Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
2008 was quite a year for all of us. For me it involved attending a 30 year class reunion, a family reunion on my wife's side, and just before the year ended, connecting with an old elementary school classmate.
2008 was also a year filled with staying in contact with people I met through my profession. I expanded my online or social networking through services such as LinkedIn.com (Click here to see my profile), and became slightly more active on Facebook, if you call checking once a week instead of once every three months, more active.
The last item on social media that I signed up for was twitter.com. (Click here for my Twitter Profile). I'm still not sure what will become of twitter, and I am plenty busy with my paying job in the radio, marketing and advertising business. Being on the computer all day is not what I do for a living.
I returned to my profession about 6 years ago in a town that I had never done this before.
"It" is selling radio advertising. I knew a lot of folks in the radio profession from my previous years on the air at places like WGL, WMEE, WAJI, WFWI and a few others, but the last time I worked on the air regularly was 1999.
However when I started in radio advertising in Fort Wayne in 2003, I knew what to do, but I had zero contacts. So I had to start from scratch. Now, 6 years later, I have more leads than I can possibly handle, enjoy helping clients grow and there is one thing that I have done that has made it all possible.
You have to reach out. I don't care if you are in sales, or not. You simply must reach out to others. Do it when things are okay. A favorite question I ask people is, "How can I help you?"
Sometimes they need an idea, sometimes they need an ear. Often they can't answer that question right away because they were not expecting it.
Because of my willingness to be a friend, I have had people reveal to me things that they would not have unless they trusted me. Last month I helped a former co-worker of mine land a new job by helping her tweak her resume. Last week I gave a friend an idea on how she can save her business. Two days ago I connected two friends who need the services of each other.
This reaching out is contrary to certain parts of my personality. I used to feel shy as a kid, then in my early 20's when working for WMEE, I had to speak in front of hundreds of high school students. Later in Detroit, I spoke in churches and then back in Fort Wayne I have given presentations in front of dozens of business owners.
The fact is very few people feel completely comfortable and natural when reaching out to others.
But as we go through a very uncertain time in our lives with the current economic conditions, you need to reach out now and get connected, make friends, and be prepared for whatever the future holds.
Yesterday the following tips came in my email from the DLM Blog that may help you:
Posted: 07 Jan 2009 04:43 AM PSTSome people are naturally good at networking. You see these people at conferences: going around shaking hands, introducing themselves to anyone that will listen, handing out business cards, etc. All the while, you stand on the sidelines simply watching the action, feeling too shy or unimportant to do the same. Some people aren’t natural networkers. You might be quite introverted or perhaps you have some deep misgivings about the concept of “networking” (maybe it seems fake to you, and you think it’ll mean “using” people). No matter, you can still keep up friendships and make new contacts – without having to resort to some the tactics some would call "sleazy marketing". Here’s how:
- Be Yourself
My first tip is to simply be yourself. I’m at my most comfortable when I’m being informal, and when I’m able to chat to people about things other than work! Don’t try to force yourself to network in a way that feels uncomfortable to you: if big corporate events seem insincere, avoid them. If all your colleagues are encouraging you to mass-email “useful contacts”, go for a personal and authentic approach that suits you, instead.
In the long run, the people who you want to surround yourself with are people who like you for who you are, and who want to do business with the “real you”.
- Be A Good Friend
Networking doesn’t have to be a cold, corporate activity. For me, good networking goes hand in hand with being a good friend. That means asking clients how they’re doing, and taking a genuine interest in their life and their concerns. People are much more likely to send repeat business to you if you’re their friend rather than just some random contact they once worked with.
This doesn’t mean you should try to be falsely chummy with people: as with the first tip, you should just be yourself. If a friendship doesn’t seem to be developing naturally, just leave it and move on.
- Stay In Touch
A large part of networking is simply letting people know what you’re up to. This could mean sending the occasional “newsletter” to old college friends; you never know who might be in need of your products or services. It also means taking the time to send out cards or even holiday gifts to your clients. Don’t keep trying to expand your network whilst neglecting or forgetting about those already in it.
You might even want to reconnect with friends from high school: with Facebook and other social networking sites, it’s easy to search for long-lost buddies and get back in touch.
- Use Twitter
In my opinion, one of the best online networking tools is Twitter. It’s fun, geared towards informality and conversations, and isn’t intrusive like other forms of communication can be (phone calls, and even emails, can annoy people who feel they barely know you). If you’re a bit intimidated of getting in touch with someone in your field, try following them on Twitter first. This obviously works best for those involved in tech-savvy professions but it is really catching on in on in other areas as well.
