Monthly Archives: December 2011

Productivity Tips for Work-at-Home Parents

One of the best things about the internet boom is that it has opened up opportunities to work from home that otherwise would never have existed. As a work-at-home mom with two small kids, being able to stay at home and see to the kids while earning enough money to help ease the financial burden at home is a huge deal. However, the set-up is quite frankly less than ideal if your goal is maximum productivity at work.

When it comes to working at home, any parent knows that no matter how well you plan out the day something is bound to happen to disrupt your schedule. It may be something trivial like spilled milk, or something more important like a trip to the emergency room. No matter what it is, the point is that the small things can add up leaving you wondering at the end of the day where all the time went, and having to scramble to finish your work.

If you work at home and have kids, here are some tips that could hopefully help increase your productivity:

Set aside a work space for you – The work space may be an entire room, or just a small corner at the kitchen. The point is that you should have a place where you can put your laptop and the rest of your work stuff that the kids will know are off limits. Having a work station will also help you not just in having a place to dump all your things, but help put you in the zone once you start working.

Establish your kids’ bedtime – This is not only good for your kids, but will also give you a more predictable time of the day when you can catch up on work without any interruptions. The few minutes you spend putting them to bed might will earn you hours of “you time” and plus points in the bonding department.

Pre-post – Every time you have a chance to do work ahead of time, do so. Publish posts ahead of time so that the next time some emergency arises you won’t have to worry to much about unfinished work because you’ve already done them ahead of time!

 

Photo via Charlotte Fire Dept Credit Union

Look to the Past in 2012: How to Put Referrals Back on the Table

Many companies are focusing on the 2012 trends and new developments in business, but some should be thinking more along the lines of a New Year’s resolution. In other words, the New Year is a great time to improve upon what your company is already doing (or should already be doing). Many of those old marketing tricks still work just as well, but companies have slowly been pushing them to the wayside. While methods like social media and QR Codes are great, my advice is this: Make improving your older marketing methods your New Year’s resolution.

One of my favorite “classic” marketing tricks is the referral. Getting a referral is so important to a company because it has a very good chance of actually bringing in a profit. This is the case for because a referral means that your company is being talked about on a level of trust. The person getting the referral trusts the person giving the referral. This yields better results than if someone was just looking at a website.

If you think your company could benefit from more referrals, it’s time to start making this a priority. Consider a few of the ways your company can increase its number of referrals in the New Year:

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Number of Referrals in 2012

1. Co-Marketing – Part of a co-marketing strategy is giving referrals. For those who are unfamiliar, many companies create partnerships with other, complementary companies for marketing purposes. For example, if you work at a day care center you may want to have a partnership with a pediatrician. If you refer customers to his/her practice and they refer their patients to your business, you will have an entirely new audience very quickly.

2. Social Media – You don’t need to resort back to traditional phone systems if you’re hoping for a referral. Contrary to what some may believe, old marketing tactics can coincide with new age methods. If you love social media, be sure that you have sharing buttons for all of your readers. This makes it easy for customers and clients to send an online referral to all of their friends and family.

3. Compensation – Even though giving a referral is very easy, people will be more likely to do so if there is an incentive. If you can give someone five dollars off their next visit or a free consultation just for bringing in a friend, your referrals will skyrocket. This is probably the easiest way to bring in new customers and clients (while making your existing clients happy).

4. Simply Ask – It’s never a bad idea to remind existing customers and clients that referrals are appreciated. This can be as easy as reminding them when they leave—just put it into your “goodbye” spiel. If you have a good relationship with a specific customer, ask them directly if they know anyone who may be interested. You might be surprised how something so little can go such a long way.

5. Testimonials – Gathering testimonials is great because it allows those who want to help to do their part. Many customers will tell you they simply do not know anyone in the area or anyone who would need your products or services. The solution to this is to ask for a testimonial for your website or brochure. Have them sign a document saying you can use their words on your website, and you’re good to go. This is an indirect way to give a referral, but a referral nonetheless.

In the end, people will not blame your company for trying to step up its referral statistics. It’s an inexpensive and successful way to grow a brand. In other words, looking to the past may benefit your company more than looking to the future in 2012.

Photo Credit: servicebusinessreinvention.com, mylot.com, blog.marketamerica.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to telemarketing. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including customer referrals to small businesses and entrepreneurs for Resource Nation.

5 Questions Every Blogger Should Ask Before Allowing Guest Posts

We are obviously brilliant writers, but sometimes we want to give our genius a rest. We know it’s a sad day for everyone when our blog takes a day off, but sometimes it can be so difficult to think of a new, fresh topic; especially if the blog is part of a small and specific niche. Have you ever tried to use an article you have written in the past to come up with a good blog post? Whether it be for your own blog or someone else’s blog, this can be extremely difficult. You look at the article and think: This is the absolute best article I could have written on this topic. Some may say this is the mark of a bad writer because they cannot find a different angle, but I say this is the mark of a good writer—you did it right the first time. Nonetheless, you are left with a feeling of frustration. In other words, I have found that the older and more popular your blog gets the harder it is to bring yourself to sit down and write. When put in those terms, it’s actually a little bit sad!

This led me to wonder: When is it too early to accept guest posts? Sometimes the best thing for your blog is a new perspective. Many well-known blogs started out as a one person operation (ever heard of Mashable?) and gradually grew to a blog full of guest writers. If you’re considering factoring in guest posts to your blog routine, but are unsure whether or not this is the right move, consider a few of these questions and answers:

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How to Make Full Time Salary by Means of Blogging

Do you want to earn extra money without interfering with your day to day activities? Well then you can, with a little patience and creativity, you can earn money online and lots of them for that matter. By simple blogging your way to the internet market, you can earn a full time salary in three simple steps. A business MBA person can benefit a great deal from this. Click here to know about this. Continue reading