to delegate we have wordsmiths on call at www.motherhoodincorporated.com
 

Mothering (and Working!) While Sick by Elisa Garcia

thermometerRight now I have a horrible, lingering, downright debilitating cold and sinus infection.  Yes, of course I’ve been hacking and sniffling all week, but optimist and procrastinator that I am, I’ve pooh-poohed any notion of any kind of doctor’s visit.  Why? I hate shelling out a $35.00 co-pay simply to be told, “Drink lots of fluid and rest.”  That’s money that could be used toward something useful, like our once a week restaurant dinner, thank you very much.  Besides, I rarely get sick. 

But now I’m thinking that I should have forfeited the prospect of takeout and visited old Dr. McGruff after all.  Because now it’s Friday, his office closes at noon, and I’m simultaneously facing two deadlines and a cranky toddler who’s (rightfully) tired of dealing with a cranky mother.  And my head feels as if it’s going to explode, even though, truth be told, I’ve already ingested enough cough and cold liquid this week to stock CVS. 

Back when I was a corporate minion, it was simple; I (or my partner) trudged Alina to daycare, and I stayed blessedly in bed to catch up on a mother’s most elusive, priced commodity: sleep.  Of course, that’s only if I were sick enough to stay home in the first place; many are the days that I headed to the office armed with a medical kit to suffer gloomily behind a desk, picking and choosing my e-mail battles.  But even that was easier than this … how do you work and feed your child(ren), and entertain your child(ren), and tend to your house? Or do you? How do you cope with being a super employee when you’re a sick mom who just wants (needs) to sleep but also needs to care for her rambunctious kid?

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve raised my voice at my beautiful daughter more than once (more than twice) today.  I’m stressed and sick and apparently unable to discipline effectively enough to be able to send even one e-mail.  And of course she’s eschewed her nap.

Work at home moms, how do you all deal when you– not the kid(s)– are sick? I’m counting the minutes until my partner comes home.  Too bad McGruff won’t be in until Monday.

by Elisa Garcia

How to Work With a Virtual Assistant

by Shannon Penrod

There are lots of ways that you can work with a Virtual Assistant.  My favorite way is through Motherhood Incorporated, okay I’ll admit that I’m biased.  I work for them.  But I also happen to think that they “get it right” – which is why I not only work for them, I’m a client too.

The most important thing when hiring any virtual assistant is to clearly define what you want the virtual to accomplish.  This might sound ridiculous, but hear me out.  Recently I hired a virtual assistant (from Motherhood Incorporated) to research Birthday Parties for my son who is about to turn 5 in a few weeks.  I started to do the research myself and quite frankly it was making me so crabby and taking up so much of my time that I realized I needed to outsource it.  I had to figure out exactly what I wanted to know.  I wanted a party for 30 children and 25 adults in a venue where the kids could get as loud as they wanted but where there was no huge ambient noise (I can’t handle the loud music at those bouncy house parties) I had a specific amount of money that I was willing to spend on the location and another amount on food.  I wanted a comparison of prices on if I did an all-in-one package or paid for everything separately.  And I wanted the work done in less than 24 hours.

I won’t tell you what I paid for the research but I will tell you that to do the work myself would have taken me at least 2 hours and what I was able to bill in that 2 hours was easily 4 times what I spent on the research.  The job was done on time and I was able to pick the perfect birthday venue for my son – AND I saved money on the location. 

The job was a huge success because I had the right person for the job. We have a mom who knows everything there is about having a party – I ‘m convinced she could throw a party on the moon with 2 hours notice. I gave her explicit instructions about what my expectations were.  I knew what information I wanted and when I wanted it.  I told her what to exclude (places that play loud music) so she didn’t waste time finding information I wasn’t interested in. 

Researching a Birthday party may sound like a silly thing to use a virtual assistant for, but it saved me time and money so I could attend to my business.  What ever reason you hire a virtual assistant make sure that you are clear about what you want accomplished and when you expect it done.  You will always be happier in the long run.

What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant

The perfect virtual assistant is some one who is responsible, skilled, and experienced.  Responsibility is crucial.  You need someone who can complete tasks on time with out having someone stand over their shoulder.

Being skilled is also imperative.  One of the benefits of having a virtual assistant is that it frees you to spend time on the tasks you choose to.  If you are constantly having to provide input and “train” an assistant then your time is not well spent. The skill set of the virtual needs to match the needs of the specific job.  And since the jobs you need completed will vary from time to time, we recommend working with a service such as ours, Motherhood Incorporated.  In this way you will have a corps of talented virtual assistants on call.

The importance of experience cannot be overstated.  You wouldn’t hand the keys to your Jaguar to a high school body shop class and ask them to repair your fender, and you certainly don’t want to hand over crucial business tasks to just anyone.  You want to stick with professionals who will get the job done quickly, efficiently and right – the first time.

Hiring a virtual assistant is a decision to be more productive.  Taking the time to hire a proper virtual assistant service will pay off in productivity, efficiency and costs.

The Hardest 'Job,' I've Ever Had (Plus the Most Rewarding One Too!) by Nicole Ocean

Right off the bat I want to thank you for taking the time to read through my blog. I am up early this morning and a thought that is very close to my heart jumped right  into my head. I felt the need to share it with you.

I’ve got one of THE hardest ‘Jobs,’ in the world, being a (single) mother to an amazinig 8-year boy named Nickolas.

     Another of Nick standing beside tulips   Photo of Tulips that Nick took  

(Here are a few photos of my boy at a local tuplip festival. The middle picture he took!)

Now, I must tell you that purposely emphasized the word J-O-B because although with all that I am doing with raising my son it doesn’t pay my bills or put food directly on our table. This job is more important, more meaningful and more rewarding than any job I could ever do as a business woman. I feel that it is the most difficult thing (but also the most rewarding) I will ever do in  the span of my whole entire life!

I can’t help but think about these type of things from time to time and I am sure that any Mom or Dad gets caught up in the same thoughts.

I want to CONGRATULATE each one of you who is in my same shoes and just in case no one has told you lately your kid told me to tell you that they love you and think that you are doing great at your J-O-B and they appreciate the work you do at your other job as well!

Have a wonderful, productive and fulfilling day today!

Authored by Nicole Ocean

www.nicoleocean.com

www.nicolesdreamsebooks.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

How Can A Blog Help Me?

Ask yourself this, if there was one thing you could tell the world about you or your business what would it be? Blogging can get that message out to the world for you at little or no cost. 

Would you like to be an expert in your field?  You can be. All you have to do is start a blog on that subject.  If you are genuinely knowledgeable and a decent writer within a matter of time your blog will begin to be quoted by other people who are talking on the same subject.  Instantly you are an expert.

Do you wish that you could attract new clients even in your sleep?  You can with a blog.  Long after business hours people are at home typing search words into their computers looking for info on products and services.  You’ve done it yourself.  Its eleven o’clock at night and you want information on antique lunchboxes (just for illustration purposes).  You don’t go for the phone book, all the stores are closed.  You go to your computer and  head to your favorite search engine where you type in “Antique Lunch Boxes” depending on how much time you have you might type in your city name.  If you are someone who sells antique lunch boxes you hope that your business name comes up on the first page of offerings.  Effective blogging helps to have your business register on first page searches if you research what the top keywords are for your business and then consistently use them as tags on your blogs.  In that way blogs help to bring the customers to you, even when you have finished for the day.

These are just two of the ways blogs can help, the list is endless.  If you aren’t blogging you are missing one of the most incredible advertising wonders of the world, and it’s free!