When you update your own Twitter, keep in mind who from your network will be reading. Most people won’t want to know that “Bob is eating a sandwich”. Try to make your Twitters relevant to big happenings in your work and life. After you get started, this post will introduce you to some advanced Twitter tools.
- Join A Club
Although it’s easy to have a negative view of business events that are geared to networking, a “club” doesn’t have to be something that’s just set up for people to push their wares at one another. Why not get together with colleagues in your industry on a regular basis, or even network through a hobby or passion that you have? If you’re in a sports club, for instance, let other members know what you do for a living – you never know what connections you might spark off.
Studying an academic or vocational course related to your profession is also a great way to meet people who are passionate about the same sort of work as you: I’m studying a creative writing MA and relishing the opportunity to work alongside lots of fellow writers.
|Written on 1/07/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.||Photo Credit: Incase Designs|
Okay, this is a little different. I am a member of LinkedIn.com, sort of a professional version of Facebook.
There is a LinkedIn-Fort Wayne Group that you should join. It's all free. There's over 230 members currently.
Click here to go there.
Here is my spot on LinkedIn.com
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Posted: 06 Jan 2009 05:24 AM PSTYou don't need me to tell you that the economy is in dire straits; it's heavily covered on every news channel and website. More and more, people are scratching and clawing to improve their personal finances whether it's new techniques to save more money or creative ways to earn extra cash.
Web workers, thought of as 'the isolated many' aren't isolated from the economy. Contrary to what many might think, web working isn't a zero investment job; there are some significant costs associated with it. Since they are living in the same world and a part of the same economy, it's important for them to gear up and tackle the situation in a way that can cut costs without hurting their business.
If you are a web worker, consider starting with the following tips and then see if you need to cut more on certain other aspects of your work.
It sounds crazy but it's common for most web workers to not have an organized way to calculate total income and expenditure. When you are taking projects and small jobs from dozens of people or companies, much of your time could be spent as bookkeeper, and well, that is not increasing earnings.
Hence, the first thing you should do is sit down and make a detailed account of your income and expenditures. Either hire an accountant or do it yourself, but make sure it is crystal clear what your home and business expenses are. You will find people you forgot to bill and you will find expenses you forgot to write-off.
Isolate the Absolute Essential
Saving money doesn't mean that you will ditch broadband and go for dial-up internet; that'd be foolish because the internet is the lifeline of any web worker. There will be other such absolute essentials depending upon the type of work you do. Identify them and isolate them from the cost cutting process. And yes, be prudent in picking the essentials.
Believe it or not, going paperless could save you a great deal of hassle and money. It will make your home office clutter free and will keep you from spending hours searching for that important file or notepad. There is some great software and tools available and they can easily replace your paperwork.
Since I talked about software, I'd say freeware is the way to go, unless of course there isn't a great alternative (like for photoshop). But for most of the paid software out there, there some cool open source alternatives available. Sites like Osalt will help you in finding them.
Use Skype And Reduce Phone Bills
Phone bills could turn out to be a major cost for most web workers, especially for those who have local clients. If you are one of them, I'd suggest you suppress the urge to use your cell phone to make a call every time and instead, use a tool like Skype to make calls.
Look for Free Learning Material
Self-study is an important thing that absolutely shouldn't be overlooked. There is no doubt that paid courses could be of better quality but the web is full of free, quality ebooks and guides. Try to find such stuff and use them for gaining knowledge. Free pdf search engines like PDFGeni could help you in this search.
Ditch the Car
You usually don't go out everyday and when you do, you take the car. Weather permitting, why not bike it next time?
Swap Books & DVDs
You'd love this tip. Did you know that there are services like SwapaDVD to exchange DVDs with others and PaperBackSwap or BookMooch to exchange books ?
Has the economy hit your home office routine or home business? If so, let us know what you've done to sidestep these issues.
|Written on 1/06/2009 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps and online tools and how they can help you become more productive.||Photo Credit: |
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
What rules are you following to feel more secure about your finances?
Try these five tips from DLM and you will be off to a good start.
Posted: 21 Dec 2008 11:25 AM PSTMaybe you’re putting off doing anything about your finances because you think you don’t have time. Perhaps you don’t know how much you’re spending every month (except you know it’s too much), and you can never put your hands on those important financial documents when you need them. Maybe you wish there were some quick and simple solutions to your financial problems.
Good news – there are! These simple financial fixes will only take you five minutes. They could set you on the path to recovering control of your finances and getting on top of things. You can do these in the time it takes to boil the kettle. Pick one each day this week, and you’ll soon be firmly back in control of your money.
- Start a Spending Log
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to keep a spending log. It only takes five minutes to start one off. Just follow the instructions in that post, and resolve to spend five minutes filling it in every day. It really won’t take much of your time – and I promise it’ll be a big eye opener.
Once you know how much you’re spending, you’re in a far better position to take control.
- Take Out Cash for the Week
Most people find that they spend less when paying in cash: it’s easy for money on a piece of plastic to seem unreal. And if you only take $30 in notes to the store, you can only spend $30 – no matter how tempted you are by that new DVD.
You might not need to use cash for everything you buy, but having a set weekly amount for “groceries” can help you resist impulse purchases, and doing likewise for “entertainment” will curb your spending.
- Find a Box File
If you loath filing, your financial documents are probably in a mess. You might have pay slips scattered around the house, vital letters shoved into magazine racks, bank statements piled up on your desk… Admit it, if you needed to find something, you’d have to waste several hours searching for it.
Although we’d all have a perfect, ordered filing system in an ideal world, this is a five minute fix. Get yourself a box file (or just a large cardboard box will do) and stick a label on the front saying “Finances”. From now on, every document that comes in (bills, payslips, bank statements, tax information) goes in that box. You’ll still need to dig through it a bit, but at least everything will be in one place.
- Cut Up Your Credit Card
I’m putting this first because it will make the biggest difference to your life: cut up your credit card. Buying on credit – spending money you don’t have – puts you in debt. Even if you always pay off the balance on time, there’s going to come a month when your check goes astray in the mail or you’ll splash out on something you can’t really afford, and then scrape by on the minimum payments – racking up more and more debt.
If you’ve got a credit card, cut it in half today. Save up for the things you want instead.
- Register for Online Banking
Quick: what’s your bank balance? Do you know? Can you even make a decent guess? If you’re anything like most people, you probably don’t have much clue. It’s a pain to have to trek to the bank or an ATM every time you want to check your balance – so don’t. Register for online banking today and you can check exactly how much money you have, whenever you want.
With my bank, I just popped my card into the ATM and selected “Register for online banking” – as simple as that. You can also use online banking to set up direct debits, make bank transfers, move money between accounts and much more – it’ll save you a lot of time and gives you the peace of mind of being able to easily see which checks have cleared and which payments have gone out.
|Written on 12/21/2008 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university.||Photo Credit: *L*u*z*a*|
Monday, January 05, 2009
At work, I call it trying to steer a parked car, when I'm trying to help someone and they don't do the work.
In my email last week this came from the Art of Manliness Blog. If you need to kick it up a notch, read on:
Posted: 31 Dec 2008 01:40 AM CST
Every year, I set goals or “resolutions” on how to be a better man. I succeed with some but fail in others. Many people become jaded with New Year’s resolutions because they often go un-achieved. Some people are just complacent with themselves. I read today that one individual wasn’t planning on setting New Year’s resolutions because, well, he likes the way he is and doesn’t want to change.
I like myself plenty, but I know there are areas where I can improve my life.
I’ve read plenty of self-improvement books on how to set goals. I’m sure you all have, too. They all pretty much say the same thing: Set specific goals, make sure your goals are measurable, set goals that stretch you, etc. That’s all fine, but setting goals is the easy part. How do we actually achieve them? Most books will tell us that we need to post our goals somewhere that we can see them all the time, repeat them everyday, or make some lame “vision board” so you can visualize your goal. Somehow that’s going to help us achieve our dreams.
I’ve been skipping the regurgitated fluff by self-help gurus and instead seeking advice on how to be a better man and achieve my goals from history’s greatest men. How did I get the advice of history’s great men? I read their biographies. Here’s what I’ve learned from them on how to succeed at your goals.
Establish a system. As a young man, Benjamin Franklin set the audacious goal of “achieving moral perfection.” Franklin set mini-goals to live one of 13 virtues as perfectly as he could each week. In order to achieve his goal of moral perfection, he established a system that helped him keep track of how he was doing in his progress to moral perfection. His system consisted of 13 small charts which contained a column for each day of the week and 13 rows marked with the first letter of his 13 virtues. Franklin evaluated himself at the end of each day. He placed a dot next to each virtue he had violated. The goal was to minimize the number of marks, thus indicating a “clean” life free of vice. With just a glance, Franklin could see how he was doing on his goals.
While Franklin never achieved moral perfection, he didn’t think the project was a waste because he was definitely a better man after he was done.
We can apply the same principle Franklin utilized by establishing a system to help us keep track of our progress. If your goal is to lose 40 lbs this year, create daily mini-goals like Franklin did with his virtues, and make a mark when you don’t achieve those daily goals. A mini-g0al for losing 40 pounds could be exercising every day or not eating junk food during the week. If you slip up on those goals, make a mark for that day. The goal is to have fewer and fewer marks.
Create a daily regimen and stick to it. How many of us get up each day not knowing what in the heck we’re going to do with our time? What usually happens? We get a few things done, but then we waste the rest of our time surfing the web or watching TV. Great men from history ALWAYS knew what they were going to do each day because they had a daily routine and stuck to it like clockwork. Throughout his life, Teddy Roosevelt maintained a rigid daily routine; a habit he picked up from his father. He set aside specific time each day for study, exercise, and work. Ben Franklin shared his daily schedule with us in his biography.
In a letter to his son, George Washington laid out a daily routine for the young man to follow every day of the week, giving the exact time he should spend with each activity. Washington ended his letter by saying:
Time disposed of in this manner, makes ample provision for exercise and every useful, or necessary recreation, and at the same time that the hours allotted for study, if really applied to it, instead of running up and down stairs, and wasted in conversation with any one who will talk with you, will enable you to make considerable progress in whatsoever line is marked out for you.
If we know what we’re going to do and at what time we’re going to do it, we’ll be less likely to waste time with trifles.
Create a daily regimen for yourself. Download this weekly calendar, sit down, and plan for the coming week. Block out time for all the activities you must accomplish during the week. This could also be done in Outlook or some other computer time management software, but I prefer paper and pencil. I always begin by blocking off time for the most important items. For me that’s scheduling time for exercise, time with my wife, and time for personal meditation. If you’re balancing several projects at work or school, block off specific time each day in which you’ll work on a different project. You might not finish the project in the allotted time, but that’s not the point. The goal is to just work on it instead of goofing off.
Of course, you should always look over the next day’s schedule each night and make changes depending on changing circumstances. If you can establish a daily regimen for yourself like these great men, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Develop your willpower and discipline. The reason why most people fail to achieve their goals is because they lack the willpower or discipline to do so. But history’s greatest men had wills of iron that gave them the fortitude to achieve success even when things were against them. Alexander the Great displayed amazing resolution when he conquered the heavily fortressed island of Tyre. Ghandi showcased an iron clad will with his gruelingly long fasts in protest to the British government. History is full of men, who through pure willpower, were able to accomplish great things.
A man cannot develop an iron will overnight. It takes months, even years to create the discipline needed to take on great tasks. If you feel you lack the willpower to achieve your goals, there’s no need to fret. Willpower is like a muscle. It can grow and become stronger with use. Just as you would start with light weights when exercising your muscles, start with small exercises of discipline in order to develop your willpower. Instead of making a goal to exercise every day for the entire year, commit to exercising 6X a week for the next thirty days. If you have trouble wasting time surfing mindless websites, make it a goal to devote 45 minutes to concentrated work. After the 45 minutes, give yourself a 15 minute break and surf the web to your heart’s delight. Repeat. After awhile, you’ll be able to work an hour without surfing the web, then an hour and a half, then two.
Once you develop your willpower in small areas, move to bigger ones. With time, you will forge a will that will allow you to accomplish any goal or obstacle placed before you.
Quit navel gazing and get to work. When it comes to making life changes, my generation has replaced good old-fashioned work with navel gazing. Instead of just putting your shoulder to the wheel and getting going, too many men think that a period of great reflection and meditation needs to be the first step. We sit and think and mull over how we got off track, reproach ourselves for it, have a little pity party, and try to diagnose exactly where we went wrong. Clint Eastwood recently had an interview with Esquire magazine that produced these magnificent nuggets of wisdom on the subject:
-As Jerry Fielding used to say, “We’ve come this far, let’s not ruin it by thinking.”
-We live in more of a pussy generation now, where everybody’s become used to saying, “Well, how do we handle it psychologically?” In those days, you just punched the bully back and duked it out. Even if the guy was older and could push you around, at least you were respected for fighting back, and you’d be left alone from then on.
-I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when the pussy generation started. Maybe when people started asking about the meaning of life.
-It keeps coming back to “We’ve come this far, let’s not ruin it by thinking.”
Eastwood carries his philosophy over into his filmmaking; he doesn’t do much rehearsal, he just expects the actors to bring their A-game, shoots the scene, and moves on. He doesn’t dwell on his insecurities or let self-doubt paralyze him into inaction. The problem with excessive navel-gazing is that many men never move beyond the pondering period to actually taking action. Life interrupts their thoughts, and they get distracted by other things. Then, 6 months later they realize they haven’t changed and go into another navel-gazing funk about the reasons why.
Quit over-analyzing and get to work. All of history’s great men have realized that hard work is the great “secret” of success. Thomas Edison would spend days in his laboratory working on a project. Frederick Douglas spent days on end crafting speeches and writing. Theodore Roosevelt lived the strenuous life by filling his time with hard mental and physical labor. These men didn’t sit around thinking about what they wanted to do, they just did it.
So instead of spending all your time trying to “find yourself,” simply decide the direction you want your life to move, set a course for yourself, and take actions every day that are align with your goals. That’s it.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Had a birthday last month. Hopefully you get one too in the next 12 months! Here's some perspective from Harvey Mackay:
How to stay young as the years go by
Youth, it has been said, is wasted on the young. That would be a travesty if it were true. Fortunately, youth is not only a time of life; it's also a state of mind. I stopped counting after my 39th birthday, but I still consider myself young. And I intend to stay that way!
Having a youthful outlook and attitude is possible at any age, just as being an old fogey can start at a very young age. As I said, I choose youth!
Want to stay young at heart? Here are some ideas to help you:
- Keep only cheerful, positive friends. You can pick your friends, and I like to choose those who are positive and people who challenge me. They make me feel good. They don't drag me down or make me angry at the world. Negative people see the difficulty in every opportunity, while positive people see the opportunity in every difficulty.
- Keep learning. I think Henry Ford put it best when he said, "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." I've always said that you should be in school all your life—never stop learning.
- Enjoy the simple things. Don't forget to take time to enjoy the things that you like to do—go for a walk or to the movies, read a good book, watch a favorite TV show, spend time with your family. You have to have a good balance in life.
- Laugh often. Starting your day with a good laugh, or at least a big smile, is as beneficial to your health as it is to your mood. Scientific studies at Northwestern University and Fordham University concluded that laughter benefits the heart, lungs, stomach and other organs. It relaxes tensions, changes attitude, and increases the body's natural painkillers. And it has no harmful side effects.
- Stay in shape. Exercise is good for your mind as well as your body. Studies show that healthy employees have decreased absenteeism, better performance and improved morale. I've always felt that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. The human body is the only machine that wears out faster if it is not used.
- Cherish your health. There is nothing more important than your health. Stay in shape so you can improve your chance for good health. If you're healthy, do what you can to preserve it. It your health is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
- Be happy. You are responsible for your own happiness. We sometimes convince ourselves that life will be better after we get a better job, make more money, get married, have a baby, buy a bigger house and so on. Yet the accomplishment of any of those events may not make any difference at all. There is no magic secret to happiness. Happiness starts in your head.
- Don't stress out. You can't escape stress, but you can avoid creating unnecessary stress. You just need to find a stress reliever. Mine is sports—going to a sporting event, playing golf, swimming or jogging. If the stress just won't go away, then you have to make some changes in your life that might be more stressful in the short-term but healthier in the long run.
- Don't take guilt trips. Rather, take a trip to some location or maybe it's just the mall, but escape occasionally. I remember a story about the worry tree. At night an accountant would go home from work and place all his worries on a tree in his front yard. The next morning he would pick up those worries on his way to work, but surprisingly, they weren't as heavy the next day.
- Visualize yourself as youthful and with endless energy. I learned years ago that visualization is the most powerful means of attaining personal goals. Visionary people can achieve whatever they want by determining a plan to attain it and expecting positive results. It doesn't do the planning and it doesn't anticipate the obstacles. It gives you a real idea of what is possible, if only you want it bad enough. Vision is not so much what you think as how you think. If you can visualize it, you can make it happen.
Mackay's Moral: If you want to stay youthful, stay useful.